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Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Wagons



  • riswamiriswami Member Posts: 192
    First thing, have it checked out mechanically. Are any service records available. Was the oil changed regularly?

    Second thing, if it is a 3.8 liter I'd proceed with caution. There is a ton of information on head gaskets on these boards. In addition I know of at least three people who've had head gaskets replaced on that engine. Not sure if the year of manufacture for the 3.8 makes a difference?
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    As with the head gasket problems, transmission failure is something which commonly "kills" the pre-'97 Taurus/Sable. If you do buy such a car, I'd suggest getting the transmission fluid/filter changed (it's probably due anyways) and have the rubber hose that's on it replaced while you're at it.

    It was this hose leaking at the clamp (worn through) which resulted in my '87 Taurus Sedan dying, and it did visibly look bad until it failed.
  • tauriownertauriowner Member Posts: 1
    Sue47 - Proceed with caution if considering the '93 Taurus Wagon. Do not buy it if it has the 3.8 engine!! I currently have a "dead" one sitting in my driveway. I have had nothing but trouble with my 3.8 engine and it only has 97,000 miles on it. The head gaskets went on mine so I am considering donating it because its not worth the repair cost (approx $1,200). But, I have to say I loved driving it. It was very spacious, was great for transporting anything, had great pickup and saved my life in 2 accidents. Despite the problems with my '93, I decided to buy a 2001 (best value in its class) hoping that I will have better luck with this one. For those of you who say Ford should put head rests in the rear seats, I could not disagree more. The new headrests are too tall. I am 5 feet tall and have trouble seeing over the front passenger head rest to check my blind spot. It is such a hinderance that I removed it. Also, I cannot move the sun visor to the driver's side window because it hits the driver's head rest. Very poor design by Ford. They should have stayed with the older design. I didn't have this problem in my '93.
  • speedyptspeedypt Member Posts: 200
    Anyone else have a problem with their key not returning fully to the "run" position after starting?

    2000 LS Premium Sable Wagon

  • nelsoncmnelsoncm Member Posts: 103
    How can your visor touch the front seat headrest????? I don't get it. Well, as to rear seat headrests, the solution is simple -- removeable headrests, like VW and others. It's blatant disregard for passenger safety on the part of any manufacturer who wouldn't put them in today.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    You may also want to post (copy/paste) your question on our Maintenance & Repair Board: Taurus' repair and maintenance. Good luck. ;-)

    Hatchbacks/Station Wagons Message Boards

  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    this is the same discussion as "Sable/Taurus Wagons." I've edited the title to also include the manufacturer name.

    In case you're wondering: having the manufacturer name in the discussion title works better with Edmunds' search features. So you may notice a few subtle changes around this message board with the discussion titles.

    And now back to the discussion of Mercury Sable and Ford Taurus wagons. Happy Motoring! ;-)

    Hatchbacks/Station Wagons Message Boards
  • mike5806mike5806 Member Posts: 12
    just bought new 2000 taurus wagon. sticker $24,325
    paid $20,399 +taxes. license etc.
  • mrl11777mrl11777 Member Posts: 154
    I just purchased a used 2000 Taurus wagon, SE model, loaded, leather, mags, ABS, etc (all but the Duratec, which, my research found, is not in many wagons) with 20,000 miles on it for $16,500. This is the second Taurus that I purchased from the Ramp Motors (Ford) dealer in Port Jefferson, LI, NY. Each was part of their long-term rental fleet. Not a mark on either car, and someone else ate the substantial depreciation.

    I also purchased (for the first time) an extended warranty, the Ford ESP plan. Cost was $800 for 6 yrs/75k miles. I normally pass these plans up because I feel that they are usually way overpriced, but I thought that this was a decent deal, and Ramp service is good and pleasant to deal with.
  • mike5806mike5806 Member Posts: 12
    I take it that the ESP is for 75K total vehicle miles and not 75K on top of the normal 36K warranty. is there a deductible? my wagon has the Duratec engine and it will be interesting to see what kind of performance and mpg that I get. I drive 30k/year so it won't take to long to find out. I looked for a used wagon(chicagoland), but there were only a few to choose from.
  • danielj6danielj6 Member Posts: 285
    Two questions:
    Has anyone heard a clunking sound when going
    reverse? I heard it twice today on reverse in
    my Merc. Sable.

