Transmission problems are common in this model, often as a result of a failed front pump. The pump loses its ability to create hydraulic pressure, which an automatic transmission needs to function. A sign of front pump failure can be a whine type noise.Google+
Car Problem Reports
Ford Contour Transmission Failure Common Due to Front Pump Failure
Ford Contour Problem
Average Mileage: 122,666 mi (112,000 mi - 130,000 mi)
Driving down the freeway at 65 mph, I began smelling transmission fluid. I assume as it dripped on my exhaust while being blown under my car from ?. A huge "white, thick cloud" of what I assumed was trans fluid burning off the exhaust, was trailing me & slowing traffic quickly behind me. I pulled off fwy, checked the fluid (down 1 qt at this time). Replaced the fluid, let the car cool for an hour or two(temp was higher than it usually runs). I drove it home (approx. 40miles) with it smoking twice when accelerating up a small incline or pulling onto the freeway. The next day it did not shift well and took it to AAMCO down the road from us. Why a warning light for the transmission is not installed on vehicles is beyond my understanding. Before this happened it was a strong running vehicle. $2600 later (that I still owe to my mother)I was back on the road. Until now...I was not sure where the white smoke had come from...exhaust pipes or undercarriage. 8 mos later, my car is having troubles again. Feels as if it lost compression, however, 2 of 4 plugs were caked with carbon. Working on major tune up now...will let you know! Is there a recall from Ford on this transmission pump problem? There should be!
Visitor, 2000 Ford Contour
transmission hasnt failed yet, but does back up slow. course i think i caused it by getting stuck in a snowed over drive. but it does have high hum but only seems to when its really cold out so far and only when im not accelerating.
Visitor, 1998 Ford Contour, 130,000 mi
wont shift into drive at the drive position it seems as though it wants to go only in low but doesnt want to shift into drive unless a low speed is achieved and then can shift manually