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Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Sedans Pre-2008



  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Toyota, has, with the new Camry, addressed some of the issues you speak of. I HATE the automatic locking doors (although, those are defeatable), and the fact that you can open the front doors without unlocking them (totally lazy American style). For your mom's Camry, the auto on headlights operate in relation to the parking brake, however, and its a 15 second delay once the p-brake is released (auto-on is gone from the new Camry in LE & SE guise though). Keyless now provides a trunk release button - I agree with you- what an insanely dumb oversight. You might want to get used to those "weird" power window switches- they've been deemed "safer" by Consumer Reports and NHTSA, and a lot of auto mfrs. are moving toward this type.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and I completely respect it. However, you seem to be judging the car on the last generation. Toyotas arent like Fords- they get redesigned. You may want to check a new one. Upsetter- the LE/XLE suspension is on the soft side, but its dyanmic handling capabilities are certainly on par with the Taurus', and the SE will out handle it.

    You know what really REALLY bothers me about the Taurus, and its the first think I always thought of when I would drive my ex's Duratec Sable- why no rear head restraints? Its very uncomfortable to sit back there without them, and theres the safety issue as well.

  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    Seems like I am little late to core discussion...
    I am in the market for a replacement of our second car. There are 2 candidates: Ford Taurus Wagon and Ford Escape. What I drive: 2K SES Taurus.
    I had driven 91-99 Accord, 94 Civic, 94 Corolla, 97 Mazda 626, bunch of rental Camries...

    I would never give up my Taurus, eh! may be for new Ford 500...

    Lets see what is going on with so called "superior" makes and models...

    CRV - Engine fire (fresh discussion going on)
    Odyssey/V6 Accords - Transmission problems that Honda never admits. Squeaks and other built qulity issues...
    Camry - Has Toyota admitted the engine sludge problem yet?
    Nissan - Sorry, I don't even follow their discussions
    Well I can pull bunch of problems for bunch of other makes and models.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Where do Taurus/Sable, Camry, Accord, Altima, Impala, Intrepid, etc. stand in the overall reliability and resale value?
         Edmunds and CR don't rate the 2002 Grand Caravan very high but my son loves his. My 1970 Dodge van was the worst vehicle I have ever owned. Many friends got rid of Taurus when the transmissions failed and they claim their Taurus were the worst vehicles they ever owned.
         Although my Ford F-150 is rock solid (sorry to steal Chevy's thunder)I wouldn't buy a Taurus or Sable. The risk is too high.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    the 96 taurus had tranny issues and they quickly worked to improve and fixed the issue.

    and hopefully some learned that flushing your tranny and maintenance is necessary to prolonging your tranny life.


    the taurus is dated
    and not at the top of class in refinement
    depreciates rapidly


    its reliable and has a well established track record
    inexpensive to buy and operate
    is one of the roomiest mid sizers
    it not cheese like GM
    OHC is available for cheap
    and, the Taurus is a good looking (if familiar) car. Ford did a tremendous job fixing the 96-99 botches. Even if I think my 99 SHO looks quite good with the deeper fascia and side extensions. The base 96-99 cars were not good.

    as a number 2 car in the family as the previous poster suggested, its a great alternative. Why buy a Sonata? or something like that.

    If its as a primary car and you want a higher level of refinement you might want to pay more but you don't have to be ashamed if you don't and get the Taurus. Its inexpensive but doesn't stoop to cheesemobile status. You can show up at a ritzy function in a Taurus and not look out of place at least.

    Personally, to me I think Ford should consider another noticeable refreshening, interior redo and bump up the hp on the Duratec to about 220 and keep this thing in production even when the 500 and Futura hit market, even if only as a fleet car.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    A very good assessment, overall. However, I think the Taurus has fallen behind the times in terms of safety. Yes, it continues with a "Good" from IIHS offset and very impressive frontal results from NHTSA. BUT, you can't get the side curtains (coupled also with side chest airbags in the better models) that are so quickly becoming a focal point in the midsize family sedan saftey issues. Additionally, theres no stability control option, and no rear head restraints is a strange omission, one that I would think easy (and inexpensive) to rectify.

    Otherwise, for precisely the reasons you speak of, I'd heartily recommend a two or three year old certified used Taurus. I would not, however, endorse a new one over a competiting, and similarly priced, Malibu.

  • dako_tiandako_tian Posts: 298
    And I must say that, having spent considerable time in the Odyssey topics from early 2000 until fading away in 2002 (recently checking in for old times sake), the discussion here is amazingly civilized. You should all be very proud of yourselves, I think.

