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Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Sedans Pre-2008



  • I have 94 Taurus with 140,000 miles and Vulcan 3,0L engine and new 2002 Sable with 3,000 miles and Duratec engine. I'm commuting on both of them and it is about 65 miles round trip. Several miles in city and weekends it is mostly city. On both of them it is pretty close to specs. In average both get 26 mpg, AC is on most of the time.

    About speedometer. If speedometer shows higher speed it sounds wierd. It is better to go to dealer. Failed speedometer or speed sensor will affect transmission.

    There is no shudder on my cars at any speed.
  • Looking to buy a '99 SHO. Does the engine only take premium fuel of can it run on 87 with lower power?
  • My wife's '99 taurus runs strong and ping free on 89 octane. Today she filled up with 87 and the thing sounds so horrible, It feels like you're driving a 70's jollopy blowing blue smoke out the back.

    These cars simply dont run well on 87 octane as specified In the owner's manual. I could care less, It's just that the owner's manual does not make any provisions for bumping up to 89 octane. It only warns you to use only 87 octane, this is asinine. While the car was still under warranty I would periodically complain during routine service. All I would get Is the usual dog and pony show answers: oh, everything Is factory sealed and theres nothing we can do. Or, using higher octane will not resolve the problem. Oh yes It does, If put 93 octane the car screams like I have a V8 under the hood.

    The point here Is, no car should sound like junk. It Is my understanding that most other car companies like GM, In the owner's manual usually says that your car was engineered to run on 87 octane, but It's ok to use a higher octane for better performance. My manual says exactly the reverse, It tells you not to use a higher octane or your engine could develop performance problems. Any thoughts on this on going Ford joke Is greatly appreciated.
  • My '96 Sable with the Duratec and 113K miles runs just fine on 87. And that's with the garbage gas that the environMENTALists make us burn.
  • Can get a 02 for 12,000 with 16,500k on it is that a good price? I think its a program but its in my price range. Was wondering how they are running? Would appreciate feedback. Thanks
  • mralanmralan Posts: 174
    And that's pretty low mileage too. I paid 13k for my 01 SES with 26k miles 9 months ago and it's been perfect.

    The only regret I have is not holding out for a 24v 200 hp engine. But that wasn't an option at the time of my purchase.

    Make sure you get the VIN and get a CARFAX history report.
  • 427435427435 Posts: 86
    2nd post. Anyone ever have any problem with false car alarms like I'm having with a '96 Sable? Does anyone know where the control module for the alarm and door lock system is located?
    Thanks for any feedback.
  • Hi, g1994sts. I am using 89 (performance plus) on my '94 Taurus with Vulcan for almost three years just because it doesn't move on 87 regular. And nothing bad had developed yet, it just going on with all that high milage with no harm to engine. I would be more carefull though with premium, because higher octane means higher temperatures. But anyway Vulcan is very reliable engine, but is a too old and it is shame that Ford is still using it instead of modern four banger. I think that even Toyotas old 2.2 L four is much better engine, weighs less and feels more like V6 compared to old-tech Vulcan. I had choosen Duratec for my new car and it is a blast, it btw weighs less, whats good for handling, 87 is enough.

    I wouldn't recommend Vulcan to anyone, I have experience with both engines and after driving Duratec and even Japanese four bangers (esp new ones from Camry and Altima) you will regret to have Vulcan under the hood, just ignore it and move forward to the modern engine.
  • My grandmother's 1997 Taurus LX had the same problem. After locking it, it would go off at all hours in the middle of the night. The old crabs at the retirement center she lives in kept calling and calling, and by the time she got down to it, it had stopped.

    I don't really know what happened, because I never really got a clear answer to the problem. On her Taurus, the problem seems to have disappeared for the time being, so I'm not complaining any.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    You guys are happy because late model Tauruses are a good deal to purchase. The other side of the story is that they devalue rapidly and a lot.

    My fully equipped 00 Merc. Sable will not produce more that $12000 on trade. It's a station wagon LS Premium. Selling it to a private party will give me $1000 more, that's it. If I were to buy it from a dealer, I'd be paying $14000+. All this according to TMV assessment.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    If you are buying new and changing vehicles every three years, you are taking a big hit on depreciation no matter what car you buy.

