Welcome to the Contour Enthusiast's Group, often abbreviated as the CEG. You've stumbled upon this site, either by accident or from searching, because you most likely have a Ford Contour, Mercury Mystique, Mercury Cougar, or Ford Mondeo. That's great. The more members we have, the more information we can exchange, thereby lowering the average amount of effort that each of us needs to go through to solve a problem.

Now, in order to understand the way this works, you need to grasp a few key concepts:

Searching
If you've been a member of CEG for more than 1.5 seconds, you've likely heard someone say "SEARCH MORE", or something similar. Let's understand how this works. We've been compiling information, in the form of how-to walk throughs, troubleshooting tips, and information for 6+ YEARS. You can rest assured that nearly each and every problem that you are experiencing has happened before. It may not have the exact mileage, or the exact same color paint as your car.. but the variant of the problem is still the same. We have several location to "search" for information.
  • You can search the main site (www.contour.org) on the left tab under "common problems" or "frequently asked questions"
  • You can search the current forums by clicking on the "search" link on the top bar of any forum.
  • You can search the "old forums" (the forum software we used until the merge to VBulletin, at (www.contour.org/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php) then clicking "search" at the top of the page. Be sure to select "all dates" under the date range, since no posts have occured over there for some months. Choose the individual forum you think your answer would be found in, as well.
  • search the "archives" which are the oldest forums, used before the forums that were mentioned above. You can access the archives from the MAIN site (contour.org) then on the top left of the page is a link. You can also click here (http://www.contour.org/archive/ubbthreads.php)
Why search instead of asking right away? One reason would be to avoid the bashing you are likely to receive. The SECOND (and most important) reason would be that in the time it takes for you to type out a COHERENT post about your problem, you can read all of your search results, find the answer and be on the way out the door to FIX IT before someone can reply to your problem (possibly with no helpful information and just bashing you for not searching! )


Cross Posting
So, you've got a problem, and it has to do with audio, but you don't know what the problem is. You would, instinctually, post your problem in the Audio forum, and perhaps copy and paste the same post in to the troubleshooting forum thereby doubling your effective views for your problem. This sounds like the smart thing to do, however you must realize something; Cross posting halves the amount of useful information you will receive. The way that you get helpful information is by posting a problem, person "a" answers, then person "b" feeds off of person "a's" answer to elaborate or CORRECT the answer, and on to person "c", etc. If you cross post you get person "a" answering your thread in the audio forum, and person "b" answers in the Troubleshooting forum, and neither may notice the opposing thread. In this case neither will be able to definitively correct the other and you are left with two answers that are exact opposites with no supporting information to prove one or the other. The easy way to avoid this? Post only in ONE forum per topic. Pick the forum that sounds MOST appropriate. ALL of our forums are visited VERY regularly and you will get answers no matter which you choose.


Statistics
The last key to getting useful information is knowing the correct variants of the car you are driving and what matches your problem. First, you need to know what you are driving. If you don't know this, you can't provide this information, or search for information you need. Are you driving a 4 cylinder? 6 cylinder? Automatic? Manual?
  • 4 cylinder is referred to as the "Zetec" engine
  • 6 cylinder is referred to as the "Duratec" engine
  • MTX is a manual transaxle
  • ATX is an automatic transaxle
So, if you have a problem, you would first try searching under the appropriate forums (duratec, zetec, transaxle, audio, etc) for your answers. Then move to the old forums, then the archives, and the main site. If you still can't find ANYTHING helpful, you would post. Always provide the following in ANY troubleshooting post you make:
  • Year
  • make (ford, mercury, etc)
  • model (Contour, Mystique, etc)
  • engine size
  • transaxle (MTX, ATX)
  • mileage
  • recent maintenance
  • modifications that are pertinent to the problem
  • CEL codes (Check engine light). If you have a 96+ year, you can go to Autozone, or PepBoys to have the codes pulled for FREE. A 1995 can be read at home by following the link provided above. Of course, if you have these codes, you can always "search" for the code number and get a plethora of answers without posting, now couldn't you?
Here's a quick example: You just bought a 1998 Contour, V6, with a manual.

First thing you do is go to all the appropriate forums and read the "pinned" (stickied) threads at the top of the list of threads. There will likely be a "read me first" thread in each. (In this case, the appropriate forums are: Duratec Maintenance, Duratec Performance, Duratec How-To, M&M How-To, and Transaxle. Read all the pinned threads in those and you will know enough about your car to AVOID problems AND repair them all without waiting for someone to answer a post you made!

[LOGGING IN]
One:
Forums:
When you log in to the forums, you will notice a few things: You are at the "index" of the forums. You can see all of the available forums from here. At the top is "Announcements", at the bottom is the regional forum labeled "Southwest". Follow?

Here is a quick description,
  • GENERAL DISCUSSIONS (http://www.contour.org/ceg-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=4)
    This is where you would click to read (or make) posts that are general in nature, and have to do with Contours, Mystiques, Cougars, or Mondeos (from Europe)
  • General Troubleshooting (http://www.contour.org/ceg-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=5)
    This is where you would go to read(or make) posts about problems in which you DO NOT know the answer, or offending part.
  • Maintenance
    These are the forums (seperated by engine type) where you would search or post about maintenance issues.. things in which you KNOW the problem, but require assistance in performing the maintenance itself (torque ratings, removal instructions, etc)
  • Duratec Maintenance, Performance and How-to (http://www.contour.org/ceg-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=20)
    Forums specifically related to 6 cylinder repairs and performance
  • Zetec Maintenance, performance and How-to (http://www.contour.org/ceg-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=21)
    Forums specifically related to 4 cylinder repairs and performance
  • M&M How-To (Modifications and Maintenance) (http://www.contour.org/ceg-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=56)
    The forum for how-to files that are NOT engine specific. That is, a how to that can be performed on any car, regardless of engine size or transaxle type (such as exterior modifications or maintenance
Two: Private Messages.
If someone says to "PM" (private message) someone, or to "check your PMs) then they are referring to the forums own in-house email system. On the top right of the screen it should say:

Welcome, (username].
You last visited: Today at xx:xx AM/PM
Private Messages: Unread 1, Total xxx.

Click on the words "private messages" to read them. Depending on how you've set up your user control panel, CEG may alert you to the receipt of a PM by popping up a second window. If so, then you will automatically know when you get a PM.

To SEND a PM click on any users name while reading a post they made and then choose "send private message" You can also click the words on the top right of the screen (the same way you read your PMs and then type their username in manually)

[CLOSING]

In closing, I would like to thank the two or three people that read this entire post, and smack the rest who just red two or three sentences and then ran off to cross post and not search!