18th May 2010, 18:50

I have a 95 2.0 Contour. Got it from my daughter.

At 91k changed the timing belt and idlers, & serpentine belt, 1 front spring, heater switch, front brakes.

101k now.

Air conditioner bearing went out.

I put a non air belt on.

Replaced brake lines.

Right front ball joint, because the guy who replaced the spring broke the seal.

The power steering cooler rusted off. I put a copper tube in its place.

I replaced the bypass hose.

The water temp stopped working. I put an aftermarket gauge on it. I put the temp sensor in the spark plug hole.

I use Walmart synthetic oil. This car hasn't used any oil for 4k.

It gets better than 30 mpg on the highway.

The engine light has been on since I've owned it. I unplugged the EGR sensor control on the firewall.

My question is; how long do I have before I have to give it up? How many miles more will this thing last?

20th May 2010, 15:23

Only you will know!

My suggestion: keep saving $200 to $300 per month or as much as you can. Once you have some dough on the side, you won't worry so much about your ride. In fact you may think of your Contour as a cash cow for every month that it keeps going.

21st May 2010, 04:20

My mom and dad bought a 1996 Mercury Mystique back in winter of 2001. It had 78k on it when they bought it.

A lot of the problems people are concerned with on here seem to be very common. It seems these cars are notorious for the O2 sensors going bad. This car of my mom's tripped a check engine light about 2 months after they bought it. My dad and I have replaced 2 of the 4 O2 sensors, both converters, rear struts (all four tires still wear to the inside), and I've lost count how many times this car has had a wheel bearing go out. So all the problems you guys are having, we're in the same boat.

HOWEVER... I have to say, this car is the 2.5 V6/5spd. and it just rolled over 190k. Yes, 190k. Check engine light or not, this car still runs like a champ. I am very impressed with the motor, it's still on the original clutch, timing belt, water pump. It is still a daily driver and what I feel a pretty reliable work car.

However, the problem I'm faced with now is the fuse keeps blowing to the dash lights. Radio, gauges, clock, turn signals, headlights, brake lights all still work, just the instrument cluster isn't illuminated. We have searched the wiring for a short, even used a short finder, had a wiring diagram, and NOTHING! Has anybody else had this problem with the dash lights and know a solution? There is definitely a mystique behind this Mystique. Thanks to anyone who has an answer.

24th Jul 2010, 00:09

OMG! I've read all 61 comments about the 1996 Ford Contour. Where do I start?

I bought a 1997 Contour GL from a friend for just $300. Like new on the inside and out, everything still works and has only 103,000 miles on it. I purchased it in May 2010, set the timing, new pulley, new head gasket, new water pump, new timing belt. Supposedly all that was wrong with it was that it needed to be timed! WHATEVER! It's great now (Knock on wood).

As far as everyone having overheating problems, so did we. But my husband found out why this is happening to everyone! There's a black, metal bypass pipe that allows part of your coolant to bypass the radiator! Who the hell put this on there? It's totally unnecessary! Why would you want hot coolant bypassing the radiator? He took it off and it never over heated again! Try it. If it doesn't work for you, put it back on!

I love my cheap car! Good luck everyone!

26th Jul 2010, 16:20

I just finished putting a head gasket on my step-daughter's '99 2.0 Mystique ("mistake").

For some reason, Ford found it necessary to use Torx bolts and studs as fasteners on many of the major components. This requires buying a quite expensive Torx set for the various sizes needed. I don't know why conventional, traditional hex head bolts weren't used, but it gets quite frustrating for the experienced 'home' mechanic.

Also, I accidentally bumped the fuel inlet pipe with my wrist and the plastic elbow broke off. Like, WTF would you design a high pressure fuel inlet with an easily damaged plastic 90 elbow. Oh, and they clearly marked (NOT REPAIRABLE) on the fuel line, so that you have to buy the complete line (from fuel rail to fuel tank). At the junk yard, I noticed some later models had a steel elbow and rigid line, instead.

There are many other design flaws and outright necessary stupidities that I could point out about this car design (FORD CONTOUR ALSO), but suffice it to say that: Having worked on fair share of foreign domestic cars, I can say that American automobile makers don't give a &*#$ about making a reliable vehicle. All they want to do is mass produce pieces of crap, sell it to the gullible masses, and wait for you to bring it to hopefully their dealership or other repair shop so that they can get you for the note and the ensuing repairs.

I firmly believe that Japanese car makers have pride in their product, and want their vehicles to last (at least 200k), whereas FORD and GM want you to have to buy another car every 3-5 yrs (100k-150k) miles to keep their sorry *$$ in business.

24th Feb 2011, 23:09

OK, I also have a Ford Contour GL. What a junk bucket, I've only had this car for 3 days, and I'm all ready to sell it... what I can say, up until today it was running fine, but after what I've been reading and seeing for myself... it's like having a full time job, trying to keep this car on the road and not on the back of a tow truck... If are looking at buying one >>Don't<<, and if you've got one, get rid of it before you spend more than you would putting your child through school...


25th Feb 2011, 16:31

That's why they call its twin Mercury Mystique, the Mercury Mistake. This is the sort of stuff Ford sold for years. That's why I find it strange that many people think they can do no wrong now, and everyone with a Toyota or Honda should immediately trade it in for a Ford.

30th Mar 2011, 16:16

Adding that crap to your fuel is not going to help. He needs to start by doing a compression check.

10th Apr 2011, 14:32

My wife's 1996 Ford Contour GL (with the 2.0 litre 4 cylinder) has been nothing but trouble.

Three days after she bought it the check engine light came on. The previous owner had disconnected the battery clearing the fault for 3 days after we bought it. Water pump has gone twice. $800 the first time (we got ripped off) and $430 the second time. Power steering cooling line rusted out $450 including $150 for a new factory line. Thanks Ford. The left front axle started to make noise $450 including new brake pads and discs. The brakes on this car are crap. Now since the the last water pump failure the transmission is whining. I guess it didn't like driving for a mile with low coolant.

Whatever reputation Ford has now, it didn't get it from this piece of crap.