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Ford Taurus Problems

mralanmralan Posts: 174
I'm considering purchasing a 2001 Ford Taurus SES. Are there any owners out there with advice on potential mechanical problems I should look out for?

Mr Alan


  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    Ford transmissionsa are not the strongest. However, regular changes of the transmission fluid helps a lot. I would recommend changing at 15k and replacing with synthetic. If you do a complete change with syn then it can be changed out every 30,000 miles. Lubegard also helps reduce acids and tranny oil temps and is recommended. This is according to my Mazda mechanic. Remember that for years Mazdas have used Ford Transmissions.

    Change brake, power steering fluid every 30K. I add Lubegard power steering additive also.
  • vidtechvidtech Posts: 212
    if you buy this vehicle,get the extended will need addition to tranny problems,air conditioning and front suspension problems are common.they happen often enough to drive anyone to drink.
  • riswamiriswami Posts: 192
    you read the post in the Taurus/Sable thread in Sedans and the same post in Maintenance and Repair.

    I have a 97 with 65k. Car has been very reliable. Some posters are either complainers or/not vey knowledgeable.

    The Taurus isn't perfect, but what is? If you're getting a good deal and like the car then go for it.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    I'm changing the title of this topic to make it of more general interest to Taurus owners, or to those who know about Tauruses (Tauri?)

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    Share your vehicle reviews

  • mralanmralan Posts: 174
    Is it true that later model (post 2000) model Taurus are much improved in terms of reliablity?
  • My mother has a 99 Taurus with about 30k
    miles on it. The engine will turn over but
    won't start, then all of a sudden for no apparent
    reason it will start up. She had one mechanic look at
    it, scratched his head for a couple of hours
    then it just started up all of a sudden. The next
    time it happened she brought it to the dealer
    and it started up for them and they couldn't
    find anything wrong.

    I haven't been able to determine under what
    conditions it happens, but I think each time
    the engine was cold (Minnesota cold not just
    room temp).

    Any ideas would be appreciated.
  • willis3willis3 Posts: 76
    I had my oil changed this past weekend, and noticed that my coolant was nearly depleted. So I refilled the coolant, ran the engine and checked again. I found the coolant had turned to a brownish color.

    After doing a bit of research, I found that there was a general recall issued to install a cooling system by-pass installation kit. Being the second owner of this car, I was never notified. I'm going to flush the radiator, but I'm starting to worry that there might be a head gasket problem.

    Have any other of you Taurus/Sable owners experienced this problem? Did you get the recall work performed?

    I learned that this is a problem only on 96 & 97 Taurus/Sables. They probably changed the design beginning in 98.

    Any help/experiences would be appreciated.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    consolidate it into Taurus repair and maintenence.
  • I have a 1996 Sable (same car) I had the coolant go brown you should not be consernd about the head gasket my car has been fine. I even had them replace the coolant overflow with a new one. I have had not one problem in the 6 years I have owned this car it has been great. I would flush the cooling sys. and keep an eye on it. I bought the first one my dealer got too. My car came off the line in 1995! I was a little scared about beeing one of the first ones but no problems...Good luck
  • willis3willis3 Posts: 76
    Sable1996PA -

    I hope your are correct. I'm going to have the radiator flushed tomorrow. And hopefully the coolant will remain the normal greenish color. At what mileage did you notice that your coolant changed to brown?

    However, I've read that the brown coolant recall was required because there was a design error in the routing of the cooling system hoses into and out of the engine exhaust manifold. The result of this was it caused the coolant to trun into brown mud from excessive rusting of the engine block. The rust in the coolant will ensue in further engine problems, like a galvanic reaction with the freeze plugs in the engine block.

    The car only has 62k miles, maybe I should get it fixed and sell it?
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Hope this helps:

    Ford Taurus issues:

  • carlson 123
    I have a 2000 Mercury Sable with the 24 valve
    engine that does the same thing that your mothers
    car is doing. I have taken it to the dealer to see if they could find the problem. But, when they have the car it will always start right up.
    I even left the car over night hoping it would do
    it. The car started with no problem. The only
    recommendation they could give me was when it did
    it again to bring it straight to the dealer and
    possibly it would be in the computer. To date it
    hasn,t done it again. I have posted this message
    before, but received no response. If you get an
    answer please let me know.
  • johnwngjohnwng Posts: 24
    My '97 Taurus has developed a strange problem. Normally, when you open a door, the dome light comes on, and when you shut all doors, the dome light goes off. However, with my Taurus, after I shut the driver side door (only has problem with the driver side door), the dome light will stay on for a few minutes and then goes off by itself. It does not happen all the time, but enough to be annoying particularly during nighttime driving. I wonder if this has ever happened to other Taurus owners? I am relunctent to go to my dealer. Last time I when there for a "service engine soon" light, it costs me $2000.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The switch is in the outer door handle. Try spraying WD40 or other lubricant into the area to free it up.
  • riswamiriswami Posts: 192
    I had the same problem with my 97 Taurus GL two years ago. It is a door switch. I hear this is quite common.

    I had it fixed at the dealer, $160.

