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Found this on a website - nothing new to any of use that have owned our 'Tours for any period of time.

Not a bad website at all, as it contains a variety of basic information  - http://www.econofix.com/stoopid.html


Ford Contour SVT

The regular Ford Contour is a fairly easy vehicle to work on. The Contour SVT (SVT means Special Vehicle Team), however, has an alternator and some other things that are nightmares! I had a customer whose Contour SVT burned up an alternator about every 3 to 4 years. He had a lifetime guarantee on them, so he was getting "free" alternators, but he paid me A LOT of money swapping them out. One bolt on the bottom is almost impossible to get to, in fact you can't even touch it with your fingers: there's no room! I got pretty good at the job though: I took the tire off the side opposite the alternator, and stuck together 6 feet of socket extensions. A single long extension won't do (I have a five foot one that works well for removing transmissions). You need the small amount of flex provided with several shorter extensions stuck together to worm your way behind the exhaust and motor mounts. You then can get the socket on the bottom alternator bolt and remove it. Once again, not much room under the hood. Probably that's the reason why alternators didn't last: No space and high performance means high heat, and heat destroys electronic stuff.


Speaking of Ford: they seem to have an ongoing problem with the insulation on their wiring harnesses! Every few years they seem to get a batch of wire that has inferior insulation. That Contour SVT I mentioned earlier originally came to me to have the entire underhood wiring harness replaced. ALL THE WIRES under the hood were COMPLETELY BARE!!! The insulation had just turned to powder and crumbled away! Of course as I noted earlier this cramped engine compartment was obviously getting really hot, and heat destroys plastic sometimes. Oil and transmission fluid can also destroy insulation. This was a faiirly new car though: only 5 years old! (this has been awhile ago!) The engine itself was clean and dry: no oil leaks. ALL the underhood wires were bad, even the ones up high on the firewall! Ford had problems like this in the 70's, then in the 80's, and I think this car was a 1998. Not all Ford models and not all years of the same models have this problem, but I've seen it happen too many times, and there's NO excuse for it!

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