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Taurus/Sable Maintenance & Repair



  • julieaujulieau Posts: 1
    I have no great help for your problem, but I'm hoping you can give me a little bit.
    My 98 Taurus has a very noisy alternator. We need to replace it. The problem is that we've owned Chrysler products for years and hubby can't decide where to begin to get to the alternator. Is there a simple way? Does he go from the top or from underneath? He's changed lots of alternators, but this one has him worried he'll go the wrong way and make more work for himself than needed.
    Any advice on where to start would be appreciated!
  • timothyftimothyf Posts: 40
    I have a 1996 LX. Can anyone tell me how to reset the Service Engine Soon light?
  • Hi, When my service engine soon light came on in my 98 Taurus I unhooked the battery for about 5 mins then reconnected it. I had to reset the clock and radio stations. This only cleared the memory. If the reason it came on happens again it will just come back on. Hope this helps.
  • recently we bought a 2002 ford taurus. unfortunately we don't have the owners manual yet. our gas tank indicator light came on and we arent sure how to make it go off. we have opened the gas cap and put it back on several times. the lite is still on. this did not happen until it started to rain the other day. im not sure if that had anything to do with it. if someone could tell us how to make this light go off i would greatly appreciate it. my check engine light just came on also. is it possible to just disconnect the battery to reset it??

    thank you
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 460
    I had a bad gas cap on my 2003 Mercury Sable and had the problems that you describe. If you read the owners manual after the (working) gas cap is replaced your car has to go through a seemingly bizarre sequence of events before the check engine light will go off. As I recall you have to go through a "cold-engine" startup also you must idle for so many cycles at so many minutes and have to be at freeway speed for so many cycles and so many minutes.

    If your gas cap is OK then just leave it alone and the lights will eventually go out. It may take a few days but they will go out.

    The dealer wanted $100 to "diagnose" the problems. I skipped that and bought a new gas cap at the auto parts store for $16. Since then I haven't had any problems.

    And yes you can reset the light by disconnecting the battery. However if there is a real problem with your car the "fault" code will be lost. If you have either a bad gas cap or any other problem then the light will come back on after a battery disconnect.
  • bobby19bobby19 Posts: 2
    My radiator hose busted on my 93 taurus.......I was told that I probably had a blown head gasket also....I havent had it checked out yet, anyone out there have any idea what I'll be looking at cost wise??? (wondering if it will be worth it)
  • izaclown1izaclown1 Posts: 118
    My mom's 93 is doing the same thing. That was the same diagnosis. She hasn't replace the gasket yet, but will post the cost when I find out.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 460
    A head gasket replacement is a pretty major repair. Without really knowing the costs for that car I would ballpark it at $800-1000.

    What makes you think that the head gasket is bad ? Is the car overheating ?? Your problem may be as simple as replacing the thermostat which is pretty easy job.
  • izaclown1izaclown1 Posts: 118
    Yes it has been overheating. But, the burned coolant smell is in the exhaust and the radiator is constantly having to be filled. A car person has looked at it and has guessed that is a good possibility. It could also be a cracked block because it did have a major overheating last summer in SC.
  • ohio7ohio7 Posts: 67
    I've been reading folks talk about a gas cap light. I have a 2000 SEL Taurus and have no idea what this is. Is it on your newer models? I have a "check engine light" that, I've read in the past, could mean that the gas cap is not on tight. Are all of you refering to this light?

    Also, if one reads the manual first, questions could be answered. It is true that after the gas cap is tightened, that it could take a number of cycles for it to readjust and go off.
  • izaclown1izaclown1 Posts: 118
    I am getting what looks like 2 blinks then 6 blinks so I am guessing the error is 26. It goes through several series of blinks the becomes solids on. I am too cheap to let the Mercury/Lincoln place hook it up for $90. Just wondering if this will be expensive as in replace the air bag or just a sensor. It is adding to my urge to trade it.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 460

    I didn't explicitly state in my post that it was the gas cap light that had come on. I thought it was clear from the context. Evidently it wasn't. So to be clear - yes it was the "check engine" light.

