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I have 5 of these vacuum actuators and need to know which ones are good. They all seem to hold a vacuum but 3 of them are easily actuated by hand i.e. I can pull them out and push them easily while the other two are super tight and can not easily be pulled out to what would be the closed position for the door. They remain in the "open" position or contracted all the way into the canister. I believe they are all from 67 and 68 Cougars. Did these vary from the 67 to 68 year models? How much vacuum do I need to test them? Mind you I dont have a running cougar to check them on. Is it the top or bottom connection on the actuator that is the vacuum port? Any help here would be appreciated. Thanks. STeve
 

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Both of the ports are vacuum ports. The bottom port opens the door, and the top port closes the door. Usually the seal below the dust boot fails first and the door will open but not close. At that point there is a vacuum leak when ever the headlights are off and the car will run rough. A quick test you can do is put your finger over either port and you should not be able to move the actuator in or out if the seal is good. However I have seen actuators pass this test and still have a small leak and wouldn't close the doors. The only way I know of for sure is to buy a small hand held mechanical vacuum pump with a guage and test that way. They should hold the vacuum as seen on the guage. I would think you need around 15-20 inches of vacuum. Good luck
 

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If the rubber boot accordion shaped one has a hole in the bottom, like pinky sized it probably means the are on the way out!
From mrvacuumman "if you can stick your pinky into the bottom of the vacuum actuator(the thing with the shaft sticking out of it) that means the fitting is gone & it can only be fixed by it coming completly apart."
You may want to read this post as well,
http://www.mercurycougar.net/forums/showthread.php?t=33841

They are looking for cores to rebuild maybe give Don or Lin a call at WCCC.
 

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The (2) vacuum actuators that are in the headlight open position( actuator shaft all the way down-headlight door open) & that are hard to pull out are more than likely Lincoln actuators (they have an internal spring which, at the first loss of vacuum, will open your headlight doors-fail open system is what the Lincoln rocket scientists called it)
DO NOT USE THESE IF POSSIBLE
These actuators actually DECREASE your HP as they constantly fight against your engine for increased vacuum to stay closed.
The 67-68 actuators were virtually identical & nothing is different, so they are interchangable.
Both the TOP & BOTTOM brass nipples(ports) are for vacuum 1) when vacuum is applied to the top port, the suction causes the actuator shaft to rise-closing your doors 2) when vacuum is applied to the bottom port, the suction causes the actuator shaft to go down-opening your headlight doors.
Without going out & buying a vacuum tester( which measures in inches of mercury-the standard of vacuum) the easiest way to test the actuators is this 1) with your thumb covering the bottom port, apply presure downward on the actuator shaft(not to much-about 10-15 pounds of force) & imerse the actuator about 3/4 of the way into a bucket of water(DO NOT SUBMERGE THE TOP PORT WHILE DOING THIS) & watch for escaping air(bubbles) if there are none, this means that your internal diaphragm is still good 2) tape up the bottom port so that it is sealed off & with your thumb covering the top port, pull up on the actuator shaft. If the shaft comes up, the upper shaft seal is toast. If the shaft stays stationary(remember, 10-15 pounds worth of pulling pressure) then proceed to immerse it in the bucket of water like you did before & check for air leaks. IF YOU SEE A FEW BUBBLES DON"T WORRY. The shaft dust boot (the rubber acordion type thing) has 2 holes in it - they release excess vacuum & ARE ALSO MEANT TO BE USED TO RE-LUBRICATE the shaft & the upper shaft seal. The upper seal needs lubrication to seal out the dust, atmospher, etc. To lubricate the shaft & upper seal, simply get a can of WHITE LITHIUM SPRAY grease & use the red spray straw to spray lithium in through the bottom hole in the dust boot.
The upper shaft seal will work( and seal) like a million bucks after this is done.
Again, please resist using the Lincoln actuators(part #C8SZ-13A167-B) on your Cougar as they were designed to be use on a much more robust vac system.
Every time I open one for repair, the spring shoots out & tries to impale me-NASTY

Hope this helps:eek7:
 

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Our research has found that all 1969 Thunderbirds also used this style of actuator with the internal spring and we think some very late 1968 Cougars used them as well. The T-bird and Lincoln guys hate them as well. You can see a picture of said spring on our site at www.cougarpartscatalog.com