    Can someone tell me where the button for the rear windshield wiper fluid is located? I filled the reservoir and tried to squirt fluid unto the rear windshield by pressing either of the two
    buttons located on the bottom left of the instrument panel by the driver's right knee but nothing came out.
  • riswamiriswami Member Posts: 192
    Was looking at Taurus Wagons last week. They all had leather; was surprised that the engine in each one of them was a Vulcan.

    Was talking to a mechanic at a Ford Dealership; (he coaches baseball in our league)he told me he can't recall a Duratec coming in for engine work. I know they've only been around since 96 model year, however that still seems impressive.
  • bluesingbluesing Member Posts: 1
    Just purchased a 2001 Sable LS wagon, Graphite Blue with medium graphite leather seating. Paid $21,500 after rebate, with Secure package and destination charges included. Factory invoice was $22,235. Also got dealer to cancel the $220 dealer prep charges that VA dealers seem to love to add on. Usually they say the charge is non-negotiable. Purchased the Sable because I needed the third row seating. Only other wagons with third row seats are Volvo, Audi and Mercedes, so the Sable/Taurus is definitely the low cost alternative.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    Sounds like you got a great deal. We look forward to hearing more about your ownership experience. Happy Motoring!

    Hatchbacks/Station Wagons Message Boards
  • mrl11777mrl11777 Member Posts: 154
    Yes, the extended plan is for 75k miles total and there is a $50 deductible. I am not a big believer in extended warranties, which are just insurance policies. I felt that the premium on this one, $800 , was reasonable. After 75k, I will be back to self-insuring for repairs. Also, this is just for the stuff that breaks, not wears out, so I'll still be using the mechanic I've had for years to take care of the stuff that wears out.

    I have a 98 SE sedan with the Duratec and it is a fun car to drive. It would have been nice to find a wagon with one, but I was not able to. I just took an 800 mile round trip with the wagon loaded (5 people and gear) and it ran fine -- there is enough power to do the job. And, it got 28 mpg cruising at 75-80 mph. So, the only thing that I think I will really miss without the Duratec is the ability to blast off from a standstill. I probably just waste gas in the sedan because that is fun to do!

    In closing, I think that this wagon was a decent purchase -- it was very reasonably priced, very comfortable and it seems to be screwed together very tightly (no squeaks or rattles). My luck with Taurus has been good (this is my third one, and my 92 wagon was retired with 140k on it).
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    It may be of interest to some of you (Canadians, and maybe Americans in the colder states) to note that the 2001 CAA Autopinion survey results show that this most recent generation of Taurus/Sable have Transmissions rated as "worse than average" for reliability. The only other trouble spot is the brakes, rated as "worse than average".

