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Submitted by TownCar Type-R / 10-04-02


"How to Get That Damned 'Check Engine' Light to Go Off"

Okay, here' the deal. The EGR (Exhaust Gas Return) valve is that UFO-shaped thingy on the back passenger's side of the throttle body. When the engine gets warm, the EGR valve opens and lets warm air from the exhaust manifold into the air intake. The engine runs better with warm air. (No-one knows why, it's an unsolved mystery.) If your Lincoln is older than '96, it has the aluminum throttle body intake, which accumulates soot and gunk easier than the newer plastic type. Chances are, this gunk has clogged the passages between the EGR valve and the air intake passage, especially if there are more than 100,000 miles on the engine. The following is a relatively simple repair which requires no special tools, costs nothing and will really help your car's performance. 

Here is what you need:
  • socket set w/ long extension 
  • vacuum cleaner w/ hose 
  • high temp gasket sealant 
  • razor scraper 
  • ice pick or long, narrow flat tip screwdriver 
  • wire coat hanger 
  • a rag 

Here's what to do: First, take the resonator off (that's the air intake hose and that big box that says "V8" on it). Next, take the piece with the throttle line attached and the butterfly valve in it. Just remove it from the throttle body elbow and set it aside. No need to detach the throttle lines. DO NOT LOSE THE GASKET! Next, take your ratchet with the long extension and remove the four bolts at the corners of the base of the throttle body elbow (down behind the intake manifold). This thing has a couple of modular plugs on run to it. Unplug these carefully and remember where they went. Make a diagram if necessary. (If you have a digital camera, photos might be a good idea, too). Once you have the bolts out, carefully take the elbow off, being careful not to mess up the gasket on the bottom. The elbow is kind of wedged down in there with several thick wire clusters around it, so be patient when removing it. Set the elbow aside and remove the gasket. You will have to clean the gasket off. The old gasket sealant must be scraped off before you can reuse it. Do this with the corner of your razor scraper. Now that you are down to the intake base, you will see the semi-circular EGR channel that runs around the back of the throttle body base. Maybe. My '93 TC was so dirty, it was completely filled in with soot/gunk. Take your ice pick/narrow screwdriver and scrape out the channel. **Stick a rag in the intake throat first! You DO NOT want gunk particles in the engine!!** 

Alternate between scraping gunk and vacuuming it out. Pay special attention to the gaps that connect the EGR channel and the intake throat. There are three of them, one on each end of the channel and one in the middle. These gaps are small cutouts about an 8th inch deep. 

Once you have scraped and vacuumed all the crap out of the channel, take your wire coat hanger, cut a 10 inch or so length, and bend it into a curve. Slide this into the EGR intake, which is at the end of the channel on the passengers side. You'll see it, the end with the intake hole is deeper than the rest of the channel. Take the wire and use it to scrape out the intake hole. It may or may not have that much stuff in it; mine didn't. The channel generally clogs first, and the gunk doesn't reach the intake hole


Once you have gotten all the gunk out of the channel and the intake hole to the EGR, take the rag out of the intake throat and remount the elbow. Be sure to use the high temp sealant (I recommend Ultra Black) on both sides of the gasket. Basically, reassemble the throttle body the same way you disassembled it, just in reverse. Remember to reattach your modular plugs and vacuum lines. 

Be careful with the bolt! You are working straight down and it is VERY easy to drop them into the engine. Squeeze a little gasket sealant into the socket so the bolt sticks and us the ratchet extension to insert the bolts down into the bolt holes. Use High temp sealant on the gasket between the elbow and the piece with the throttle cables attached as well. Do not torque the hell out of the bolts! They thread into an aluminum part, and you really don't want to strip out the threads in the throttle body base. That would be bad.

Once you have put everything back together, start up the car and take it for a drive. If your car responds like mine did, the engine light will no longer come on, and the transmission won't hesitate when you kick in the passing gear. Keep in mind that the EGR doesn't come into play until the engine gets warm, so it might take a little driving before you notice the difference.

If you start the car and it idles rough, dies on you, or the idle lopes, you are probably sucking air somewhere. Take everything apart and make sure you got the gaskets lined up right with a good smooth layer of sealant. Also make sure that the bolts are snug but not super tight. (See photo).

Anyway, if you do this right, it should clean up your engines performance quite a bit. If the car has 300,000 miles and was once driven into a lake, it probably won't help all that much, but if the car is in reasonably good shape, the effects will be noticeable. 

So get to it, and when your car is purring like a kitten, tell all you meet that Jason Vogelsberg is the Greatest Mechanic Alive!

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