1997 Mercury Cougar Hard Starting

One thing I do notice when I get the car to start, is a kind of whiny noise. It's like a whistle in a way.

I meant smell the spark plug for gas smell:)

yes it was.. kinda like intel vs AMD vs Nvidia at the time..AMD WON

and lost cause is stupid and ROY

could be a bad belt and if the belt is part of the timing for the sparks could be why, but.. being 1997 i dont think it would have that kinda timing but i duno, american cars. also it came to me if you have trouble starting your car could be the starter?

Don't think it's the starter. Why I am trying to do process of elimination. Though I was able to find the OBD port on the car, seeing the check engine light keeps coming on, sometimes intermittently.

are you refering to timing chain.. belt... platstic..good for 60.000 miles then your engine would eat itself. thanks ford

so might be time to get a new alternator belt then? Don't know when that was changed last

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check your battery, it will show you if the alternator is working or not

change belts in alternate with oil.. yeah sounds expensive but.. they make those puppies to go bad like a refridge. Kinda like head gasgets these days too!

damn could be that too! find the code, we're all just guessing at this point

with 120k+ miles and 19 years you are at the point where most rubber probably needs to be replaced if it hasn't been in the last 5 years.

From the wistling sound you might be adding Fuel pump into the list of problem parts if it is in the engine bay on this car.

could be bad fuel injectors too (whining sound)

well all guse like finding out what the hell is wrong with our PC's. chances are it's 50 - 50. they made cheep shit designed to break on you.. or you broke it cause you haven't updated in five years. Cars aren't that.err but lately mfgrs are making them that way to. and don't want happy home brew dude to upgrade or fix it in his/her garage

Just to make sure......it has not been sitting with the same tank of gas for a while?

we use the car everyday, and fill the tank at least once a week

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I'll do that as soon as I can

Good, if it was, you'd be looking at a transmission problem. Don't want that.

Fuel pump......or fuel pressure regulator, but I'd bet the pump is failing given the age of the vehicle.


I also looked at the fuel filter, I don't think it's ever been replaced at all!

  • failing fuel pump - listen for whirring noise back near gas tank with key in the "run" position but engine not running.
  • Spark plugs. - Are they covered in carbon? Are the gaps correct?
  • Clogged or sticky fuel injectors. - use a long screwdriver to listen to them like a stethoscope. Push the metal end onto the top of the injector and the handle on your ear. When engine is running do you hear a regular click-click-click? It should sound like a fine watch. :D
  • O2, knock, or rpm sensors can all make starting hard but usually show symptoms more during running. (poor idle, bogging out under accel)
  • Air filter - Just make sure it's not super clogged.