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Taurus/Sable Maintenance & Repair



  • my taurus was not heating and I found the ac compressor running when it was on the heat side of the selector switch and that the fins on the water pump were worn off
  • OK- I googled a site and it looked very helpful. It said "tell us your problem. Include all the details." So I typed this friggin essay, only to scroll down and find the "pay here" section. @#$^%!

    My Taurus has a new sound. 115,000 miles, and we are juuuust cleaning it up to sell it...

    Upon startup, just after I put it in reverse and began backing down the drive, I heard a singing noise, just like brake squeal. I stopped, and backed up a little, pumping the brake, start and stop, trying to isolate the source. It persisted unbroken (not brakes). I put it in park and it persisted, except now it had a belt chirp (so now I was thinking a belt-driven component). I mashed the brake pedal (no change), turned the wheel (smooth operation), and then punched the gas a couple of times. With the gas, I got a pronounced belt chirp and the squeal got louder, then stopped. It chirped and squealed again with the gas pedal, and then stopped when the engine returned to idle. A/C was on the whole time. I parked it.

    A few minutes later, I started it up again, and there was the singing. I turned off the a/c and it stopped, but it didn't start again when I flipped a/c back on. In a few seconds it started again, and seemed to stop shortly after I turned off the a/c. I'm thinking the a/c compressor is beginning to seize and fighting the serpentine belt. I've only started the car these two times since this began.

    This is Grand Rapids, Michigan, and we have two and a half hot months here. The rest of the year, you could get by without running much a/c, with the exception of a few muggy days. We have been running the a/c since the heat began in early July. In three years, three seasons, we haven't charged the system. I notice that it runs with the defroster sometimes, too.

    We just financed this car's replacement, and I want to sell this one. It's in beautiful shape, with leather, cold a/c, keyless entry, 6-disc changer, moonroof, pl, pw, ps. I need to fix the problem myself, or at least figure out for sure what it is so I can sell around it.

    I hope maybe the a/c system is low on refridgerant, which I suspect also lubricates the system, and that's the culprit. But maybe I'm totally wrong, and it's something else. How can I be certain?
  • ohio7ohio7 Posts: 67
    Last August my engine light came on. Went to my regular mechanic and he looked up my car/engine and told me to get the EGR valve or sensor (can't remember now) replaced under the extended warrenty. I looked in my files and had the letter that I got and because it was a month out of warrenty the Ford dealer gave me some static but I won out after all.

    I had no change in the engine - just the light coming on. The car has run great for six years until about 2 1/2 months ago when I had hesitation and poor excelleration - plus the engine light coming on again.

    After about 15 visits to my regular mechanic, he put a new coil in the #5 cylinder last night. Two months ago it was the #3 cylinder that needed the coil but while he had all of the hardware off he suggested that he do all of the plugs. This went on (light on and "missing") since mid-June. I am hoping that the light is still off when I drive home from work tonight.

    I am stunned that with all of this new technology that the scanner does not do a much better job of defining what exactly, is wrong with a car. It comes up "cylinder #5". Well, that could be the spark plug, coil, or the rubber boot. In order to not rack up a high bill he replaced one item at a time starting with the cheapest item - spark plug. This is why I had to make so many visits after work.
  • azuazu Posts: 84
    You mentioned that the A/C is cold. Is this correct? If it's not chances are you have a leak and with a leak you leak lubricant as well as freon. If it is cold have you recently had it recharged? If so they should have put in some lubricant then. If A/C is cold chances are the a/c pulley or clutch is showing its' age!
  • tigerjtigerj Posts: 1
    I have been trying for months to find out the key code number for my Taurus. In the handbook, it says the key code is on the computer module. I have no idea where the computer module is. Can someone please help me? Thanks :shades:
  • I bought a 1999 Sable about three months ago (24 valve engine, bought at 63,000 miles). The first day I was driving my commute, which is about 60 miles each way, I hit a stone on the highway while going 65 MPH. The stone was about 5"x4"x7", a bit of pavement heave. One of those things you see, but can't react, sort of like a deer....