    The only difference I'm aware of between the Canadian Sable/Taurus and the U.S. ones is the climate of these two countries. This was based on 310 respondents.
  • stuboostuboo Member Posts: 1
    I am a proud owner of a 2001 Taurus SE sedan. I originally found a 2000 Taurus wagon that was absoulutley gorgeous. I took it for a test drive and really had my heart set on buying it because I felt the room would be great for when I have to drive 1200 miles to get the kids for their summer vacation. It was a program car. But the interest rate was a disapointment and I really needed a reliable roomy car with 4 doors and extra room for their things. The sedan will be great BUT it still need the extra room of the wagon. I need advise. How much of a financial burden would I have to undertake if I was to try and trade in my 20001 sedan in on say a year older SE wagon? Would a dealership work with me? I probably owe too much now and I'm afraid that they wont come close so as not much cash would have to given on my behalf. Am looking for advise. Thanks, Stu
  • acarlsenacarlsen Member Posts: 1
    I find that Edmunds' estimated prices for cars (Sable wagons anyway) to be very high. I recently purchased a 2000 Sable LS wagon with 14000 miles on it for $17100.It is in new condition, has every option, and according to Edmunds, I should have paid over $19000 for it to the dealer from whom I made the purchase. Incidentally, this is the fourth Sable wagon (first LS) I've owned,dating back to an '86. They are excellent vehicles, and I'm amazed at the improvements this one has over the '96 GS , which I passed on to a family member.
  • mike5806mike5806 Member Posts: 12
    On several occasions I have found that both Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds over estimate the value of used cars. In fact, CarMax advertises that they are below Kelly.
  • lambdaprolambdapro Member Posts: 51
    We have '90 Taurus and '92 Sable wagons. The '92 Sable 3.8 drives much better, but I did have the head gasket go at 110K and 138K. At the 138K I put in a reman motor. The '90 Taurus 3.0 just keeps on working at 152K. It uses about 1 quart every 1000 miles.
    The weak links that we have found on these wagons are the power steering and A/C. These have been repaired twice on each wagon.
    Both have rebuilt transmissions, but I blame myself to some extent for trying to tow with them. These FWD cars just can't dissipate enough heat, even with a transmission cooler.
    I like their size and that precluded me from purchasing the new Taurus wagon because it was too small.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    lambdapro. You wrote, "Both have rebuilt transmissions, but I blame myself to some extent for trying to tow with them. These
    FWD cars just can't dissipate enough heat, even with a transmission cooler."

    I wouldn't agree that that is generally true of all FWD cars. I towed a large moving trailer 3000km round trip with our Corsica several years ago and now, around 35000 miles later, the transmission is still going strong. That generation of Taurus had a bad reputation, and bad CR and CAA survey results, for transmission reliability. CR is of the opinion that this has been rectified in the newer models, but the CAA survey doesn't support that. A marginal improvement maybe?
  • wisillwisill Member Posts: 9
    I currently drive this beauty--238,000 miles with no transmission problems or head gasket problems. I have even towed a snowmobile and trailer for the last 4 years 90 miles one way 2x a year. I find this car comfortable and enjoyable but rust is getting the best of the bottom of the doors and wheel wells. I bought this off the used car dealer lot (off a lease) in Jan. 1991 with 54,000 miles on it. Never put a penny into it until 138,000 when the water pump-radiator was shot. at 160,000 miles the master cylinder and lift springs (windows and lift gate) needed replacement. At 170,000 miles the alternator went and I had to get professional body work done on bottom of doors. At 195,000 the starter went. At 235,000 the regulator needed replacement and as stated before rust is back and paint is fading from car finish. I changed oil every 3500-3800 miles and transmission flush every 70,000 miles. I'm looking for another sable/taurus wagon and hopefully will have good luck again. Looking for 3.0V6 with 24 Valve.
  • lambdaprolambdapro Member Posts: 51
    The manual stated that the Taurus/Sable could tow up to 2000 pounds. At the time, I did not understand a lot about towing. My canoe and kayak trailer fully loaded was only about 1500 pounds, but it had higher wind resistance than a semi. 8' wide and 9' tall with lots of gaps. It was the equivalent of towing a parachute. So it was way too hard on the tranny. I basically drove according as fast as would not overheat the engine. I now tow with a 1988 Grand Marquis wagon with the class III towing package and am ordering a Suburban. I used to tow at 65-70, but now I tow at 60. That also makes a huge difference. FWIW, I took 21 kayaks out to Sacramento and brought 24 kayaks back in early April. Ran OD down hill and flat and third the rest of the time. Got 8 mpg uphill in the mountains, 10 mpg in third and 11.5 mpg in OD. I had four/five kayaks on the roof rack and 17/19 kayaks on the trailer. Four on the bottom, six on level 2, seven on level 3 and two on level 4. Left level 5 empty.
  • greg32greg32 Member Posts: 48
    I have a 2000 LS Premium Wagon and it is located left of the steering wheel next to the windshield wiper switch right above the emergency brake release.
  • wildweswildwes Member Posts: 5
    I've just purchased a 2001 Sable Wagon and the dealer was pushing a third party extended warranty. If I get one I'll stick with the Ford warranty. Has anyone negotiated a good price from a dealer for the extended warranted? Wes
  • mrl11777mrl11777 Member Posts: 154
    I purchased a used 2000 Taurus wagon from a dealer and, for the first time, took an extended warranty. Paid $800 for the Ford ESP for 6 years/75,000 miles (total) with $0 deductible. I thought that this was a pretty good price as I was used to seeing these things pushed for $1100-$1200 and up. I bought this car in March and, doesn't it figure, I am seeing ads from Ford touting their "certified used cars" program that come with the same warranty included. So, shop around!

