Mercury Mystique

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Auto Defects > Mercury

January 2001

Dear Contour/Mystique Owner:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your Contour or Mystique. CAS has received complaints from consumers on faulty gauges, air conditioning leaks and mold, difficulty shifting out of Park, water leaks, lurching while in first gear, inoperative gas cap levers, stalling, hard starts and other driveability problems..

Introduced in 1995 as Ford's new "world car," the Contour and Mystique were average at best, Ford dropped the Mystique in 2000 and the Contour in 2001. Although the 1998 Contour/Mystique received high marks in the government's frontal and side crash tests, both models did poorly in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) offset crash test which test the ability to withstand front impacts just on the driver side which is typical of a car veering over the center line and striking another car. Both have a poorly designed vertically deploying airbag on the passenger side.

Reliability has been a weak point with both the Contour and Mystique earning a poor rating in the Car Book and Consumer Reports. Ford's claim that the more powerful 2.5-liter V6 engine of 1995-96 models does not need to be tuned for the first 100,000 miles remains to be seen. The 1995 Contour and Mystique was hit by seven safety recalls, an unusually high number for a new model. Three of the seven were for fuel tank or fuel filler neck defects, a particularly serious problem. Both models had over 200 Service Bulletins to dealers on problems and service procedures.

You'll find more information on Contour/Mystique problems below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against Ford as we fight for action on Taurus/Sable defects.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible which entitles you to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

CONTOUR & MYSTIQUE FACT SHEET
Ford technical service bulletin (TSB) numbers in parentheses apply to both unless single model listed.

Brakes: Parking brake sticks or binds, 1995-98 Contour/Mystique with rear disc brakes (97-5-2, 98-5A-17); Front brake groan during city driving, 1995-99 Contour/Mystique (99-8-9)

Engine/Driveability: Hard or no start in cold weather, stalls, 1995-97 Contour/Mystique with 2.0L (97-8-4); Stalls or surges during acceleration from stop or while at low speeds, 1996-97 Contour/Mystique with 2.0L (96-23-3); Long crank or stalls after starting, 1995-96 Contour/Mystique with 2.5L(97-9-5); Sulfur odor &/or stalls or forward surge on engagement after start-up, 1995-97 Contour/Mystique with 2.5L & CD4E transaxle (97-12-3); PCV tube wear-through, 1995-96 Contour/Mystique (96-10-5); "Squeal" from water pump at 650-700 rps, 1995-96 Contour/Mystique with 2.5L (96-14-7); "Hooting"/"moosing" from engine compartment &/or stalls, 1995-97 Contour/Mystique with 2.5L (96-19-5); Rough idle, stall 1995-97, 1995-96, 1998-99 Contour/Mystique with 2.0L (98-20-7, 98-18-1, 99-13-8);

Steering/Suspension: Increased steering effort & FEAD belt slips, 1995-98 Contour/Mystique with 2.5L (97-11-2); Rubbing from rear when driving, 1995-96 Contour/Mystique (96-20-3); Steering wheel vibrates in idling, 1995-97 Contour/Mystique with 2.0L engine (97-11-7); Special TSB for noise, vibration, harshness, 1995-99 Contour/Mystique (99-11-1).

Transmission: "Grinding" or "clashing" on shifting into third gear &/or high effort on shifting into 2nd gear, 1995-96 Contour/Mystique with MTX-75 transaxle (96-24-8); "Whistle" while idling in "Park," 1995-96 Contour/Mystique (96-8-8); A/T fluid seeps from vent & collects on main control assembly, 1995-00 Contour/Mystique with CD4E transaxle (97-5-9, 99-24-9); Right hand differential seal leak, 1995-96 Contour/Mystique with CD4E or MTX-75 transaxles (97-9-11); Harsh shift &/or engagement, 1995-97 Contour/Mystique (96-26-14); Low A/T fluid, 1995-96 Contour/Mystique (96-9-5); Vehicle does not move, 1998-99 Contour/Mystique wMTX-75 & 2.5L (99-14-8); Harsh shift on heavy aceleration 1995-98 Contour/Mystique with 2.0L (99-20-1).

Other: Fuel filler lever &/or latch inoperative, 1995-96 Contour/Mystique (96-9-2); Window molding comes loose or falls off, 1995-97 Contour/Mystique (97-2-1); Interior glass fog/film, 1995-97 Contour/Mystique (96-22-1); A/C blows out of defroster ducts only, 1995-98 Contour/Mystique (97-15-4); A/C condensation drips onto floor, 1995-96 Contour/Mystique (97-8-9); Fuel filler door will not close, 1998-99 Contour/Mystique (99-20-4) Rough texture paint &/or orange/rust dots, 1995-99 Contour/Mystique (95-6-1, 99-12-10);

MAJOR RECALLS
Copies may be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

Airbags: 2,000+ 1995 Contour/Mystique - Passenger airbag doesn't inflate properly (95E-006.002); 280,000 1998 Contour/Mystique - Airbag sensor wiring insulation become brittle, illuminating airbag warning light & disabling arbag (99V-243).

Electrical/Lights: 602,000 1996-98 Contour/Mystique - Headlight switch terminal damage cause dash, tail & parking light to go out (99V-103); 10,000+ 1998 Contour/Mystique - Headlight aiming instructions unclear (98V-028)

Fuel Fed Fires: 8,000 1995 Contour/Mystique - Fuel filler pipe develops static electric charge (94V-184); 28,500 1995 Contour/Mystique - Fuel filler pipe leaks (94V-203); 167,784 1995 Contour/Mystique - Fuel tank leaks (95V-232); 1,800 1996-97 Contour with CNG system - CNG line shut off valve fails (97V-067, 97V-203); 22,000 1996 Contour/Mystique - .Fuel filler vent hose cracks (99V-247)

Seatbelts: 229,500 1995 Contour/Mystique - Front seatbelt anchor fractures (95V-228).

Transmission: 175,000 1995-98 Contour/Mystique - Transmission gear position indicator becomes unclear (98V-233); 4,600 1999 Contour/Mystique - Key can be removed with transmission not in Park (99V-060).

Other: 2,513 1995 Contour/Mystique - Right rear door glass defective (95V-009); 38,000 1995-96 & 153,000 1998 Contour/Mystique - Throttle fails to return to idle (97V-225 & 99V-164); 1,400 2000 Contour/Mystique - Incorrect child proof door lock label (99V-361); 250,000 1996-98 Contour/Mystique - Pressure conscious reducing valve (PCRV) in rear brakes corrodes (00V-075).

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