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Murtaza
New CEG'er

Reged: 06/26/05
Posts: 23
Loc: Jersey City, NJ
What should I be looking for
#982369 - 06/26/05 05:16 AM

Hey I'm 17 and it's time to look for my first car. I don't want to rule out any other cars and just go for a Civic or Accord. The Contour seems interesting and I wanted to know is there anything I should be looking for when purchasing/testing one? Any sort of common troubles, etc?

--------------------
For me to poop on!

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Ray
Addicted CEG'er

Reged: 07/10/01
Posts: 7100
Loc: San Antonio/Austin, TX
Re: What should I be looking for new
#982374 (Re: Murtaza) 06/26/05 05:42 AM

Okay..

I KNOW this is available by searching, but I'll humor you anyway.

a few notes, first off

The Contour was produced from 1995-2000. They are referenced in terms of Post-98, and Pre-98. (anything made 1998 and after, and anything made in 1997 or earlier.) The body changes within the post-98 category are minimal to NONE. (same for cars that are within the pre-98 category) The major change was from 1997-1998. Pre-98s have smaller headlights, and two, individual brake lights on the rear. The post-98's have larger headlights and a reflector that goes across the trunk creating a continuous red strip from one side to the other.

Also note that beginning in 1998 they made the SVT contour. (entirely different topic, too large to cover here...)

The car was offered with an inline 4 cylinder (I4) 2.0L called the Zetec, and a V6 2.5L (Duratec) Both engines were available as a manual or automatic.

Any combination provides near excellent gas mileage, with even the SVT (2.5/manual) providing near 24mpg city, and 28-30 highway!

Possible problems:
Any DURATEC equipped car 1998 or older came (at least originally) with a waterpump that was made of black plastic. This plastic impellar was found to have become brittle and shatter under extreme heat (like that of hot coolant that it circulates. This lead to engine overheating and warped heads (bad engine). In 1999, Ford revised the stock impellar to be out of a white plastic that holds up a million times better. If you have a 1998 or lower V6, you'll want to replace the waterpump asap. (60K or less is when they would go.)

Duratec's also suffer from an oiling issue that was, quite simply, of a design flaw. The heads do not drain oil back to the pan fast enough, and when the car is placed in a high-speed, right hand turn, can suffer from oil starvation, and a spun bearing (bad engine.. rod knock..) The fix for this is to run 6.5qts (instead of the recommended 5.8) and to simply take it easy on those TIGHT right handers (think:cloverleaf onramps at 3K rpm) This is not GUARANTEED.. though it would suck to play the odds and have it happen to you.

MTX-75 (the manual transaxle) has a common problem with synchro's (synchronizers) going out, causing a grinding when attempting to shift in to whichever gear has the bad synchro. (normally the 2-3 shift. though getting in to 1st from a stop or downshifting can happen too. The fix is to drop the tranny completely, and rebuild it with better materials. Fluid flushes will extend, or even remove LIGHT symptoms, and prolong heavier ones, though not FIX either one.

The CD4E (automatic transaxle) suffers from rough shifting, though normally from a cheap to replace sensor.

Other things to look out for, though less severe in nature:

bumper sag (rear bumper sags away from the trunk leaving a gap... correctable, though sore sight if not done..)

Hazing headlights.. it happens.. it will happen.. it has happened. There are cleaning methods WELL posted on this site. no biggie.

Post 98's (mostly 99 and higher) suffer from Dash Warping. a fix is available through ford, though requires a good bit of work to perform.

Keep in mind that ANY contour (even the newest) is at least 5 years old, if not 10 to 11 years old.. Typical squeeks, and rattles are to be expected. Look for the basics when testdriving:

uneven tire wear (can be a sign of an alignment or frame damage problem.

motor oil quality (not color.. black is not always a bad thing.. motor oil turns black, by nature) QUALITY: gritty, discolored, cloudy, etc.

Look for deposits at or near the radiator to indicate potential coolant leaks.

Ask for maintenance receipts.