    Actually it doesn't say "check engine" it's just a picture of a motor.
  • whitallwhitall Posts: 190
    Looking seriously at a used 2001 SEL Taurus with 85000 miles. It is in decent shape, no dents, just a few dings and interior scrapes. Seems well maintained, though it clunks over some bumps. The owner says it is the sway bar (or did he say stabilizer) bushings. He says new brakes and tires less than 10,000 miles ago. Oil is clean. He is willing to have the bushings done, but I am afraid how that will interfere with negotiations. Will he think I would then pay full asking price? Couldn't tell how the a/c is, as it is abnormally cold here in the NOrtheast.

    Do Tauruses have a reputation for bad a/c units (like dodge/chrysler)? How about Trannys? I can't have an inspection because his wife died, so he didn't renew the plates, and is reluctant to let it on the main roads where we could be stoppped. (I believe his story-he is rather old).

    Edmunds price for average is 4400 and clean is 5300. He is asking 6500, which is dealer retail for clean. The kelly blue book ranges from 5400 for fair to 6245 for good to 6785 for excellent. THose numbers seem high. Thinking of offering 5,000 (is that insulting to him?) and settling around 5300. Don't know how the bushings will figure into that. Any advice on the reliabilty and price for this car? It seems high to spend to me for the mileage. This is for a 17 year old.
  • Hi, I had been also looking at early 2ooo's Taurus/Sable because I have a 98 Tauaus that I want to replace. I have found that they still have alot of the normal problems from the 90's. Sounds like stabilizer/sway bar links/bushings is one of them. I just gave up replacing them and just let them rattle (replacing them didn't last long). I'm in the northeast also so I'm very lucky my heater core hasn't pluged up yet, anouther problem that was from the early years and I'm not sure if it was ever fixed. (Price getting a heater core replaced before buying the car) I don't know if they fixed the tranys in the 2001's but they were a BIG problem in the earlier years up to 2000. I would be real concerned about this car without a GOOD shop looking at it. As far as the price I think they did just as you did and looked it up. Go real low on the price (say offer $4500 maybe settle at $5000 and save the rest for repairs) and let him sit on it for a while. Like you said it's sitting around with no plates so if wants to get rid of it he'll come down. If he sells it for more than you offered then look in the paper there's plenty more where it came from. I personaly would never buy a car without a GOOD shop looking it over. Hope this helps.
  • whitallwhitall Posts: 190
    Thanks for the input. If the heater core is bad now, do you know what the symptoms would be? How many miles did you get on your 98 before you had enough of it?

    If I have shop look at any car it would probably just be one of those Goodyear type shops that can check the brakes, tires, hoses, belts, a/c, look for leaks and stuff like that. Don't know if they check trannys or not. The "good" shop didn't have any lift time available this week, they were all booked up. I will use them if I can, but probably not on this one as it is about 10 miles away from the car and the man won't go for that.
  • Hi, As for the heater core I would warm the car up and turn the blower on hi with it set all the way to heat. If you get warm/hot air you should be good. I would not take any car to a chain store. I would wait for a good shop to have the time. Think about it do you want your 17 year old to be driving in a car you know nothing about? And at 80,000 miles at that. A good shop will look at everything in and under the car. I would be very carefull of the "old man" and his story. All he has to do is write "as-is" on the reciept and walk away! Is that a $5000 bet your willing to take without a good shop looking it over? Oh and one last thing I always do is get a carfax report. It cost but so does not checking out the title before you buy if there's a problem. As far as my 98 it has 123,000 miles but it has cost me so much money I'm driving it untill it will not move to get as much use out of it as I can. I don't mean to be so forward but I've learned over the years it better to be safe than sorry.
  • azuazu Posts: 84
    My two cents:

    $6500 is way too high. $4500-$5000 is about right.

    I would be reluctant to buy a car I could not test drive.

    Carfax report is an excellent idea. Well worth some peace of mind even though so of the information may not tell you everything, but anything is helpful.

