Below are some pictures of the linkage which connects the steering wheel to the center drag link. These parts are definetly wear items, and interestingly many aftermarket shops will never suggest replacing them. The result often seems to be vehicle that the owner has spent a considerable sum of money on, but still finds "the steering feels loose" and "the steering returns to center poorly after turns".

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The column and associated linkage pictured is from a 2002 mercury grand marquis ls involved in a passenger side impact collision. The steering gear is from a 2002 crown victoria police interceptor. All 1990-2002 crown victorias share a similary designed steering column and gear linkage setup. Though only the 1995-2002 parts are directly interchangeable. However, you can install the entire column and linkage setup pictured above into a 1992-1994 crown victoria if you also change the transmission gear selector cable for a 1995+ one with the new style linkage at the steering column side.

The steering feel in these cars can rival many rack and pinion vehicles. But then again, the 100k mile police cruiser that you may purchase at auction for a small fraction of it's original dealer sticker price is somewhat likely to have numerous worn parts in it which make the vehicle handle rather poorly.

The linkage parts pictured above do have surface corrosion present on them as they are from a vehicle with around 20k miles on them that had been driven through a "new england" winter season. In this area of the country, high concentrations of chloride salts are used to clear the roadways of snow and ice which hastens corrosion.

There is also an internal steering column joint at the area where the column tilts upwards and downwards. There are also a few internal bearings that the shaft rides on. However, disassembled pictures of the steering column are not pictured at this time. And wear on these components can be very difficult to detect.

The body of your crown victoria "floats on the frame" as you drive down the road. The body mounts are constantly compressing and expanding when the vehicle is moving. And the frame itself also flexes to some extent. There will be a great deal of movement in a rural sheriffs car that travels down rough unpaved "scrub board" roads at 100MPH in relation to a civilian car that travels at 30MPH over smooth paved roads.

Interestingly, the only parts of the above pictures that some crown vic owners may be familar with are the steering wheel, gear shifter lever, and ignition lock. The other parts are hidden under the dashboard and in the engine bay behind the power brake booster.

The u-joint located in the engine bay after the shaft passes through the firewall is located somewhat close to the exhaust manifold. If your vehicle idles in high desert heat frequently, you may find that the grease inside the joint "dries up" rather quickly. Do not attempt to add new grease or other lubricants, instead install a new steering shaft service assembly.

The lower shaft has friction between the two parts which move. Over time, the two metal tubes wear away as the vehicle is driven. For another example of friction in action, you can rub some sandpaper over a peice wood and note how material is lost in the process.

Missing Parts: The linkage that connects to the gear does not have the "stone guard" plastic covering present at the gear side like you'll find in production vehicles. Also note that some of the bolts that clamp the joints together are "missing". The "air bag" is also missing from the steering wheel.

Other benefits of replacing steering column with late model low mileage unit. Repaired worn transmission gear selector related hardware that caused the handle to feel loose and could have possibly caused internal damage to the transmission assembly. Replaced shift tube with one that isn't fatigued down low around the bearing where they sometimes snap on fleet vehicles. Added insulation back to the overdrive cancel switch wire so that it isn't chaffed and won't cause difficult to diagnose electrical problems by shorting out on the grounded metal surface of the steering column assembly. Repaired corroded multifunction switch that sometimes caused the turn signals to flash too fast and the hazard flashers to sometimes flash only on one side.


And a couple pictures of a 1999 crown victoria police interceptor with the engine removed.

Take note that this vehicle was not equipped with ABS anti-lock brakes, so there isn't an ABS hydraulic control unit mounted above the steering gear.

And also, that the "stone guard" is present on the end of the lower steering shaft where it connects to the steering box.

And a couple pictures from underneath a 1997 crown victoria with the transmission and catalytic converter removed but the engine still present. Take note of how close the midshaft u-joint is located to the drivers side exhaust manifold.

And some parts diagrams