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Taurus/Sable Maintenance & Repair



  • laura6081laura6081 Posts: 3
    Hello. I have a 1999 Ford Taurus SE, 24 valve, duel overhead cam, 3.0 liter....and that's about as much as I know about the mechanics of it. It has 138,000 miles on it and it has had the oil changed every 3000 to 5000 miles. However, there are many problems that I have having with it and would like to research what they may be.

    Basically, the problems that I am experiencing with the car include, a strange rattling noise when it is running, I notice mainly at idle, but it may be doing it while moving as well. The power steering squeals when I have to make a sharp turn even though the fluid level is fine. The check engine light has been on for over a year. It went off for a short time about six months ago, but came on again. In addition, the spark plugs probably need to be changed (they are the original ones), but hubby has put it off because he does not exactly know how to get to them without almost taking the engine apart.

    I am hoping to learn something here that I can use as ammunition in order to get my husband to get the car fixed before I am left stranded on the side of the road somewhere. Any and all information will be appreciated. Thanks!
  • mdhugmdhug Posts: 9
    I have a 99 sable 24valve. It will heat up but not completely overheat when it is driven mostly city. and over 80 degrees Has new themostat, radiator cap, coolant water pump and has been flushed. At 95 Degrees and idle with air on the car can sit all day and never get past normal. Fans are also working. Any help very frustrated
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Sorry, I totally disagree with the reliability of the newer. Some pre 95 may have had some troubles but at least you could do work on them. I had an 86, and it snapped the low gear band at 110K. Problem was metal fatigue at a spot weld. Weld didn't break but the characteristics of the metal in that area, temper, shortened the life. And my 92 which we acquired in 94 with almost 100K had 238K when it was totalled. Not my daughters fault. Consolation was that the idiot in the new Suburban that pulled in front of her should have had hers totalled as well. Nailed her squarely on the rear wheel. Made it appear that there was little damage, but I know the axle was shot and it appeared the frame was bent enough that I'd never want that vehicle. Anyway, it is a matter of knowing what to look for before buying one of this vintage. Common problem that can lead to trouble is that Ford had a tendency for the oil pan gasket to crap. Nice silicone gasket with metal eyelets but age seemed to cause it to pop out at the front end of the motor. And as it pushed out it would curl upward acting like a funnel and one way valve when it got all the way out. Splashed water could end up in the pan. And this location was such that it would catch any drip from the water pump and lower hose connection. An oil drip might indicate this. Check the color of the coolant as the bright orange will show a residue inside the oil fill cap. The beauty of this vintage, early 90's, if you DIY, is the computer system. It will get you in the proper area most always and has a built in cylinder balance test. You just have to activate it. Better yet is that pre OBD II there was no cheating the system by reprogramming the chip. The only way to avoid them cheating you is that you get a full printout from the time it is new and at least every year after. 6 mos. would be better and that way when you're out of warranty and they wish to sell you a high priced job, you'll have something to compare the new diagnosis to. Sorry for the rant.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Sure sounds like a battery to me as well. Quick check, turn the lights on and then turn the key. If lights die, likely the battery.
    Not sure of the exact config for power to the starter. Some have extra wires at the battery for auxiliary feeds and as such you might be getting the power to actuate the solenoid, but maybe the lead feeding power to the starter is bad. Might even be loose at the solenoid.
    Were there any problem indications prior to the sudden no turn-over? Odd noises, intermittant turn-over? Has the coolant suddenly dropped? Which engine? 3.8 had a lot of head gasket problems and you might have a cylinder full of coolant. Noise prior to this problem during start might have indicated an extremely worn ring gear and starter drive. (not a common problem).
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    A word to the wise on that CAF. The aftermarket is cheap paper junk (why it is so cheap next to OE). And because of the location it is likely to get wet during rain. The OE is a mat of long glass fibers and very washable. It had never been changed in the vehicle my wife acquired and at 100K it was totally plugged with dirt and road film to the point it acted like a layer of tar. Heavy duty degreasers, purple stuff, and a wash made it look like new. And far cheaper than an OE replacement.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Choose your poison? This is an issue that should be handled the same way the old issue for requiring Ford oil changes, filters, etc to maintain warranty. And it relates to the computer. With OBD II, the computer is programable (EEPROM) with Ford (all of them actually) only equipment. If you run into a problem in this area, they pull the computer and take it to the dealer to have it reprogrammed. So how much does that cost of running to the dealer cost you on their time? Their are claims that this chip can get accidentally reprogrammed. Evidence is that they have to take it to the dealer? Common stated cause is that loose electrical connections cause noise(electrical) doing it. I've questioned the possibility of this and have no technical evidence but can do a quick comparison. This is to another EEPROM, the BIOS chip in your home computer. I have personally seen where power interruptions, even crash, restarts sometimes mess up the settings in some registers. You might not even see an outward indication by checking the settings in the BIOS screen. Sometimes, because a portion of that chip is permanently burned to factory setting for your machine, powering down and doing the BIOS reset can overcome a problem. Then do the normal setup within the BIOS screen.
