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Discussion Starter #1
My Cougar will have been sitting for 6 weeks or more when I finally am able to drive it again. During that time, I haven't started the car once. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I'd like to check the car over before turning the key just in case something went awry. The car hasn't sat unused this long for as long as I've owned it--4.5 years.

The battery is in good shape. It was just replaced earlier this year, so I'm not worried about it. However, it seems prudent to check things like the oil level, coolant level, power steering, brake fluid, and tire pressure before starting it.

Of course, none of those had a problem before I parked the car, but my Cougar has previously developed problems while not even being used. (Seriously--I went to use it one day after it had been sitting for two weeks, only to discover that the exhaust system had mysteriously disconnected itself right behind the cat. It was fine when I last drove it.)

It's likely the brake rotors have rusted severely, but then they do that after only a couple days of sitting. They'll clean themselves off after a couple brake applications; hopefully none of the brakes will hang up.

So, can anyone suggest anything else I should check before firing it up? Or, can you think of anything I should watch out for when I'm first driving it?

Yeah, this probably could go in the "General Info" or something, but I'd rather keep it local.

Thanks.
--RJ
 

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No problem, RJ-

You're on the right track- Checking all fluid levels is definitely a good idea.

The only other thing I would do is crank it over for a few seconds with the coil disconnected to let to oil pump re-prime itself. 6 weeks is a while- I know my cat doesn't like me to leave him sit for more than about 5 days. If I do, he's all kinds of cranky when I fire it up- Random loping to the engine (misfires), surging of the engine (IACV signal), etc, until he finally regains his footing and smooths out.

Just disconnect the wiring harness that goes to the coil pack and crank it for about 5 seconds, then wait for about 30 seconds. Crank it another 5 seconds, then wait 30. Reconnect the coil, and fire it up. That way you'll have oil where you need it when it catches.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds like a plan.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I started it today (couldn't wait any longer, and the weather was just too nice). All the fluids were fine, and it fired right up. Even the tire pressure was only down to 30 psi. The brake rotors look like orange Halloween candy, but that's to be expected.

Now, the bad news: it was running slightly rough. It was doing that before I parked it: I have a "Christmas list" of things I was going to get checked laying here. So, I want to replace the spark plugs, wires, and the fuel filter (I have a K&N air filter), since none of those have been replaced and the car has 56,000 miles. Since I can't work on it at my place, are there any plans for an upcoming meet? The other options are to take it to my parents' place in PA and work on it there, or just take it to the dealer.

(I've done spark plugs & wires on other cars, but not on this one, and it doesn't look very easy to get to the spark plugs. Also, I've never worked on a fuel filter, so I'm a little nervous about doing that. In short, it'd be nice to have someone around who's knowledgable about these engines and is willing to deal with a relative newbie. :) )

Thanks.
--RJ
 

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RJ,

This weekend, Dan is performing the tranny swap that was scheduled for last weekend. Maybe Dan would be cool with hosting another meet? If not, you can meet up with me on the 9th, 15th, or 16th, since my car is due for 75K maintenance, which includes:

* oil filter
* air filter
* fuel filter
* cabin air filter

we can check/replace plugs and wires, too, if you like. all of this is quite simple. i did it all in a parking lot at 50K. ~Gary

EDIT: i may be doing the same work on a VW Beetle, too.
 

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Works for me, Gary- Just keep in mind that I'm going to be all but wholly preoccupied with the trans swap, since I'm charging Jay by the hour for my time. NECO/CEG get a discount from what I normally charge, but this is still quoted as a 24 hour job pulling the entire powertrain from the car and replacing the transmission unit.

Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel. My place, 10am, Saturday, November 8th.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You guys are great!

Dan, I don't want to put you and your wife through the hassle of lunch and all...maybe we can go out and get something and bring it back instead...

RJ
 

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No biggie... There are a few fast food joints 'round our place- Wendys, McFattys, Taco Hell, etc.

And you weren't putting us out! Sheesh! We just threw a couple burgers and dogs on the grill. I don't mind putting lunch together if folks are lending a hand on this trans swap.

The weather forecast looks a little better- 52 degrees and sunny on Saturday...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sounds good. I'll see y'all Saturday.

I'm willing to help out however I can on the tranny swap. :)

--RJ
 

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Then bring some work clothes... You WILL get dirty!

:banana:
 

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Did you say we're meeting this weekend?? Really?
 

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Sure- Jay (yupurr) is bringing his car over for the trans swap. We're also doing some routine maintenance to a few other members, etc.

The trans swap is going to take me both Saturday and Sunday, and maybe into Monday depending on how much help I can sneak from everyone that comes out.

See my previous post for directions to my place in Gainesville. 10am Saturday is the start time. Bring some warmer clothes, and/or some work clothes if you want to get dirty. (Get those thoughts out of your head, people!)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Quick one for you guys: Plug wires were $120/set, which seemed kind of pricey, so I passed. I have 56,000 miles. Does anyone think I really need to replace them with only 56,000 miles?

--RJ
 

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WOAH, dude! $120?! Plug wires are $47.50 for the set from BAT, page 26 in the catalog. Spark plugs are on the same page, for $7.95 each. Obviously you'd be ordering 6.

Edit: Oh, and yes- 60k miles is a good time to do it. Make sure you also have some dielectic grease to use on the contacts.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I paid $6.95/ea for Motorcraft plugs.

Shoot! I forgot about the grease! (This is why I asked before Saturday, though.)

I'll hit Autozone or one of those shops tomorrow... they should have the wires.

--RJ
 

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Whatever you do don't buy the cheap wires they sell at the carpart stores. They are pieces of crap. If you have to get them there at least go with a brand name set.
 

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Yeah, RJ- Better to get the Ford Wires, as they're built for the waste-spark DIS ignition system on the Duratecs. You have some time, and I swear it is easy to swap! You do not need to remove the upper intake manifold or anything (though, if you've never done it, it's a perfect time- Just remember you'll need a new set of UIM gaskets, a TB gasket, EGR gasket, and IAC gasket, all available from Bill Jenkins, BAT, or your local dealer).

You'll need a 3/8" rachet, 6" 3/8" extension, and the 5/8" spark plug socket, IIRC. Tape the socket to the extension to prevent it from falling off inside the head, and fish it down there to feel the plug. THe rubber boot inside the spark plug socket will ensure that you're on straight and can pull it out when it's loose.
 

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Originally posted by: DanG
Tape the socket to the extension to prevent it from falling off inside the head
i JUST experienced this for myself and damn what a head scratcher for a few seconds. I wound up having to pull the plug back out and just figured id use some bearing greese up in the rubber sleeve in the socket that grabs the ceramic part of the plug. it slipped right off next attempt.
 
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