Frequently Asked Questions  
General
Technical
Other
Is the Probe really a Mazda?
The Probe is based on Mazda's 626 and MX-6 structure. According to Ford, the second generation Probe is about 60% Ford and 40% Mazda. The first generation is more like 55% Ford 40% Mazda, and 5% Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi is responsible for supplying quite a few part for the first generation Probes, including the turbocharger, alternator, and throttle body.
 
What does 'first generation' and 'second generation' mean?
Probes with model years from 1989 to 1992 are considered first generation Probes. In 1993, the Probe received a complete restyling that distinguished it from the first. All Probes with model years from 1993 to 1997 are considered the second generation. Many people consider the 1999 Cougar to be the third generation Probe since it was originally slated to be.
 
What happened to the Probe?
Due to decreasing sales, the Probe was pulled from the market in June of 1997. Ford expected to restyle the probe on the Ford Contour's platform and re-release it in 1999 after a one year hiatus in order to boost sales, but ended up releasing the third generation Probe under the Cougar's badge, officially retiring the Probe name.
 
Which Probe was fastest?
The first generation turbo is faster than the second's V-6 by a quite bit. The second generation's 4-cylinder is considered faster than the first generation's, but not by much. The '90-'92 V-6 is faster than the 4-cylinders, but is beaten out by the turbo and second generation V-6.
 
How fast can a Probe go?
First generation Probe with a non-turbo 4-cylinder have speed limiters at 113mph. Without these, the top speed would be around 120mph. The V-6s also have a 113mph limiter, but without it, they'd have a higher top speed of around 130mph. The GT's turbo tops the first generation Probes with a manufacturer rated top speed of 134mph, but it's closer to 140mph.

Second generation 4-cylinders have a speed limiter of 112mph but would otherwise top out somewhere around 115-120mph. The GT's top out the entire Probe line with a top speed of about 140mph.
 
How can I tell the difference between the Probe years?
Check out the Changes By Year page for more information.
 
How can I tell the difference between the Probe models?
All models carry a badge stating the model type somewhere on the car. First generation GL and LX models had 'GL' or 'LX' labels on their side moldings on either side of the car, behind the front wheel well. The '89 GT was the standout of all first generation Probes. They were the only year and model to have the 'Ferrari-style' side trim. They also had the word 'Turbo' on either side of the car in front of the rear wheel well and a 'GT' insignia between the taillamps. '90-'92 GTs had lower side trim, a larger front grill, and 'GT' across the rear bumper. GTs and '90-'92 LXs had dual muffler tips, while the standard 4-cylinder had a single tip.

The second generation GTs and SEs had body side lower trim, while the base Probes had none. SEs had 'SE' decals on either side behind the front wheel well, while the GTs had 'GT' instead and either a GT decal or a '24v' badge next to the 'Probe' badge above the rear bumper. Base and SE models had a single muffler tip while GTs had dual tips.

For more information on the model differences, Click Here.
 
How does the '97 GTS differ from other GT models.
The GTS was a sports appearance package available for GTs during the 1997 model year only. The GTS package included the following:
  • Racing Stripes
  • 16" Chrome Alloy Wheels
  • GTS Decals
  • Spoiler
  • Chrome Exhaust Tip
 
Why can't I find information on the 1993 and 1994 SE models?
During 1993 and 1994, the SE was an appearance package available to base model Probes. The SE didn't become a separate model until 1995. Most information for the base model 1993 and 1994 Probes pertains to the 1993 and 1994 SE as well.
 
What's the Manual Shift button for?
This switch allows first generation Probe owners with automatic transmissions to manually select between the three gears. Use of this switch can yield better performance from the cars.
 
What's the Power switch on my '89's shift selector for?
The power switch was only available on the 1989 Probe GL & LX models with an automatic transmission. This switch allowed the driver to select from Normal Mode and Power Mode. In Normal Mode, the engine's shift points were conservative and were designed for casual driving with fuel economy in mind. Power Mode has higher shift points and more aggressive shifting. This mode was intended for faster, higher performance driving. In 1990, the switch was replaced with a shift lock.
 
How can I get my digital speedometer to read above 85mph?
Unfortunately, you can't. On first generation digital dashboards, the speedometer with blink '85' at or above 85mph. The metric scale doesn't have that kind of limit, so if you're fluent in the metric system, switch to 'KPH' on the speedometer at high speeds.
 
Why does my first generation GL or LX die suddenly when driving at high speeds?
First generation Probes, with exception of the GT, have a 113mph speed limiter. When the car reaches 113mph and the engine speed reaches 4000 rpm, the fuel cuts out and will return to normal when the speed drops down to 70mph.
 
Can I fit a bigger engine into my Probe?
Not without thousands of dollars of custom work and fabrication, but you can overbore and expand the maximum sized engines by a bit. The largest engine available on first generation Probes is the 3.0-liter V-6. Ford Taurus SHOs use the same size engine, so technically it could fit, but not without major modifications. Second generation Probes max out at a 2.5-liter V-6, but you can upgrade it to a 2.9 liters. Larger engines than that simply won't fit without major modification and a conversion to rear wheel drive. I heard that someone once fit a V-8 in a Probe, but I'm sure that was extremely costly and not as worthwhile as turbocharging the V-6.

