Alrighty then - if you've read my "About My Story", you now know I have this old taxi and I'm about to drive it all over the place because I'm a weirdo. Now, when I bought this car, I fully expected there would be many things that would need attention. I am fairly handy with a car and can usually diagnose a problem, and if it is a car that is manufactured before the onset of onboard diagnostics (the computer brain of which one needs a special tool to access) I can usually fix it myself. I once bought a 69 Mustang Mach 1 SHELL that had been sitting in the woods for 27 years.
All by myself, using my rudimentary caveman skills, I was able to jack the thing up, install a rear end, springs, a front end assembly and an engine. Mind you, I did all this in the WOODS. I sawed through numerous trees, used a tractor to move other similarly abandoned cars and ended up hauling the car home on a flat bed and within a week had the thing running and driving (admittedly not very well)
Before I worked on this car, I remembered showing pics of it in the woods to friends. My friends, who are used to my afflictions, scoffed as usual. One such friend, and I shall never forget this, looked at the pic and said "It's a ghost, a shell, it's nothing, you'll never get it out of there". That struck lightning in me, and during the summer as I shed blood, sweat and tears working on this thing, those sharp words of his pushed me along. Do you any idea how hard it was to work on a car in the woods, amongst spiders, mosquitos and other assorted Vermont woods creatures? I'm surprised the car never fell on me. The car, by the way, is now fully restored and lives in Florida. Feeling I did what I could to save the thing, I sold it to a guy in Florida, who had it first shipped to a restoration shop in Kentucky. Aren't I AWESOME?!! Anyhow, I've done this sort of stuff numerous times and I love it. But this taxi of mine? Well, yeah it's an "old" cab, but - it's not really old. It's still actually relatively new. It's newer than my "nice" car that I have a loan on! But, despite it's relatively young age, it really is "old" simply because it has a lot of really hard miles on it. I go to New York a lot. My brother lives down there and my fiancee is from Harlem. Most of a NYC Taxi's life is spent in Manhattan, and Manhattan, all considering is not really that big. So the fact a car can have so many miles on it in such a relatively small area is really quite remarkable. It's also a really remarkable feat of engineering that cars can even get so many miles on them under such adverse and difficult conditions.
So, in the case of 8D69, there were indeed a few issues with the car that needed repairing. Some of the work I would have my local trustworthy mechanic perform - who is as honest as the day is long; I trust him with anything. The transmission leaked fluid like a sieve - the whole undercarriage of the car looked like it was undercoated. Thankfully, the car shifted fine (when it had fluid in it) and sounded like a normal Crown Vic transmission should sound like. It ended up being a seal on the front of the drive shaft that cost $30. Other things it needed: The valve cover gaskets were deteriorated and would leak oil directly onto the exhaust manifold, which would smoke like crazy and smell and is also a fire hazard. I've seen too many youtube videos of cabs turning into infernos so, I fixed this immediately. Even if it wasn't a fire hazard, when you turned the heat on, the oil smoke would get sucked right into the car and you couldn't breathe. I once went in to grab a pizza one cold night and left the heat on with my fiancee in the car (who hates my car by the way - more on that in another blog) and when I came out the car was off. I opened my door and smoke rolled out and she was all mad saying the car was trying to kill her - "Cono Diablo!" (She's Dominican...I'm used to this sort of stuff now). Tires. The tires on this car are size P235 55R17. What that means is they are EXPENSIVE. Like $250 a piece expensive. Thank the Good Lord He in his infinite wisdom allowed police departments to use Crown Vics too, as I was able to find some used tires that for whatever reason were considered not good enough for police service. Those cost 10 bucks a piece; a bargain with plenty of life left in them. Power Steering Pump. Ford's always make this unusually annoying grinding noise when your turn the wheel - you always know when a Ford is nearby. But on the cab, it went from the usual grind to ear piercing scream. So, I changed the power steering pump. U-Joint. Whenever I would back the car up, it sounded like the Beverly Hillbillies truck - squeaka, squeaka, squeaka, squeaka. A simple U-Joint that cost $27. Things it needs still is a wheel alignment - the front end on this car is a bit....uh, how do I describe it..? Skewed? Yeah that's it....skewed. The next thing I tackled was finding a short somewhere in the dash lights. When I first got the car, the ABS, Brake and Engine Light were all on, but then would mysteriously all go out. As would the high beam light indicator, the gas gauge/temp gauge in addition to the annoying crown victoria "buckle up" audio dinger. Then, after what could be 10 minutes or 1 hour, they would come back on. Sometimes the odometer wouldn't turn on either. So - clearly, some kind of mess going in the dash cluster. When a NYC Taxi cab is in service, it runs ALOT of different electrical equipment. First, it has the meter, then it has the credit card machines, GPS, and of course "Taxi TV" for the passengers in the back seat. So - when all this stuff is either installed or removed - it doesn't take much to touch off electrical issues. In any event, I believe I have fixed the issue, the OBDII scanner does not indicate any codes, I've gotten the issues that prompted the initial flashing of the lights repaired and at present, 8D69 is a green light GO.