We have an updated look. Click here for information on how to manage your settings. If you run into any issues, please email [email protected]

Mercury Sable Problems

bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
edited March 2014 in Mercury
...discussions started with Mercury Sable
problems. I'm going to consolidate them here.

Your host, Bruce


  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    Here's the start of one of those topics:

    #0 of 3: Noise in 1999 Mercury Sable LS (thelabe1) Sat 11 Mar '00 (06:37 PM)
    I have a "clunking" noise in my 1999 Mercury Sable LS. The dealer took the subframe down stating it could be that the mounting bolts need lubrication and the bushings had to be reseated. The noises did not disappear. When the auto is driven for a time and you are at a dead stop and release the brake and hit the gas peddle, it makes a "clunking" noise and the vibration can be felt in the steering wheel. The dealer can't figure it out. Does anyone have this problem?

    #1 of 3: sounds like... (bnormann) Mon 13 Mar '00 (05:47 PM)
    a tranny problem to me... Bruce

    #2 of 3: Paint is pealing / oxidized (jag2kid) Tue 14 Mar '00 (01:07 PM)
    I have a 1991 Sable LS, Dark Titanium with Clear Coat paint, 62K miles. The paint on the trunk has started to peal. I always have parked it in the Garage at night and have kept it clean. I have seen other Sables with the same problem. Is there anything that can be done about it? Does any one know if there is any "implied warranty" on the paint from FORD? I am thinking of buying another Mercury but haven't been pleased with the the way the paint has not held up! I have seen other auto manufactures that don't have paint problems (especially if they are garaged). What's the story with the Ford paint?
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    #0 of 0: mercury sable (bobc13) Mon 13 Mar '00 (03:53 PM)

    95 mercury sable 3.0litre after driving the car
    and its warm if you restart it within 30 min it
    will start fine,if it sits about and hour it won,t
    start on the first try but will in the second but
    with a long sometimes flooding feel.if it sits
    more than an hour say two hours no problem starting
  • frank58frank58 Posts: 54
    I had a 92 sable with the same issue. There is a brake modulator that sits near the back tires. I forget what the part is called. But when you released the brakes you would hear a loud thump, and you could feel it. Ask the dealer to check it out, lubricating mine helped, but didnot solve the problem.
  • jag2kidjag2kid Posts: 1
    I have a 1991 Sable LS, Dark Titanium with Clear Coat paint, 62K miles. The paint on the trunk has started to peal. I always have parked it in the Garage at night and have kept it clean. I have seen other Sables with the same problem. Is there anything that can be done about it? Does any one know if there is any "implied warranty" on the paint from FORD? I am thinking of buying another Mercury but haven't been pleased with the the way the paint has not held up! I have seen other auto manufactures that don't have paint problem (especially if they are garaged).
    What's the story with the Ford paint?
  • sable93sable93 Posts: 107

    Older (late 80s to early 90s) Fords, GMs, and Chryslers have this problem. A new cheaper clearcoat was developed, but over time showed to be faulty. If you had this problem a few years ago, you might have been able to get Ford to pay for it. Unfortunately, their program ended a few years ago. If you want to, you can try going to the dealership you bought the car from and see what they say.
  • mde1253mde1253 Posts: 1
    I have a 1993 Sable that had a clunk similar to the one discussed earlier. A mechanic friend of mine found the problem to be a bad sleeve where the radius arm goes through the cradle. Unforunately the only repair is to replace the cradle.
  • odrichodrich Posts: 2
    From what I saw on a 60 minutes episode, it's not so much the auto manufactures fault as PPG paint. I have heard from Sable93 that Ford no longer has to pay. It's kind of touchy since some lots fade & peel and some don't. I have a teenager that has my passed down 91 Tempo and the paint looks great.