For more information on engine swaps, Click Here.
 
Can I add the GT's turbo to my GL?
Since the GL's 4-cylinder and the GT's turbocharged 4-cylinder is basically the same engine, it can be done. Unfortunately it's easier said than done. The turbocharger's components and engine extras make this a very expensive and time consuming project. Click Here for more information.
 
Are the Probe wheels interchangeable between the two generations?
Second generation wheels will fit on a first generation Probe, but not vice versa, due to the larger hub size of the second generation. If you install a second generation wheel on a first generation Probe, it's recommended that you get adapters to close the gap between the hub and the wheel.
 
How do I set the clock on my radio?
First Generation Probes: Turn the radio on. Press and hold the 'On/Off' button. Press the 'Tune -' button to advance the hours and 'Tune +' to advance the minutes.

Second Generation Probes: Turn the radio on. Press and hold the 'Clock' button. Press the 'Seek' button left to advance the hours and right to advance the minutes.
 
What's that ticking coming from the engine?
Your hydraulic lifters. Most Probes, especially the first generation 4-cylinders, are infamous for this problem. The problem is either caused by sticky valves, which an oil change should cure, or a damaged valve, which a replacement is necessary.
 
Why does my Probe vibrate when at idle?
Although first generation Probes were known for very mild vibration, excessive vibration is common among older Probes. Although this can be a result of a crack somewhere in the intake duct work or uneven compression in the cylinders, it's often caused by cracked or broken motor mounts. Probe motor mounts are very prone to failure after 75,000 miles.
 
What's that clicking noise coming from the front when I turn?
That's most likely your CV joints. They tend to go on all front wheel drive cars, especially if they're not taken care of. Repairs range from $350 to $600, or more, but can be replaced pretty easily on your own for about $225 to $250. To lengthen the life of your joints, use the emergency brake when you park, before you release the foot brake.
 
Why don't my wipers go down completely?
On first generation Probes, this is probably due to the 'Rise-Up' feature. There is a connector for this on the fuse panel on the left side under the dashboard. If the connector is in the 'Winter' position, the wipers will rest on the windshield to prevent the blades from getting stuck in ice. If the connector is in the 'Summer' position, the wipers will come to rest below the windshield line where they belong.
 
Why are my wipers stuck in the vertical position?
This is highly common in first generation Probes, but happens in second generation Probes as well. This happens because the wipers loose their ground. Somewhere along the line, the ground has lost contact and will force the wipers to move straight up. Check all connections and if no problem is found, you may need to disassemble the motor. This is usually the cause of this problem, but not a guaranteed solution.
 
Why is there water in the spare tire well?
There's a 99% chance it's due to the taillight seals. This is the most common problem among first generation Probes. All the water that gets in between the hatch glass and the rear side glass is channeled down onto the rear taillights. Then the seals dry out, the water ends up leaking into the trunk and filling up the spare tire well. If the problem is not notice for a while, mold can form. You can obtain replacement seals from Ford that corrects this problem. The new seals have a strip of adhesive along the top that keeps the seal tight, even after the seal dries out. There should be three seals along the taillights which should cost less than $30 for all three.
 
Why is there condensation in the tail lamps of my first generation Probe?
Condensation in the taillights of first generation Probes is quite common. This is due to two possible problems. First, the seal between the taillight and the body is prone to drying out and leaking. Any rain water can get into the lights this way. New seals from Ford have adhesive that provides a better seal. Second is the lens seals. Their held in by a silicon-type sealant which can be compromised allowing moisture to enter the lens.
 
Can I use synthetic oil in my engine?
If you're Probe's engine has less than 5,000 miles on it, use standard oil. Synthetic oils work so well, that they don't allow the engine to properly break in during that period. Since the Probe stopped production in 1997, finding a Probe with less than 5,000 miles will be impossible, but this goes for rebuilt engines as well. Some people suggest closer to 9,000 of break in before going to synthetics.

Switching to synthetic oils with older engines could be risky. As gaskets in engines using standard oil get older and worn, they become penetrable. Synthetic oils, being as thin as they are, are known to be absorbed by the gaskets and 'flex' them, causing them to leak. Since there's no way of telling when your gaskets get to this point, it's hard to say when not to switch. It's pretty safe to say if the engine has more than 60,000 miles of standard oil wear, you should weight the risks before switching to synthetic oil.
 
Where can I find a body kit for my Probe?
During 2001, the two largest dealers of Probe body kits went out of business, leaving even fewer options for Probe owners. Check the Probe Aftermarket Part Dealers web links section for remaining shops that sell Probe kits.
 
Where can I find the RX-7 style/fixed headlamp conversion kits for my Probe?
I've never seen kits available for the first generation Probe, but there's been a couple different kits for the second generation Probe. A company called Innovative FX had offered the headlamp conversion kits, but no longer sells them due to financial troubles. Nepenthes Concepts took over shortly after, but they disappeared sometime in May of 2001. Fixed headlamp kits are currently available from Probe Addiction

 
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