By on December 13, 2016

1995 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC HID headlights, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars]

George writes:

What can I do about the low-beam headlights on my 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC? Does anybody make replacement parts for this car?

Please help!

Sajeev answers:

Just so everyone knows, the OP’s concern is that nobody makes replacement headlight bulbs for this application, so here’s an update on my proper replacement D2S adapter for the Sylvania 96-98 Mark VIII HID bulb: I gave up.

It took over a year to get CAD drawings rendered — you get what you pay for — and never found a machine shop that’d make a batch without breaking my personal budget.

Speaking of, this mothertrucker is a huuuuuuge product liability: I love the Lincoln community, but damn son, it’s not worth the risk.

So what did I do?

I was down to one functional HID bulb after wrecking my poor Mark VIII, so I got the Delrin 9006 bulb adapters, bolted them to my (now removed from the stripped wreckage) headlights and laid out a Philips HID conversion kit for Classic Cars of Houston to install upon reassembly.

I selected the close-to-stock 4200k color bulbs, and their beam is probably better than stock. I reckon it’s a function of the more efficient HID ballasts, which weigh nothing compared to the inefficient aluminum bricks from the mid-1990s. Sadly, since this is a 9005 bulb bolted to an assembly designed for a bespoke Sylvania HID bulb, I am 99-percent sure the bulb-to-enclosure geometry isn’t completely spot on.

It is very close to the original look, probably because I am using an HID-specific headlight assembly. Am I happy with the result? No, but they’ll fly under the radar in Texas, where lifted trucks with insane HIDs are commonplace. I wanted those D2S adapters to be guaranteed a perfect geometry/light output using a factory style D2S bulb, but you never know if the grass really is greener.

If you want to take off where I left, contact Daniel Stern: I donated my “work” to him. Or maybe one day there will be a DOT legal LED bulb that will simply drop in. I won’t hold my breath for that.

[Images: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars]

Send your queries to [email protected]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. 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

92 Comments on “Piston Slap: What to Do at the HID Dead End?...”


  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Slithery-snake ’90s front ends are so depressing now. Almost worse than Reptile-Fish face.

  • avatar
    mleclerc19xx

    Let me get this straight: Lincoln doesn’t have parts for a 20 y.o. model???

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      An important one at that

    • 0 avatar
      segxr7

      It sucks, but to be fair, they were only used in the 1996 Mark VIII LSC. Just one year of a fairly uncommon trim level, on a fairly uncommon car.

      It’s an ironic situation though, because retrofitting these HIDs to 93-96 Marks used to be all the rage. People would scour junkyards and pay a fortune for them. Not just for the cool factor, but because the stock halogens are about as bright as tealight candles. Now the HIDs are the lights to avoid.

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      I might have posted this link before.

      http://articles.latimes.com/2007/may/16/autos/hy-wheels16

      It leads to a story from 2007 in the L.A. Times about a guy with a ’96 Mark VIII (then only 11 years old and with 66,000 miles on it) who could not find a replacement fan control module. Besides buying a Lexus to replace his Mark VIII, I wonder whatever happened to the guy in the story and to his Mark VIII.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      This doesn’t surprise me. Ford no longer sold a blower motor for my *Panther* when it was 17-years old. Mind you, that was mid-00s and there were still new cars being built on the Panther platform then. I ended up getting one off fleaBay easily for $60, but the Lincoln dealer was no help.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Ford/Lincoln is worse about this than almost any other mass manufacturer of vehicles.

    These are not rare, limited, niche-produced vehicles; they were produced in the many dozens of thousands (approaching hundred thousand?).

    Yet one LITERALLY can not get an original, FordMoCo spec freaking HEADLAMP BULB for a 1996 MY car.

    If this were Mercedes, Toyota, GM…no problem.

    #DriveFurther

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      p.s. – If in Canada, maybe social pressure and potential Canadian Government legal pressure could get Ford to “one off” a bulb for this person, as it did for that guy with the heater defect and the 7-year old Ford F’150:

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/09/ford-gives-search-part-mans-seven-year-old-f-150/

      Calgary’s weather is notoriously fickle, with wild temperature swings almost year-round. A properly functioning heater is a must. After contacting Ford Canada, Rubner received a reply stating that the part was “obsolete.” The company provided a list of other companies that might stock the part, but if not, he was out of luck.

