2002 Ford Crown Victoria LX-P74

     I got this car in 2004 when my grandfather passed away. Never the less, I am proud to own this car, and I know that he would be proud to have me take care of it. I've wanted to stay true to what my grandfather appreciated of the car, and keep in mind the reasons for him purchasing the car to being with. Any modifications I have made or will make to the car will be to improve it's performance and luxury (What Ford calls "Understated Luxury"), while maintaining it's originality.

2002 was a particularly good year for the Crown Victoria, and perhaps partially the last horrah for the Crown Vic as a luxury model. It was the last year of the older suspension, but still very durable. It has the more newly introduced PI (Performance Improver) engine putting out 235 hp and 276 ft-lbs of torque, coupled to the 4R70W transmission. The quick down and dirty is that 2001-2002 is capable of accepting all upgrades available over the years, but still on the lighter chassis; thereby making it one of the quickest Crown Victorias available.

For a complete list of all the upgrades that I've performed on my car, click here: http://www.pontiacperformance.net/TechArticles/CV_UpgradeList.html

(Crown Victoria w/ 1969 Olds 455 big block in tow!)


- New Shocks F/R, Rear Anti-Sway Bar!

Now that the car is running, I wanted it to run/drive like new. The shocks on the car were the originals, so I needed to replace them. What I ultimately wanted to accomplish was a ride that would not only provide a more firm stance around corners, but that would also not negatively affect the smooth and comfortable ride. I decided to go with progressive shocks. These typically come with coil-overs and provide a progressive dampening quality. They are far more forgiving with small bumps and road imperfections than normal shocks, but provide increasing support around corners and in braking. In the front, I went with a set of AC Delcos in the front, and Monroes in the rear. I also installed a rear anti-sway bar from a 2001 Police Interceptor ( click here for the Tech Article on installing the sway-bar). I have had everything on the car for two months now, and am very pleased with the ride. It's very stable and firm on the highway and in corners, but gives me improved ride quality.

- Performance Factory Stereo System Upgrade

The goal of this project was to upgrade the factory stereo system in a way that maintains an original appearance, but provides the best possible sound within my budget. This includes upgrading the factory subwoofer's internal speaker, installing four new MB-Quart speakers, two amplifyers, and a signal processor. The complete writeup can be found here in my Tech Section: http://www.pontiacperformance.net/TechArticles/CV_Stereo_Install.html

In addition, I've also spent the extra time adding sound deadening to the car to give the car a more comfortable and quiet ride. This can also be found in my Tech Section: http://www.pontiacperformance.net/TechArticles/CV_Sound_Deadening.html

- Installed Underbody Security Lighting System

This is a "factory" available option that was available at the time of ordering your Crown Victoria from a dealership. Although it's listed as a factory option, it was actually installed by the dealership. This option had been long discontinued (maybe end of the 2003 model year). A member of the Marauder Club had purchased up all the remaining kits and hardware from the Ford parts dealer network. He put them all together and sold them as kits (he's sold out). I purchased one while I had the chance, and recently installed it in my car. I've been prolonging this for some time, but part of my interior flooded when the cowl mesh cover failed allowing debris to collect in the HVAC tray. After a huge tropical storm, this tray overflowed and water-falled into the passenger interior. This flooded the entire passenger side. I had to remove the entire carpet within 2-3 days of this, pressure wash it, shampoo it, and dry out all the jute padding. This gave me access to do the entire wiring for the underbody security lighting system. While I had everything out, I also laid down some dynomat sheeting in a few areas that were prone to sound resonance. To view detailed instructions, check out the installation page in my Tech Section: http://www.pontiacperformance.net/TechArticles/CV_UBSLighting.html

- Added Courtesy Lighting Upgrade!

