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Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Wagons

erbieerbie Posts: 3
We're thinking of buying a '99 Sable Wagon (or
possibly a Taurus...the dealer has one of each for
the same price). We particularly want a wagon with
a third seat (basically we want a workhorse that
can haul a few kids on field trips -- or a couple
of kids and a few adults to a restaurant...and we
DON'T want a van!). Does anyone out there own a
'99 Sable (or Taurus) wagon? Do you like it?
Would you recommend it? These cars are both
retiring rental cars, loaded, with about 20K miles
on each. The dealer is asking $16,500...says they
were originally purchased for $22,000. Any input


  • First of all, I think this topic will be frozen soon.

    Secondly, we own a '92 Taurus wagon and it is a total piece of crap. It was a lemon from day one. They didn't even have the original keys available! The replacement keys didn't fit correctly, so we couldn't get in the car half the time. Also, we've had to replace the transmission, a/c compressor broken, engine mount broken, coolant leaking, and numerous other problems. All of this with less than 60K miles on the odometer. We thought we could trust the Ford dealer we bought it from, but we were mistaken.

    So far, we've spent over $2000 on repairs in less than 2 years. But we're not done, there are other problems creeping up every month. We hate this car!!!!!!!!!
  • erbieerbie Posts: 3
    According to my research, the model years '92-'97 had all kinds of problems, most of which were supposedly addressed in the newer models. Consumer Reports is now listing the Taurus/Sable as a "recommended" model, which is why I'm wondering about the experience of people who have 1-3 year old versions of this car.


  • Well, my contention is that it takes more than 2-3 years for a problematic model to suddenly become reliable, if ever. There are decades old models that continue to be problematic, even after several redesigns and reengineering. Taurus has never achieved the world renouned reliability of its competitors like the Accord and Camry, and probably never will. I would definately deter anyone from buying a new Ford, let alone, a used one. Our family has owned several Fords, all problematic..... and we have vowed never again.

    I would definately recommend an older Accord or a Camry wagon over the newer Taurus.

    As for the CR, it's nothing new for them to recommend a new or restyled model, regardless of reliability. When the new Dodge Intrepid/Concorde/Vision debuted in the early 90's, they were recommended, but within a year, they were not. CR explained alot of owners were reporting problems with them. So, not all CR recommendations are based on reliability, especially newer/remodeled cars.
  • tomsrtomsr Posts: 325
    The Taurus has a bad reputation because Ford
    decided to not fix the problems it had.Some
    manufactures improve their cars year to year
    correcting complaints from previous years but
    the typical American manufacture just throws
    some new sheet metal on and calls it new.I just saw where Ford is settling a class action lawsuit
    regarding the blown headgaskets on 3.8ltr engines.
    It should not take a court order to make you do the right thing.I understand your plight you want
    a wagon with a v6 and room and there was only one
    (TAURUS) until the Saturn L came along.Unless
    you wanted a 5 year old Camry.
  • erbieerbie Posts: 3
    The problem is the Saturn won't do because it doesn't have the optional third seat, which is one of our primary reasons for wanting a wagon. Otherwise I'd be giving it serious consideration because we have a Saturn SC (1992) and we love it. A van also isn't an option...I live in the Santa Cruz mountains and I see vans lying on their sides all the time because they can't negotiate the steep turns with acceleration required by our mountain roads (I drove my parents'minivan here this summer and it was terrifying...I had to go well below the speed limit). An SUV is out of the question...aside from the fact that most of them don't seat more people than my Tercel, they're big, unstable gas guzzlers (and expensive!). The only other wagon I've found with a third seat option is a Volvo that's also well out of my price range (really, close to double what I can afford to pay). I'm kinda stuck...go with the Ford or continue to try to muddle through with two carring it everywhere (four adults and a child in a Tercel or Saturn SC is laughable, and forget being able to bring anything home from the hardware or applicance store!). It's very frustrating. Does anyone know of any other wagon out there that offers the third seat option? I guess I could get a really old Volvo, but the idea of paying $16K for a 10 year old car goes very much against the grain. Any suggestions?
  • barresa11barresa11 Posts: 277
    Have you considered this possibility? They made quite a bit of mechanical changes and options availbility for 2000. Obviously, this would be more than the $16,000 being asked for the 99's but certainly reasonable, being within the low $20,s. If this is the vehicle that would fit my needs than I would forego the 99's and pay extra for the 2000 models. Just my .02.

  • misssam1misssam1 Posts: 2
    Hi! Just bought a 1999 Taurus (my second Taurus - the first was a 1987) and am very happy with it. Like you, I live in a mountainous area of Los Angeles and need something that won't choke going uphill. I also wanted to get a car that would fit my passenger and cargo needs (I have an infant so there is all of THAT gear to haul around).