    No offense but when you talk about a 91 vehicle, it is almost a decade old.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    It's been my experience and observation that the metallic paints last the least amount of time, with the darker shades being the worst. The solid non-metallic colors seem to fare the best. A body shop friend of mine basically confirmed this, and when I had my Taurus painted several years ago at MAACO they said about the same. The repaint on the Taurus still looked good after 7 years, the factory paint was poor after 5. The repaint had no clearcoat, which was the major problem on the original paint. I sold the Taurus a couple of weeks ago with 159,000 miles.
  • I have a 1998 Mercury Sable GS that has the same clunking sound as those discussed earlier. It has been in the shop for 6 visits and still has not been repaired. I have made a copy of those problems already posted and will fax to the dealer today. I will keep you posted on the outcome.
  • I'm a new owner of a '99 Sable (lease return). Unless the car is moving at highway speeds, the windshield sprayer misses the windshield almost entirely, with most fluid shooting all the way over the car and onto the ground behind it. The dealer (and Mercury's customer service Web site) consider this normal and "state-of-the-art." So I drive around town on muddy streets and through slush-splashed intersections half blind. Anyone else find this to be a problem? And have you any suggestions?
  • I have a 1996 Sable LS which had a clunking sound on acceleration from a stop and sometimes on de-acceleration. Took it to the dealer several times and they test drove the car and heard the noise. After offering several theories they concluded the noise was due to "body flexing" but offered no solution. One day by chance I had parked the car without setting the emergency brake. I notice a sagging cable under the car which turned out to be the cable that sets the emergency brake. At the lowest point in the sag (look under the drivers side of the car near the back of the front door) is a 5 to 6 inch metal bracket arrangement apparently for adjusting the slack in the cable. On further inspection I found a rubber like band that slips over the bracket assembly had slid down the cable to the rear of the car. I could see a shadow on the bracket assembly where the band had been installed. Apparently this rubber piece acts as a bumper for the bracket. Without it, the bracket makes one heck of a metal to metal clunk when it comes into contact with frame members under car such as during initial acceleration from a stop. I merely slid the band up the cable and back into place on the bracket and my clunk has since disappeared. Don't know if this will solve the problem for everyone, but if it does it's one cheap fix.
  • harmarharmar Posts: 94
    I'm not sure about this, because I haven't yet tried it on my own Sable, but the W/S washer "nozzles" once were able to be aimed where you want them. A small wire could be inserted into the "nozzle" and it would move. The trick is to aim them a little high on the W/S so when moving, the airflow will force the stream down where you want it. My own need adjusted UPward, but I've not had the chance yet to try this. DON'T use a wire that is too large or you'll enlarge the "nozzles" and they won't squirt properly at all!
    Good luck!
  • Sorry, harmar, the sprayers on 99 Sables are non-adjustable. But I find it interesting that you consider yours too low and mine are way to high. I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't another factor at work here - like maybe the pressure of each individual pump? Also interesting is the fact that both my local dealer and the Mercury internet site acted as though mine was not the first complaint they'd had. I wonder if an aftermarket (adjustable) replacement nozzle exists?
  • harmarharmar Posts: 94
    Thanks for the info, dimension2. I suppose it cost moe to manufacture adjustable sprayers. Your idea about the pump pressure is something I'd not considered. I'll ask MY dealer about this problem ASAP. Meanwhile, I have to pull over to the side of the road when I need to use them. Otherwise, the wind stream forces the spray down onto the bottom of the windshield. Good luck again!
  • harmarharmar Posts: 94
    Recently bought my '99 Sable GS with 13K miles on it (program car). After driving it around 2K miles on interstates in windy conditions I discovered it has no rear stabilizer bar. It requires nearly constant steering corrections. I've discovered the LS rear stabilizer bar won't fit my GS. I've not been able to locate any manufacturer who makes one for the GS. #1 - Does anyone have a suggestion on an after market source for one? #2 - Does anyone with an LS have these same steering problems in windy conditions? Maybe I just need to buy an LS? Thanks for any help.
  • Hey Harmar-
    We own a '99 Sable LS Sedan. I thought that it was only my imagination regarding the constant steering corrections on the highway. I was contemplating having the dealer inspect the wheel alignment. It feels as if the car is moving back and forth at cruising speeds. The car does ride great, it's just that you have to be more aware of wheel control than Our Older Ford Tauras and especially more than my Maxima. But- Overall- the car is great- even with pseudo leather seating. There are very few values out there and the Tauras and Sable are tops on the list. My friend has a 97 Malibu- good looking car- but a lemon. Not that this represents all Malibu's- but the running joke is his Ode De Gasoline cologne- since the hose from the gas tank to the fuel line split- car only has 12K miles on it!

