I thought it was 98 that got better direct clutch frictions, better stub shaft, accumulator pistons (this might be a part year 97 thing, my 97 Cougar had the old aluminum/o-ring style pistons), mechanical diode, valve body changes to lessen impact of 4->2 shift, and externally harness pinout difference and newer style MLPS.
97 Mark VIII LSC/Silver/Gray leather
97 Cougar 4.6 Sport/White Opalescent Tricoat Metallic /Gray leather down but not out?
89 Cougar LS 3.8/Oxford White/Gray velour/HG need replaced AGAIN
00 Grand Marquis LS/Vibrant White/Gray velour
63 Falcon 302/black and rust/shed isn't moving
82 F-150/Oxford White/dumb VV carb doesn't pass emissions