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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know when Ford started using quartz clocks? I thought it was in the late '70s, and I'm wondering if there are any stock quartz clocks that'll fit my car.

My '77 LTD has a mechanical clock, and I'd like to upgrade it so I don't have to adjust it as frequently (current clock has been cleaned and lubed, but I think the large temperature variance the car sees is what continues to throw it off). I know there are conversion kits out there, but they are insanely expensive (around $100). If you look in the right places, you can nab old car clocks for $25 or less, but I'm wondering what models and years I should be looking for that would fit into the dash of my car (if there even are any).

My preference is an analog clock with hands, but I'd settle for a rolling digital clock if that's my only choice. I'd like to avoid an LED clock (which I think were an option in Crown Vics starting in '79); I think that will look too out of place in the car.
 

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I am not sure Ford used quartz in any clocks.
Low cost quartz clock applications occurred in the 1980s
By the early 80s, Ford was into electronics such that the clock was incorporated into the radio.

Pretty sure Ford went from mechanical to electronic in one step.

And for any given model year the clock us usually unique to that model year. The clock may have been shared with full sized Ford and full sized Mercury. But the following year things like that would have changed to keep the new car buyer from getting the same car as offered last year.

The mechanical clocks are supposed to adjust when reset assuming they are operating correctly. It may take several adjustments.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did manage to find this so far (I wouldn't buy this specific listing due to the price): 1979-1991 Crown Victoria Grand Marquis Town Car Analog Quartz Clock NICE | eBay

Interestingly, I can't find any pictures of Crown Vics with this clock in them. They're all electronic as you said. This one does have the same mounting points as the electronic ones, though. The clock face styling matches the one in my car exactly with the addition of the word "Quartz" across the back, but the mounting points are different. Maybe I could disassemble it and use the mounting bracket from my clock. I found a couple other listings for that same clock for $40, but that's still a little salty (especially since I'm not positive I can make it fit).

I will also say that the clock currently in my LTD was not original to the car, so it may not be the correct style for 1977. I'm not too fussy about the appearance as long as it looks like it's from the same era (for example, my radio is out of a 1980 Buick with the knobs swapped out for LTD knobs, not stock but blends in well).

My clock has proven over the last several years that it just can't keep great time despite being self-adjusting (the adjusting mechanism does work, I checked it fairly recently). This week temperatures have been in the high 90s every day (which means about 115 in the car when parked) and the clock gained about five minutes. A month ago when temperatures were notably colder, the clock would lose time instead. It's clean and lubed with the light-weight clock oil, I think it's just a physical limitation of the technology in my environment with wild temperature swings. It usually takes awhile to get really far out of whack, but since I use it to time my arrival to appointments, it's also only useful to me if it's correct within about a minute. When the stars align, sometimes it goes a few weeks without needing adjustment, but since that's rare I can never be confident it's spot-on without comparing it to my phone each drive.
 

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I did manage to find this so far (I wouldn't buy this specific listing due to the price): 1979-1991 Crown Victoria Grand Marquis Town Car Analog Quartz Clock NICE | eBay

Interestingly, I can't find any pictures of Crown Vics with this clock in them. They're all electronic as you said. This one does have the same mounting points as the electronic ones, though. The clock face styling matches the one in my car exactly with the addition of the word "Quartz" across the back, but the mounting points are different. Maybe I could disassemble it and use the mounting bracket from my clock. I found a couple other listings for that same clock for $40, but that's still a little salty (especially since I'm not positive I can make it fit).

I will also say that the clock currently in my LTD was not original to the car, so it may not be the correct style for 1977. I'm not too fussy about the appearance as long as it looks like it's from the same era (for example, my radio is out of a 1980 Buick with the knobs swapped out for LTD knobs, not stock but blends in well).