    Overall- I like the look of the 2000 Taurus and Sables- especially the Trunk entry on the new Sable!!
  • harmarharmar Posts: 94
    Many thanks, Ottersden2! You just saved me around $4000, as I was going to look for a '99 LS in the hopes/thoughts it would solve my problem. Guess I'll now await a '00 Sable or Taurus coming off lease or rental fleet, but try to test drive a new one at a dealership before that. I, too, like the car as a whole. but am tired of the steering hassles. In Michigan, we get lots of winds. Even in a 7 mph wind today, the car needed steering corrections! I've driven Buicks and my brother has a '99 Grand Prix - neither do this. Ford needs to headhunt some GM suspension engineers, I guess. Thanks again. $4000 is a lot to save! Thank God for forums like this one!
  • harmarharmar Posts: 94
    ottersden2 - I followed a '00 Taurus SE for several miles today in very hard rain and high winds, and at 65 - 70 mph on I-75. I was having difficulty with the steering problems we've discussed. The Taurus either did not have those same problems or its driver was doing a heck of a job of controlling them. I couldn't see any corrections. It went straight as a ruler. A friend is looking through back Merc bulletins to see if there ever was anything on the '99 steering and I'll post anything I discover.
  • thelabe1thelabe1 Posts: 1
    I originnally had the clunking noise in 99 Sable LS. After the 3rd time back fixed. One bushing in the sub-chassis was bad and only seen if placed side by side with new one. Replaced 4 bushings and no noise. Also Mercury people told me to demand Regional Rep to get Ford Technician is problems cannot be cured. I was lucky and the dealership had master mechanic on premises. Thank you all for your help. I really love this car.
  • pokey8pokey8 Posts: 1
    My husband and I are thinking of purchasing a 1999 Sable GS (lease return). We drove it and really liked the way it handled. Any thoughts before we make our decision?
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Hi pokey8, welcome to Town Hall!

    Have you been over to our Sedans conference? That's probably a better place to find out what folks think of the car you are looking at.

    If you key Sable into to the Topic Search feature on the left side of the page, you'll find several topics in Sedans that might be of interest to you.

    Good luck!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • harmarharmar Posts: 94
    pokey8 - Perhaps you've already perused previous postings. My '99 GS was an off-lease car. 13K miles, Great shape. Great car, except for handling in relatively minor winds. I live in Michigan, and keeping mine in a straight line on windy days or following semis is daunting! I can never relax. I test drove an LS and it had the same tendencies despite its having a rear stabilizer bar standard. As you may have noted, ottersden2 has an LS that also wanders.

    2000 models should soon start coming off lease and in from rental fleets (e.g., Hertz). The reviews say they handle better, but I haven't actually driven one yet to know if I agree.

    If you decide to go for the '99, opt for the bigger engine (24 valve DOHC Duratec) and ABS if you can find one with those options. I get 22 mpg around town and 28 on the interstates. Mine also has power front bucket seats and they are very comfy and adjust to anyone's needs.

    I love the car, except for the handling in windy conditions.

    Good luck!
  • My 99 Sable's cruise control does not keep a steady speed on downhill slopes. I can start a moderate slope at 60 and 2 miles later I'm going 75. The dealer says this is normal, that this cruise control does not apply the brakes (do any of them?), and that I need to downshift from Overdrive to Drive to keep my speed steady. Or touch the brakes - which of course, turns off the CC and it has to be reset. All other CCs I've ever had kept the speed steady uphill, downhill, or on the level. Any thoughts out there?
  • harmarharmar Posts: 94
    dimension2 - I have never had that problem with my '99 GS cruise control, and have used it a fair amount of the time. However, I've not used it on any really steep downgrades, as I haven't had it to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. But on moderate downgrades, it works like all the others I've had. And I don't believe any I've had "applied the brakes." They simply backed off the accelerator to maintain the set speed. Good luck!
  • mawatkinsmawatkins Posts: 3
    We have just spent a week finding out that the
    clunking sound (see item No. 10 above) from our 1998 sable GS was a bad strut and strut gasket attached to the frame. It has been a week now since they repaired the car and so far no clunking sounds. For those of you that have the sounds, ask the dealer to check
    the struts out.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    I am copying and reposting the following from a similar topic:

