2000 Mercury Cougar, What to Look Out For?

Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
My friend just got a 2000 Mercury Cougar V6, mileage not disclosed to me. He's already asked my help to work on it. Both of us are mechanically inclined. He wants a reliable daily driver, nothing special or wild. He wants to do the struts all around. I'm also trying to sell him on new plugs/wires, transmission oil, PCV valve, and a new drive belt. What are other issues with the Contour platform and the Duratec 2.5l V6 I should know about before getting my hands dirty?
 

sciphi

Thread starter
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
That's not the endorsement I wanted to hear. :-/ I'll have my running shoes with me for running away as I toss the match.
 

sciphi

Thread starter
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
I've heard it's a typical European car that likes its maintenance, and a ball of fun when it's running well. Mondeos were generally good cars, and this is the same platform. I'll still bring my running shoes. Euro cars and your typical American driver do not mix well.
 
Messages
9,926
Location
Birmingham, AL
My dad had a 1998 Contour 2.5 he bought new. It didn't have many issues until it was totalled. The car never broke down at all. At around 70K it gave a CEL for the DPFE sensor (I think), but other than that it had no problems to speak of. All it got was oil changes and tire rotations I believe. The ATF might have been changed once, but I doubt it. At about 75K miles the car was rear ended by a Jeep Cherokee going 40 MPH. The Jeep driver's insurance co. initially repaired the car, but it had all kinds of problems after that. The wreck damaged a ton of wiring that the shop didn't bother to fix, and the rear suspension made a clunking noise all the time. Finally the insurance co. totalled the car. It was a great car, but the wreck really messed it up. I have heard that the automatic transmissions in these cars are weak, but the one in my dad's car never had any problems at all. The Contour was a lot of fun to drive, even with the auto. It handled really well and was pretty quick.
 

sciphi

Thread starter
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
There are two camps here. One that it's an okay car once the maintenance is done, the other saying it's a pile. I'll hold the tools and let my friend discover his new car for himself.
 
Messages
4,838
Location
Kansas
 Originally Posted By: sciphi
My friend just got a 2000 Mercury Cougar V6, mileage not disclosed to me. He's already asked my help to work on it. Both of us are mechanically inclined. He wants a reliable daily driver, nothing special or wild. He wants to do the struts all around. I'm also trying to sell him on new plugs/wires, transmission oil, PCV valve, and a new drive belt. What are other issues with the Contour platform and the Duratec 2.5l V6 I should know about before getting my hands dirty?
Have your dealer run a recall on your car. There was an issue with the fuel pump that affected some years and models. IMO, not a terribly bad car, but that fuel pump replacement is a two man job with the car on the hoist. If your car is under the recall, it can save you a few hundred bucks.
 
Messages
1,346
Location
Texas
 Originally Posted By: sciphi
I've heard it's a typical European car that likes its maintenance, and a ball of fun when it's running well. Mondeos were generally good cars, and this is the same platform. I'll still bring my running shoes. Euro cars and your typical American driver do not mix well.
There isnt anything "Euro" about the Contour, Mystique and Cougar though. They're all 100% North American made. As a happy owner of a 2000 SVT Contour I can tell you that there are no huge problems with the Cougars except you might run into parts that are from a pre-98 on your post-98 car. Its not a problem as much as it is a small weird hassle when you have to double check with the parts store. The only issues I've run into with the platform are with the fuel filler and the engine liking a little more oil than the manual says. For the fuel filler sometimes you have to rotate the handle up when you start filling to open this secondary valve otherwise it will act like the tank is already full. For oil I will just run 6.5 quarts instead of the 5.8 the manual states.
 
Messages
4,838
Location
Kansas
[quote=Dyoel182The only issues I've run into with the platform are with the fuel filler and the engine liking a little more oil than the manual says. For the fuel filler sometimes you have to rotate the handle up when you start filling to open this secondary valve otherwise it will act like the tank is already full. [/quote] Have you check if your car was affected by the recall? The filler and the fuel pump both get replaced under the recall that I posted about. The recall does not cover all cars, however.
 
