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Taurus/Sable Maintenance & Repair



  • Get out of the Taurus as quickly as possible! Are transmission failed while on the freeway! It scares me to see so many Fords on the road. Of course, Ford was of no assistance in fixing the transmission. By the way, the tranny went out at 39,000 miles.
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111
    You can't possibly get that thing to the dealer and go out and buy a new Toyota Camry or Honda Accord fast enough!

    Just be aware that the dealer won't want your car either. They know the troubles with them, so start writing your own blues songs now!

    The good news...Wait till you drive your first Camry or Accord V-6........................WOW!
  • gusgus Posts: 254
    I'd say stay away from a V-6. Your maintenance costs will be greater over time with a V-6 (if you plan on keeping the car for 60K miles), and the power you get from a V-6 really doesn't matter all that much unless you're trying to get in and out of traffic. Go with a 4-cylinder Accord or Camry, if you go with either of those models.
  • faronfaron Posts: 3
    In may of '98, I became the proud owner of a '97 Taurus GL. I was very pleased with the car. Plenty of comfort, power, economy and driveability. In June of this year, at 34,750 miles, my wife experienced an intermittent neutral condition in drive and reverse, followed by a sudden engagement which launched the car into traffic. The dealer said they could fix the trans and proceeded to rebuild it. About 1000 miles later, I noticed that it wasn't shifting properly. Another trip to the dealer and they replaced a sensor on top of the trans. Another 1000 miles later and the original problem is returning. We called the dealer and was told if the problem related to the original work, it would be covered. If it would involve different parts than those already replaced, we were on our own. NO WARRANTY. We called Ford Customer Relations and were given the same story.
    After reading here on the net of trans problems with the Taurus, we have decided to trade it in. We put a sizeable down payment, so we are ahead of depreciation. We looked at a '99 ZX2 and are happy with the value. Call me a glutten for punishment if you will, but the plan is to trade it also around the end of its warranty.

    Will post later to let you all know what happened.

  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111
    This all sounds too painfully familiar!

    My Tortoise problems were/are very similar. Bad news is that they may not give you much on trade. And my experience witrh the dealers and FoMoCo is horrible, they have a &*%$ you attitude!

    Good news is: Wait till you see how nice a Camry V-6 drives!
    And ignore GUS, he's obviously never driven a V-6 Accord or Camry, they are a blast and will indeed be reliable. If the costs of maintenance and gas are that much of a concern, go for the Civic or Corolla. But whatever the costs are with these cars, they'll be LESS than the Tortoise!

    Once you drive the V-6 Accord or Camry you'll never look back...
  • faronfaron Posts: 3
    Thanks for the advice, but we have a credit problem and Ford Credit were the only ones who would touch us. And at 8.5%. The dealer says they will do it again since we have kept the payment on time. They are offering $8500. and the payoff is $7300. If I wait and sink $2000. into the trans, I will really be in the hole.
    I like the Camry but can't get into one for under 22% interest.
  • faronfaron Posts: 3
    Thank each and every one of you for your posts.
    This really helped my decision.

    Dumped the Tortoise today for an Escort ZX2 HOT.
    Nice car. Rides a rougher than the Tortoise
    but has a brand new warranty.

    Thanks again.
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111
    Your story about Ford credit makes me wonder just how desparate they are to move cars?
  • Why does everyone call the Taurus a Tortoise. My Sable with it's 3.8L V6 knocks the wheels off of my dad's '91 Honda Accord with the 4 cylinder engine.
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111
    Compare apples to apples please...

    My 3.0L Toyota leaves my 3.0L TORTOISE in the last county...

    Our Tortoise can't even get out of it's own way!
    I'll take on any 3.8L Tortoise with my Camry as well, it blows their doors off. My Bro-in-law is unlucky enough to have a Sable 3.8L which he just got new head gaskets on ($$$). Even with the new gaskets it's wheezing to keep up with my USA built Toyota.

    Compare the Honda 4cyl to the Taurus 4cyl...if you can still find one that runs!

    Furthermore, you'd be surprized at the new Accord 4cyl. it just may keep up with your 3.8!

    But...lets keep this a fair fight, ay?

    apples to apples!
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111

    The first time I ever heard it called a Tortoise was by a high ranking FoMoCo employee in Detroit!

    They are well aware of the vehicle's shortcomings!

    The Escort, one of the best in the FoMoCo lineup (reliability) is to be scrapped!

    No sense!
  • hohohoho Posts: 64
    When I was shopping for a new car I looked and quickly dismissed the Taurus. I have an 1988 Taurus s/w that has been nothing but a solid vehicle. The best car we have ever owned. We still own it. it has 160k miles on it and besides normal maintenance issues it has been almost trouble free for a car with that much mileage on it.

    I really considered the Taurus sedan until I saw it up close. It looked like a "Fart in a Bubble".

    I very quickly passed it up.

