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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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My new daily driver...

The Cougar has been a reliable winter car/daily driver since I picked it up 3-1/2 years ago. However, it's not the nicest car to ride around in due to some body rust, poor paint and an exhaust leak (neither of which I feel is worth while fixing due to the age/worth of the car), so I've been keeping a look out for a replacement DD - specifically another Mark VIII.

Found this 96 listed up on craigslist last night and went to have a look today. Totally loaded and everything works, but it will need a new stereo amplifier, a J-mod and a couple minor paint touchups. Virtually no rust on it anywhere, none underneath at all. Going to pick it up next Wednesday.








Natesriv likes this.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci

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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 12:22 PM
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Congrats B ! Nice ride for the family
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 12:49 PM
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Congrats B ! Nice ride for the family
I agree!

Joe

It's not a 97 Sport, it just looks like one!

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-19-2014, 02:15 PM
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Nice Mark there Brandon, I know you will make it even nicer, Enjoy!!
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, looking forward to picking it up and getting all the little issues fixed. Besides, in recent years there have been far too few Mark VIII guys on here.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

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Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 06:50 PM
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Nice score Brandon. Awesome. I'm happy for you.

Look forward to reading, and seeing what all you do to it.

1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6l 97 Headlamps/Hood All Red Tails Muffler/Resonator Delete
2004 Tahoe 5.3 4x4
2008 Acadia Limited AWD

...still looking for a clean, low mileage, rust free 96/97 Thunderbird 4.6
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Look forward to reading, and seeing what all you do to it.
Me too.

I was kind of bummed when I looked underneath and saw coils, but the more I think about it the better it will be for me financially. I remember my old 93 would just eat up any air suspension parts you'd feed it and keep asking for more.

I've got J-mod parts coming from Jason already; it shifts well but the 3-4 is way sluggish (it's been a while since I've driven a stock pre-99 trans!). I'm also going to retrofit some HIDs and possibly some vent tubes in for the low beams to keep from cooking the chrome off the headlights. The message center display panel is dead as well, but the previous owner has a new part on hand which comes with the car.

I'm not 100% decided on what I want to do about the stereo. It's the JBL system with a double din cassette head and a 10 disc changer in the trunk. The speakers pop lightly with the head unit on and pretty loudly with it off - I'm looking for a replacement amp on markviii.org. The previous owner's nephew got in there with some super glue and went at the volume and seek buttons with it... The volume button has since been freed, but I am thinking about getting a double to single din conversion kit and a head unit with a USB/aux port for my music. 10 CDs in the trunk is nice, but only would hold about 30% of my music in non-MP3 format. Not a high priority for me at the moment though, since I still have my old cassette to 1/8" TRS adapter.

I don't think this one will need ball joints, but it does need front endlinks (found some TRW closeouts on RockAuto for $10 a side!) and shocks.

Decidedly not perfect, but the fact that I don't need to mess with air ride or replace the entire front suspension was a major selling point. Combined with the lack of any rust or corrosion on the underside along with an immaculate interior and reasonable asking price... I was hooked.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

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Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 02:35 PM
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Congrats Brando!

I'm amazed at how well the Marks hold up to Winter driving compared to the MN12's..I guess Ford spared no expense when it came to the Lincolns..

You could say that for just about all 90's Lincolns you still see on the road though.."Lack of Rust" that is..

Personally..I've always liked the look of Murdered out Marks..White ones just seem so "old mandish" to me...lol

So..What are you going to do with the Cat now?



Rayo..

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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 03:05 PM
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Congrats Brando!

I'm amazed at how well the Marks hold up to Winter driving compared to the MN12's..I guess Ford spared no expense when it came to the Lincolns..

You could say that for just about all 90's Lincolns you still see on the road though.."Lack of Rust" that is..

Personally..I've always liked the look of Murdered out Marks..White ones just seem so "old mandish" to me...lol

So..What are you going to do with the Cat now?



Rayo..
Marks hide it better, they rust in all the same places these do

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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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There's a little bubbling above the bottom of the rockers in the usual area but nothing underneath.

My parents are fairly serious about taking the Cougar off my hands. It's mechanically sound, the suspension is good and the structural rusting isn't too serious (yet), but the body rust, poor paint and the exhaust leak are a bit more than I'm willing to cope with anymore. It's nice though to see it live on. Every morning it would fire right up and take me where I needed to go. 11,000 miles worth since the year started, in fact...