    I found a '99 Taurus at a Ford dealer with 12.5K miles on it listed for $500 below used Blue Book ($15+K). The car had been part of the "courtesy car" fleet and was loaned out to service customers when their cars were at the shop. It had one small ding in the door, but other than that was in great condition.

    Coming from a 1987, I found things to be quite different. The front seat has an interesting configeration in that it is a quasi-bench seat, meaning that there is a little seat in between the driver and passenger for an older child-sized butt to sit on. And of course there is a safety belt for that "jumpseat". The cargo area has the optional 2 person seat (which I initially didn't want, but got stuck with anyway) that I have found really doesn't take away from having that extra room in the well under the floor panel.

    The 1999 handles nicely on narrow mountain roads that were built just after the turn of the century and takes nice, steep, blind hairpins smoothly.

    FYI, my sister lives in Half Moon Bay, so this car should do fine going over the hill from the 101. Bottom line, good deals are out there just keep looking.
  • danielj3danielj3 Posts: 19
    Today Im going to a Mercury dealer to see, test-
    drive and maybe buy a Sable wagon (also considering sedan). I almost purchased a Saturn
    LW2 nicely equipped for $22.820 with transportation minus MV fees and tax. My wife
    did not quite like the Saturn and learned later
    that It costs $400 a year more to insure than the
    Sable wagon. Why? Sable did much better in Gov,
    crash tests and comes with more safety features
    than the Saturn wagon. Also I learned that prices
    are almost equivalent for both vehicles. The Merc
    SW is bigger though.
    If anyone purchased a Sable (sedan or wagon) Id very much appreciate your input about it because Im ambivalent and concerned re:reliabilty.

    Thank you in advanced
    Daniel NYC
  • greg32greg32 Posts: 48
    I purchased a Mercury Sable LS Premium wagon with all options except the Chrometec wheels for $22,538 before taxes, tags and title. Tags and title were about $120, taxes 5%. Its a great car, really smooth and have had no problems after 1000 miles. Of course I wouldn't expect any. If you live in the Washington DC area, the dealer I went to was East West Lincoln Mercury. The mileage has been better than I expected also. About 24 mpg with 70% highway and 30% city. Hope to get better as it breaks in.

