Piston Slap: The Barber Shop Coil Spring Swap?
Loooongtime TTAC Commentator Nate writes:
My barber is another Yankee-to-West Coast transplant and he brought a low-mileage 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis. It’s very nice but every now and then the air suspension decides to get wonky and the car settles down as he’s driving along. As a barber he doesn’t have much $ to throw at it, and he asked me if I knew what to do.
I think this is a Panther chassis so any old cop car or taxi’s coil springs and shocks should be a fairly easy air suspension-to-coil springs retrofit but I’m physically not up to the job. How do I find one of the myriad hole-in-the-wall shops that fixes up old cop cars for the movies and TV?
I’m sure they’d have the parts and knowledge on hand and be affordable to boot. Once this is fixed he’ll consider replacing the weepy AC evaporator deep inside the dashboard (shudder).
You think this is a Panther Chassis?
How poorly have I been educating everyone about Panther Love?
Of course it’s a Panther, hence why any shop can do the air-to-coil conversion with a donor (i.e. 1998-up, avoid cop car spring rates unless you do all four) with springs, rubber seats and this video. Or, if they don’t venture out to junkyards, the conversion kits are very cheap. Even the kits that include new shocks are cheap, for most.
But the cheapest way is to recruit someone (i.e. free labor) to pull junkyard springs, rubber seats (hopefully still intact) and watch that same video for the install. Convincing someone to help might be tough if Mr. Yankee has no able-bodied family or friends in town.
Since it seems neither of you are in a position to get used parts, I’d recommend ordering springs and rubber pads online (WESTAR could work, I’ve had good luck with their air springs on my Mark VIII!) and call around for the best price on installation. Someone’s gonna take the job, and then we can all love this Panther.
Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Join the conversation
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
- Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
- Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
- Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
- Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.
THANK YOU ALL ! . I knew I'd get the straight skinny here . #1 : I maybe should have said "I know it's a Panther Chassis" but someone would have picked that to death so I was trying to be polite . Scout Dude really nailed it except as soon as he said 'computer & app.' it was out of my league / interest . He'd $pent some $ having the air bags checked for leaks, they said they were fine and that's where he stopped as no one would even look further for less than $800 ~ $1,00 plus parts . In the end the very first place I'd suggested, Tyermans Frame & Alignment on Magnolia in Burbank, Ca. fixed him up with coil springs and shocks for $200 and he's loving it . I've been using Tyerman's for decades, they've fixed several vehicles for me that had steering idlers and worse simply rip out of the frame . Now to see if he'll fix that weepy AC Evaporator . I never did find any of the many old cop car / movie prop shops . -Nate
there are companies that make kits for replacing the air suspension. Cheap and takes about an hour or so. Had a 1990 TC used it to hot shot deliveries to customers(big trunk) did the spring swap and WHAT A DIFFERENCE!