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Taurus/Sable Maintenance & Repair



  • pisgahpisgah Posts: 2
    ABS Light came on several months ago, intermittently. Had it checked. Replaced sensor. Problem continued. ABS brakes are OK according to the dealer, but they cannot determine the cause if it's not the sensor. The light doesn't come on every day, so they advise us to bring the car in when it is on. Any ideas about this problem?
  • 97taurus97taurus Posts: 2
    Purchased this Taurus used...was pleased with service from car and dealer.....UNTIL....started noticing a "clunk" during accelleration and during "cruising" along....took in for maint.check (even used AAA service to initially do a check program...) Was told, the "clunk" was "just" they way Fords operated...nothing to worry about (which is easy as long as THEY are not the ones negotiating traffic in this machine!!!) Serious indications driving on freeway (LA 5pm Traffic)...heard loud CLUNK....spedometer went whacko, stopped functioning after bouncing a bit, drag in brief freeway accelleration but then into bumper to bumper , car remained mobile. (was on way to LA Staples for Kids HAD prescious cargo....)Return from concert...noticed FAILED acceleration onto freeway....but did finally reach speed and got home....Next am, seemingly NO problem....drove car thru the week, came time for weekend trip down coast for another "kid-cargo event...) noticed drag again upon entering freeway, clunk, then again no off coastal area, hilly/curvey...but able to proceed at lower speed...additional clunks/felt "slippage" as if transmission unable to shift, lost STEERING at one point, managed to get to parking lot area. Car sat for two hours, gave "basic" check---no fluid leaks/etc....on return, kept to surface streets, again clunks and "slippage" ; once home, had other family members check-out....drove, but no clunks/etc. occurred even at vary-speeds. (car had sat briefly). Used around for short errands ,(was unable to make dealer maint. appointment). No problem detected. On same route this weekend--MAJOR problems. The loss of acceleration--had "floored" gas pedal--engine raced, but did NOT move vehicle....spedometer on and off, transmission DEFINITELY slipping and NOT engaging and stopping engagement when/during movement....THIS IS DANGEROUS in any traffic---the loss of control/in midstream especially hazardous.....would like info if others have had similar difficultites with this Taurus transmission.
  • sable93sable93 Posts: 107
    I'm not sure if you saw any of my earlier posts, but my '97 Taurus needed a new transmission recently because it would skip second gear. As the transmission would warm up, it would slip, but then engage 2nd gear. It was getting worse and worse, so I got it replaced in November. I've noticed only a few klunks coming from my new transmission if I need power really quickly on the highway (from stop to go.) I push the peddle, and the car just klunked and didn't move. It has only done it once really badly. I have noticed though that the torque converter doesn't like to unlock when going up hills.
  • lmist2lmist2 Posts: 2
    With all the problems with the taurus, how do we start a class action suit?? my 97 taurus has engine knock problems and tranny problems. I've asked other people if there engine would ping or knock and they said yes. They just use a higher octane gas to stop it... That's wrong to do..
    the car should run fine on 87 octane, you shouldn't have to go up to 92 octane to stop the ping. that octane wasn't ment for that car. as for the tranny problems I think ford has lousy trannies..
  • sable93sable93 Posts: 107
    Well, if the new Tauruses ('96-'99) hold up as well as the Gen II Tauruses (as in, not well at all), pretty soon, there will be tons of people with transmission problems, door sensors failing, etc. I'm keeping all my receipts and waiting. Lawsuit money will make a great downpayment on a non-Ford car. :o)

    Also, it isn't just the trannies that are lousy. I think it is the engineers, or the management forcing the engineers to do subpar work.
  • I brought my car to a mechanic to have the oil pan gasket replaced. After pulling things apart, they also discovered a hole in the oil pan...same problem I had with a previous Taurus. Replacement (oil pan, gasket, oil filter, exhaust gasket, oil, 3.7 hours labor) in upstate NY cost me $343.
  • sable93sable93 Posts: 107
    Hi everyone,

