30th Jun 2006, 15:00

Continuing the saga of the *free* car... I finally found the problem with the fan. A sensor that was not listed in the Haynes manual was bad. It was located upside down under the water intake below the coolant temperature gauge sensor. Once I got that sorted, the P.O.S. started to leak a bit of oil. And when it was in park idling it was fine. But if you put it in drive and hold the brake and let it idle, you better hang on to something because it will shake you to death! I finally gave up on proper mechanics to fix this. So I got a split-shot sinker for fishing line, and clipped it onto the throttle cable where it curves over the throttle pulley at the butterfly valve. This raised the cable off of the pulley by about 1mm which in turn opened the butterfly by about 1/2mm. It raised the idle rpm by about 50-75 rpm. And when you put it in drive and hold the brake, the rpm is just high enough to stop the shaking! The problem is solved and the total cost of it was an astonishing $1.

15th Jul 2006, 14:54

I have a stick shift 95 Contour. The rear tires's wheel bearings are bad and make a humming noise. The car runs fine although the air conditioning is shot due to wiring problems not worth fixing. What should I be concerned about with regards to the wheel bearings if I continue to drive the car without fixing the wheel bearings?

19th Jul 2006, 20:05

I have a 96 Contour 2.0 4 cyl.

Picked it up for what I thought was cheap...

1,000 put new tires and ball joints on it...

A month or so later timing belt went...

Replaced that... well the whole timing belt kit... I'd consider that pretty normal wear and tear for the most part...

The check engine light has been on since the day I bought the car...

Always idled horrible, but I pretty much have used it for a work car... I drive about a 100 miles round trip and 99% highway, so the idle never bothered me.

Air works great etc...

I'm to the point where I have no more room to park, so I figured the Contour was going to leave...

I wanted the check engine light off, so I put the O2 sensor in it, and reset the computer with the scanner... what do you know, light back on O2 sensor lean bank 1... daaaa 4 cyl. sensor 1...

My mechanic is family and we have reset this car a few times in the past, cause the 02 sensor had already been repaced... and he's not a backyard mechanic, he's Master ASE certified, not a Ford mechanic though, Dodge...

His personal snap scanner we have been using on the car says that the O2 sensor was recalled because the wire was too short when the engine was under acceleration.. Since we changed the O2 sensor, we were wondering if anyone else tried this road? The connector for the O2 sensor is secure... if the wire was too short, could it have have pulled out of the actual computer? And is that the reason for people trying to fix these things forever with no success?

He has friends at the Ford dealer beside his dealership, and is going there tommorrow to try to get proved wrong.

We've searched the car high and low for a vacuum leak... haven't found a one... and if you look at the scanner, this code, well at least mine is always tripped when the car is around 200 degrees, 3200 rpm, and around 42 ish miles an hour... So the scanner says.

I think a lot of people have spent a lot of money tring to fix this problem with no luck... there's got to be a simple solution. But all you that have a good scanner should be able to see that O2 sensor was recalled cause the wire was to short... I really think the connector would not give... just curious if anyone explored this?

20th Jul 2006, 21:32

I can see how all of this can be frustrating.

21st Jul 2006, 19:46

I have been having a issue with my service engine light coming on after numerous time of reseting it. I keep checking and I am getting (1) fault "System to lean Bank 1". I recently had done a head gasket replacement. Prior to that the car was idling rough. I am still having issues with the rough idle other than that is seems to run okay. I considering changing the Mass flow sensor, but at $100 plus dollars I am little hesitant. If you figure it out pass it on.

2nd Aug 2006, 20:35

I have a '96 Contour GL 4 cyl. I also had a problem with the "check engine" light being on forever. The OBD2 diagnostic my mechanic did kept saying it was the O2 sensor, even after I replaced it twice...... I took it to another mechanic and he found the Mass Airflow Sensor was bad. Problem solved!

8th Oct 2006, 13:48

My idle was running rough. I had the air sensor changed and the computer reset. It was still running rough. I then had it checked for air leaks and trust me my mechanic looked hard and found none. So then he manually adjusted my idle to make it run a bit faster. It seems to have done the trick. Thankfully after what I have been reading he has agreed to do anymore work for FREE!!!

17th Nov 2006, 15:45

I own a 1996 Contour GL. Today picking up my son from school, the front passenger wheel came completely off as I was turning onto the highway! It sat there for a half hour until the tow truck could move it! I am told it is the ball joint. I'm not very "car literate". I have had the same problem with the check engine light and have had to have the wheel bearings replaced numerous times. I really can't complain too much, but if I would have been going fast, that would have been bad!

22nd Jan 2007, 11:52

I have a '95 Ford Contour GL, 2.0 4 Cyl. I also have an issue with the overheating. The wiring sucks on it also. I thought it was from the previous owner, but from reading all these comments my opinion goes to that Ford stinks. I am going to attempt to change out the sensor.

23rd Jan 2007, 07:38


Check out the wiring harness underneath your vehicle. This car is notorious for a bad wiring harness that was a recall, but if it is not covered under the recall they issued then you are going to have to pay $2,000 or more for it. My recommendation is to sell the contour and avoid Ford Products.

31st May 2007, 16:30

I have a 1996 contour, it has a bad idle, when you put the car in drive it shakes, when you step on the gas it moves great and has no problems or hesitation. I have replaced the timing belt and tensioner, spark plugs, coil pack number 4 injector, wires and still have a rough idle, I scanned the car when the check engine came on and it read p304 which was a misfire cylinder 4. Any ideas what to check for next? thanks.