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Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Sedans Pre-2008



  • I am looking for a used Sable/Taurus for my wife. We are looking at 01-03's. If we get an 03, it will probably be a lower level Taurus. If we get an 01, it will be a loaded Sable with the Duratec engine. What should we be looking for, and looking out for? Is the Duratec engine worth the extra cost? Any options or models that I should look for or look to avoid? Are there any known problems with these vehicles? Any info is greatly appreciated.

  • ezaircon4jcezaircon4jc Posts: 793
    Does it happen after you wash it? My '91 and '96 both had the airbag light come on occasionally after washing. It would go off within a couple of on/off ignition cycles.
  • jebinc1jebinc1 Posts: 198
    I've noticed that many of the used Tauri for sale at Ford dealerships were previous rental units (Hertz, National, etc.) I would assume that many of us in the late model used car market end up with nice cars that were formally rentals somewhere. I'm curious how many of you who purchased a used later model know the origin? If you do, and the car was a rental, have you experienced more problems because of that history or not? Thanks for the insight as the one I just purchased was a rental for the first 21K miles of its life. I'm performing the 30k service right away! The car just turned 31K miles this morning. What are the first signs of tranny problems are these (2000 - Present) Tauri?
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    If the airbag light is flashing after you wash your car it means that the sensors located behind the grill are rusted. This is an unsafe condition. Both sensors need to be replaced!
  • jebinc1jebinc1 Posts: 198

    I picked up a 2002 SES with Vulcan Engine. I've also driven the Duratec. While the Duratec does pull harder, I've found the Vulcan to do just fine. The Vulcan is an older design (Push rod engine) but is rock solid and reliable (tried and true). Folks say that the Vulcan engine will go on for 200K. I was looking at a 2001 SEL (Duratec) for $9000 but found this 2002 SES Vulcan (in perfect condition) for $6600. I have no regrets purchasing the 2002 SES Vulcan. Runs great!
  • ohio7ohio7 Posts: 67
    No, there never seemed to be any rhime nor reason to the airbag light staying on. I'm not worried about liability to another buyer because I keep a car for 16 years. Also, if I did sell, it would be hard to prove that I had that problem. I just never thought of it as a permanent problem. We all know how computers get crazy glitches and really don't mean what they say. If I turn it off completely and restart it it has never come back on. Usually it will go out on it's own within seconds.

    I'm not overly concerned especially since I drove cars before they even HAD seatbelts and was principal driver of two cars for 32 years that never had airbags. If I think about it someday I'll ask the dealer what he thinks. But thanks for your concern!
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    If the airbag light is on, at anytime, there is a reason. You can be in denial, thinking you won't ever need the airbags, that's up to you. The air bag light only comes on when a signal is sent stating something is wrong in the system. The truth of the matter is that you don't know if anything is wrong...because you won't pay to have it diagnosed. You are still putting yourself and your passengers at risk! No one ever thinks that they can possibly be involved in a serious accident!
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Air bags with seat belts will save you from serious injury and death. I've recently had an accident whereby the seat belt held me in place and the air bag prevented my head from hitting the steering wheel and even the windshield.

    My Sable was declared a total loss but I was able to walk out with a sore neck and same minor burns to my arms.

    We don't think about air bags and seat belts until something happens, and things do happen.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Sorry to about your accident, but glad to hear you came out of it relatively unharmed and the Sable sacrificed itself to protect you.

    What did you replace it with, or haven't you yet?
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Thank you for you concern and your words Badgerfan!

    Let me just say 3 things about these cars (Tauri and Sable. They're damn strong and safe. While reporting the accident to my insurance company, the rep told me right off the bat that the car would probably be totaled as the cost of repairing it would exceed the value of it. I argued with him that my station wagon was a top of line and very well equipped. Well, the adjustor who actually came to check it out say confirmed that it was a total loss. The guy noted that replacing airbags would be $1500 + other components on the steering wheel. Then replacing other parts was going to cost a bundle, he said. He couldn't give me a value right there and then but promised to call me that afternoon.

    He did and said that the company that tabulated the value of the car came up with a very surprising figure of $12200. They took into account the equipment and mileage and other issues. So the adjustor told me that, on second thought, they could have the car repaired if I wanted.

    The third thing about the Sable/Tauri is value. This experience disproves the notions and stereotypes about not holding their value well.