    I paid cash for the car and warranty, so I think that had something to do with the "flexibilty" on the warranty price.
  • danielj6danielj6 Member Posts: 285
    I'm currently considering buying an ext. warranty
    offered by my auto insurance co. It costs $30 a
    year with a $250.00 deductible. I go to the shop
    of my choice, send receipts to the company and get money back less the deductible.

    I've been getting offers to purchase warranties
    from companies I've never heard off but throw them
    away. Having bought a Ford product an extended
    warranty seems like a necessity.
  • naesseannaessean Member Posts: 3
    I am considering buying a '92 Taurus L Wagon. The car has 62,000 miles, which seems low for a '92, but I checked car fax and everything seems to be in order from that end. My questions after reading these postings on the board are about the reliability and potential repairs for the car. Can anyone give me an idea of what to expect from the head gasket, trans, A/C, etc. from this '92 with 62k? What about the possible costs associated with these kinds of repairs?
    I really appreciate it.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    I had a Taurus sedan of that original design, and its auto transmission died at about 100,000 miles, 8 years old. The cost of repairs would have been around $1500CDN, and the car had pretty extensive rust and some perforation so I got rid of the car. I had also had to have the heater core replaced, which was also quite expensive at around $900 CDN and there always seemed to be some $300-$400 repair bill every 3-4 months. The A/C worked until the car was 6 years old, but I did not bother investigating repairs, as I didn't find it terrribly necessary.

    Altogether, it wasn't a horrible car. I have owned worse in terms of comfort, performance and reliability, but it wasn't great.
  • mzackmzack Member Posts: 1
    I am purchasing a 94 Taurus GL with 100K miles that has a new transmisssion, head gasket, starter and am wondering what are the chances that these same things will go wrong in the next 50K miles?
  • phillip9phillip9 Member Posts: 2
    I'm considering buying a 2001 Sable Wagon. I like the car, but I have four concerns. I commute over 500 miles per week. The front seat seemed a little uncomfortable to me. The sales rep said that the leather seat conforms to your seat after a while like an old shoe. Is this true?

    I am also concerned about their being a blind spot by the tailgate. The area between the tailgate window and the side windows is much bigger than the station wagon I currently own. Is this a problem?

    Thirdly, I would like a CD player installed. The dealer tells me that you have to buy one for $500 that goes in the back. Is there anyway you can have, for example, a single CD type player that would go in the front, that conforms to the style of the dashboard? Or perhaps an after market CD player that would be less expensive?

    Lastly, the highway gas mileage is rated at 26 mpg. Is this accurate? Nearly all my commute is on the highway.


  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    I do not own a Taurus, however, with a car mdoel as common as this I'm sure there's a plethora of in-dash, aftermarket CD players available. Many of these have a radio as well, so it could just replace your current radio.

    You should be able to get one installed for $250 to (high-end unit capable of playing MP3 CDs) $400 locally. It would be worth your while to spend a Saturday at local car audio shops to get an idea of what's available for what price, and the layout of the controls and the display. You certainly want something that's easy to use "by feel" while you're driving.

    Good luck!
  • mike5806mike5806 Member Posts: 12
    phillip9- check out my message #41 regarding sable seats I had a demo sable for a weekend and could not get comfortable. I ended up buying a new 2000 Taurus wagon that came with the upgrade Mach/6 cd changer and the 24 valve Duratec engine. I just crossed 5000 miles-mostly hywy miles. The Taurus seats are great(leather) and very comfortable on the road. The engine is peppy and delivers 30-32 mpg on the road with cruise on!!! 24-25 in the city. I'm very happy!!
  • jdiaz2jdiaz2 Member Posts: 16
    We also have leather in our Y2K Taurus wagon and find the seats very comfortable. My only disappointment is that the seats aren't heated, but a friend sent me a link to have aftermarket seat heating elements installed locally, and I may look into that. Heated seats would be nice in the winter.