    It hit the frame beside the left wheel, and dinged the frame there, but left no marks past that point. Immediately after, there was a vibration that has since happened every day but only around 65 MPH. Since this happened, I replaced the tires which were worn out, balance/aligned the wheels, replaced a worn ball joint on the left side which was diagnosed when the previous owner had the car, replaced all brake pads/shoes and turned all discs/drums. These things all needed doing anyway.

    The wheel bearings seem OK, no play in there. There does seem to be some very slight play in the driveshaft, but both right and left feel the same and the noise is definately coming from the left side. It sounds a lot like blowing across the top of a beer bottle that's about empty. There is no wiggle of the steering wheel, no feedback from bad handling or anything other than the noise. It's not related to engine RPM; I have tried gunning it. It starts around 60, and goes away around 70.

    At first I thought it was the frame ding making wind noise, so I tried duct-taping a few things but no success.

    Still the noise happens, right at 65. Any ideas?
  • I have the Haynes manual; it's not in there.... So when I went to replace mine it was all by sight and feel. Anyway it worked. You'll need a press kit, I hate it when they say "bash it out, then smash the new one in". So, simple things skipped....

    Remove the wheel bearing nut, it's about 30mm (you should need a breaker bar). Jack up that side of the car, support on the frame rail where the driveshaft goes through it. Remove wheel. Remove brake pads, caliper, caliper support, disc. Loosen and remove nut on bottom of ball joint. Remove the lower part of the plastic support from the suspension. Remove the end of the steering tie-rod from the steering knuckle (you'll probably need to press it out).

    Loosen the nuts/bolts on the lower control arm where it is attached to the frame; if you don't it's really hard to remove the other end from the balljoint stud (my trick to you).... Using a press, push the balljoint out from the control arm, so now it's just held in by being pressed into the steering knuckle.

    Get a steel pipe nipple about 2.5" long (actually get several, in 0.5" increments in this area) and 3/4" diameter, thread a cap onto that. Put that over the balljoint so it rests agains the top part of the balljoint that is pressed into the steering knuckle. Now use a press to get it out.

    Probably it's necessary to remove the steering knuckle, but at this point it is just by loosening the pinch bolt on the strut. This makes it easier to press in the new balljoint.

    For assembly, it's reverse of removal. One trick though. When tightening the nut at the bottom of the balljoint, put the car's weight on the control arm so the friction between the tapered surfaces will stop the balljoint from spinning.

    Good luck....
  • I have had recently a similar intermittent problem with my
    Taurus 2000 DOHC 24 V. The problem showed up when the car
    was sitting more then 8-12 hours. Namely :
    the engine started at very low RPMs - about 300 RPM. When I tried to accelerate it as usually - it stalled. When I accelerated it gently and was driving for some time - everything suddenly returned to the norm - the idle RPMs were about 800 RPMs. Sometimes the engine started but had 5-10 secs hesitation at low RPMs. Sometimes it stalled right after start... and I had to re-start it a several times

    Three mechaincs ( including a Ford dealer ) failed to locate the problem ( I wasted a lot of money for replacing of sensors that were not faulty... )

    Finally Bob Thibodeau Ford Dealer repair team found the real cause:
    it was I.A.C. valve located in air bypass controlling idle speed. It was contaminated by carbon and oil deposits and was sticking intermittently choking the engine.... If I were a mechanic - it would be the first thing I checked ... After replacing of the valve - the problem seems to go away ( so far (:-) )

    Hope it will help to you...

  • I changed the spark plugs and the problem went away. I also sprayed some air intake cleaner in the IAC valve. On both areas my mechanic said were fine, but i guess he was wrong.
  • wpslidwpslid Posts: 1
    Trans in my 95 Taurus is about to let go. 95 was the last year for this body style. Can I swap in a trans from a 96? Were there changes that affected the powertrain?

