Towing With Late Model Town Car (2007)

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DesertRatt

Active member
Dec 13, 2019
118
63
28
Coachella Valley, CA
Having invested a lot in getting my '07 TC sorted and in shape, I now want to tow a 2400# travel trailer RV for some getaways. Yes, I should buy a truck, but I can only have one vehicle and I will never be able to sell my TC for what I invested. I have to "drive it off."

I know it's a body on frame design. I think 230HP is at least respectable. What worries me is the suspension. I have air, which I would need to turn off, and I would use a WD hitch so as not to sag the read end.

The trailer has brakes too.

Anyone towing?
 

Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
Oct 5, 2019
448
335
63
Northern Illinois
Having invested a lot in getting my '07 TC sorted and in shape, I now want to tow a 2400# travel trailer RV for some getaways. Yes, I should buy a truck, but I can only have one vehicle and I will never be able to sell my TC for what I invested. I have to "drive it off."

I know it's a body on frame design. I think 230HP is at least respectable. What worries me is the suspension. I have air, which I would need to turn off, and I would use a WD hitch so as not to sag the read end.

The trailer has brakes too.

Anyone towing?

Hi, DesertRatt.

Do not turn off the air suspension! Turning off the air suspension is only for stuff like changing a tire or putting the entire car on a lift. Otherwise, leave the switch on.

If you are worried about the rear springs, install heavy duty (limo) air springs. If you can not find the Motorcraft heavy-duty air springs, the Arnott heavy-duty springs will work just as well, and likely be a little less expensive.

Second, the factory rating for towing is only 2,000 lbs. Don't buy a 2400 pound trailer! If you did buy it, figure out how to put it on a 400-500 lb diet without making it unsafe, or try to sell it without suffering a financial disaster. Do not go over the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or the Gross Axle Weight Rating for either axle of the car.

If you have a full-size spare, replace it with a Lincoln Town Car "doughnut" spare, at least when you're towing. Every bit helps, and the weight savings from the spare will allow you a couple of changes of clothing, an extra blanket, and so on.

Evaluate the wheels and tires on the trailer as well. If you can find lighter rims and tires of the correct size, this will reduce the towed load, and maybe make the trailer itself look better.

If the trailer itself has water tanks, fill them only when on site, and drain them before towing for any distance. Also, plan on doing almost all of your food and beverage shopping at the destination, after parking the trailer.

The article below is one of several out on the internet to help a prospective buyer needing an RV-Trailer weighing less than 2,000 lbs make an informed and satisfying choice.

Ten travel trailers under 2,000 pounds.

Good luck.
 

DesertRatt

Active member
Dec 13, 2019
118
63
28
Coachella Valley, CA
1. No, I don't have a trans cooler. But, I could put one on.
2. Good comments, Brian. But, I wonder what you suggest are the reasons why this car couldn't handle 2400#? Lack of what? Just trying to understand.

Someone once told me OEMS reduced all the tow ratings on sedans in order to move people to more profitable trucks.

Back in the day (1965,or so) People regularly towed 5000# Airstreams with big V8 Sedans.

No -- I have NOT bought the trailer -- - just considering it.
Thanks!
______________________________
 

CuttingToolGuy

Well-known member
Mar 18, 2020
394
1
307
63
Houston
Desertratt,
I usually agree with Mr. Patterson & his advice certainly is the official Ford stance. However, you asked if you can tow the 2400# trailer and i will tell you that you can do it easily.

1) I personally have towed 4000# over 200 miles through Texas hill county and 4500# more than 300 miles in flatter Texas terrain. (I kept vehicle under 60 mph, usually cruise at 55 and turned overdrive off.)

2) Since the introduction of the second generation Panter platform which includes the Aero style of Town Cars we all have the same suspension. (03'+ have a slightly wider rear axle but, trailing arms, springs, bushings, etc. are exactly the same as the earlier axles.) So, there is no physical reason towing capacities to change except for total body weight.

Here is Edmunds listing for a 1996 Lincoln Town Car:


It shows the 1996 has 5000# capacity.

I choose the 1996 because it has the 4.6 modular engine & 4R70W transmission as well as the aforementioned suspension. The 90' to 95' had different engines or nominally different transmissions but, have equally larger towing capacity listings.

NOTE THIS IS MY PERSONAL SPECULATION:

In 1997 the towing capacity was lowered to the 2000# referenced above. Why would this happen if the car was basically identical to the prior year?

