Wow, enjoyed TT's link; some serious Crown Vic enthusiasts out there. Who knew.
Here's another forum, might be worth a look.http://www.fordforums.com/f102/
In general, anything involving hvac controls/dashboard repairs can be a pain if you're trying for independent garage vs. dealer. Even if you find a solid mechanic, often the parts must be dealer-ordered. Been there.
Good luck with it.