    WP Slid
  • jrejre Posts: 6
    Sorry about the late reply. No, I never got an answer. I have not found the problem yet. Everyone I ask, says check the fuses. My fuses are good, but no clock or music. If you find the problem please let me know. Thanks jre
  • i know it was a year ago but i am having the same problem would like to know if you resolved the issue please email me thanks
  • 1995 sable with rear disc brakes brakes get so hot they melted the hub caps replaced calipers rotors and pads still they get hot seems like on longer trips seems like brakes are not releasing any help thanks
  • kos1kos1 Posts: 1
    can the ac compressor on a 1999 sable wagon be bypassed
  • I had the same problem with my 95 Taurus Sedan. Turned out to be defective rubber brake lines connected to the rear calipers. To test, try bleeding the rear brakes. If no brake fluid comes out when pumping the brake, (or just a trickle) it's a good bet the flexible line is plugged up internally. If nothing comes out at the bleeder, try cracking the line where the flexible line connects to the steel line and pump the brakes again. If fluid flows freely then the flexible line is your problem. Replace and bleed the system and you're good to go.
  • The hood on my 2002 Mercury Sable (station wagon) does not fit snugly against the passenger side headlight. I can stick my finger in the space between the headlight and the hood. Was recently in an accident, had the front of the car repaired, but they didn't get this fixed. The body shop showed me a similar Sable with the same problem. I don't know if it was like this before the accident. Is yours? There are some posts under the hood that can be adjusted, but this does not fix the problem. I'll probably prowl around some used car lots poking my finger to see if it is a common problem. Wish me luck, and if you see me arrested for the strange behavior, you'll understand. :confuse:
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Obviously your body shop did not do a very good job of getting the front end of the car back to the shape it was originally.

    They were throwing a smokescreen at you. They probably showed you another Sable with the same problem because they were the ones who repaired that one as well!

    New ones might have a small gap difference from one side to the other, but nothing like what you describe.
  • I noticed water in the trunk under the tire. Every time it rains, I open up the trunk see the water
    and can not find out where its coming from. all the rubber looks good. I have a spoiler and thought it
    may be coming in from the bolts for the spoiler,but find no evidence of water
    coming in from the bolts. I was hoping someone had a similar problem and could
    direct me to the cause. thanks :(
  • So, here is my problem...

    Two days ago, the power steering appeared to go out, however, it would kick in as soon as I started to drive. No PS at all until I started going forward. I take it to a repair shop. I get told it could be the rack, it could be the pump, the lines are clogged, etc.

    Well, he wanted 1700 to totally replace everything....that seemed a little steep to me, so I call the brother in law...

    We check it out, and notice that when the car is in idle, and we turn the wheel, the fluid gets sucked right down into the pump, the PS works fine. When we turn the car off, the fluid backflows into the resevoir, and is very foamy. If we add fluid, as we did as we thought there was not enough in it, it literally shoots out of the resevoir when we turn the car off. Not good... :sick:

    Okay, so we replace the pump, the pulley, and blow out the lines. Hook everything up....same thing happened!! :mad:

    So, obviously a pressure problem. Question....what is that black bulb on the line going into the rack, leading from the pump? We thought this to be a filter, or possibly a pressure valve.

    Could it be the rack...the only thing we did NOT work on?

    Any ideas here???
  • I have no parking lights, no tail lights. I do have brake lights, and reverse lights. I have checked all the fuses, and all the bulbs. I have installed a new headlight switch on the dash. Can any one help me with this?
  • Yes, my problem is NOT coolant in my oil.

    I was told that my head gasket was the likely culprit. Yes at 120K miles it wasn't a bad idea, execpt there is no place where high pressure oil can leak into the coolant at the head or lower intake manifold gaskets. I know because I took them off.

    The head gasket is an excellent place for coolant to leak into the cylinders or the lifter area. This would put coolant in the oil, but this is not my problem.

    Since the engine is all but dismantled with the removed heads, I see that the oil pump is in the the same engine cover where the waterpump is mounted.

    Does anybody have experience with removing the front engine cover on the 3.8L engine? How likely is there a high pressure oil leak within the cover unit OR at its gasket on the engine block? I can see that the waterpump has 2 ports into the engine block. Also the cover contains the oil pump so it should have high pressure oil there.

