Looking at a 2006 Lincoln Town Car Signature Limited, but I drive a 1998 TC, should I upgrade?

kingoftoys

Junior Member
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Spokane, Wa.
I'm not sure the 2006 will be that much better. I'm getting 23 mpg with mainly road driving. The 2006 has more horsepower, but does that also mean more gas? With the rack and pinion steering on the 2006, do you loose ride quality. I still have the air ride on my 1998. Any thoughts would be appreciated. The 2006 has come down to 4,700.00 with 91,000 miles.
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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That seems like a really good price, assuming the car is in excellent condition.

The gas mileage should be about the same. As I understand, the ride will be a bit firmer, but for that you get improved handling.

Here’s a great article I found that covers all the changes made in 2003.


Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

My 2003 Cartier
 

kingoftoys

Junior Member
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Spokane, Wa.
Thanks Wayne. I pulled up the review. Very complete. The 2006 TC has a different gauge cluster including a tach. I may just have to take a test drive. He has lowered the price from 5650.00 over several weeks. It also comes with 4 studded snow tires without wheels.
 

wolf_walker

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While I think the 03 and later, preferably 04 and later, are better cars in a lot of ways, on paper you could say, and aesthetically, I suspect the
early cars ride and drive in a more traditional Lincoln fashion. You should go drive it. Not likely to see markedly better mpg, some people have
overly high claims over 25 highway but most usually get about 23. The suspension and brakes and engine and trans and all are "better" but
it depends on what one wants out of the car.
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Towncarlimoguy

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I owned all kinds of 90's T/C's and a bunch of 2000's version.NONE-I REPEAT NONE-of the 1999-2008 ones I owned were anywhere near as comfortable as ANY of the 90's versions I had...or 80's versions for that matter. Handling and some features not out way back when were nice but I would stay with my 90's version if I were you.
 

All2kool

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Portland, OR
Before I traded in my 1996 Cartier for the 2004 Signature, I looked at and drove several 1998-2002 LTC's and was not impressed. The build quality just didn't match the 2003-2011 model IMHO.
 

kingoftoys

Junior Member
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8
Spokane, Wa.
I owned a 1995 TC and it provided over 12 years of excellent service. I've had the 1998 not quite a year and replaced a few things including replacing the air springs. I almost think it rides better than the 1995. Needs a new heater core and I don't know if I am up to that repair. 122,000 miles currently. So a smooth ride is most important to me. The route I take to get 23 mpg with the 1998 would only get me 20 mpg with the 1995. Not really in a need for the 2006, but it does have all the changes that the 1998 does not have. Intake manifold was replaced before purchase. The 2006 really is a want, not a need currently.
 

Towncarlimoguy

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I owned a 1995 TC and it provided over 12 years of excellent service. I've had the 1998 not quite a year and replaced a few things including replacing the air springs. I almost think it rides better than the 1995. Needs a new heater core and I don't know if I am up to that repair. 122,000 miles currently. So a smooth ride is most important to me. The route I take to get 23 mpg with the 1998 would only get me 20 mpg with the 1995. Not really in a need for the 2006, but it does have all the changes that the 1998 does not have. Intake manifold was replaced before purchase. The 2006 really is a want, not a need currently.
Before buying it I suggest you take a nice long ride in it and go around some curves etc. not for handling so much as support and comfort of seats
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Without trying to be gauche about it, money is a factor. Ask yourself this: How much are you in it and how much do you think you can get by selling it vs. the money you will need to invest in the 2006? Atop that is the fact that the 2006 is eight years newer and has a number of improvements designed by Lincoln to make it a better ride than previous versions.

Fuel economy won't be much different

The 2006 is a low mileage version. I paid $5.4k for a near perfect TC with 125k on the clock and a documented maintenance history. I had to buy new tires for it, do an oil change, replace a leaky AC hose, and replace the serpentine belt (chalked it up to maintenance). Right now the car is in the shop getting the intake manifold and the radiator replaced (preventative maintenance). I want to make sure it's right for the next 150k miles because it is slated to be my daily driver for the next 5 years or so. I do 2k miles p/month.

You could argue that $7.5k is far too much to be into an 03 Lincoln Town Car, but if I get the miles out of it I hope to and do them relatively trouble-free, was it not a wise investment? Especially when you compare the five thousand dollar depreciation I hope to see out of this car versus the rates of depreciation you see buying a late model car on payments.

