Contour Fans - What you need to know

KRUISR

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Apr 16, 2015
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I am starting this thread as a compilation of bits of information I have shared in a number of different threads with the hope that compiling it will help answer most questions new members ask. Hopefully it is worth of the How-to Index. Please wait a day or so before replying as I will need multiple posts to get all pics I feel are relevant added. I will edit this opening statement when done.

What to get

I will start with what pieces can be had at the wrecker or pic-a-part. These can be found on 96-2000 Contours and Mystiques and 99-01 Cougars. Some of the later cars have a different fuse box but the fans and wiring are the same.

Fans - get the dual fan assembly and as much of the wiring back to the fuse box as you can. There is plug connection point usually under the battery box that will help with wiring no matter how you set up the system. The factory ground connector in the wiring is on passenger side of rad, power feed goes to driver side.

20220206_141730.jpg 20220206_141300.jpg IMG_0534.JPG Contour_fuse_box_top.jpg

The second pic shows the newer style fuse box, which can be used for appropriate sized fuses. Older style fuse box in pic 4. Nice part with this unit is you get the 60A mega fuse and the 70A relays along with the wiring that connects them.

The video explains how the connections in the factory Contour wires connect to the thermoresistor and the fans.


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmYFLhR12b8&t=2s



Other parts that can be had a the wreckers.
- Fan temperature switch - I used a dual temp switch from an Audi/VW, found on most cars around 99-01. It is located on drive side of rad. Can take switch and pigtail for wiring. This switch has an M22x1.75 thread so it is not the most common dual switch. Some use a BMW dual switch (again I believe in the 99-01 era but I have not sourced personally so I am not sure).
Radiator Fan Switch.jpg
- More recently some have used a fan controller from a newer Infiniti or Mazda which I will give some thoughts later on how it can be incorporated in system for a soft start feature.

1649000767034.png


How to mount the fans

A bunch of different ways here. Some of simply ziptied fan assembly to rad using holes (or making new ones) in the fan housing. Some use the aftermarket mounting kits (LMR is one source) or you can make your own, this is what I did. I used some 3/4"angle I had lying around, made a perimeter frame and riveted the housing to the frame.

IMG_0814.JPG IMG_0844.JPG
I then used some 1/8" foam tape to prevent chafing on the metal of rad and to better seal fans to rad.

I mounted the factory overflow bottle to the fan housing as well and with my 3 row OEM style rad the bottle still clears my A/C and PS pulleys.

20180816_104957.jpg 20201103_120653_HDR.jpg

Initially I held the overflow bottle with zipties (approx 3 years) and later fabbed some brackets to hold in place.
 
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KRUISR

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Wiring it up

As mentioned above, I used almost the complete Contour wiring system. I stripped down the factory fuse box and only kept the relay side. I attached a scrap piece of angle and mounted it in the driver fender well.

IMG_0811.JPG IMG_0810.JPG IMG_0813.JPG IMG_0848.JPG

For my temperature control switch I fabricated a "T" connector to be installed in the lower rad hose to get a reading of the coolant temp leaving the rad and controlling the fan function based on that.

IMG_0836.JPG
Since then you are now able to get parts on eBay that are easier than my method yet accomplish the same thing.

Here is how I wired my current system...

Contour Fans Schematic.jpg


Later I added two toggle switches so I could manually turn on either high or low speed fans. I used lighted switches so they also function as indicators so I know when the fans turn on.

Lighted toggle switch.jpg Interior toggles.jpg

They are available in red and blue lights, so I have one of each. In my case blue for low and red for high. I pulled power for the toggles from my lighter, grounded the switch for the light to work and the output power wire goes to the input trigger signal wire for each of high and low relays (parallel to the temp switch signals).

That is how my system is wired and operated and functioned flawlessly for 5 years now. An observation I can give is in that time I have NEVER had high speed fans get triggered by the temp switch. The system in low speed has been sufficient for stop and go and when driving down the highway the fans don't come on.

