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1963 Continental Convertible Questions

Hi Bill –
Thanks for the Blog and info – it’s really great and really appreciated!
I have a 63 Continental Convertible that’s been in my family for about 25 years – mostly sitting in a garage unfortunately. Recently I started on a mission to get it started again. New starter solenoid, new starter, new battery, new battery cables and starter cable. Got it cranking! Changed oil and filter, drained as much bad gas from (an almost empty) tank as I could and added 10 gallons of fresh gas with a can of Sea Foam. Rebuilt carb, did a full tune up (plugs, wires, cap, condenser, points, new coil, fuel and air filters.
Amazingly it started up pretty easily at that point and ran pretty great for about a month of idling and putsing around my neighborhood. 2 days ago I tried to start it and it was a real bear to start – missing really bad and it was tough to keep it running. And all of a sudden a new valve/lifter tapping noise from the passenger side. Pulled the passenger side valve cover off and there is indeed a bent/broken valve. So I’m guessing I need to have a full valve job done not just having one valve replaced – correct? (Everything under the valve cover is really black and sludged up BTW).
If indeed I do need a valve job – what else should be done at the same time while having this done? Other than the bent valve – what else should be re-used/replaced? And what may have caused this to happen and how can I avoid it from happening again? Should the oil pan be removed and screen, oil pump, everything “down there” be cleaned up as well? Thank You VERY Much Again!!!
Robert –
After reading your post several times it would appear that the least that you will need to have done is a complete valve job along with new lifters. If your problem was only a bent push rod or two and NOT a bent valve you could easily replace these and continue monitoring the situation as the engine hopefully clears itself of the sticking valve problems. Not knowing the actual condition of the engine and after reading your statements about the length of time that the car has sat with the engine not being started and your description of the amount of sludge in the engine indicates that other problems could possibly surface at a later date if you don’t consider some further inspection at this time. Engines that sit unused with old acidic and sludgy oil usually do not fare well in many cases when they are finally revived. The decision of how far to actually go should be left up to the technician who is performing the work. You may be lucky and get away with only a valve job but the fact that there is an apparent sludge build up in the engine tells me that the engine was poorly maintained with regard to necessary scheduled oil changes etc. If it was my Lincoln I would also remove the oil pan and examine the engine bearings and measure bearing clearances as well as replace the oil pump and valve lifters. The timing gears and chain are other items for consideration as the original cam gear is aluminum with nylon teeth that do crack and fail with age. All of the sludge should be rinsed out at this time of course. The final assessment however is best left up to the expert engine technician who is on scene and will be performing the work for you as I have mentioned above. We wish you a speedy repair and good decisions.
Good Afternoon Bill –
Thanks Again so much for your insight and advice on our last email correspondence – I/we really appreciate it!. I’m sorry to bother again – I’ll try my best not to dominate your time and wear on your patience and generosity! 🙂 I have a follow up question/concern I hope you can help me with. This might be my last attempt before I try to find a local mechanic/shop. (Which if you know/recommend anyone in South Florida – West Palm Beach area.) I replaced the bent pushrod (I called it a bent valve on my email to you – sorry!) and was able to “loosen” the stuck valve (WD-40 and a hammer) – 4th from the back on the passenger side and the car started up and ran “perfectly”. For a minute or so. Then it started to miss and run very poorly. Would not hold idle. All of the valves, springs, rockers, pushrods, etc visually looked to be operating as they should – including the one valve/spring that had previously been stuck. I also noticed moisture (not smoke) blowing from the exhaust – could see patch/ring of it on the driveway under each muffler (previously there had been a little oily black “soot” and a little oily smoke – kinda normal I’m guessing for a car that had been sitting for 5 years and just started? – but not this much moisture) – it is/was possibly coolant (?). I thought maybe I hadn’t torqued the four rocker arm bolts tightly enough with my “standard” ratchet and possibly coolant was entering from the head and/or manifold (?) – so I re-torqued them a little bit more with a longer/beefier ratchet (don’t have a torque wrench though). Thats all I loosened/tightened – nothing else (other than the valve cover). I then tried starting the car again with the same results – except that in the middle of my “trying” for about 30 seconds it ran perfectly again. Then started to miss and now backfire every now and then (a couple times through the carb and a few times through the exhaust – a couple pretty good ones). The next day after being up all night “researching” I tried again. Same results – but again for about 30 seconds in the middle of my “trying” the engine ran “perfectly”. But the engine then reverted back to misfiring and again occasionally a backfire. I also noticed that the moisture no longer appeared to be as bad from the tailpipes – but now it was more of a mild oily black “soot” (like it had been before when the engine had been running “fine”. ) Hope you can help – I’m a rookie mechanic on a shoestring budget. But I would love to get this old girl running again…Thank You VERY MUCH Bill! Robert
For full disclosure – and if it is applicable…
Exhaust appears to be shot – in just a quick look I saw a hole or two on the “bottom” of both resonators and a hole or two on a couple of the pipes. (Ugh!) The backfiring made things much worse – you now can hear a negative change in the cars sound and hear/see exhaust leaks…(Again Ugh!)
When I was loosening the rocker arm to replace the bent pushrod – I noticed moisture ran down from the area behind one of the bolts as I loosened it (second bolt from the back – passenger side). I was thinking initially this had just been oil – was this possibly coolant?
Pulled the 4 spark plugs on the passenger side and 3 looked OK – the 4th (“same” 2nd from the back – passenger side – which was the one below the stuck valve) was covered in oil – probably from me working the valve to try to free it up and the WD40 I used. I cleaned/dried and it looked fine – then reinserted.
I double checked the correct firing order of the plug wires to the distributer. They are correct.
When loosening and tightening the (4) rocker arm bolts I alternated with each turn or so (as I think you are supposed to do).
Unfortunately I don’t have a timing light or the knowledge/skill to check the timing and I don’t think I have the ability/tools to check compression.
To recap/close – fresh fuel with a little Sea Foam added (didn’t drain the tank but got out as much of the old/bad fuel as I could before I even started any of this other “work”), new fuel filter, cleaned and rebuilt carb, new points/condenser/rotor/cap, new coil, new wires/plugs, new air filter, oil change and new oil filter.
Thanks Again!!!
Hi Robert –
Your latest email only underscores my suggestions and possibilities to you in our first reply. It appears that replacing the bent pushrods in your engine is not working in your case and that a valve job is in order here. The sticking valves situation seems to be worsening. The car should really be in the hands of an expert engine technician for the actual diagnosis as I have previously mentioned, because I of course cannot see exactly what is going on with your engine from here.
As for the confusion as to what the liquid is that you are seeing at the tailpipe I can tell you that water vapor will appear in this area at certain times. The other liquid (oil or antifreeze) that is appearing at other locations in the engine can only be determined by someone on scene with the engine.
We do have several offerings of exhaust qualities available for your Lincoln and someone in our office may know of a willing engine technician at your location. Call our office and mention the blog to discuss the possibilities.
Keep in mind though Robert that if you are a “rookie mechanic on a shoestring budget” as you state, with a 1963 Lincoln Convertible that needs much work, you will be a very busy man. We wish you all the luck and great success. When you finally have the car in good running order you can be proud and you will have a beautiful automobile to drive.

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