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 05:47 PM
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Sounds like you have a well thought out game plan for the car.

Looking forward to seeing maybe some more of your write ups, (?).

1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6l 97 Headlamps/Hood All Red Tails Muffler/Resonator Delete
2004 Tahoe 5.3 4x4
2008 Acadia Limited AWD

...still looking for a clean, low mileage, rust free 96/97 Thunderbird 4.6
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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Got the car this afternoon. Rides nice, but tires need a Hunter GSP-9700 balance job, shocks all around and the moon roof needs a seal. Got new sway bar endlinks and J-mod stuff already on the way. Need to get the MIL and ABS codes read and addressed then I can e-check it and get plates.

It needs to be given a good scrub before I start posting any more pics...

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

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Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 10:25 PM
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Say, where were Mark VIII's made?

1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6l 97 Headlamps/Hood All Red Tails Muffler/Resonator Delete
2004 Tahoe 5.3 4x4
2008 Acadia Limited AWD

...still looking for a clean, low mileage, rust free 96/97 Thunderbird 4.6
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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-23-2014, 11:33 PM
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Wixom plant IIRC. They weren't built at Lorain with the MN12s

-Matt
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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-24-2014, 06:42 AM
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Wixom plant IIRC. They weren't built at Lorain with the MN12s
Yup, Wixom.

Here's a video of some guy cruising into the plant.



I can hear the pride is his voice when he talks about the Fords.

1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6l 97 Headlamps/Hood All Red Tails Muffler/Resonator Delete
2004 Tahoe 5.3 4x4
2008 Acadia Limited AWD

...still looking for a clean, low mileage, rust free 96/97 Thunderbird 4.6

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post #16 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I've been slowly taking care of the little odds-and-ends. I did give it a good scrub last week, but it rained the next day before I could take decent photos (go figure, eh?). I did take this one after washing it, but it's not a very flattering angle.



I replaced all the dead exterior bulbs, front endlinks and moon roof seal, and replaced a squeaky idler pulley and cleaned the MAF sensor. Car is much quieter inside now without the suspension clatter and wind noise. I also got my MPG for the first full tank of gas - 24.4 MPG with a good bit of idling as well. I'm pleased.

I uncovered an awkward issue over the weekend where the keypad on the door would stop working about 20 minutes after shutting the doors. Turns out it's a very common problem which went unsolved for almost 5 years. Thankfully someone really dug into the problem and made up some articles detailing the repair. Turns out a switch on the door latch that sticks makes the car think the door handle is lifted up all the time - causing a timer to kill certain features (keypad, interior illumination, autoglide). I need to find a block of time to rip the door panels off and get the switches out for a cleaning. Hopefully today, if the weather clears up...

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #17 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 11:21 AM
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Nice n Ivory.

What is autoglide?

Seems I remember driving a Mk viii that had holographic needles for the instrument cluster. That would have been a new at the time '95-'96.

...or have I truly gone fishing?

1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6l 97 Headlamps/Hood All Red Tails Muffler/Resonator Delete
2004 Tahoe 5.3 4x4
2008 Acadia Limited AWD

...still looking for a clean, low mileage, rust free 96/97 Thunderbird 4.6
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post #18 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Nah, all Mark VIIIs had a traditional analog cluster. Autoglide is a feature where the seats move themselves all the way forward when the back is pushed forward to give more clearance for entry to the rear seats.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #19 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 12:44 PM
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Nah, all Mark VIIIs had a traditional analog cluster. Autoglide is a feature where the seats move themselves all the way forward when the back is pushed forward to give more clearance for entry to the rear seats.
Oh, ok no floating needles. I must be somewhere over the rainbow.

I rented a car that had seat position memory for two different drivers. Hit the wrong switch and get cider pressed into the steering wheel, j/k

1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6l 97 Headlamps/Hood All Red Tails Muffler/Resonator Delete
2004 Tahoe 5.3 4x4
2008 Acadia Limited AWD

...still looking for a clean, low mileage, rust free 96/97 Thunderbird 4.6
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post #20 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, it has two memory positions for the seats and mirrors. What's neat (that I didn't know before) is the key fob and entry code can be matched to each memory position. Depending on the code or key fob used to unlock the car, the seat and mirrors will automatically be recalled for that person.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #21 of 41 (permalink) Old 04-30-2014, 03:42 PM
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What's neat (that I didn't know before) is the key fob and entry code can be matched to each memory position. Depending on the code or key fob used to unlock the car, the seat and mirrors will automatically be recalled for that person.