    In my opinion, anyone changing cars that often probably should be looking into leasing it. My approach is to buy new then keep the car ten years or more. At that age most cars have depreciated nearly completely so depreciation is not much of an issue. The value of the car at that age is more related to it's condition.

    In my opinion, Taurus/Sable is a good bargain new, and even a better bargain slightly used.

    Furthermore, I believe the quality issue is nearly becoming a dead heat between all the major players in the midsize car market.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    the flip side to keeping a car for longer than 3 years is all the money you start to put into it.

    transmissions often go (at least on Fords) and other nickel and dime 3 and 400 dollars here and there starts to add up.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Yes there were some transmission problems, I believe from model year 91-95??? and head gaskets on the optional larger engine pushrod V-6 now discontinued. I fortunately had a '90 Taurus with the Vulcan for ten years and 98,000 miles-never had an engine or transmission problem. Current 2000 SES with Duratec is at 20,000 and zero problems.

    I believe current generation Tauri are relatively trouble free. Apparently, from what I've seen in a few recent posts, CR is giving current generation Toyota Camry only "average" reliability ratings (same as Taurus) ,so they don't walk on water anymore either. Plus you have that larger up front price to pay new or used.
  • The 3.8 pushrod is still around, just not in the Taurus. I was going to buy the base mustang with the 3.8 but found that it had so many problems I decided to go with the Taurus, cheaper insurance, and I really like a four door car. I may get a Mustang as a second car in a few years though, they are supposed to have the duratec in the base model for 2004 (235hp). I would love a GT but the insurance would take all the fun away.

    I have a 2001 SEL and have 12,500 miles on it, so far so good. I use it every day in city traffic and I drive it hard. I use 89 octane, just a psychological thing, I think it runs better. My gas mileage could be better, but I have a heavy foot. I probably only get 15mpg in the city, with the stop and go and sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. So after sitting in traffic if I get an open piece of road look out I am getting on it full throttle=bad gas mileage.

    I also got the 6 year 75,000 extended warranty with my car at the time of purchase. Good thing, with my driving habits I may need it.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I have to correct myself-the reliability news is even better for Taurus than I thought. The Detroit News Web site reports that Consumer Reports newest reliability data reports the 2002 Taurus rates above average, while Camry has slipped to below average. Of course, the Camry apologists will say that 2002 Camry is a new model design-it takes a while to get the bugs out, etc, etc...... however, they would never think of allowing the same excuse for the big three in the past. This further supports my position-Taurus good car with good value.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    I'm not concerned so much about depreciation being fully aware that if I were to trade every 3 years I'd wind up paying for it. But I believe that my s.w. not 3 years old yet, has taken a big hit in the value department. I paid $22000 for it. If TMV is right, my car is worth $10000 less than when new. So okay it's 2 1/2 years old but still.

    In any case, I really like Taurus/Sable regardless of lost value. I'd still get another one. You get more bang for the buck and that is at purchase time. Lincoln-Mercury division has sold fewer vehicles during the current year, according to Car and Driver. This could translate into better deals for those of us who'd rather walk into a Ford/Lincoln Mercury dealership than a Toyota or Honda counterpart.
  • I'm in my second Merc Sable wagon (odometer @157K). My first was a '90 wagon that I bought at 60K and drove until 178K when I gave it to my nephew. The one I'm in, now, I bought for $4000.00 (yeah!) with 80K and it seems to have a lot more miles in it. Unfortunately, it failed a recent emissions test and I don't feel like parting with $1000.00 for a replacement catalytic convertor. Besides, I want a newer car. I drive a minimum of 130 miles each day and have decided I deserve a newer car. And having done my research, both online and visiting dealers/private sellers (looking for a new used car is SUCH a hassle!), I've decided that the only vehicle that really makes sense for me is another Sable wagon. And reading y'alls' comments and advice is reassuring.

    For my money, that is, I don't want a monthly car payment and intend to pay for a vehicle that, given my experience with two prior models, is reliable and'll get you to at least 150K ...and, is comfortable for a 6'3" 260 pounder (gotta love that steering column-mounted shifter and bench seat eg. NO console!), a Sable is the way to go.