    As you all have covered well, the Taurus suits my needs well. It will be a only-two-day-per-week commute vehicle, otherwise used only sparingly for those "I vant to be left alone" jaunts to the home improvement center. I am not nearly as interested in appearance as I am in safety.

    The Accord would satisfy both, but because it does so much better in maintaining its value, it will cost me about $15,000 for a 2001-3 with at least air conditioning (this is North Texas, but Texas nonetheless). (Interestingly, I could probably buy a sufficiently-equipped brand new Accord for around $16,500! Go figure....) I can get a suitable Taurus for nearer $10,000. Frankly, having just started on a $29,000 loan for the Yukon XL SLE we bought in November, I can use the relief that the lower amount would bring in car payments.

    Even considering the further depreciation, I'm guessing that anything over three years that I keep the car will amount to almost the same total dollars lost in value -- especially when you figure in the extra interest I'd be paying on the larger amount borrowed. Yep, I'll double-check the budget once taxes are calculated, but we'll probably be scouring the lots soon for the best Certified used Taurus deal at or below $10,000 that we can find.

    For me, it comes down to what fits my budget that will still give me the best odds, or nearly so, of surviving should I become involved in one of those daily traffic-snarling incidents on the Dallas area toll and freeways.

    Thanks again for the volume of replies and most especially for their general civil tone, well-considered thoughts, and detailed nature. You are as fine a group of web-denizens as I've ever had the pleasure to share a few bytes with! :-)
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Well, you sparked a lot of response in a board that was very quiet-though I am sure it is quiet mostly because Taurus is currently not the new kid on the block with a recent redesign, and most of us Taurus/Sable don't need a lot of stroking to assure ourselves what a good car we have. We know it already. You will also notice the Taurus maintenance board is quite quiet too, which is a good thing-it likely means Taurus has no glaring maintenance issues that lots of upset owners would be posting about.

    As far as deficiencies in Taurus such as rear headrests and airbags for every part of your body, true much of the competition has added these if not standard, as options. This still does not take away from the fact that Taurus is a solid buy at very reasonable prices new or used.

    Ford is introducing 500 this year and Futura perhaps by the end of the year or early next and I am sure we will see most of these improvements available on these new cars, along with other new features such as six speed automatics, a wheel drive and CV transmissions, which neither Toyota, Honda or all the rest have yet adopted on their bread and butter sedans.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I agree with badgerfan, I am also member of different Taurus forum. I hardly seee any problem with Generation-4 Taurus.

    500 looks very attractive though...
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    Regarding tapping noise we were talking in prev posts. I had an oil change and asked dealer to diagnose the noise. They told me that there is no tech bulletin for this car and noise rather comes kind of from injectors.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    "and similarly priced, Malibu."

    NOT. let's compare an actual out the door 19 thousand dollar Malibu and Taurus.

    the Taurus will have leather and sunroof (and dual power seats?). Duratec. ABS. Autolamp.

    Bu at 19k won't even have the faux leather they are trying to pass off as real, and it won't have the sunroof.

    Plus, the Malibu is an ugly car, plain and simple. Why pay more for such uglyness? Its not like the Malibu has stability control either.....

    remote start? I can have that put in at the dealer or auto store for 100 bucks.

    Wait for the bloodshed of incentives on the bu before you can say its price competitive.

    safety equipment? that can be added easily if they chose to do so. The basic structure of the steel unibody and safety cage is stout and safe. If Ford added side curtains and stability control it would be welcome and then it would be almost tanklike!
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Just a few thoughts here: CR bases its assessments of quality on their yearly questioner mailed to subscribers. I always found this questioner lacking and limited in scope. I don't find their reviews all that compelling either. That's another issue though.

    Toyota has built quality and this sold lots of cars. It redesigned their cars continuing with the manufacturer's emphasis on logic, ergonomics excellence and dependability. Looks are something subjective, so I'll leave it out of the conversation.

    Ford couldn't or didn't want to do the same. Instead, it put its efforts on standard features, room and safety. These 3 things made me drive my Camry at least twice into Ford dealers to check their cars and possibly trade. Didn't do it basically but not exclusively on Ford's dubious reliability ratings, which worried me.
    Dealers'poor treatment was also part of the equation.

    Finally, the third time I bought Sable. Traded not a Camry but a different Japanese vehicle. After I test drove the S.W. I could feel its sturdiness, comfort, power and vault like strength.