    I believe by the 2001 model, Ford corrected most of the problems of the redesigned Taurus.
  • whitallwhitall Posts: 190
    I'm thinking you are right about the price. We did test drive it, but only on out of the way roads, not on the main roads where cops are more likely. We may just do another test drive with my husband driving so he can see how it feels (my son wouldn't know). Interestingly, I did a search on obituaries and the wife died at the end of 2005, so he shouldn't still be overly emotional about it. I assume it takes a while after a long marriage to decide what you want to part with....

    I think I will offer (if we go for it) the 4500 and go no higher than 5000. Thanks for the input!
  • azuazu Posts: 84
    whitall: When my grandfather passed my grandmother kept the car for several years before she sold it. She didn't even drive. She had her son or me drive her places in it. So I know first hand how a car can be an emotional item. So his story may just add up.
  • Good luck- just replaced mine on my 96 sable and we had to remove the wheel well, subframe and a ton of other stuff to even get to it..And now my battery light is still coming on when i get above 1500 rpms...this car is ridiculous!!! any ideas about the battery light anyone?
  • whitallwhitall Posts: 190
    Had a very knowledgable friend look over the car. He has put new trannys in his cars and does all his own work, so he has a clue about motors and such. He didn't see any problems. The oil and trans fluid look (and smell) good. The brakes and tires are good. No apparent leaks and he had my hubby take tight u-turns to listen to the CV joints. The brakes are a little off in that you have to push hard. My guy said the pads look good and the rotors are fine, but somewhat glazed (? I think that's what he said). It is likely that since the car has been sitting (driven only 1000 miles in last 6 months or so) that the pads have some rust and after some driving the pad and rotors will "seat" and it will be better. Also, this model has rear drums and we aren't used to that. He jacked up the front end so he could get under there with a flashlight.

    Looked at yet another car on a used lot and found salt marks on the underside of the hood, lost of stone nicks on hood and it has no ABS and only 4 cyl. This Taurus is a way better car just by looking it over. I am not pleased with the quality of used cars out there. What do these people do to them!!

    Making an offer, looking to you guys for the moral support to hold out for a low price....I wish I had some of the old cars I got rid of, they were gems compared to these!
  • It looks like the car checks out so yea it's time to make an offer. Like I said before start at $4500 and settle at $5000. I wouldn't go any higher. Good luck and let us know how it goes with this car. :)
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 460

    well just from my experience, if the person whose car you are looking at wants $6500 and you are thinking $4500 then there is no way that you two will come to a deal. Some sellers are in fantasyland about what their used car is worth. For those sellers there is no arguing with them, they have made up their mind. So my advice to you is either pay close to what they are asking or move on.

    What you need to do is find someone who has been trying to sell their car for 2 or three months with no success. If that car is blocking their driveway they just may be motivated to make a deal.

    By the way I drive a 2003 Sable with 81k miles that's in close to perfect shape. If I were to sell it I'd let it go for maybe $4500. So for you to pay $6500 for a 2001 seems way way too high.

    If I were to look, I'd bet I could find a 2001 Taurus in good shape for maybe $2500.
  • whitallwhitall Posts: 190
    jasmith 52, you were close to the mark stating that we might never reach a deal on the car for my son. I offered up 5,000 saying that it was our budget and though the car was well maintained, I still felt the mileage (84,700) was a bit high to pay more, and of course our budget was mentioned again. He said he'd intended to get 6000 and would keep it before going for 5000. TOld me how it needs nothing, has good brakes and tires (it does) etc. He sounded so upset! I agreed, then made mistake of saying it's not a toyota and I don't know what miles it will make it to. He said his last one made it to 150k!! I said I didn't intend to insult him etc etc, and said I could go up a few hundred...he said the best he could do was 5700. (is he meeting in the middle?) I pulled the old "I'll ask my hubby" card. This was around 1 pm. How to proceed now? I need a used car negotiating advice (not vague tips) board! I need a professional negotiator!

    There isn't a lot out there that is as obviously well maintained. My kids (turns 17 on Friday!)likes the options-- but is has no leather):
    Think he'll go 5500? It may be worth it due to the gas I spend and the eyestrain on the PC id I keep looking. Also, next prospect would need me to pay to inspect.

    Finally, if you're still with me, what was an SEL when it was new--he's the second owner, just wondered. My kid is comparing it to a friends Explorer limited and wondering how close the price was new. I only know the Explorer was a good 30k since we had a mountaineer back then.

