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Taurus/Sable Maintenance & Repair



  • Hey, I am currently looking at buying a used 98 Taurus with under 100,000 miles on it. Has anyone had many problems with this car? Anything major (like the tranny) usually go out after 100,000 miles? Thanks for any help you can provide.
  • I've had a '96 (75k miles) and currently own a 2000 Taurus (104k miles and still running) and never really had any major problems. There are some "quirky" things that you'll find on this board if you run through the history of posts. Some of these happened to me, such as: brake light switch malfunctioning, front end suspension problems, defective muffler brace. On a scale of 1-5, with one being minor, I'd rate these all a "1". I've never had any 2-5 problems with either one of my Tauruses (or Tauri?). I do know a guy that owned a '97 Taurus SHO and his tranny bombed out on him at about 55k. He was pretty anal about his car so I don't think it's anything he did. He had an extended warranty so he was covered but my guess is you could make enough noise to get at least part of that cost covered by Ford. I personally would never buy an extended warranty on a Taurus.

    Generally speaking I don't think you can go wrong. I WILL say though, that if you're willing to consider another American car (foreign resales in this category just aren't worth the added $ in my opinion) take a hard look at the Grand Prix. The G.P. is a little sportier, rides lower, isn't as easy to get in/out of but to me it was a GREAT car for 100k miles. My Taurus too has been very reliable and low maintenance, but I used to really ENJOY driving that G.P. If I ever get another four door sedan I may upgrade to a G.P. GT...even though Pontiac made them look awfully similar to the Grand Am (foolish mistake in my mind). Good luck.

    - Rob
  • Thanks, the car I am looking at right now has 91,000 miles on it, and it is selling unusually low (2900) at a dealer, so I have some hesitency about the mechanices of it. I looked at some Pontiacs, and have had several friends who owned them (Grand Am). Everyone one of them has spent thousands in cooling repairs, and one had to have the whole engine replaced (largely his problem since he didn't take care of a small problem soon enough). Thanks for your help, I just hope you haven't had what your name is, a stroke 'o luck, when it comes to your cars. ;)
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I am trying to find the size of tamper proof torx screw on MAF sensor.
    Alcan, as far as I remember you have an SHO. Do you think, screw size is the same with 2000 SES. I need to clean the MAF sensor.
    I have some annoying pinging. It doesn't happen all the time. Usually running against hills, accelarating etc and summer times. If I use FI cleaner, it goes away.
    I will look into MAF before I get FInjectors cleaned.
    Any input....
    I've got the PCM reprogrammed per TSB. Didn't help.
  • Interesting about the cooling problems w/Pontiac. Never heard of that. Just goes to show that virtually all car makes have issues at some point. I will tell you that I'm surrounded by engineers in my neighborhood (I live outside Detroit in "car" country; and more specifically "Ford" country) and they ALL - and I mean ALL - rave about GM's 3.8 liter engine. That's the one you find in many Buicks, GM's and Pontiacs. It was a hell of an engine in my Grand Prix. But maybe I did get never know.

    If a DEALER is selling this vehicle for $2900 I'd be sure and check out the private used car market. My experience with used car dealers is that they mark the cars up anywhere from 50-100%. I'm not knocking that, everyone deserves to make a buck in this country, but you should be able to find some salesman who racked up a quick 100k miles and is willing to sell the car for a song. I truly don't know what used car prices should be but, now that I think about it, $2900 sounds awfully cheap - for any car. Then again the Taurus doesn't really hold value well. You might want to try calling a few Ford dealers (or used car dealers) and tell them you have a '98 w/91k miles and see what THEY'LL give you for it. That will give you an idea of what this dealer has in it. Odds are a new car dealer wouldn't touch it but a used one would.