    #0 of 0: Sable ignition switch (rggrimes) Mon 01 May '00 (07:23 AM)

    I have scrolled through several of the maintenance
    sections and the sedans section and can't find
    anything on my problem....HELP. I have a 1995
    Sable GS that has been a fairly good car. However, I now have a problem developing with the ignition
    switch. When you take the keys out, it continues
    to ding the warning and sometimes when you put the
    keys in there is some difficulty turning the
    switch. My wife's keys seem to work better than
    mine (both are original, she drives it more than I
    do). Has anyone had similar problems and if so
    what was/is the cure, is this a known problem with

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • dimension2dimension2 Posts: 7
    I have a similar problem on my 94 Toyota pickup. I found that if I tap the ignition with a knuckle after pulling the key out, the dinging stops. The ignition just doesn't click all the way off sometimes, and the light tap makes it click. I can only guess that this is caused by wear, dust, or a combination. Before I take it to a dealer or mechanic, though, I'd take to a locksmith. They're prices are much more reasonable, and they can work wonders on anything that uses a key.
    Hope this helps!
  • mj61274mj61274 Posts: 1
    Like the earlier post, I have a clunking noise in my '97 Sable. It is my 2nd sable and both of them did it. The strange thing is with my Sable, it only does when it is warm out. Ive taking it to the dealer I bought it from (used car dealer) and they said it is the bodymounts. They greased them and it quieted down a little, but only for a short while. I took it back again and they said ford had a recall on it and they would fix it. The dealer said once it was fixed to bring the bill to them. A bill for a recall? Got me. I havent had time to take it yet, when I do Ill let you know.
  • mawatkinsmawatkins Posts: 3
    We have given up on taking our 1998 Sable LS sedan
    in for repairs. Mercury made us a sweet deal on a
    new 2000 Sable premium sedan. The dealer ship finally got tired of us bringing the car in and to date has spent $3000, in trying to find out where the clunking noise was coming from. They still cannot find out where the noise is coming from. The 2000 Sable is SO nice, and as my wife says, "at least it does not clunk anymore!"
  • danielj3danielj3 Posts: 19
    I just a Mercury Sable Premium station wagon, and
    is powerful, precise, responsive, full of clever
    details, lots of safety features to name a few

    Enjoy yours!
  • hapmac1hapmac1 Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Sable, with 32,000 miles, and a year and a half old, that is getting it's third engine. Any experience getting Ford to repurchase the car under state lemon laws?
  • Regarding problems? If you've bought one recently are you happy?

    My wife and I are looking at buying one from a dealer we have a great relationship with. (He steered us off of the Cougar!) I love the looks of this car, but want to make sure I'm not missing anything. Thanks for your help!
  • ltrabulsltrabuls Posts: 3
    I yesterday took delivery of the above wagon. I used this page for pricing,comments both favorable and not, and appreciate a venue for discussing a major purchase. This is not the most exciting car I have ever owned,(that was a 61"Peugeot 404, but I think it is excellent value for the money. I drove my 90' ford lx wagon into the ground with 148,000 miles on it and only had any problems the last 20 k,or so. My 97" tarus gl wagon was a wonderful car,trouble free and yes,stylish,(I loved the oval theme)but it died gloriously last sat night,two weeks ago when I encountered a wrecked, blacked out car at 55 mph.in the fast lane of a six lane highway. I had just started to turn towards the right after noticing something strange, and I then hit.bouncing three lanes over and wrecking the right side of the vehicle on the barrier.Only noticable damage so far is a air bag burn on the left side of my nose, (my head must have been turned to the right on impact), and some bruised chest muscles from the drivers air bag.My car was "totaled". I bring this story to the forum as I have found that this is the only station wagon I can now find on the market , at a decent price point24 25 M loaded,sun roof,leather auto air ect.and that has side air bags as well as a good repair record ect. my experience after one day of driving is that it is a much quiter car,with a greatly stregthened rigidity, and enough bells and whistles to amuse this retiree. the steering is not as good as the volvo s70 or audi a6 wagons, but the price is a heck of a lot better, and it appears, from personal , but sad experience, to be pretty safe.I intend to use this site for the life of my car. best wishes,ltrabuls
  • rbudn83510rbudn83510 Posts: 23
    i had my duratec 2000 sable recalled for reprogramming of the PCM(powertrain control module). After this procedure the car feels like it has a flat spot during accelaration and it is reluctant to downshift. Prior to this the car accelarated and shifted perfectly. Has anyone else experienced these problems with this recall?
  • rafael6rafael6 Posts: 1
    Besides the obvious recalls, I just found out my a/c compressor went bad and shorted out the computer module. This was right after I replaced the heater core. And last summer the motor mounts had to be replaced, which was part of an M program recall the dealer wouldn't make good on. Actually, the previous owner didn't get it taken care of. The defective mounts caused and a/c hose to break leaking out all the freon. That cost me $600. Now a new a/c with the computer problem is going to cost me $1,000. And this is through my reasonable local auto repair shop.