Here's the way I would look at it. I'm in a '98 TC w/out a heater. That kinda sucks, really - specially in December. I can pick up an 06 Town Car for cheap, but I might need to put a bit into it to make it right. It's worth making right. And I can still get money out of the 98 by selling it for what I can get out of it now. It's surely worth more now than it will be later.
 

Towncarlimoguy

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I just noticed you said you have a 98.Yes,the 06 will be better then that one,but an 08 will be better the the 06. lol ...but the 90's versions prior to your 98 are all more comfortable then any subsequent version.
 

dave42

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I just noticed you said you have a 98.Yes,the 06 will be better then that one,but an 08 will be better the the 06. lol ...but the 90's versions prior to your 98 are all more comfortable then any subsequent version.
What would be better in an '08 compared to a '06?
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Towncarlimoguy

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What would be better in an '08 compared to a '06?
They add some features,safety I think it was. I can remember offhand but I know when I got my 08 it had something My ,05 and 99 didn't. May even have been 07 where a few things changed, One being colors.
 
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wolf_walker

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past 06 or so they started to look cheaper and de-contented to me. My 04 Ultimate (cartier) is a nicer car option wise than any later one I've ever seen.
 

wolf_walker

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They are mechanically better the newer they are, by design not just condition. The only exception, which is a bit of preference, is the cable throttle body to electric changeover in 05 or thereabouts. One of my pet peeves is the lazy american cruise control, I'd hope that would be more precise with the electric throttle body but I've never used one on these cars. The later cars got the 4r75 trans too, I imagine the fuel injection and such were more advanced, mostly smog related but no doubt more modern. I think 04 is fairly sweet spot, wish mine didn't have a quarter million and change miles on it but hey. The up side is they are dirt cheap unless they are super low miles, and any halfway maintained TC will do 250K. They usually crap out cosmetically long before then.
Mine is starting to be a challenge to keep it presentable but she's holding her own. I haven't ruled out having the thing bedliner'd and calling it good. :)
For what I paid for it and the fairly small repair work it needed, it doesn't really owe me anything else.

All that said, I'd have a hard time paying $5K or more for one. It's a heck of a car no doubt, but at that price range, and being a heavy DIY'er that isn't afraid of much, there are a looooot of interesting cars available these days in that price range.
Part of the charm of these old boats is they are cheap and last forever. But I understand I'm not the only type of buyer/owner.
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All that said, I'd have a hard time paying $5K or more for one. It's a heck of a car no doubt, but at that price range, and being a heavy DIY'er that isn't afraid of much, there are a looooot of interesting cars available these days in that price range. Part of the charm of these old boats is they are cheap and last forever. But I understand I'm not the only type of buyer/owner.
I dunno if I'd call them dirt cheap.

OK, sure, I know you can find a LTC for way less than $5k all day long. Thing is, I've seen way too many Town Cars with torn up seats, hulled out armrests/consoles, filthy carpets - and God knows if any maintenance has been done in the last half dozen years. Sure. $1k if it's running and will pass inspection, right? If you're lucky, a couple of years.

Thing is, I have a 90 mile round trip daily commute. I'm looking for a solid, dependable, comfortable, by God highway cruiser. If I'm spending roughly two hours a day in a car I want it to be nice. I'm willing to pay for a great one but not too much because I don't believe in paying a mortgage on a depreciating commodity. Still, I do like my comfort.

I am in a near-perfect 2003 TC Signature for $7.5k. It was what was available when I was ready to buy. I paid $5.4k and I've put a subsequent $2k into it - bringing me to that $7.5k figure. I will put more into it yet even though I know that if I am hit in the next three years I will lose money. Of course, that is true of just about any vehicle I would buy - especially a vehicle expensive enough to require a loan.

What I got for the money was a grandma garage queen with 125k on the clock. Add the cost of a little maintenance ($2k worth) and I should have a nice ride for another 125-150k miles. If I perform the maintenance as I should and keep the receipts I should be able to sell it at that point for $1.5-2k. They should be hard to come by then.

