A coolant leak may develop from a plug on the front of the rear cylinder head, behind the timing cover.
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Repairpal verified 1997 Mercury Villager problems
The distributor shaft bearing can become rusty, and seize causing the engine to stall or not start. The failed distributor will commonly require replacement.
The exhaust manifold often warps and cracks, breaking off the studs between the cylinder head and the exhaust manifold. A ticking type noise may be noted most noticeable when the engine is cold.