Whatever you are going to pay for the car, look up the value, and also ask on here.. WE know the market for this car.. Not the KBB market.. the REALWORLD market.. we know what they are worth, and what they aren't. Get a heads up before you get hosed on a deal! These are WONDERFUL cars that can

surprise a bunch of the "ricer" crowd out there (if that's your thing)
haul an AWFUL lot of stuff
and your four friends
and do it in style

EXCELLENT HANDLING (.91-.92G's on a skidpad for the SVT!!)
better than average gas mileage (ESPECIALLY for the power you get)
cheaper insurance (4 doors, family sedan.. 5 star frontal driver, 4 star frontal passenger ratings!)

AND: best of all... THIS SITE.. you won't find more knowledgeable people, more resources, or better information than here.. anywhere.

Being a CEG member you get discounts in the 40-60% range (off of LIST price!!!) from two different Ford dealerships.


Think hard about it.. you'll love this car.. trust me.. drive one! (I recommend the duratec mated with the 5spd..)


Ray

--------------------
'99 CSVT - Silver #222/276
In a constant state of blow-off euphoria.
Originally posted by Kremitthefrog:
I like to wear dresses and use binoculars to watch grandmas across the street.




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Murtaza
New CEG'er

Reged: 06/26/05
Posts: 23
Loc: Jersey City, NJ
Re: What should I be looking for new
#982644 (Re: Ray) 06/26/05 08:35 PM

Thanks a lot Ray, I appreciate that bit of info. Anyway I meant to write Contour 'SVT' last night.. not the base model. I found some near me but I'm not ready to buy just yet. I wanted to get as much info as I could so I wouldn't have to wonder about what is supposed to work and what doesn't when I go to test one.

99 SVT 86k, 5spd, clean carfax

98 SVT 63k, 5spd, clean carfax, owner is looking for $4xxx

--------------------
For me to poop on!

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JustinCSVT
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 04/19/04
Posts: 1194
Loc: Kennesaw, Georgia
Re: What should I be looking for new
#982653 (Re: Murtaza) 06/26/05 08:58 PM

Originally posted by Murtaza:
Thanks a lot Ray, I appreciate that bit of info. Anyway I meant to write Contour 'SVT' last night.. not the base model. I found some near me but I'm not ready to buy just yet. I wanted to get as much info as I could so I wouldn't have to wonder about what is supposed to work and what doesn't when I go to test one.

99 SVT 86k, 5spd, clean carfax

98 SVT 63k, 5spd, clean carfax, owner is looking for $4xxx




Go for it man. As a fellow highschooler I would have to recommend this car. It's unique, all of your friends don't have one, and its pretty quick. Its also forgiving at the limit and won't try to snap at you when you are pushing it. Just make sure none of the check engine lights are on and the transmission shifts smoothly.

--------------------
Justin
1999 Ford SVT Contour (T-Red)
Cardomain site

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hotweelz
Newbie

Reged: 05/31/04
Posts: 1
Loc: Richmond, VA
maniford/header new
#983271 (Re: Ray) 06/27/05 03:53 PM

i want to upgrade my 98 GL with a header, and I am wondering if a zetec focus DHOC header will mount up to my 2.O? Have upgraded with cold air intake, 9.3mm wires, aluminum radiator, high flow magnaflow muffler. I really want to put a header on but dont know whatll line up. Please help an inquiring mind.

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ZetecTour
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 06/23/04
Posts: 1287
Loc: Car lengths ahead
Re: maniford/header new
#983277 (Re: hotweelz) 06/27/05 03:56 PM

it will line up fine, but u will need to mod the downpipe...u will have to mod any downpipe for the zetec...fyi, try to search before the search nazis come after you.....welcome to CEG

--------------------
Unban me...Its been over a year

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BlackSVT98
CEG'er

Reged: 04/22/05
Posts: 59
Loc: Asheville, NC
Re: What should I be looking for new
#984252 (Re: Murtaza) 06/28/05 06:39 AM

Hey, I'm 17 as well and I recomend strongly that you go for the Contour. I looked at every car imaginable before I bought this one and I could not find a better deal for a car of this calibur. A Honda or Toyota for the same price is not going to be even close to the SVT. The car has been fairly trouble free (except the waterpump which it was overdue for anyway...make sure you fix that) and always stands out in a crowd. This is an awesome car and you will love driving it.

