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What Have I Done To My 1969 Continental Now?

Hello Bill,
I have a 1969 Lincoln Continental. I just replaced the points, condenser, cap, rotor, wires and plugs. The point gap is set at .017, and the spark gap is set at .035 as recommended. I did not adjust the distributor/timing.
I also replaced the thermostat due to the old on being stuck open. The old thermostat that I removed was a 160 degree “racing” thermostat. I put in a 195 degree thermostat which the parts store said was recommended original temperature.
Since replacing these item, the engine now pings much worse than before. Also, once the engine is warmed up, it is very difficult to start once turned off, almost like a dead battery. Once the engine cools down, it starts fine and runs fine. Other than the hard starting and pinging, the engine runs great after the tune up. Could the warmer thermostat cause these changes? What else should I check?
Last question I have, would you know where I could obtain the turn signal / tilt arm with the cruise control? Mine is plastic and it is cracked.
I would appreciate any feedback.
Thank you,
Hello Curtis –
Since you indicate that the pinging and hard starting is now worse with the new tune up parts installed you must perform some critical final adjustments. Also be aware that the batteries, starting and charging systems in these 460 CID engines along with their associated wiring must be in very good condition in order to perform correctly. The points adjustment should be checked using a Dwell Meter and adjusted to 26-31 degrees. Next, the initial ignition timing must be adjusted according to specifications with the use of a timing light and the vacuum advance disconnected. If the timing mark is unreadable due to Vibration Damper slippage. the distributor can be rotated Counterclockwise in small increments to reduce the pinging. This can be done of course only while road testing the car. If the Vacuum Advance unit is the adjustable style, it should be tested to make sure that it is operating and adjusted correctly to approximately 3 1/2 turns from max. These adjustable Vacuum advances are shipped in the maximum advance position and will likely contribute to a hard ping condition if not adjusted to your 1969 distributor. This is done with an Allen key through the vacuum line nipple. The original advances are the “take apart style” and are adjusted with the addition or removal of washers and springs, etc. From your description, I believe that most of your concerns can be resolved with the above Dwell and Timing adjustments.
Your 195 degree thermostat is correct as these engines were so equipped when new. We hope that the above will help you to obtain a smooth running and easy starting car. Some of the above may seem difficult or unclear therefore if you feel that you need any further advice or Shop manuals please contact us at any time.
The Cruise Control lever is a very rare part – yours is a good example of most. We can not supply you with any better quality at this time.

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