So the seat/mirrors are set to your personal touch. You can have the memory move the seat to your driving position. Or, have the memory move the seat back to slip in easy by the time you open the car door. Use the other memory for driver's position once seated, lol

1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6l 97 Headlamps/Hood All Red Tails Muffler/Resonator Delete
2004 Tahoe 5.3 4x4
2008 Acadia Limited AWD

...still looking for a clean, low mileage, rust free 96/97 Thunderbird 4.6
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post #22 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-05-2014, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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I feel compelled to do a bit more gloating about this thing...



That's the highest I've seen yet on ANY MN12/FN10 I've driven. That was 40 miles after resetting the average after I filled up on my way from Cleveland to Columbus on 71. About half cruising at 60, 1/6 at 75 and the rest 70. I filled up this morning after getting back to Cleveland, the tank average was 28.7.

I stuck some 4300k 35W HIDs in the headlights the other night; such a great improvement over what my old 93 was like. I am paranoid to run halogens in the headlights after seeing they were recently replaced (at $500 a pair!). For those who don't know, the Gen 1 halogen housings are notoriously terrible. Heat builds up inside the housings and literally burns the chrome off the backs and tops of the reflectors. Having the 35W HIDs will greatly cut down on heat (mostly from much less infrared), then I plan to install some extra venting to ensure they last.

Got the drill bits for the J-mod coming today, I may or may not decide to do that this afternoon (a bit chilly today, if it stays dry I'll probably do it).

I still need to source some replacement ABS stuff. Looks like the entire system is toast. Well, at least 2 of the 4 wheel sensors and the pump assembly, anyway. The driver's autodimming mirror also seems stuck in a partially dimmed state. I'd like to replace it with one that dims, but if I can't find one at a reasonable price I can live with a regular one.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #23 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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As it turns out, the ABS works... but it's intermittent. I realized that the other day when driving and the ABS light was off. I thought it was a fluke, but the T/A button was working. The next day it was on, but yesterday it went off again... so I tested the system to see if it was in fact working. Sure enough, it works... I think there's a grounding issue or other intermittent electrical problem somewhere. Eventually I'll get around to looking at that. I'm just glad the computer, sensors and pump are in good, working order.

In the meantime, I have completed a double to single DIN conversion:


-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #24 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 03:23 AM
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I feel compelled to do a bit more gloating about this thing...



That's the highest I've seen yet on ANY MN12/FN10 I've driven. That was 40 miles after resetting the average after I filled up on my way from Cleveland to Columbus on 71. About half cruising at 60, 1/6 at 75 and the rest 70. I filled up this morning after getting back to Cleveland, the tank average was 28.7.

I stuck some 4300k 35W HIDs in the headlights the other night; such a great improvement over what my old 93 was like. I am paranoid to run halogens in the headlights after seeing they were recently replaced (at $500 a pair!). For those who don't know, the Gen 1 halogen housings are notoriously terrible. Heat builds up inside the housings and literally burns the chrome off the backs and tops of the reflectors. Having the 35W HIDs will greatly cut down on heat (mostly from much less infrared), then I plan to install some extra venting to ensure they last.

Got the drill bits for the J-mod coming today, I may or may not decide to do that this afternoon (a bit chilly today, if it stays dry I'll probably do it).

I still need to source some replacement ABS stuff. Looks like the entire system is toast. Well, at least 2 of the 4 wheel sensors and the pump assembly, anyway. The driver's autodimming mirror also seems stuck in a partially dimmed state. I'd like to replace it with one that dims, but if I can't find one at a reasonable price I can live with a regular one.
HID capsules will run cooler, but only marginally. Aftermarket capsules though will have a much higher UV output though that will damage the reflector over time and will speed up the oxidation of the lenses.

