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Taurus/Sable Maintenance & Repair



  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    I took Ford to court for the head gaskets on my 93 Thunderbird failing. I won my case (still waiting on my check from Ford - I'm supposed to have it by 10/20). There's a good chance you would win a small claims case. If you'd like, e-mail me at I might have some things to help you should you decide to file a small claims case. You'll never know unless you try.
  • cjd4cjd4 Posts: 1
    Question for #118. Probably way to late for this but I'm new to this site. I have a 93 taurus that has the check engine light coming on after about 5-10 miles of driving. It then goes off after 1 or 2 min and may stay off or flash on and off. Two mechanics have not found a problem. One says the reading is showing fuel pump failure but hesitates to put in a new one as long as there seems to be no other problems i.e. cutting out etc. If (Ideal 50) can supply the information that she mentioned, or if anyone else has any idea what the problem may be I would certainly appreciate it if you could let me know. Thanks
  • moxie4moxie4 Posts: 1
    We once had a car with a sore [non-permissible content removed]
    The repair bills really did floor us
    We have since learned
    If you don’t want to get burned
    Stay away from Ford and from Taurus

    Problems included CV joints, brake rotors, engine mounts, front axles, tie rods, speedometer cable, transmission, head gasket and more that I don’t care to remember. Spent over $6000 Canadian in repairs over the 2 ½ years that this car owned us. The car was two years old when we bought it for $10000 Canadian. Ended up giving it away. Head gasket blew while I was having it looked at for trade in value on a Mazda. It saved the best for last – nice big smoke show right there at the Mazda dealership. I brought my concerns to the attention of Ford, whose only proposed fix was to sell me another Ford – not!. I will never ever buy another Ford. You couldn’t give me one if it came with cash in the glove box. I won’t take it. The 1995 Taurus Wagon was the junkiest car I ever owned. I am still paying off both the repair bills and the money I borrowed to buy it, and thinking about it and writing about it makes me feel ill. Keep away!
  • I've got a 92 Taurus with 95,000 miles, and it has not been too bad of a car. Considering I paid only $8,500 for it with 33,000 miles (How much would a comparable 4 year old Accord with 33,000 miles would have cost?), it has been cheap to keep as well, other than an expensive air conditioner compressor repair. The factory tires went 82,000 miles, and only one set of brake pads so far. Have replaced rear struts and water pump as well, all at around 75-80k miles. Not perfect, but parts are cheap, and I don't think it seems that unreasonable.

    Occasionally, either after driving for a few hours, the check engine light will come on, and after a minute or two, go off, not to come back on. I am thinking to Oxygen sensor may transmit a problem. If the car runs fine, and your mechanic doesn't see a problem, I would not worry about it. Most likely it is just an emissions issue. I have been thinking about replacing the Oxygen sensor, as my mileage has dropped lately from around 24 mpg to about 22 mpg.

    I have never had to do any transmission work, or engine repairs. One reason may be I flush both the transmission and coolant system every 30,000 miles.

    All I can say is in my family's experiences with an 89, 92, & 93 Taurus, all have been fairly cheap to own. The 3.0 engine has a better reputation, but if I can get to 120,000 miles, I will be satisfied, as that would work out to paying $8,500 and getting 85,000 miles out of it.
  • mpaulmpaul Posts: 9
    Hello all,
    I am changing the heater core in this beast on the weekend and would very much appreciate any help as my service manual is pretty vauge.
    I understand its a big undertaking but it has to be done. This car has A/C but it hasn't worked in a few years and I have no intentions of having it repaired so thats not a big concern.
    Does any one know if I need any special tools.
    I was told that the steering column had to be removed, is this true? (Hope not!!)
    Anyone one have any tips?
    I would be greatful for any help.
  • it could be caused by a lazy o2 sensor. They're not too expensive, and easy to change. They switch from rich to lean and rich to lean at about 80 to 100 milliseconds. At around 200 and above, they are considered "lazy." The mpg will increase because it will get the engine closer to the 14.7 to 1 air/fuel ratio.

