1997 Mercury Grand Marquis - 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis - has $600.00 defective plastic intake manifold - Ford refuses to replace it

Posted on Tuesday, November 5th, 2002 at 12:00am CST by 48aa2535

Company: 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis

Category: Cars, Motorcycles, Boats, Vehicles

My name is Woodrow Isaacks. I own a 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis with a $600.00 defective plastic intake manifold, that Ford refuses to replace. As you may know Ford and Mercury are virtually the same vehicles. Both makes have models that are almost indistinguishable, other than a few cosmetic details. Apparently the Ford Motor Company refuses to acknowledge the close relationship that these car companies have. At some point prior to 1996 a brilliant engineer at Ford had the bright idea to make the intake manifolds of the 4.6L engine out of plastic, they claim it was to make the manifold easier to manufacture and easier to place on the engine.

This must have been a radical concept in engine design. I say this because in order to overcome the heat generated by the engine, that would melt the new plastic manifold, the engineers decided to route the coolant system through the manifold. Running the coolant system of a vehicle through the intake manifold is not normally done, but it does not really pose a problem.

Running the coolant system of a vehicle through a plastic intake manifold does pose a problem, especially when the manifold cracks. When the manifold cracks, the compromised coolant system of the car, which normally operates at 15psi, empties its entire contents on the engine. This results in engine overheating and if not monitored closely can cause severe engine damage. Evidently these manifolds crack, and they crack a lot. They fail so often that Ford issued a recall (Technical Service Bulletin Number 01M02) on certain 1996 – 2001 Crown Victoria Police Interceptors, certain 1996 – 2001 Crown Victoria Taxis, certain 1996 – 2001 Lincoln Town Car Limousine and Livery Vehicles with 4.6L SOHC engines. I also learned online that they recalled the intake manifold on the Thunderbird and Mercury Cougars built in 1997 also. In November of 2001 I left for a trip in my Mercury, about halfway to my destination, the intake manifold of my car failed, the entire contents of my coolant system evacuated in less than one minute. I nervously watched the temperature gauge on my car as I tried to make it to the next town, but in rural Mississippi the nearest town was miles away. Luckily I had a cell phone and was not stopped in a dead spot, I called some family members, and they towed me to the nearest dealership.

I thought I had ruptured a hose, upon closer inspection; it appeared to me that a hose had blown close to the engine block in a place that I could not see well. A mechanic at the dealership informed me the next day that the intake manifold was plastic and that it had cracked. But, luckily for me he would help me out, he happened to have a spare manifold that he had taken off of another car like mine. Apparently, someone had blown a head gasket in their ’97 Grand Marquis and the owners were convinced that it was the intake manifold. So the mechanic replaced their manifold and kept their old one that was still good.

The mechanic was willing to sell me the manifold and replace the broken one on my car for about half the price it was going to cost me to have the dealership replace it. The dealer would have billed me nearly $600.00, so I told him to perform the repairs. He told me that they had some problems with the plastic intakes and had redesigned them. The one he placed on my car was supposedly of the new design. Later, in a momentary lapse of judgment I told him to dispose of the original, which I believe was cracked in the same place as the one in the pictures found at this website http://public.fotki.com/trsi/ford_intake_recall/ Last night as I was running some errands around town, my car started to overheat. I thought nothing of it; I figured I might have a hole in a heater hose, since I recently started using the heater in the car. The car ran hot all the way home no matter what I did or how much air I tried to pass through the radiator. When I pulled into my garage, I noticed a puddle of antifreeze and then I just knew that I had ruptured a heater hose. Well I was in the right area, but I was blaming the wrong engine part.

In the path to or from the radiator from the heater core, the heater hoses go through the intake manifold. The plastic fitting that accepts the heater hose has a hairline crack running its entire length. I am not the only one to have this problem as evidenced by the postings on the aforementioned website. During my Internet research on this issue I found that website and the recall notice for the Crown Victoria’s. I contacted Mercury customer assistance and their response was that my car was not a participant in that recall. I told that representative that I found it amusing that Ford knows that these manifolds are defective on the Crown Victoria’s yet they will not recall the same part on the Grand Marquis.

His response was that since the parts came from different assembly lines (which I am not sure of) that the company knows which parts are defective and which parts are not. I asked him, “You are telling me that my Mercury’s intake manifold is not defective, even though I have had two of them on that car and they both have failed in the same places that the manifolds on the Ford’s have, yet mine is not defective?” At which point he told me that he would log my complaint in their customer feedback system. I responded, “Please do,” and hung up the phone. I think it is deplorable when companies treat customers like this. Ford knows that this is a defective part; they have replaced the exact part on cars that are nearly identical. Mercury customers are calling in and complaining, writing letters, and vowing never to buy another Ford product and they thumb their proverbially noses at their loyal customers.

This is appalling, I am outraged, and this is far from over. I’ll write letters to everyone at Ford, any media outlets that will listen, and to any consumer advocacy groups that care. This is absolutely ridiculous, and this is not over for me. Sincerely, Woodrow


13 Comments

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2ab18431, 2007-11-10, 02:59PM CST

i'm gladd you are doing something about this i also own a 97 marquis and the manifold crack on it,i hade it replace with a newer version.good luck with this.since ford will not listen to any complains.they will however sell you a car and thats it.