Automobiles have to meet CAFE fuel standards and all manufacturers have been trying to move customers to lighter front wheel drive vehicles despite the desires of consumers. Truck based platforms do not have to meet CAFE or NTSB standards written for cars. Trucks are MUCH more profitable than cars.

The Lincoln Navigator was introduced in 1997 as a 1998 model. What better way to increase Navigator sales than to discontinue Town Car sales. But, Ford won't want to completely kill Panther platform sales as cops & livery really liked them. So, the next best thing would be to reduce the towing capacity and get people that need to tow things to buy the more profitable Navigator.

You asked and I am giving my opinion. Good luck whatever you decide.
 

Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
Oct 5, 2019
448
335
63
Northern Illinois
1. No, I don't have a trans cooler. But, I could put one on.
2. Good comments, Brian. But, I wonder what you suggest are the reasons why this car couldn't handle 2400#? Lack of what? Just trying to understand.

Someone once told me OEMS reduced all the tow ratings on sedans in order to move people to more profitable trucks.

Back in the day (1965,or so) People regularly towed 5000# Airstreams with big V8 Sedans.

No -- I have NOT bought the trailer -- - just considering it.
Thanks!

Hi, DesertRatt.

I would suspect the transmission as the first "limiting" factor in the car's towing capacity. The transmission is not your father's C-6, and does not have very much "reserve capacity" by comparison.

I would suspect the rear axle gear as a possible secondary factor for the same reason. The capacity of the air springs would be a third limiting factor, mostly to do with tongue weight.

Replacing the "standard" air springs with heavy-duty ones and installing a transmission fluid cooler separate from the radiator will reduce the likelihood of greatly accelerated wear and failure.

The limits in the owners manual are limits that Ford engineered the car to achieve without failure of any part of the car during the warranty period. We have no way of knowing how much (if any) of a margin exists beyond those limits before pieces of the drivetrain start popping like North Korean Christmas Tree lights. A 2400 lb trailer may be just fine. Or it may be Larry Fein, with Moe and Curley Howard hiding in the wings.

Good luck.
 

wolf_walker

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2017
1,011
685
113
I've always found it suspicious as well, the lincoln mxt or whatever the little suv is, which is a badge changed ford edge, is rated at 2K lbs too.
It seems peculiar such different vehicles would have the same towing cap. It's believable for the edge, less so for a TC.

What I suspect, is somewhere in the early 90's Ford, if not everyone, either decided or the regulations changed and it was decided
for them that towing capacity would be lower on non-trucks/suv's. I've seen a number of cases where vehicles sold here and in other
countries were rated higher elsewhere. A little google'ing finds some discussion of such, like so The Great American Anti-Towing Conspiracy

Given a car in good order and a quality hitch and trailer I'd pull a heck of a lot more than 2K lbs myself, and a lot of people have done so regularly, with a trans cooler, on flatish ground.


Anyone have the factory rating for a late 80's TC? I conspicuously couldn't find anything older than 91 listed in "look up your trailer weight" sites online, and some reference to the 90 being "lowered" to 2K lbs as well.
 

Brian J. Patterson

Well-known member
Oct 5, 2019
448
335
63
Northern Illinois
Desertratt,
I usually agree with Mr. Patterson & his advice certainly is the official Ford stance. However, you asked if you can tow the 2400# trailer and i will tell you that you can do it easily.

1) I personally have towed 4000# over 200 miles through Texas hill county and 4500# more than 300 miles in flatter Texas terrain. (I kept vehicle under 60 mph, usually cruise at 55 and turned overdrive off.)

2) Since the introduction of the second generation Panter platform which includes the Aero style of Town Cars we all have the same suspension. (03'+ have a slightly wider rear axle but, trailing arms, springs, bushings, etc. are exactly the same as the earlier axles.) So, there is no physical reason towing capacities to change except for total body weight.

Here is Edmunds listing for a 1996 Lincoln Town Car:


It shows the 1996 has 5000# capacity.

I choose the 1996 because it has the 4.6 modular engine & 4R70W transmission as well as the aforementioned suspension. The 90' to 95' had different engines or nominally different transmissions but, have equally larger towing capacity listings.

NOTE THIS IS MY PERSONAL SPECULATION:

In 1997 the towing capacity was lowered to the 2000# referenced above. Why would this happen if the car was basically identical to the prior year?