    The name that comes to mind concerning the issue for factory parts is Magnussen? Something like that. Until they include a factory burn default for this chip which the owner can reset, there will be dealerships taking advantage of customers with their ability to program it to something it shouldn't be. That is until the warranty goes out. And giving every shop the ability to do it won't stop the unscrupulous from doing it. Give me the pre OBD II back, where it was good or bad and no in-between.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    This is merely the honesty of the shop you use. You are lucky in that you found such, but then they are lacking in some areas. They can't program the computer if it accidentally got reprogrammed by noise. But regardless of dealer or local shop, there are plenty of bad practices to go around. Does this shop use impact wrenches? This is something that should be outlawed in any shop where the disassembly requires reassembly of the same parts. And it involves what I consider the second most important component in a vehicle, the brakes. Only tires rate higher because brakes don't mean anything if the tires won't do their job.
    With very few exceptions, because of a specially designed brake rotor, brakes are negatively impacted and sometimes severely by the use of impact wrenchs when remounting wheels. Metal is compressible and doing so with improper torque puts uneven pressure or even pressure different than the original design to the rotor and with time, a few heatings and coolings, that pressure has spread through the rotor and warped it. So you pay for a brake job because of their bad work. (per dealer, runout for a rotor is in the neighborhood of .0003")
    Another example relating the importance of torque and metal stresses. For many years it was deemed impossible to get past the heavy use of oil in a new or rebuild and they used a breakin oil. They seemed to have reached a barrier that no matter how perfectly they bored the cylinder wall there would be a small gap to the ring. They finally learned it came about when the head was bolted up to the block. And eventually employed the solution of bolting up a dummy head prior to doing the machining of the cylinder wall. Today we have much tighter engines thanks to that technology. Why aren't rotors treated with the same importance?
    Hand torqueing will remain a priority until some old technology is employed in the manufacturer of the braking system.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Just an added thought on tires for sable. I had used the same site for research of tires. Vehicles checked were 95 Regal, 96 Aurora, 97 Sable. Owners loved the Khumo on Aurora and Sable, hated on Regal. I put them on the Aurora(not autobahn model) and find them to be an excellent tire so far with about 15K. Can't speak for snow and extreme cold but they ride good, quiet, and excellent traction on wet, can't see your hand rain, or dry. Wife did the Sable and snuck off to badyear. Damned shop burned her, not only with the tires. I knew it needed the stabilizer links replaced as the boots were gone and you'd get the occaisonal metal chatter going over rough road. Of course they charged her for an alignment which shouldn't have been done until the components were replaced. And they used their GD impact wrenches. By the time I learned she did it, it had already warped the brakes. Tires seem OK, but haven't checked wet and believe they are too loose in the sidewall allowing the excessive sway suddenly introduced to the rear.
    And the Regal! Well the daughter did this one. And after having the same crappie tires on a Taurus which were gone in 2 weeks under the love or leave 30 days. They had terrible dry road traction compared to the previous and the ones that replaced them. It was easy to lock em and slide w/o ABS. The Regal, don't remember the OE's, but last were Michelin. These damned Generals won't even do well with ABS. Never left a tire mark with pedal to the floor ABS doing all it could, except on very hot asphalt, and then it would leave a faint mark. Checked the General's on cool asphalt with the ABS doing all it could, tire squeal with broken tire marks and found myself trying to correct skid at the wheel. New mental note. Never buy a car, new or used, with Generals unless I plan to buy new tires the next day.
    Summing, Khumo's excellent on Aurora. Preferred over Michelin and badyear eagle by comments at tire site. I could not disagree and less than half price.
    Sable, I'd bet the Khumo would have been better than the badyear choice in part because of this model tire reputation and mainly because the other shop didn't screw my brake job.
    Regal, Generals no good, as on the Taurus. I'd bet the Khumo superior here even against owners writings. Enough that I'd chance the Khumo at half the price of the Michelin. The Michelins were excellent compared to OE, but something that I've noticed on some Michelins as well as many others. As the tire gets older and more milage, especially older, it tends to harden. Tires had 85K and still about 4/32 rubber. Traction was still excellent dry although not as good as new because of hardness. Wet extremely good yet as well, with minor degradation, but caution on standing water was advisable.

