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.
Problems for specific Mercury Grand Marquis years:
Car problem reports
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Most reported 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis problems
A spring in the seat belt buckle may wear or fail, causing the airbag light on the instrument panel to illuminate. Failed buckles will require replacement.
The throttle position sensor (TPS) may fail. Common symptoms of a defective TPS can be rough idle, hard starting, hesitation on acceleration, poor fuel economy, and stalling.
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.