    Good luck,
  • I have a 95 Taurus SE sedan with 125K. For the past three yrs, have had an intermittent problem, only occurring on hot, humid days. After driving around for an hour or more, when decelerating, braking,car will die. Turns right back on, dies. If let to sit hour or so, will then drive fine. This has happened once or twice every summer, only on hot sticky days. Neither garage nor dealer, both of who kept car for several days, could find the problem. On my own, have replaced the idle air bypass valve, and the TPS sensor; yet still have the problem;stranded me most recently a week ago. The engine is not overheating. When it happens, it feels as if gas is not getting to the engine. Mechanic does not think its the fuel pump. Any suggestions for what else to check? Am looking for another vehicle at this point! Dont want to plan my life around what the temp is!!
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I would suspect a fuel pressure problem, but I wouldn't bank on it yet. There is an order to diagnosing dirveability problems like this that will help eliminate a lot of shotgunning and guesswork. First of all, read the codes stored in the CPU. You're in luck, because your 95 operates on the OBD I diagnostic system which doesn't require the OBD II scan tool, so you can do it yourself. Even if the MIL light isn't on, there still may be intermittent codes stored. Then do a careful visual inspection of the engine bay or trouble areas which may have shown up in the CPU check. Look for loose wires, kinked or melted vac hoses, etc. If you haven't found the problem, I would have a full fuel pressure test performed on the vehicle (test while idling, cruising, and accelerating, then a leakdown test after shutoff). If you do have a fuel pressure problem, a new fuel pump will be in order, BUT you need to have the pressure test performed again after the replacement to make sure that there wasn't a problem with another part of the fuel system-like the pressure regulator-that caused the pump to fail. One thing else to check before you do any of this: since you mentioned that the car stalls while braking, check all the vacuum hoses supplying the brake booster on the firewall-a vaccum leak in that area could cause some idle problems. And I'm assuming you do regular maintenance like spark plugs and wires? This will probably be one of those problems that requires a $100 part and $200 worth of diagnostic time. Good luck, keep us updated.
  • slickdogslickdog Posts: 225

    I had to remove the MAF sensor on my wife's '92 3.8L once, and it has the same type of fastener (don't recall the size). I located a small set of hex bits which did the job nicely and only cost a few bucks (haven't used 'em since, tho). They look like torx bits but with a hole in the center, and I think the packaging referred to the corresponding fasteners as "safety star". IIRC, they were available at the local Sears hardware store.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    I just called my local Ford Dealer to ask them about the MAF sensor screw sizes. They told me MAF sensor doesn't come out, I have to have entire plastic unit if I want to get it replaced.

    This sounds very odd. There are 4 screws on it. Or either dumb service adviser lady doesn't know what she talks about.
  • slickdogslickdog Posts: 225
    It came out of my Taurus just fine, once I located the bits needed to remove the screws. Perhaps she meant that to replace it you need to purchase the whole assembly.
  • hi my taurus has the 3.8l engine and i bought the car about a month and a half ago and it has 154,000 miles on it the check engine light comes on and then goes away after a long time but i havent noticed any problems with the car while im driving it i dont want to have a dealership charge me for telling me whats wrong with it i was wondering if anyone could help
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Retrieve the stored trouble code(s) as outlined here and post them. My first guess would be an EGR flow code relating to the PFE sensor:
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Probably not. Bite the bullet and pay a shop to retrieve the codes, otherwise we're playing guessing games.
  • hey my check engine light is off now but my car runs very hot. The guage is maxed out at times as soon as i noticed this i drove it home (about 15 miles) and now im not gonna drive it till i get this fixed ive been told my thermostat could be stuck does anyone know where this is located in the 1992 taurus lx wagon with the 3.8l engine thanks
  • liangtaoliangtao Posts: 3
    Hi, does anybody know the brand of Taurus Engine control computer? I didn't find the computer. But I saw a lot of Bosch product under the hood.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Since last night my Merc. Sable's steering wheel began to make an intermittent loud whining like sound every time the wheel is turned to either side. I can not ascertain that the noise described above is from the steering wheel or it gets transmitted through it from another part or component.

    Has anyone experienced this problem in their Sable or Taurus car?? I'd like to have an idea before I go to the shop and get eaten up alive. My car is out of the bumper to bumper warranty.

    I'll appreciate any assistance or advise you guys can offer.
  • johnwngjohnwng Posts: 24
    Tried to spray some WD40 on the stearing joint at the bottom (next to the brake pedal) and see if the noise goes away. I know it worked for someone on this board.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Have you checked to see if your power steering fluid reservoir is up to full?

    Otherwise, you may have a squealing serpentine belt which is due for replacement-it may chirp only when the power steering pump gets loaded when you make turns, or possibly the belt tensioner is malfunctioning. These are just guesses, however.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Thank you guys for the advice. Now I have some idea and feel empowered if you will.

    I'll follow your suggestions and write back.
  • Daniel, do two things:

    1) go to "search this discussion" and type in STEERING NOISE (or some combination thereof) and you'll find several posts relating to this topic.

    2) several of us have had the same problem (mine is a 2000 Taurus w/104k miles). I had a mechanic shoot some silicone in between the wheel and the column. That seemed to help a little but the noise is not entirely gone - and you'll find it gets worse in winter. I don't know what the entire solution is unfortunately but you're not alone and I don't think it's real least not yet.