    So I was all of the sudden faced with a dilemma. The number they gave me was what I'd have to pay for the exact same car, 2000 Mercury Sable station wagon Premium LS with low mileage. So after discussing the issue with my wife, we began to see the chance of a brand new Taurus of Sable. We felt that buying a 2004 in the Summer with cash rebates would be easy. I know that in the past I bitched and complained about my station wagon, but I really loved it. So it was very difficult to let it go.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    A few observations for you guys that drive Tauri or Sables: After the accident I couldn't start the car possibly due to the fuel pump shutting off. I couldn't find the switch anywhere to activate it. I know that these cars are programmed, in an accident, to automatically deactivate the fuel pump to prevent a fire. As soon as the airbags deployed I thought I saw smoke. I realized later that it was caused by the airbags.

    The front bumper did its job well. I must' ve been going at about 25 mph when I hit the van, and the bumper held. The assembly behind was bent like a V. I don't think the engine sustained damage. At least I didn't see any, I'm not sure though. There was substantial damage on the right quarter panel

    I slammed on the brakes (ABS) and was able to reduce speed but couldn't bring my car to a full stop without hitting the other vehicle. My body lurched forward with force but I felt the seat belt tightening and holding me in place. My arms and face touched the deploying airbags which came out of the steering wheel in a spilt second. Then, I felt my body and head falling back against the seat violently. I don't think the head rest held my neck all that well though. It seemed too high, and it had been set at its lowest position. Truth is that the car didn't appear all that damaged. It'll be sold at an auction. Somebody will buy it, fix it and enjoy it.
  • mettechmettech Posts: 28
    I like my 03 Sable.. but for fun,I drove a new 300C (5.7) yesterday.. I would like others on here to drive a 300 and/or the 300C and see what you think how they compare to the Sable...
  • automan227automan227 Posts: 118
    I have an '01 Taurus SEL (Duratec Engine) and I drove a 300C (5.7). I'd say its a completely different vehicle, like comparing apples to oranges.

    The 300C is a luxury sedan with a powerful 8-cylinder engine, whereas the Taurus is a mid-size entry level sedan (with mine having quite a few options), which I think is quite clear in list prices. A 300C starts at around $32k, and fully loaded can run close to $38k or $39k (which I think that for everything you are getting is an absolute bargain) whereas the Taurus runs about $26k fully loaded.

    Both drive very differently, and each has their own pro's and cons, but they are two different vehicles...not even really in the same class.

  • dilbertzzzdilbertzzz Posts: 190
    Thank you for sharing the details of your accident. And I am glad that you survived so well. I'm also glad to hear how well the car held up as well as protecting you.

    I've been considering a used Taurus as a commuter car because of the excellent crash test ratings. It's good to hear a real-world story backing up the tests. Frankly though, the other aspect that makes me lean Taurus-ward rather than Accord-ward is the much more rapid depreciation of the Taurus. It makes a used one a much more attractive economic decision.

    PS. What happened to the related tongue-in-cheek post about the miserable, law-suit-happy mentality so prevalent in America today?
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    dilbertzzz: the saga continues.
    So armed with $12200, and invoice prices, cash rebates and dealer's incentives and having done research on the 2004 Taurus and Sable, wife and I stopped by at the nearest and friendliest Ford dealer.

    We went to 2 Ford dealers and 1 Lincoln-Mercury dealer, and in each and every one of these show rooms we met the biggest scam artists, double talkers, layers, who were very good at bait and switch tactics. They tried to sell us the highest trims (Taurus'SES and SEL and Sable's LS)and charged us extra for sunroof and leather, which we didn't want any way but were willing to compromise. Also, none of these dealers honored the invoice prices from and They came up with $3000 over invoice.

    The second Ford dealer had several and 04 Tauri on the lot, which were former rentals. Price was $13000 with 26000 miles. They looked suspicious to me. My wife really liked these cars and tried hard to convince me to buy. I felt really quizzy about these cars, sensing that something was amiss. The used car manager with his patronizing attitude contributed to make me feel unsure regarding these cars. While the salesman followed me like a shadow and constantly talking to me trying to make me buy.

    At one point while checking out one of the cars, I happened to open the glove box and pulled out the owner's manual. On the cover it said "This Taurus is a lemon, POS, gas guzzling crap return to godamn dealer". We walked the hell out of there!!!

    I want to note that I was in real hurry to buy. This was Saturday and the following Monday I was returning my rental car to the rental company. My insurance company was doing me a favor and paid an extra 3 days for the rental. Usually when the owner's car is declared a total loss the insurer stops paying for the rental right of way. So we were very serious about buying a car right there and then. I didn't go with any kind of negative attitude to dealers and never wanted or expected the car for free. I was told, however, by the Lincoln-Mercury manager that they would want to make a minimum of $500 on the car. We felt that they wanted to make quite a bit more than that. But it's okay, they are entitled to make whatever they want on the cars they sell. I wasn't going to let them make a big profit on my expense.

