The composite (plastic) intake manifold may crack near the thermostat housing and cause a coolant leak. Ford released an updated manifold that was reinforced to prevent a recurrence. No recall was issued for this problem but Ford did extend the warranty to seven years on some models from the date of purchase.
Car Problem Reports
Mercury Cougar Plastic Intake Manifold May Crack Causing Coolant Leak
Mercury Cougar Problem
Model Year Affected: 1997
Engines Affected: 3.8L V6, 4.6L V8
Average Mileage: 110,315 mi (50,000 mi - 194,000 mi)
Visitor, 1997 Mercury Cougar, 4.6L V8, 50,000 mi
Didn't know about the class action lawsuit or anything. I never had any external antifreeze leaks, but a recurrent leak of some sort developed on the floor of the passenger side. Low coolant indicator light came on every couple of months, so I added more accordingly. Took to a mechanic when a rattling sound developed under the hood, and was told I needed to get rid of the car, due to cracked plastic manifold gasket. Barely made it to a lot to trade it in, and antifreeze leaked out all over their pavement.
Visitor, 1997 Mercury Cougar, 4.6L V8, 194,000 mi
Just found out today that my 97' Mercury Cougar has a cracked intake. Will cost between $500-$600 to fix and has a bad oil leak also. Pretty expensive for an old car with a lot of miles. But then again it went 194,000 miles before it did it so maybe that's a good thing. Still there really should have been a recall on something that's plastic. Still a nice ride so I'm sure I will have it fixed.
Visitor, 1997 Mercury Cougar, 3.8L V6, 56,000 mi
blown head gasket
Visitor, 1997 Mercury Cougar
engine overheated, took to shop and when tech pressure tested system, it was leaking around the heater hose area where it comes out of the minifold
Visitor, 1997 Mercury Cougar, 4.6L V8, 108,000 mi
Ridiculously hard to find a used one! New was a special order and over $300