The Ford Contour project

The Contour Project
98 Ford ContourBack in 2004 I bought this 98 Ford Contour for $200. Oh yeah it looks nice in the picture. But the smell!You see this guy drove it into the desert and has a stroke and dies -they don’t find him for two weeks. His body had exploded all over the inside of the car.

No I am just kidding about that. The engine is blown on it and all the junk yard would pay this kid for it was $200 so I told him I would buy it for that and I could use the parts off of it for our other 98 Contour. But I had no idea it was in such good shape. (No it really doesn’t smell) It has four wheel disk brakes and a sun roof.

Engine OUTI am thinking “how hard could it be to take the engine out of the blue car and put in the one from the junk yard? Heh This car with a running engine would be worth about $3000.So I calls up the salvage yard and asks them how much they want for a used motor. Only $500 some bucks. . I have been fixing my cars and trucks for a while now and I have done alternators, starters and even the transmission on my truck. So I go buy this engine. -oh….. now what have I gotten myself into. This thing is REALLY heavy. Look at all this stuff hanging from it. Can I do this? I am going to do it now -I think.
Engine INWell the dude and the junk yard says his computer says it is an 11 hour job. Honestly it is going to take me that long to find my tools. But I am going to tear into and try. The worst that can happen is I get frustrated and return the new motor and sell the car to the junk yard for $200 and just be out the time I spent. 
Time log
7/7/2004 3 hours -Pick up motor from Viking Auto Salvage, Remove hood, Set up my work area and organized my sockets and wrenches. Drained some fluids out of engine.  Disconnected hoses and removed the top engine mount.. oppps I don’t think I should have done that yet. Dumped leaves and rocks out of my toolbox. Lost 2 quarts of blood to savage mosquitoes and contracted some rare form of west nile and lime disease and oil poisoning. I am having fun so far.
Feb 12th 2005 -6 hours It was remarkably nice out. The calm before the storm. The neighbor Donny helped me with his hoist to lift the car off of the front end. Unbelievable. Why did I think I could do this?
I thought that I would pull the engine out of the car -Not that I would have to pull the car off of the engine. Well. That is the only way to take this thing apart. Fun! contour with engine out
One thing that I did notice is that they only way to change the alternator is to do this -pull the car off the body thing. Wonderful! I think I will bring the alternator in to get it checked out as long as I am at it here. Perhaps I might just buy a new one. How ridiculous! I have changed the alternator 4 times on my wonderful Ford ranger. I can just imagine how pissed I would be doing that with this car. “hello Viking auto salvage?”. Yes the engine tipped over spilling oil on the lawn. I bet the procedure is to drain the oil before taking the engine out. It is starting to rain now. contour engine
engine out Here is a better shot of the whole mess in my back yard. I tarped it over and hung it up for today. I am cold dirty and wet and sick of banging my knuckles for today. 
snow on the projectDon’t ya just Love Minnesota! I was wearing a T-shirt yesterday.I might get at this again in the Spring? or next week?
engine hoist June 24th 2005. It has almost been an entire year since I started this project. I have two weeks before I want to take this car to Camp Tomahawk. If I don’t finish it I have to either take the bus or drive that nice brown 78′ F150 that gets about 5mpg. (I will be taking the bus if I fail). 
engine in back of truckMoving the engine around on the lawn is a big chore. We hoist it up and put it in the truck, we then drive it around to the other side of the car and hoist it back out. The hoist sinks
in the soft dirt and is almost impossible to push into position. Frank come and helps get it into position with Cody and I.
Lifting the engine out of truckMy Sons Cody and Matthew were great help as I pretty much didn’t feed them for these two weeks because I was totally focused on getting this car put back together. Here is Cody lifting the engine out.
TransaxleHere is a picture of where that motor needs to go.
Transmission and transaxleNotice the Trans-axel in this picture. It is that shaft that is conected to the passenger side wheel. Yeah ahh that needs to get slid on the motor and then into the transmission as it is
all going back together. Well we figured that really wasn’t possible as we are doing this and it turns out to be a bunch more work on the Weds night before we leave. I ended up taking the wheel off and pulling the whole axel out and putting it back on.This is about how far Cody and I got on this day. Frank came over the next day and gave us a hand getting the motor and transmission together.
putting the car back on the engine and transaxleAfter Frank helps me jocky the motor and transmission into place, Donny gives us a hand with his crane.
Car going back togetherDonny’s Truck has this wonderful crane that made the hole project possible at all. I can’t thank him enough for his help here.
Jocky and rock it into the right placeDonny, Tim and Frank were awesome help at this point in the fun.
blurry pictureI am not really working as fast as it looks here.
one piece againIt is back together! I feel that if I want to give
up now I can, because it could be towed down to some mechanics garage
in one peice.
wire harness See that wiring harness there? Yeah ahh that should have been put on BEFORE the engine and car went together. What a bear it was to get back behind the engine. There is a serious lack of room between the engine and the firewall.
A few more parts to put on yet here.
The “work shop”
storm
A storm came up and blew a tree down on top of me and
the project.
storm damage
Last minute projects
Monday Eve. The Trans-axel mounting to the engine Tuesday Wiring harnesses
Thursday morning -The steering column hook up
Friday The transmission shift linkage
Done at 11:30 pm! We GOT TO PACK for a week of camping. I am good and tired the next day driving to northern Wisconsin.
Sat. We drive the car to Tomahawk!
The tailpipe come apart between the engine and the muffler. We come into Scout camp sounding like some kind of stock car racer.
It drives all the way home perfectly. What a trip and what a sense of accomplishment. Now I have to get to work on all that stuff I ignored for two weeks

 I have since sold the car. It ran when I sold it, I just could never quite feel like it wasn’t going to give me some big problem that required taking it all apart again. I wanted to sell it while I still felt good about the project.