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 email@example.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.
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