    What else you say? Well, the ignition lock is a definitely flaw. Got it replaced a year and a half ago by a locksmith who said, "these Sables and Tauruses are always having this problem." How reassuring???!!! It appears it's starting to lock up a little again. What ever happened to the old ignition key locks. Oh, that was in the old days when you weren't afraid you're car would be stolen. Is this still a problem on later Sable/Taurus designs?
  • margsmargs Posts: 1
    I have a 1995 Sable GS, pretty well loaded, which I just bought. It is in great shape, but has a strange intermittent miss, or stammer, or stutter, or something. There does not appear to be a pattern, except for the possibility that it might not happen after car has been on the road for awhile. Anyone having the same problem?
  • frank58frank58 Posts: 54
    When I place my wagon in reverse now, the radio goes silent. When I shift back into drive it comes on again. Does anyone else have or seen this issue?
  • nelsoncmnelsoncm Posts: 103
    I checked all the websites and sure didn't see anything about a 2000 recall on any sables....I just bought one with the Duratech engine on 5/29...only had it a week. I even asked the dealer flat out if there had been any recalls, he said no (a fleet manager) and this is the first I've heard...maybe mine was built after yours??...
  • Recently received a letter from Ford Motor Company dated April,2000 for a 2000 Sable company car. It states " Ford Motor Company is providing a no-charge service, Program Number 00B38, to owners of CERTAIN 2000 Taurus and Sable vehicles equipped with 3.0L 4V gasoline engines, for a potential engine backfire on vehicle start up. Your vehicle may have been built with Powertrain Control Module (PCM) calibration strategy features that may cause an engine backfire on startup. This may CRACK the intake manifold, and could render the vehicle inoperative. Your vehicle's PCM must be reprogrammed to alleviate this condition. This program will be in effect until April 30, 2001, regardless of mileage. Call your dealer without delay. Provide the dealer with your Vehicle Identification Number (located at the beginning of this letter). Ask for a service date for Owner Notification Program 00B38." When my husband called our local dealership about two weeks ago, they had two other cars ahead of him and they were waiting for info from Ford on how to repair.
  • rbudn83510rbudn83510 Posts: 23
    finally....i found someone on here who got the PCM rcall notice. As you may have read in an earlier post...after the computer was reprogrammed i noticed an immediate difference in the performance and shifting of my car. It bogs down when accelarating from a low speed and is extremely reluctant to downshift. The cars performance was simply perfect before this recall and now i am less than satisfied. Im trying ti needle my dealer to see if there is anyway we can revert it back to the original way. Please let me know any info anyone else may get.Other than that this car is absolutely a great value. My other car is a honda accord ex-v6(1999) and the sable beats it easily in every comparison test.
  • I plan to share your comments regarding the performance change. I'll post an update when PCM is reprogrammed.
  • dbrown39dbrown39 Posts: 2
    I have a 98 Sable with 52,000 miles. I just had it
    at the dealers for an engine service soon light.
    The code came back as 1744 this a trans. problem
    that the dealer said I needed a trans. overhaul and a new valve body. Does anyone know what 1744 code means and do I really need an overhaul at only 52,000 miles. It is my understanding that all
    powertrain systems are design to last 100,000
    miles. Please help!
  • harmarharmar Posts: 94
    These had lots of transmission (and other) problems prior to the model changes ('96?). Take a look at www.lemonaidcars.com for insights. Good luck!
  • ltrabulsltrabuls Posts: 3
    I have had my sable about a month now, and must say that I am totally pleased. the car runs like a baby lincoln, and some of the other problems evident on my 97 tarus have been addressed,(noise,less than adaquate headlights,ect)above all, I received a call from ford motor in atlanta, asking how I liked the car. For the automobile business, this is unreal. I own a small amount of ford stock, so I am not being a shrill. I own a lot more of another car co. which will remain nameless(hint: used to be called mercedes benz) and even though getting through to them has gotten a lot easier. it is still like making a frontal attack on the sigfried line. Kudos to ford. to the rest of the industry, watch out. Jacques Nasser of ford has you on his lunch plate. Also understand from today's wall street journal that ford is reading this page. have i died and gone to heaven?
  • reese100reese100 Posts: 1
    I lease a ‘99 Mercury Sable LS station wagon. The
    odometer reads 27,000. The mechanics at two Mercury dealers have failed to solve a persistent
    problem. Note: All the tow truck drivers in the
    story below are different people.