    The saga continues. My '97 has developed a squeeling (or squeaking) problem in the steering. It doesn't happen all the time. It only happens when I'm turning the steering wheel to the right and the wheels are facing toward the right. It doesn't happen when I'm turning the steering wheel to the right to return my wheels facing forward. Has anyone had a similar experience, or have any idea what it might be? The dealership tried lubricating it (supposedly) the last time I was there, but it had no effect. I wonder if they really did anything? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • My '93 Taurus has only 67k miles. I have had it in the shop numerous times due to stalling and missing problems. The garages and dealerships connect my car to their computer, but never find anything wrong - so they service the fuel injection system. This seems to temporarily help, but usually for only 5mo. or so. The problem is stalling at low RPM's and missing while cruising at low speeds. Typically, the stalling occurs while idling in Drive. The car doesn't stall or miss while in Park. Stalling is almost guaranteed while slowing to a stop for a traffic light. Weather is not a factor, this happens in the winter and summer. Also, the problem is not consistent. The car will drive perfectly for 3 or 4 days then revert back to the stalling and missing. I've changed the distributor cap, rotor, fuel filter and plugs. Vacuum is good a the PCV, and the PCV is in good shape. Does anybody have any advice?
  • daichdaich Posts: 4
    Hello Everyone, I am a new user to the townhall though I have been a regular visitor of this site for last one year. This site helped me buying a 98 Taurus SE (22K) with $10.5K, thanks Edmund's. The car is still under warranty. I was perfectly happy with this car till I did an oil change around beginning February. It started a burning smell from the vent when I stop at redlight. Went back to the dealer, who said it is because of oil spillage and will go away. But even today, the smell is strong. I never saw any fluid on the parking lot in the morning. Also recently, when I go uphill, I get whistling sound from the under the hood. I thought of pinging, changed the gas grade/make, not much of help. I have taken the car to two different dealers, they cannot find anything leaking and could not help with the whistling. Are these two linked?

    I am now totally frustrated as to what's next. I love this car, it is perfect otherwise. If any one had a similar problem, can you give me some guidance? Also I live in Portland, does anybody know a good repair shop/dealer where I can go?

    Sorry for the long post. I would sincerely appreciate any help.
  • davids10davids10 Posts: 11
    To daich Re:Burning Smell;
    I believe you are smelling oil and that it is because at the oil change too much oil was put in.
    I had same problem in my '98 and '99 SE's.
    Here is the scoop. Taurus calls for 4.5qts oil with a new filter and if you start it for a minute after the oil change and then let it sit, you will show oil about 1/2 way up in the cross-hatch area of the dipstick. Most people, even dealers, will fill up to the max line, but now you have way too much oil and it smells. The dipsticks are off for a Taurus. Why? I don't know. Solution- loosen your drain plug slowly and drain out about 12-16 ounces of oil. Bet the smell goes away. Also, the next time you put in 4.5qts, take a hacksaw blade and scratch a mark on your dipstick at the oil line so when you need to add oil, you know how far to go to get back to 4.5qts. You can go over the line some, but not much. Re: whistling sound; sounds like a vacuum leak, but someone would have to hear it to find out where it is coming from. Good luck!
  • riswamiriswami Posts: 192
    Interesting that you put in 4.5 quarts. That is what the owners manual says. I always thought they took 5 quarts, added 4.5 (oil and filter) for my first change and noticed the oil went halfwayup the cross-hatch area of the dipstick.

    Asked the dealer how many quarts the Vulcan takes and they set 5. I've never had the oil smell. Do you think the extra 1/2 quart damages the engine. I understand that too much oil causes foaming and that isn't good for your engine.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The oil level would have to be significantly higher than 1/2 quart "over-full" before it became high enough for the rotating crankshaft to contact it and cause oil aeration and foaming.
  • daichdaich Posts: 4
    To davids10,