      “If you are not able to locate the part through these companies then there is nothing further that Ford of Canada can do for you,” the automaker reportedly stated in its email. That didn’t sit well with Rubner, who told the CBC, “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a vehicle to last 10, 12, 15 years. Not seven.”

      The part in question is Dash Control Unit #9L3Z19980Y, which Ford Parts Canada lists as discontinued and unavailable. It was installed in V8-powered 2009 F-150s of various trim levels,

      • 0 avatar
        MatadorX

        This x100 DW

        I don’t get how so many can overlook the Ford parts discontinuation problem. It is very well known, and I have steered many an acquaintance away from Fords by asking them if they plan to keep the car for 10+ years, if so good chance it will no longer be supported by the company. I keep my cars for a LONG time, there is only 1 Choice:Toyota. Not just because of reliability, but because when you decide to be a completely off your rocker, and rebuild your 20 year old van from the ground up mechanically, Toyota has your back.

        Literally was able to get everything down to the locator dowel pin for the timing idler pulley, a part that is factory press installed on the block from new and would never fail unless you needed it to build a short block: aka me ; A new shiny Toyota emblem for the engine cover! All three types of clips that hold the sliding door track covers on-only ever used on the 1st gen Sienna. 1 year only, one model Fed only exhaust manifold heat shield. ETC ETC. Everything was at the dealer in a day….

        Ford? My GF has a 2009 Milan (Fusion) 2.3/auto. About as pedestrian a Ford product as you can get. The passenger motor mount went bad. Same part for 2006-2009 2.3 Milan/Fusion/MKZ. It was DISCONTINUED by Ford. The dang ENGINE MOUNT on a then SIX YEAR OLD CAR! The fix ended up being using a later 2.5 engine mount for a 2010 Fusion, and buying a new 2.5 mount bracket. How can you run a company like that and people still buy your Hecho made garbage! I looked, and Toyota will still sell you a motor mount for a 1990 Camry!

        When I bought my first new car Toyota got my money so fast. Didn’t even look anywhere else. Why? I keep my cars at least 20 years, and they make their mechanical parts for at least 25-30. This stuff matters. Back in the day when aftermarket parts were quality, maybe not so much, but now if you buy a aftermarket mount, company A buys 10,000 from company B through Alibaba. Doesn’t know where the factory is, how the part is made, if it has proper material specs. Reboxes it and offers a poor warranty, part fails in under 6 months. OEM parts are the only option anymore for many items, because if they do fail, after being installed by a franchised dealer, they are 100% on the hook, so you can bet they vet their suppliers, be they USA, China or Mexico. Fords drive better and are much higher tech, but end of the day if you can’t get a motor mount in 7 years, the company clearly only expects them to last 5.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I thought the point of owning a Toyota was to avoid buying any parts?

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Ford didn’t discontinue the motor mount for that Fusion they upgraded it and unfortunately for the upgrade to work on the older car you need to use the newer car’s bracket as well.

        • 0 avatar

          +1 on the aftermarket parts. I have learned to buy OE or OE supplier only-a set of upper shock mounts for a BMW that lasted 12k miles…not all black rubber is the same.

          I had no idea that Ford had such a short tail for parts…. Say what you will, but I’ve never had any issues with any parts for my BMW, VW, Acura, or SAABs. I’d only expect a parts issue if I had some sort of classic or oddball, like a Lada or grey market German

          • 0 avatar
            macmcmacmac

            Russian sailors would troll (see what I did there…) the streets of St. John’s back in the 80’s for dead Ladas because it was much cheaper and quicker to pick parts off of dead ones harvested in Canada than it was to go the factory route. They were often seen being winched aboard the trawlers in port. Despite being a complete heap, many Canadian Lada owners soon found that parts for these cars were quite expensive for what they were.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Why not a Mustang or T-Bird instead? For long term ownership, stick to the mainstream, base models too. A Mark Lincoln from the ’90s? Son?? Expect problems finding anything and everything. Even an F-150 packed with every gadget known to man is asking for trouble.