    Number one, hand torque wheel nuts, that is with a torque wrench!
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    A/C sudden death. Suspect it not a leak. Jumping low pressure switch will not activate clutch.
    Looking for ideas.
    Where are the fuses for A/C and a fuse chart? I don't have the owners book.
    Where is this A/C relay I've heard about? I have the power distribution box above the radiator, but the chart in the cover doesn't point to any of them as A/C.
    Any other trouble shooting points will be appreciated, such as how to check out the other switch, likely a high pressure with 3 or 4 wires.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    This is easy. Your symptoms indicate a partially plugged radiator. Flushing helps, but won't cure this problem - it needs to be rodded out. Not an expensive fix, but get it to a radiator shop. After they're done, you'll run cool as ever again.
    Around $100 usually, less if you take it out yourself and drop it off at the Radiator shop.
  • mdhugmdhug Posts: 9
    Thanks will try tomorrow to see what happens
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Sounds like a marginal system that when the heat from the transmission is added it becomes almost a problem. Unless the system has been neglected, corrosion should not be a problem. Probably had long-life coolant when new which would be at most just past a year of expiring.
    How does the inside of the overflow bottle look? Are there signs of contamination? was the green junk ever used and not changed every year? Or maybe someone ran straight water or less than correct amount of coolant. Oily film could be from bad head. Does the system ever seem to over pressure. Do you see bubbles in the reservoir?
    Some had an auxiliary transmission cooler in front of the radiator in addition to the one in the end tank. Did someone remove the auxilliary?
    Is the torque converter not locking causing extra heat? or maybe slipping more than it should?
    Heard that some of the 24 valve models had head problems like the 3.8's.
  • poonerpooner Posts: 5
    Do you have any tips on replacing the rear sway bar links, mine sheared off my 97 and I have the replacement unit, just can't get the bar low enough to install it? Thanks.
  • poonerpooner Posts: 5
    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to replace this linkage which has sheared off. I purchased the new "heavy duty" replacement , but can't get the bar low enough to put the link in. Thanks
  • mikel4mikel4 Posts: 1
    I've got a 96 Taurus w/ 3.0L OHV, which I am trying to pull without pulling the trans.

    As far as I can tell, I've got all the bellhousing to block bolts, torque converter bolts, and motor mounts out or loose, but It seems like the thing is in a bind and won't seperate from the trans. I can get movement between the block and trans on the left/front side, but it wont budge on the right/rear side (closest to the transaxle).

    Does the trans mount in the left side of the frame have to come out? It doesn't look like it is connected directly to the motor, just the to trans so I left it intact. I've got both right side motor mounts off, but still can't get it to budge.

    Is there anything in the driveaxles or trans that I have to do to get them to seperate?

    Any help would be appreciated-
  • mcolliganmcolligan Posts: 2
    :sick: Hi...

    I have a quick question..wondering if someone can help.

    I have a 96 Sable sedan. When pulling into work this morning I noticed my engine temp near H. I pulled into my spot and opened the engine to find the coolant tank 'popping' and steaming and anit-freeze all over the floor under the engine. I am assuming 1) I have a leak but 2) why would the tank sputter and steam like that?

    Many thanks.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Can you say boil? You really already knew the answer, just needed to wrap your mind around it. The idea of a pressurized system is to stop the boilover and the radiator cap with its built in pressure relief acts like the regulator on a pressure cooker. When the designated heat/pressure is reached, it will allow bleed off maintaining the upper limit. The (usually done with this) weight on top jiggles and sputters as pressure is released.

    For some reason your vehicle reached a boil over condition. Was it low on coolant, radiator blocked, thermostat stuck, etc.?
    Remember steam is an invisible gas and 212 degrees at atmospheric pressure. As pressure is increased, it gets hotter. That is why a pressure cooker cooks much faster than an open kettle. How much hotter? Well we'd need a chart to see exactly or a thermometer and pressure guage. Here is a real life example. When I was a kid working at Jolly Green, I'd grab a clean bucket and stuff it full of freshly cleaned ears of corn about 10 minutes before the lunch whistle. I'd push a steam line with its big brass nozzle to the bottom of the bucket and open the valve. In less than 4 minutes we'd have freshly cooked corn on the cob. Try putting a dozen and a half in your microwave and see how long it takes.

    On the other side of it, you might have a much ugglier problem causing the over pressure. A blown head gasket will allow hot gases of a much higher pressure into the coolant system.

    Good luck
  • mcolliganmcolligan Posts: 2
    Now that I am thinking about it. I just had a tune up done on the car a few weeks ago and one of the things done was a flush of the coolant system. THey probably didnt tighten a clamp and that's where the leak is coming from.

    I assume if the coolant is leaking, the car overheats and causes the pressure to build in the reservoir tank.