    Thanks for the info. I took out some oil this morning (tried to measure it at 14 ounce), I will watch what happens. I have also found oil traces on the engine surface where the fuel injectors are connected. I probably will have to clean it up also. Will keep you all posted.
  • davids10davids10 Posts: 11
    The suggestion of draining 1/2 qt of oil was meant to get the level to about 1/2 way in the cross-hatch area of the dipstick. An extra 1/2 qt may or may not cause foaming, but in my experience, if the oil level is to the max level of the dipstick or above, one will get the oil burning smell. And yes, dealers and quick-change shops will typically put in 5 qts. Why, probably because they can't charge for anything less than a full qt. An interesting note is that in a pre-'96 Taurus the 4.5qt fill will be almost to the top of the cross-hatch area. Not so '96 on. I am talking about the Vulcan 3.0 engine.
    I have had 15 starting with the first Taurus in '86 so have a little experience with "goofy" things these cars do.
  • 2wheeler2wheeler Posts: 1
    When picking up my spouse at her school, our 97 Taurus started acting weird. The RPM would
    race up to 3 & 4, but I was only going 45 to 50 mph. We made it home. I went back to my office, and it began to act up again, but this time it would only achieve a 20 mph while the RPM
    gauge raced from 2 up to 4. I stopped on the Freeway. Someone came to my assistance, and
    stated it was probably my transmission. I have it in the shop now. When We purchased it from the dealership, it was a progam car with 9,000 miles on it. I hve been very pleased with it up to
    now. Also, I noted from a previous town hall ltr that someone is having a oil leak in the oil pan.
    My mechanic stated that my oil pan gasket is leaking and that was due to a Ford defect due to
    the types of screws they installed in the 97's. Now in the 2000 models, they have rubber coated
    screws that prevent cracks caused by the ones in my 97 that creat the oil pan leakage.
    I simply can not afford anymore auto repairs as I have sooo much due to recent medical bills.
    What to do??
  • daichdaich Posts: 4
    Well, the smell is gone after draining out oil. What a relief!! Thanks again to davids10. I got my fuel injectors cleaned as well and the whistling is gone too. Next time I will ask the dealer how much oil he puts in. Will it be OK if I just put 4.0 qts?
  • rttaz54rttaz54 Posts: 1

    I am looking at buying a new car for my wife and one of them is a Taurus with the larger 24 valve engine.
    Should I stay away from Ford and the problems some are having? I have read the posts concerning the Mercury Sable and its problem with tranmissions and this engine.
    Looking for pro and cons as we have to replace our 1991 Buick Skylark ( Blew a cylinder last year and other things have gone lately). Appreciate any responses.
  • ezaircon4jcezaircon4jc Posts: 793
    My 4th Sable is a '96 with the Duratec. This was the first year for the motor. We now have just over 100k on it and the only major repairs are a water pump and a/c compressor clutch, both within the last couple of weeks. I consider this normal wear and tear. I have done the struts as they wear out around 75k, even on Japanese cars! I have been very anal about maintainence, just ask my wife! I changed the synthetic oil every 3-5k. The car runs just as well as it did the day we drove it home. We just bought a Lincoln LS with the same Duratec engine, tweeked a little to 210hp and 205flbtq. If the RWD LS wasn't so much more fun to drive, I'd be driving the Sable. Also the wife is afraid to drive the Lincoln. She says she doesn't like all my rules. You know, park next to a 4-door car, at least 2 miles from the mall!
    I believe all cars can easily go 150k (our '91 had 175k when we bought the Lincoln) with regular service. Machines need to be treated like machines. Too many people just drive cars until something breaks, then complain that the car is defective. Regular service is the key. Anyway, I've loved every one of our Sables. Our '88 and '91 even had the "dreaded" 3.8L engine. We had no head gasket or cooling issues. The '88 had 125k and, like I said, the '91 175k. Hope this helps.
  • sable93sable93 Posts: 107

    Welcome to the club! Our membership is rapidly expanding! What was the mileage on your car when your transmission died? I have a '97 GL, and the transmission was replaced at approx 79,000 miles. I have a friend who's neighbor owns a '97 Taurus, and his transmission just died at 62,000 miles.

    I think we all need to start considering a class action lawsuit against Ford. As time passes, I'm finding more and more people who own newer Tauruses that are having horrible transmission problems. It is pretty sad when you call a Ford dealership asking them how much a new transmission for a '97 Taurus costs, and they tell you they just priced one the day before. As far as I know, a transmission should last the life of the car, not the life of the car's windshield wipers :o)

    Anyone else in here with a '96 or newer Taurus/Sable with new transmission?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I had a '90 Sable, purchased new. Its transmission lost 4th gear (overdrive) at 93K miles. It had to be replaced -- ouch!

    And my car was carefully maintained.
  • sable93sable93 Posts: 107

    I hear you.. For some reason, Ford doesn't know how to build transmissions (or engines, or ac, or etc.)

    They did change the transmission in '96 though, so the older Tauruses have different transmission problems than the new ones, although both sets of problems are unacceptable. I think there is (or was) a lawsuit going with the older transmissions, but I'm trying to get one started with the newer ones, because they are just as unreliable (and expensive) as the old ones.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    I just sold a 93 Taurus I'd had since new.In 93,000 miles it needed absolutely nothing!-I was amazed.The orgional brakes even passed inspection every year.I thought it the best car I'd ever owned.The transmission started slipping,though,and I sold it while I thought it still had some at least minimal value.I still reccommend the Taurus to friends,now though with a caveat about the transmission.I have always been amazed at how much value the car offers-perhaps though the trans is just built too much to a price.
  • 99tse199tse1 Posts: 1
    I Just got a '99 Taurus SE. Great car but it seems to be a bit of a gas HOG!!!! The Taurus has a Duratec V6 24 valve DOHC engine. Does anyone have any recommendations as to what grade of gas I should use & what brand? Had a '93 SHO that recently got totalled, I miss that car. The SHO got great mileage. PLEASE don't tell me 92 octane, I live in CALI and my pocketbook just can't take that this summer..... smile
  • ezaircon4jcezaircon4jc Posts: 793
    My So. Cal. '96 runs just fine on regular. You can thank the environMENTALists and their MTBE in the fuel for our poor economy. I read that MTBE fuel has 10% less energy that regular fuel. I figure that equals a 10% reduction in MPG.
  • I'm considering buying a 94/95/96 Taurus wagon as a second car in the family; not intended as a daily driver. From what I've read so far, tranny seems to the major problem area. Would the choice of the old 3.0 (Vulcan SOHC?) over the 3.8 (OHV?) with less torque reduce the failure rate of the tranny? Any other problem areas that I should be looking out for? BTW, Edmund is saying 140-150 hp for the engines, is there some kind of mistake? the numbers are very low for the big displacements; the torque number on the 3.0 is also very low (160lb-ft?). I'm considering Taurus wagon primarily for safety and versatility.

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Well, from my experience I'd say find another car.

    I had the 3.0 V6 in my '90 Sable, and the transmission still failed (at 93K miles).

    Yes, those horsepower and torque figures are correct. Still the car has adequate power.

    Other problems: repeated a/c failures (expensive!), engine mounts, brake pulsation (warped rotors), water pump, alternator, front struts, starter, power door lock actuators (both rear doors), and turn signal/wiper switch (twice).

    I had no serious engine problems and never touched the exhaust system.

    Car was bought new and sold last summer at 135K miles.
  • davids10davids10 Posts: 11
    Don't do 4.0qts. Remember, oil does 2 things. First it is a lubricant, second it is a coolant. At highway speeds most of the oil is up in the engine and not in the pan. 4.0qts is not much oil to begin with. Suggest that you pay for 5.0qts and have 4.5qts put in the engine and .5qt put in a container to take home so you can top off between changes as needed.
  • tomo66tomo66 Posts: 4
    Does anybody have any ideas, how to improve 12gal(city) and 18gal(hwy) fuel consumption?
    Recently, I put new tune-up parts and check all sensors on a shop computer. Still no improvements.
    What else?
  • matto2001matto2001 Posts: 6
    I am looking for a consensus here among fellow Taurus owners. I have a 99 Taurus that I bought used a year ago. It has about 48,000 miles now. When I try to run 87 octane fuel, it seems to knock lightly at low rpm (1500-2000) on the highway. This is more noticeable with the A/C on. When I accelerate, the knock does not seem to get any worse, if anything it becomes less noticeable. I have run expensive "total fuel system cleaner" through the tank twice in six months with no effect. I am trying to avoid using mid-grade (89 octane) fuel because it costs so much right now, $1.86 a gallon. I have been running the mid-grade for most of the time, but I'm trying to save money and don't know if the light knocking could damage the engine or just be a nuisance. Any input I get from this forum would be greatly appreciated.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    with the Vulcan engine, I had to use 89 octane most of the time to keep the engine from knocking. I had the car since new and sold it last summer at 135K miles.
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