This is kind of a silly upgrade, I know... but the older 1995/1996 Crown Victorias came with door panels that had what was called the "courtesy lighting" feature. When you opened the door, the reflectors would illuminate the door opening as well as the ground surrounding it. It didn't require much work, but I had to grind out the opening to install the reflector. I also sprayed rubberized undercoating and doubled the amount of door insulation to help isolate road noise. In addition to this however, I also installed a new set of speakers, but that's another post for when it's all finished.
You can see the entire details of it here: http://www.pontiacperformance.net/TechArticles/CV_CourtesyLighting.html

- Illuminated Cigarette Lighter Feature / Upgrade

Ok, I realize this is hardly worthy of an upgrade post, but figured I would mention it because it's so easy. In 1999 it seems, they decontented a feature in the Crown Victoria which illuminated the socket of the cigarette lighter. It's a neat feature to have, especially if the passenger is trying to plug something in and can't see the socket with the lights off (while driving at night). In any case, I was doing some other work to the car, and figured I would take a look at it while I had access to the panel. All Ford did was simply replace an existing harness with one that lacked the bulb assembly. With the exception of the removal and re-installation of the dash components, the only thing that was needed was to simply replace the existing harness with the new harness. You can see the entire details of it here: http://www.pontiacperformance.net/TechArticles/CV_CigaretteLighting.html

- Crown Victoria / Wood Steering Wheel!

So, I was browsing eBay and came across a wrecked Grand Marquis that was equipped with a wood steering wheel. I bid on the wheel and won the auction. Unfortunately, the wheel had been sitting in the sun for 6 months and the clear-coat had almost completely flaked off. I had to have one, so I searched the parts website from Titus-Will Ford Parts http://www.tituswillfordparts.com/ and was able to find exactly what I needed. For 2002, the Crown Victoria was not offered with a wood steering wheel. It was offered on a few other years of the CV however. In the end, I ordered a wood steering wheel for a 2003 Grand Marquis LSE. What I ordered was part number 1W3Z-3600-AAE. This steering wheel came up with the exact description of "Steering wheel, Leather w/speed, radio & heat controls, Light flint/wood"
I'm not going to list the price, but suffice it to say, I probably should be more responsible. There was only one left in the entire United States and Canada. Titus-Will Ford searched the ENTIRE dealer network and found the last remaining unsold steering wheel, new in the box, from a dealership in Dallas, Texas. They were able to get it shipped from Dallas, they verified the part, and sold it to me for the same price but with a $50 dollar transfer fee. This is bad luck for anyone who's looking to get the older 98-2004 style steering wheel in wood, and wants a new one since I obviously got the last one. if you have the light flint, you're out of luck, but some of the other colors might still be available. On the other hand, you can easily find one if you're willing to look. Many of them have the clearcoat flaking off. If you're good at staining and sealing wood, you can probably do this yourself, or have it sent out to a shop that refinishes steering wheels. You can search eBay or other auction sites for any steering wheel for a 1998-2004 Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis or Lincoln Town Car with wood. The steering wheels were all the same for that year.
You can see the entire details of it here: http://www.pontiacperformance.net/TechArticles/CV_Wheel_Replacement.html

- Factory jack upgrade for most 99-09 Crown Victorias!

Although it seems like a silly upgrade, I've relocated the factory jack to a better location. As is with most companies, they often release a product with lots of attention to detail. However, in order to cut costs or improve revenue, they often eliminate features that will go unnoticed, but that can save them significant money per vehicle. In this particular case, it was the factory jack that got the axe. In 1998 when this body style was first released, Ford had the factory jack mounted to the rear-passenger quarter panel. It literally latched onto a bracket in the rear fender, and was bolted down. After mid-year (best I can tell) 1999, they eliminated this feature and instead wedged the jack between the spare tire and the firewall (behind the rear seat-back). This meant from every car they produced, they could eliminate the mounting bracket and the hold-down. I don't know what the cost savings for this equated to, but I guess they figured it wouldn't be missed since you'd need to remove the spare tire anyway (if you actually planned to use the jack).