--------------------
98 Black Contour SVT


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Taz
Newbie

Reged: 08/12/06
Posts: 5
Re: What should I be looking for new
#1303303 (Re: Ray) 08/19/06 03:29 PM

Ray,

I'll bet you've helped about 10,000 people with this post. I'd like to become Mr. 10,001.

First off I can't get Apple Quicktime to start the page given on posting etiquette for newbies, so it's impossible right now to go there and learn. I'm aware there's some kind of rule about not asking 'where do I get this, where do I get that' questions, which I don't, uh .....get. (Mine is, 'Where do I get a water pump with metal impeller blades?' and don't kick me out for that, please, I'm just ignorant, not rebellious.) Is the etiquette stuff posted somewhere else that doesn't require Quicktime?

Second, I read instructions on how to get to the chat room which began with 'Highlight your SN ....' I assume SN would be my sign-on name but for the life of me I don't see a location where one would highlight his SN. (Which means you guys are safe at this point from LIVE dumb questions.)

Third, if anybody has a Microsoft Train Simulator program which they are in love with I can tell you all about what it feels like to be in eight throttle dynamic brake because I, uh ....are one, but that's another story.

Fourth how do I become a registered member here?

Fifth, I lost that very valuable post about fixing suspension noise in the rear of Contours (mine is a 2000 2.5 Duratec (71,000), automatic.

And finally,I have only one key to this animal and don't want to pay $100 for another one, which they say is the going price around here. Any workaround for this? Can I change out the ignition assembly with one for which I have two keys and expect it to work, or is the chip too smart to allow such a change?

Now that we've said all that, where's my first cup of Yerba Mate ....

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Ray
Addicted CEG'er

Reged: 07/10/01
Posts: 7100
Loc: San Antonio/Austin, TX
Re: What should I be looking for new
#1303323 (Re: Taz) 08/19/06 05:41 PM

The etiquette post is just a funny video that outlines the usual posting faux-pas that occur from new members.

Just do the following:
Check the links on the top: search, archives, main site. those three are where the knowledge is. If you have a problem, it will have happened to someone else before, too. Try searching for the answer. click search, choose the forum that your problem applies to (transaxle, engine, aesthetics, etc) and type your search term. Choose your search "boolean" (the way it handles your search term, such as AND, OR, etc)
and set your date range. Choose ALL POSTS unless you KNOW the specific post you are looking for and just want to narrow the search results.

Once you've searched each applicable forum for "waterpump", and still haven't found the answer, try changing it to some creative terms, like "black impellar", "impellar", "pump leak" "overheat", etc. If you still haven't found your answer, start searching the archives in the same manner by clicking "archives" then performing a search in the same way.

Post your questions, by ALL MEANS, IF: you've exhausted your search terms, search ideas, or results. Perhaps you are experiencing a problem that is MOSTLY like a common problem with a twist. You may NOT get the answer in a search, at least not an EXACT answer.
Also, go to each forum (duratec performance, zetec maintenance, aesthetics, etc) and notice the top posts in the forum are "stickied" with a red push pin. those are locked at the top. They don't move down the list as they get older because the info in them is worthy of staying. READ THEM ALL. Start with the post in the GENERAL forum by Lance Kinley saying for "newbies to read this", then work your way down the list reading the FAQ's, HOW-to's, and common problems.

Clicking the "Main Site" link will take you out of the forums and to the main site. on the left is a "common problems" link. Tons to learn there, too. All of these different locations will eventually be combined in one location, to ease learning, but for now: read on.

For the chat room:

open AIM, log on and look at your buddy list. Add yourself TO your own buddy list.
Click your name in your buddy list, and then click on the "invite to chat", or "chat with buddy" button on the bottom of the buddy list. (Some versions, you right click the buddies name (your name in this case) and choose invite, etc.

