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Taurus/Sable Maintenance & Repair



  • I just recently bought a certified 2002 Ford Taurus SES for $9200 at my local Ford dealership. They threw in aftermarket leather (made the sale of the car dependant on it..) and free oil changes until I am out of the original manufacturer's warranty (23K miles on it when I gotit). I have been very pleased with the vehicle overall, but colleagues and friends think it was too much money for a Taurus! I was unable to produce a similarily equipped, full-size sedan that fit me (6'7", 300lbs) as well as the Taurus did - physically as well as budget-wise. What do you guys think? Did I overpay on it, or did I get a smoking-hot deal? :-) Thanks for any insights you folks may have...
  • As I have been shopping for a similar deal to purchase when my tax refund relieves the budget a bit, it looks like a pretty reasonable deal to me.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Tell your friends it was your money not the future stay away from Monday morning quarterbacks!

    A number of years ago we bought a house for what a lot of people thought was way too much. They hadn't been shopping and didn't know the market at all. 5 years later we sold the house for $100,000 more than we paid.

    Since then, I listen to no one but my own inner voice and once I make a deal walk away mentally. Suggest you do the same as you have already purchased the vehicle and really can do nothing about the price.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    It sounds like those that told you you paid too much money for a Taurus were either putting you down or the car.

    I believe you made a very good deal. Enjoy the car and best of luck!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Did you get an extended warranty on the automatic transmission?
        Taurus/Sable are the only vehicles with more dismal automatic transmission reliability than Dodge/Chrysler minivans.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Old news....not applicable anymore
  • riswamiriswami Posts: 192
    I think it is too early to say if Ford has solved transmission problems in the last generation Taurus. I have a 97 and just had mine rebuilt at 103k. The car had been throwing codes since 71k.I did fluid changes at 30, 60 and 90 thou. So mine was maintained properly.

    Overall I've enjoyed the car. But until the last generation start racking up a lot of miles you won't know if this problem has been fixed.These are not the only cars on the road with tranny problems. But it is definately a weakness.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I am very reluctant to follow up Ford's 30K tranmission service interval. I am sticking with 20K interval. Ford transmissions run hotter compare to other makes and models. Many people installs aux. coolers. I think visually inspecting the oil (color and smell) is the way to go. If it smells like gasoline (contaminated) or looks burnt, it is time to change.
  • riswamiriswami Posts: 192
    Good points snowman. Everytime I checked my fluid it was fine.Nice and red, no burnt smell. Plus I did total exchanges at 30 and 60 thousand. I don't think fluid changes at 20k intervals would have saved it. I just think they are not a durable transmision.
  • I have a 2000 Sable with the basic engine - Vulcan I think - 71000 miles. There is a clunk in the passenger front which has resisted efforts to fix. Struts, strut mounts, sway bars, inner tie rod, ball joint, and wheel bearing have not fixed the clunk (it's a long story). Now I hear that it may be control arm bushings. Does anyone else have experience with this? The clunk happens mostly over small bumps - washboard brings it out the best. Doesn't matter if you are turning or going straight, accelerating, etc.

    Also, the car gets poor mileage - around 22 for mostly highway, occasionally as high as 25. The motor also seems to like to rev up. When starting up cold, it revs up to ~2200 rpm. It takes a couple minutes to get to normal idle - 800 rpms. As an experiment, I have tried shifting the car into neutral while going down the highway at normal speed - the motor revs up to about 2500 rpm. Is this normal? Does it need a tuneup? New plugs? Thanks
  • After much car shopping and deciding what vehicles to look at, I had narrowed down my search to a 2000 (or newer) Passat GLX or a 2001 (or newer) Taurus SEL. The passat is obviously more expensive (by about $5k in some cases with the 4Motion), however I am finding that dealers are very unwilling to negotiate so I looked at an SEL and was pleasantly surprised.

    In some respects, the SEL felt a lot more solid then the Passat (and more powerful) even though fit and finish were not really up to par with the passat. I have located two '01 Black SEL's with between 32000 and 36000 miles on it. They are both Quality Check Certified (what does that mean anyway?). One they are asking $10,600 and the other is asking $11,900. What is a fair price to offer at both dealers for these vehicles (I am in the philly area)?

