By on December 29, 2012

Sajeev writes:

The holidays, no matter your religion (or lack thereof), is a time when many a car freak has the downtime to think of something they’d really want.  Another car?  Maybe.  More cars?  Possibly.  But I suspect many a Piston Slap reader is all about doing something to their car over the break. Here’s one of my projects: the Talking Lincoln Mark VIII, or MK-T for short. 

As a somewhat newly-minted homeowner I’m doing less house chores, getting back to my brand of idiotic brilliantly obscure modifications.  My Cougar is full of them, one is here, now it’s time to do the same to my Mark VIII: replace the outdated/bricked HomeLink receiver in my sun visor with something newer (rolling code) and cooler. I knew of the newer part (voice recorder, from a 1999 Mercury Mountaineer) for years, but didn’t know they came in charcoal…OMG SON…until last week.

And there’s the rub: the charcoal Homelink hasn’t arrived yet because I found it on eBay the Friday before Christmas.  Lesson Learned: if you want to tackle a project, don’t fart around with the presents to yourself.  Make sure they arrive well before the holiday. 

Yes, I’m so pumped that I actually printed out the eBay photo to help mock-up the visor. Now let’s wrap up the lonesome rant with the abbreviated procedure to make this happen:

  • Remove sun visor from car.
  • Watch YouTube video, grab screwdrivers and hope for the best.
  • Crack open visor like a clam.
  • Disconnect, remove pointless HomeLink module.
  • Verify factory module’s casing is similar to the one printed out from eBay. Sure enough, it is. Even the new one’s speaker isn’t obstructed inside the visor!
  • Verify wiring harness is the same. It certainly looks that way…PLUG & PLAY, son!
  • Turn into a 4 year old boy, get excited because you are a moron.
  • Hit “Buy It Now.”
  • Get new one, pop off charcoal trim and separate it from the rubber buttons. Paint it black.  Be okay with half the buttons being charcoal, the alternative (factory tan, factory gray or black paint of dubious durability) isn’t worth it.
  • Consider re-using the bottom of the original’s casing, as it has a provision for a mounting screw. Or not, depending on what happens when it’s installed.
  • Cut visor’s headlining material to allow for the extra buttons of the new part.
  • Install into sun visor and plug-in factory wiring.
  • Connect visor to in-car wiring and see if it works.  Fingers crossed. If it’s bricked, oh well…so was the factory part. And this looks cooler, right?
  • Re-tuck visor’s headlining material, pulled back and messed up by my brilliant actions. Snap the visor “clam” shut again.
  • Reinstall into car and program to the new garage door opener.
  • In His Master’s Voice, consider what mean things to program in the recorder.

And with that, I hope you all will consider tackling an automotive project next Holiday. And share it with us, below.

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25 Comments on “Super Piston Slap: Holiday Purchase = Holiday Project?...”

  • avatar

    You want to do video recording?

    Get yourself an iPod 4 or 5 and a windshield mount. With iMovie, you can make QUALITY videos. This video I made for the Veloster Turbo came entirely from my iPhone5.

  • avatar

    If ita bricked, shoot me the part number. May still be in a warehouse somewhere….

  • avatar

    I did this mod to my ’95 Explorer, hardest part was finding a tan visor and adding an extra ground wire.

    If I can find a green interior Explorer I’ll grab the same thing and swap it into my ’77 Chevelle when I re-do the visors on it.

  • avatar

    I picked up some color-matched flares for my ’06 Rubicon on my way to my vacation destination a few weeks back. After I get home and polish/buff them, I’ll have the world’s most loaded Rubicon (minus the auto trans and hardtop, neither of which want). I’ve already added the factory compass/temp dimming mirror, SKIM key/system, nav radio and satin silver dash bezels from another jeep. Now if I can just find some factory two-tone seats…

  • avatar

    I had to just about completely tear apart my Bonneville’s steering column two weeks ago. So that was fun.