        I collected spare headlights/markers/fog lights and spoilers, that’s most body pieces unique to the SVO (non Mustang), while new, NOS and used parts were still readily available.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Mercedes parts support is glorious.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Best place for Ford parts is typically the junkyard, as with any older beater.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        That was also very true for Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth parts, but not because they weren’t available new. They just used the same parts unchanged, for decades, on all their car models. They were plentiful and cheaper from a junkyard.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I sometimes wonder if I’m too hard on Ford, even by my lofty expectations and crankiness…

      …the (admittedly) few Ford vehicles I’ve had were generally far more reliable than anything GM I’ve owned (I am compelled to be honest/fair here, however, and openly admit that a 2012 Cadillac SRX an immediate family member had was absolutely problem-free for the 3 years and 40,000 miles that she owned it, which is far more reliable than another family member’s Audi Q5 owned for a mere 2 years).

    • 0 avatar
      S1L1SC

      Yeah… GM is just as bad, there are some parts I simply can no longer get, like an intake manifold for my 1991 Buick Roadmaster wagon – that part was specific to the 91/92 models and no one makes it anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Go on a Facebook group and tell Mark VIII owners that their car isn’t super rare and almost a one-off special edition event.

      Dare you!

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      In the case of the Mark HID bulb Ford is not to blame, that lies on their supplier that stopped making the system almost as immediately as Ford stopped using it in their new cars. Because of this Ford actually produced new headlamp assemblies to convert them to conventional bulbs.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      The good folks at Green Sales Co. have warehouse loads of Ford NOS and reproduction parts going back to the Model A.

      http://www.greensalescompany.com

  • avatar
    Windy

    is it not time for an update on your Ford Sierra project car engine swap?

  • avatar
    JimZ

    unless the adapter needs to be made of metal, this sounds like the perfect app for someone with a 3D printer.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I need brighter bulbs for my Thunderbird, mine just aren’t bright enough.

    • 0 avatar

      Whatever you do, get new (reproduction) headlights at the same time. Odds are yours are toast, no matter what bulb you slap in them.

      (I’d recommend headlight relays and higher quality halogen bulbs to remain legal)

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        The previous owner put new headlights in a few months before he sold me the car (I know this because they’re still clean and clear!) but he must have put in pretty weaksauce bulbs.

        What’s a headlight relay? Is that in the engine compartment fuse box or what?

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          Last year I put a set of Sylvania Silver Star Ultra bulbs in my 95 T-Bird and they seem to be working well. Throwing off more light than the stock ones.

          The headlight relay is in the under the hood fuse box. Thankfully I never had a issue with it.

    • 0 avatar
      Higheriq

      It’s probably just the headlight fluid – have you changed it lately? You may need to rotate the headlights too – so they burn evenly.

  • avatar
    relton

    Time to buy another car.

    That’s what I did when my Mark VIII got too annoying.

    You can also get a complete headlamp from a 96 Mark VIII with halogen headlamps and use that. You can also get aftermarket HID driving lamps and mount them behind the grill. I also used that trick. Worked great. Good ones even have a wireless on-off switch, so there is no need to run wires through the firewall.

    HID lights behind the grill also worked well for my wife’s Cougar, which is a clone of the Thunderbird.

    Bob

    • 0 avatar

      That’s quitter talk, Bob!

      • 0 avatar
        relton

        FWIW, I’ve enjoyed the BMW that replaced the Mark VIII a lot more. It has a sense of quality construction the Mark VIII never had. The BMW now has 181,000 miles, hopefully with many more to come. I was done with the Mark had 140,000.

        Bob

        • 0 avatar

          Bob, I can see that. Mark VIIIs are fine when stock, but leave plenty on the table. They really come into their own after modifications. There are a few BMWs that I consider to be better (E39 540i) but I’ve seen several of those be huge money pits with bad pixels, electronic, suspension and cooling system issues.

          And the Mark VIII, relatively speaking, is easier to keep running and almost as fun in the twisties after a few suspension mods. The steering in the earlier Marks is better than the last two overboosted E39 M5s I’ve driven.

          And, with the modest exhaust and ECM tweaks, it’ll walk away from a 540i on the highway like its standing still.

          No regrets with mine. Can’t wait to get it on the road and get another 180,000 under its belt.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “It is very close to the original look, probably because I am using an HID-specific headlight assembly. Am I happy with the result? No, but they’ll fly under the radar in Texas, where lifted trucks with insane HIDs are commonplace.”

    No kidding, fellow Texan. With all the idiots driving around with their HID conversions and LED light bars, I’m thinking I should start wearing sunglasses at night. On the flipside, we had heavy fog this morning, and plenty of people driving around with no lights on.

