98 Ford Contour Transmission

s7teves7teve Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Ford
New advice on shifting problem on 98 Contour at
low speed ~ 20mph "clunks" hard. According to
FORD TECH this is suppose to be normal.... (I guess
if you don't own or drive the car). Something
about the TCM not adjusting fast enough to
accomidate the change in speed. According to
Dealership Mech. there was a problem with the
module in cars made before a certain date and mine
is not one...
Any ideas or suggestions or other assistance is


  • apd00apd00 Member Posts: 1
    I purchased a 98 Contour SE in May of 97. All seemed well for awhile. The first problem I had was with the air conditioning. The car has been in the shop three times for this. It does not have the icy edge that it should. The next problem I had was with the oil pump. A lube man looked at the filter and it seemed enlarged. He looked it up in the manual and it said something about the oil pressure. I took the car to my nearest Ford dealer and the service guys looked at me like I did not know what I was talking about (I had a copy of the page from the manual). Skeptically they said they would look at it. Guess what. When I returned to get my car they said that the pressure topped the charts and the oil pump and other parts had to be replaced. A month or so later, the 'check engine' light came on and the transmission clunking occurred intermittently. They service guys at Ford looked at it. Changed some parts, ran some tests and the light still came on inside the car. The only thing left to do was drop a new transmission into the car. The car only had 26,000 miles on it. Amazing. I also had problems with the cd player. They had to put a new unit in for that as well. I really want to get rid of this car. It seems to be cursed.
  • shagen1shagen1 Member Posts: 1
    My 98 Contour is currently at the dealer to replace the transmission. The problem was that the car would slam into gear when it accelerated. The first time it happened I thought I had been hit - that is how violent it was. Then I thought I must have hit the mother of all potholes, but, when I drove back I couldn't find any kind of hole in that part of the road. After it happened several times I took it in and the word is new transmission. Hopefully Ford will stand by it's bumper to bumper warranty - 3 years/36,000 miles. Until this happened I was a Ford fan. Is this just a fluke or has it happened to anyone else?
  • gerrymurraygerrymurray Member Posts: 7
    I bought a 97 Contour in Sept. of
    The only thing that 'really' went was
    the relay for the engine fan in the front.

    However, it's now July 1999 and I've just
    had my 30,000 mile service.

    The tranny has and still is fine. (touch wood!)

    Everything else is fine.

    Some nick picks though: The CD player even if
    there's no CD in there (and you have the
    radio on) will 'think' it's trying to accept
    a CD and will whirr-click it's way on and off
    until you either
    i) put a CD in or
    ii) turn the power off.

    Annoying but, to me, minor.

    The car's MPG is a bit dissapointing though,
    I'm only getting 22MPG and I do a lot of
    highway driving.

    Other than that, I'm pretty happy with my

    (new york)
  • guitarzanguitarzan OhioMember Posts: 851
    S7teve, I would ask that same mechanic if he can look at the module and positively identify the date THE PART was made. If he cannot, then possibly the part on your car was a leftover one from the bad batch.

    Also, do you have good repoir with your salesman? Take him on a drive, and ask him if that would be acceptable for HIS new car.

    Always be nice to them, you'll get further. Unless they don't care for nice people.
  • sidcsidc Member Posts: 1
    I have a 96 Contour SE and I absolutely love the car. The transmission is a bit clunky, my CD player gets a mind of its own every once in a while, and God forbid you should drive through water while turning left (the main drive belt gets wet and starts slipping..). I understand they have service fixes for these, and except for these minor items my Contour has been superb. If you want some fun from the engine, get one of the downstream modules for the computer and change the intake to a free-flow and the V6 will develop about 30 more HP. Talk about move..it changes the whole personality of the car!
  • bgabel1260bgabel1260 Member Posts: 135
    My company once rented me a 4cyl ATX Mystique for a business trip. I drove it for two weeks/several hundred miles. I do recall finding the transmission unacceptable in performance and smoothness. Granted, this was a rental car with 17K, but the tranny reminded me of an mid-80s Accord transmission - very clunky. To get any performance out of the car, I had to keep constant pressure on the accelerator. I drove the car during Texas summer, so the A/C did not help with the performance.

