Finally Got A Panther - Grand Marquis!

Joined
Apr 9, 2008
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Central NY
Of course, no pictures ... at the moment.
2001 MGM LS, 124000 miles. It's "green" but looks tan or gray to me?

Well, after what has been the most frustrating car purchasing experience of my life, I brought home a Grandma Keith! I spent a bit more than I wanted to for it and bought it from a small dealer, but I think it's worth it because it was imported from somewhere without road salt.

While the body isn't the best (there's a few dents and scratches), I have not seen a panther with so little rust on it in YEARS up here. The only rust is a bit in the bottom of the wheel well where someone blew out a tire and it chewed up. I'm just going to rattle can it black and forget about it.

The car has been cared for. While nothing was immediately brand new, a lot of stuff has been replaced over the years. The seller was late showing up so I had a very good chance to crawl underneath it. It was converted to rear coils a few years back. The ball joints have been replaced at some point as have the steering linkages. Definitely drives better than any other steering box panther I've been in. Newer shocks as well. Trans fluid wasn't brand new, but wasn't burnt. Definitely changed at some point in it's 123K mile life. Coolant was the same - not new, but definitely not original. The tires on it are 2 years old but not worn funny. All original coils, except one. Surprised it made it 20 years on the original coils. That's something that doesn't happen.

Unfortunately it has some sort of remote start. Not sure if dealer installed? Pressing the lock button twice starts the car. That's gotta go. And it's a 2.73 rear differential. I can get a 3.27 rear differential pretty cheap - I have a few friends with P71 parts cars around. I'd like to upgrade to 3.27 and get a bit better fuel econ. Remember - fuel econ is not a linear function of engine RPM.

I never thought to check the heat, but I checked the AC after dealing with AC problems in my Forester. Works great! However, the blend door actuator has broken. Doing the test procedure seems to get it working ... for a bit but I don't really trust it. It throws code 25 and I can hear some awkward noises inside. Heater core isn't plugged and is circulating coolant best I can tell. Luckily you can change the blend door actuator without doing a whole dash pull.

What lead me to buy from a local dealer?

After some measurements with a friend who has 6 panthers, we determined that I'd have to make some careful modifications to my car trailer to get it to climb on to it. My trailer is only 20' long. We'd have to take the toolbox off, otherwise the rear wheels would be 3'' forward of the rear of the deck and the entire overhang of the car would be off the back of the trailer. And there would probably be weight distribution issues.

Because the trailer deck is so high (it's partially deck over with drive over fenders), I'd have to get the thing super tilted in order to not scrape getting on and off. And I had to add a bunch of wood to the deck to be able to drive over the fenders. My trailer was purposefully built to be a small footprint Jeep hauler. Something with a short wheel base, gearing to climb and high ground clearance. Not a land yacht hauler.

Here's the types of sellers I've dealt with:
  1. The "string along" - I have been on and off talking with a kid who is very interested in selling me his grand marquis (it's still on FB marketplace) but always needs a few more days. That has been going for 6 weeks and I have been strung along enough, even passed on a few cars while waiting. I even took my toolbox off my trailer for him!
  2. The "I am locked out of my account"- only one of these. His cars are still listed and he keeps dropping the price every week. I contacted him and he said that he was locked out of his FB account. However, if you can change the price, you can mark the thing as sold
  3. "Sorry it sold" - There were a few cases where I took the @#[email protected]#$ing toolbox off my trailer, got on the way there after telling them I'll be there with cash, bill of sale, trailer and will NOT try to knock them down on price and after they said they'd hold it for me (for all of the 45 minute drive), I get the message that it was sold. Gee, thanks
  4. "Trades Only" - self explanatory. List with a price, then only want a 3 year old diesel pickup with no rust in exchange for their 25 year old retired cop car with a lot of rust
  5. Those who don't respond.

So it's home. And mine. Finally. I have wanted one for 17 years now!

Stuff I have on order ...
- Motorcraft coils (all 8)
- Motorcraft spark plugs --- and changing plugs on a pre-2002 2v modular scares me a lot!
- Motorcraft blend door actuator
- Motorcraft transmission filter
- Class III Hitch and Wiring harness




no_photo.png
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
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WE want pics ! We want pics!

Congrats, yes 2.73 is a lot of gear. Probably burn more gas around town using more throttle angle. That rear is good for hwy only!
We dont want pics, we NEED them. Present the beast of beasts!
 