    I forgot to say that we also looked into buying rental a Taurus or Sable from the rental car company. On their web site they claim to subject every car to a through 109 point inspection and replace worn parts, etc. They also say that they clean their cars completely. They don't haggle on prices. For $11399 they had cars with 26000 miles on the odometer. The don't have the Duratech engine and some of the features I had in my Sable. I went armed with a list of things to check to find out whether the cars were in any kind of accident. Didn't notice anything.

    While walking around the lot with the salesman I decided to elicit some more info. about their car refurbishing practices. So I sat in one car and I told the guy that the car smelled and didn't look all that clean to me. His reply was: "Sir, we run these cars through the car wash and vacuum them." Call me picky and difficult but I follow my instincts so I politely pulled my wife out of there and went home. By the way, the rental car I drove was an 03 Focus. Nice car.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    Why not compare it to a comparably priced base 300, not a 300C?
  • ezaircon4jcezaircon4jc Posts: 793
    Do your self a favor and check out a Lincoln LS. When it was time to replace our '96 Sable, the choice was a '03 Sable, of a pre-owned Lincoln. For me, it was a no-brainer. The LS is MUCH more car!! You should be able to find one a couple of years old, low miles for upper teens. Check ebay for going prices.


    The 300 isn't in the same class as the Taurus/Sable. The Taurus/Sable are in the same class as the Accord, Camry, and Intrepid. The 300 is (supposed) to be a drivers car. The Sable/Taurus is a family "truckster". Don't get me wrong, we've had 4 Sables. They were good cars. for what they were. Essentially, FWD appliances.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    There are dealer "certified" and Ford's blue oval certified. Since there are not any "standards" for what kind of "certifications" a car is supposed to go through, it is all a very shady area. However, if you go with a Ford backed certified car, it should be better. It should be said that a used car is just that "used." If you are not willing to make compromises on the condition of the car, you need to look at new. For example, buying my used 03 Galant ES, it had a very small "dimple" on the hood, and the front bumper, (air dam) on the bottom was scrapped just a little bit. This was the cleanest on the lot. I negotiated an excellent price for it and was happy. I purchased some body color touch up paint for the front bumper and was on my way. But, please if your that fussy buy new!
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    The Ford dealers in your area really sound bad. Can't say I have had the same response in Milwaukee. Maybe they need a good transfusion of Midwest civility!

    Really, when I have bought both Tauri, I shopped about three or four dealers. Some were better than others but none seemed to be actual scumbags. I think it is largely the luck of the draw with any of them as there are good and bad salesmen working for the same dealer. I have ended up buying from the same dealer both times, and while the salesmen were not the most competent, they were civil and most importantly got down to the minimum price quickly, once they realized I was serious to buy and was well informed with good knowledge of invoice, holdback, rebates available, and I had already narrowed down my minimum requirements.

    The service department has been absolutely outstanding, even though I use them sparingly, only for the few warranty and recall items I have had, and a few more major routine maintenance things such as transmission fluid changes.

    As far as Lincoln LS is concerned, yes the base model is't much more expensive than a loaded Taurus or Sable and I woul consider one, but I believe danielj6 is looking for a wagon right?
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    The base 300 with the standard engine is comparable to a Taurus. The base 300 is a replacement to the Chrysler Concorde (which is the cousin to the Dodge Intrepid).
    They actually consider the 300 "C" a separate model.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Since the third week of May when my collision occurred I got a hell of an education. We went through an emotional roller coaster. I believe there is a Chinese say that goes something like "For every crisis there is an opportunity".

    In my case, I saw an opportunity which I considered to be pretty decent money for the station wagon and then going out and buying a brand new Sable or Taurus. But it was not to be. I was outwitted and manipulated by questionable business practices and lousy characters. Despite the fact that any dealer can try to screw me in every which way, I still have the final control. I take my business elsewhere. Ford would've had a loyal customer in me.
    So after returning home Saturday evening frustrated and angry I went on line to Edmunds and, put down my request for a Toyota Camry specifying year, model and options and pressed click. On Sunday within 2 hours I received 2 e-mails from different dealers. Monday I was at work so my wife spoke to dealers on the phone.