    Daniel Stern is a good resource for lighting questions. I consulted him almost 20 years ago, when I was adding Saab repeater lights to the front fenders of my ’95 F-150, after almost getting sideswiped several times.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    What’s the parts availability for the air suspension used on those, anyway? I’ve heard they’re a mechanic’s nightmare.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’m not sure but the Conti, TC, and Mark VII all had conventional spring conversion kits. I believe the VIII did as well but not 100%.

    • 0 avatar
      GS 455

      Yes coil spring conversion kits for the Mk viii are available from Arnott. Some people claim that they ride the same as the air springs but people who really care about ride quality will tell you differently.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m reaching here but I seem to recall the Mark VIII had a more unique implementation of air ride than the D186 Conti, Panther, and Fox. So assuming that’s true, you might be right.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          That sounds correct, 28. It was different and more complex.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Nothing particularly more unique about the Mark VIII air suspension system. The rears are simple bags as used all around on the Foxes and out back on the Panthers. The front is an air over shock but they used those all around on the Taurus based Conti.

          Fact is 90% or more of the time with the bags the problem is the o-rings and an $8 kit will make it as good as new. The air over shocks on the other hand do tend to have the bag abraded to death by the road grit that gets kicked up and caught between the shock tube and bag due to their location.

          Of course the shock it probably bad by the time the bag goes and those need to be replaced with the coil set up so no big savings going steel over air on those.

          On the bag systems it usually costs more than replacement bags to convert to steel in the rare instance the bag is bad.

    • 0 avatar
      BalmyRodLincoln

      I replaced my air suspension with a new aftermarket kit including bags and solenoids for under $400. Swapped the bags in half an hour (it’s literally just a coller key holding them in), serviced the dryer on the compressor and was on my way. That was 3 years ago and I’ve had no problems whatsoever since. The great thing too is the car actually handles better the more crap you have in the trunk. I really don’t understand why people are so quick to abandon the air suspension in these cars, it’s great!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Cost used to be an issue, but the Panther only had it on the rear axle and it may have come down. Navi, Mark VII/VIII and Conti had it on all four wheels. I seem to recall it being annoying to change on the Conti but not sure on others. Anecdotally, a friend of the family has an MY06 Navi and I recall my mother telling me it was like $600/wheel to get whatever was wrong with theirs fixed at the dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The problem is that most technicians don’t have a clue how the air suspension system works, so they don’t know how to diagnose it, and they make more money by selling you a conversion kit than fixing the actual problem.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford’s air suspension is idiot proof…I know because I’ve worked on them…parts are readily available. You can now get new Mark VIII bags (with new struts, not possible elsewhere) from a vendor specializing in air suspensions for a host of newer applications for dirt cheap. I got a full set of bags for this car waiting in my garage for installation for about $500.

      Or just install the coil spring kits if you don’t care about the ride.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The Philips system had a catchy name, as I remember. Luminarc? Also, how reliable is the neon taillight strip on the trunk? Seems to me those were made of unobtanium, too.

  • avatar
    S1L1SC

    talk to these guys?
    https://www.theretrofitsource.com/

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      I saw one car that had been retrofitted with the small sealed beams from 89-91 Suburbans, and one of the small GM cars (Olds Cutlass Supreme??) from the same era.

      Didn’t have the cover to make it aerodynamic, but at least you could see at night.

      The 94 Mark I had was the worst lights I have ever experienced on a car.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        The 86-92 Olds Toronado and Trofeo as well as the early 90’s Cutlass Supreme coupe/convertible also used those small sealed beams. I always thought more cars would get them since they worked well with the wedge styling of the era.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Bring back sealed beams!

  • avatar
    whitworth

    I love Mark VIII’s, I wanted one so bad in the 90s. Such a beautiful coupe.

    There really should be tougher consumer laws on automakers and parts availability. Nobody should be in a situation where they have to scrap a car over a headlight bulb.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Honda/Acura is just as bad. I need new driver’s seat upholstery for my 1990 Integra. Not only is it NLA, but American Honda has actually removed the part numbers from their system.

    Volvo will happily sell upholstery parts for anything they ever sold, back to a 1956 PV444.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I’ve had the same thing happen back in the early 90’s when I owned a 1st generation Prelude. I needed a few items which were dealer only such as the moulded mud flaps and a replacement driver side side lock cylinder. The dealer said they were discontinued even though the car was just over 10 years old. I never had this happen with other makes where NOS would be available for decades.

