7th Aug 2008, 01:21

The Contour is one of the worst Ford Mexican-built cars. In 1984 Ford unveiled the Tempo. If it were not for the fact that GM's X-cars were having a world-record number of recalls in the early '80's and people were still fixing them in late '83, the number of recalls generated by this car would have raised some eyebrows. The Tempo, a seriously basic car by 1994, was bad. It's replacement looked great: a sleek car, this Contour, and so capable. The recalls were ignored at first, but now with hindsight we can see that this is truly a recall-generating machine like the first Tempo/Topaz. Stay away if you are looking at one or make good friends with a mechanic if you want to own this car.

8th Sep 2008, 15:34

I have a 96 Ford Contour with around 158000 miles. I can understand normal wear and tear, which this one definitely has, but my concern is the wiring inside the engine compartment. Apparently they used sub-par material for the wiring, and now all of the insulation is dry-rotting off, leaving a lot of exposed wiring and shorts.

I called the dealership and found out that there was a customer satisfaction issue with the wiring. Unfortunately the customer satisfaction recalls apparently have expiration dates and this one expired in March of 08. After talking with Ford customer service, they say that there is nothing that can be done because of the expiration date. To me, I think that bare wires constitute a safety issue and this should have been put on a total recall.

We are now in the process of filing a complaint letter to see if they will open the customer service recall. I have heard that this wiring issue happens regardless of how well you take care of the car. I have older cars than this where the wiring still looks brand new.

14th Sep 2008, 22:49

Well I'm just like the rest of you guys hahaha, same problems that you all have. I'm just happy this one isn't mine. I got the car from my ex girlfriend and she wanted a tune up on it, so I did the normal plugs, coil, air cleaner, oil and oil filter, and it's a Ford Contour GL 2.0 1996 with 169000 miles on it.

So I went ahead and changed the TPS sensor because it was stalling out at lights, and I changed the fuel filter and brakes all around, and the ignition cylinder because she broke the key.

So I go to start it up and it didn't start up. It's got fuel, spark and it's cranking over with plenty of power. I put my 5000 dollar computer on it to see if it's throwing any codes and it's not, so then I turned to the fuel pressure test and it's getting 42psi, so it's got plenty.

I put a new crankshaft position sensor on it, and I noticed a few of dry rooted connectors and wiring, so I went ahead and changed them, and yes I connected them all right. Then I looked to the timing chain, and it's brand new, and mind you this car was running when it was given to me...

The engine turns over, and I've got fuel, spark and power, so I'm banging my head against the wall here, and all I want to do is get my ex off of my back you know, and I can't hahaha. So if any one has any answers, I'm all ears on this one.

Thanks a lot. Hope to hear from someone about the subject.

Ps I'm a mechanic and bodyman. I work a full time job in a bodyshop and own my my own shop, so I don't get stumped very often, but after reading all of the problems with this car, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into hahaha. I'm just hoping it's not the computer, but I don't know.

18th Sep 2008, 12:15

I have to say that I'm no mechanic. I had the previous comment about the wiring all being dry rotted. The wiring is so hard to get to that I ended up using standard clear silicone in a tube to coat the wiring where I couldn't get electrical tape around it. Got as much of the wiring covered and separated from each other as I could and taped the rest. Went to start it and found out we'd blown a fuse when it shorted. Replaced the fuse and now it runs like a champ. My guess is that the person who put the last comment in may have an unseen short. When we would peel back the wiring to see how far back the dry rot was it extended beyond what we could see. It looks like you would have to remove the entire engine to get at all the wiring that would need to be replaced. Good luck.

3rd Nov 2008, 10:35

I also have a 1996 Contour GL 6 cyl, that was bought for 1000.00 dollars.

The car's interior and exterior are like new.

We drove it one day, and had to have it towed home; it would not start, and when you turned the ignition, a relay in the fuse box hummed, the wiring was all bad.

After car had been parked for about a year, I went out and boosted it. It started up and runs OK. I taped up all wiring I could get to, then found spray on tape at Walmart, that works good.

The car has check engine light on, and cooling fans don't come on. I am looking for the sensor that turns the fan on.

7th Jan 2009, 00:55

All the electricals are bad, but it works in general. It sucks at high speeds, even dies! If I turn overdrive off and floor it, it will turn over again. Then, I can reengage overdrive and keep going. It's like the rev limiter drives the car. There's some computer sensor that kicks in as long as I still have more torque than gears left, otherwise it dies. Could it be a transmission sensor back to the engine?

28th Jan 2009, 21:23

I bought a 96 Contour GL in mid-December with 99K for $1150. The night after I bought it, it wouldn't start up. I bought a new battery, but it still wouldn't start. On Christmas Eve it warmed up a little bit and I got it to start.

I took it my family mechanic, and he told me it was a little thing, and told me that the fuel injector isn't that great, but it will start if I give it a little gas. That worked.

On New Years Eve, I was pulling out of my friends driveway and it wouldn't start. Eventually I get AAA to tow it to my mechanic again (I love AAA!) and I found out it was a head gasket. The head gasket was so messed up it had severe overheating and warped the head. The water pump was also bad (which is probably what started the problem). I got all of that repaired, and put 3 new tires on the car and bought one new rim. Car cost $1150. Repair cost $1430.

Total $2580 for a 96 Contour... Yeah, just avoid this car. If you want an old Ford, get a Taurus. There is a reason you still see those all over the road, and the Contour always on the side of it. I am still working on getting my fuel door fixed, because the little plastic piece busted off. If anyone has any ideas for that, let me know.