So, I found a vehicle in the junkyard (a 1998 CV Police Interceptor) which included this feature. I removed the mounting bracket, snagged the hold-down, and the factory jack from the donor car (it's slightly different than my own). I welded in the old bracket, and mounted the jack. This now affords me the ability to mount my aftermarket amplifier behind the spare tire so it doesn't appear as though my car is at all modified. FYI, the car's frame, and carpet were already designed for this feature, so everything was just a bolt-in. You can see the entire details of it here: http://www.pontiacperformance.net/TechArticles/CV_JackUpgrade.html

- Several things left to do!

So many parts, so little time! I haven't had much time to work on the Vic, and probably won't until sometime late February. I'm coming up on my 30k mile interval and have several items I'll need to take care of. First and foremost, I have to flush out the transmission fluid, and change the filter. I will take this opportunity to upgrade the car even more. I ordered a MUCH larger transmission pan a while back. This pan by "Mac" not only holds 2 more quarts, but is actually made of rigid 1/2" thick aluminum. It weighs nearly the same as the stock pan, but improves the rigidity of the transmission. With the addition of 2 more quarts, it will help keep the transmission cooler. This pan ALSO features a built in drain plug. I won't have to drop the pan anymore to change out a few quarts. The ATF I'll be using to refill it is made by Redline. This ATF is 100% synthetic. It's far superior to any other transmission fluid on the market. Co-incidentally, I also use Redline's 5W-20 Synthetic oil as well. Last, but not least, I still have my C&L Performance Intake plenum yet to be installed. This plenum is said to add 20 additional foot-pounds of torque to the mid-rpms. Some slight modifications will be necessary to make use of it, so I'll probably make it last on my list of things to do. At present time, the Vic has 29,XXX miles.

- Installing an OEM subwoofer in the Crown Victoria.

Although I was happy overall with the quality of sound from the factory stereo, I thought it might be nice to have the factory subwoofer installed. Unfortunately, the subwoofer is no longer an available option for the 1998-Present Crown Victorias. (EDIT: I have heard it's now being offered in the 2008+ models). After the re-design in 98, they cancelled the option. However, the wiring is ALL still there in the trunk (power, etc). I happened to find an OEM subwoofer from a 1997 Crown Victoria on eBay. After fiddling with the idea of using the OEM speakers and amp, I ended up getting an aftermarket amp, replacement MB-Quart 6x8" speakers, and a 5.25" subwoofer speaker to fit in the sub box. I also modified the existing bracket to fit the newer style parcel shelf. The rear shelf in the 98+ Crown Vics is shorter than it was in the "aero" styled bodies. I cut the bracket in half, and welded the pieces opposite of eachother. The setup WORKS, but I still need to clean up the wiring, and connect the remote Power-On feature. The amp powers the two rear speakers, and the sub. Once I'm finished with the wiring, I can put the spare tire back, and it will completely cover the aftermarket amp. The inside sounds AMAZING. The bass response is far superior to the factory sound. I definitely won't win any awards, but at least now it has decent sound.

- Installing Dual Exhaust in the Crown Victoria!

I have mixed emotions. I am thrilled that I now have my new exhaust, but at the same time, I learned that the muffler guy "Porky" from Porky's Discount Mufflers died the day before I arrived. He apparently died from a blood infection that he received just the week before. It's really sad. He had a great shop, he was a hard worker, and I had just spoken to him the week before. As for the dual exhaust. I was surprised for a coulpe of reasons. I didn't notice a BIT of difference off the line. It actually didn't make ANY difference at all. But, in the mid to upper rpms, I definitely noticed it. My fuel economy has also substantially improved. I have been able to achieve 27.6 miles to the gallon on the last highway trip I made. And I did NOT drive overly conservative. The system I went with was the Walker "Quiet-Flow" Dual Exhaust System. The factory system, while nice, was nearly 7 times the cost of the walker system. The Walker exhuast is a little bit louder, almost a performance exhuast, if you will, but still maintains a quiet sound. I went with the system intended for the Grand Marquis LSE. This included the entire dual exhaust kit, but also the exhuast resonators (to eliminate resonance).