  • avatar
    Joe K

    Wait until people have to find McPherson struts for not that old cars. I am running into that now.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      You people are buying the wrong cars. It doesn’t matter how reliable a car is when you can’t get parts for them, and the Europeans simply mop the floor with the Japanese (especially) and Americans when it comes to providing parts for older cars. With Mercedes being the absolute pinnacle. Though you may want smelling salts on the prices for the more esoteric stuff if they have to make one for you. BMW is right up there too. They recently commissioned a run of gearboxes for the pre-war 328 roadsters.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This is no surprise to me. I had a Mercury Lynx that was 8 years old and I could not get a new wiring harness for it back in 1993. The 85 Lynx was the twin of the Escort. I ended up paying my mechanic to piece wires from an older wiring harness. Also had an 85 Mighty Max truck that I had a hard time getting parts for in the early 90s. Tires are another item that is getting harder to get for older vehicles that have tire sizes 15 inch and below. Many tire manufacturers have discontinued smaller size tires. I have two trucks, one an 08 Isuzu I-370 (same as 2008 thru 2012 Colorado/Canyon) that have 2 choices in tires and my 99 S-10 has 3 choices in tires. Expect to see more manufacturers discontinuing parts and support for older vehicles. It would not surprise me that you will start to see this on vehicles 5 years old. I replaced my 08 Isuzu’s tires in 2014 and had to order them and wait a couple of weeks.

    With just in time inventory and stocking less variety in sizes and parts there will be even less availability. There are still online retailers but if your vehicle is an odd brand and old even that could be a challenge.

  • avatar
    jpwilliams76

    Eh, the heart wants what the heart wants. I drove a 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC back in the early 2000’s. Sold the car in 2004 and regretted it ever since. This past spring, 2016, I found a 1998 base Mark VIII with 22,xxx miles on it about 25 miles from where I live. Had. to. buy. it…and I did. Will parts be hard to find? Yes. But that’s what salvage yards and Ebay are good for. You have to enjoy the hunt. There are plenty of sewing machines on four wheels out there for folks who are just looking for basic transportation. However, there’s something intangible and awesome about keeping unique and interesting older cars on the road. It’s not rational, but it makes life more interesting, keeps my mind engaged on fun car-related stuff instead of the usual drudgery, and I love the little “wins” when I can get something back up and working. If you love cars, part of you is a “tinkerer” at heart.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Good for you, drive what you like and enjoy it. I always liked the Lincoln Marks. I have found that owning various types of vehicles that some are more challenging to get parts for even at the salvage yards. Many salvage yards turn their inventory over quicker than they use to and you have to be quick to act in getting parts. There is a trend in parts to reduce the number of years that they are available. Many dealers and parts warehouses turn there inventory over much quicker and parts for many older vehicles are much less likely to be stocked. It is better to have a vehicle that shares parts with other vehicles of the same manufacturer. The more common the parts are to another make or model the easier it is to find them unless the vehicle is much older. This is not only true among vehicles but appliances and outdoor power equipment. I have had to junk lawn equipment that could have been fixed if I could have found a similar part either new or used. I even had that experience on a high end automatic dishwasher that was only 5 years old. Some manufacturers are better about availability of parts than others but the trend is away from stocking any parts for anything that is 10 years old and older and sometimes even if the item is newer than 10 years old then the part is one that cannot be found new and is so expensive that for not much more you can buy a newer item. I had that experience with a Weed Eater One riding mower that was only six years old with very low usage. I paid $650 for the mower new and the part was available at one place after a nationwide search for over $300. This was a friction drive instead of a belt or chain drive and it was a part that had a history of going bad early. Parts were hard to get and available from a limited number of suppliers.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • EBFlex: Fools? Why? I think mouth breathers that think electric vehicles are the future are fools. They are just as...
  • FreedMike: I wonder how much the owner thinks Ol’ Shel’s autograph adds to the value. Not bad at all. I...
  • EBFlex: “ with the number 1 selling vehicle on the planet, ” Show me the monthly/quarterly sales numbers from Ford...
  • FreedMike: And it’s a lot less powerful than the current naturally-aspirated SRT Durango. Technology marches...
  • EBFlex: And what happens when you sell something on its cost savings (like they did Egobust) and the reality is,...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber