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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey

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Comments

  • clayboyclayboy Posts: 3
    By the way bri66 can you please tell me the dealers name and town in Mass. thank you
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    The dealers name I bought mine from is Sunnyside Ford in Holden, MA. I was looking in todays Boston Herald, August 18th and Jack Madden Ford in Norwood, MA is listing the same offer on their Freestars, free 5 year\100,000 powertrain warranty. jackmaddenford.com It is still currently being offered by Ford in New England as of today. Good luck.
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    Our SEL has the captain buckets for the second row and my two teenagers love them. I have also sat in the third row and at 225 pounds I have had no problem getting back there. It will comfortably sit two full size adults with no problems or three smaller individuals. With the second row bucket seats that flip up and out of the way it makes it very easy to get back there. I'm not sure about the second row bench seat interiors. With Chevy their Ventura van has the second row bucket seats, but they don't flip up so you have to crawl between or climb over the two seats to get back to the third row. Where this is my first mini-van I can't speak about the third row fold away seat compared to the older ones you have to remove, but this foldaway seat is great. My wife loaded the van for our weekend getaway and had no problem pulling a few straps and away it disappeared. As for get up and go on the highway the 4.2 V6 is plenty enough. It's not as quick accelerating as my 3.0 Escape or my 289 Mustang, but it gets out of it's own way with no problem. Hope this was helpful.
  • Samnoe,

    The original Windstar was a success out of the box. Great ride, looks, safety (which is still exceptional). Can't touch its cruising range either - best in class by a hundred miles at least. But........it was a reliability disaster after the 36k warranty expired. Only time will tell if this vehicle is a real winner for the long haul.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    In Consumer Reports, besides the bad reliability rating of the Windstar, the Satisfaction rating was also horrible.

    In the better cars from BMW and Mercedes, even the most non-reliable cars (and they're really bad) has an excellent satisfaction rating.

    So they're 2 separate ratings. I posted my above article about the satisfaction part.

    Besides, recent studies shows that even the Windstar was improved on reliability and long term use. And most issues with the early Windstars were engine and tranny problems (the main component of the vehicle) which has since improved a lot, and especially now on the Freestar, Ford made sure there shouldn't be any issues. I think that's the only advantage of an old-tech engine, that they had so much time on their hands to fix all problems.

    I really hope the Freestar will be reliable after 36k miles... If not it will be a disaster for Ford...

    My leased Windstar is now over 30K miles, and no major problems. Better than expected before leasing...
  • nickelnickel Posts: 147
    Hi everybody, maybe you can help me. In 2 weeks i´ll be in Florida with my wife, another couple and 3 children (ages 1,2,3), so i´ll have 3 child seats. I´ll rent in Hertz, and was thinking about a minivan (the Freestar). Do you think is going to be a confortable trip with 3 small strollers, and the luggage. Any sugestions?
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    The luggage compartment is not that big in the Freestar. Chryslers, Toyota's & Honda's vans have more room, but just for 3 small strollers it shouldn't make a difference. You'll probably have more than enough room in the back well.

    The children will be in car seats so no big deal; However the second row seats are a little low, but quite comfortable. The front seats are very good, even for longer trips.

    besides that, I think you'll have a pleasant ride with the Freestar.

    Have a great trip!
  • th35th35 Posts: 6
    i bought my limited a couple months ago. ow hv 2800 miles on it. i get nowhere close to the posted mileage or the mileage you reported in may. what hv you found since then?
  • th35th35 Posts: 6
    4.2 l mileage of 14-15 in quasi-city (not a lot of stops and starts) over course that got 18-19 in 2001 windstar; 18-19 on hwy, compared to 21-22 (even 26 at 60 mph)with windstar.
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    What do you want to go to Florida for? I understand there's another hurricane coming. You'll be better off if you fly to Vegas by yourself and leave the kids and wife to home. However if you do decide to rent a Freestar and go to Florida you may be short for 4 adults and three children for space for luggage unless you get one with luggage racks and put a travel box on top. Good luck and say hi to Mickey for me.
    As for our SEL 4.2 we now have 2,200 miles and have been averaging local driving at 17 mpg and 22 highway mpg. I believe it's all in the way individuals drive.
  • tjnbtjnb Posts: 26
    I get 22mpg on the highway. I have noticed that there is a big difference between 55mph and 70. At 70, I get about 21.5-22, and at 55, I got like 23.5-24.

    In city driving I was getting between 14-16 mpg.

    Overall we love the van and it has plenty of space for me, my wife and 2 children
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    "Ford's revamped Freestar/Monterey minivans will be recalled because of issues with wheel hubs. Ford says the first recall will affect 35,401 Ford Freestar minivans and 4630 Mercury Montereys. The 2004 model year vehicles can suffer wheel hub cracks. The vehicles were recalled last November, Reuters reports, because power steering lines were found to be defective. Ford also announced a recall of about 1700 F-Series trucks from the 2004 model year; that recall involves the seams of the truck's fuel tanks."

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?article=7506
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    NHTSA Demands New Window Switches

    This story struck me as a bit odd since my Quest is a Ford assembled van and I always heard that the power window switches were sourced from Ford (and they look similar to my friend's F150). You have to pull up on mine to get the window to raise.

    Steve, Host
  • We owned a Windstar a few years ago and loved it. The Freestar we researched and compared with other similar models (Honda, Toyota) Decided Freestar was roomier and felt wonderful as far as ride. Brought in for first engine maintenance provided free by dealer as recommended between 3,000-5,000 miles. All systems checked and nothing noted as needing attention. Service department was informed by owner that a piece of the sliding door moulding was missing and needed to be replaced. When car was finished (the same day) the molding was not replaced. Sales person was called later that week to inform her it was not taken care of. Said piece was ordered and we were called when it arrived. Had to bring by for piece to be snapped into place at any time. It was and problem resolved. Not long after a section of the roof rack fell off into the street near our home. We retrieved it and brought to dealer. Had not been secured in place at time of manufacture and needed to be replaced and/or secured. Problem was taken care of.

    Most recently on 8/20/04 on our return from a 2 day min-vacation the car suddenly lost power steering control and immediately heavy smoke billowed out from beneath. Owner (husband) got out to inspect after pulling over to side of road and found flames shooting from the under carriage. Immediately ordered wife to get out. Some belongings were removed from rear as 911 was being called. Emergency personnel arrived (police) and extinguished flames showing. Upon arrival of Fire Dept. and after they pulled away the dash cover in the engine compartment, it was found to still be on fire. A fire extinguisher was used once again putting the fire out. The battery was disconnected and towing to the closest Ford dealer was arranged.

    The car was in the repair shop 22 days. I had to return to NJ from MD to drop off rental and pick up Freestar! Took an entire day!!!

    Since this has occurred we have learned several things about this model. A recall for a possible defect in the axle/hub has been issued on it by Ford. Additionally a source from inside Ford (a friend) says he checked the VIN# on our van and the dealership knew it was defective and was advised to not sell until defect was remedied. This defect being a Technical Service Bulletin to all service departments regarding the power steering hose not being seated properly hence causing possible loss of power steering control, smoke or fire.

    The vehicle should never have been sold to us as is. The vehicle was brought back to the dealer several times for service and replacement of molding. There have obviously been numerous opportunities for this known defect to be corrected and it was NEVER addressed.

    We have filed a formal complaint (5 days ago) to the manufacturer in Detroit and have not received word yet as to the status. We feel this vehicle is a Lemon! It has been riddled with problems which were at first just annoyances and cosmetic. Now it is safety (steering and wheel could fall off). We don't want it back. We want to have them buy it back.

    We hired a Lemon Law firm to handle this case since we feel we have a lemon. It seems there are other's out there as well.

    We like the van for many reasons (comfort, safety, features) but feel there are serious safety issues. This is unacceptable since the main reason we chose it was the safety rating was high.

    A vehicle as new as this one should not have one problem after the next regardless of the severity. Ford needs to take a harder look at this model!!
  • th35th35 Posts: 6
    thanks for reply. How many miles did it take to get the above-mentioned mileage? It is what i got with my '01 windstar at those highway speeds, and what i was expecting from the freestar, except for 26 at 55-60 mph for last 100 miles to beach after filling up. my city windstar driving was better than your and my current 14-15.5 mpg.

    thks again.
  • th35th35 Posts: 6
    boy!!!!!! keep us posted on this. also how you fare with the lemon effort. although i've not experienced the safety problems you have, i don't want a minivan that gets 14-15.5 mpg in city and no more than 19 on the road.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Wow! Unbelievable.

    But I think your dealer is the one to blame, not Ford, since they asked the dealers to take care on the recall.

    It is also interesting to me that you never heard of the recall before. It was widely announced, and in many magazines (as well here on Edmunds) it was talked about it.
  • th35th35 Posts: 6
    i'm unhappy with gas mileage (see other postings herein)of 14-14.7 in suburban driving (not a lot of syop and go)and can't get more than 19 on the road at 65-75. sticker rating is 16-22.

    i got 18-19 and 22 23 at 70-75 mph and up to 26 with '01 windstar(26 mph at 55-60 mph) on same course and for >40k miles.

    i suspect you hv bought by now. what hv you found?
  • Hi I have a lemon to and a lemon attorney also.
    I have had massive problems and the dist rep engineer is lying and ford refuses to do anything. they are terrible to deal with. I am waiting to see what happens. I would like to talk to you my email [email protected] if you can email me your phone number. thanks
  • I've been to a few dealers (Ford and Mercury) and they all have a bunch in stock and they keep showing me vehicles manufactured in late 2003 (that have already been sitting on the lot for 10+ months). At least that's the way it seems in Massachusetts. I can imagine that a 2004 leftover can be had for a song come March 2005. But who wants one that has sat so long?
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Original Windstar a success out of the box?
        My friends with Aerostars disagree completely. The Aerostar had more room for passengers and luggage.
        GM Trio (extended models) had better crusing range with their slightly smaller fuel tanks but much better gas mileage.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    We took delivery of an 04 Freestar SEL about a month ago. We had been looking at used 2004 Grand Caravans SEs, but for the features we wanted they were in the $16K to $18K ballpark. The Freestar listed at $31,100 and sold for $18,800 after all the discounts and rebates. So far, we are happy with the purchase. After a month with the Freestar, we have the following observations:

    Pros: Features for the price, fold in the floor 3rd row seat, good build quality, good ride and handling, minimal wind noise, plentiful interior storage.

    Cons: The 4.2L V-6 is unrefined at times and a bit on the thirsty side, 3rd row seat is a bit cramped and bottom cushion is too close to floor for long term comfort.

    Suggested Improvements: Get the NVH guys working on the engine, use less hard plastic in the interior, especially the door panels, improve the mileage 10%, raise the bottom cushion of the 3rd row seat by about 4"-6", add reading lights and audio jacks to the 3rd row seating area, get rid of the floor mounted parking brake, make the 3rd row seat a split folding design.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    First time in years, the Ford minivan is recommended by Consumer Reports!

    Reliability is average; Here is the full comment CR writes on the Freestar (2005 Buying Guide):

    The Freestar is a freshened version of the Windstar minivan. Like its competitors, it features a flat-folding third-row seat. The 2 V6 engines are still noisy and road noise is pronounced. Handling is more responsive, but the ride is unsettled. Fit & Finish is unimpressive.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    And just to let you know, the Toyota Sienna (and Lexus RX-330 as well) also have only average reliability.

    The Mazda MPV and Nissan Quest have sub-par reliability, and therefor not recommended. I'm almost sure the 2005 Quest will be better, since Nissan took good care of the early production problems, as you can see in the Quest board.

    The Chrysler & Dodge vans are also recommended, with average reliability as well, and good driving dynamics, but "falls behind competition".
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Mazda MPV and Nissan Quest have sub par relibility?
         Japanese designed vehicles NOT RECOMMENDED? Such heresy at Consumer Reports.
  • I'd love to hear more from owners and test drivers alike. I recently test drove a 2004 Mercury Monteray. It was 11 months old with 25 miles on it. The engine was noisy at low speeds (or when standing outside the vehicle) and the van was rough on bumpy roads (such as speed bumps and the like in the nearby parking lots.

    Last week I went to my local Ford dealer (Sunday AM before they opened) and looked at all 15 2004 Freestars they had. All were built between 9/03 and 3/04. None were built 4/04 - 8/04. I suspect they just stopped ordering them once they did not sell well. They had a couple 2005 Freestars, that were all shipped on 09/09/04 (the first week of the 2005 model year). One guess is that the models shipped in the Spring of 04 (with free factory DVD) sold quicker ... anyone else have an idea?

    Another indication that sales are low is that you just don't see very many on the road. I've seen dozens of the 04/05 Sienna but only 2 or 3 Freestars.

    Since I am not ready to buy, and the inventory is so large, I intend to wait until Jan/Feb/Mar when the lot is full of snow/ice. What are the risks (mechanical wise) to buying a new car that has sat on the dealer lot for 12-14 months?

    I am in Massachusetts ... anyone from other parts of the USA or Canada wish to share their thoughts on 2004 leftovers or inventory?
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Hans,

    Although Japanese vehicles are usually built with good quality. you must agree that the new Nissan Quest is an exception. It had endless problems. Just look over in the Quest board.

    Of course, they take good care, and even extended the warranty for the 2004 models.

    All this because it was a brand new van, and first year bugs was the main problem. I foresee that 2005's will have better rating.

    That makes me understand how the Freestar is now more reliable than ever. Since everything is "OLD", engine, transmission, suspension (tweaked a bit), power doors, and more, they worked out all bugs already, and is now more reliable.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I test drove the Freestar about a year ago when i began my search for minvans. it was the first one we drove. My experience with the Windstar is that I drove a rental (only had 100 miles on it) over 3400 miles roundtrip to Disney World. I thought the Windstar had some nice features and drove pretty well. What I disliked most about the Windstar is the gas mileage and it was bit noisy. I could live with everything else since it was a rental. I expected the Freesatar to be better and I was very disappointedd with the vehicle. I thought the interior of the Windstar was better overall. The second and third row seats were tight and the seats were not comfortable. I thought the engine was loud. The 3.8L we tested had good inittial pick-up but lacked in passing power. It was apparent to me that Ford had a bunch of 3.8L and 4.0L engines laying around and had to do somethign with them. Who knows? The real kicker was the price and the options. Once I started looking at other vans, the Freestar was about $3k-$4k more than comparable vans (this was prior to the rebates). And their option packages made no sense and really drove up the price. After test driving a few other vans, the Freestar was quickly removed from the list. It's a shsme since I really wanted to like this van. We've had 3 Ford products and have had great success with each one.

    It's not a bad van but there are about 7 or so other vans that are better on the market. That just one man's opinion.

    As far as availabilty for 2004, I think there will be some 2004 on the lots but not as many as you think. Ford will dump these vehicles to the rental companies instead of leaving 9 month old vehilces on their lots. They have to bring the 05 to the dealers so they have to create room. I think rebates and incentives will still be in place for either a 04 or 05 in the late winter, obvilusly more for the 04. The consumer is hooked on rebates and Ford and GM can't sell cars without them. It's becoming a huge problem but that is another topic.
  • Thanks for the feedback on your test drive. I hadn't thought of the vans being dumped into the rental market ... it makes sense.

    I agree that the MSRP on the Freestar is way too high. While a year ago you might have gotten a $2K rebate and a $3K discount, today it is much higher. For the features I want (2nd row captains chairs, dual AC, side curtain air bags) the MSRP is $31K. I cound not see paying $26K a year ago when the 2004 Toyota Sienna (with the same 3 features) could be had for $26K - $27K. But now I'm reading about higher end Freestars selling for $12K - $13K below MSRP. That puts my $31K MSRP Freestar at $18K - $19K. So I am going to take another look at them!
  • I have a cd jammed in my cd player, I know on some cd players there are certain button combinations that will eject the cd. Does anyone know if the factory cd player that comes in the 2004 ford freestars have this? Or can someone give me some advice on how to eject the cd. Thanks a bunch!!
  • gliugliu Posts: 1
    I'm thinking of buying an american van (because of the huge 2004 rebate)

    Just wonder how reliable freestar is. I bought a 2005 new car buying guide (2 months ago), it just said 2005 freestar is redesigned, and there's no reliability data for older freestar models).

    Do you know when freestar first came out?
    Average reliability for which year?
    Any idea of the bottom price I can get?

    Thanks
  • The first Freestars were built September 2003 (2004 model year). So they have been on the road only 15 months or so.

    Reliability is likely (at best) average, though it will take another year to know for sure (as reliability data has not come out yet to my knowledge).
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    There are actually 2 different 2005 buying guides from CR. The one I'm talking about is a small book (I'll call it book #1), which you get in the mail if you are a subscriber (which I am). In this buying guide you have information on many products, not just cars. In this book it says Freestar is recommended.

    Today I was in Walmart, and there I found another book (Book #2 - $5.99 or 6.99) which is available at magazine stands only, is colorful, and is for cars they tested only.

    Book #1, for example, also have information on new cars (like Honda Odyssey, Chevy Uplander), and only gives you some basic information which almost everybody knows already. Book #2, OTOH, will not list cars only if it has been tested by CR. It gives you much more detailed information, acceleration, braking, ride, handling, emergency handling, crash test results, and reliability data from the past years.

    In book #2, the Freestar does not get the 'recommended' (check) symbol, but it does state that reliability is average. I have no idea what's the difference.

    For me, CR data is not so reliable, and therefor not 'recommended'... I found some ratings not true, for example, they state that the Freestar has better acceleration and braking than the Chrysler Town & Country, and many other details. But I would say they're 80% true.

    And folks, I don't want to start a new fight about CR's reliability here. We had enough from that stuff in the past.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    I took Ford up on an offer to test drive a Freestar and was very disappointed also. There are no significant improvements over my 2000 Windstar SEL. There was a slight improvement in power (bigger engine), but nothing to get excited about. I agree, this van will make an excellent addition to the rental car fleets.

    Too Bad!
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I rented a Freestar a while ago. There was more than just a 'slight improvement in power' over my current 2002 Windstar.

    The transmission is much smoother, the ride is more smooth and controlled, much quieter inside the van (not outside, though), much better designed interior, rear seat folds into floor (but uncomfortable for adults, though), better stereo (especially the bass is much better), steering feel, and more.

    I agree it's not up to competition, especially with the engine which is very unrefined, and achieve bad mileage, but comparing to the Windstar (not to Toyota Sienna) it's a big improvement.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Since you drove the van for more than a few minutes, your points are valid.

    The Bottom Line is:

    This van is not very exciting and does not entice me to trade my 2000 SEL for a new Freestar. If it had some more features like the Town and Country or Sienna etc... then maybe I would be interested. This van is good basic transportation, but it may be over priced considering what is being offered by other auto makers.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Hmmm, have you tried a Freestyle instead?
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    sterling22 - At those prices the Freestar would have stayed on my list. But for what we were looking for and the prices they wree offereing were way way too high. Good luck.
  • 1997montez341997montez34 NJ, USAPosts: 202
    We drove a Freestar and loved how comfortable the ergonomics were. I thought the ride was not as smooth as the Dodge and the engine was really "gravelly" sounding.

    We ended up leasing a Dodge GC SXT, but had Ford had a quieter engine and a power tailgate available we might have gone with the Freestar.
  • th35th35 Posts: 6
    i hv a 2004 limited with 4.2. i hv never seen 22 mpg on it. i hv never seen 20 mpg on it. my 2001 windstar got 22 consistently on road, 18 in city.

    even if i drive 65-75 on hwy i might get close to 19. how fast were you driving when you got 22?
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    We have an 2004 SEL, 4.2L with about 2500 miles on it. On the 3 highway trips greater than 50 miles that we have taken with it so far, we've seen 19.5, 21.0, and 22.5. All with the cruise set at 70. The 19.5 was on hilly terrain (enough to get the tranny to downshift to 3rd to maintain 70 with the cruise on some hills) and into a strong headwind. The 21 was on the return trip with a light wind. The 22.5 was seen on relatively flat terrain. All mileages are from the trip computer. So far, it has been 0.3-0.5 MPG lower than the manually computed mileage. In mixed highway/suburban driving we are getting 17-18 MPG.
  • Usually, there is a tiny hole (big enough for a paper clip get through!) somewhere around the facia of your CD. Look close, you will find it, just stick a paper clip (straight it before hand) into it it will release the CD.
    Hope it helps,
    Fordguy
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    It was a while back shortly after we purchased the van. We had taken it up into the White Mountains of New Hampshire for a short vacation. We stayed pretty much on I-93 which is mostly 2 lane travel each direction with a hilly terrain. When I drive the mini-van with my wife and children I usually drive carefully and probably do 5-10 miles over the posted speed limits. It's my wife's van so I will ask her to track her next several tanks and I'll repost current figures. I keep track of my V6- Ford Escape and that currently is getting 21mpg and I drive that a little more aggressively. My 66 Mustang however with a 289 gets terrible gas mileage usually around 14-15mpg, but I drive like a nut with that. No tickets though. I'll repost once my wife goes through a couple tanks. She absolutely loves her van.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    I just finished a week of driving a T&C. Although it was a basic model, the engine and drive train were superior to the Windstar or Freestar. I am not big on Chrysler products (I owned one in the past) but once you add all the neat features in the top of the line model to this van, they seem to have a good product. I wish Ford would be a market leader and not a lager.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I agree. That's why I picked now a '05 Dodge Grand Caravan to replace my Windstar (my lease just expired). I was not sure what to pick, since I'm used to the Ford minivan, but the more refined and powerful engine with better mileage, plus the 60/40 rear seat made me go with the DC van.

    But I still saying that the Freestar is a big improvement over the Windstar. But DC vans are much superior.
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    I can't speak about the T&C mini-vans because I never test drove one. However I can say that my wife and I both took two Chevy vans for a test drive and we both agreed that it was lacking power and was not quite family designed for our needs. I remember almost breaking my neck trying to get to the third row seats having to step over the second row seats that only flipped in half. I'm not a mini-van type of driver, but I consider the Freestar a very comfortable, very responsive, family friendly, and what I would consider a family mini-van should be. My wife loves the fold away third row seat. Again never owning a mini-van prior I can't say that I ever had to remove one for storage, but I'm sure the average driver would find that a bit much. Calling Ford a lager is a bit harsh, but everyone has had their own past experiences and need to find the best product for their needs. When I have driven the van I have found it very easy to navigate. All controls are easily accesable. Merging into traffic, it has plenty of power. The vision I have while driving the van is fantastic. One thing I don't like is the inside door trim you see from outside of the van, and I hate where they placed the oil filter underneath. Ford needs to design oil filter locations better. My Escape is also in a terrible spot where oil leaks all over the exhaust pipes and no matter how good you clean it you still smell burnt oil for 500 miles after. My 2 cents worth.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I finally decided on a Dodge Grand Caravan to replace my '02 Windstar. I was undecided first whether to take the Freestar SEL or Dodge Grand Caravan SXT - both similar good equipped and cheapest priced on the market.

    The 2 main decisions that made me go with the Caravan is the better engine in the DC vans with better mileage, and 60/40 split rear seat. Otherwise both have highs and lows, and if you want to read the whole story, you can find it at the Dodge Grand Caravan 2005+ discussion board:

    samnoe "Chrysler Town & Country and Grand Caravan 2005+" Dec 6, 2004 8:48pm
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    The Minivan Ranking board has been reopened for as a overall comparison topic. Please check it out.

     

    Steve, Host
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Have all the prospective buyers of the Freestar decided to get the Freestyle?

         Ford Freestyle vs Freestar is a significant change compared to Chevrolet Uplander vs Venture. Ford builds tough trucks but the Taurus transmission and head gasket failure of the Ford 3.8L V6 engines have had a seriously negative impact for Ford.
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