    1. The car would not start. It appeared the
    battery was dead. There was plenty of life in the
    battery, however, because headlights, horn, radio,
    etc., all worked. I called for a tow. The tow
    truck driver slid behind the steering wheel, gave
    it a sharp jerk, and started the car. He said
    it's a problem common to Ford products.

    2. Same problem when my wife was driving. She
    and her friend gave the wheel a hard turn and the
    engine started.

    3. Same problem. Turning the wheel didn't help.
    Tow truck driver got underneath the car, tapped on
    the starter motor, and the engine started. I
    reported these events to the dealer's service
    department. A mechanic reported a bad starter
    motor had to be replaced. They didn't have one in
    stock, and it would be another week before they
    could schedule replacement.

    4. Next day, same problem, many miles from home.
    Turning the wheel and tapping on the starter did
    nothing. The car was towed to another dealer.
    Its mechanics diagnosed a bad starter and replaced it the next day.

    5. Five days later, same thing. I turned the
    wheel but the car would not start. The tow truck
    driver got behind the wheel, put the transmission
    in neutral, turned the wheel harder than I had,
    and it started. (He also recommended getting rid of the auto.)

    I reported all this to the original dealer's
    Service Manager. He was sympathetic but that's
    all. When asked about two service departments
    making the same (incorrect) diagnosis he replied,
    "We both guessed wrong."

    The one common thread is that each time the engine
    wouldn't start the car had been left in a parking
    lot in hot sun with the windows rolled up. Since
    the last episode a week ago I've made certain not
    to let the interior overheat and the car has
    started regularly.

    Anybody got a ‘99 Sable or Taurus with a similar
    history and knowledge about a fix?

    [email protected]

  • frank58frank58 Posts: 54
    I have a 96 Sable with the Micron ait filter. Does anyone know how to take it out. Where is it located?
  • It's interesting to note that the same problems keep happening. My list:transmission replacement, Windshield motor replaced, Heater core bad, ignition switch problem,;the list is too long to continue. At any rate, a new problem with the wipers: replaced everything, and today they won't work. Anyone have and ideas or similar experiences? Thanks
  • wilforswilfors Posts: 1
    Please help me I'm drowning.
    Ever since that big old maple tree fell on my car the rear hatch has been leaking.
    I took it to a body shop last week and he thought he had solved the problem. Unfortunately the rain decided it would come to rest in the rear well again last night. I'm returning to the shop tommorrow but was wondering if this may be a common problem that is easy to solve with a new weatherstrip or something. It obviously isn't the easiest leak to find because I know that this fellow spent hours on it. Has anyone out there experienced a similar problem?
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Check the seals around the tail light housings. Just a longshot, but it was the source of my leak in my 88 when I had it.
  • ltrabulsltrabuls Posts: 3
    the air bag light on this car has recently stayed on after the other checks have been accepted. I find that if I turn the engine off, and restart ,the light goes out properly.I am attributing this to electronic "hiccups". any comments pls.(still love this car)
This discussion has been closed.