Date: Jun 01, 2010
Rich, just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to tell me about your cars yesterday. There is so much junk out there that it was refreshing to talk to a real pro who is doing these great cars justice. I'm planning on buying an '04 from you in the next 10 days, so I hope you will still have ...
|What is a Police Interceptor|
The Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (often referred to simply as CVPI or P71) is the law enforcement version of the Ford Crown Victoria. It is one of the most widely used automobiles in law enforcement departments of the United States and Canada.
Due to the workhorse nature of the vehicle, it is also used by many such as taxi companies, and law enforcement.Since Chevrolet dropped the rear-drive Caprice, Ford has had a near-monopoly on the market for police cruisers because of a preference for its conventional rear-wheel drive, V8 power, and body-on-frame construction, all suitable for police driving techniques. As one of the few remaining passenger cars using body-on-frame, it is rugged and enables inexpensive repairs after minor accidents without the need to straighten the chassis — an important benefit for a car frequently used by police forces for PIT maneuvers (ramming a car to spin it out) — making it preferable to unibody vehicles.
Although the Police Interceptor is not sold to the general public, these cars are widely available on the used car market in the U.S. and Canada once they are no longer in service for law enforcement or fleet duty. These cars come equipped with many heavy duty parts such as a revised transmission, and a 250 hp (190 kW) engine. Used Police Interceptors are normally stripped of any police decals, radio and computer equipment, and emergency lights by law enforcement agencies before being sold or auctioned.
In 1998, Ford restyled the Crown Victoria, eliminating the "aero" look that the car had from 1992-97 and adopting the more conservative styling of the Mercury Grand Marquis. Both cars included restyled front and rear end components. The 1998 police package P71 had a chrome grille, chrome door handle trim, chrome bumper strips, and a chrome-trimmed flat black rear fascia with the "Crown Victoria" badge. At this time, the car was still known as the "Crown Victoria P71".
1999 introduced the "Crown Victoria Police Interceptor" name, with a badge on the trunk lid replacing the 1998 "Crown Victoria" badge. A chrome-trimmed gloss black rear fascia, unpainted door handle trim, black bumper strips, and a gloss black slatted grille were also introduced at this time. Finally, the new "Street Appearance Package", intended to make the Police Interceptor look like a Standard (P73) model, including chrome trimming and badging, was introduced.
Midway through 1999, the taillights were also changed. 1998 and early 1999 models had a separate amber turn signal along the bottom edge of each taillight housing. Starting in mid-1999, the extra bulbs were eliminated and the turn signals returned to the combination stop/turn setup with red lenses found in many North American cars. Although the lenses changed, the housings did not; they still had the chambers for the separate turn signals that early models had. These chambers were now empty, leaving a perfect place to install strobe tubes in police cars that would not affect brake or turn signal visibility. Non-Police Interceptors and Police Interceptors equipped with the "Street Appearance Package" retained the amber turn signal.
For 2000, the rear fascia and taillights lost the chrome trim, and the gloss black grille was dropped in favor of a flat black slatted grille. Further refinements were made in 2001, including removal of all trim on the plastic bumper pieces and a new honeycomb-style grille, replacing the slat-style grille as is found on previous Crown Victorias and CVPIs.
2003 brought a minor redesign. The interior door panels and seats were freshened, with side-impact airbags becoming an option. The 2001–2004 CVPIs all look the same on the exterior; the way to tell the 2003+ cars from the 2001 and 2002 models is by looking at the wheels. The suspension, brakes, steering, and frame all were redesigned for the 2003 model year. Because of the new underpinnings, the wheels for the newer cars have a much higher offset. They look almost flat, compared to the concave wheels on the older model years. Along with a new wheel design, new hubcaps were introduced.
The 2004–present Police Interceptor is rated for 250 hp (190 kW) because of the addition of a newair intake system. This includes a new airbox that resembles the Mercury Marauder airbox (raised airbox lid, deeper bottom), with an integrated 80 mm (3.1 in) mass airflow (MAF) sensor that is part of the airbox lid. This allows for much more precise flow calibration and reduces the chances of air leakage. The P71 zip tube (the flexible rubber hose between the throttle body and MAF outlet) is also used to reduce NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) as well as transfer air from the airbox to the throttle body with minimal flow resistance.
The 2005 model year has a rear-fender-mounted whip antenna on the passenger side. This is the only year that the 1998+ CVPI had an external AM/FM antenna. Previous years and the 2006-present model all have the antenna mounted in the rear glass.
Standard on the 2006 is a redesigned instrument cluster, which now sports a tachometer, digital odometer with hour meter and trip meter features, and cross-compatibility with the civilian version's various features (these are normally locked out, but can be accessed through wiring modification).Kevlar-lined front doors, which might be useful as protective barriers during gunfights, are optional on the Crown Victoria Police Interceptors for the 2006 Model Year. Also introduced in 2006, for P70/P72 Commercial Heavy Duty models and P71 Police Interceptor models is a 17" steel wheel, replacing the previous 16" wheels, plus new flat gray hubcaps rather than chromed hubcaps as in previous years.
