31st Jan 2009, 17:42
I have a 1996 Contour with 73000 miles. After driving it for 40 miles or so, at road speed, the car begins to gurgle (my daughters word) and wants to downshift. Fuel filter, wires, plugs have all been replaced. No check engine lights. Car accelerates well, shifts smoothly, mileage seems stable. When the problem starts, if you let off the gas and let it drift down, then step back on gas, it will be fine for maybe 2 miles (at 55 mph) and then will start all over again.
Took it to the family mechanic and he drove many miles and couldn't get it to duplicate the problem. He did tell me I needed an Air Idle Control Valve, but said this would not cause the issue.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
2nd Feb 2009, 16:07
Gurgling sounds could come from the cooling system. Check the fluid level, check the heater, check the water pump and thermostat.
9th Feb 2009, 17:19
I just bought a 95' Contour, and about a week later (lo and behold) the problem began. I have noticed that after driving the car for a prolonged period, say an hour or so, and then park and turn it off... when I go back to start it maybe 5 or 10 minutes later, it kicks in at less than 1000 rpm's, where the needle skips around, the car struggles to run, and if I push the gas pedal it either doesn't respond, or else it kills it because I tried to rev it up...
Then maybe another 5 or 10 minutes later, it eventually picks up to a steady 500 or so rpm (decently idling). I can actually get the thing into gear and it unresponsively staggers forward, and after about 200 yards it starts to catch and resume normal function. At first it seems like the tranny is slipping, but once I'm up to speed it functions great... sometimes even when I haven't turned it off and leave it idling for 10 minutes, it will at least stay running, but then staggers back to normal function... All I know is that it starts perfectly after sitting for a good while. I don't want to try changing out all sorts of parts like everyone else only to get no result...
This sucks, Henry.
2nd Mar 2009, 07:19
Have a 96 Contour. Here is my experience. Have had all of the problems talked about mainly. I also had to change the 2.0 engine and rebuild the trans. My LF wheel bearing is now bad and I'm ticked because that to me is completely crazy for a car with 102K, same with the engine and trans too, for some reason though the wheel bearing is really irking me. Never seen that before.
The fuel door issue was easy for me, I just tweaked out the door spring a bit so that it puts more force on the door. Now it violently springs open, which I prefer.
The over heating issue for me turns out to be a non issue, the dash gauge is just a piece of crap and it runs like 1 mm away from the red all the time, I have not problem ignoring it, the fan still kicks on at the usual time and the actual temp seems right.
Blower switch does not work, that is unacceptable.
AC doesn't work, my 94 4.6 Thunderbird with 175 K blow cold never did anything (never needed a trans, engine or wheel bearing either.
For some reason since the engine swap I now get about the same fuel mileage as my 4.6 Thunderbird, I guess the engine is tired out. Making me wonder more each day why I have this car.
My blood runs blue, but I am very disappointed in this car, I may look into a Focus to see how they are treating folks.
17th Mar 2009, 07:50
This car is a piece of crap!
It was given to my daughter. Her first car. Thought we would get ahead, not having a car note...
The check engine light is constantly on, also the ABS brake lights, which were done, but not by a Ford mechanic.
After having the car a week, the lower hose was leaking. We replaced it, but didn't replace the thermostat. Still running hot. We will replace that today. Ford cars just don't last.
22nd Feb 2010, 23:17
After reading all the comments on the Contour page, it seems like bragging that my Contour is just passing the 250 thousand mark.
Yes, it's had the head gasket replaced along with the crank sensor, and has intermittent check engine lights due to insufficient catalytic flow, but my word! For an American 4 cylinder that's up there in mileage with Toyota - and I've never had a problem with rapid acceleration!!! Paid $600 for it before I did the head gasket - plan to see many more miles in it.
16th Apr 2010, 22:46
I have a '97 Contour with the 2.0L Zetec engine.
Very common "check engine" light is from the DPFE sensor. This is the feedback sensor for the EGR valve. It's mounted on the firewall on the pass side, has two vacuum lines and one elect. connector. Have replaced one MAF sensor, and no O2 sensors.
H20 pump went out, overheated, and warped the head. You'll have that with ANY aluminium head/cast iron block combo! So, I resurfaced the head, and reground the valves, complete valve job.
Car has 120K on it and runs like a bat outta hell.
Temp gauge does show hot, but scan tool says it's running at 187F. Fan comes on at 210f. Have not had any axle brg failures... still noise free.
Wiring harness is kinda junk, but it is repairable. If you are having 02 sensor problems, start by unplugging the connection and make sure it is clean and dry. No corrosion, etc.
I run synthetic oil in it, so when the head gasket blew, the oil did not caramelize, and trash everything else. So, 2 timing belts, 1 H20 pump, 1 starter, 2 serpentine belts, 1 DPFE sensor, upper & lwr rad hoses and htr hoses, normal brake pad and shoe replacement, she ain't been a bad ride!
Oh yeah, one more thing... I am a Journeyman Mechanic. It's called preventive maintenance folks!!!
3rd May 2010, 20:06
I have a 96 Contour, which I bought with 14k on it in 1997. It has, since then, had:
A new engine (30k).
A new water pump (45k).
New 02 sensor (50k).
A new transmission (100k).
A new AC compressor (120k).
Another new water pump (130k).
Another AC sensor (135k).
Another new AC compressor (150k).
All told, including what Ford paid for - that new engine at 30k - this car has had $24,000 in repairs.
At every step, it was just a matter of the car being just a bit too clean and otherwise well-maintained to throw away, which is what I should have done years ago.
Now, I would warn anyone picking up one of these that there's $3000 in work that is an absolutely automatic expense if the tranny hasn't been replaced, and that the AC compressor, the water pump, the antilock braking system, and the oxygen sensor are all $300+ items that are to this car what changing the oil is to good cars.
Good work, Ford. What a great driving car - and what a lemon. This could have been just a great, great car. My theory is the accountants wrecked it with cheap components.