- 4.6L 70mm Ford Racing Performance Parts Throttle Body!

Yep, another upgrade. I was surfing on eBay (I really have to stop), and I came across a Ford Racing Performance Parts "FRPP" 70mm throttle body. It's sold by Ford as a "performance" product, but it's actually an OEM part for other V8 vehicles in the Ford lineup. Normally, Ford charges upwards of $200 for it. But, I happened to see it for less than $80! It bolted RIGHT up, and actually looked identical to the stock one just slightly larger interior diameter. I actually noticed a DECREASE in performance off the line, which was unfortunate... but I did notice a significant improvement in the mid to upper rpm range. Passing and highway performance is significant. All in all, it was worth it.

- 4.6L Steeda Intake Spacer Install

I will get so much flack for this... I bought a Steeda intake spacer. I was bored, wanted something to improve the performance of the car, so I bought it. $80 bucks got me this little spacer for the intake plenum. It's TECHNICALLY supposed to increase the inner volume of the intake. That supposedly gives better response, and improved power utilization. I DID notice a slight improvement if I stomped on the gas while cruising on the highway, but other than that, it didn't do that much. It did change the pitch of my engine slightly, which sounds kind of cool.

- Upgrading the factory stereo in the Crown Victoria

The Vic came with a tape deck. My grandfather had many more tapes than he did CDs, so decided that the standard tape deck would suffice. I needed a CD player, and in addition, figured I might as well get one that plays MP3s. I am extremely particular about keeping with my original intentions, and keeping the car OEM / stock looking. That's why I was thrilled to learn that they made an OEM MP3 player that not only FIT the Crown Vic, but looked identical to the OEM cd player in every way. It's an AM/FM player, with a CD drive that reads MP3s. Who needs the 6-Disc CD changer??? The installation was extremely simple. It required no modifications AT ALL. I just used the simple "DIN" tools, popped the old one out, and the new one in! The connections were identical and still gives me the ability to install the factory subwoofer or 8-disc CD changer in the future, should I decide to do so. The FORD part number for this radio is: 3L2T-18C815-JA

- Hurricane Wilma, NOOOOOOO!!!

What can I say? Luckily neither my friends or family were injured in the hurricane, but my Vic really took a beating. The pictures below really do not show the full extent of the damage. My neighbor's roof completely came off, 1 single at a time. We all thought we would be safe in the middle of the cul-de-sac, but we weren't. Shingles on a car's paint are like heavy grit sand-paper. My grill was damaged, the drivers side A-pillar and door was damaged, the hood was damaged, my front drivers side fender was damaged, the rear left quarter was damaged, and the windshield and drivers side window were scraped. I'm really upset about this because I didn't have full coverage on it. Oh well, I'll probably end up having to repaint these areas now.

- Performance Upgrades for the Crown Victoria

Probably the most expensive modifications I will probably ever do to this car. Although over $600 total these modifications are the "typical" upgrade for the CV and make the most realistic gains. These parts include the following: Mercury Marauder air box, with an attached 80mm MAF sensor; larger 2004 Police Interceptor intake tube (known as the "Zip Tube"), K&N Air filter, and finally, the ECM reflash kit from Blue Oval Chips. All in all, the Crown Victoria gains about as much as most other cars do from swapping in a new camshaft. Typical results average to the tune of about 25 horsepower. The Vic went from being a couch on wheels to a veritable rocket in the mid to upper rpms. Typically quarter mile times for JUST these modifications in a vehicle from 2001+ are mid 15s. I ordered my parts from Angry Duck Tofu Racing. The owner Chris really knows his stuff.

- Fuel Economy: Best fuel economy to date is 28.2mpg (all highway)

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