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.
Plastic Intake Manifold May Crack Causing Coolant Leak on Mercury Cougar
Average mileage: 110,315 (50,000–194,000)
Engines affected: 3.8L V6, 4.6L V8
9 people reported this problem
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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.
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.
blown head gasket
Ridiculously hard to find a used one! New was a special order and over $300
1997 Mercury Cougar - replaced thermostat still overheating - leaking anti-freeze but not sure where
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