    If Ford improved reliability I wouldn't be thinking of buying something other than Taurus or Sable now. I read that you guys claim your cars to be reliable. My car with less than 30000 miles needs a power steering pump replacement. It's not a new transmission or engine but it's going to run me $$$$$$. It's out of warranty. This could also happen to a Camry or Accord, but what are the odds? These same odds are the reason Toyota surpassed Ford, became 2nd and watch out GM! It's not perceived quality, is real quality.

    Just let me say that I don't want to buy Camry and I'm not advertising Toyota or attacking Ford. A car is the second most expensive purchase one makes. I'll never buy a 2 or 3 year certified Taurus with low mileage. It'd be nice if Ford put money into improving what it has instead of making new.
  • A radio commercial aired advertising 2003 Tauruses/Taurii, with less than 20K miles, for under $10,000. Mainly out of curiosity, and because it was at my dealership, I checked it out. It was (as far in the process as I got, anyway, which purposely on my behalf wasn't at all far) legit, and surprisingly, it was SESs and not LXs or SEs. I guess these would be relatively high mileage vehicles, so I thought that might be the reason they're surprisingly low in price. Any other thoughts on why the surprisingly low price?

    The dealership got them at auction, and they are just the basic SESs (not the SES Sports), and that's the reason they gave for the sale...but still, a comparable SES Sport they listed at around $17,000. I know that's not what someone would actually pay, but the price difference was just interesting.

    This may also serve as a bargaining tool for anybody out there trying to buy an '03 SE or SES.

    Again out of curiosity, does anybody who frequents this board have the fully equipped SEL, with leather, dual power seats, the Duratec, the wood package, etc.? That must be one heck of a car. I always think my SES is fairly luxurious, and then I remember that there is the SEL.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I myself do not care about leather, power passenger seats, wood, sunroof, or automatic climate control, but I don't think I could go back to the Vulcan after having the Duratech. That's why I bought an SES Duratech. I got the performance without the additional approximate $2k cost of a fullly loaded SEL.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    We have a 2001 SEL with all the aforementioned but the wood trim that wasn't available in 2001. It is a wonderful car that others often think is a Lincoln till I tell em, "Nope, just a Ford."
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    "My car with less than 30000 miles needs a power steering pump replacement. It's not a new transmission or engine but it's going to run me $$$$$$. It's out of warranty. This could also happen to a Camry or Accord, but what are the odds? "

    Daniel, how car with less than 30,000 miles can be out of warranty, that is what I don't understand.

    And yes I have close friend who had power steering failure in his Camry also less than 30,000 miles, but replacement and labor were covered by warranty
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Danielj6 is likely beyond the three year limit but not the 36K mile warranty limit. Danielj6, I would gently but firmly complain to your local dealer and then followup with Ford if the dealer refuses to go to bat for you. They may be willing to cut you some slack since your mileage is still low. It's worth a try.
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Posts: 854
    "Why pay more for ugliness?" Hey its all subjective.

    The Futura will be more in line with the Malibu anyway.

    And if one buys a new Taurus for $19K, as soon as they drive off the lot it's only worth $11K.

    They aren't bad cars, but they are lame ducks with poor resale value. At this point in it's shelf life, it's best to get a used one, of which there are plenty.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    My car is exactly, from the day of purchase, 3 years and 9 months old. Obviously out of basic bumper to bumper warranty. I called the dealer some time ago and I confirmed that it is. I was also told that it will not be covered under the powertrain warranty either. The representative at the dealer said to me that according to my description it sounds like power steering pump failure. The guy strongly recommended that I bring the car to the service dept.

    badgerfan: The warranty is 3 years or 36000 miles, whichever comes first. I got in touch with Ford HQ's and they said more or less the same thing as the dealer. To drop of the car at dealer svce., have it diagnosed and repaired. According to this rep, this is a part that may have worn out like brakes or battery and needs replacement. I replied that with such low mileage this shouldn't have happened. That's how the conversation went, like in circles at one point.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    How much is the pump + labor?
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Done privately $275 parts and labor.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    honestly, if a car is beyond 3 years (any make) you can expect little things like that to start to nickel and dime ya.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    $275 is not much at all. I wouldn't care. A paid $350 for just starter replacement on '94 Taurus. On Audi you would spend couple of grands.
  • wep68wep68 Posts: 18
    Have to disagee with the 3 year cars will nickle and dime comment. My 94 Camry went to 100K without any repairs, except a tail light. At 126K miles the valves are worn, but no replacement of any parts, save the battery (which lasted 10years). Seriously, I am still on orig brakes (no new pads),steering pump,radiator, many hoses orig. Timing belt was done as maintenance at 90K. The interior and exterior still look great. The 94 Camry "Champagne" paint is the same as used on Lexus that year, and it looks far better than teh paint on my wifes 98 Corolla. It really is amazingly well bolted together. I hope my 02 Taurus does half as well.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    It isn't the issue of $275 at all. I know that with time parts need replacement. But my mileage is just too low to have these troubles.