    Although I was quite unsatisfied with the 4cyl ATX drivetrain, I really liked the car. I bought a 6cyl MTX Contour in 1998 and the experience is completely different. I actually think the 96 Mystique rental had slightly better road feel (near perfect ride/handling trade-off), but this platform needed a few more horses under the hood (or, at least, accessible horses - 4cyl MTX is probably quite acceptable). The Duratec and Zetec are very Japanese-like: they truly need to rev, so it's worth learning MTX to have fun with this car (that's exactly what I did.)
  • debrasdebras Member Posts: 1
    I have a 96 Contour and it suddenly seemed stuck in gear and the O/D off light started flashing. It calmed down to continue driving and the light went out when I restarted it. The book says to take it in for service. Any experience with this?
  • memmottmemmott Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98 SVT Contour. At 9500 miles, the speed sensor that makes the speedometer go quit and the check engine light went on. I took it in and the speed sensor was replaced. They didn't tell me till later that the old sensor 'crumbled' and parts fell into the 5 speed manual transmission. A day later, I couldn't shift into 1st or 2nd anymore and shifting into 3rd resulted in some mega crunches. After removing the transmission and replacing syncronizers, gears, it's ok but I'm more then a little dissapointed.
  • wlathanwlathan Member Posts: 2
    First, I made the dealer replace my carpet because it did not fit, two weeks later I spilled 44 oz fruit punch on it(Murphy's Law). Second, I noticed the front wheels were out of alignment at 18K (Ford won't cover this past 12K) and it cost me two new tires. Third, my CD player went bonkers at about 25K. The dealer replaced it with a 98' model which was backlit blue (with the lights on) and did not match my green backlit dash. Fifth, at about 30K the engine light came on, the dealer downloaded the information from the OBDII and found it was the O2 sensor and replace it. It was OK for about three months, since then it been on 50% of the time. Sixth, the A/C went out at 33K and the dealer had to replace O-rings, expansion valve and other parts to fix the A/C. At this time the engine light was back on and again the dealer found the problem was the O2 sensor and replaced it. Seventh, my sunroof went out at 35K and dealer sent my car to another company to be repaired. While out, my blue backlit CD player was stolen and dealer replaced it with a green backlit one. (Imagine, a thief assisted with customer service.) Eighth, the battery put a bullet in its head at 40K. There was silence until 54K when the clutch snapped in two pieces and I had to pay out of my pocket. My mechanic said the transmission is a Mazda unit, so you may want find out more about that.

    Having said that, I love driving it it's a car that like to run. But,if Honda Accord V6 came with a stick I would have bought it.
  • josh16josh16 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Ford Contour and I would rather walk the 6 miles to work than drive it well lately when I drive and come to a stop it smells like the local sanitation plant I have no idea what it could be any suggestions and also I find it burns gas so bad I think I would be better off driving a bus it does not matter what gas I use or whether I drive like an old lady I still have not come to see good mileage and I brought it to the dealer and they said well you have to keep putting miles on it they said around twenty thousand you should be all right well it has only 12,500 miles on it and I have moved so know to work and back it is only six miles at this rate I am twenty know before I will see an improvement with the mileage I will be twenty five and let me tell you if this car is still kicking around in 6 sixth month I will be kicking it all right
  • gusgus Member Posts: 254
    A smell like rotten eggs (which you didn't say you had) can be indicative of a bad catalytic converter. Maybe this helps you, and maybe it doesn't. You also might've caught a plastic bag on the exhaust, which can give off a heavy burning odor.

    Hope these help.