    That same day, went home picked wife up, returned the Focus to the rental company and I had them give us a lift to Plaza Toyota. It took me half an hour to actually buy a car. No games, gimmicks, lies, BS or bait and switch tactics. It took the dealer 3 more hours to get the car, prep it and install or activate a security system. That same evening I drove home with my brand new car.

    I didn't wind up getting a Camry because there was a difference of over $5000 between the Camry and the Corolla (both comparably equipped), so I got the former. You guys are probably saying that the accident affected my brain. How come I got I car that is substantially smaller and therefore less safe than the Sable. Basically, was economics. I would've kept my Sable for at least 3 more years, so I didn't want to divert funds to buying a new car this year. While trying to get a new Taurus or Sable, I really believed that I could make a killing. Camry doesn't come with more than $1000 rebate, Corolla has no rebates on this particular trim. But is way, way below 20 grand. So after everything was said and done between the money from the insurance company and the price of the Toyota, I shelled out only 5 grand.

    Oh yes, I still miss the roomy, comfy, strong, powerful station wagon with a wonderful Duratech and 200 ponies under the hood. It looked great, really and it felt like a I was riding in a safe. I sent a letter to FOMoCo telling them of my experiences, and not that they'd give a damn but they need feedback from customers.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Sorry to see you go "Over to the Dark Side" (Just joking).

    You probably could have gotten a great deal on a leftover 2004 Focus for even less as the 2005 freshened ones are out, but the deed is done.

    Too bad you got caught up with some crummy Ford dealers. They can make all the difference.

    Enjoy your Corolla. I am sure it is a good car, with most of the complaints centered about the odd driving position for some people. Hope it fits you OK. It is better looking than the ungainly Camry, in my opinion, and certainly less expensive.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    There is also Focus wagon. Focus was redesigned and has pretty good new engine Duratec engine from Mazda and higher quality interior. I mean there is more utility, if it was the issue. But Corolla also is okay, congratulations. Corolla wagon version is Matrix or Pontiac Vibe.

    Dealers in our area sell new Tauruses for $15,000. Similar Camry is for $16,500. Top of line Sable or Tuarus you can get probably for $18,000-19,000.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Even the base Taurus motor has more horsepower than the Toyota. So, you got MUCH LESS CAR. I know you could have found a clean low miles Taurus if you would have waited, there are tons off these "off fleet" and "off rentals" in California. All have some of the factory warranty left, so the risk is minimized. Did you buy less car simply because of the bad experience of the Ford dealers? As far as the Camry is concerned, I see Hertz has them (1 year old-LEs) for 14,995.00 to $15,995.00 all the time. Again, with the factory warranty remaining!
    BTW, I don't know anyone who ever had a payoff from an accident who "made a killing!".
    Good luck and I hope you are happy, I hear the front seats of the Corolla are some of the worst out there for long distance travel!
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ...I understand your desire to have a new car without any additonal cash outlay, but that isn't exactly realistic. Why didn't you just take the $12200 (which, for any '00 Taurus or Sable, even a loaded wagon, is generous) and either buy another '00, likely with a load of cash left over, or an '02-03, from a private owner? I know Taurus and Sable are a lot more common as fleet/rental returns at dealers on the used market, but there are private sale vehicles out there. I don't know where you live, but around here (Chicago area) there are TONS of Ford and L-M dealers, and they have lots of cars. You were somewhat 'hands tied' because of time and your lack of a rental, but these cars aren't exactly uncommon. I understand the dealers you went to were lousy, but if you ended up with a car you didn't really want just to 'spite' those particular dealers, I don't think you've gained a whole lot. In any case, the Corolla isn't a bad choice, it's just a lot smaller and less powerful than a Duratec Sable; resale should be good, and your gas mileage will no doubt be better than on your Sable. Good luck!
  • rgal926rgal926 Posts: 2
    I have approximately 58,000 mi on my 99 Sable and just was informed of transmission problems. I went to start it and got a grinding noise. Shut down and re-start it was fine. Later went to drive and it went to stall, gave it gas had no power all of a sudden it took off. I even laid rubber for the first time in my life. Anyone else having a problem with thier transmission?
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    All your comments are intelligent ones. This is a very good thread, certainly better than the Toyota Corolla thread.

    You guys need to understand that my life changed in a matter of seconds, and then I was forced to make decisions about getting another car that I wasn't ready to make. When you decide to trade in your car or sell it because you want to get another car is a planned decision. I was under pressure to buy something fairly soon, I began to run into all kinds of roadblocks. I believe that these dealers saw me vulnerable and tried to exploit it to their benefit.

