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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I have 2 potential ideas that don't involve the removal of the transaxle from this vehicle. I shall explain the problem first.

My girlfriend recently acquired an 01 Cougar Zn v6 automatic. For the most part it is in really good shape. Just needs new tires/wiper blades and one other 'fun' issue fixed.

When she got it we knew that there was a P0720 VSS code. Big deal I thought, talk the guy down and bring it home, it's a 15 minute fix. WRONG!!! Want to see some pictures of what I thought was no big deal, just fix the wires right? OK!!



Digging in further, I found the VSS wiring. Get this s***!!!





I got rid of that BS, this is what I am left with, one brown/blue and one white/blue.


After days of research, diving in, and all this fun BS I eventually concluded that someone swapped transmissions. Here is the 'fun' part about this. From what I gathered from the factory diagrams and other sources the 2001 was the first year Cougar that utilized the 2 wire speed sensor that is literally next to the driverside axle (brown/blue and blue/white.) This is not to be confused with the other 2 wire sensor that mysteriously uses the same shape plug (that was seized in the transmission with a broken connector when I first saw it, but that is fixed.) The transmission that is in this car uses the 3 wire sensor (green/red, black/orange and white/blue.) The two sensors also work differently, so I know that there isn't much of a chance to get the newer computer to read a signal from a mechanical sensor (unless someone here figured out how???) End point, older transmission either from a Contour or an older Cougar.

Idea #1: I noticed that on the transmission casing next to the driverside axle there is an impression in the case where the magnetic sensor would mount. Now from this point I know that I could drill out that hole (and I know how to keep all the shavings OUT and plan on doing a flush/filter job anyways) but what I do NOT know is if there are the necessary components on the other side of that impression that the sensor can read.

Idea #2: Something that I noticed when I was at my local Pull-A-Part was that a 97 Ford Contour (which to my understanding is the same platform that the Cougar was built on) with the 2.5 Duratec and auto trans used the same wiring color codes for the MAF, the turbine speed sensor (the smaller one on the driverside of the transmission) and the 3 wire speedometer gear that the 5spd Cougar 2001 uses. I would not be surprised at all if the ECU from a 99 or 2000 Cougar, or 97-2000 Contour would fit in the same slot that the 2001 Cougar uses. Doing such would also allow me to just splice the green/red wire from the MAF, the white/blue that I already have, and add a ground for the third and have her car back in business.

Question time. Note, I do not have access to a 99 or 2000 wiring diagram manual like I do the 2001 here. Does anyone see any flaws with the ideas that I am having here? does anyone have another recommendation as to how I can possible get a speedometer signal from the transmission without replacing the whole unit? Mechanically there is nothing wrong with this transmission or engine, nice and strong and somehow even shifts smoothly into all gears.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh, and for the record, I already replaced the damaged connectors shown in the earlier pictures with ones that I salvaged from said Contour, the wire colors matched up perfect. I just need to find one for the IAT and I'll be back in business :)
 

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Sometimes, you just have to love used cars. Ugh.
 

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Can you pull the sensor out and replace it with the new style or is the hole/mounting way different? A lot of sensors changed over the years but generally you can swap in the new sensors and you'd be fine.

Do not try to swap ECU's that's going to be way more work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Unfortunately the older sensor is gear driven. There is an insert that goes into the transmission that rides on a gear that would have to be on the output shaft. I don't believe that there is a way to get the magnetic sensor to be able to read from this point.

My guess is that on the stock location for the magnetic sensor there is some sort of gear or ring that is pressed into the differential somehow. I never got any good at disassembling FWD or automatic transaxles. I'm more of a RWD 5spd guy.

So you know that the computers use different plugs between the 99 and the 01? If they use the same plug I don't mind reconnecting wires into the different pins.
 

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Swapping ECU's won't work. There were a lot of changes from 99 to 01/02. Fuel systems were changed, different oil sensor, different knock sensor, PATs issues with the keys, etc. It would be easier to swap the transmission for the correct one.

You could try asking over on CEG (The Contour Enthusiasts Group) as they have a lot of members with older cars with that older style transmission (Contour uses the same motor/trans). They might have an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
rats, that was not the answer that I was hoping to hear. you said that the fuel systems were changed from 99 to the 01, but what about the 2000 models? Were they the same as the 99, the 2001, or were they different than both? I'm trying to find an answer from all angles, but removing the transmission where I am at is not an option, and there is no room in the budget to take the car someplace else to get it done, let alone finding another unit to put into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
An update on this: I have confirmed that the transmission that is in the car is from a 99 cougar, the part numbers on the trans pan were cross-referenced. I do have some contacts that believe that the magnetic VSS gets it's signal from the park gear that is on the transaxle. However I was advised against drilling out the impression because the filter can not be changed easily and I risk damaging the clutch packs. That is what I figured anyways when I learned that the filter is non-serviceable when in-vehicle.

