My 87 Lincoln Town car needed a new heater core. The symptoms are a
loss of coolant and the steamy smell of antifreeze when you run the
heater. Stop leak worked for a few months, but one day on the way to
work it started blowing thick steamy air. You could see the thick steam
that chocked you to breath it.
I decided not to replace the core myself because: 1. Its a two man job.
2. It takes a professional mechanic 1.5 days to do it. 3. If its not
done right you will have to do it over including removing the dash
again. 4. The AC gas has to be drained and refilled according to specs.
I got 4 estimates ranging from $750 to $1100. Two independent shops,
a Ford dealer and a Lincoln dealer.
I chose not to use the two independents because their warranty is only
for 90 days.
I was not impressed with their good old boy "we can probably figure it
out and it might cost more" attitude.
The Ford dealer wanted $1100.
I got the best deal ($790) from the Lincoln dealer because: They have
done so many Lincolns they know how to do it right the first time. They
gave me a new Lincoln Towncar loaner for 2 days for free. Their
warranty is for 12 months, and is honored by other Lincoln dealers
across the country. While they were doing it they found a defective
cabin heat sensor that was faulty and replaced it for free. Their
employees were professional and polite.
In this case, the dealer by far the best option.
Since the full size Mercury, Lincoln, Ford are virtually the same, I
would suggest getting 4 estimates from them. Also ask about getting a
loaner car for free or at lowest cost.