    Like mike 5806, we've also seen really good gas mileage in the 19K miles we've had the car.....rarely under 25 around town, and last weekend up around 30 on a trip to MInnesota. I still can't believe we almost bought a Focus wagon.....with gas mileage like this, I'll never cram myself into a small car again. :)

    The disc changer in the wagon works well, but certainly isn't cheap with the Mach system at $695. We needed to have cassette as well, however, so the Mach system fits the bill for us.

  • jig226jig226 Member Posts: 2
    I have a problem on choosing the sable wagon. One is 97 LS and the price is $14900 (Canada dollar), the mileage is 58k kilometer (from dealer) and the other one is 96 GS (from privacy) and the price is $9700 (Canada dollar). Which one is better? Could anyone give me some suggestions?
  • jig226jig226 Member Posts: 2
    I want to buy a 97 Sable Wagon LS from a dealer. He said it is a trade-in wagon. The price is $14900 in Canadian Dollars - about US$10k. The mileage is about 60k kilometers - about 37k miles.
    Anti-lock Brakes, cruise control, leather Bucket seats, leather steering wheel, rear window wiper
    and keyless entry system are included. The color is gold. Does anyone have any idea on it? Do you think it is useful to check the information on Carfax to get the information of this wagon? (Does the service of Carfax include the information on Canadian cars?). I am anxious for the infomation of it. Thanks a lot for your help.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    By going to, you can click on "About Carfax" and see if this includes information on Canadian vehicles or not. I had never used the service, but I just tried searching for my current vehicle's VIN and it did find it in the database - of course I have to spend money to see the results, this is a business after all. :-) This was for a 93 Corsica whose original owner was in the Province of Quebec, and which I bought in Ontario.

    I do not know if the information is available for all provinces.
  • rdeschenerdeschene Member Posts: 331
    The CAA's Carguide still lists the 1996-2001 models Taurus/Sable as having "worse than average" reliability for the transmission. This is an improvement over '92-'95 models, which had worse than average reliability reported for the: transmission, cooling, fuel system, engine and steering.
  • jonw2jonw2 Member Posts: 49
    In the unlikely event that I would buy a Sable or Ford Wagon, I would only do so with the purchase of an extended warranty. Personal experience and the number of relatives and friends who have had transmission problems with these cars convinces me that the transmissions and head gaskets are prone to failure at relatively low mileage. Last year we traded a '93 Taurus for a new Subaru Legacy wagon and we couldn't be happier with our purchase.
  • janorskjanorsk Member Posts: 1
    The patient: '97 Sable GS wagon with 67,000 miles and third seat. The illness: during and after rain, water collects under carpet under third seat. (It's velcroed down...hmmm...)It seems worse when car is standing still - very little collects when running in the rain. Treatments to date: There is no visible leakage on the inside of the car. I tightened the hinges that hold the rear window to the tail gate, but this didn't seem to stem the tide.

    Has anyone had any experience with this problem?
  • gsarchetgsarchet Member Posts: 8
    I trusted Ford when I bought, new, a 95 Taurus GL wagon with the infamous 3.8 liter engine. We took impeccable care of the care and it served us perfectly until 62,000 miles when the head gasket blew. I had to jump through hoops to get Ford to honor their recall, and avoid the service dept's ruse of other unwarrantied repairs that they made up (verified by my private mechanic). All that aside, it never ran correctly after getting it back from the head gasket repair: AC was broken, cruise control was broken, it accelerated irratically and dangerously (I spent several hundred dollars unsuccessfully trying to repair it), and a mysterious and very ominous clunk when beginning acceration: transmission? It ran wonderfully prior to the gasket repair.