Automobiles have to meet CAFE fuel standards and all manufacturers have been trying to move customers to lighter front wheel drive vehicles despite the desires of consumers. Truck based platforms do not have to meet CAFE or NTSB standards written for cars. Trucks are MUCH more profitable than cars.

The Lincoln Navigator was introduced in 1997 as a 1998 model. What better way to increase Navigator sales than to discontinue Town Car sales. But, Ford won't want to completely kill Panther platform sales as cops & livery really liked them. So, the next best thing would be to reduce the towing capacity and get people that need to tow things to buy the more profitable Navigator.

You asked and I am giving my opinion. Good luck whatever you decide.

Hi, CuttingToolGuy and DesertRatt.

One of the many good things about this forum is the experience of the readers. I was typing my first response when CuttingToolGuy posted his.

While possible, it is highly unlikely that Ford "erased" any actual reserve capacity between 1996 and 1997, instead "papering" that towing capacity over as CuttingToolGuy stated. It's also just as unlikely that they removed any major part of this capacity during the major redesign of 1998 or the chassis modifications of 2003. All three wheelbases of the Panther platform were designed in part for commercial service and field modification in the case of the Lincolns. So, deliberately making them weaker (as opposed to just changing the specification rating) just wouldn't make sense.

So now, you have a likely "second" towing capacity limit based on field experience. While I hadn't thought to mention it myself, CuttingToolGuy also pointed out that you will not want to engage overdrive when towing. For whatever reason, the overdrive gear on Ford transmissions has never got along with any form of "severe" service, going all the way back to when the first ones came out.

Good luck with whatever you decide, and please let us know how well (hopefully) things turn out.

Thanks.
______________________________
 

DesertRatt

Active member
Dec 13, 2019
118
63
28
Coachella Valley, CA
Great comments guys! I am leaning toward trying it. I have done a LOT of towing in my life, with lots of different platforms and trailers, and I have a pretty good intuition about this. My biggest concern is actually braking power. The brakes in the trailers are never good for more than about 20% of the total braking (at best). I did recently replace all four rotors and all brake pads, but the rotors are not very big, compared to say a Suburban.

Class III hitches specifically for the 07 TC are made by at least 3 companies. That's another clue of sorts. Using a high end weight distribution hitch will keep the tongue weight down to about 300#. I might want to look into a different tire though.

Thank you all again for contributing your thoughts! Much appreciated. And yes, If I do it, I'll report all about it.
 

Trusted1

New member
May 30, 2021
1
2
1
Hi, DesertRatt.

Do not turn off the air suspension! Turning off the air suspension is only for stuff like changing a tire or putting the entire car on a lift. Otherwise, leave the switch on.

If you are worried about the rear springs, install heavy duty (limo) air springs. If you can not find the Motorcraft heavy-duty air springs, the Arnott heavy-duty springs will work just as well, and likely be a little less expensive.

Second, the factory rating for towing is only 2,000 lbs. Don't buy a 2400 pound trailer! If you did buy it, figure out how to put it on a 400-500 lb diet without making it unsafe, or try to sell it without suffering a financial disaster. Do not go over the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or the Gross Axle Weight Rating for either axle of the car.

If you have a full-size spare, replace it with a Lincoln Town Car "doughnut" spare, at least when you're towing. Every bit helps, and the weight savings from the spare will allow you a couple of changes of clothing, an extra blanket, and so on.

Evaluate the wheels and tires on the trailer as well. If you can find lighter rims and tires of the correct size, this will reduce the towed load, and maybe make the trailer itself look better.

If the trailer itself has water tanks, fill them only when on site, and drain them before towing for any distance. Also, plan on doing almost all of your food and beverage shopping at the destination, after parking the trailer.

The article below is one of several out on the internet to help a prospective buyer needing an RV-Trailer weighing less than 2,000 lbs make an informed and satisfying choice.

Ten travel trailers under 2,000 pounds.

