my 81 Lincoln town car doesn't spark.


Asked by Jul 10, 2013 at 07:35 PM about the 1981 Lincoln Town Car Signature

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I replaced the coil, wires, plugs. I get a 12v reading at the cap with the key forward but no spark when I pull a wire and insert an extra plug. car has fairly new ign cont. mod. that was installed in march

10 Answers


Have you tried disconnecting the spout connector an then checked for spark? If you get spark after the disconnect then the ECM is bad. If still no spark I'd go back to the ignition module and pickup coil assembly. Did you replace the pickup when the module was replaced?

1 people found this helpful.

The 81' doesn't have a pickup assy. its a pure mechanical distributer. I tried running a jumper wire from the batt. to the coil and jumping the starter solenoid with a screwdriver, it cranked but still no spark.

1 people found this helpful.

OK so you have the old MCU system not the OBD1 . Do you have access to the old MCU tester? If not the most common problem was the crank sensor located down by the vibration damper on the passenger side of the engine at about the 11 o'clock position, it is held in place with a bolt a clip, be careful not to loose them during replacement of the sensor. Replace the MCU power relay also.

1 people found this helpful.

Quick question: Does the 81 have fuel injection or a carburetor? In Canada, they had the 2bbl VV carb, which is a whole different bundle of issues. Also, which engine? You could have the 302 as most of these cars did, but you could be REALLY lucky and have the 351W in there. It makes a difference to the answer.


its a 302w with throttle body injection.

1 people found this helpful.

Then I'm out of ideas, I'm afraid. We never got that particular system here in Canada.


Can you get a photo of the engine compartment? I still think you have the old MCU system there, a good pic will really help.

1 people found this helpful.

When you replaced the coil, did you get one with the offset contacts that use the horse shoe connector on the car, or did you buy a universal one that meant removing the horseshoe? If the latter, did you verify that you got the polarity right? If the polarity is reversed, you will get spark, but not necessarily enough spark to fire the engine. Also, when you changed the wires and plugs, etc, did you replace the rotor and distributor cap? Check, also, the firing order. Those early Windsor engines had a very eccentric firing order and it is very easy to get them mixed up.


just replaced the eec, cap, rotor, and relays. still nothing. will take a pic of engine after I feed my kids breakfast.


Prob solved. timing chain was very stretched and jumped time. the 81's timing is non adjustable so everything went bad all at once. after replacing the entire timing assembly and properly setting the distributor I regained my beloved spark.

1 people found this helpful.

Your Answer

Town Car

Looking for a Used Town Car in your area?

CarGurus has 1,368 nationwide Town Car listings starting at $1,295.


Lincoln Town Car Experts

  • #1
    Tom Demyan
  • #2
    Tracy Hooks
  • #3
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Lincoln Continental
31 Great Deals out of 2,829 listings starting at $21,995
Used Cadillac DeVille
1,261 listings starting at $1,988
Used Ford F-150
2,334 Great Deals out of 215,121 listings starting at $1,300
Used Ford Mustang
256 Great Deals out of 36,837 listings starting at $2,500
Used Chevrolet Corvette
100 Great Deals out of 15,289 listings starting at $3,900
Used Chevrolet Impala
395 Great Deals out of 25,692 listings starting at $900

Used Cars For Sale

2007 Lincoln Town Car Signature For Sale
40 listings starting at $4,500

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use.