The way I look at it, once you reach that 10-15 year old range it's not so much about miles, or age, or year, or trim. It's about maintenance. If it's an extremely well-maintained 120k-ish mile version of a Lincoln Town Car then it should go for a long way yet.

As long as I do the maintenance.
 

wolf_walker

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My 04 had 200K legit highway miles, looked like 100K or less, needed an intake, rear brake pads and I did a fluid and belt/plug/coilpacks/hose tuneup and replaced a few vanity items. I paid 2K for it and am 20K in. The seller couldn't give it away out here in the midwest where domestics sold a ton so the market is flooded. I watch the cars for sale on FB and craigslist daily since I'm that kind of masochist, mine isn't a special case other than being a pretty high option model in a good year. Anything over $3500 better be 100K-ish or lower and/or have actual maintenance history or be bought from the original little old lady owner that drove it to church on Sunday. Anything else is like mine, a $2000 car.
I see some 50-60K mile cars in the 6-7K range fairly often, most of them later models, 06 and up.
The pre-03 models are even worse off, both in condition and sale price.
Interestingly, the 2nd gen cars are going up the last few years, but I can't pin a market preference on year for them, just miles.
I'd trade my 04 for another 90 in like condition in a heartbeat personally.


This is 2K miles ago, nothing has changed.
It isn't perfect but after a wash it compares favorably to cars with a fraction of the miles.
A credit to the quality of the car and it's construction.


I think monetary value and availability is pretty geographically tired on these. Most places, they are all but worthless since nobody wants them.
Ford didn't quit making them because they were selling too many after all. Aren't many of us left that like these cars.
Even I want an older one, just not willing to pay for it right now. I'm really amazed people are paying upwards of $6K for any
of them. I don't begrudge em or think it's foolish at all, but I'm honestly amazed by it.
I need to either dump a ton of money in this one eventually or move on to something else, haven't decided what/which yet.
Likely I'll drive this till something expensive dies and then decide.
 
Anything over $3500 better be 100K-ish or lower and/or have actual maintenance history or be bought from the original little old lady owner that drove it to church on Sunday. Anything else is like mine, a $2000 car.
I don't disagree, but I can say in Houston the prices have gone up pretty significantly in the last couple of years. Sure, every once in a while you see the perfect buy, but that's relatively rare. I think I've seen four on Craigslist in the last two years. They usually get snapped up pretty quick.

The longest-lived ad I saw was one in Killeen that was obviously a lil' ol' lady car and the people selling it (likely her son or daughter) had no idea what they had and didn't like it regardless. A perfect, garage-kept, '06 Signature Limited (upgraded wheels + a sunroof) with around 80k on it for $3,500. I just didn't have the cash at the time and was in my research mode for a future car buy.

I spent a couple of grand more because I needed to buy a car - right then. I was about to start shopping when the COVID thing kicked off and my old raggedy Toyota had a month left to it's tags. I would have had to put money into it to get it inspected and then registered.

COVID-19 actually affected the Craigslist market too. I saw fewer cars being advertised. The best example I could find at a reasonable price was the one I bought. I needed a daily. I wanted a Town Car. I was only going to accept one in fantastic shape with a maintenance history to go with it.

What I found is that CarFax actually scrapes some amazing databases. I don't know how they get their information, but I found this car on the CarFax website. I could trace oil changes back to when it was new. I could see maintenance intervals being performed, but couldn't tell exactly what was being done in some instances - but it was mostly being done at a Ford shop and when it wasn't it was at a shop that reported to whatever DB CarFax was scraping. I could see brake service, plugs being serviced/replaced, coil packs having been replaced. The air suspension was gone and a shock/spring setup was in it's place.

I have been buying cars since the early 1980s. It doesn't get much better than that unless you are in an old guy's home standing in front of his open file cabinet looking at old receipts.

Problem w/ the CarFax website is that they are only showing cars by dealers - as far as I could tell. Contractual stuff, I guess. But, stealership pricing is higher.

At the end of the day I'm in a 125k example of a TC with a new radiator and intake (put it in as preventative maintenance), fresh tires, fresh fluids, and I should be able to get another 125k miles out of it. That's five years.

Five years of quiet, comfortable, relatively trouble-free commuting - more economically than I could do in a truck/suv, far less expensively than a "modern equivalent". For me it is still a good buy.
 

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