    You are lucky with those trannys. The "axods" trans have a rear sun/planet that gets starved for fluid, so they are not good cars to take on long trips. I am not saying that because I am not a Ford fan. They have a poor design (the newer ones are a little better) and the fluid gets hot and cannot properly lube the sun and planets on the rear of the tranny. You can tell if you need the radiator fluid changed. Take a multimeter and ground the neg lead. Take the pos lead and stick it into the antifreeze. If it's higher than .3 volts, time to thange it. Usually about every year or so is a good idea to keep the components properly lubed.
  • Sometimes the books say to practically remove the dash to get out the heater core. Maybe that's where the steering column comes in. I have never taken out a steering column to change a heater core. If I remember correctly you don't need any special tools for that job. It probably will leak so be prepared for some fluid loss. Be careful of two things, watch exactly on how you disconnect your heater selector lines. Second thing, under the hood. The heater core lines are WAFER THIN. On reconnection of the lines, put a little vaseline on the hoses to slide back on. Leave the heater exchanger on hot when adding radiator fluid and running the vehicle. Heater cores aren't usually difficult, just time consuming.
  • mpaulmpaul Posts: 9
    Thanks for the reply. Good tips
  • I had to remove the dash on my '91 sable sedan (BTW, 3.8L, 173k and NO HG, cooling, out-of-the-ordinary problems) to replace a blend door controller for the auto climate control. The controller mounted on the core. You do have to drop the steering column, but if I remember right, it is 4 nuts. I didn't have to remove the dash completly, thankfully, but I believe you would to remove the core. It took me most of the weekend to do this. It is a HUGE job, but with average mechanical skills and regular hand tools, you should be able to do this.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Its a big job. You said your AC doesn't work and if your not going to fix it you should probably just cut the pipe where it goes into the evaporator (through the firewall). I'm assuming that there's no freon charge left in the system. If there is then it has to be evacuated before cutting. If you want to reconnect the line to the evaporator you will need the special tool to release the spring clamp on the line. BTW, Ford recommends replacing the receiver/dryer anytime it is removed for service, but here again if your not going to recharge and use the AC it doesn't matter.
    If memory serves me you will need to remove the dash and remove the entire climate housing to get the core out. I do remember having to unbolt and swing the column out of the way, but it wasn't hard to do that part. As I remember it was a difficult and time consuming job.
    Let us know how it went.
  • mpaulmpaul Posts: 9
    Hey I appreciate all the response...Thanks
    I think I will take your advice Burdawg and
    cut the A/C pipes. I'm not looking forward to this
    but its just getting to be a little to foggy in the car. I will let you know how it goes.
  • mpaulmpaul Posts: 9
    Well I started the job and when I realized what I was getting into I chickend out.
    Just to much work to put into such an old car.
    Decided its time to cut my losses on this beater.
    Think I will look around for a older Toyota, at
    least that should be a little more reliable.
    Thanks again for your tips..hope i didn't disappoint anyone.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I think you made a wise choice.
  • This is my first use of this chat line, and I hope it solves some of my problems. Last night my 96 Taurus decided that the RPM would not increase past 1500RPM before cutting out and decreasing to idle. This was followed by the service engine light which remains on steady. This condition was followed by intermittent on and off fluctuations of the daytime running lights (mandatory in Canada). It leads me to believe that I have a problem in the emission control area, although the light thing baffles me. However as I was limping my Taurus home, the cutting out of the engine disappeared. Now the only problems I have are the misfire at 4000RPM and the service engine light, not to mention the intermittent daytime running lights. I figure this is an electrical problem but am unfamiliar with the Taurus idiosyncrasies. Can anyone offer any advice.
  • Might be your TPS i.e. throttle position sensor. Mine went out on my '91 Sable 3.8, and the engine speed was real goofy.
  • bmac6bmac6 Posts: 2
    My 96 Taurus, 3.1 liter engine, is dripping oil when the engine is killed. It does not drip when the engine is running. Any suggestions as to what it might be?
  • hooferhoofer Posts: 43
    198,000+, bought new in 2/89, and still in daily use today.

