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Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Sedans Pre-2008



  • From what I understand from reading and talking to Ford technicians, if you have a Vulcan and take care of the transaxle (change the fluid and filter regularly--like at the 30K interval Ford calls for), the car can be darn near bulletproof. This is mostly for the later generations ('96-up). Other than body panels, trim, and options/features, the 1996 through '04 Tauruses and Sables are pretty much the same car, so these comments should apply to all of them.

    The Vulcan is supposed to be the most reliable engine Ford makes. It's 'old tech' and that's fine--cast iron block, cast iron heads, timing chain. That is one reason it lasts. It may be a bit weaker in power, but it doesn't have any very weak points (unlike the head gasket in the old 3.8 V6, etc.). The Duratech looks good as well, but hasn't had the 15 years of existence yet to prove its longevity. A fair amount of the short block is Vulcan-based, though.

    The AX4N transmission is somewhat more reliable than the AX4S from what I hear, but even the AX4S can last a long time if it's taken care of.

    If the rest of the car is in good shape, and you've taken care of it, there should be lots of miles left in the car.
  • Regfootball,Chuckles g and Ehenness,

    Thank you very much for the information provided to me on the Ford Taurus. I was thinking of buying an 02 Lexus ES series but will definitely save my money and purchase a 02 Sable.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    You likely could buy a new Taurus or Sable fully loaded for less or equal to a used 02 Lexus ES300 and about 1/2 the cost of a new Lexus ES.

    Luxury cars are definitely not the way to keep your transportation costs down. Maintenance costs on luxury cars are generally much more expensive as well, as I think the dealers and manufacturer's figure if you can afford the $ for the luxury car, we might as well gouge you for parts and service too.

    You will be pleasantly surprised with reduced noise and smoother shifting transmissions in any '00 and newer Taurus/Sable over your '96.

    Of course, your least expensive route is to keep your current '96 and drive it until it dies and then replace it with a late model used. But you risk being stranded on occasion.
  • I recently bought a program '03 Sable GS Plus with 12K miles for only $12,500. The car didn't have a single door ding or scrape. The interior still smelled new. It was safety checked and serviced by the dealer and detailed. The delivery was as good as for a new car. I will never buy a new again. I love this car and runs perfect with comfortable seats and a smooth ride.
  • Only reason to get new is if it's a rare hard to get model, with high resale.

    If interested in 2004 Tauruses, wait until some program cars come to the market to save big $$$.
  • I'm a Sales Engineer who drives 40K plus miles a year. Currently driving a 2000 Sable LS with 130K miles on it. I've been looking at 2003 & 2004 Tari SES. Both have leather, bucket seats, spoiler, and luxury package. The 2003 also has moonroof, adjustable pedals, Mach audio, and 6 CD changer (none of which I use). With Ford's increased incentive of $3000 ($2000 rebate + $1000 Ford financing) the 2004 is $1000 more than 2003. I'm still not sure which way to go. Any opinions from the Board?
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    if its only a thousand bucks I'd go'll get 1000 back in resale....however if you go 2003 then you will always have a low mileage 2003...wait, you drive 40k miles.......maybe you should stick with the 2003.
  • riswamiriswami Posts: 192
    I'd go with the 03. You put a lot of miles on em. There are so many of these cars on the market in the first place. Got to figure the average buyer wants lower miles. So the high miles is going to ding that value pretty hard. Plus these cars don't have the rep for longevity that some other models do. Not saying they shouldn't have it, but some perceptions are hard to overcome.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    my friend has had tauri as rep cars and routinely runs them trouble free up to 90k miles or more.
  • I have a 2002 Taurus SES with the 3.0 Liter flex fuel engine. After the car has sat for more than a couple of hours, when I start it the engine revs all the way up to 1700 RPM and very slowly begins to go down to 800 RPM. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Most cars have high idle when starting a cold engine. This is all computer controlled to get engine warm quickly, keep cold start emissions down, etc. My 2000 Taurus SES with Duratec does similar, I don't think it quite gets up to 1700, but is more like 1200-1500. I don't think yours is performing unusually.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    Things depend on wheather temp. If you live in cold climate, 1700 may be considered OK. Mine jumps to 13 -1400 and goes down to 700 or so shortly. However, slow movement may indicate a problem. It should settle at 700-800 within 1/2 minute or less.
  • I have a '02 Taurus SES, with 17,000 miles. I love everything about the car, except when I get between 60-63mph I hear a loud roaring noise. I once thought it was coming from the front but now I think its the rear end. Has anyone experienced this? If so What can I do to get rid of this annoying noise?
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    If I were you, the first thing I would do is to rotate the tires. This will help you to eliminate tires as cause.
    If the noise tranfers to front, then you may have defective tire...
  • It could be the tires, as snowman posts. This would be especially true if it's a new noise.

    It could also be wind noise--are your doors and windows sealing properly? Is the cowl piece loose? Wind noise can be tough to find...

    Could be a wheel bearing (though usually you hear that at any speed, just louder as you go faster).

    I'd also suggest that you take the car to the dealer. An '02 with 17K should certainly be under warrantee. The dealer will have what they call 'chassis ears.' They are a device that hooks up to the car and helps pinpoint the sources of noise in the car. Many times the ears can narrow down and even pinpoint the noise source.