    Conference Host
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 584
    My '95 Contour smelled. The dealer said "just drive it a while and it'll go away. It didn't. I had to get kindly like get assertive with them. They tend to listen and act better when you do that. They found that some kind of sensor was not working. It was replaced under warranty and the smell went away.
    End of story.
  • weslwesl Member Posts: 53
    Contours can become smelly for a number of reasons. The first thing to check is the cabin air filter. If it is dirty it can stink up the inside of the car. Second, the ventilation system has a tendency to grow mold in some climates and can be eliminated by any Ford dealership. If you have a 95 model Contour, the evaporator can leak on to the passenger side floorboard. My 95 SE V6 manual Contour has 82000 miles and has run very well, better than I expected. I did have a few TSB's taken care of under warranty, but other than that my car has been great. Later, Wes.
  • hyundai3hyundai3 Member Posts: 3
    My 96, v6 Contour has 45k miles and I love driving it. Fastest, and most stable that I've ever had (not saying much since I had an old Saab and a Dodge Caravan.) I've turned in to a kid again. It's great fun accelerating onto and on the freeway... makes it real easy to get away from people. I don't think I would put up with the eccentricities without the Duratec V6. I would like to try the 5 speed with this engine. Would also like to know more about the "the downstream modules
    for the computer and change the intake to a
    free-flow and the V6 will develop about 30 more HP". Anyone else know anything about this. I assume this is what they do to the SVT engine.

    BUT, my auto trans does clunk, especially when accelerating hard and the CD does go bonkers on occasion. Trans clunk is annoying if I let it be.

    After reading this discussion, I think I will purchase extended warranty insurance. The $1000 sounds like it will pay off.
  • hkanehkane Member Posts: 1
    my 97 v6 contour was just great until 36,000 miles since then it has had lots of trouble. especially with fuel injector system it seems the regulator failed...$600 this was at about 42,000 at 38,000 some filter system failed this was $350. I would urge all to get the extended warranty. I'm getting rid of this thing asap...
  • bepoosbepoos Member Posts: 2
    Just got my contour back from the dealer-97 model with v6 and manual.
    New front rotors.
    new rear wheel bearings.
    belt shielding for the belt squealing in wet weather
    Wheel wells separating from the body-referred to the ford body shop.
    The remaining problem is the car stalls whenever it is started in temps below 60F. runs for about 10 seconds then idles down and stalls. If you give it some gas it'll keep running but sputter if you pull away lurching like when you first learn to drive a manual. Dealer looked at it, tried reprogramming the computer although they said it didn't stall for them. Pick up the car and it stalls again in the lot. This is a big problem in upstate New York.
    Any ideas for a fix?
    Always buy american but this car is giving me second thoughts.
  • weslwesl Member Posts: 53
    Have the dealer check the idle air control valve on your Contour. This could be responsible for your stalling. Hope this helps, Wes.
  • dreader62dreader62 Member Posts: 1
    Bought a '99 Contour SE Sport in March. After a short while, the ABS light would 'flicker' while driving. Took it into the dealership and maintenance test drove it and ran it up on their computer. They swore that there was nothing wrong. About 2/3 through a long trip, it conked out with the passive security light coming on. Managed to finish the drive and checked the engine out with my brother and brother-in-law. Turns out it was a loose ground wire! Maybe WE should work for their %&^# maintenance dept.