    Good luck.
  • danielj3danielj3 Posts: 19
    Thanks for answering Greg32! I was quoted a $21,
    425 for the Premium wagon well equipped indeed.
    No CD changer, moonroof or sideairbags. Dealer
    wanted to sell me one in stock gold color with
    passenger powerseat. He was reluctant to order
    from factory and said that it would take some 6 to
    8 weeks for it. So we agreed on putting a locate
    for a gold or silver wagon equipped as we want it.
    Two days later received call from dealer with a
    silver found in New Jersey with side airbags.
    Dealer is willing to share the cost of the bags
    with us. Wife doesnt want more than 10 to 15 miles on the odometer. So we are back to the original gold wagon in stock which dealer wants
    $270 more due to having more equipment in it.
    Wife still objecting due to 50 miles on odometer.
    Tomorrow we are going back to horsetrade and get
    something because Im tired of this and want the
    car. To me 50 to 100 miles is no problem.
    One thing I noticed was that dealer had a huge
    selection of vehicles in general. Mercurys, Jeeps,
    Chryslers. Its a buyers market no doubt.
  • danielj3danielj3 Posts: 19
    Well yesterday we went back to the dealer and after a pretty heated discussion we were able to get the Mercury Sable LS Premium wagon they had in stock.
    Apparently this car has additional features that
    I really didnt want that the car comes with. Power passenger seat and side airbags. But I got them anyway after putting up with the managers crying and complaining that he was giving the car awaybla bla bla. We (wife and I) were armed with
    dealer invoice price and holdback so we neutralized this manager real good.
    I got a $21,525 price + MV fees and tax. Trade is $15,300. The Saturn SW I was considering wouldve
    cost me $22,820 much less equipped than the Merc
    SW. So I got more car for less $$$$.
    I really learned I great deal from this experience.
    If anyone reads this and has questions contact me.
  • shilly77shilly77 Posts: 4
    Daniel's experience illustrates a good example of how to successfully shop for a car. Go "armed" with all the pertinent information that you can find about dealer prices (the dealers must HATE the internet..w.e.g.) and, IMHO and experience, a straightforward, businesslike approach will get you a straightforward, businesslike salesman. I went on a rainy Saturday, thinking the first salesman out the door of the dealership would be the one who really wanted to earn his keep. Drove out in a 2K Taurus, purchased at a mutually acceptable price. Good Luck!!!
  • danielj3danielj3 Posts: 19
    Ive had my Merc SW for 3 days. Very roomy for cargo, nice space for three adults in the back with leg room. Comfortable front seats but the
    middle seat is very cramped, very!
    Clever storage room for stuff under the cargo area
    and away from prying eyes. Two seats in back for
    just little kids or thin adults.
    No headrests for rear passengers? How did I not
    see this before?? Also Im 5ft. 7in tall but can
    feel my head touching the roof.
    Very lively Duratec engine! Has pickup, merging
    and power. Motor purrs under the hood. Nice storage areas in general. Hate leather seats,
    find them slippery and cold in the morning.
  • ahoffmannahoffmann Posts: 1
    I was just cruising the board and thought I would say my 2 cents. My 96 Sable Wagon, loaded with the Duratec engine, currently has 89,000 miles. It has been almost completely trouble free. It was in the shop for a minor recall early on, something needed to be inspected in the transmission; to replace the center brake light cover that came unglued; and to replace a relay that was keeping the air conditioning compressor from kicking on. I suppose this last item does qualify as a mechanical problem and I had it at about 85,000 miles. By the way, this is my second Sable wagon, the first being a 92 I think. It had the electronic dash and was essentially trouble free until I ran over something on a dark road one night and took out the oil and transmission pans. When they put it back together, the transmission had an intermittent shifting problem so I traded it for the new one. I would have NO problem getting a third one except that I am financially better off now and will probably opt for something more upscale. I am sufficiently happy with the Duratec engine that I am considering a Lincoln LS with the Duratec V6. Hope this helps someone.
  • danni454danni454 Posts: 4
    I have replaced 3 transmissions at great expense in my Taurus wagon. Every one at a different transmission shop just as they go out of warrenty. The shops say that these Fords have defective transmissions and that is where most of their transmission work comes from. The car has 105,000 easy miles. If it's not the transmission it's some other problem. The seats are very comfortable which is great while waiting for the wreaker driver. This car is so terribly unreliable. It has left us on the side of the road so many times! We are scared to drive it across town. I would never ever buy a Ford again. For what we have spent in parts and labor we could have had a Mercedes or other high end car. I wouldn't wish one of these cars on my worst enemie
  • psc2psc2 Posts: 7
    I have had two a 92 sable 3.8L and a 94 taurus 3.0 vulcan both have had trans replacemnts at about 60K both were purchased because of size and price and lack of other choices. I believe overall reliabilty is OK and I obercmae fears by purchasing extended drivetrain warranty to 75K for about $500 at time of purchase.
  • hersbirdhersbird Posts: 323
    Many reasons for the seemingly high number of transmission problems in Tarus and Sables is that there are very many on the road, they all have a decently powerful v-6, they all weigh quite a bit being full size cars, and they all have automatics. Many Honda's and Toyotas are manuals, and the are mid-size and less weight many with gutless 4 cylinders. Now that Honda is making a large van with a powerful motor (Odyssey) look at what happened, they are having their share of transmission problems. I think if you look at how many high mileage trouble free Fords are out there you will find their reliability to be average.
  • danielj3danielj3 Posts: 19
    To those interested see my latest experiences with
    Ford and a dealer Smart Shopper #2031.
  • I have had good luck with my 93 taurus wagon so
    far. It sounds like some of the complaints are
    from people who bought their tauruses used. I
    am the original owner and I have done maintenance
    along the way. I have not put on alot of mile
    (72,000), but I don't see any warning signs of
    impending problems. I would NEVER buy a used car
    that had been a rental car. My dad rented a car
    on vacation, and he checked the oil on it. He
    could tell the old had never been changed. I
    don't believe these companies do any preventative
    care - why should they? They get rid of the cars
    in a year. Also, the people who rent often abuse
    the cars when they drive (push them cold, etc.)
    I think it still very hard to buy a used car
    that doesn't have problems. Even a car mechanic
    can't always tell. We bought our last used car
    in 1986, it was an 83 ford LTD wagon. We had it
    checked by a mechanic, who said it was okay, but
    3 weeks after we bought it we found out what a
    piece of junk it was. So, I think some of these
    Taurus owners have taken on other people's
    car mishandling.
  • bobs5bobs5 Posts: 557
    I had a used '83 ltd wagon too. v6 auto trans.
    It had that awful serpentine belt that would always squeek. The auto trans seemed to hunt for which gear it wanted to be in. I was less than impressed with the v6 performance. The only good thing was after a recharge of the air conditioner, it would literally freeze you out of the car.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Our 93 Sable LS wagon has 50K on it. It has developed a clattering sound in the engine that you can hear above 2000 rpm after the engine is warm. We took it to our dealership, who at first couldn't figure what is was and then later called back to tell us the engine's 'lower end', bearings etc. were shot and the engine needed replacement. This sounds a bit far fetched. It runs good, doesn't burn any oil and doesn't smoke. How can this be true?
  • Edmund's review of the 2000 Mercury Sable is now available. Here's the direct link to Road Test: 2000 Mercury Sable Wagon, by Brent Romans. What do you think?