    As far as the rental Tauri I saw, I realized now that I was comparing them to my Sable and none of them measured up.

    The Ford Focus, although very nice especially the wagon version, didn't do very well in government's crash tests. However the Corolla did, especially the bumpers. The Camry XLE would've cost as much as a top of the line Sable and Taurus.

    I didn't want to talk too much about my Corolla because this isn't a Toyota thread. Let me just say that its only downfall is the driver's seat. The rest is a mini Camry, high quality materials and fully equipped for not much money. The only items I no longer have are heated outside mirrors and traction control. Otherwise, I have the same equipment I had in the Sable. Oh, of course less horse power but then this car is lighter than the previous one. Range of miles between fill ups is really good. It's roomy and its trunk is spacious. This is no econobox. My decision to go non Ford was purely out of spite and impulsive.

    These few days I really hijacked this board. But I got very good feedback from everyone and it's appreciated because it help put things into perspective and gave the opportunity to process
    the grief of this past month and a half.

    I'll stick around and continue to read and avail my self of your expertise. I'll continue to be a fun of Sable and Taurus cars.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    ghulet: I live in Brooklyn NY and the cars that I happened to look on dealers' lots were former rentals. There were mostly 03 and one was an 04 with 15000 miles. Prices were $13000.

    It isn't that I ended up with a car I didn't want just to spite the dealers. The car I bought I like very much. I just took my business elsewhere, and this is what I wrote Ford in a detailed letter. This is to spite Ford. Dealers don't give a damn and probably forgot me.

    upsetter1: If I could've purchased a top of the line Sable or Taurus I would've bought it. I presented these dealers several invoices copied from the internet(, and showed $20500 after cash rebates, incentives and hold backs with a certain profit margin for the dealer. They took their time looking at them and came back with over $23000. This occurred at the L-M dealership. The 2 other Ford dealers rejected these invoices right away.

    If they come back to me and offered me $21500, okay we have $1000 difference to negotiate. $3000 is just excessive, and leaves no room for negotiation.

    I know the drill well because I did my homework. Ford is not selling these cars well. Dealers are stocked and it's the Summer time. Ford is coming out with new models, and I thought dealers would want to get rid of their stock quickly.

    chuck1: The rental company invited me to see their cars; they had 152 cars (on different locations) of different makes. They also had Camrys but they lacked features such as side impact airbags and anti lock brakes, and went for about $15000. My Corolla cost me a little bit more than that but it came with more safety features and more options than those Camrys. I don't think I got a lesser car at all. I won't compare my Corolla to the Sable because they're different cars and this thread is not about that.

    And when I say making a killing I'm referring to buying a new Taurus of Sable for a very good price, which at the time I believed I could.
    The first dealer wanted to charge me MSRP on a SES or SEL, the second Ford dealer wanted to have my credit card to show that I was serious about buying, and that they could offer me $23500 if a financed through Ford credit. All this after I stated my intentions to buy on the spot and pay cash with no test drive. My offer was $20500 for a top of the line Taurus or Sable.

    In retrospect,I could've made my search wider without limitations of distance, and in the end I would've probably ended up with the car I wanted. After three experiences,however,I felt I've had enough and went elsewhere where I encountered people who wanted to do business in an expeditious manner with no BS. In the future I wont walk in to any showroom like a turkey. I'll go back to internet sites for a new car, and let them put me in touch with dealers. In searching for a Toyota, I received about 10 e-mails at different days from different dealers and with firm prices.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    You could have also used or another service for a Taurus instead of trying to negotiate with the local dealers who wanted to play games.
    If you had tried to negotiate with the Toyota dealers in the same way that you did with the Ford dealer, the same result may have happened, so it is an apples to oranges comparison.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I just don't understand how the Ford dealers in your area could stay in business, quoting exhorbitant prices as they did to you. Maybe they thought they could take advantage of you, being in a somewhat emergency situation. I would not have let on that I had any emergency.

    My approach is when a dealer tries to push a deal, saying it might not be available tomorrow or next week, I tell them that I am sure they will be willing to sell me a car next week, next month, or next year and that I can drive what I have until that time. Even if I did have an immediate need to replace a totalled car, I would never let on to a dealer what my situation is.

    I just saw a dealer ad in our Sunday paper for a base new 2004 Sable with all rebates for under $13K. A pretty well fully loaded new Taurus or Sable sedan should go for under $20K easy(not including tax, title and license transfer), in my opinion, with the wagons just a bit more.
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