    Anyhow, I have the 'hang' problem during acceleration - any ideas on how to fix this? I've seen a web page for the SVT with a home-grown fix, but would like to know if this works on the plain-jane V6 Duratec.
  • stuskistuski Member Posts: 4
    anyone else have this problem? Anyway, When I bought the car it had a bad wheel alignment at 6,000 miles the inside edge of the drivers side from tire was practically worn out. Its a '96 Contour SE V-6, 5-speed with 39,000 miles on it. Anyway brought the car in repeatedly for noises from same wheel. Then I noticed clunking noise from same wheel. A real loose wheel bearing. Dealer tightened it at 33,000 miles. A friend, a mechanic said this was temporary fix to a more serious problem, dealer disagreed. Guess who is right? my friend. He said Ford cheaped out and should have replaced the bearing, well now they will have to do more work. I was promised by the dealer that if the problem cropped up in the near future it would taken care of. Lets see if they keep their promise, appointment next Tuesday. Also front sway bar was replaced. Otherwise car is fine. The V-6 seems to be a real tight engine when cold, it really stumbles, very dangerous. I would buy the car again and I might just buy an SVT next spring. This V-6 is a great engine in my opinion. Also brakes can be a problem seizing calipers in winter with salt mixed in. Not unusual for many cars I am told. Northeast roads might be a little to harsh for SE suspension it seems. Bent a wheel got to get it fixed.
  • jluvjluv Member Posts: 1
    My power steering on my 98 4 cyl contour moans and groans at times. I took it to the dealership and they tested the pressure etc. and said it was normal. I've never heard this sound on a car before and it just does not sound right. Any feed back would be appreciated. john
  • andys22andys22 Member Posts: 13
    this site is excellent for contour FAQ's...
    also, the hanging during acceleration is being recalled, i belive. we have a 98 contour svt which rpm's hung, and it was a sensor that wasn't working correctly. good luck
    PS- I belive that is the site.... its something like that,,,
  • bepoosbepoos Member Posts: 2
    I had a similar problem, perhaps different from yours. The bushing around the steering column was rubbing, causing a grinding noise as the wheel was turned...
  • unclealuncleal Member Posts: 9
    I have a 95 SE 5-spd with 150,000+ miles.

    The only "problems" have been -
    1) Yes, sometimes the CD wants to play when there is no CD inserted.
    2) The Service Engine light starts going on and off after running about 45 mins [but it has been doing that since about 60K miles:)]
    3) There is an intermittent "rubbing" noise under hard right hand cornering.

    NO other problems... the car has been trouble free.

  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 584
    my 99 contour, built in Oct '98, softly moans and groans. It sounded to me like something needed to ge greased.
    Guess what, Ford thinks they should replace the rack&pinion steering unit. I am reluctant to do this partly becayse I'm concerned that somehow more things may get messed up by the repair than get fixed.
    I wish I could be right there with the mechanic when the 'operation' begins, know what i mean...?

    Have either of you had service performed on the steering unit? If so, then kindly tell us what was result?....
  • wilcoxwilcox Member Posts: 584
    that the part has arrived! I have not responed to setup appointment. Just may live with the noise for another 10k miles and just before warranty goes out have them replace the rack and pinion assy....seeing how they think thats what is needed...by then it might be trading time.
  • wsommarivawsommariva Member Posts: 157
    I also get crummy gas milegae in my 2000 Jetta V6. With a 14.7 gal tank, it is very annoying. Last fill up was after the low fuel light came on after only 218 miles. I miss my '80 280ZX and the 21+ gal tank.
  • gnagelgnagel Member Posts: 3
    Am thinking about buying a 2000 Contour, actually it was a drivers ed car so it has 7,000 miles on it. Has Ford fixed these tranny problems and the other mentioned problems?
  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    My niece is planning to buy a 1998 Contour, anything she should look for? How do you folks find this car? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Member Posts: 647
    Check out www.contour.org/wwwboard

    You can get an idea of the problems people have with the Contour. I own one and love it, but like EVERY car made, it has some "issues"

    Please try to keep in mind that probably the most important aspect of the car buying experience is dealer support. If you don't trust the dealer, don't expect that dealer to give you excellent service.

    Finding the car is easy, finding a competent dealer is tough.


  • joedmaxjoedmax Member Posts: 1
    I bought a 1998 contour in April 1999,that was a program car. Within the six months after having the car, it was recalled 5 times. The breaks have a grinding noise, but nothing is wrong with the pads or rotors. After all the recalls, I feel like I should have a new car. I will have to think very, very hard before buying another Ford car. They have had numerous recalls on every year the the contour was made.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Drive a Mile and Walk the Rest!

    My problem is the lack of a competent dealer in my area, not too mention they seem to develop strange problems given their age
This discussion has been closed.