1991 Mercury Cougar LS
3.8 Liter 6 Cylinder
Well here is the story of the once "Mighty Merc".
A good friend of mine I believe about 5 or 6 years ago came across this car through a friend. His friend told him that the car had blown the head gaskets which was something these cars were known for because they have a cooling issue with aluminum heads and a cast engine block. Different rates of expansion and contraction between the different metal puts a lot of stress on the head gaskets. Regardless the car was basically being abandoned because the owner was hesitant to replace the gaskets in fear the vehicle was not worth the money being put into it. My friend acquired the car and he and another friend of mine spent a lot of time and money replacing the head gaskets and cleaning the motor. From that point on he drove the car for a few years back and forth to work and was very pleased at how the car ran. As I remembered it, the car had much more paint and was taken care of very well by that friend. At that point the car had little more than 100,000 miles on the car.
As time wore on the car eventually was sold to my other friends mother who then proceeded to drive the car for another few years. During that time the car was kept on the streets hit a few times and for the most part not maintained well by the owners. However the car was driven back and forth to Virginia by my friends father and his mother drove the car back and forth to work. At that point the car was retired from service with my friends parents.
The car at that time was retired to the friend who replaced the head gaskets driveway for half a year un-inspected and not used. He offered it to me for a car to drive back and forth to my job for a replacement for my 03 Avalanche. My truck had been scratched and I had decided that I would need something to drive in stead of my brand new truck.
Ah-ha here is where my part starts. The car was offered to me at for free and thinking that although the car had about 200,000 miles on the car, the vehicle would be a good great for driving to work and leaving in the parking lot.
The first problem I had with it was the car had a nasty wobble in the suspension. I took it to my mechanic and even he had a problem trying to locate the cause of the wobble. This went on for a few weeks until my wife was following me home and saw the right rear tire wobbling. The only tire that my mechanic did not inspect during his state inspection had broken the internal belt and the tire itself was causing the wobble.
After finding out this was the problem I replaced both rear tires and the car actually handled pretty well for a car with 200,000 miles on it. I drove it for about a month more when the car started overheating driving only short distances. I immediately thought it was the thermostat and took it to be replaced. (If you could see where the water neck for the manifold was you would have done the same)After getting the thermostat done the car continued to overheat and started pushing coolant out of the radiator into the overflow tank and blowing white sweet smelling smoke.
So after 3 months the car lost the second set of head gaskets and I had no choice but to sell it to a scrap yard. It really was a shame because I really started to love that car. I drove it back and forth to New York several times as well as driving it to work every day it ran. The car was comfortable and powerful for a 6 cylinder and it was really a shame to put some money into the car and then have it die right away. My mechanic said it was most likely due to the car being consistently being overheated after the new head gaskets were installed. But here are the pictures of the car below and to be honest I would jump at the chance to get another Cougar of the same generation for the gas mileage, power and overall feel of the car.