    I’m really tempted to Plasti-dip the chrome trim and side mirrors on my Electra, but I’m afraid it’ll end up looking stupid or like some cheap-o Pep Boys beater. I already have a set of “GS” badges I could put on in place of the “Park Avenue” badges. However, I have a luggage rack and the wire wheels, and I’m not sure a blacked out look will work with those features.

  • avatar

    Currently trying to get the CBR954RR engine to fire up for the first time in my Subaru 360. I can get it to run for about 3 seconds before it dies.

    • 0 avatar

      You just won at the internet. And reminded me how dumb my conversion truly is. :)

    • 0 avatar

      This makes me smile. When those little bug-eyed Subies first came out, they were greeted much like the Toyopet. So, with typical- for the day- American ingenuity, the local dealer – who also was AMC-Jeep, GAVE one away with each Jeep Pickup purchase. Not only was it free, they actually somehow put it in the box of said Jeep. No word on how they were unloaded upon arriving home. RIP, Mark Hollenback.

    • 0 avatar


      Reminds me of my college days. We struggled for weeks to get a CBR600F4i to fire up on an engine dyno to tune for our FormulaSAE car. Would fire up, barely sustain idle, die. Repeatedly. Turns out the wiring guy replaced the fuel pump relay with a “normal” relay that primed the pump at ignition-on but killed the pump once the engine was running. Probably not your problem, but it was a pain to nail down that relay.

  • avatar

    What will MK-T say Mehta? I can imagine something like this…

    K.I.T.T.: Agent Renning is calling out an APB on us.
    Mike Traceur: Then we better go incognito. Shall we go old school?
    K.I.T.T.: To use the lingo of the time, I can dig it.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Crab spirits , in a lawn mower, that symptom is a clogged carb. Sajeev, I am final edition T’Bird curious. Were they a gussied up Mustang TIA

  • avatar

    12,000 lb winch tucked behind the factory bumper and some new springs is my Christmas project. Just gotta get home to put them in

  • avatar

    I love the Mark VIII, one of my favorite “modern cars.” I’d definitely like to see some more of it with some more project write ups. Maybe install a lower rear gear set?

  • avatar

    My current project is to finish cutting up my parts car so I can have my garage back

  • avatar

    My current project is cleaning up the damage to my current project, that somehow managed to fall off a lift. Oh joy.

  • avatar

    A tired 2003 Ford Taurus wagon showed up at a salvage yard just a couple of miles from the house with an intact rear bumper, front airdam (valance), and few other minor parts. Picked them up along with a jack for another car for $200.

    Got a quote for having the bumpers installed and painted to match the rest of the car, a minor dent repaired, and a bottle of touch up paint thrown in to fix the various small chips and scatches it accumlated over the years. Came to $1049; a bit too much for now. Will eventually do; will end up spending $4,200 on a car that might fetch half of that on resale; but I am not planning on selling it; and such is the nature of wagon restorations.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    My future project involves testing some auto-up/auto-down window switches in a vehicle which is only equipped with one.

  • avatar

    About two seeks ago I decided to stop by a car dealer in the city and I stumbled upon a little twelve year old Olds Alero that I just had to have! I spent the last week trying to fix the damage caused to it by the previous owner, a girl that was fond of smoking and and scratching the paint up. So far I have replaced the drivers door panel, window and door lock switches that were damaged, repaired a sagging headliner, and replaced a broken tail light. Next up (I hope), oxygen sensor, cruise control and front strut mounts. I totally did not need this car, but it called out to me, and I brought it home. It brings a smile to my face :)

  • avatar

    My project remains the same one I’ve labored over for the last few years, and that is building my own car from scratch. I actually drove it this year, so over the winter break I’m working on the bodywork to get it ready for paint.

    I really like my Mark VIII, until it turned on me and starting leaving me stranded in odd places. The picture looks like an HID headlight installation in a 1st gen Mark VIII. That’s a nice project.

    When the Mark X came out, during the press day I asked the young woman on the stand what happened to the Mark IX? She gave me a blank look. Guess they don’t teach Roman numerals these days.


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