  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Seems there are plenty of overheat problems. Mine is with the wife because the A/C quit. Someone help me get her cooled down before she cooks me.
    I need help with getting the compressor to come on. Jumping low pressure switch didn't work.
    I need a fuse chart.
    I need to know the location of the relay.
    And maybe suggestions to where there is a good on-line manual or where I can find CD's.
  • rufus7rufus7 Posts: 3
    well I have the same engine took it in to have a tune up they said $90 when they found out it was a dual overhead they quickly changed the price to over $200 so I ended up doing it myself you do have to take the engine apart a little bit (I think I only took off the manifold has the egine label on it) to get access to the far plugs pretty simple though. You could also try renting a diagnostic from shucks, checker, kragen most of them will rent them out charge you for it and then when you return it you get your money back. It will at least tell you what sytem has the problems.
  • badsablebadsable Posts: 3
    I hate this car.The A/C in my 2001 Sable doesnt work it doesnt blow any air cold or hot.I'm not sure what it is can anyone help e
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Most likely just blew a fuse. Replace it and you should have blow.
  • henkel1henkel1 Posts: 2
    Did you ever find the problem? I have a '98 Ford Taurus wagon and just took it in for an oil change. They told me the transmission lines are leaking badly (in the same area as you described). I am calling around now to find someone to take a look at it.
  • badsablebadsable Posts: 3
    Sorry but I forgot to say that I checked all the fuses and never found a problem.Does anyone know were the Motor blower is.I have another problem with the car now Im having alot of problems getting to shift the gear from park to Reverse.But no problem changing gears from reverse to drive.It gets stuck and I have to pump the brakes alot to try to get to go.I hate this car.
  • spadezspadez Posts: 2
    I'm having the same problem with a 2000 Sable - happened about a year ago; the mechanic says it frothed up out of the reservoir; he claimed there was probably just some air in the line, and that there wasn't anything he could do. Hadn't seen the problem again until today: parked it in the driveway this afternoon, and a few hours later noticed a puddle of power steering fluid. Looks like it came out of the top of the reservoir again.

    Jatabt, did you ever figure out what was wrong? Anyone have any ideas, or know if it's safe to drive the car like this?
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I found a Haynes and as sorry as those manuals are, it at least showed a rough wiring diagram. The blown fuse is another question. It refers to the cover, which mine is missing, for the diagram. I did see that the reverse lights use a 15A fuse and because I'm having the broken wires at the lift gate, suspect the wire broke and shorted.
    On the A/C, it showed the high pressure switch but it's logic is "fuzzy". It appears to be a double pole, double throw and maybe drawn in the inop state but the low pressure switch is drawn in the op state. Side shown making contact puts a ground on a terminal in either the relay box or main computer. The other set of contacts will close a circuit related to either the main computer or relay box. I can only hope that I don't need the PCM (main computer) or even the little relay box. Parts man told me this contraption was used in late 90 Fords and believed to never need replacing. Ford doesn't even have them and to fix his mothers car they had to get one out of a used parts house. Another one of those better ideas that will stop me from buying any newer Detroit product. I can only guess how much of the car will have to be torn apart should I need to replace a compressor. I know that it is impossible to get at the electrical connector on the compressor.
  • lilsuzylilsuzy Posts: 1
    My car has had a continuous problem with the engine light coming on. My Ford mechanic said that it is usually something to do with the emission system and is nothing serious. I bought the car used in 2002, have had my car serviced regularly, and racked up only 65,000 miles. Service records indicate that this engine light has been a problem off and on for about two years. Every time the light comes on I have it looked at and records indicate a coded problem that is "fixed". For the March 2005 service, I once again had the code fixed. I drove it about 4000 miles and took it in for service two weeks ago. The engine light was on and blinking off and on occasionally - the motor would sputter, too. After diagnostics, the Ford mechanic said the code showed that I had a dead cylinder but that he needed to take the engine apart to find out what else might be wrong. I approved the $350 charge. The outcome was that my engine was gone - bent rods, burnt pistons, melted gasket - the whole enchilada. Replacement was estimated at $4800.
    My question is: how did this happen? The engine light problem was always minimized to me. What else could have happened to the car that was causing the light to come on? After going in and having the light "fixed" four times, shouldn't the mechanics have done more that "what the computer told them to do?" I now have a car with no value and I owe a year's worth of payments. Help.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    That would probably be it, If I could read it.
  • 1998 taurus.....30k mileage check....yes 30k!!!! have had a problem it seems when the car kicks into overdrive around 30-40 miles /hour....get sort of a bucking shop pulled the pan...found metal in the fluid and recommended not flushing and refilling in lieu of a potentially more serious problem....what to do????
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