  • dhkdhk Posts: 49
    First, the good news: My '91 Taurus has been an excellent car since new. Two failures in 8&1/2 years: the alternator (replaced under warranty), and a/c o-rings replaced/recharged in '98. I replaced the wimpy OEM shocks at about 15000 miles. At 49,600, still have the original FR680 tires, brakes,etc. Never any engine problem from the 3.0, never add oil between changes.

    Now, the concern: transmission has started occasionally "clunking" or "jolting" when decelerating at about 45-50 mph. Happens less than daily, but last time it did the jolt was fairly pronounced. Also, vague feeling of soft torque-converter lock up when accelerating in same speed range. Is my ATX on the way out, or is there some adjustment possible? Anyone hazard as to how long I have to go, or know how much it costs to rebuild?
  • gusgus Posts: 254
    And ignore GUS, he's obviously never driven a V-6 Accord or Camry, they are a blast and will indeed be reliable.

    I work on Toyotas. I've driven many V6 Camrys, and I've driven several V6 Accords. I'm not saying they're not a blast to drive. I'm not saying that they're not good, reliable cars. I'm saying that the power is negligible if you're looking for a practical car.

    If the costs of maintenance and gas are that much of a concern, go for the Civic or Corolla.

    You're restating my point. Take this into consideration. 60k service for a mid-90s Camry includes a timing belt, valve adjustment, coolant change and fuel filter. On a four-cylinder Camry, the cost is under $1000, perhaps $750. On a six-cylinder Camry, the cost is over double that.

    Conference Host
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Just turned 150K on my 88LX Taurus. Again went across the Mojave Desert from So Cal. to Lake Havasu, AZ. (round trip) last weekend without a hiccup. Front split bench seat is wonderful for long trips. Averaged 28mpg, with 70mph range in CA, and 75+ in AZ. A/C works great.
    By the way, my persistent front end noise finally turned out to worn front sway bar links. Very hard to diagnose.
    I won't say that a Taurus is a "reliable" car in the strictest sense of the word, but I've never had this type of long term use with any Toyota I owned (never had a Honda, so can't comment there). The interiors fell apart sooner, and the body got very loose causing a lot of rattles and noises. Could be that newer models are better. Mechanically, my Toyotas were more reliable, but they were no easier or less expensive to service than anything else.
  • dhkdhk Posts: 49
    Gus: Can these cost be true for 60K service?
    I thought folks bought Toyotas and Hondas for low cost of ownership? Whats the book time for V6 service...15 hours? You could drop the subframe and remount in that time; It can't be that hard to work on. I suspect Toyota service departments are making money on this one.

    I agree on the V6 vs 4 cyl statement. I don't believe many folks buying the V6 in these cars stop to calculate the increased fuel costs and maintenance costs over the long term.
  • Jake696,

    I would compare the '93 V6 Accord to my '93 V6 Sable, if one existed. The V6 option was not added until 1995 for the Accord (according to what I found on Edmunds.) Shouldn't we compare similar age cars. It isn't exactly fair to compare the '95 newly redesigned ('94) model of the Accord to the older generation Taurus. The '91 and '93 were the same generation of the Accord. I think it is very fair to compare my Sable to my dad's Accord because the design of the '91 Accord was still sold in '93. OK, compare the '95 V6 Accord to the '95 V6 Taurus. That is okay. My comparison was between the '93 versions... and my Sable kicked some rear!!!

  • gusgus Posts: 254
    #46--Two cylinder banks make a world of difference. The rear bank is nearly buried under heatshield and manifold junk. Labor on the service is not 15 hours, but it's a lot more than labor on a 4 cylinder.
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111
    You're both nuts!
    Comparing a V-6 to a 4 for acceleration is ridiculous at any age or year. Compare similar items is all I'm saying!
    There is no scheduled maintenance at 60K on my Toyota, period. AND, it's no longer recommended to change any timing belt either. I do know dealer that'll take as much as they can from you fro "scheduled maintenance"...
  • Jake696,

    You are still missing my point. Back in 1993, when my car was made, there was no V6 Accord. There was only a 4 cylinder Accord. Shouldn't you compare similar year cars. It isn't exactly fair to compare the engine of a 1998 car to the engine in a 1993 car now is it? If you want to make that comparison, sure maybe the 1998 Accord is more powerful than my 1993 Sable, but the 1998 Sable is most likely more powerful than a 1993 Accord.

    You should only compare similar cars. What you are doing is what most people do. I constantly read people saying that their new Accord or Camry is much better than their early 80's Chevy. Well, IT SHOULD BE!!! Newer cars are generally more powerful, more fuel efficient, and safer.
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111
    YOU are missing the point. I could say that my '70 Dodge Dart was faster than both of what? It was a big V-8, bulging with HP in a tiny (relative to the era) car. The car sucked for most everything else. It rusted out, was unsafe, handled poorly, etc...At least by todays standards.

    If you fairly want to compare engines or acceleration you should NOT compare a 4 to a 6, an 8 to a 6 etc...

    Now, in all other areas the Accord was a better more reliable vehicle than the '93 Taurus. That's based on owner surveys done by Consumer Reports. This is the comparison you should be making if your talking about which is the "better car". If it's just who could win in a drag race or what the cars cost, etc...these are all different topics that are not related to reliability.