My clock has proven over the last several years that it just can't keep great time despite being self-adjusting (the adjusting mechanism does work, I checked it fairly recently). This week temperatures have been in the high 90s every day (which means about 115 in the car when parked) and the clock gained about five minutes. A month ago when temperatures were notably colder, the clock would lose time instead. It's clean and lubed with the light-weight clock oil, I think it's just a physical limitation of the technology in my environment with wild temperature swings. It usually takes awhile to get really far out of whack, but since I use it to time my arrival to appointments, it's also only useful to me if it's correct within about a minute. When the stars align, sometimes it goes a few weeks without needing adjustment, but since that's rare I can never be confident it's spot-on without comparing it to my phone each drive.
Hello (insert name here),

Depending on how crafty you are and how much room is inside in the clock housing, you might be able to graft a generic quartz clock mechanism into it. When I was 20 years old I had bought my 1973 Chevrolet full size convertible. It had a factory clock and those were the old point gap mechanical rewind mechanism types. It was smoked and I mean cooked, like 90% of every one I come across. It bothered me that it didn't work (an OCD thing), and this was before any kits were available, let alone the internet, to fix them so I bought a cheap household quartz clock kit, broke it down to just the second hand shaft portion of the mechanism and drive, removed the toasty rewind mechanism off the car clock and mated (Superglue) the cars second hand shaft to the second hand drive off the stripped down quartz clock. If memory serves I used a small chunk of round plastic and lightly heated both ends till it inserted in the round plastic piece, then once cooled I glued them. I mounted the household quartz clock remains into the car clock body and made a simple 1.5 V regulator out of a few discrete components and it worked just fine off the cars B+ 12 volts.

The original gear train in the clock still works along with the adjusting knob because I left that and just drove the second hand shaft. Fast forward 25 years later and to this day I only have to adjust it twice a year, for Daylight Savings Time, otherwise it keeps perfect time in all extreme seasons.

The other amusing tidbit is because it's a simple voltage regulator, the clock will work down to 2 volts on the battery and one winter with the car parked I came back in the spring and had no interior lamps, no dash lights and certainly no cranking ability as the battery failed sitting, but yet the clock soldiered on. You could probably stick the battery cables in a potato and the clock will work (somewhat facetious).

Just thoughts.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That was going to be my plan B. I had one of those "silent sweep" clock motors and a tiny voltage regulator lying around, which I tested with a car battery and they did work. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to find small enough hands that would fit the motor and fit inside the clock housing, but I hadn't thought of just using the motor to drive the internals of the original clock, which is a great idea. Retaining the ability to adjust the clock with the original knob is a huge improvement over my original idea as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
So I was able to acquire one of the analog Crown Vic quartz clocks for about $10 (plus shipping). At that price I figured it was worth a shot. Should be here in about a week. I noticed they have four wires (not including the bulb wires), so I'm wondering if anyone knows how they should be wired up.

I found some info about how to wire the digital clock for the final generation Grand Marquis, but I'm not sure that's applicable here. It has two power wires (one for keep time while the car is off, and one for powering the display when the car is running since it's digital). I would think an always running analog clock would be different, though.

This is a picture of the wires for this clock:
Electronic engineering Electrical wiring Cable Gas Machine

Wire colors appear to be:
  • White/Purple
  • Black
  • Light Green
  • Brown
----------------------------------

Alright, Crown Vic clock arrived today. It was a little more different than expected, but it should work with a bit of modification.

Overall the clock is slightly smaller than the original, so a straightforward bracket swap won't work. I plan to remove the existing tabs and cut a custom bracket out of black plastic to mount it and hide the edges of the clock (since the clock hole in my instrument trim is slightly bigger than in the Crown Vic's).

Wiring was straightforward. When this clock arrived, I found it only had two prongs inside the grey plastic plug (unlike the picture above which has four). I'm guessing maybe the digital clocks use four wires and the analog clocks use only two, but they share a common plastic harness to keep costs down? (Perhaps in the picture above, someone put the wrong wire harness with that clock.) Regardless, my old mechanical clock was powered by a black wire and a green/yellow wire. To test the new clock, I connected those wires to the appropriate prongs (based on the picture above), and the clock started whirring away.

Here are some comparison pictures between the clock models (The B and G in the last picture were written on there by me for reference):
Product Watch Analog watch Clock Font
Rectangle Red Bumper Automotive exterior Font
Fixture Gas Auto part Composite material Font
Door Fixture Line Wood Gas
White Light Grey Gas Machine


Once I'm done, I'll add a picture of the finished product to this post for any stranglers who wander through this thread.
 
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