Messages
11,459
Location
Illinois
 Originally Posted By: Dyoel182
There isnt anything "Euro" about the Contour, Mystique and Cougar though. They're all 100% North American made.
Then you've not done your homework if this is what you believe. The car was co-developed by Ford in Europe as well as in North America. The European Mondeo came out first. The Zetec and Duratec engines both have European roots, in fact, the Duratec was developed for Ford by Porsche according to Terry Haines who spoke as a former powertrain engineer who worked on the CDW-27 platform powertrains in the 1990's. The Duratec is built using the Cosworth process (more European influence) Shall I continue? The Contour and Cougar may have been built in the US, but the European DNA is very easy to find. OBTW, if you have an MTX-75 manual transaxle, it was built in Germany.
 Originally Posted By: Dyoel182
As a happy owner of a 2000 SVT Contour I can tell you that there are no huge problems with the Cougars except you might run into parts that are from a pre-98 on your post-98 car. Its not a problem as much as it is a small weird hassle when you have to double check with the parts store. The only issues I've run into with the platform are with the fuel filler and the engine liking a little more oil than the manual says. For the fuel filler sometimes you have to rotate the handle up when you start filling to open this secondary valve otherwise it will act like the tank is already full. For oil I will just run 6.5 quarts instead of the 5.8 the manual states.
There was a campaign for the fuel filler, as my 98 SVT E0 needed this work done. I don't know if the campaign is still open, but it wouldn't hurt to see if you can have this addressed by your Ford dealer if it's still an open item on the car.
 

sciphi

Thread starter
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
I haven't seen the car yet, as it's my friend's. I am looking forward to driving it, and digging into its guts. EDIT: Question, will the Duratec mind a run of 15w-40 or another HDEO to clean up the internals a wee bit?
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,346
Location
Texas
 Originally Posted By: javacontour
Then you've not done your homework if this is what you believe. The car was co-developed by Ford in Europe as well as in North America. The European Mondeo came out first. The Zetec and Duratec engines both have European roots, in fact, the Duratec was developed for Ford by Porsche according to Terry Haines who spoke as a former powertrain engineer who worked on the CDW-27 platform powertrains in the 1990's. The Duratec is built using the Cosworth process (more European influence) Shall I continue? The Contour and Cougar may have been built in the US, but the European DNA is very easy to find.
I do realize that the car is based on the Mondeo and that the Duratec design was purchased from Porsche. That being said my entire SVT was built in the US (including the transmission) as were most Mystiques and Cougars. The stereotype of european cars being unreliable is left over from the last decade and even then shouldnt apply to these north american cars even if they share a chassis with a european product.
 Originally Posted By: sciphi
Question, will the Duratec mind a run of 15w-40 or another HDEO to clean up the internals a wee bit?
Yes. They dont like oil any thicker than a 10w-30 but they're known for being clean running engines so you shouldnt have any major cleanup to do.
 
Last edited:

sciphi

Thread starter
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
Good deal! So some syn 5w-30 is going in, and tell my friend to watch the oil level for the next few thousand miles.
 
Messages
15,056
Location
Canada
 Originally Posted By: sciphi
I haven't seen the car yet, as it's my friend's. I am looking forward to driving it, and digging into its guts. EDIT: Question, will the Duratec mind a run of 15w-40 or another HDEO to clean up the internals a wee bit?
A member on here has posted numerours times that these engine DON'T like thick oils. Best stick with 5W-30.
 
Messages
1,346
Location
Texas
 Originally Posted By: sciphi
Good deal! So some syn 5w-30 is going in, and tell my friend to watch the oil level for the next few thousand miles.
They dont use oil so he doesnt need to keep a close eye on it. I was just saying that if you're really gonna play with the car it likes that extra oil because the heads drain slower than they should and you want some extra oil in the pan just in case.
 

sciphi

Thread starter
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
Good to know. From what I've heard it's not in play condition yet. Needs struts, he says. I say if it needs struts it needs a tuneup too. Also, the previous owner apparently smoked like a chimney, so the interior is coming out to be cleaned.
 
Top