Good luck.
I have an 06 Lincoln Town car I haul 5000 lb every day all day with it it does very well I think these are underrated this is coming from a 25-year tech
 

Garypaul

New member
Jul 17, 2022
3
2
3
My Lincoln
2007 Town Car Signature
This is a rather long set of comments, so please skip if you don't wish to read these few paragraphs! ---Regarding towing with the 2007 Lincoln Town Car I would like to add a few comments. I myself am about to set up my 2007 Town Car to have the capability to tow 5000 lbs. I have heard in a number of forums by "experts" (I put this in quotes to indicate that they are often actually not experts and commenting with little understanding regarding the topic at hand. This reminds me of the "experts' from the CDC (and other organizations) and their poor handling and mixed up advice during the Covid-19 era over the last couple of years. Again and again the experts got it wrong. In the same way there appears to be a lack of understanding about the Panther platform regarding towing. I am no expert, but I have some experience regarding the Town Car in the recent past & if you would like to educate me then go at it, after reading my comments.

The Class III 5000 lb trailer tow option was available on the Town car and the Ford Crown Victoria and the Mercury Grand Marquis in the 1970s, 1980s, and the 1990s up through the 1996 model year. I know this partly because I ordered four of these options (one in the 1970s, two in the 1980s, and one from the 1990s, from the factory on new vehicles, back in the day. The last one I ordered was for a 1993 model. I have the Window Sticker. The option on the sticker was labeled "Trailer Tow III" on the sticker, and cost $417.

For the 1997 model year Ford bean counters, accountants, and product planners canceled the option. This is not an axiomatic put down of bean counters although they are often seen as evil inside a company and with some verification when the cost cutting does away with features or benefits that were useful. One reason to eliminate an option was because so few people were ordering it. As far as I recall, every time I went in to order a Lincoln Town Car with the Class III trailer tow package the salesmen seemed confused and appeared to have no idea that it was even available until I had them look it up in their dealer order book! In fact to this day the issue of incredibly inept, poorly educated salesmen is an endemic nature of modern dealerships and pointing it out to the manager or owner as I once did got a collective yawn while saying something like this: "salesmanship is about personality, son! Nobody asks about them there features you're talking about!" This was astonishing to me as a young fella yet ignorance of the product that was being sold was over the place at least in the former Big Three dealerships that I visited in the 1980s & 1990s & early 2000s. They found enthusiasm about their own product to be rather bizarre (unless it resulted in a sale, and even then it was a muted and boring quality to the average salesman). --Maybe that is partly why I haven't bought a new car in decades!

Going further on this topic of massive ignorance about the Class III Tow Package, & general indifference about their own products' features and benefits, I have a question for anyone out there: --Did you ever see Ford advertise this capability on their Panther cars? Was it ever mentioned even in the back of the new car brochure? Did you ever see an ad with the happy man towing a sizable trailer with his Ford Crown Victoria, and the headline: "It's Not Just the Trucks that can Tow!!"? It seems that Ford's main reason for keeping this tow package was to compete with the competition---and not to beat them!

--As most of you know, Ford's main competition for large rear-wheel drive 4-door sedans in 1996 was GM with their Buick Roadmaster, Chevrolet Impala, and Cadillac Fleetwood models that had towing packages as well, including one on the Cadillac for 7000 lbs!! As many of you may recall, those vehicles, along with their heavy duty tow packages, were eliminated for the 1997 model year & Ford knew about it & instead of doubling down on their competition & pushing the tow package with some advertising & some dealer training at precisely the moment when their competition eliminated the package, Ford instead, decided to kill the package themselves even though their Panther platform was fully capable of handling 5000 pound towing (and likely more), and all of the equipment to do it was already in the system!

The Ford Trailer Tow III option had a number of features on it, that, as you might imagine, helped ensure that the vehicle would not overheat and would include various other sturdier & more capable components: I recall once when I ordered one of these packages it had 13 separate items listed, including, a heavy duty flasher, a wiring harness placed in the trunk to be installed by the owner to connect to the trailer, a separate little power steering fluid cooler, a separate transmission fluid cooler (besides the one inside the engine cooling radiator), a heavy duty battery, etc etc all designed to give the vehicle greater ability to handle the stresses of towing 5000 lbs.

