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Member Since 19 Nov 2007
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 10:24 AM

Topics I've Started

Pickup Conversion

05 January 2017 - 07:37 AM

I was browsing YouTube and came across this.  How did this not get made in 'Murica first?


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It started as the station wagon Mondeo to minimize intrusion in the bed.  The tailgate still uses the center lock and latch but now hinges on the passenger side.  He used the tiny 1.6l engine, so perhaps there's still room on earth for a real American SVT pickup to salvage our pride.  Anyone have an SVT with rear end damage?

New Source for Miniature Light Bulbs

16 December 2016 - 09:55 AM

I have first generation Contours and Mystiques with the illuminated door handle pockets.  These miniature light bulbs with a green coating on them have been obsolete for years now from Ford, so I have cannibalized all I could out of the local junkyard.  Since they decontented this feature pretty early in the production run, I have figured out how to replace them.  These same bulbs, but lacking the green coating, are in all of the old-style (no reflector) high center mounted brake lights.  Simply pull the bulbs out of the sockets and dip them in Tamiya Clear Green paint and let them dry.  This same technique can be used to change the colors of the pocket door lamps as well as the instrument cluster simply by using a different paint.

Speedometer Puzzler

29 October 2016 - 01:25 PM

When my '95 Mystique had a "no start" situation a few months back, the Ford technician put a device in place of the PCM fuse.  The device worked, but then the speedometer wasn't.  I had just figured out how to fix the odometer, and pulled it anyway.  I had a spare instrument cluster with a known working speedometer and it didn't work either.  I figured the VSS was disconnected, but it wasn't.  The cruise control also didn't work, so the problem was upstream.  I looked at the EVTM and saw there was a tangential connection between the speedo and the PCM.  My eureka moment came when I thought I should try another PCM, because maybe the PCM caused the original problem or the PCM was damaged by the technician's probing.


I got an identical PCM from the junkyard for $20, and plugged it in.  The speedometer is working again.


Here's the puzzler:  My Voltour electric conversion of a '95 Contour has a working speedometer but is not connected to the PCM!  That's why I didn't even consider a PCM fault when I got the car back and went down the re-wiring the main harness rabbit hole.

Odometer Repair Procedure

14 August 2016 - 09:03 PM

One of the most common problems I’ve seen with our cars is the inevitable failure of the odometer.  If the speedometer and odometer have both failed, then it’s probably the sending unit on the transmission.  The wires from the sending unit have likely become brittle and flaked off.  That’s an easy enough fix, provided the plastic spindle hasn’t broken off inside the transmission.  The replacements have metal spindles, a wise upgrade if your car is a ’98 or earlier with the wire problem.  If the speedometer works but the odometer no longer turns, then the worm gear off the speedometer’s odometer drive motor has broken apart.


The YouTube channel ChrisFix recently outlined how he repaired a similar odometer problem on his ‘90’s Mustang.  I went down that same path and found e-bay vendors with replacement worm gears for the Contour for between $6 and $20.  I bought a bunch of the $6 ones for my fleet, as well as the spare instrument clusters I had accumulated over the years to address the broken odometer issue without cracking it open.


After you pull out the instrument fascia and unscrew the five instrument cluster PH2 screws.  Pull the left side of the cluster toward you and detach the two wire connectors from the back of the cluster.  Carefully tilt the top of the cluster toward you when pulling it out, being mindful not to strike the trip meter plunger and break it off.   Place the cluster face-up on an old pillow on your work table.  Cut the label on the side with a knife and gently squeeze the five black tabs holding the clear cover.  Once it is loose, carefully lift the cover straight up to avoid breaking the trip meter reset knob.  It can pull out and be put back, but I had to superglue one back (place in a clamp to keep it from being stuck)

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Remove the three T20 Torx screws holding the speedometer down.  There are three electrical pins holding the gauge down at the top of the speedometer. 

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I use a bent pick tool to pull the gauge from the top and a finger on the bottom trying to pull it out straight.

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Once it is out, you will see the odometer motor with a broken worm gear on its shaft. 

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Disconnect the motor’s electrical connector and remove it by holding down the two tabs and rotating it.  You will need a pick tool or electronic screwdriver to get the inboard tab down. 

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Carefully remove the bits of worm gear from the gauge housing and the shaft of the drive motor.  Slide the new worm gear on but don’t press it all the way down to keep it from binding. 

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Place the worm gear and motor back into the gauge and twist it in until it seats.  Reverse the removal procedure and re-install.  This is also a good time to check and replace dead light bulbs behind the cluster. 


Before putting the fascia back on, drive around the block and make sure everything on the cluster is working.  I finally noticed why there was a tiny number “4” under my 4-cylinder Mystique’s tach needle.  The designers were not as proud of the bold “V6” emblazoned above the tach needle of the 6-cylinder mystique.  My cluster swapping experience has shown they are really interchangeable, and even the red-line is the same.  When I fix the Voltour’s cluster, I’ll probably put on a “120V” sticker over the old “V6.”

That Water Leak You're Going To Get In The Passenger Side Footwell

25 May 2016 - 09:43 PM

My '95 Mystique has been having a small puddle forming on the passenger floor mat for a while now.  After a vigorous washing blasting pine needles from around the wipers, a big puddle formed.  After a quick search of the internet, the problem became clear; the seal around the cabin air filter frame has failed.  Pop off the screw caps on the black plastic vent cover and remove the screws.  Pulling at least the passenger side part off will reveal the cabin air filter frame, and the area will probably need to be vacuumed.


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It's probably time for a new cabin air filter anyway, so pop it off and remove the two nuts holding the frame in place.  Clean the area where the seal goes, and remove any brittle pieces of the gasket seal foam that may be still stuck on.


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I obtained a coil of "butyl tape" from an auto glass shop.  It's a quarter-inch thick spongy foam weatherstripping coated with mastic.  Lay the coil in the gasket channel, pinching a lapping section together at a strategic spot or closely butt-fitting the ends and filling the joint with some extra mastic.


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Peel off the backing when you're ready to put it back in place.  The material is thicker than the original gasket, so don't over-tighten the nuts.  It should provide a weather-tight seal for the rest of the life of the car.  Don't forget to put in a new filter, like I did!


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