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1999 Cougar V6 MTX
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, not new to the platform having owned MANY Contours & Mystiques (all V6s, half MTXs, 3 of which SVTs ) but new to Cougars so forgive me for what may seem like basic questions to some of you more experienced members.

My 99 Cougar 2.5 5-speed is a peach, real happy to have it and got it as a hopefully long-term winter car for when I refuse to be out in my EXPs (snow & road salt BAD!). It's quickly becoming mechanically flawless on my spare time to ensure I have a reliable winter machine, but I know these well enough that whether it be this week, next month, next year, or 3 years out the headgaskets for instance will cash-out just from age. With these surpassing 20 years of age finding one without failed headgaskets or main seals is quickly becoming a rare sight - anyhow, knowing it is inevitable I want to be proactive since the car is in such great shape (8/10 is a fair rating) so in the summer the engine will come out for a top-end rebuild at the least but at that point I'm definitely considering going the bit further to have a 3.0 in it instead.

We're finishing up the 3.0 hybrid swap in my brother's 00 CSVT so the mechanical aspects are no stranger to me but a select few aspects regarding the ECU have me intrigued/concerned. With the SVT the ECU has little issue running the 3.0 but will my Cougar's stock ECU?
I have a spare return-style CSVT ECU & key but not sure if it will work with my car or if it is even recommended or mandatory. Given enough time I can find one if it's a must, just looking for clarification.

What sucks is I have no way of getting the car tuned if that's what's required of the ECU to run a 3.0 or even just a hopped up 2.5 (ported, headers, SVT intakes+injectors+cams), no place nearby has such ability or inclination. Definitely not looking for the most powerful Cougar with these humble dreams but any un-compromised upgrade to power, longevity, and/or parts availably I see I try to take with everything I do.
 

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E-Tunes can be your best bet. Unless their attitude has changed I'd avoid NPG, they stopped responding to me in the middle of tuning. Only after multiple emails they responded back that SCT closed their account and they were dealing with emissions law changes (on top of other things that made for a poor CS experience).

So I went to BrenSpeed and they started from scratch and got the car running nicely. I had taken it to a dyno to just see how everything looked and they agreed the tune was great and if anything there was another ~10-15hp maybe there to be found. Only issue is they, and every other shop around me, doesn't tune this platform.

IIRC you could put an SVT ECU in a 3.0l Cougar to get it running and driveable. But it wasn't something you could live with long term.
 

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I also ran a 3.0 hybrid for some time with an SVT ECU and SVT 19lb injectors. No issues.
 

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Yeah, if you dont want to tune it, use SVT cams and injectors. Your return style ECU should work just fine assuming your car is a return style.

Not sure why you think head gasket failures are inevitable, we certainly haven't seen a lot of that here.
 

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1999 Cougar V6 MTX
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah we built up our SVT 3.0 Hybrid with NPG's parts and despite them being a big help on the phone I disagree with many of their opinions that seem to be based on them cutting costs while increasing profits.....

Yes my SVT computer was from an 98 or 99 with return fuel line and my 99 or 00 Cougar has return as well, read that this supposedly is all the matters so if this alone is fine the ECUs swap no problem once I get the key situation settled. If this is the case I'd be quite happy because then I could have a 3.0 in with minimal hassle or additional significant expense. Just to confirm there's no major side effect of running a 3L on an SVT ECU? Because if it works well I'd go without "proper" tuning until the car dies.

They're inevitable just from age and the byproducts of it, I run a powersports shop and literally half the machines I see that are over 30 years old have had headgaskets fail just in the last 2 years. Doesn't matter if they're MLS or fiber-based everyone's time comes - now granted overheats obviously cause headgasket failure too almost more-so, so I check every head I touch for warpage and it's rare I see it on bikes. But it's the same thing with all seals too, main seals don't last forever, come the 30-35 year mark many get weepy but no one ever notices on a car until they inspect the bellhousing. And valve stem seals are horrid, too many miles or too much sitting and they harden up, on my CVHs they harden up just right so they let go from the guide then just stick to the valve stem as they go up and down with the valve like a carnival ride 😂
As you start disassembling more of these Contour/Cougar/Escape/Taurus engines you'll see more and more headgasket failures, I've pulled a few that showed no clear signs until you see where carbon leaked with the head removed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah we built up our SVT 3.0 Hybrid with NPG's parts and despite them being a big help on the phone I disagree with many of their opinions that seem to be based on them cutting costs while increasing profits.....

