I recently acquired a 1997 Crown Vic LX that was bought new by my grandfather in ‘97. The car passed to my uncle and now to me as both my grandfather and uncle got new cars. My wife and I needed a second car since we’ve got 2 kids and I have to drive a good bit to get to and from work. So far, I absolutely love this car. It’s really comfy, rides smooth, and pretty much everything still works.

But, the car has 223k miles on it, so it does need a bit of refreshing. The motor is not the original, but was replaced with a used one about 100k miles ago. That engine, when put in, had 43k miles on it, so it’s currently sitting around 143k. Recently I’ve noticed some rattles while accelerating that could be anything, but I’m thinking it might be a valve. Don’t know why I think that. That’s just what my gut is telling me I should check.

I know this would only involve taking the heads off and checking them out, but I’ve been considering rebuilding the motor lately. Plus, the engine mounts are old and need to be replaced as well. So I figure, since the engine has to come unbolted as it is, why not just refresh the whole damn thing? I can get a rebuild kit for $500 from JC Whitney and figured I could get it done over labor day weekend.

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Now, my main question to you guys: Should I buy the already complete rebuild kit from JC Whitney and just do it like that, or should I pick and choose my own parts and rebuild it a little more robust (and a little more powerful) than stock? I’m not looking to throw a whole bunch of money at it right now, but I would like the big beast to have a bit more growl. Pics of the ‘ol barge for you time and input.

(An yes, I know, the headlights look terrible. I’ve already cleaned them up a bit, but I need to take the time and really polish them)