    Now back to the Tortoise. The 3.0L V-6 is a dog for speed. It's a more reliable engine that the 3.8L but not as quick. The Tortoise I have is SLOW because with that big of an engine it can't get out of it's own way. In fact some toddler "little Tykes" cars are faster.

    I repeat, it was a FoMoCo exec. that first told ME about the nickname his division had given the Tortoise because of this very issue.

    You like your car and think it's great and fast? Wonderful, keep it forever, sleep with it, tell Ford how wonderful they are, whatever. I think they are garbage, I've had lots of trouble and feel shafted by the dealers I've dealt with and FoMoCo too. It's my opinion, it shared by MANY others and your entitled to it. The early Tortoises had poor overall reliability records and had some definate problem areas. I understand that this has been somewhat corrected in the newer versions. Too little too late for me, I'm gone. The sticker on my '90 tortoise was 16K+. Hard to believe that you can still buy them for that 9 years later. I guess that's the supply and demand curve from Econ 101, at work for you.
    I love my Toyota! And does it go!
  • Some would call it a good deal, and cost cutting measures were used. Personally, I don't want to pay too much for a car just because it is popular, and has that little H on it.
  • hohohoho Posts: 64
    Is the tensioner and idler also replaced at the same time the belt and pump are replaced?
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111
    I have no idea what your talking about...cost cutting measures or little H's...whatever...?

    I know I want and need a reliable car that goes the distance. My Toyota Camry has already proved that and my hopeless Tortoise, (which I think I have sold to some poor man...) never did. I'm on the road a the "boonies".

    I'm not the only one who's had problems with Tortoises, but we've been over that already. I have not yet paid any more for service on my Toyota. The 30 minute oil and lube service through the dealer is only 18.95! 8 dollars cheaper than "Jiffy Lube"...My service mgr at Toyota is an ex-Ford man! He got out! I take my Tortoise to him (way too often) and let him work on it-at Toyota! I wouldn't dream of letting the clowns at FoMoCo do any more damage than they've already done. They cost me an extra tranny cause they botched the install on tranny #2 @ 58K...

    Blah, blah, blah...All I had to do was look at the Consumer Reports that year and I would've known, (mostly black dots!) I went for the "deal" instead. The Tortoise was definatly cheaper to buy, but it cost later...boy did it cost later!
  • gusgus Posts: 254
    #54> Depends. If there's play in the bearing, or if it seems like the bearing has lost a lot of its grease (spins excessively with a lot of noise), then we replace it. Many tensioner/idler bearings seem fine to go until 120K or whenever the 2nd timing belt is done. The bearing will usually give some sign that it's going out before it does, so its failure is not as dramatic as a water pump failure or a broken t-belt.
  • Jake696,

    You were talking about the price of the Taurus not increasing. That is why I was talking about cost cutting measures, and not having the little Honda "H" on it. Even if Hondas are good cars, don't you think they are at least a little overpriced (esp. the Civic?)
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111
    I couldn't agree with you less. The last group of "domestic" courier cars we purchased were Neons at 12K a pop. They too are rubish and self destructed at 45K and 60K respectively. We put head gaskets and trannys in them at that point and that alone made up the differences in costs. The Civics were 14K, a much nicer car to drive (bigger too) and still have no maintenance other than oil changes at 60 and 76K.

    Furthermore, it should be noted that the Civics were built in E. Liberty, OH (near Columbus) by non-UAW labor. They are put together with QUALITY by AMERICANS! Which no longer true of all so-called "domestics"

    Check closely were YOUR car was may be Canada or Mexico. My (personal) Dodge Ram 1500 was built in Mexico! ???????????
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111

    The Civics are 4drs too...and are WAY faster than the Neons...

    The costs of fixing the Neons, combined with the downtime are very high. Downtime is VERY important when you run a courier operation!

    I was once like you...defending a US made car to the last. That went out the window with the Democratic party...for me!

    Who says people can't change! I even quit smoking after 24 years, so don't talk to me about habits!
  • OK, everybody has scared the crap out of me, because I have a 95' Taurus 3.8 Ltr. I have not had any problems with it, but it sounds like my problems may be just around the corner. The car has about 61k miles. I've been looking at Camry's to replace my 92 Prizm (80K miles), but it sounds like I should replace my Taurus before it's too late.

    I have to side with Jake 696 on the "America First" rhetoric. My dad has worked in a Ford plant for 25 yrs and that's all I heard growing up. As a matter of fact he was looking at an F-150 the other day and I pointed out that the transmission is from Japan. No response.

    I will be the first in the family to break rank from buying American (even though the Prizm is essentially a Toyota), but I don't have a lot of money to blow on just any car. I need proven reliability and will probably go with a Camry. I'll need the potential savings to offset getting removed from his Will. Just kidding...Maybe.
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111
    Here's a surprize from the MSN news page:

    "IntelliChoice rated the 1996-1998 Honda Civic Best Car Value as well as Best Passenger Car."
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