On my 2007 Town Car, which already has more capable brakes than were available in the last year of the tow package (1996), and more horsepower (239 hp) than my 1993 model (which had 210 with the dual exhaust), and a stronger rear axle (31 spline instead of 28 spline from 2005 on), & a slightly better shifting a/t, I plan to add the following features:

  1. A separate large transmission fluid cooler (bigger than the one they ever put on the vehicle from the factory & which will bypass the cooler in the radiator;
  2. New Brake rotors & pads
  3. New tires. I plan to use P235/60 TR or similar (Standard was 225/60 R) unless some of you have a superior suggestion.
  4. New heavy duty universal joints (probably solid since I am not driving much these days and the solid ones are stronger I believe, for the price, than the ones that are hollowed out more to provide ways for the lubricant to be dispersed (unless you buy super duty racing parts, etc.) --Please educate me on this if I am off base; a 5000 lb tow hitch.
  5. A power steering fluid cooler (especially since the 2007 models had some concerns from EPA interference with mpg ratings, convincing Ford to weaken the power steering pump a little & then change it back to the 2006 standards for 2008 model year!).
  6. I already placed police springs & police shocks in my 1996 model so I thought I would instead try the heavy duty (for limousine use) rear air bag springs, as I imagine they will be up to the task & handle the tongue weight of a well balanced trailer.
  7. Police shocks at all four corners (KYB from Japan is what I used on the 1996 Town Car)
  8. Of course I have already changed all the fluids in the car including the power steering fluid (as I did with my 1996 model), engine coolant, brake fluid flushed, engine oil (using Walmart synthetic but using 5W-30 not the 5W-20 Ford recommends. --As most of you know, Ford altered the oil specifications to 5W-20 to help the vehicle get better gas mileage, which in my mind, is ridiculous & yet another example of the Green Insanity affecting automotive design especially since this nation is overloaded with oil & natural gas reserves. Although I don’t think 5W20 is harmful, I myself tow almost exclusively in the hotter Summer months, & thus I believe 15W30 will serve me a little better), etc., ---and all filters changed including the fuel filter. Since the vehicle is only going to tow about 4500 pounds a total of about 4 times a year (30 miles a trip x four trips =120 miles) on mainly flat ground and at speeds of 50 mph or less, and at temperatures almost always below 100 F (I am in Michigan), this should be sufficient to protect the vehicle. Now I am aware that these upgrades will not include the stiffer (numerically higher) 3.27 rear axle gear, however this is not of great concern as I am not traveling on hilly or mountainous terrain, and I am aware of shutting off the OD (overdrive) feature whenever there is a hint of hunting between 3rd & fourth gear. Since my trailer does not have a huge number of lights (as on some trailer homes), I will not have much concern over the need for a heavy duty flasher for turn signals, etc. If any of you men who have more experience than me wish to educate me, please feel free to do so, and I will take note!
______________________________
 

dave42

Senior Member
Jul 6, 2015
812
475
63
Leander, TX C.K.U.
You have done your homework and have some great experience with this subject. To a non-mechanic such as myself, you seem to be on the right track and all sounds very do-able. Good luck.
 

Action

Junior Member
Aug 12, 2005
2,363
1,212
113
Phoenix, AZ 85008-1418
This is a two year old thread. But I will throw in my two cents based on working for the company in the 80s.

The panther platform was to be ended a number of times to move the company into a front wheel drive. Since FWD is not he best platform to tow a trailer, that job was being shifted to trucks. Or at least dealer sales training was to emphasize that cars were not going to be up for that kind of job The problem with that planning is buyers kept buying the platform across all FLM lines.

So panther continued with the second gen Panther (introed in1990) a lot of chnages were made to take out weight and get better fuel economy for CAFE. At the same time Ford rolled out Explorer in 1991. And at some point in the 1990s, 1996 seems reasonable, the towing capacity of the panther platform became 2000 pounds. Mostly because transmisison and axle ratios allowed the engine to maintain speed around 2500 RPM. At that RPM, adding a significant load, problems start to happen. Insufficient lube or cooling for the engine and transmission. Plus the brakes were pretty anemic. Plus the platform just doesn't have a lot of meat to handle repeated impact of towing big loads.

Can you modify a later panther to tow a bigger load? I am a firm believer that anything can be done with enough money, time and effort. But I have found it is easier to find a used truck or SUV to do my towing. For a long time (Late 80s to 2005) I used full sized Ford vans. My trailer of choice was a boat & trailer in the 5000 to 7500 pound range. However in that time period I had a 5600 pound travel trailer. My E150 vans were modified and the modifications were easier because the platform was simple. The last E150 I had was the highest GVWR E-150 for that model year. Mush of the chassis was the same as a E250. When I did the few things to cool down the transmission and radiator it severed me well for about 75,000 miles.

A car platform from the 90s and later can be modified for towing. However I would not want to go much higher than a class II.

As far as dealership sales people, most are pretty ignorant about towing. Most just don't understand. BTW Ford has a requirement for frontal area of the trailer. It is on the website. Again most sales people do not know that is a thing. No one else specifies that.