I have not wired in a provision for A/C to start the fans so I simply manually turn on low speed when I turn on the A/C. No issues using this method. I did wire in an A/C provision when I put electric fans on my 2004 F-150 and used the Contour wiring and fuse box for it. The only part I don't like is the fans cycle on and off whenever the A/C clutch does. So again I just manually turn on low speed when I use A/C. Here is how I wired it though...

Contour Fans Schematic with AC.jpg
 

KRUISR

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This by no means is the only way to install Contour fans. Many use aftermarket controllers or control via a stand alone ECU. There is nothing wrong with these methods, just more money and effort than I wanted to put in to my system. My only recommendation to those that use these systems is to install your temperature sensor (to be used to turn on the fans) in the lower rad hose or on discharge side of the rad. Why? Because if you put the sensor in the intake or t-stat housing you are running your fans based on engine temperature, not coolant temp after the rad has done its work. You may not need the fans to be running - thus wasting energy.

Remember the fans cool coolant. The coolant cools the engine. Blowing air over the engine will do minimal cooling. Run you fans when the system needs it, not because the engine is up to temperature.

Updated ideas and alternative installs

If I were to install Contour fans on my next project I would change out a few things based on some learnings and information from others. I would simplify things a bit. Here is my plan.

I would get the same Contour fan assembly (including the thermoresistor) and pigtails. I would get the Infiniti control module (with pigtails) and I would use this item I just found on eBay for the temp sender.

Rad sender 2.jpg Rad Switch Holder.jpg

I would select the 40mm unit in the 200 F turn on. Other temps are available if desired. This unit would install in lower rad hose with a ground wire to the pictured screw to chassis ground. The fan control unit would get installed on fan assembly housing similar to this pic I took from a video from Mustang5L5.

Soft Start Contour install.jpg
The rest of the wiring would be like this ...

Contour Fans Single Speed with Soft Start Schematic.jpg


Not shown, but a manual toggle can be added to the low speed as well. Fan speeds would be factory Contour, just with soft start for both high or low speed.



So for a brand new stand alone Contour fan system costs for me would be ...

Contour fan from rockauto - $ 134 CDN ($40 CDN from wrecker)
Infiniti Controller from rockauto - $54 CDN ($16 CDN from wrecker)
Temp switch and mounting tube from eBay - $30 + 13 shipping = $43 USD (approx. $58 CDN)

The rockauto items would be about $30-50 in shipping. So I would be in for about $290 CDN plus whatever wire, cable and relays I would need. With hunting for used parts about $110 CDN plus wire, cable and relays.

This is by no means the only way to install Contour fans. It is how I have chosen to do so and looking at the more recent alternatives can be done fairly easily compared to most other ways.
 

KRUISR

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Great thread,problem around here is the Contours are drying up. Alot of guys going to the 05-up Focus with brushless motors.
I don't have any direct experience with the Focus fans but I did look up some info on the dual fan units (2000-07). It looks like aside from some different modifications to the Focus housing to fit a Fox radiator, everything I have written above will work (they even use the same part number replacement thermoresistor).

I will have to find one in the wreckers and play with it a bit (see if air movement appears as strong as Contour fans).
 
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Fri Guy

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Been looking for a Contour fan locally from the auto salvage yards with no luck. Do the aftermarket fans from rock auto perform the sake as the OEM ones?
 

Mustang5L5

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Been looking for a Contour fan locally from the auto salvage yards with no luck. Do the aftermarket fans from rock auto perform the sake as the OEM ones?

They supposedly flow a few CFM less, but they are still potent.

I have an aftermarket contour fan on my car. I use a PWM controller, but i've only had to leave the fan set to 75% of full speed to keep the engine cool during my idling and test drives around the neighborhood. It moves a TON of air at max and is enough that i consider it overkill and dial it back a tad.