    I hav heard that the Duratec Engine is basically Rock solid for many people, is that true? Also, does anyone have any opinions on the Mach Sound system?

    Finally, this car will be a Third car for us, so for a car like this i'd really rather not spend more then $12k.

    Thanks for your help.

  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    My wife drives a 2001 SEL that we've had for 3 years this month. She's got about 34,000 miles on it and loves the car. Its got buckets and floor shift, leather seats, Mach sound and sun roof. We find the car very comfortable and a good driving car. Lots of useful room too with a big trunk. She's got nothing but good things to say about the car and it has been very reliable.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    It is well possible that control arm bushing might be the problem. I believe there is a TSB for that. It is cheap thing to replace, labor and part.
    For your milage, has it been always like that. If recently started, then check your TB and air filter. I would look into TB first clean it with TB cleaner.
    For your rpm issue, you might want to look at IAC module (idle air control) right above TBody. It has tendecy to gunk up by carbon deposits and cause irractic idle.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,564
    I developed clunking in my 2000 Taurus SES front suspension just before warranty ran out-same symptoms as yours. The dealer service shop diagnosed it quickly as the sway bar links. They fixed it and I was on my way in less than an hour. My guess that is your problem. It is not that expensive a fix even after warranty. Too bad you have had a lot of parts swapped that were not necessary and did not fix the problem.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I am sure gen4 Taurus owners have this problem that during winter time weird squeaks come from steering column like plastic components rub each other. Sound goes away once cabin temperature rises or it diminishes.
    One Taurus enthusiastic in different forum (I can't name the forum here, Edmund's doesn't like competition) found the solution for this.

    I just performed it on my car, very easy and cheap.

    You need either WD40 or Silicone grease (the one to lubricate caliper slider pins). Follow the steering column and you see it goes into firewall right above the gas pedal. The connected area is covered by rubber boot. Apply WD40 or silicone grease into rubber boot as much as you can, area is very tight and you might use q-tips or screwdriver to smear the grease. While you do it, turn the engine on and start turning the steering, this way grease goes into deep.
    You need to play with the steering like 20 minutes to allow grease reach deeper.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    As far as the clunking goes, it can be anything in that darn Taurus front suspension. Control arm bushings are another strong possibility. You'll find it eventually, it just takes persistence.
    As far as the fuel economy and high idle, I would suspect they're related. It could be an IAC motor, also could be an intake gasket leak. I say gasket leak because that is a problem that will manifest istelf when cold as you mentioned, once the car warms up, the engine parts expand and the gasket seals. But only a mechanic will tell you for sure; you'll need to take it to a dealer or a trusted shop familiar with late-model engine controls. First order of business will be to check for any stored intermittent engine codes, then test drive and see if he can determine the source of your high-idle problem. Whatever you do, don't throw parts at it. Good luck.
  • I have a friend who has a 97 Taurus that runs just fine except for one thing: when you shift into reverse or drive the power windows, radio and power steering all go out. They will come back on after 10 minutes or so. He has already replaced the ignition switch but it didn't help. Anyone ever experience anything like this?
  • I just purchased a 2001 Taurus SEL and I am picking it up on friday afternoon. When negotiating the deal, I did not negotiate in a PremiumCare (above and beyond the quality checked warranty) warranty, and they are asking $900 for it now. Would it have been smarter to negotiate it into the price, or is that sort of thing non-negotiable regardless? I mean I am sure the dealer won't move on that price now, so do you have any suggestions or am I just going to have to bite the bullet?


  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    The way I understand your situation is that if the deal is already done which means if you put any money down and signed on the dotted line then you may not have any recourse. On the other hand, you're going Friday to close the deal then you can negotiate this PremiumCare warranty.
  • I already have signed on the dotted line so to speak, but I did not put down a deposit (dealer said it was unnecessary). How much do people usually get off by negotiating the price?


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