New Cougar Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought a 99 cougar with 75k miles for $1850 delivered. Everything seemed great aside from the usual rust. After registering it and replacing a seizing master cylinder and old rotors and doing some home (read: bondo and fiberglass I know, I know) body work I have about $3000 in it total.
I had noticed grinding show up after getting it registered which took a while, a trip up and down side streets before then was just fine and there was no issue when they drove an hour to get it to me. I thought it was the brakes since the master cylinder had just seized and all the brake stuff had been sitting for a long time and was rusted. Rotors made the brakes better but didn't stop the grinding, I got the ball joint replaced but it still didn't fix it. Then they did more testing and noticed the grinding was coming from the differential. The car drives well but the grinding is obvious. How long do I have before it fails completely? I originally only planned on keeping it until I move in 1.5-2 years but I really fell in love with the car. I have been reading about people swapping stock out the differential with a more robust one, how hard and expensive is this to do?

I saw people saying one wheel usually kind of spins free while the other is powered on the crappy post 98 diffs, thats what happened on this one, when it was on the lift the passengers side spun when they gave it gas but the drivers mostly didnt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,396 Posts
Quaife are the big boys in the industry:
At least one person here has used M-factory with no issues:

If you dont want to drop that kind of money on a new diff, you could probably just drop in a junkyard transmission for a couple hundred dollars and be good to go. Our manual transmissions really don't fail very often, yours is actually kind of an unusual story. The PO must have beat the crap out of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Sorry I should have mentioned it is an automatic! Is the rest of the transmission usually fine on these and it is just the differential that fails?

How hard is it to swap out the differential? The whole transmission has to come out right? (I am still pretty new to all this) I am gonna get it done at a shop since I don't have the experience or all the tools for a job this big. I don't want to spend a ton on this and was hoping to get it done for 1k total but if I am already paying most of that for labor it might be worth it to add a couple hundred bucks to get a new differential.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
24,438 Posts
Automatic trans is a totally different animal, and does not have a serviceable differential. All threads about differential service and upgrades are strictly applied to manual transaxles.

It's generally understood that the automatic trans in this platform is utterly disposable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
That is very sad. Thank you for clearing that up- makes much more sense with what I saw in this ford training video. (
) I wish the shops I had gone to for some of the work had noticed where the issue was before replacing the old rotors and ball joint, I probably would have just gotten another car and left this as a project for another day.

Since the car is an automatic and the trans is disposable I guess I will drive it until it starts really failing and go from there. The ATF fluid level is high. I am wondering if the PO put some additive in it to quiet it down or did a total flush of the fluid which caused some problems before they sold it.

How long can I reasonably expect it to run if I don't push it? The car has rust but only 75k miles. I am deciding between buying another cheap car when this dies, possibly with its own issues, or maybe replacing the transmission in this depending on cost. How much would that be and is it even possible to find compatible transmissions without issues?

Is there anything I can do for it to make it run a bit better?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,396 Posts
Oh. Automatic. My bad for not asking.
You can roll the dice on a junkyard replacement. Sometimes they will offer a warranty, but its still a gamble.
As you've discovered, the ATX doesn't even need to be especially high mileage to have problems.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
24,438 Posts
With heat being the #1 cause of failure in the automatic, adding an external auxiliary trans cooler is a good step to take. They are usually stupid cheap from places like Jeg's or Summit Racing, and relatively simple to splice in to the system.

I'm not convinced it's the transaxle, though; usually if there's an issue there, the car will let you know by throwing a warning icon in the instrument cluster, in the LCD screen, that looks like a gear with a "!" inside it. Perhaps it's an axle or wheel bearing or something? I mean, I'm obviously just speculating, but those are unusual symptoms; I don't think I've ever heard reports of that sort of failure here, and I've heard a lot...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Huh, so interesting story- I had the rotors changed out at a chain shop and they told me the grinding was a wheel bearing. I got a new bearing and hub assembly and took it to a different chain shop. Techs there were younger. They said it wasn't that and was the ball joint so they changed that then but the grinding didn't go away so they put it up and it appeared the grinding was coming from the transmission. Maybe the first shop was right, they seemed more experienced. The second shop didn't test drive it after they got done and did a bit of damage to the admittedly iffy body work I did when they lifted it. And the guy kept calling it a transfer case which was a bit confusing at the time since I thought that would only be on an awd or 4wd vehichle. I just kind of assumed they were right since that was where the grinding sounded like it was coming from when we were underneath it but it can be hard to place those sounds sometimes.

There is a light on, its a wrench light on the roof panel but that is just the service light for oil etc right? Yeah I was surprised there wasn't like some kind of obvious check engine or warning light. I think I'll take it to the original shop to see what they think, they said they would look at it for free. It not being the transmission would make my year!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
24,438 Posts
Yeah the wrench light in the overhead console is just a generic periodic maintenance alert; you can turn it off by holding down the UNITS and SELECT buttons in the center stack until it resets.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top