Piston Slap: Son, You're Gonna Drive Me to Drinkin'

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
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piston slap son you re gonna drive me to drinkin

Justin writes:


Last October I was able to purchase a car I had been swooning over for about 15 years: A ’98 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC. It has about 108000 miles and is my daily driver. During the summer months I generally prefer to ride a motorcycle, so I need to do something with this car. Selling it is out of the question, as it only has a few cosmetic blemishes (that will soon be tended to), so it will require some…more.

My question is, what do I go with first; Supercharger or 5-6 speed?

A good friend of mine can help me with either. As it sits, the car is completely stock. Money isn’t much of an issue, but I would like to keep total upgrades just under 10K. I am aware that sounds a bit ridiculous, but I have wanted this car since I was 12. I prefer to keep the motor I have; I want it’s heart to stay the same, but I am open to almost anything else mechanical.



Sajeev answers:

This Lincoln-Mercury fanboi’s heart just melts to hear this. It’s nice to see someone join the madness, as sanity is overrated. The sad reality is that the Mark VIII’s release in 1993 was the last time I was excited about a new product hitting the showroom…and remained excited after the initial buzz wore off.

Sure, plenty of great iron came afterwards, but nothing that’d personally spin my personal-luxury crank.

Since I am in your shoes (sort of) with my Hot Rod Mark VIII, I can rattle off what you need to do. With that, your $10,000 budget for powertrain upgrades is unrealistic. I doubt you can DIY the whole thing, you’re gonna need to buy custom bits unique to Ford’s MN-12/FN-10 chassis and labor to make things that never existed for the Last of The Great Lincoln Continentals.

This isn’t a Mustang, making it all look/work like the factory intended will be…challenging.

The 6-speed swap: Temple High Performance supposedly has you covered (i.e. not an endorsement, I don’t know them) with a 6-speed swap for the low-low price of $7500 including installation. The 6-speed is better as it seems to fit in the factory location in the transmission tunnel: not so with the T-45 5-speed stick from a normal Mustang GT. While you can source most of the parts yourself, their electronic E-brake release sounds pretty trick. The only way to know how much effort is needed is to dig into the swap yourself…or write ’em a check and watch them do the install to your satisfaction.

The Supercharger Exhaust: Your first problem is the horrible log manifolds and crush bend tubing on the exhaust. The mid-length Kooks headers are your first purchase. Then a custom, mandrel bent exhaust with fancy mufflers and hi-flow catalytic convertors from a local shop known for high quality work. When you drop the subframe (yes really) to install the headers, this is a good time to spend the cash on new engine mounts, and any worn rubber suspension bit you might find along the way. I’d also install Addco swaybars, personally.

Congrats! You’ve probably burned through your budget! I’d recommend doing the transmission/exhaust and the misc. bits that are easily replaced when tearing into these components. I’d rather address the transmission before the engine, because there’s a good chance that a worn out transmission behind a supercharged DOHC 4.6L** won’t last very long.

And once you’ve finished here, save your money for a Mustang Cobra whipplecharger kit, a computer re-flash and dyno tune!!!

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

**Yes, the right answer is LSX-FTW, because it always is. But the DOHC Modular Ford V8 was a pretty interesting bit of kit with a better exhaust note, a similar powerband and the 32-valves respond very well to supercharging (pretty easily to boot). So let Justin have his fun!

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Illan Illan on Jul 02, 2013

    a Mark VIII with the 5.0 coyote engine.. a guy can dream no?

  • Justbob2 Justbob2 on Jul 07, 2013

    Can you fabricate? My recent 6 speed swap into my Marauder was done for under $2,000! Wise shopping of course.. Since I am running a Cobra block now, roots boosted at 20 1/2 #s and cammed, the only logical choice was a 2012 GT500 TR6060 w/twin disc. Besides the pedals, all the rest was too easy. I insisted on not losing any factory options such as electric pedals, plus I would never go the hack way so obviously it is all hydraulic. So if you can do the work, then why not do both? You can easily do an Eaton swap and a 6 speed for under 10 large including the dyno...

  • MaintenanceCosts So there is no Sonata trim without some type of Theta engine.It seems like they've been doing a bit better when attached to a hybrid system, so that's probably the one to get, but they're going to have to go several years without further engine troubles before I'd trust a H/K ICE product again.
  • Lou_BC Full sized sort of autonomous RC's. Cute.
  • Art_Vandelay Autonomous capabilities are being deployed (or planned anyway) in multiple combat vehicles. Should be fun from my perspective
  • Drew8MR Interior is trivial now you can get repro everything in various levels of quality. Getting the top sorted will be a couple grand, but I'd drive it as it. I drove a $1500 67 GTO convertible for 20 years, not every old car needs to be like new.
  • John Not everyone pays that much for power. Mine is 10 cents per kw…..