    You can probably find a local mechanic and get it done for 1/2 the price. Think the switch was $15.
  • tzeldytzeldy Posts: 1
    My dome light stayed on last month and they said the problem was either the door switch or a senor. They replaced the door switch, which requires removal of the door panels, and a switch which costs around $20. I don't think you need to take it to the dealer. I also had the heater core go bad recently and they suggested more frequent flushing of the radiator fluid.
  • I would like to know how to get Ford to solve the engine stalling problem as reported in the NHTSA web site under "Problems and Issues". Owners are reporting sudden engine quitting while in traffic with no restart until they pull off the road or in some cases, towed back to the dealer. No deaths have been reported so far, but I won't let my wife get an Escape because of a potential stall on the freeway in front a semi. I'm not alone, but the others with this feeling are already Escape, Taurus or Tribute owners. There were numerous problems on this with the 2001's and already 29 reports on the 2002's (Escapes only). How do we as the general public and potential customers get help?
  • tgf1954tgf1954 Posts: 2
    I really like everything else about this car but find that even with tire pressures correct and after a 4 wheel alignment, the vehicle wanders enough on all roads at all speeds to be annoying and feels like it has a "dead spot" on the dead center steering wheel position. I recently test drove a used '97 GL model with 78K miles for comparison and I did not experience the same "slop" at steering wheel dead center. However, I then test drove a '97 SHO on the same Ford dealer lot and it felt like it had the same slop in the steering linkage as mine does. While travelling at any speed, I can move the steering wheel about one inch back and forth without causing the direction of travel to change at all. Is this typical of Tauruses with the 24 valve V-6 or the SHO V-8? Are there different types of rack and pinion steering gear systems present on Tauruses, i.e., do some higher trim levels models of Taurus have variable ratio power steering while maybe entry level models do not? I sure would appreciate any feedback from anyone who has any insight or experience with this issue. I certainly hope there is a solution to tighten up the steering feel on my vehicle. Thanks in advance for all responses. --- TGF1954
  • tango22tango22 Posts: 1
    I took the car through an automatic car was (underbody wash also) and after that I noticed that the cruise control stopped working (it worked fine before that), after I stopped the car and shut it off, took it out of gear it would not go back into gear, seemed like something to do with the safety feature that forces you to have your foot on the brake before the car will go into gear.

    Any help would be very much appreciated, I am fairly mechanically inclined, but couldn't find anything obvious, I sprayed WD40 on some of the connections thinking that might dry up something that was wet, but there are just to many, I am not familiar enough with this car.

    Thanks in advance and you can email me directly at if you have any info for me
  • ezaircon4jcezaircon4jc Posts: 793
    I have a '96 Sable with the Duratc that tracks as straight as any FWD I've had. It doesn't wander and I can go straight with minimal input. On some of our grooved freeways I get some tramlining, but that's it. Sounds like a bad rack and pinion to me.
  • My 2001 Taurus emits an odor like melting plastic garbage bags from underneath. At first, I looked for a bag that may have stuck to the muffler, tail pipe, or catalytic converter, but I cannot see one. Anyone else notice this, and if so, have you solved it?
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I drove a Hertz Taurus around for about 10 miles with the parking brake on and that's what it smelled like.
  • 93viking93viking Posts: 1
    I bought an 87 Taurus 3.0 with 66K about 2 months ago. When I drove the car before I got it I never noticed any noise. (Of course) Lately once the car is warmed up I notice a knocking noise. I don't notice it during cold starts or while I'm driving. Also If I rev the car up the noise goes away. I thought a heat shield came lose on the cat, or I had an exhaust leak. I took it to the garage this morning and they said the exhaust was fine. They thought the noise was coming from around the oil pan. He said I had a lose engine? His exact words were "Ford's 3.0 are notorious for this." He asked what oil I was using, and I use Mobil 1 5W30. He suggested I use regular oil 10W40. Any help or ideas would be apriciated!
  • My 1999 Taurus SE, 24V engine has 50,000 miles. Recently, strange things have happened with the dome light and power windows working sporatically. Yesterday my wife was stranded as the car wouldn't start. We had the car jump-started and took it home. While idiling, it died. Each time we tried to start it again, the wipers and other electrical components turn on and off. The trunk lid button, when pushed, seemed to turn the dome light on and off.

    The car has been a pain in the "*!#@". In addition to this problem, the rotors have warped several times and a grinding noise occurs immediately after start-up when the temp is below freezing. The dealer was no help in fixing this starter problem. We've just accepted it.

    I'm terrifed how much the electric is going to cost. Has anyone had similar electrical issues?
  • johnwngjohnwng Posts: 24
    My '97 Taurus GL had the check engine light on 4 months ago. Took to Monahan Ford dealer in Queens spent close to $2000 to fix it. Well 4 months and 6K miles later, the light is on again. The same dealer wanted another $450 even though the first repair indicates 1year/12K warranty. I am not trusting Monahan any more. Does anyone experience similar problem? How do you fix it?
  • gabe288gabe288 Posts: 1
    problem and heard "click and clack" from Car Talk mention it once. Apparently, it can be caused by filling the gas tank up to the top. I just live with mine - it's just a little annoying!
  • Has anyone heard of a chronic problem with the head gaskets on the 3.8 L engine. I have 93 with 57,000 and no problems (yet).
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Yea, this seems to have been kicked around quite a bit in the minivan/windstar topic.
  • jaygriffinjaygriffin Posts: 3
    Someone told me they heard on the news that Ford was extending warranty on mid-90's vehicles to 7 yrs /100,000 miles. Anyone hear anything about that?
  • kw_carmankw_carman Posts: 114
    My grandmother has a 97 Taurus LX, and it is starting to fall apart. First let me state that it was bought at two years old with low miles by a +70 year old grandmother, who is a light driver (to church, bank and grocery store, and that's it). The front cup holder came apart within the first two months. Also, the power windows on both sides in the back have stopped working, and the ones in the front make awful noises. Most recently, the wiring the in driver's door got screwed up, causing the factory alarm to continuously go off at all hours. (Grandma got two calls from others in her retirement center before she could run and disarm it at 2:30 AM). Is this normal for a Ford?
This discussion has been closed.