    - Rob
  • torodavetorodave Posts: 27
    I've been away from the site for a few months, so don't know if anyone else has reported this, but the front rotors on my '02 SEL wagon warped at about 15,000 miles and had to be replaced. Dealer says this is common. I can't believe it. At that rate I'll be replacing them every 15 months at a cost of $400cdn. I phoned Ford, but got nowhere. Anyone know anything about this? My last car went 50,000 miles on the original set. I see a lot of Taurus taxis around, they must have to change them every 3 months! I do more highway than city driving, and don't drive it hard, no towing, etc. I told the dealer that the only way I could think they'd warp that soon was if they torqued the lug nuts improperly, which they, of course, strongly denied.

    UPDATE: Just noticed the search function and found a bunch of others with same problem. Seems like aftermarket rotors are the way to go. Thanks everyone. I hope Ford takes notice. Anyone ever get Ford to cover any of the costs on this????
  • ijennings1ijennings1 Posts: 67
    On my 2000 SES Duractec, my warning lights for the ABS and traction control remain on. I checked the fuse and this is fine. Two things that have happened over the last 2 days:
    1/ I had the anti-freeze and a top radiator hose changed.
    2/ I went over a severe typical Kansas City pothole which made a horrendous noise. I checked the underside of the car and saw dripping fluid, but it looked to be coming from the air conditoner discharge which appears to be working fine by the way.

    I'm taking the car in to my garage on Monday 14th, but wondered if anyone had any ideas?

    Thanks in anticipation.

  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Fluid leak could be anything, your mechanic will probably track that down. ABS+Traction lights are probably due to a broken wheel speed sensor or ripped signal wire. Let your mechanic know which wheel took the brunt of the pothole so he'll have a head start on where to look. Good luck, keep us posted.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    Today I picked up my station wagon from the shop. I had taken it to my mechanic primarily (but no only) for the whining sound that came from or was transmitted through the steering wheel. I didn't go to the the dealer because the basic bumper to bumper warranty expired and didn't want to be charged their rates.

    All steering components and parts were checked and no defects or worn parts were found. Rack and pinion steering was lubricated and I was told that this should take care of the problem. It lessened or calmed the whining sound but didn't make it disappear completely.
    Car was fully serviced as well as it was due for scheduled maintenance.

    It would appear that I might just have to get used to this noise and learn to live with it while I continue to do research to find a cure.

    Thank you very much to johnwng, badgerfan and strokeoluck for their valuable advise!
  • TMURFTMURF Posts: 10
    To danielj6 - The squeak coming from the steering wheel is most likely coming from the column as it passes thru the firewall. My '02 Taurus & '98 ZX2 had the same problem. Just slathered the plastic parts with grease. Problem goes away but will eventually come back after several months.
  • 10years10years Posts: 48
    I have a 98 Taurus SE that recently was diagnosed at a trasmission place as needing a rebuild. The fluid was brown and some slight metal shavings at the bottom of the pan. They say it will cost between $1500 to $2500. The car has 81K miles and last had a transmission service at 60K. Also a recent oil change after some 4K miles the mechanic mentioned it was about a quart low, but no evidence of burning. Any thoughts or adive would be much appreciated. In advance, Thank You.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    So it appears that a lot of Taurus/Sable owners have, at one time or another, experienced the same problem. I wander whether anyone discussed it with Ford HQ or file a complain with the NHTSA. Maybe Ford would react and find a fix? Just a thought.
  • brozhnikbrozhnik Posts: 172
    My situation is similar to 10years, but worse: my 97 Taurus GL (3.0 liter), with 126,000 miles, faces expensive repairs, and I'm wondering whether to spend this possibly $2K or $3k, or just move on to another car.
    Note: we've already replaced the transmission (at 100K); and fairly recently replaced the timing chain, front brake pads and rotors, spark plugs, PCV, and water pump. Anyway, a test yesterday found combustion gasses in the coolant, so we're looking at bad head gasket-- $1000 to $2000 depending on which parts. In addition, the AC leaks, the heater core may need replacing, the motor mount may need replacing, and the bottom edges of all the doors are starting to rust (and touch-up paint won't help for long--they're rusting from the inside out).

    So, my dilemma: put another $2K-$3K into this car and hope that will take care of it for a long time, or get rid of it and put the money into a better car? Cheaper to keep it, or would I be pouring money into a rat hole?
  • packer31packer31 Posts: 3
    pouring money into a rat hole
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Other than brown fluid and shavings, what are your symptoms of transmission trouble? How recently have you had your fluid and filter changed? I wouldn't spend $2K unless I knew I absolutely had to.
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