Action
 

Garypaul

New member
Jul 17, 2022
3
2
3
My Lincoln
2007 Town Car Signature
I wanted to add a few additional comments regarding my earlier replay above, originally made on July 19, 2022. 1.) I meant to say that I would use 5W30 synthetic, not 15W30, as I mentioned at one point. --Again this was to counter the Ford requirements for 5W20 which apprantly were adopted over 20 years ago to eek out a ridiculously tiny additional fraction of a mile per gallon at the expense of ultimate engine durability, as I have read comments made by three Ford engineers on this point. Yes it is a ridiculous what the EPA can get away with to increase fuel mileage in a country overloaded with natural crude oil and the ability to refine it. 2) A decent looking power steering cooler is already on my 2007 Town Car, located neatly in front of the radiator (apparently standard equipment). My question to any of you is this: Was this cooler added as part of the Ford TSB 06-23-5, when the High Displacement Power Steering Pump (from the pre-2006 model year?), was authorized to replace the lower displacement pump for the 2006-7 model years (Again Ford trying try to meet EPA demands for a fractional increase in fuel mileage which saves Ford $$)? Do any of your Twon Cars vehicles from 2003-2005 have the power steering cooler (indicating that it was a standard part of the power steering at that time? 3.) I also indicated that the vehicle did not have the stiffer 3.27 rear gears, but actually it does, and it is noted on the rear axle tag.
 

Garypaul

New member
Jul 17, 2022
3
2
3
My Lincoln
2007 Town Car Signature
I also finally found my 96 Lincoln Town Car Owners Manual and it clearly has data for the optional 5,000 pound (Class III) tow package in there, on pages (178-185).
______________________________
 

G-915997

Hi, DesertRatt.

Do not turn off the air suspension! Turning off the air suspension is only for stuff like changing a tire or putting the entire car on a lift. Otherwise, leave the switch on.

If you are worried about the rear springs, install heavy duty (limo) air springs. If you can not find the Motorcraft heavy-duty air springs, the Arnott heavy-duty springs will work just as well, and likely be a little less expensive.

Second, the factory rating for towing is only 2,000 lbs. Don't buy a 2400 pound trailer! If you did buy it, figure out how to put it on a 400-500 lb diet without making it unsafe, or try to sell it without suffering a financial disaster. Do not go over the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or the Gross Axle Weight Rating for either axle of the car.

If you have a full-size spare, replace it with a Lincoln Town Car "doughnut" spare, at least when you're towing. Every bit helps, and the weight savings from the spare will allow you a couple of changes of clothing, an extra blanket, and so on.

Evaluate the wheels and tires on the trailer as well. If you can find lighter rims and tires of the correct size, this will reduce the towed load, and maybe make the trailer itself look better.

If the trailer itself has water tanks, fill them only when on site, and drain them before towing for any distance. Also, plan on doing almost all of your food and beverage shopping at the destination, after parking the trailer.

The article below is one of several out on the internet to help a prospective buyer needing an RV-Trailer weighing less than 2,000 lbs make an informed and satisfying choice.

Ten travel trailers under 2,000 pounds.

Good luck.
Same vehicle was rated at 5000# until 1990...... No one can explain what changed.
 

Vinci

Member
Aug 29, 2022
90
67
18
My Lincoln
2004 TC Ultimate
I wanted to add a few additional comments regarding my earlier replay above, originally made on July 19, 2022. 1.) I meant to say that I would use 5W30 synthetic, not 15W30, as I mentioned at one point. --Again this was to counter the Ford requirements for 5W20 which apprantly were adopted over 20 years ago to eek out a ridiculously tiny additional fraction of a mile per gallon at the expense of ultimate engine durability, as I have read comments made by three Ford engineers on this point. Yes it is a ridiculous what the EPA can get away with to increase fuel mileage in a country overloaded with natural crude oil and the ability to refine it. 2) A decent looking power steering cooler is already on my 2007 Town Car, located neatly in front of the radiator (apparently standard equipment). My question to any of you is this: Was this cooler added as part of the Ford TSB 06-23-5, when the High Displacement Power Steering Pump (from the pre-2006 model year?), was authorized to replace the lower displacement pump for the 2006-7 model years (Again Ford trying try to meet EPA demands for a fractional increase in fuel mileage which saves Ford $$)? Do any of your Twon Cars vehicles from 2003-2005 have the power steering cooler (indicating that it was a standard part of the power steering at that time? 3.) I also indicated that the vehicle did not have the stiffer 3.27 rear gears, but actually it does, and it is noted on the rear axle tag.
I'm late to the party, but as a former Ford engineer myself, I'd like to talk with the three who made the oil claims you mention. The weight of the oil is only very indirectly related to the film strength. Film strength is what matters under severe service, and oil temperature. Most if not all of the synthetics will have vastly superior film strength regardless of oil weight to any non-synthetic. Weight of the oil is only a specification of viscosity vs temperature. You might get a thicker film with the higher weight oil where clearances allow it, but in a healthy 4.6, that does not happen. The Ford modular engines were designed from the ground up to run 5W-20, and their internal clearances are far tighter than traditional V8s like gen I-II SB Chevys.