    Have a great day!
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 460
    here's the estimate (using my zip code) right out of Edmunds
    Note that they give it a Private Party value of just under $5k...">

    2001 Ford Taurus SEL 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
    Trade-In Private Party Dealer Retail
    National Base Price $3,994 $4,993 $5,915
    Optional Equipment $0 $0 $0
    Color Adjustment
    Dark Blue $-16 $-21 $-24
    Regional Adjustment
    for Zip Code 92604 $21 $26 $31
    Mileage Adjustment
    84,700 miles $-54 $-54 $-54
    Condition Adjustment
    Clean $0 $0 $0
    Total $3,945 $4,944 $5,868

    By the way, one trick that many sellers use is to add money for alloy wheels and a stereo as if they really are Premium wheels and a Premium Stereo which they are not. They are just the stock wheels and stereo for that trim line. Don't fall for that game.

    Also for what it's worth, I don't believe that cars in my area sell for what Edmunds says they do. My experience is that Edmunds is accurate for cars up to maybe three years old or so. Beyond that their prices are too high. So judging this car by edmunds I'd say that I would be a buyer at $4500 or so. I'd pass at $5700.

    keep looking, that's my advice. Look at 10 or more cars that are equivalent. Look at some Tauruses and also maybe some Grand Prix's and some Regals. You get the idea ... Keep your options open and don't be too specific as to make and model. For a car of this vintage the way that the owner cared for it is much more important than the make.

    Per the price of the car new... It doesn't matter, it only matters what the market for the car is now, when it's used.

    Per the car not having leather. Well that's a plus in my opinion. For a car of this vintage the leather probably wouldn't look that great by now. The cloth seats seem to age more gracefully than leather. And regardless of the condition of the leather seats sellers always seem to want more money for a car with leather.
  • whitallwhitall Posts: 190
    Problem is that sellers use kelley blue book ( which is much higher than Edmunds. This car does also have moonroof and spoiler, which Ed's does add for I believe.

    I agree that 5700 is too high. Will look some more tomorrow. This one was well cared for (at least the past 3 years) and I see so much junk at the dealerships. I can't get over how some people trash their cars.

    Point on leather is valid too, many of them are torn. I have leather in my 06 Murano. Hoping conditioning now and then will help it stay good.

    Thanks again for your help.
  • whitallwhitall Posts: 190
    Well, bought the "new" used Taurus...2001 SEL, paid more than I wanted, but it works because everybody is happy and I really won't miss the $200.

    I did forget to check the keypad for keyless entry. Have the code in the owners manual, but it doesn't work. THe seller said he never used it (he was 2nd owner). The buttons do not light up when I push them like the instruction say.

    COuld this be as simple as a fuse? Please give me guidance. I don't want to put $$ into this, but would like to know if there is an easy fix possible.
  • whitallwhitall Posts: 190
    WEll, tried it tonight and it turns out that it does light up, and the inside lights turn on when pressed. However, the code that is in the ownesr manual folder does not work. Guess I'll have to look around and see what I can find. Didn't see anything in the trunk. Is it UNDER the trunk carpet, or a label stuck to it (which would be long gone)? I'll read more posts on this.
  • azuazu Posts: 84
    I bought a 2006 last year with keyless entry. I have yet to use it. The dealer never gave me the code as it was missing from the owners book. They told me the keyless entry code is marked on the outside of the ECM(computer). Since I really don't need it I have not looked, but I would start there.
  • whitallwhitall Posts: 190
    Brought home the Taurus with 85000 purchsed yesterday from a nice older man. No problems. My son spent 2 or 3 fifteen minute (approx) sessions playing with the stereo yesterday. THis morning it won't start. Headlights seem a little dim (it's a cloudy day, and they didn't seem as bright as they should). Radio turns on, but doesn't work properly-cuts in and out.

    THis guy has driven the car only 3,000 miles since August. The registration expired in Jan and he barely has driven it due to that. Could it just be dead from sitting? SHould I get a new one? How much for a low end battery? PLEASE tell me you think that is the problem!!
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