Joined
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British Columbia, Canada
Are you saying a Grand Marquis gets better mileage with a 3.27 diff than with a 2.73? I suppose it's possible but that doesn't sound right. A numerically lower diff usually results in better mileage.

It will run higher revs for sure. Either one sounds fine for highway driving.
 
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Joined
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Ohio
Are you saying a Grand Marquis gets better mileage with a 3.27 diff than with a 2.73? I suppose it's possible but that doesn't sound right. A numerically lower diff usually results in better mileage.

It will run higher revs for sure. Either one sounds fine for highway driving.
I agree.
I doubt a 3.27 will yield better mileage, especially on the freeway.. I got a 2.73 on my 2003 GM and I have no complaints with city driviing. If the 4.6L is struggling in city driving with a 2.73, there's something wrong with it.
I get 20-23 mpg in city driving and 25-26 on the freeway, I doubt it can get any better. It's a big car to push around, don't expect any miracles.
 
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Kansas
I just bought a 2010 Crown Victoria from the South Dakota Highway Patrol. Hit a deer on the way back home :mad:. Luckily it should be fixed. I'm gonna be doing a lot of the same maintenance on mine. Let me know how the tow hitch works out, I was thinking of doing the same thing.
 
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Joined
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NH
Needs pics!

With all the short trips I’ve been driving, I’d switch gears too. Not enough driving over 60 lately for those tall gears for me—and nothing but NH hills here.

But too long for my garage.
 
Joined
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The 2.73 rear will surprise you, it's plenty low enough for that car with the 4.6, and you'll sacrifice your highway MPGs somewhat with the higher one. AIr-Lift air springs are available for it, you'll need them for towing, and an external tranny cooler too. I missed the all-important question-how much $??
 

Miller88

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Here's some pictures:
It's definitely not scratch and dent free, but the frame is better than any one I've been able to look at so far. It still has door bottoms and the wheel wells haven't bubbled up.

The interior definitely needs a good clean, so no pictures there. But the driver's leather seat hasn't split yet. I
 

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Miller88

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I agree.
I doubt a 3.27 will yield better mileage, especially on the freeway.. I got a 2.73 on my 2003 GM and I have no complaints with city driviing. If the 4.6L is struggling in city driving with a 2.73, there's something wrong with it.
I get 20-23 mpg in city driving and 25-26 on the freeway, I doubt it can get any better. It's a big car to push around, don't expect any miracles.

Thinking in terms of my 2 valve 5.4, it doesn't seem to like much under 2000 RPM. And that has a bigger stroke than the 4.6. This car doesn't seem to lack for power. Even on seven 20 year old ignition coils and probably original plugs.

The 2.73 rear will surprise you, it's plenty low enough for that car with the 4.6, and you'll sacrifice your highway MPGs somewhat with the higher one. AIr-Lift air springs are available for it, you'll need them for towing, and an external tranny cooler too. I missed the all-important question-how much $??

It gets up and goes with what it has. I actually had to check the axle code in the door because it had no problem getting up and going that's for sure. I think it's had some trans work done. It doesn't shift as slow as other ones I've driven. It doesn't feel like something is broken, just shifts firm.

I paid $3700. More than I was hoping to pay, but seeing what they're going for up here I don't think it was a terrible deal. It was aptly priced given the previous folks probably thought the dash had to come out to do the blend door actuator. I was seeing similar vintage (98-02) panthers with 150K quickly selling for $4500.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
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I don’t think you overpaid. This one seems really clean and if it runs decently, it’s worth it.

this is a great color. I hate to say it, but I would quickly move to a more aggressive wheel/tire combination; nothing overkill, but something maybe on par with the tire size used on the interceptors. It deserves it.

you did great on this find!
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2007
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Central Indiana
Supposedly the average new vehicle purchase price is now in the neighborhood of $45,000.

You bought a clean used vehicle with an excellent reputation of being extremely reliable, at a reasonable price.

Job well done.
 

CKN

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Supposedly the average new vehicle purchase price is now in the neighborhood of $45,000.

You bought a clean used vehicle with an excellent reputation of being extremely reliable, at a reasonable price.

Job well done.
The OP admitted the body has scratches and scrapes. I guess it's up to what the definition of "clean" is. I see rust on the door in picture #2.
 
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