05f82a4d, 2008-02-11, 07:48AM CST

HI I have a 1999 Grand marquis and I smelled antifreeze but did not see any on the floor. I took it in and no one seen anything. Then 3 months later I continued to smell the antifreeze and the car was running fine. Then one day it started slipping and I brought it in and seen smoke comnig out of a hose. I was told it was a crack in the intake manifold and it cost $11,000.

I don't have that kind of money to put into a 1999 car in 2008.

I would like to get another class action suit agaist ford for this part to be a recall. PLASTIC DOES NOT WORK.

aNYONE KNOE HOW TO GET A CLASS ACTION SUIT STARTED?

I know they had one but this year 1999 is most likey owned by a second person and did not know about a limited time recall. If you paid for some people to have it fixed- It should be paid for all!!!!

c6dd1e92, 2008-07-03, 09:40AM CDT

I also own a 1999 Grand Marquis, I pay close attention to the coolant level. Because the repair cost is around a thousand dollars, which I do not have. Class action suit? Don't know how to get one started, but count me in.

Anonymous, 2008-07-16, 10:43PM CDT

You are absolutely correct about the Ford not caring! I've had two intake manifolds fail on my 97 Marquis. The first time it cost me my engine. I was told that there was a service bulletin but not a recall. That there had not been enough failures to merit a recall. I find this hard to believe when I've only owned two of these and they both failed in the same manner!

Rich Gant

afc1b7bd, 2008-07-31, 08:49PM CDT

I bought a mint 1996 grand marquis earlier this year 48K miles. After about 5K miles I was on a 200 mile drive, almost home I start smelling antifreeze, guage fine, little later the idiot light is on overheating, I turn on the heater and roll down the window turn off the ac, I am 15 miles from home. A minute later the car is clattering and I know I have to hit the exit, pull off and boom it explodes. The plastic intake manifold busted right behind the alternator bracket. Replaced intake, and clearly the head is blown or cracked. I look online and now I see I should have never bought a ford product, you know years ago I had an escort and it had some recall, I see this mercury clearly has a defect with the intake and searching for recalls I see it does have a recall for catching fire due to defective cruise... Great... BTW it is not the plastic intake it is the design of that plastic intake. Because my 98 chevy 3500 has 217K miles and a plastic intake, BUT it does not go boom every 50K...

Another Class Action? pretty sure that you can't but if you can.... Boy I want in on that.....Lance

21012c4f, 2008-08-15, 05:21PM CDT

I also have a 1997 Murcury Grand Marquis. It only has 46000KM thats nothing I bought it in Ontario and It was never winter dirven always stored in winter. The intake manifold split open right behind the altinator. My local Ford dealer gave a quote of over $1200 to replace it or $599 just for the new intake manifold that was the same plastic one as the one that split open. I decided to check online and found an even better manifold with a new improved aluminium coolant passage. It was only $199 its brand new made in the US and cost $45 to ship it to me from the states to canada plus $27 taxes when it arrived. It came UPS took two days from flordia somewhere then the same web site that sells these parts gives great step by step instructions. I did it myself in about 4 hours I think thats not to bad I didnt rush or anything. I am pissed at ford because of the shit quality but I am pleased that I was able to save a bundle and not give ford another dime.

21012c4f, 2008-09-26, 05:22PM CDT

I commented already on how I found a new intake online for $199. I actually found it on ebay. However it came from a company called "Parts Direct To You". The "buy it now" price on ebay was $199 its hard to beat that. I was very impressed with the quality. It came with all the seals and even a new thermostatic valve. And as I mentioned in my last comments it is a new improved version from what Ford is selling. This version has the coolant passage made from aluminium. Hope this helps.

3ee955af, 2009-08-18, 05:08PM CDT

I have put my two cents in before on this same issue. now my new improved intake has cracked around the coolent return in the back wich is still plastic. so now im looking for a aftermarket one that is not plastic at all. This is fusstraiting to me because all of the ones offered only say for mustang with modified heads. Ford is out right pathetic on this issue. I am done with them and once i fix this intake i will be selling the car. not even a year after putting on the new intake im having to do it again! dont care if its warrantied its a P.O.S. is still plastic on the back side bone heads, could have easily manufactured at mass a complete alluminum intake so ppl dont keep dealing with the same crap.

df7ee41a, 2010-07-17, 09:04PM CDT

ford -stands for- found on road dead-they suck - dont buy ford ,lincoln or mercury-and blow up -there plants-nothing good about them or thier couster service they all need to be shot dead

f2ee4658, 2010-08-31, 10:59AM CDT

The same thing just happened to my mom 1999 Grand Marquis. The shop wants $800 to fix it..... is this something I can do myself? FORD customer service really sucks

17c6c586, 2010-10-18, 06:28PM CDT

BUY A HONDA Fords suck

98d1cf49, 2012-02-21, 06:48PM CST

Plastic is great for a lot of things,but intake manifolds,do not seem to be one.Judging by the amount of complaints i see online,this is a mis-judgement,by Ford and a class action suit is needed.I am currently in the middle of having a 99 marquis manifold replaced.I am 47 years old and have had a lot of things done to cars,but never needed to have a intake manifold replaced.I don't think the plastic manifold was in the sales pitch,when the car was on the lot.

Dan W., 2014-04-16, 06:23PM CDT

Woodrow,you are NOT alone! I too have a 97 grand marque and it has cracked in exactly the same place as yours! Right at the nipple that connects to the heater hose. My car has only 115000 miles on it and I was expecting another 100000 miles as I was NOT aware of the PLASTIC intake manifold! I am now in talks with ford and have not had any success yet!

Dan Wilcox

Londonderry NH

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