    I have maintained it with my system of simple monthly checks and good record keeping called Proper Maintenance (PM).

    You can see pictures of the vehicle inside and out and download my FREE PM checklists at my website:

    best of luck
  • I had the same problem with the 3.0 '94 taurus. During rebuilt guys changed one of engine mounts. I bought car in april with leaking converter. It was very annoying to check level all the time so I did rebuilt, fixing #156 mentioned problem too.

    Well then I noticed recently a sudden jerk when gear changes from 2nd to 3rd (20mph), from P to R and from R to OD. And some sound kind of zzzm, when in P,N positions. Other shifts were smoth as usual. I cured it detaching battery for a while so resetting and clearing computer memory. After that tranny wirks like a new. Any body knows what all it means ?
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    1989 Must have been a good vintage. I have an 89 with 140k. Nothing special has been done to maintain it at all.
    All fluids (brake, transmission, coolant, most everything) have been changed on schedule (the Ford schedule) and routine maintainance (belts, hoses, tune) as called for. Have replaced stereo wich was possessed, water pump, battery, alternator 2 times, alignment and balance 2 times(once free), the A/C (updated to the new coolant) and a few other things.
    The only exception are the oil changes. The first were at 3k intervals by the original owner for the first 100k (almost) and then I got it for FREE. Yup, free!!!! I change the oil every 7500 miles and have had most of my cars crack 180k at which point I usually get rid of them because of other problems (never engine problems) or I just want something never/different. Two times I changed the oil at 4000 miles because I was living it he city for a while but thats it.
    The cars that I have traded in earlier than 180k or so were mostly due to other problems. Never a single engine problem with 7500mile oil changes with regular mineral oil. So I do not believe that the 3k interval extends the life of the engine to any significant degree but thats just my opnion. Either way, the Road Warrior Taurus at 11 years old...
    1) Drives beautifully and still accelerates very well
    2) Has a few sqeeks but rides pretty quietly up to 65mph. It has always has a little shimmy beyond 70mph so I dont go there.
    3) It just passed emissions with flying colors!! So its good for at least 2 more years.
    4) It can get almost 30mpg on the highway at 60mph on 87octane!!!! From Philly to St. Louis I got 28.5mpg this last time at 60mph. AMAZING!!!!!
    5) Does pretty well in the snow on all season rubber

    I think the 1989 and 1990 were great cars. BUT the 91 to 94 seem to have horrible problems and some of the recent ones dont seem to holding up too well either. I do have a salesman friend who has 190k on his 1996 but that ALL highway.

    Anyway, the Taurus is no longer my daily driver and does not pile up miles like it used to but I still maintain it as a second car. I drive it 2 times a week (about 50miles or less).
    Currently the transmission MAY be slipping a tiny bit, its showing some rust because its an outdoor car, and it loses (not burns but seepage) about 1 quart every 6000 miles. My goal is to get 5-7 more years from it but I would happy with 3.
  • So far I had found that it wasn't computer memory glitch (mentioned in post #259). It looks as if some capacitor was charging very slowly several days and then bang - tranny had some problem with turning on clutch - so bumming and hard shifting up to 3rd speed. When I detached battery - capacitor slowly discharged and tranny behaved like new for few days.

    After realizing it I tried last time to switch on everything that can consume electric current in the car while battery was off to discharge this mysteriuos capacitor. And it worked! So no problems since then. Don't have any idea what it might be, don't even know how this clutch works.
  • My '96 Taurus recently starting running hot during traffic stops (Live in Houston quite common) and the temp. gauge starts getting hotter and hotter the longer you sit in the traffic. You can put the car in neutral or park and accelerate up to 2,000 or 2,500 rpm's and the temp gauge got right down. I have changed the thermostat and checked the fluid level all seems to be fine. Also the heater now only works when the engine is running @ 2,000 rpm and above.