1996 Ford Thunderbird LX - 4.6L V8 - Full LED conversion almost complete - Daily Driver
2012 Mazda 3i Touring - Skyactiv-G 2.0L I4 - LED interior and tag lights, TRS Black Series Clear Lenses w/blocked squirrell finders, DDM 4500K HID low beams, 9011 HIR1 high beams - SOLD
2011 Mazda 2 Sport - 1.5L I4 - LED interior and tag lights, First Retrofitted Mazda 2 in North America using Morimoto Mini D2S projectors and Osram Xenarc 4300K D2S bulbs http://www.mazdas247.com/forum/showt...it-your-Mazda2 - TOTALED
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post #25 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-26-2014, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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35W HID vs 55W halogen? The IR output is MUCH less, and that's where the bulk of the heat comes from. You're going to have a hard time convincing me they're worse than halogens after I've seen half a dozen headlights burned (literally - brown, bubbled plastic) by halogen bulbs.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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post #26 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-17-2014, 01:14 AM
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OEM capsules will have less UV output due to better quality control. Aftermarket capsules on the other hand will generate more UV output. The heat of the capsules is not as drastic of a difference as you think to a 55w halogen bulb. I've seen plenty of reflectors damaged from halogens as well, just depends on the quality of the reflector.

1996 Ford Thunderbird LX - 4.6L V8 - Full LED conversion almost complete - Daily Driver
2012 Mazda 3i Touring - Skyactiv-G 2.0L I4 - LED interior and tag lights, TRS Black Series Clear Lenses w/blocked squirrell finders, DDM 4500K HID low beams, 9011 HIR1 high beams - SOLD
2011 Mazda 2 Sport - 1.5L I4 - LED interior and tag lights, First Retrofitted Mazda 2 in North America using Morimoto Mini D2S projectors and Osram Xenarc 4300K D2S bulbs http://www.mazdas247.com/forum/showt...it-your-Mazda2 - TOTALED
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post #27 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-17-2014, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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I've had no issues in the last 5 years on my T-bird since the conversion. If the cheap aftermarket capsules sped up lens oxidation as you claim, I would have more oxidation on my lenses in the half-dollar sized area the light shines through from the projectors - which I don't. Show me some quantitative data and controlled test results for this application.

Also - until you post temperature readings of identical housings with a halogen vs an HID, I'm still not buying your claim that the HIDs are any worse than the halogens. Basic physics states that the energy going in equals the energy coming out. If I've got more light output from an HID with less input energy, that automatically translates to less thermal output.

-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
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Last edited by theterminator93; 06-17-2014 at 06:37 AM.
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post #28 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-21-2014, 11:49 PM
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Nice ride. I always liked the mark viii's
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post #29 of 41 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 06:12 PM
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Never said you would have issues. Just stating that it can happen and I've seen it happen. Doesn't happen all the time. Polycarbonate will have more tendency to than glass(I have no idea if those Mark VIII lights are glass or poly). With a projector, you're already running the light source through one filter in the projector lens.

Your energy and heat claims would be true IF you were using the same system. Halogen and High Intensity Discharge are two completely different types of lighting systems. I had a chart somewhere with the heat readings that I'll have to find and get back to you on.

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post #30 of 41 (permalink) Old 09-23-2015, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Car's been at the body shop for a couple weeks now to get rust removed before it gets REALLY bad in the next year or two, with the intent of getting at least another 4-5 years out of the body with the car as my year-round DD. I figured it'd be worth a little more to keep the body in good shape since I've already got the investment of a new engine and newer trans in this thing... in for a penny, in for a pound etc.

Making some progress on the bulk of the repairs. I realize he's not doing an "all-in" paint job here (removing windows/mouldings etc.) but since I'm only interested in a DD quality repair, it doesn't bother me too much.

Biggest problem areas were the bottoms of both doors, rockers along the spot weld seam, above the RR tire and above the L rocker ahead of the LR tire. Not really much to speak of underneath, surprisingly, for a 20 year old Ohio car.




-Brandon
97 Laser Red Thunderbird LX 155k, Stage 2 4.6L 2v N/A | 300 BHP (255 RWHP, 290 RWTQ) | 13.95 @ 97.58 | Build details | Pics at the Lorain Assembly plant
96 Ivory Mark VIII 230k, stock 4.6 32v on coils; New engine at 185k
Gone but not forgotten: 94 Cougar XR7, 93 Mark VIII

TCCoA's resident pilot since 2014
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the world with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return. -Leonardo da Vinci
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