31st Jan 2004, 17:54

Heater resistor burned out causing plastic burning smell for several months. Fan didn't work in one speed setting. Replaced under recall.

"Ford is so dumb my car smells like burning plastic once in a while, and they say it isn't the resistor"

"Plastic "band" which indicates "PRNDL" selection cracked and broke at 40,000 miles. Car is always in Park regardless of gear since. $200 to replace part alone - not done yet. This one is very annoying and should be a recall item."

This is a recall item, under extended warranty, see your dealer for an OASIS report, it is basically a list of any warranty, and recalls of your car.

"Overdrive light occasionally will flash on the dash. This goes away on restart of car."

You likely have the same problem I did.

If you were to have your computer scanned you would likely get code PO731 - 1st gear shift ratio incorrect. What it needs is a new TRS sensor, Transmission Range Sensor, your transmission is fine though. I have known many people who have owned Contours and have the same problem.

It cost like 2 1/2 labor, and that part I think was about $100.

I don't think it is worth being done, because for me it only happened in cold months and would happen like a once every two weeks, and after I shut off the car, and restarted it it would be off for a few days.

"Other than looking forward to possible fuel pump failures or catalytic converter failures or water pump failures yet to come for me, I really like the contour. It has a nice ride and good performance. "

Yes, on V6s like yours water pump failure are common above 60,000, reason is the plastic impeller in the water pump breaks due to a stress fracture.

10th Sep 2004, 10:35

Update to my original post - 9/10/2004.

Thanks for the comments in the response. One thing, the PRNDL plastic band is actually not covered under recall. The clear plastic area is covered if you can't see the display anymore. I was talking about the black plastic band that connects to the shifter itself. Mine broke and spit apart. Not covered.

Well, the car has worked well since my last post except for one new problem. The cruise control suddenly stopped working during a trip last week. Nothing happens when the buttons are pressed.

I went ahead and had the water pump replaced with a metal impeller blade aftermarket design by BAT. It has worked fine for the last 10000 miles or so. I wanted to avoid having the Ford pump fail on me. It happened to two of my friends with their Contour SE's.

I've not yet had any catalytic converter or fuel system problems. I did have the fuel filter replaced and a tuneup at 70000 miles to be safe. I'm at about 75000 miles now.

18th Apr 2005, 11:56

Further Followup to my original posts:

I just had my front left and right wheel bearings replaced on the car. Horrible noise from the front engine area of the car, like a bad muffler or turbine noise, but where the engine is. It was the wheel bearings. Also had a new serpentine drive belt put on. $350 total. The front wheel bearings are a common Contour problem. If you need this done, the secret is to press in new bearings, not replace the whole assy. The car is much quieter now with the new bearings.

In other news, my check engine light has been off for the last 6 months! Not sure why! :) I still get a radiator fluid light on when I just start the car and for about 5 minutes. I have found that there is nothing wrong with the cooling system. Someone told me if you fill the level slightly above "full" it may go away. Don't know.

I'm also about to replace the Kelly Chargers at about 40,000 miles life. The Contour really eats tires I've found. A friend tried Michelin's (more expensive) and ate through them even faster. He is now using Kelly Chargers too and likes them better than the Michelin's anyway...

I think I've been through most of the Contour problems now that are common. I haven't replaced the wire harness under the recall yet--probably should soon...

16th Nov 2008, 16:47

I have a 96 2.5. I had a vacuum leak problem - replaced intake gaskets and a cracked hose. It has the typical "moose" when cold. The OD light is flashing occasionally, along with the odd "false start" where the starter engages itself when running in neutral - also the power locks cycle themselves - usually with brake application, but sometimes totally random. I'm suspecting the TRS. Other than that, the electrical system has been buggy from the start - bad connections at the multifunction switch caused the main brake lights not to work while the high level lights still worked - bad connection caused blower motor to work erratically.

The dash clock quit. The shift interlock would often not allow you to get out of park (may have been related to the TRS, but I just disabled it last winter)

FUN car to drive, but a royal pain to work on.

29th Aug 2010, 21:43

I own a 1997 Contour, it has been sitting for about 2 years because of the transmission. I had a new one put in at 80,000 and just don't see spending the money because they don't have rebuilt ones, you have to buy new.

After reading the comment I will try to get the transmission speed sensor and gear replaced. I am having the same problem, going from overdrive to drive and shifting back and forth. I have replaced the O2 sensors, fuel pump, many other things.

This is my first car and just can't part with it. I only need it to get to work, which is only 5 miles from home, so I don't mind putting in a little bit of $$ into it, hopefully won't be too much expense. I save mileage on my other car.