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1989 Mercury Cougar Distributor Cap Installation Instructions

The distributor in your 1989 Cougar is part of Ford's EEC-IV (Electronic Engine Control-IV) system. This system features computer-controlled timing through the distributor-mounted TFI (Thick Film Integrated) ignition module, which is responsible for triggering the ignition coil at the correct time for the driving conditions the engine is experiencing. The distributor cap feeds the high voltage supplied by the coil to the individual spark plugs in the engine. Replacement of the distributor cap on the distributor is a part of regular maintenance performed during a yearly tune-up.

Tools Used: Screwdriver, Replacement distributor cap

Install Distributor Cap

Remove the coil wire from the center terminal of the distributor cap on top of the distributor and lay it aside. Mark the spark plug wires, to indicate their correct position on the distributor cap. Remove the spark plug wires from the cap by twisting the rubber boots on the wires as you pull them to unsnap them. On the Cougar, the number-one plug wire is the front plug on the passenger side. The proper firing order is 1-4-2-5-3-6 (for the 3.8 liter V-6) or 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 (for the 5.0 liter V-8) in a counterclockwise rotation around the cap.

Lay the plug wires aside and, using a small screwdriver, unsnap the two latches that attach the cap to the distributor. Lift the old cap off the distributor and discard it. Inspect the rotor located beneath it. Replace the rotor as needed.

Align the square alignment tab on the side of the distributor with the notch in the new cap and push the cap onto the distributor. Push the plug wires, in their correct firing order, onto the towers on top of the cap until they snap into place. Plug the coil wire back onto the center tower on top of the cap. Start the engine to verify the repair was successful.

Tips & Warnings

Wear safety glasses and work gloves when working around a running engine to prevent serious injuries.

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