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99 cougar with bad differential

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  • 99 cougar with bad differential

    I bought a 99 cougar with 75k miles for $1750. Some issues showed up a bit after I got it registered, its in the salt belt and had been sitting a while. Some body stuff, new rotors, master cylinder, and ball joint means I have spend ~ 3k for the car total. One of the issues was grinding whenever the car is moving coming from from what I thought was the front drivers side wheel which none of the other stuff fixed, it is clearly coming from the differential case. When jacked up the passengers side wheel spins and the drivers side doesn't really when you give it gas (isn't this a thing with the post 98 stock diffs?) The car drives ok for now though.

    I really like the car and even though it would cost a decent amount to fix I a inclined to do it since I cannot buy another vehicle that I know won't have problems of a similar scale for the cost of a new diff and install. I want to do it soon since I read that if the differential goes nuclear while driving it breaks a lot of other things in the transmission. The car does have rust issues like most older cars in this area but I did a lot of rust removal and treatment and cosmetic work. That's the only thing really holding me back from thinking this is a good idea.

    How much does it cost to get a new one put in at a shop? How do I find the right differential and how much should I pay? I've had trouble finding part numbers and just generally don't have a lot of experience. Is the transmission probably OK, I know the differential is the weakest link on these cars. I would really like to be able to get this done for ~1k but I know that might not be possible.

  • #2
    Hello and welcome to the forum,

    I am currently in a similar situation. I am currently rebuilding my 98 SVT and I didn’t want to risk my differential going bad, so I went ahead and bought a new Quaife LSD. The cheapest place i could find it was here:
    The total for me was just over $800 with shipping to UT included.
    The other option is to find one of the earlier diffs on eBay or a junkyard, but I think your chances of finding those nowadays is pretty slim.
    As for the installation, I’ve considered doing it myself, but I think I’m going to let a local shop do it, just to be safe. They originally quoted me $500 to install and inspect everything, but it was a very rough estimate. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes and how much it costs me once i do it.
    If you do want to take a crack at it, I found this thread that was pretty informative, although I doubt it’s the only one:
    Hopefully that helps some, and best of luck. It’d be great to hear of another one of these staying alive!