If your actuators retract automatically then you have one of the units with this very powerful internal spring. We always discard these springs for two reasons. First of all they put constant pressure on your entire system whether your Cougar is running or not. This will affect your headlight switch, check valve and even the grille itself. Secondly they affect your fuel economy. This spring is creating a constant vacuum source that is actually competing with your carburetor! Internal documents from the manufacturer suggest the presence of this spring actually increased fuel consumption 8-10%. This alone can make this purchase make financial sense. Most Cougar owners will not have to concern themselves as only a very few late 1968 models had this powerful internal spring but many Lincolns and Thunderbirds did come with this style of actuator.
 

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Wouldn't your headlights close at WOT with the spring actuators? There must be a check valve.
 

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There is in fact a check valve but one of the reasons we frown upon these units with internal springs is that they put so much pressure on that check valve (as well as the headlight switch) that they cause it to fail prematurely. One of the new items we have coming out is a check valve that looks just like original but can be unscrewed to be able to replace the internal rubber part.
 

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Ford Probe / Mazda RX-7 electric headlight conversion.

Couldn't pay me to put Vac pods back in unless I had a rare Cougar.

Just my .02
 

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Not to let the cat out of the bag...

Ford Probe / Mazda RX-7 electric headlight conversion.

Couldn't pay me to put Vac pods back in unless I had a rare Cougar.

Just my .02
Hold off on that Mazda changeover guys, we have a kit coming that will be easy to install, inexpensive and will upgrade your headlights to halogen. Plug and play, comes with new harness, all pieces and directions. This is going to be great for the performance guy who does not have adequate vacuum and or the restomod guy that just like tricky, cool upgrades. No release date as of yet...
 

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Sounds good
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks.

Thanks everyone for all your help. The two canisters with the heavy duty springs are in the best shape of the 5 so is there an easy way to get them apart to yank that spring? If not, does anyone want to buy them? Thanks for all the help again. Steve
 

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Thanks everyone for all your help. The two canisters with the heavy duty springs are in the best shape of the 5 so is there an easy way to get them apart to yank that spring? If not, does anyone want to buy them? Thanks for all the help again. Steve
Do not try and take them apart!
Give Don or Lin a Call at West Coast Classic Cougars
1-503-463-1130
 

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Thanks everyone for all your help. The two canisters with the heavy duty springs are in the best shape of the 5 so is there an easy way to get them apart to yank that spring? If not, does anyone want to buy them? Thanks for all the help again. Steve
We will give a $15 each in store credit for them with or without the spring. We will also pay shipping.
 

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Hold off on that Mazda changeover guys, we have a kit coming that will be easy to install, inexpensive and will upgrade your headlights to halogen. Plug and play, comes with new harness, all pieces and directions. This is going to be great for the performance guy who does not have adequate vacuum and or the restomod guy that just like tricky, cool upgrades. No release date as of yet...
Hi Don, How much are you thinking of charging? I've purchased the motor, removed the old system, but haven't yet finished the install. I'm in the process of developing a custom harness for the actuator but I haven't had the time lately.
 

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More on RX7 conversion

Hold off on that Mazda changeover guys, we have a kit coming.
I hear this is 6 months+ away from final. I have two 1990 Mazda RX7 headlight motors handy. Can anyone describe the process of wiring them into the electronics? I can handle the bracketing and linkage I think. I really need to minimize the vacuum problems on my cat. Thanks for this thread guys.

- Sam
 

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Updates Don?

Just looking for updates on this new "plug and play" system. Is it ready yet?
 

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Just looking for updates on this new "plug and play" system. Is it ready yet?
Sorry... We hit some supplier snags so the project is stalled but not scrapped. The response for this upcoming product has been incredible! The only product to generate more pre-release chatter is the Cougar Growl horn (another slow to come product).

To clarify, the electric grille conversion kit will be the Gen II plug and play grille system and the concours one is the "Old School" plug and play.

Here is a link to the Old School system on our site http://www.cougarpartscatalog.com/68restogrille.html


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Mr. Vacuum or Don,
Is there any way to reduce the vacuum at the full open or closed position to keep the headlight frames from pulling themselves to pieces?
 
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