    I am now a happy non-Ford owner, having given them one more chance by test driving a,...ahem..Focus...before confidently purchasing a 01 Toyota Echo, as a second car to accompany our wonderful 01 Honda Odyssey. I have positive previous experiences owning vehicles from both of these manufacturers.
  • jchvsjchvs Member Posts: 3

    So my wife and I are down to deciding between a '97 Subaru O/B with 92000 miles for $12,900(private sale) and a '99 Taurus Wagon with 29000 miles for 10,900(dealer). We found one of each that we could like. The one thing with the O/B is the current owner had problems with the head gasket that he had fixed. I think we could get him to lower his price some, but I'm not sure about the head gasket. Can someone give me some advice? We plan on getting the car checked out at the mechanic before we make an offer.

  • mrl11777mrl11777 Member Posts: 154
    I don't really think that they are comparable cars. The Taurus is larger and can seat 8 in a pinch (most likely, if the one you are looking at has the split bench up front and the 3rd seat in the way back). I am six-three and fit very well in my 00 wagon. I do not fit behind the wheel of the OB without rubbing my head against the ceiling and having the wheel between my knees.
  • calisoncalison Member Posts: 1
    We are looking in to buying a 2001 Sable LS wagon. Bluesing found one for $21,500. The lowest price I have found is from Carsdirect for $22,220 after the $1500 rebate being offered right now. Does anyone have any advice on getting the best possible price on this new car?
  • livy1livy1 Member Posts: 5
    I am currently looking to replace my durango with either a station wagon or minivan. My question is this: is there enough room in the back of the taurus/sable wagon for two booster seats and a regular car seat? Currently there are no wagons for me to look at at the dealer. How practical would it be to squeeze all three next to each other? I like the idea of extra room behind the back seat for protection, yet a minivan would maybe be easier to get in and out of. Is there anyone out there who has three small children and uses the wagon for their main family car? Any insight would be appreciated.
  • mrl11777mrl11777 Member Posts: 154
    I have 3 kids, and have had Taurus wagons since 1993. We had 2 car seats in it at a time (my kids are 2 years apart, and we always had one out of a car seat) and we all fit fine. I do believe that a third seat would fit. We used the Fisher-Price seats that had a t-bar that clicked in over the kid's head, rather that a bar that was hinged from one side. I think that hinged seats are going to give you fit problems in any vehicle that you might choose.

    We had a 92 Taurus wagon for 8 years and 150,000 trouble-free miles (normal maintanence -- no breakdowns) and we now have a 2000 Taurus wagon. They were/are daily drivers, and I think that they are the best family vehicle value in the market. We travel alot, and the five of us and all of our stuff fit very well.

    Good luck in your search.
  • tjf2000tjf2000 Member Posts: 61
    I too have three kids, and like the previous post have had two car seats in at all times, no problem at all. My 2000 LS wagon has 40k miles on it and I have had no problems at all. I have been averaging 21(city) 26(hwgy)mpg. Good luck, here in the Northeast they are still running .9% financing too.
  • mykem1mykem1 Member Posts: 29
    I own a 2000 Sable GS wagon and it has 3 seat tethers! We have a third on the way, and two boosters with a rear - facing infant seat fit just fine! Remember that the sable is currently the ONLY wagon on the market with the pop-up in the back (like when we were kids). So you get the same kid hauling your Durango had with it's 3rd seat. I have 12,000 trouble free miles on my Vulcan V6 Sable, and it gets 28MPG highway. It also is the safest in it's class.

    Mind you, I am leary of Fords, but so far this one is working out nicely.
  • danielj6danielj6 Member Posts: 285
    It's unbelievable that Ford, after building wagons
    with so many safety features, would forget or
    neglect to install headrests on rear seats. This
    is a glaring error.
  • steine13steine13 Member Posts: 2,789
    a '97 outback for $12.9k??? If money's an issue, get the lightly but reasonably equipped legacy wagon NEW for $19k or so -- sticker is $20k.
    The '02 model year is upon us, and a '97 is a 5-year-old car. if you can buy 5 years of new car for six thousand bucks, I think you should do it. Even if you buy a loaded outback, you'll still be better off.
    The idea that used cars are automatically cheaper does not apply to Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and some others. A Taurus, now used makes a lot of sense. Cars today have become very reliable. But stuff still wears out and costs big$$ to fix.
    East Lansing, mI
This discussion has been closed.