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.Google+
Car Problem Reports
Mercury Villager Exhaust Manifold Can Warp and Cause the Studs to Break Off
Mercury Villager Problem
Average Mileage: 172,174 mi (100,000 mi - 234,000 mi)
Visitor, 1993 Mercury Villager, 100,000 mi
the rear manifold stud broke off causing exhaust leat
Visitor, 1995 Mercury Villager, 135,435 mi
same prom, replace all rusted bolts and seals, that in turn restored lost power and gave me better fuel consumption.
Visitor, 1997 Mercury Villager, 234,000 mi
studs broke on back mainfold
Visitor, 2000 Mercury Villager, 174,000 mi
Same issue here, I do not see broken bolts, just hear ticking getting worse every time I start it. Worst w/ cold mornings.
Visitor, 1993 Mercury Villager, 154,000 mi
we just got the water pump, two motor mounts, muffler, thermostat, rear exhaust gasket, new radiator and it STILL has a exhaust smell coming through the vents!!!!! what the hell did we miss? this car should be gone I think, but my husband thinks its still a good car. I can't drive it though because our son shouldn't ride in it.
Visitor, 1995 Mercury Villager, 167,000 mi
I bought this Villager used 3 years ago, with about 130,000 miles on it. There was always a rattle when cold; I still think that may be the lifters, but at about 160,000 miles I developed a distinct exhaust leak. When I checked the exhaust manifold (rear side)I saw that four of the six studs had rusted & broken off. I dunno how long it was like that, but I'm sure they didn't all go at the same time; I'm amazed it held up this long. Now I have to decide whether it's worth it to repair the head, or just scrap it for $300.
BTW; all four original tires blew out on me, one-at-a-time over the first year. They were new when I bought the car, but had NO manufacturer info on them anywhere. I advise checking tires carefully if buying from a budget used-car dealer. (Especially "Woodbridge Auto Auction" in VA.)
Engine ticks when cold. It seems to seal itself after the engine gets warm, but there is a noticeable loss of power, especially on hills. Have not tried to fix et. Dealer said it could be done by rebuilding the heads for $1500.