Yes my SVT computer was from an 98 or 99 with return fuel line and my 99 or 00 Cougar has return as well, read that this supposedly is all the matters so if this alone is fine the ECUs swap no problem once I get the key situation settled. If this is the case I'd be quite happy because then I could have a 3.0 in with minimal hassle or additional significant expense. Just to confirm there's no major side effect of running a 3L on an SVT ECU? Because if it works well I'd go without "proper" tuning until the car dies. My brother has higher aspirations for his more collectable CSVT so he's going the custom tune route at some point.

They're inevitable just from age and the byproducts of it, I run a powersports shop and literally half the machines I see that are over 30 years old have had headgaskets fail just in the last 2 years. Doesn't matter if they're MLS or fiber-based everyone's time comes - now granted overheats obviously cause headgasket failure too almost more-so, so I check every head I touch for warpage and it's rare I see it on bikes. But it's the same thing with all seals too, main seals don't last forever, come the 30-35 year mark many get weepy but no one ever notices on a car until they inspect the bellhousing. And valve stem seals are horrid, too many miles or too much sitting and they harden up, on my CVHs they harden up just right so they let go from the guide then just stick to the valve stem as they go up and down with the valve like a carnival ride 😂
As you start disassembling more of these Contour/Cougar/Escape/Taurus engines you'll see more and more headgasket failures, I've pulled a few that showed no clear signs until you see where carbon leaked with the head removed.
 

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1999 3.0 SilFro
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For a return Cougar, you need an SFG2.

For a returnless Cougar, you need an XGT1.

I have a return ECU with key chip available if you want one.

And yes, I autocrossed for a full season plus on an untuned 3.0 hybrid with only a standard XGT1 box and SVT injectors. After tuning with 24# injectors I didn't make much more peak power, but picked up around 30 wheel in the middle of the powerband.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For a return Cougar, you need an SFG2.

For a returnless Cougar, you need an XGT1.

I have a return ECU with key chip available if you want one.

And yes, I autocrossed for a full season plus on an untuned 3.0 hybrid with only a standard XGT1 box and SVT injectors. After tuning with 24# injectors I didn't make much more peak power, but picked up around 30 wheel in the middle of the powerband.
All very good to know! Thank you and everyone else who has helped clear this up so far!

Just looked, my loose SVT ECU is a 1998 RJL1 for return-fuel-rails, I have yet to check my Cougar but I know for sure it's a 1999 with return. Not sure if those are compatible (any insight?), if so I'll get the key around and place both into my safe lol But if they don't interchange then I'll definitely consider yours!
 

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Not compatible as far as I know - only the 2 I mentioned are confirmed.

I think it has something to do with the PATS arrangement between the earlier Contours and the Cougar; they all have the correct return fuel system programming, but only the SFG2 has both the correct return programming AND the correct PATS programming.

If you have one on hand it certainly can't hurt to try though, and costs nothing. Engine computers are witchcraft.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Not compatible as far as I know - only the 2 I mentioned are confirmed.

I think it has something to do with the PATS arrangement between the earlier Contours and the Cougar; they all have the correct return fuel system programming, but only the SFG2 has both the correct return programming AND the correct PATS programming.

If you have one on hand it certainly can't hurt to try though, and costs nothing. Engine computers are witchcraft.
As soon as I find the key we'll find out then lol
Is there a list then of which combos people have tried? Saw one in CEG but it's not exactly useful
 

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That all sounds right from when I was figuring mine out. The 1998.5 is different from the 1998.
 
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No list that I can find; we've all had to look into this in the past at one time or another, and that's just a "truism" that has persisted.

I might imagine Dom chronicled it thoroughly over on fordcontour.org at one time or another; I know he did a lot of trial-and-error research.
 
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