For 2008, the Crown Victoria is restricted to fleet-only sales, and all Panther-platform cars are nowflex-fuel cars. The CVPI receives some new options, such as the ability to have keyless entry. Presumably, this feature was added because the Chevrolet Impala Police Sedan has had keyless entry as an option since its inception.
For the 2009 model year, the CVPI now has power pedals as standard equipment. Standard equipment across the entire Panther line is side impact airbags and new federally mandated recessed window switches. The CVPI also received upgraded brakes for 2009, although specifics about them are not available. The confirmation flash that occurs when the doors are locked is now automatically disabled when the Courtesy Lamp Disable option is ordered. The confirmation flash was considered to be a safety issue because the lights would flash when officers exited the vehicle and locked the doors, potentially giving their presence away at night. No other appreciable changes have been noted yet.
Comparison with the Crown Victoria
There are few notable differences between the Police Interceptor and standard Crown Victoria or Grand Marquis. Both cars use the same Flex Fuel 4.6L 2V SOHC V8,Ford Modular engine, and Ford 4-speed automatic transmission.
Engine and drive train
The Police Interceptor is equipped with an external oil-to-coolantheat exchanger to reduce engine oil temperatures, allowing the vehicles to idle for extended lengths of time without overheating. The engine oil coolers are notorious for seeping oil from the O-ring seals after extensive use.
The Police Interceptor engine calibration comprises a slightly higher idle speed (by approximately 40 rpm) and minor changes in the emissions settings. The computer is tuned for more aggressive transmission shift points, and the transmission itself is built for firmer and harder shifts.
The 2006–present Police Interceptors equipped with a 3.55:1rear axle ratio from the factory are electronically limited to 120 mph (193 km/h) due to the lower driveline-critical vehicle speed, while the Police Interceptors equipped with a 3.27:1 rear axle ratio have generally been limited to approximately 135 mph (217 km/h). This compares to 110 mph (177 km/h) for the "civilian" model.
Ford used an aluminum metal matrix composite driveshaft for the 1993–2005 Police Interceptors as a measure to allow safe operation at over 150 mph (241 km/h), but it was more expensive than the regular aluminum driveshafts. Ford reintroduced the 3.55:1 rear axle ratio in the 2006 model year Police Interceptors, and set the speed limiter at 120 mph (193 km/h) to reduce the risk of driveline failure.
Police Interceptors also have a reinforced frame and body mounts, an aluminumdrive shaft (aluminum metal matrix composite for the 1999–early 2001 model years), and an optional limited slip rear differential.
Body and chassis
Another difference is Ford's "severe duty"shock absorbers that offer a stiffer ride than the standard Crown Victoria. They also have black steel wheels with stainless steel or chromed plastic hubcaps.
All Police Interceptors also come with T-409 stainless steel dual exhaust systems without resonators. Standard Crown Victorias come with a stainless steel singleexhaust system, while the Handling and Performance Package and LX Sport-equipped Crown Victorias have the same exhaust system as the Police Interceptor, with the resonators. The resonators further reduce noise, vibration, and harshness without adding any restriction to the exhaust system. Police Interceptors have higher-rate coil springs, approximately 0.8 inches (20.3 mm) of additional ground clearance, and thinner rear antiroll bars (shared with the LX Sport) than the Handling and Performance Package Crown Victorias; the base Crown Victoria does not have a rear antiroll bar.
On 2004 and newer models, P71's have a 200 amp (A) alternator and a 78 ampere-hour (Ah)battery.
Ford also offers trunk packages for equipment storage (see below), and as of 2005, has added a fire suppression system to the Police Interceptor.
The bulk of police car modifications, such as installation of emergency lights,sirens, passenger seat dividers, and plastic rear bench seats, are offered as aftermarket modifications by third parties.
The front seats have a steel "stab plate" built into the back so that a suspect being transported in the back seat cannot stab the officers in the front seat with a knife or other sharp object. Also, most Police Interceptors have a break in the front "bench seat" despite having the shifter on the steering column. This gap between seats is generally filled by a console holding radios, controls for emergency equipment, large firearms, and often a laptop computer ormobile data terminal (MDT). The Police Interceptor also has a calibrated 140 mph (225 km/h) speedometer.
The easiest way to distinguish most P71s is the small "Police Interceptor" badge that replaces the standard "Crown Victoria" markings on the trunk lid, although the Street Appearance Package Police Interceptors forgo the badge, using the standard Crown Victoria marking. However, the Police Interceptor badges are now available for purchase online, so this identifying technique is not as reliable as it once was, although Street Appearance cars also use color-coded trim rather than black trim of normal Police Interceptors. The Police Interceptor has the interior trunk release in the center of the dashboard, while the civilian version has it in the driver's door. The only completely infallible way to identify a Police Interceptor is to look for the code "P71" in the VIN.
Police Interceptors will have the characters "P71" as the model code in the VIN, instead of P70 (Stretched wheelbase), P72 (Commercial Heavy Duty/Taxi), P73 (Base), P74 (LX), or P75 (1992 Touring Sedan).