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I am beginning to consider a Panther and have a few questions-- ( "sticky" Buyer's Guide would be great for other newbies). I am a longtime Ford guy, but Panther is a new car in my experience.
Rust it doesn't seem to be a major issue, but where does it begin?
EEC versus OBD2 Is there a reason to choose one over the other? Are both systems reliable?
At what mileage do major systems begin to breakdown? Engine? Trans? A/C ? other
What is essential to know about a Panther before purchasing one?

Thanks
The EEC systems are pretty good. Less prone to throw CEL's if something is not right. The OBD systems are much more sensitive in reading sensors relaying back information. OBD systems are much harder to trouble shoot. The OBD system will show a code for a particular sensor that's not reading right, and a lot of times it's not the sensor , but another sensor upstream or down stream in the system. You can chase your tail tracking down OBD 2 issues. Especially EVAP codes (440's and up codes) on a OBD system are difficult to diagnose, Something as simple as a loose gas cap not sealing can give you a code showing some other evap sensor or purge valve etc being the problem, when it's not. A lot more going on with the OBD systems. Is the OBD system bad? No it's not . Just harder to diagnose and trouble shoot. There is a good number of diagnostic equipment for use on the EEC systems. You could find a decent OTC Monitor diagnostic reader on ebay for decent prices. They take the little cartridges. That was what I use if I have issues on my EEC IV system. The vehicle I have is 91 Crown Vic ex-police car. I'm sure others will chime in. However, this is my practical experience with both systems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
DesertXL.. I noticed you said the '92-95, were the best built. Were the earlier--boxy ones not included in "better built" because quality did improve in '92, or is the styling of the earlier, boxy VC not to your liking?
No wrong answer to this, but I wanted an insight into your opinion--thats all.

thanks,

Michael
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Since all Panthers share the same basic underpinnings, what is gained by going Lincoln TC as opposed to the Ford or Mercury versions?
I know the Lincoln has 3" more wheel base so more rear passenger leg room, and weighs 300-# more. Also, the Lincoln would have the higher option content--things like the Auto Temp Control with its Blend Door issiues and the Raer Air Suspension. On a now 25+ year old car, is the standard, manual A/C--Heat Defrost a better--more reliable choice? Same for the RAS. At this point, which is the better choice for a not-quite-Daily Driver?
 

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In my opinion, luxury cars or cars that cost more are generally better cares for or maintained better. if the price to get the ride is more, generally owners will treat it better. And there are always exceptions.

Electonics improved a lot from the 1980s to 1990s. There were some electronics in the 70s with engine controls. In the 80s those electronics were used a lot in the interior. By the 1990s I think a lot of electronic reliability had improved to a point where they last as long as non-electronic pieces. And everything has exceptions. I have ATC (with limited electronics) n my 1970 Mark III. Still works!

And personally I like optional equipment. When I am in the hunt for a vehicle, I do a lot of research as to what options were available. Then I find one of those in the best condition with most of the options.

It took me 6 months to find my daily driver. It is the highest trim level with every option available except one.

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Since all Panthers share the same basic underpinnings, what is gained by going Lincoln TC as opposed to the Ford or Mercury versions?
I know the Lincoln has 3" more wheel base so more rear passenger leg room, and weighs 300-# more. Also, the Lincoln would have the higher option content--things like the Auto Temp Control with its Blend Door issiues and the Raer Air Suspension. On a now 25+ year old car, is the standard, manual A/C--Heat Defrost a better--more reliable choice? Same for the RAS. At this point, which is the better choice for a not-quite-Daily Driver?
Hello ms fowler,

The choice of car you chose should be one that tickles your fancy, plain and simple. The bits about which options are worst than others is becoming a moot point in these cars lives because they are all getting old and to the point where most shops will not even touch them. The 90's and later Panthers even with manual HVAC still use an electric blend door servo that can still fail on the manual HVAC or the automatic one. The only problem with the automatic HVAC system where I've seen two of the same problems is the Cold Engine Lock Out. This sensor fails and you'll have no floor position or blower available in the only the floor/heat position , but all other functions still work. Not the end the world, as you can just put it in "Vent" and turn the heat selector up or remove the sensor and couple the vacuum lines together and blower wires and you'll have floor position.

As for the rear air suspension, I've yet to have a problem with it on my '94 Grand Marquis. The compressor is noisier than I'd like but still does its thing.

As I mentioned you should really get the car that you really like because at some point you'll most likely doing all the repairs to it and hunting down good parts. My neighbor with his 82 LTD and older fleet is learning this too. Even if a shop agrees to do the work, the parts they use are cheap junk and often more problems arise from paying someone else to work on it or at best the original problem was never properly addressed.

I certainly do not want to dissuade you from the adventure of an old/er car but you have to be prepared for it otherwise it will become a rude awakening.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Here I was trying to make a cool, logical choice devoid of emotion and you tell me to choose a mistress. ha ha ha.
I see the comparison.
There have only been 2 cars that I have that great of an emotional attraction to--a 1964 Falcon Sprint convert with 260 4speed in Guardsman Blue--my first car and holder of many memories, and a 1974 Peugeot 504-- a car as much of an oddball and quirky as me. Neither car meets the qualification that they be a suitable car for longer trips for my wife who has severe physical issues. The Peugeot would be comfortable enough---the most incredible ride of any car--- I have had--but finding a rust-free example would be almost impossible, and the HP is just "adequate". The Falcon just is not a great road car for comfort if restored as it was originally built. The convertible, especially, nit being very quiet.

However, the allure for a Towncar is strong. It may have the same "bones" as the Ford or Mercury, but it is a definite cut above. It is good to know that the manual A/C still has the blend door issue. One of the cars I am considering needs the blend door activator replaced, but the price is very attractive--$2500 with less than 150k miles and it has been in the same family all that time. Paint and seats look good in the pictures. Several people have recently looked at it but it remains on the market. I have watched one of the videos on replacing the blend door activator and that project doesn't seem too overwhelming. I need to watch a few more videos and then go look at the car.
Another candidate is a '95 Grand Marquis with nearly perfect paint--dark green- and interior, but it is not a TC and it is about $1000 more asking price.
I need to take my wife and drive some cars. I need her to evaluate if any car is significantly more comfortable and will make longer trips possible. I cannot make that judgement.
Thanks for everyone's help. You have all done as much as you can.
 
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