    upsetter1: Your car is now 10 years old and by now it paid for it itself. When did you replace the starter?

    wep68: That's what I called dependable and well made.

    I'll obviously fix my car soon. I'm just waiting for the weather to warm up a bit here in New York and get into the scorching 40's.

    Enough whining. Thanks very much guys for the good advice you gave me. Still like my car and believe it's a good value.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    I replaced starter in 2001, it had 150K miles. I also repared starter on my older Toyota. It cost me nothing because I fixed it myself. With Ford it stopped to work at work so I didn't have option other than ask shop to tow my car. Actually on Ford it would be much easier to remove starter than in Toyota where it was buried behind the engine. Starter may have some worn part that cost couple of bucks, but when you go to shop they just replace the whole thing. So it is better to do it yourself. Power steering it much harder task to remove and repair. But 300 bucks is very low price IMHO.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Exactly, it's not a fortune. But keep in mind that this repair isn't going to be done at the dealer. My car has not visited the dealer's shop for a while now right after the warranty ended. I'm sure that I'd come out with a higher bill there than what my mechanic quoted me.

    Replacing a worn part on a car that has 150K is not as painful as having to fix a spring chicken with 29K. I wonder what else will go wrong.

    I do believe, however, that repairs on domestic cars are cheaper than on foreign makes, especially European. Repairing an out of warranty Toyota has to be costlier than an American car. This is exactly part of the hidden value of a Taurus/Sable or other American over a Honda/Toyota. By the way and speaking of Hondas, my mechanic, who works on hondas (and other makes) told me to stay away from them Hondas.
  • In the German market Japanese spare parts are more expensive than for German cars. I would say way more expensive. Of course you don't have to repair Japanese as often as German, but still. I mean even filters are more expensive.

    Yeah a trusted mechanic is much better than a dealer. Dealers sometimes do a very sloppy job, especially if they are VW or Audi dealers. Actually I have no trust in VW, Audi dealers at all. It is very frustrating taking into account how much more they ask.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    I have just been reading over the past 20 posts and I noticed your power steering pump problem. Could you explain what is it doing that they are saying it is bad?
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    My 2000 Mercury Sable station wagon with 25000 miles has developed a sort of humming sound whenever I turn the steering wheel right or left. I've had this for several months now, and the sound is louder in cold weather than in hot.

    The shop initially checked rack and pinion components and greased some parts which quiet the noise but didn't make it go away. Within a few days the humming sound returned, and now is very loud to the point of embarrassment.

    Took the car back to the shop and was told that there is power steering pump failure and needs replacement.

    I need to say that initially I thought that the noise was being transmitted through the steering wheel perhaps because it came up every time I turned it (left or right). However, I don't feel a vibration in my hands but a loud sound coming from the engine bay. I believe that my original impression and observation were wrong, and it could change the diagnosis regarding power steering failure. I also checked the serpentine belt and it seems intact. There is no loss of steering whatsoever.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Although I couldn't generalize about dealers' service departments, I can say that I've had very bad experiences taking my cars to them. I'm specifically talking about Toyota, Mazda, Ford and Lincoln-Mercury. I'm very well aware of their high overhead, special training of their technicians and that for the most part they know the cars they service much better than private shops.

    I've used a private shop for the last 12 years for service and repairs. I've been allowed to watch my car being serviced and fixed. My mechanic, who's also the owner, listens to me, answers all my questions and doesn't show impatience. I do ask a lot of questions but in a thoughtful and courteous manner.

    As far as German cars, they're for the most part made well but when anything goes wrong it'll cost you not only in labor but parts. Japanese too. Now that Toyota became the 2nd car maker in the world its dealers may try to exploit it by jacking up fees. Only my assessment. But I tell you that those 7 + years that I had the Camry I know I saved $$$$$$$ in scheduled maintenance by not using Toyota dealers' service depts.

    I know there are very good dealers around the nation. I just haven't found them.
This discussion has been closed.