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2002 Mercury Cougar Wont Drive (2.5 V6 Manual)

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New User

Sep 6, 2010, 7:30 PM

Post #1 of 7 (4890 views)
2002 Mercury Cougar Wont Drive (2.5 V6 Manual) Sign In

I own a 2002 Mercury Cougar, 2.5L V6 engine, Manual Transmission, approx 160,000 miles.

Okay, here is my problem...

I was driving my Mercury Cougar at the beginning of August when I started to hear a grinding noise. It would start, then stop, then it got more and more prevalent until the car had no torque. It was in gear, but the grinding only got louder. I tried to accelerate, but the car was barely coasting down the road. I parked it in the nearest parking lot and called a buddy of mine. At first I thought it was the transmission. He came to the store, we jacked up the front end of the car, and took a look underneath. We got back out, put the car in gear (which it goes in and out of gears just fine) and the wheels would spin until my buddy placed his foot on the wheel. With hardly any pressure, each individual wheel would stop spinning and the grinding noise would start.
Since we both figured it was a transmission problem, I started calling local shops to get estimates on the job. Then one shop owner asked what the car was doing. After I told him my observations, he said it might not be my transmission, it could be a broken axle. He told me to go home, put the car in gear, start it and take my foot off of the clutch and give it a little gas. If my speedometer needle goes up, then my transmission is working like it should and it is probably my axle. If the needle didn't move, then it is probably my transmission. I followed orders and my speedometer needle went up.
So I reported back to a couple mechanically inclined friends with all of this and also to the auto repair guy at the shop. They all agreed the diagnosis of a broken axle made sense. So I purchased the required parts to complete the job on the axle.

Unfortunately, when we removed the axle, nothing was stripped out and nothing was broken. We are now dumbfounded at what is wrong with my car, since it drove fine prior to that weekend. I never had any problems shifting into gear, no issues with the transmission slipping or anything until I started to hear the grinding. I need some help as to what could be the problem because now I honestly have no idea. Thanks for any and all input. I appreciate it.

Veteran / Moderator

Sep 6, 2010, 8:30 PM

Post #2 of 7 (4883 views)
Re: 2002 Mercury Cougar Wont Drive (2.5 V6 Manual) [In reply to] Sign In

When you check to see if the speedo was working were all the wheels on the ground or off the ground?


New User

Sep 6, 2010, 8:42 PM

Post #3 of 7 (4876 views)
Re: 2002 Mercury Cougar Wont Drive (2.5 V6 Manual) [In reply to] Sign In

All wheels were on the ground. We had towed the vehicle to my house, and it was parked in my driveway. The guy said to leave the parking break on, put it into first, and start it.

Veteran / Moderator

Sep 6, 2010, 8:58 PM

Post #4 of 7 (4872 views)
Re: 2002 Mercury Cougar Wont Drive (2.5 V6 Manual) [In reply to] Sign In

Well from your 1st description, it really sounded like a clutch going out..... But if the speedo is working with the wheels on the ground that is an indication the output shaft is turning. Normally you would be looking at the axles 1st. You said you've changed both of those and nothing looked bad. That being the case the problem would have to be in the differential.

Probably the only other thing I would check 1st would be to have someone put it in gear and slowly let the clutch out. Get in a safe spot where you can see both axles and make sure none of them are turning. I've never seen a stripped out hub on one of these but it would still be good to make sure that isn't a problem. I'll have say it again.....when doing this be very careful where you are at when looking at the axles, keeping in mind if "something catches", this car will start MOVING...


New User

Sep 7, 2010, 8:43 AM

Post #5 of 7 (4861 views)
Re: 2002 Mercury Cougar Wont Drive (2.5 V6 Manual) [In reply to] Sign In

So at this point, I can rule out the transmission and just double check the axles again by having someone put it in gear and let off the clutch?

Veteran / Moderator

Sep 7, 2010, 10:56 PM

Post #6 of 7 (4852 views)
Re: 2002 Mercury Cougar Wont Drive (2.5 V6 Manual) [In reply to] Sign In

Actually it's just the opposite. On FWD vehicles, the diff is part of the transmission so if the speedo is working with the wheels on the ground, this mean everything up to the output shaft in the transmission is spinning which would rule out a bad clutch.

A common cause for this would be a broken axle. You've change both of those, so those can be ruled out. Looking for an axle spinning while in gear is something you would want to see. This would mean there is a possible external cause for your problem. About the only thing I could think of for this would be a stripped out hub, but you should've noticed that doing the axles & I never seen one on a domestic fwd. It's a total long shot but only takes a couple of minutes to check, you just have to be careful while doing it.

If you don't see anything spinning while checking this, then the tranny is going to have to come out.....Frown


New User

Oct 8, 2010, 9:02 PM

Post #7 of 7 (4797 views)
Re: 2002 Mercury Cougar Wont Drive (2.5 V6 Manual) [In reply to] Sign In

get your catalytic converter checked the same exact thing was happened to me and i took it in they said it was completely clogged. then when i got it back it still made some noises until i changed my spark plugs.... so i recommend getting the catalytic converter checked

2002 Mercury Cougar Wont Drive (2.5 V6 Manual)

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