In early February, I discovered that my dear friend, the rusty-but-trusty Crown Vic, had died in its sleep after coming back from the Detroit Auto Show. That is, the fuel pump was dead.
Now, the plan for over a year has been to replace this car, then get rid of it. With the addition of the 4Runner in September, step one was complete and I figured that, come springtime, I’d put it up for sale. This was before the fuel pump died. Since then, it has been sitting in the driveway leaving oil spots and rust stains on the concrete.
To be fair, I’ve not touched it since determining the pump was seized, and it’s possible (albeit indescribably unlikely) that it fixed itself in the couple months since. I have my doubts, but at some point I’ll bang on it with a broom handle and try again.
Back to the issue at hand: what do I do with it? A 2002 police crown vic isn’t exactly a valuable car, especially when it doesn’t have rocker panels anymore, the pinch welds are falling off, every panel is rusted through, and it’s got 205,000 miles on it. Add to that “I can’t prove the drivetrain is rock solid” (it is) because of a lack of fuel pump, and it’s a weird spot.
There is, of course, 20 gallons of fuel in the tank, minus whatever has leaked out in the past three months. This isn’t a huge issue, but combined with the fact that the fasteners holding the fuel pump in the tank are almost entirely composed of rust, their clamping force replaced with Good Intentions, it means that replacing the pump would be a serious endeavor. Since the tank took to leaking about a month prior to the pump giving out, the correct solution is to replace the tank and pump, but that won’t happen.
Why? Putting a weekend’s work and a few hundred dollars into a car worth a couple hundred dollars to be able to sell it for a few hundred dollars doesn’t make sense.
There are a lot of good parts on this car. Most of the suspension has less than 40k miles on it, the intake manifold is only 10k miles old. I’ve got a ported plenum and a larger throttle body (70mm vs 65) installed, which did help the off-the-line pickup. Many sensors are new. The rear axle is 3.27:1 limited slip and works great. The brakes are in good shape, fluids up to date, the heat in the dead of winter will melt your skin and the A/C will freeze you out.
This car is a dear friend of mine. One whom I’ve known for a while was dying, but cared for nonetheless. Five years ago I’d never have expected it to make it this long, but as time went by I learned how trustworthy a Panther can be, even if you’re the first one to take care of it.
I hate to say it, but it looks like this journey is coming to and end, and that end very well may be a flatbed on the way to a nearby junkyard.
Anyone want to buy a Crown Vic?