Ford Contour

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

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

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
. 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.


Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

Ford technical service bulletin (TSB) numbers in parentheses
apply to both unless single model listed.

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)

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);

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).

“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).

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);

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

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

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)

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

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).

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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