Oh, remember that first picture above? Yeah, this is how they **should** have repaired those broken wires.

That is another connector from another vehicle, hence the different color wires at the end, because the old one wasn't in good shape. I need to get another one for the IAT because it was also damaged and solder-blobbed back together.

Meanwhile I have been comparing the pinouts for the 2000 and the 2001 Cougars, I am going to take the plunge and attempt to use the 2000 PCM. I know that there is going to be one wire that I am going to have to dig out of the harness, the black/orange wire that needs to be added to the connector. This part is easy.

However the harder part is going to be the issue with the PAT and the keys. Currently I have only one key for this vehicle, it is a copy key and the originals are looooong gone. This new PCM is not going to be able to read this key at all based off of what I have read. So my question is how am I going to be able to take either my pre-existing key or a new pair of blanks and get them to work with the new PCM? The new ECU is going to be flashed, I am going to order 2 new key blanks, maybe 3 to be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
also confirmed that I would need a new knock sensor as well, the part numbers are different. Strange though, they look almost identical?
Also I can't seem to find any information about the oil pressure sensors that our cars use. I can't even find a parts number online for it. Guess it's time I go to Ford.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well I wired in the proper harness for the 3 wire VSS, took it for a drive and the engine light is off? A little bit of speed registered, was doing probably 45-50 and it read 12. Just waiting on the key blanks to arrive so I can program the new PCM.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, the final verdict here. The PCM did NOT fix the issue. I tried 2 different ones, no dice. Facing a $2000 transmission job, I decided that the risk was well worth it to drill the hole into the transmission and mount the proper sensor myself.

IT F*CKING WORKED!!!

Pics for all the picture *****s!

I purchased a 15/16 cobalt drill bit that uses a 1/2 inch chuck. that was a PITA, and **** expensive. But it went through like butter.



Mounted the proper sensor, ran the wire harness that I properly repaired a couple days ago, and she reads speed, shifts smooth, and is FAST!!!
Going for emissions tomorrow and tag Thursday. Will be a good day :)
 

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I wish I would have read this. There is a way to make the three wire mechanical sensor work with a two wire car. My car was an automatic from the factory. It had the two wire later style sensor. I swapped in an MTX and had to try to figure out what you had to deal with as the MTX only has a 3 wire sensor. Basically you wire the positive wire of the 3 wire sensor to an ignition power source somewhere, the ground to a good ground, and the sig return to the sig return of the two wire connector... AND... run a line from that up to a nifty white w/ purple wire up in the harness connector on the drivers side strut tower. It sounds complicated but its less then drilling a hole in your trans. Gotta give you props for thinking outside the box and just going for it. Seriously, nice fix.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If I recall correctly, the sig was the white/blue, the switched hot was green/red and the ground was black/orange.

An update on Zinc, emissions passed after going through a few drive cycles. Horay, yay, DONE!!! or so we thought. Turns out, the colder weather has been hell on this transmission. Drove fine for weeks when warmer, but the well known transmission surge reared it's head with the cold.

Yesterday I spent some time under the hood with a few new parts and reconnected an original one. For starters I installed a thermal bypass valve, this allows the transmission fluid to heat up before going to the cooler. Next I I reinstalled the factory transmission cooler (the lines were cut and hanging there, and filled with silicone!!) Before I did, I cleared the lines, ran mineral spirits through the tank using a vacuum pump, and purged it out with compressed air. I did the same cleanup method for the air transmission cooler as well and mounted it up a bit better. Some fresh clamps and securing the lines better and it is a lot cleaner down there.

The original start up and test drive went a lot better, but she still surged a couple of times. The car isn't driven very often lately, just on emergency situations and occasional trips to the store in warmer weather. On an up note, the dreaded pump sound no longer is present, I wonder if I cleared out some clog or unbound something that I didn't know was present? Saving up money to do the Sonax valve body repair at a shop, can't afford it right now and will leave internal ATX work to the pros.

Sonnax - Aftermarket replacement transmission, torque converter, and high performance automotive parts

BTW, will be doing the 'optional' repair as well.
 

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I have the same problem with mine .my three wire plug has one wire black with orange stripe one yellow with red stripe and a brown maybe orange not sure. Which one is the ground which one is the sig and which one goes the ignition source?
 

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The black and orange is almost certainly the ground. You can check that with a multimeter.
One of the other two should have 12V when the key is on. That one is your power. (Probably the Y/R wire)
The third one is your signal out to the instrument cluster. (Probably Brown)
 

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I have the same problem with mine .my three wire plug has one wire black with orange stripe one yellow with red stripe and a brown maybe orange not sure. Which one is the ground which one is the sig and which one goes the ignition source?
[/QU


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The black and orange is almost certainly the ground. You can check that with a multimeter.
One of the other two should have 12V when the key is on. That one is your power. (Probably the Y/R wire)
The third one is your signal out to the instrument cluster. (Probably Brown)
Thanks I will try that
 
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