    Glad I found this discussion group. I'll look forward to contributing.

    So. The Duratec engine, if the oil is changed religiously, is NOT an Achille's heel?
  • 427435427435 Posts: 86
    kd carmen, thanks for a the feedback on the alarm. Would like to hear from someone who had the problem and how it was solved.

    Higher octane doesn't cause higher temperatures. Just the opposite---octane that is too low for an engine will result in pre-ignition (pinging) which WILL must definately cause higher temperatures and can even put holes in pistons. Octane that is too high for an engine does nothing---including more power, better gas mileage etc. As long as the octane being used is high enough to avoid pre-ignition, you're good. More is not better.
  • My '96 Sable has the Duratec. With 113K on the clock the only repairs I have done are a crank pully bearing (~45K), a water pump (~100K), A/C clutch (~100K) and I just had to have the oil gallery plugs replaced. The total for these 4 repairs was about $800. I change the Mobil1 roughly every 5K miles, the coolant and brake fluid ~24K miles, and tranny flush ~40K. I was so impressed with the Duratec, I bought my Lincoln LS with that engine. The LS has considerably more power, as I have opened it up a little.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    The Camry has NOT slipped to below average. It has however decreased to merely average.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Oops, I stand corrected. Camry has slipped to average reliability while Taurus has risen to above average. Still, it appears Toyota has slipped a bit and the justification for paying a premium for a Toyota is getting pretty weak.
  • Wow! Hadn't heard that the Camry slipped to average. I think the Avalon was in this boat too, but that might have been based on the new model. Also remember hearing about "oil sludge" problems in Toyota minivans. Have also heard complaints about the Accord, including some potential tranmission problems -- my neighbors transmission went at 30K at just over a year old which is almost unheard of in a Honda. Have the Japanese makers lost their edge or have the American makers finally caught up a bit or some combination of both?

    Makes me feel even better about my '00 Sable! Potential reliability was all the Camry really had going for it since it definitely loses on price and standard content, and to my eyes at least, styling.
  • riswamiriswami Posts: 192
    the information about the Camry's reliability come from? CR doesn't publish its Auto Issue until April, so how are people getting this info at this point in time?

    I'm not a Toyota fan and agree with a lot that has been said about the Taurus being a good value. But don't expect CR to recommend a Taurus/Sable.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    As a matter of fact, CR does recommend Taurus/Sable but has consistently qualified these models as average and sometimes below average reliability (for the Taurus). I decided to buy American and get a Sable while CR was saying that it had average reliability.

    For me Toyota and Honda are so rich that have lost touch with the customer. I've been speaking to people I know who own and swear by both Japanese makers and told me this.

    I think, I digressed a bit. My point here is not to compare or knock Honda/Toyota. But appreciate the value of Taurus and Sable.
  • "But don't expect CR to recommend a Taurus/Sable."

    Yeah right, Import freaks gotta wake up amd smell the coffee, it ain't 1980 anymore.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    you're right, it ain't 1980 any more and the domestics have really closed the reliability gap. If they keep their designs around long enough they eventually are able to work out the bugs. Only problem with that, the engineering gap has widen to the domestics decrement.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    From the press information in the Detroit newspaper's Web site, CR published a 2003 new car preview-apparently a separate issue from their normal magazine-and it is available on newstands now.

    They may have also issued a press release on their latest survey data that the news media picked up on.

    Taurus has been a CR recommended model in recent years, having average reliability, which is CR's minimum requirement.
  • Engineering gap is if one compars BMW's to Fords. Also, most imports use carried over parts, too. But, I will say the Taurus is old and will go soon, so the "Eng. gap" will close too.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    i was thinking accord/altima/camry/passat, but BMW works too.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    All BMW's except 5 series, all Mercedes, and VW Jetta and Passat from their recommended list due to less than average reliability.

    Additionally, Altima, Camry and Subaru Impreza were rated only average.

    Is Japanese and European engineering innovation getting ahead of their ability to design in and build reliable cars (at a reasonable price as well)? Part of a "superior" vehicle is not only who has the most bells and whistles, but does everything work year in and year out-and for most of us is affordable as well.
This discussion has been closed.