The main design benefit to the contour fan is that it is sized perfectly to the fox radiator and depending on how you mount it, it will pull air 100% through the radiator, and not only cover portions of it like some other fans do. Because of this, and getting 100% flow through the rad at a stop, you get a very efficient cooling provided your rad/coolant is in good condition
 
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Mustang5L5

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I'm using an Infiniti Q50 fan controller set up to accept a PWM signal from an aftermarket ECU.

To avoid hijacking, see this thread. It's not a standalone controller per se, although you can kinda get around that and make it work as a sort of soft-starting relay. Details in the link

 
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KRUISR

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I just did some testing today. I had a multimeter with an AMPS reading. Tried a couple scenarios:

First was full Contour setup and wiring. On multiple tests I got 33-35A peak for low speed (through the thermoresistor). On tests from zero to full high speed I got a peak of 72A (just a blip). I tried one scenario where I started on low speed and then added high speed on top of that (basically exactly how it would have been used on the Contour - and how my setup above would work) and got a peak of 55A (just a blip again) and then settled in 30s.

Next I setup the fans based on wiring diagram above with the fan controller from the Infiniti (post#4). On low speed through the thermoresistor I got a slow ramp up of amps up to about 22-25A. When I went directly to high speed through the fan controller it ramped up to a little over 30A's - no spike.
 
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90sickfox

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I've been running my Contour fans with a 20 amp fuse on each fan for about 5 years. No issues...haven't blown a fuse yet.
 

Fri Guy

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Found a 1999 Contour at a local pull a part yard and I believe the fan is still on the car. From the pics above it doesn't look like there is much room to work in that compartment. Are these fans easy to remove if the engine is still in the car? Trying to get an idea of what tools I need to take with me to remove it.
 

KRUISR

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Getting the fan unhooked is quick and easy. I believe it is two 10mm bolts and a couple connectors to loosen the fan. The challenge and trick is wiggling and maneuvering the unit to get the fan out.

If the car is a 4 cylinder, it is very easy to remove - some 4 cylinder cars have the dual fans. The V6s all have dual fans.

I have not tried the removal method below, but having removed a few transmissions for clutch and trans replacements I think this will help.

Contour Transaxle Mounting points.jpg
The highlighted areas are where the Contour transaxle is mounted to the chassis. If you disconnect the front and rear mounts you should be able to rotate the engine/trans combo toward the rear and gain some needed space to simplify the fan removal. These mounts are best accessed from below (hopefully your local U-pull puts cars on stands to allow underside access).

1651595067844.png

So items 2 and 4 or 5 is the front mount and items 6 and 10 are the rear mount. You may only need to remove the connecting bolt/pin to get enough movement. Otherwise unbolting one or both of the parts of the transaxle mount from the car will work. If I had to pick one mount only, I would do the rear - both pieces and loosen the front (either from rad support or pull the connecting bolt).

If I remember right the connection bolt is a 18mm and the mount brackets are 13 or 15mm. Each of the front and rear transaxle mounts use 6 bolts - 3 on the chassis, 3 on transaxle. They are tight but not usually hard to remove. Once the front and rear are loose, rotate the engine/trans rearward. You only need about 1/2-3/4" extra room to make life much easier to remove the fans.

So what tools would I bring ...

- 1/2" and 3/8" ratchet
- 13, 15, 18, 19, 21 mm sockets in both 3/8 and 1/2 drives if you have them (19 and 21mm are only if my memory is wrong and the connection bolt is not 18mm).
- A combination wrench in each of the sizes above
- 10mm socket, combination wrench or gear wrench to remove the fan.
- any screw drivers or pliers or wire cutters to get as much of the fan wiring as you can.

I hope it helps.
 
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KRUISR

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20220503_123640.jpg
Here is a pic of the front transaxle mount - rad on the left, trans on the right. Just took the pic on my son's 98 V6 5spd DD.
 
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