Archive for the ‘Grand Marquis’ Category

Summit Racing

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A week or so ago, the exhaust cutout stopped working. I thought maybe a wire had broken, but hadn’t gotten around to checking Tonight, I got the multimeter out and verified that I do, in fact, have power all the way down to the motor (well the connector outside of the motor). Since I just bought this thing a few months ago I called Summit up to see about a warranty. The tech was helpful, and immediately volunteered to send me a shipping label so I could return it. I asked to cross-ship the part, and that was also fine. So, I’ll have a new cutout probably Thursday, and it won’t have cost me anything but a few minutes of time to replace the thing (it’s just three bolts).

I approve of Summit’s return policy. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to exchange things, and it’s always gone smoothly. Summit Racing rocks.


Update: the new cutout arrived on Thursday, two days later.  It bolted right on and worked fine.  Yay Summit!

Exhaust cutout installed

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Yesterday, UPS delivered my order from Summit Racing.  It included header and collector gaskets from Earl’s (the Pressure Master line) for the Chevelle – which will be discussed in a future post.  The other main thing in the box was a shiny new electric exhaust cutout.  So, I went out and wired up the cutout as soon as I was done with supper.  It took about three hours in total to hook the valve up (I had already included a cutout in the exhaust when I built it) and run the wire into the car.  The hardest part was running the wire, honestly – it’s a pain to route wires from the exhaust all the way around from the passenger side, up along the firewall, and back into the passenger compartment.

I’m honestly not real excited about the switch it came with.  It’s nice that it’s lighted, but I’m pretty sure it’s really just a cheap power window kit switch with an even cheaper sticker over the top.  I’ll  be using a different switch when I do the final install.  Not only because the switch that came with the cutout is huge (over an inch by about a half inch), but also because I also need to put the remote start disable switch somewhere as well, so it’d be nice if they matched.  Off to the nearest Digikey catalog for me, I guess.

Anyway, the electric cutout is probaby the most fun thing I’ve done to a car in a while.  It’s great – it takes about 5-10 seconds to get to full open, but the noise level goes up almost instantly.  So, I can open it up, nail the gas, make a lot of noice, and then close it back up quickly.  The Grand Marquis isn’t really quit with the 3″ Magnaflow Ultraflow installed, but a 3″ straight pipe is significantly louder.  I’m particularly happy that it doesn’t sound like total garbage either way, though.  It’s a good loud, and a good “even louder” sound.  The 2 valve 4.6 doesn’t sound the same as the 3- or 4-valve versions, but it’s pretty similar.

I’ll get some video soon and post it up here – or, more likely, post it on You Tube and link to it.  I have to use the real camera, though – the mic on my phone is just no good for exhaust sounds.  Here’s an example of that:

Grand Marquis through first gear, on cell phone

remote start almost done

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So, over the weekend (last weekend) a friend came by and helped me install the rest of the remote starter.  Not that I needed help, but help’s generally appreciated.  Anyway, it’s all wired up and almost all works.  “Almost” because the Ford security key thingie (Securilock? PATS?  Whatever) bypass module I got doesn’t appear to work.  It lights up, but it never programs as a new key like it’s supposed to do.  So, I’ve got an appointment at the local Ziebart on Wed to talk to their installer about it.  I’m quite confident that it’s wired up correctly, so I’m hoping it’s just a matter of trading out this one for another one – but I figure it’s worth talking to someone who’s installed more than two remote start systems to see if there’s some undocumented trick that I messed up.  On a positive note, everything else works fine.  The lock and unlock works, and remote start takeover (car’s running, push the button to have remote take over so I can remove the key and lock the doors while leaving the car running) is working.  The alarm all works properly, too and the impact sensitivity sensor is dull enough to not be set off by passing Harleys and similar. :)

So, tonight I started on the remote start for the Wagon, which needs that to bypass the broken key switch.  I’ll write more about that later, though…

wiring continues

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Tonight I got the locks wired up, the trunk trigger, and the trunk release.  It’s an incredible pain to route wires through the door duct to get to the driver’s door module (which controls the windows, locks, and trunk release), but it’s done now.

Well, it *would* be done now, but the “second unlock” feature on this alarm doesn’t work as I expected.  I thought it’d allow a delayed unlock of teh remaning doors, with driver’s lock priority – but it’s really just another lock output. :)  So, the wiring I did with the extra relay and stuff was not required – I just need to set it to unlock all of the doors at once.