    No matter what the source, it should be covered under the warrantee, so don't go too nuts on your own trying to find it. Let the dealer techs help.
  • malibu99malibu99 Posts: 305
    Hello Everyone

    My mother in law broke the drivers side mirror while backing out of the garage on her 99 Sable. I was wondering, has anyone done the replacement themselves? If so is it easy and can someone give me a brief description of how its done? Much appreaciated.
  • I am the original owner of a 2000 Sable (65k), with the Duratek engine. It has been a great car. I have never owned such a trouble-free automobile.

    I do much of the routine maintenance myself. But I am not able to find where the PCV valve is on this vehicle. Can anyone help?

    Many thanks
  • Just purchased a 03 Merc Sable yesterday.. Traded my 96 Linc Cont in.. The following is data for the purchase:

    Sable LS prem $23025.
    Moonroof 995. (over priced)
    Platinum pkg 595.
    Mach Audio sys 695. (Not as good as JBL or Bose)
    Dest & Delv 670.
    TOTAL 25980.

    Dealership dis $3985.
    Ford Rebate 3000.
    Ford Loan Dis 1000. (matched APR from Credit Un)
    Collage Dis 400. (wife in school)
    Lin Cont Trd 2000. (many problems)

    With more than $8K discount on car with only 8 miles on it.. This is the best value on the market.. Mace Linc Merc in Indiana beat everyone on the net and local market.. Hope the car provides trouble free miles.. Will keep you posted..

    Had many problems with the Conti with 122000 miles.. Ball joints bad, Ride Control going out (pump runs all the time), ABS sensor bad (ABS on everytime I put on brakes). Inside trim comming off, Rearview mirror replaced twice and bad again, transmission starting to shift funny.. However, Very good sound system, nice seats, GREAT 4.6 engine.

    BTW, our other vehicle is a 03 Dodge Ram 2500, 5.7 SLT. LOVE IT!! Bought the Sable so my wife will let me drive the truck...LOL
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    Congrats, enjoy your new Sable and keep us posted on how its doing!

    Is it a Duratec?
  • Yes.. It's the Duratec. Don't think the Mach audio is as good as the JBL system..
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    The rear tail lights now have white backup lights across the top.
    The grille and front bumper is changed and kind of looks like an "old style" Infiniti I30.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    mach audio pretty much stinks, not much better than a kraco.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    After reading and watching IIHS on SUVS' bumpers, I thought back to around May 2000 when a new Honda Accord hit me in the back at around 25 to 30 mph. The only damage was, as I recall, cosmetic, and the estimate for the repair was $375. The rear bumper absorbed the hit and didn't allow damage to the body of my station wagon.

    As a side comment the IIHS confirms what I've been saying for a long time: SUVS' ruggedness and strength are at best questionable and their safety doubtful. For quite a bit less money I have just as much cargo space in my S.W.

    I wish the rest of my car were built as solidly mechanically as the bumper. I wouldn't be considering more reliable brands but would be thinking what color to get my next Sable.
  • I don't quite get why people bash on the poor little Vulcan. Yes, it could offer better gas mileage, but as previously discussed, it is extremely reliable. I'm aware that it only puts out 155hp, but more importantly (and often overlooked), it puts out 185lb/ft of torque. That makes for pretty solid acceleration for a "base" engine compared to several of the competitors. Yeah, it's no Duratec, and it's no 3.8L pushrod Monte Carlo, but it's a fine little engine.
  • Well, the little Vulcans are reliable and run long. I've seen early 90's Tauri Vulcans with 150K miles on them for sale on Ebay or at little used car dealers. The 3.8 engines died off first.
  • riswamiriswami Posts: 192
    just went over 100,000. It cracked the barrier on a round trip from Rhode Island to Albany, NY. On the way back my service engine soon light came on. The light was gone after approximately another 250 miles of driving (two days later). I noticed that the tach was about 150 to 200 rpms higher than normal during many parts of this trip. I've gotten a torque converter code a few times previous to this service engine soon warning. I'll get it checked out when I take the car in for it's next service. Don't know when that'll be; and it has been over two weeks and the car is fine.
    I agree with the previous two post, this engine is more than adequate for daily driving. I plan on giving mine to my daughter sometime next year. It'll be her first car. The car is safe and solid so it'll be a good set of wheels for a new driver.
  • shank6shank6 Posts: 64
    Hi guys :

    Happy holidays to all. Any thoughts on a rear defroster that just quit Tuesday ?. I replaced the relay but no luck. Dealer says it may be a module ?. Any help would br appreciated.

  • My '01 Sable with the 3.8L had 175K on the clock when we traded it in on a Lincoln LS. I didn't have to do anything other than regular maintenance, including the head gasket. It was fine. The water pump went at ~130K, and the a/c clutch field at ~ 110K. I got excellent service from that car. We got $1500 on the trade-in, which I thought was very fair.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    You could not have the 3.8L in your '01 Sable. It was discontinued in Taurus/Sable when the Duractec 3.0 was introduced in 1996, so you either had the Duratec DOHC 3.0 or the Vulcan OHV 3.0.
  • sapansapan Posts: 6
    Hi to everyone on the board. Recently, a dealer ask me to look at a fully loaded 2003 taurus sel with 15k miles in their lot. the price is $15k. I have no idea what's decent price for the car. Currently I own a 12 years old accord, really want to trade it in for a roomy, solid, and comfortable car. I am going to test drive the car tommorrow. any comment is appreciated.
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