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1997 Mercury Grand Marquis with 5-speed Manual Transmission, First Drive

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Published on May 27, 2012

A couple months ago, my friend Rob and I picked up a 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis with 66k miles for $350. It had a major coolant leak and had been neglected for a while, sitting in a cul de sac and covered in grime. We COULD have just fixed it and sold it and turned a quick profit of a grand or so but we did what any right-minded hooligan would do... we threw a 5-speed in it!

On the first test drive we hit the fuel cut off when the speedo hit 100 MPH but we were only going about 30-40 due to the difference in speed sensors. On this second test drive (but the first one where we could wind the car out) the speed sensor was disconnected.

The 5 speed Grand Marquis Project: Stock 4.6 liter v8, TR3650-5 speed from a 2006 Mustang GT, Fidanza alum flywheel, 05 v6 Mustang Driveshaft with an extra 7 inches TIG welded into it, fabbed hydraulic clutch, dual Flowmaster exhaust.

A brake pedal from a Crown Victoria and this car's brake pedal were modified to fit next to each other and offer a natural driving position. We installed a generic master cylinder (attached with a bracket to the brake master) and a clutch line along the intake on the driver's side of the engine down the wiring loom on the passenger's side in order to plumb the slave cylinder and everything looks pretty much stock from under the hood!

The transmission tunnel had to be cut quite a bit in order to fit the linkages and levers from the newer transmission and they intrude into the passenger compartment. We're going to put some sound deadening down and secure it with the rear floor air blower ducting that has been modified to fit over the entire assembly. In the end, the carpet should install like it was from the factory with a small hole cut for the shifter and a small boot secured to the carpet.

With the stock 2.73 open differential this car is quite slow. That will be rectified in the next couple of weeks when we find a 3.55 LSD and drop it in. We'll also be getting rid of the pesky automatic shifter and button up a few issues with sensors and interior components after it's running and driving reliably. Oh yeah, the A/C blows cold also!

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