I guess that isn’t really a big deal, since I can’t think of a time when I really only want to unlock the driver’s door.  If there are that many scary people around that I’m concerned someone may get in with me, I just won’t get into my car at all. :)  Or maybe I’ll assign an auxilary output to unlocking the other doors.  I haven’t decided yet.

more wiring

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Tonight, I broke out the Crafstman soldering gun – which rocks – and did some more wiring on the remote start + alarm.  I didn’t get much more done, though I did get 4 more relays set up and almost all of the crimp connectors I had used for mock-up ripped out and replaced with solderd joints which are either heat-shrunk or taped off.  So, at least the joints should all be more reliable for the long-term.  Now if I an just find the remaning wires to pick up – there may be a factory service manual in my future….

Remote start + alarm

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So, I picked up a Clifford 50.7x a month or so back (I think I recently mentioned that), and I’m finally getting around to installing it.  The main power wires and door monitor are hooked up, but I still need to do the door locks, defroster, trunk release, horn + siren, and hood + trunk monitors.  And figure out what I’m gonna do with the three remaining channels (I’m thinking seat heaters, all windows up, and maybe all windows down). Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the system.  There’s a lot of flexibility, and the LCD feedback remote is top-notch.

I also found that the $16 soldering gun at O’Reilly Auto sucks.  It burned up in my hand the first time I used it – all the magic smoke came out at once, and it never did get hot enough to melt solder.  The Craftsman super-mega gun, however, can heat up two 10 gauge wires within a few seconds.  That’s neat. :)

More performance

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So,  I’ve gotten some more done on the Grand Marquis.  The exhaust is “finished”.  It’s not really done, since I think it still needs an electric cutout – but I do have the cutout Y installed.  It looks pretty good, overall.  I’ll post up some pictures shortly.  After driving with it on for a week, I’m happy.  It’s quiet in the car at cruise speeds, and reasonably loud when you step on it.  The cutout will satisfy the need for serious noise eventually…  I’m also getting a little better than 27MPG with the cruise set on 63 MPH.  That’s not too bad for a full-sized car with a V8.

Also new this week is the tuner.  I got a good deal on a SCT Livewire (about 50% of the full price), which is a customizable tuner and real-time data logger.  So, I can do the boy racer “big thing stuck on the dash” as necessary.  The cool thing is that the transmission behaves better now.  The car winds up to a touch over 6 grand before shifting now (which sounds awesome, in context) and shifts down when I step on it.  Man, the downshifts annoyed me before.  The upshift points at part-throttle are a little annoying, though.  the car wants to stay in first too long.  It’d be good with lower gears – say something like a 3.55 or 3.73 – but the 2.5x or whatever are in there just don’t like this setup.  Since the programmer just scales a performance tune to whatever tire+gear combo I have and Im a fair distance from performance gears, this is understandable.

To fix the upshifts, we’re looking at either a custome tune (which can be loaded to the livewire) or lower gears.  It’d probably cost about the same to get a complete rear from a P71 (cop car) as it would to get a driveability tune and the gears will be more fun.  I’m not sure if they’ll be fun enough to trade off the mileage, though.  Have to do some research on how gears impact the mileage.  I know that the 3.42s in my Wagon were indistinguishable from the stock 2.56s, so maybe I’m worried about nothing…

The Clifford 50.7x remote start / alarm is next.  Hopefully within a week or so.  And I should really stop neglecting the Chevelle, since Beth‘s tailbone is healing and she’ll probably want to start driving her car again someday soon…

Grand Marquis tune-up

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Last night, I replaced the plugs on the Grand Marquis.  With 80000 miles now it seemed time.  It had been misfiring on cylinder 5 (front passenger side on a Ford), so I replaced that coil.  As it turns out the gap on that plug had eroded to over 70 thousandths (should be 54), which was probably the source of the misfire – not the coil.  But since I had the coil, it went on too.  I cleaned the MAF as well.  The responsiveness, smoothness of idle, and fuel economy have all noticeably improved.  I’m gonna have to put the G-Tech meter in the car and see if there’s a quantitative improvement in performance as well.

It’ll be good to have a baseline against which I can compare the post-exhaust performance, too.  I expect a minor but measurable increase from the upcoming 3″ single exhaust update.  I ordered a handful of 3″ mandrel bends this evening (from Columbia River Mandrel Bending – great prices, great service), a stainless 22.25″ to 3″ merge collector, and a 3″ polished stainless tip (Magnaflow – from Summit).  It should be here in time for the weekend.  I’m excited. :)

BTW, the stock exhaust is 2.25″ from the manifolds through the cats and into the resonator, then it necks down to two inch after the resonators, finally coming together to a single 2 inch pipe – which is even less than 2″ in the compression bends.  I’m sure a single 2.5 or even 2.25 would be adequate, but the cross-sectional area of two 2.25 inch pipes is about that of a 3.4 ich pipe, so I figured 3 would be better.  Nevermind that I couldn’t find any smaller tips that I like, and I think it looks silly to have a small pipe feed into a larger tip.  So, 3 inch pipe to a 3 inch tip it is. :)