Second, heat: A higher weight oil is going to create a higher oil pressure for a given RPM, which translates to more heat. Do you think running your internals hotter helps? It doesn't. Run the 5W-20, regardless of what you're doing.

Finally, WRT to U-joints, solid joints are NOT in any way superior to hollow joints with zerks. I spent the latter part of my career as an engineering executive with the largest maker of u-joints in N America. Use the joints with higher grease capacity if you are concerned at all about longevity and severe use. That would be the hollow ones.
 

wolf_walker

Junior Member
Dec 11, 2017
1,011
685
113
The 4.6 has had 5w30 recommended for it from Ford early on, it's been reported by more than a few that it was listed as such for warm climates even later, and early in it's deployment across the board. The change to recommending 5w20 was later in it's life, fuel economy is a fair guess at the reason for the change.

On page 201 of this early 4.6L t-bird owners manual you'll find they recommended 5w30 for example.

There was a TSB sometime around 2001 where they suggested all the pre-01 4.6's (and a bunch of other stuff) just switch to 5w20.
So saying they were designed for 5w20 seems contradictory to the history available to the genpop.
All that said, the difference in the two is likely negligible in normal use as long lived as these things are.

The u-joint advice is solid for applications not apt to exceed the capacity of a greasable joint.
Those making enough power to break them generally know what the deal is after breaking a few, greasability
is kind for highway use. Also the factory ford joints are extremely good and long lived despite not being greasable.
 

Vinci

Member
Aug 29, 2022
90
67
18
My Lincoln
2004 TC Ultimate
The 4.6 has had 5w30 recommended for it from Ford early on, it's been reported by more than a few that it was listed as such for warm climates even later, and early in it's deployment across the board. The change to recommending 5w20 was later in it's life, fuel economy is a fair guess at the reason for the change.

On page 201 of this early 4.6L t-bird owners manual you'll find they recommended 5w30 for example.

There was a TSB sometime around 2001 where they suggested all the pre-01 4.6's (and a bunch of other stuff) just switch to 5w20.
So saying they were designed for 5w20 seems contradictory to the history available to the genpop.
All that said, the difference in the two is likely negligible in normal use as long lived as these things are.

The u-joint advice is solid for applications not apt to exceed the capacity of a greasable joint.
Those making enough power to break them generally know what the deal is after breaking a few, greasability
is kind for highway use. Also the factory ford joints are extremely good and long lived despite not being greasable.
I believe internal clearances were changed (tightened) around the time of the switch, but that was a long time and a few jobs ago. As I said though, film strength matters far more than viscosity, and these engines were designed in an era when full synthetics were not commonly used. If you're using a full synthetic now, you're well beyond what they need regardless of whether the second number is 20 or 30. The TSB makes my point - they don't issue TSBs for fuel economy. They issue them because it fixes a problem, likely longevity in this case. By 2001, even non-synthetic specs had improved considerably.

WRT to u-joints, solid vs hollow is a negligible breaking strength difference. Quality of the metallurgy and heat treat matter far more. Any engineer will tell you that a hole of that small of a diameter subtracts nothing from strength, but when that grease liquifies under load and heat, there certainly is a difference in doubling the grease capacity.

Most people don't realize that the grease actually circulates pretty well under sustained load/heat. I can't think of a single premium severe service Dana u-joint that is not hollow, but there might be one or two in those hundred or so SKUs. Some have zerks, some don't and come packed. Pic is a severe service Spicer from their premium line (the Dana blue seals tell you that) designed for a very high torque application.
 

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