Type in the chat room name of "CEG" (it will give you a default name of "yourscreennamexxxxxxxxxxxxx" or something. Just erase that..)
once you join, if you are the only one there, then you picked a dead time to chat. lol

Registered member? I'm afraid I don't understand what you are referring to. Registered? You are posting, so you DID register. You have a log-in name, and password, so you're done. Unless you are referring to the title underneath your name in your posts that says "newbie" in which case it is rated by number of posts. The more you get, the more insane your title gets.


Keys:
Firstly lets make sure that we understand which keys are "expensive" and which aren't. Those cars equipped with PATS (V6), has a flashing red LED on the dash above the radio, next to a clock (early 98) or the words "Contour" (later models). If you have PATS (Passive Anti-Theft System) then you have the "expensive" keys. Big, black, plastic key base.

Secondly, some years allowed "programming" of secondary keys with the existence of only one programmed key. Later models required TWO pre-programmed keys to add a third. Do a search on the boards (most likely under Troubleshooting, or General mods?) for "PATS programming" (or the like) for the programming method. Find out if your car will allow a second key to be programmed without a dealer. Maybe it will. If not, you will have to have a dealer program it, and it isn't "cheap" as you are already aware of. I SUGGEST YOU PONY UP THE DOUGH AND GET IT DONE. Lose your one key, you are S-K-REWED! You can purchase another UNPROGRAMMED pats ket cut to your ignition (a third one) and program it yourself once you have the two programmed ones.


Your Yerba is over there ----->

--------------------
'99 CSVT - Silver #222/276
In a constant state of blow-off euphoria.
Originally posted by Kremitthefrog:
I like to wear dresses and use binoculars to watch grandmas across the street.




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Taz
Newbie

Reged: 08/12/06
Posts: 5
Re: What should I be looking for new
#1303366 (Re: Ray) 08/19/06 09:14 PM

T'anks for answering, Ray.

...but it gets worse.



What is AIM, what does 'A' 'I' 'M' stand for, and where izit?!!!!










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Kremithefrog
I have no life

Reged: 05/14/02
Posts: 21653
Loc: Albany, Georgia
Re: What should I be looking for new
#1303377 (Re: Murtaza) 08/19/06 10:06 PM

The SVT is a good car. Just get one that seems well taken care of.

Also be prepared to take crap from some your peers since it's not an import. Once you learn the car and maybe do some mods, they'll see what's up. They're not the fastest car ever but they have decent get up and go and handling is awesome. And you really can't beat the cost vs. what you get. Depreciation is a good thing for used car buyers, and contours are now about as low as they're gonna get.

--------------------
98.5 SVT
91 Escort GT (almost sold)
96 ATX Zetec (i brake to watch you swerve)

FS: SVT rear sway bar
WTB: Very cheap beater

CEG Dragon Run - October 13-15

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Ray
Addicted CEG'er

Reged: 07/10/01
Posts: 7100
Loc: San Antonio/Austin, TX
Re: What should I be looking for new
#1303388 (Re: Kremithefrog) 08/19/06 11:29 PM

AIM - AOL Instant Messenger (A chat client) Even if you don't have AOL you can still use AIM by downloading it at www.aim.com




--------------------
'99 CSVT - Silver #222/276
In a constant state of blow-off euphoria.
Originally posted by Kremitthefrog:
I like to wear dresses and use binoculars to watch grandmas across the street.




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Tony2005
Addicted CEG'er

Reged: 06/19/05
Posts: 5345
Loc: Virginia, USA
Re: What should I be looking for new
#1303413 (Re: Taz) 08/20/06 12:59 AM

Originally posted by Taz:
T'anks for answering, Ray.

...but it gets worse.



What is AIM, what does 'A' 'I' 'M' stand for, and where izit?!!!!












AOL Instant Messaging. Search on Google to find it.

--------------------
"Always do the cheap and easy ones first."

1996 V6 ATX 96K miles


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