    Thought that the only other thing it could be would be the water pump. Any ideas before I change the water pump.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.
  • I have a '94 AL with 78k miles (3.0 engine). Except for the normal tires, brakes and batteries, I have not had to replace anything. I have it serviced regularly, to include new fluid and filter in the transmission at 60k miles.
    Now, with no warning, the transmission will no longer shift into 2nd or 3rd gear. When I accelerate from 1st gear, it goes into neutral and stays there until I slow down and it downshifts back into 1st gear.
    My question is does this indicate a need to rebuild/replace the transmission or could it be something simpler? I know it is difficult if not impossible to 'troubleshoot' a problem over the phone/web but thought I would ask in case someone has had a similar experience.

  • Recently purchased a 96 GL. After having fairly good luck with a 92. Working good so far! When I turn the steering wheel while stopped or at low speeds, I get a lot of moaning and growling! My experience from owning other fords is that the shock tower bearings need lubrication or replacement. Sometimes when the care is warm, I also get some popping noises from the left side, but not consistently. Am I going down the right path here? Are there any reasonable fixes? There must be other owners who have similar growls! I would appreciate any help I can get on this.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    It seems likely that the problem is the transmission. I had a '90 Sable with the 3.0-liter, and at 93K miles and six years, the transmission refused to shift into overdrive (4th gear). I went to 2 different shops and both said the same thing - the transmission would have to be replaced. It cost me about $1600 for a rebuilt transmission.

    By all means though, have it checked out; maybe it won't be as bad as mine was.
  • My '91 Sable with 173k had the same noise when cold. It started slowly at around 100k. I just put it off and figured I would replace the upper strut mounts when I did the struts. Alas, we traded in the car for a Lincoln LS. Even with the milage, we got $1500 on the trade!
  • runmanrunman Posts: 3
    Just purchased a new 2000 LX and am interested in any experiences (good - bad) . Thanks - looking forward to some feedback!
  • sable93sable93 Posts: 107
    I posted this in the Sedans - Mercury Sable topic, but I'm going to post it here too because I need all the help I can get for my '97 Taurus GL. Thanks!

    "Hey, has anyone here had a problem with their dome lights and door ajar light staying on after the,car is started and the door is DEFINITELY shut? My car has started this interesting problem just last Sunday. Along with this, when the light is on, I can't lock the doors without the lock popping right
    back to unlocked. It eventually corrects itself, with the light going off, and a quick chime. Hopefully this won't be too expensive to fix. I bought the car for about $9000 (no loan) in May, and since have poured the $3000 into it. I'm not sure the car is worth much more...... I used to like it a lot.. now it is more of a love-hate relationship."
  • riswamiriswami Posts: 192
    I have a 97 Taurus L. Had the same problem with the dome light staying on. It is the door switch. I know a head mechanic at one of our local Ford Dealerships. He says this is a common repair. My switch was about $15. The dealer got 2 hours labor, 1 to diagnosis and one to repair. Think it took em 1/2 hour total. Cost me 160 to fix. The mechanics love the job, easy and always under the shop manual recommended time. Think the switch has been redesigned.This is the only repair I've had to do to this car, it has 56k and I bought it with 23k.
  • Recently drove 2000 interstate highway miles at 75-85mph. Used about 1.75 Qt of Moil 1 oil. This is way too much! No leaks or blue smoke noticed. Anyone else with similar problem? Any solutions? By the way--the car has 69000 miles on it and runs good. Does not seem to use nearly this amount of oil in local around the town driving.
  • Had the motor mounts replaced two years ago. Had the rear chasis bolts replaced by a recall, last year. When I step on the accelerator (even the slightest bit) there is a clunk noise from the front. My problem started two weeks ago. I checked for loose bolts, mounts and can not find where this is coming from. It is a pretty loud clunk and it sometimes happens on braking. Please help.
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