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Tell me about 1998-2003 Crown Vics

Discussion in 'Car Forum' started by funbob, Feb 4, 2006.

  1. funbob

    funbob do a lil' dance

    Dec 13, 2002
    ABQ, NM
    The time has come to buy a new daily driver to replace a '96 Mercury Sable. I'm looking for something large that I can transport lots of stuff and friends in, is an excellent long distance driver, and is reliable. A V8 and rear wheel drive don't hurt either. A P71 Crown Vic seems to suit the bill perfectly. There are tons of very nice examples in the 4-6k price range that look to be in excellent condition.

    Any specific issues to be aware of with these cars? I realize most will have been used much harder than a regular Crown Vic, but they also have heavy duty components regular Vics lack and I'm guessing they're expertly and regularly maintained. How's the reliability? Any specific model year issues that I should avoid? What to look for on a test drive? Is the mileage on the car a big concern? They seem to run forever with regular maintainence.
  2. walkin' trails

    walkin' trails

    Apr 24, 2005
    Personally, I would not buy one with more than 40-50K, unless you can find one that was not used hard by a police department. The latter is extremely hard to find.

    The 1998 to 2001 models (square bodies) had 351 Windsor motors with variable venturi carbs (basically a two barrrel). They ran good, but I thought that the suspensions were a little soft for high speed work. That might not be such a bad thing for you as daily transportation. They also drank a lot of gas compared to the later models, but they held up to a lot of abuse. The ones I drove got used off road quite a bit and never got traded out before they had in excess of 100K.

    The 1992 and above are pretty good cars in their own right. I've not had much personal experience with the police package versions, but I had a non police package 1995 that got me 25 to 28 miles per gallon on the highway (2.73 rear end). Never gave me any problems. The police versions won't give you that kind of gas milege due to having 3.27 to 3.55 rear ends.

    Later versions (97 and above ?) of the police package had high milege transmission problems and rear end problems. I've also seen these cars with well in excess of 150K running well with regular maintenance, however. Ford didn't invest a lot into the brakes on any of them, however, so if you do a brake job, expect to replace the front rotors instead of turning them. Turned rotors on these cars won't last past the first panic stop without warping. Both the 351W and the 4.6 have turned out to be solid high milege motors.

    If you can, find a dealer that sells used police cars and you'll get a safer deal.

  3. Ron3


    Sep 6, 2001
    I think he meant 1988-1991 models here.

    Late-model CV's are pretty good cars. Comfortable, good power, and get 25mpg. Reliable too.

    Don't get a former police car though. They've been rode hard and put away wet, if ever.

    Get a used, low mile late-model CV from an old person with money. They often take good care of them, when the car isn't sitting in the garage.
  4. walkin' trails

    walkin' trails

    Apr 24, 2005
    My previous posting listing the years the 351W was used was incorrect. Ron3 is correct that 1991 was the last year for an overhead valve V-8 in a CV Police Inteceptor (civilians got a 302).

    There are some state police agencies that only run their cars up to 40-50K before trading them out. Most only sell to other law enforcement agencies, but if you can find one of those that stayed pretty much on the highway and was never wrecked, you might be okay. Just remember that the probably car sat half the time running radar in the median and the motor and accessories have twice the milege as showed on the odometer. The police package bucket seats really suck (no support). Also, the cars are not usually equipped with all the convenience options you'd normally get, and the bodies may have extra holes drilled in them. Spotlights are usually more trouble than they're worth over the long haul.

    Ford also offered civilian CVs (and Grand Marquis) with "touring" suspensions, and those cars usually come pretty decked out. You should be able to find one at a reasonable price because they usually depreciate like a falling brick. On my '95, I replaced the shocks with heavy duty Monroes, and the tires with Michelin touring tires, which significantly improved handling. You could probably find one with a limited slip rear end, although you'll get your best milege with a 2.73. Later civilian models came with traction control. Not all the police cars did, and most of the police I know didn't think highly of this option for pursuit work.
  5. i have a white 98 CVPI, was a command car, no cage, no traffic duty. is still has the push bar,Galls pro-copper center console with armrest, new front power seats, wigwags are still in there, all the antennas are still on there, and limo tint all the way around. traffic moves and i can get to where ever i am going about 10/15mins faster. just rolled 90k and runs great. the department really took care of it,and the generalization on the cars being beat on are overblown, depends on the city, but in a "good" city more than half the time the cars are sitting idling, may be 4/5 "chases" a year. and most depts call off the chase if it exceeds 90mph, most civilians drive that on the freeway for 15mins at a time. so dont by an LAPD car! but local depts really take care of cruisers. i'm in Michigan and might be looking to sell mine
  6. Victory


    Oct 28, 2004
    An LX crown vic with the handling and performance package has essentially all the cop goodies plus things like carpet and no holes drilled in it. If cost is an issue then consider the P71.

    1998 was the first year of the new body style, 2001 got performance improved heads for some extra power. 2003 was another redesign, same body style but frame and suspension modifications.

    If i were you i'd look for a 2001 or 2002 LX Sport. That way you get the PI heads, beefed up suspension, 17" alloys, leather bucket seats and all the goodies you'll miss with an interceptor.
  7. I have a 2002 CV LX. Bought it new, great car. I only have 28k on it but no problems. Leather seats, I can fit 3 kids in the back and it's a lot cheaper than a Cadillac. I have NO regrets.

    The dealer is always bothering me to have an engine flush performed. I know the deal so I just say that if it's not recommended in the owners manual, I'm not doing it. That's a dealer issue and not a car issue, though.
  8. lwt210


    Nov 28, 2001
    My work car is a 2000 Vic Police Interceptor. It has been rode extremely hard as I am a traffic officer in a decent sized town.

    I have 130000 miles on it and have gone through three rear end jobs, countless brake jobs, and now there is something going wrong with the engine as it will skip and downshift and do all sorts of funky things. I have been told that the fresh air module (?) may be on the fritz but I have not put it in the shop yet.

    Overall, the car probably would have held up much better as a family sedan but as a PD car I would give it a B minus. There are all sorts of little problems going wrong with it such as the a/c working bout half the time now, one of the windows is slow to roll up.....that kind of stuff.

    Now the brakes, I have been told, are way too small. This is from the guys down at the shop. I know very little about cars.

    The rear end has probably gone out so much due to all the moving radar that I do combined with turning around on folks hard. I pull the majority of the funeral escorts here in town and that is hard on one too.

    Were it my money, there is no way I would touch a used PD car. True, they usually get serviced every 3000 miles and such but I know my city won't do other types of preventive maintenence such as radiator flush and fills, hose replacements, belt replacements and the like. They stick with oil and filter and that is about it. Even getting a gas filter or an air filter is rare. They just take the air filters out and bang them up against the side of the car and re-install them.

    As far as horsepower, it is an anemic V8 pushing out something like 210 HP. It is slow as the dickens but adequate. My 2006 Maxima will take off like a rocket compared to my CVPI. My engine cuts off at 114 MPH but that is fast enough for government work. I have read that the Maxima tops out at 140.

    Good luck on your purchase.
  9. p
  10. tog


    Jan 17, 2001
    is there a good source for getting police crown vics for cheapo?
  11. Maxthemutt


    Dec 14, 2001

    These a few of the places I've found searching for P71's. There's also on in TX that seemed pretty good.

    More info can be found at

    I used to work at a Ford dealer and always prefered the squads to regular Vics.

    The best place to get them cheap is local Gov. auctions.

    Another thing to consider about the LX sport models is that they have rear air suspension. Ok when it works, bad when it doesn't.