    Is there any special warnings one needs to know about taking off the cover?
  • what I read on another site is that there is a master control switch in your steering column, and it has a bunch of contacts in it, and they can get dirt on them, via the emergency flasher. You can squirt a little
    WD 40 down into the emergency flasher (on top of the steering column) and press in and out the button about 50 times. That may clear out any dust or other grime that fell in between the button and its housing, and clear up your problem.
  • You're talking about removing the timing chain cover. It's not an easy job due to the very limited space you have to work in. The biggest thing you have to remember is that the oil pump must be removed from the cover in order to gain access to a bolt holding the cover to the block. The pump can be removed from under the car but it is somewhat difficult. It's bolted on with 6 bolts, 4 small and 2 large.
    The bolts closest to the block are the hardest to reach. I used 2 long extensions with 2 swivels to get to them. I don't know if this could be the source of your leak or not but the Ford 3.8 has known problems with the timing cover gaskets leaking. When mine went it literally gushed oil all over the drive, however no leak into the cooling system.

    I had a shop do the repair and the cover turned out to be warped which caused the leak. (they had to pull the engine to get it out) A new cover will run you over $200. Total cost of the repair was over $1000. Hope you can do it yourself and save some bucks.

    Good luck!
  • It looks like the only place (2001 taurus) is the tube the dipstick is in. Is that right? I have a minor leak I have to get taken care of, but I need to add in the meantime.

  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Correct. It is a fairly large tube. Stick a funnel in it and you can't miss, unless you're clumsy!
  • ignorant, but not clumsy...thanks for the verification.
  • I was wondering if any one had any information on the 2000 Ford Taurus LX series. I am fixing to own one and wanted to know how good of a vehicle it is and how the maintenance is on one of these beauties. I am not much of a car owner I buy vans mostly but thought I'd try a car this time. If any one can give me any information on these vehicles I would be very greatful. I would like to know what kind of problems people might have had with them or any good things as well. Thank you. :) :(
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I have a 2000 Taurus SES, but they are basically the same car. Only major difference may be in the engines. The LX is the bottom of the line model, so may not include ABS brakes, and likely you will have the 3.0 Liter Vulcan Pushrod engine, an old reliable but not particularly powerful engine. Otherwise it is sound. The 3.0 Vulcan came in both flex fuel and regular fuel only versions. The flex fuel versions can be identified by a little leafy symbol behind the front wheel well. The 3.0 Duratech 24 valve DOHC engine is much more powerful and gives about the same fuel economy, so if you have a choice I would find one with that option, but you won't find that on a stripped down LX model.

    Basically these Tauri are rugged, no nonsense vehicles that should give you good service, just change the oil regularly and transmission fluid change every 30K miles.

    Much underappreciated by the automotive press and the public in general, and because of that used ones can be picked up for a bargain price, and there should be plentiful amounts to choose from.
  • Thank you for your input. It does have a 3.0 in it and it does have anti-lock breaks. It only has 105,000 miles on her and looks to be in great shape. I do hope she is a reliable machine. I have three kids and need something dependable. She seemed quite powerful when I test drove her. One other question for I am a woman and need to know these things (don't get me wrong I know quite a bit about vehicles in general) how many miles should one put on a set of tires and when the alternator starts humming it does usually mean that something is wrong with it am I correct. I have asked a few people and keep getting different answers. I think it means its going bad. If thats the case then I don't want it because I know they are not cheap to fix. Thanks again for the info. ;)
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    All engines available in the Taurus are 3.0 V-6 engines, but the difference is the two lower power engines are standard and flex fuel versions of the Vulcan pushrod engine and the other engine is the Duratech 24 valve DOHC engine, which has more power.

    I wouldn't think an alternator is all that expensive to fix, compared to other items that could go. Whether the hum is alternator related, I couldn't tell you.

    Most tires on Taurus should last 50,000 miles or more, but this could vary widely depending on how you drive, rotate tires, and the type of tire. Don't go so much by how many miles the tires have on them, but by how much tread is left.

    If you live where there is snow in winter, you may not want to run your tires down to the wear bars, as your winter traction will go before the tires are worn out. I got over 51,000 on the original equipment tires and probably could have gone at least another 10,000 but I wanted better winter traction.
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