I have a l997 Lincoln Town Car l20-inch stretch that has a brake problem.

Posted on July 1, 2005 by LCT Staff - Also by this author

Hi Dr. Limo, I have a l997 Lincoln Town Car l20-inch stretch that has a brake problem. The problem seems to be two-fold. The ABS light comes on at random. There appears to be no set pattern or reason for it to light up; it just does. Secondly, the ABS brakes cut in periodically for no apparent reason. Sometimes during a run, they will not act up at all. Then at other times, they cut in. The ABS system chatters just before coming to a stop, and the stopping distance is elongated. The previous owner has had it checked to no avail, and I am still having the same problems. The Ford dealer wanted to replace the entire system for nearly $2,000, including the wheel sensors, the control module and the pump. I had the shop check into the problem and they said their equipment would not read and analyze the codes. Can you help? I would be most appreciative.

In addition, I have terrible croaking and creaking sounds coming from the front end when the limousine is moving, such as when I’m backing up or maneuvering. The tie rod ends and the steering arm have been recently replaced and the front end aligned. Where else could this be coming from?

Thanks, Gus Montalto At Your Service Limousines

Dear Gus, You either have a speed-sensor problem or a computer failing. A reputable shop with a Snap-on scanner or a comparable scanner should be able to monitor the wheel-speed sensors while driving and verify that they are all reporting the same speed to the computer. If they are, there is a possibility you have an anti-lock computer failing. If they are not all the same speed, the one that is different is the problem and should be investigated further. The front-wheel sensors are prone to getting covered with metal shavings from the brakes and report incorrectly. That will cause the computer to think that the wheel is locking up and activate the ABS.

As for the croaking and creaking sounds, does the noise mostly occur when you have the wheels turned sharply? If so, the noise is probably coming from the stops on the lower control arms, which limits the angle in which you can turn the wheel. If you get under the car with the steering turned to one side, you can see them on the back of each control arm. I have found that a little grease dabbed on them will usually stop the noise. It’s the metal-on-metal contact that produces the noise. If it squeaks when you turn the wheel from one way to the other, you may have to replace the ball joints with ones made by MOOG or another company’s that are greaseable. If it squeaks when you bounce the car's front end, you might have them look at the upper or lower control arm bushings.

Let me know what you find please. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any problems.

Hi Dr. Limo, You have previously helped me and your answer was spot on. I run a limousine repair shop in the UK and when we carry out transmission filter changes, we quite often find a small beige plunger-style piece of plastic in the oil pan. This part has an “O” ring around it. We can’t figure out where this part comes from and we normally just remove it from the car. Do you know what this part does and where it comes from? Also, I have another car that whines really loud between 35 mph and 65 mph. We have looked in the differential and it seems OK. The oil was like water though and we have changed that.

Do you have an idea what might be causing this noise?

Thanks in advance, Mike Hi Mike, The small plastic piece you keep finding is the stopper that is used to close the filler tube hole before the dipstick tube is installed at the factory. I remember the first one I found. I couldn’t figure it out either, so I called Ford and they told me.

As to the noise in the rear end, does it go away when you let off the gas and come back when you step back on it? If so, you have bad pinion bearings and the rear end will have to be gone through and all the bearings and the ring and pinion replaced. If you try to reuse the old gears, it will still whine because the gears have worn from being allowed to move in and out by the bad bearings.

Please let me know under what circumstances the whine occurs and I will try to help more.

The whine is there when we step on the gas pedal and goes away when we let off the gas.

You are going to have to build the rear end on that car.

As for the stopper, when we find it in the oil pan, does that suggest the car has never had a transmission fluid change since it was new?

That is exactly what it implies: the transmission has either not been serviced or the last mechanic didn’t know what it was either and just threw it back in the pan.

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