    Happy Motoring. ;-)

    Pocahontas, Host
  • Actually, hilarious review, but fairly accurate. Had money been no object, I too, would have bought the VW Passat V6 wagon in a heartbeat, but this new suburban mom couldn't afford it....yeah, I don't understand why Mercury/Ford, so proud of the Sable's safety rating, would put in a hard as nails, uncomfortable as hell back seat without headrests for a touring wagon. Doesn't make sense. If nothing else, spring for some headrests, Ford! Duh! As to the sound system, I have the upgraded Mach Audio system, complete with 6 CD changer and it's pretty good. Compensates for the lack of moonroof that came (or didn't come) with my lil' red wagon.
  • Oh, as to the complete lack of personality the reviewer complained about in the Sable Wagon, I think it's very "mom-mobileness" is its personality. I proudly show off my suburban taxi to my friends, we all have a good laugh, but I get the last laugh because I didn't succumb to the false lure of the SUV or the banality of a mini-van. Ha, I say!
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Trouble free except for maintenance items such as ,struts, belts, tie rods, etc.

    After 60k miles it went through tires every 30k. Some expensive work around 100k (throttle sensor and intake manifold gummed up, struts again).

    My teenage driver son loved it until the tranny died around 120K.
  • Has anyone else experienced problems with the Sable's break system? I have a 1993 GS wagon and I ran through a stop sign recently when I slammed on the breaks! The sign caught me off guard, and I hit the breaks as hard as I could, but it was as if I hadn't hit the breaks at all. I took my foot off the breaks and hit them again before I stopped. Luckily, there were no cars driving on the cross street. I took my car in this morning, and I am still waiting to find out what the mechanic says. I was hoping to see if anyone else has had this happened, so I don't get snowed by this mechanic.
  • greg32greg32 Posts: 48
    This sounds like a brake hydraulic system leak or it could be some air trapped in the system in which case you will need to have to "bleed" the brakes. Have you checked the fluid in the brake reservoir?

    Good luck
  • joelogjoelog Posts: 11
    I have owned 2 Ford Taurus wagons. An '89 GL for 6 years and kept for 116,000 and a '95 GL. Both have the 3.0L vulcan engine. The '89 I had to overhaul the Tranny at 62,000 mi. the '95 has 138,000 miles with no major problems or tranny overhaul. I change my engine oil every 3000 mi. Also with the '89 I didn't change the tranny oil till 50,000mi. on the '95 I did it every year (which for me is 22,000mi) Maybe this is the difference or the fact that on the '95 I went for the 100,000mi extended warranty in which case nothing major ever happens till after the warranty expires. So go for the extended warranty. I'm replacing my current Taurus with a '01 this month.
  • 40,000 miles, no problems after a computer re configuring at 16K. the weakness in the units is the transmission, not until I saw a tear down did I come to understand. ford uses a very fine(good) transmission filter which mandates oil changes far more frequently than the manual reveals. I get 20+ MPG around town with the air on and up to 29 one the road at 70.
  • rfd2rfd2 Posts: 2
    Okay, it may be time to put to the old girl out to pasture, but I can't find anything I like well enough to replace her! I bought "Bianca" used at 89K miles (I'm the second owner - the original buyer didn't realize the "check engine" light that seems to be lit up constantly is a problem endemic to these cars and doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong, but is really just an expression of the car's character!) and she's been driven hard ever since. She just keeps going... This is without a doubt the most comfortable, useful and reliable car I have ever owned. I live in backwoods Vermont and probably ought to have an AWD or 4WD but when I went to look at the Subaru Wagons and SUVs (at least the ones that I can afford!) their safety ratings and/or small size and hard ride left me less than eager to buy. Why doesn't Ford make the Taurus in an AWD model? I've gotten along fine with the front wheel drive and studded winter tires on our steep, mud and ice encrusted back roads, but I keep thinking it might be easier for a beast with traction on all four paws. So, the big question; should I look into replacing Bianca with another used Taurus Wagon? Could I possibly be so lucky to get another Taurus Wagon so reliable as Bianca or was this just a lucky fluke? The reports on the Ford Tauruses are rather mixed and I'd appreciate any feed back or other vehicle suggestions that might suit me and have made other drivers happy. It has got to be a wagony or vannish type thing that can double as a truck or taxi (but still has the little luxuries I have become accustomed to -- i.e. power everything!) and it's got to be tops on safety. And, if anyone else has had such phenomenal luck with their Taurus Wagons, please let me know -- especially the year and engine make. This car has never given me any problems, never left me stranded nor cost me big money on repairs -- despite the fact that I put an average of 22,500 backroads miles on her every year! Thanks very much.
This discussion has been closed.