Mercury Villager Problemsby Andy Joseph
Making its debut in the minivan market for the 1993 model year, the Mercury Villager was the result of a joint venture between the Ford Motor Company (luxury division Mercury's parent) and Nissan. The Villager shares the same platform with the Nissan Quest, and both vehicles were built in the Avon Lake, Ohio, Mercury plant. However, while the Quest is still in production, the Villager isn't. After two generations, during which initial brisk sales nosedived, Ford pulled the plug on the Villager in 2002.
Major First Generation Problems
The most common problem afflicting first-generation Mercury Villagers (1993 to 1998) is engine-related. Fuel pumps are prone to failure, which can prevent the vehicle from starting. First-generation Villagers also suffer from faulty fuel injectors. Vehicles equipped with rear air conditioners may experience failure of the air conditioning control module. In addition to module replacement, check with your dealer to see whether R-134A refrigerant can be used, since the original R-12 refrigerant is no longer manufactured and can be expensive if found.
Other First Generation Problems
Other first-generation problems involve the crankshaft and blower motor. On some Mercury Villagers of the 1993 to 1996 model years, the crankshaft can break behind the front pulley if the belts are overtightened, and on some 1993 and 1994 vehicles, brush holders need to be replaced to stop blower motors from squeaking or chirping.
Major Second Generation Problems
On some Mercury Villagers of the second generation (1999 to 2002), power door locks may self-activate either due to water getting into the wiring harness in the door or the door switch having too much solder. Also, gear whine may be detected in some vehicles when going between 40 to 70 mph; the noise comes from the automatic-transmission shift cable (it must be re-routed with a damper installed).
1999 Mercury Villagers
Unique to 1999 Mercury Villagers is the failure of the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) backpressure transducer hose. Its malfunction can contribute to heightened emissions. Repair, though, is relatively inexpensive, costing as little as $20.
The Mercury Villager was never a standout vehicle in the minivan market, and little about the vehicle changed in its nine-year lifespan despite two generations of production. However, it can provide a good bargain due to low resale value; getting a second-generation Villager would be the best buy.