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Taurus/Sable Maintenance & Repair



  • Yes 3 taurus GL's. My first was a delight, a 1987, i bought used from some old lady. It had little over 34k on it when i got it, and i ran it untill around 87k. Never ever any problem. This car had the 3.0L v6 and had the infamous AXOD transaxle. the transaxle never failed. the car handled very well like a european sedan, so i drove it as such. at the 87k mark, i was rear ended by a speeding explorer, which explored my trunk. i got out with out a scratch. thank you ford for safety. i then had the un holy hell experience of a 1991. ah yes 1991, the year of the m code for the transmissions. i bought my 91 from a local ford dealer, with little over 22k, told the story of old man drove to church on sunday, yea sure. anyway, i would detect metallic slivers on the dipstick for the axod transaxle dipstick, so i thought, i just have this junk changed, and the screen replaced. so i did, and drove another 10k. i again started to notice metalic shavings collecting on the dip stick. i took my car to a ford dealer, and was told no problem was found. the car had much less power than my 1987, and it handled worse also. around this same time, a friend had a 1991 sable with the same underpinnings that my taurus had, only his car had 75k. a car i had recommended to him, due to the fact my 87 taurus being so great. his transaxle failed. so i called ford about my taurus, with their extended service plan i may add. they told me that there was a recall on the transaxle, and that ford extended the warranty on the transaxle for so and so miles and so and so more past the new car delivery date. this did not matter because i had the esp plan, and the car fell still under that warranty for the 97m84 transaxle fix plan. i think that was the number i am not sure. anyway no ford dealer was willing to fix my damn transaxle. i was never happy with the 1991 anyway, and so i just sold it. then a 1993, only this time i figured i would get the performance that my 1987 had. i opted for the 3.8l and yes another axod, but this was the axod-e. so i figured ahh ford is smart they fixed this car good. they almost had their engineering good. the car got to the 105k mark, and believe you me, i follow the damn mant. book like a book. i hate things that dont work, or complaining whenn i did not complete scheduled mant. the ol metal shavings collecting on the dip sitck came thru. there they were. so i refuse to just give up, i got a power fluid suck thing from a local lube shop, plus i got the screen replaced. haha i thought i do good. the old shavings came back only after 4 to 5 hundred miles, and it was beginning to become sluggish to kick down to a lower gear when passing. so i ditched it. Now I loved, i mean loved the 1987. So now i have found a 1989 taurus lx wagon, this baby is loaded loaded. it has the options like the continental. 3.8 and all. only has 83k. is this going to give me the performance that the 1987 gave me? this thing looks as if it was garaged and owned by a caring and compassionate owner who follows the manual mant. specs like the good book. any ford techs out there want to give me some hope for another taurus, or should i just give up ship? oh and by the way, dont tell me to go get a honda accord. i went that way also in 1993, my wife had the accord, i the taurus. the accord had the same sort of symptoms at 74k, metal shavings, but no lack in low gear shift time. just a pain in the butt sort of holding back feel when you would go down hills wiht the car in overdrive. so no honda. i want another taurus like the first taurus i had. help help help.!!! let me know what the heck i should do...
  • I'd say go for it. I'd look in the paper and on line for a used '89-'90 Taurus if that is the generation you really like. I'm sure there are some out there without really high mileage.

    Have you thought about a SHO?
  • i hear some horror stories about the life the sho's have had, owners who tear around in them all day, and drive them, well like a sports car. i just need something that has some spunk to pass traffic when i need it to, and do it quick without hesitation. i realy want to stay in the 5,000 dollar and below range, and the one taurus that has won my heart is the 89 lx wagon, due in part of all its electrical gimmicks it has in and on it. hehehe, i need something to play wiht when it is torn down to replace the head gaskets, know what i mean? i dont mind a manual trans, but i prefer with fingers crossed the axod auto 4 speed, and finding a 5 grand or less 93 to 96 sho is going to run into high miles, i think. do you know anything about the 89 thru ? (whenever the body change was for the ford probe). what model had the digital instrumentation? lx? or gt? is the probe a worthy car to compare to the 89 taurus i am considering?
  • Well, the Probe is a completely different car than the Taurus, so I'd say a comparison between the two isn't very fair.

    For $5K, I bought my '93 Sable w/ 3.8L engine about 9 months ago. If you are buying anything older, you should be able to get it for less.
  • thanks for all your input zack, i think i am going to go with a 1991 lexus es 250. it is based on the v6 camry platform, and i have found one for the same price of that taurus i was looking at. ill give it a shot, and if it dont compare to that 87 taurus i had at one time, ill be back. oh while i am here and talking about toyota, they too had problems with head gaskets on the 3.0l v6 engine in the trucks in 1993-1994, some had problmems in older trucks. the toyota dealer replaced my parents head gaskets under a silent warranty, before they blew. so no car is perfect i agree. well thanks again!!! oh and for you anti taurus/sable people out there, think of this, the taurus was and has been on that best seller list for quite a while, fleet sales or not, the car must be good for something, and they all cant be bad, by now the ford motor company would be bankrupt. ford is THE most proffitable car manufacturer in the WORLD, and you may own a ford with out seeing ford. Mazda, Volvo, Jaguar, Austin Martin.... get the picture? Anyway thanks to all..... happy motoring!!
  • You found a '91 Lexus for under $5K?!?! Wow!! Get it!!! Run!! Hurry! You probably won't be able to get a deal like that anywhere anytime soon.
  • I just checked. Trade in for a '91 ES 250 is $5,250 according to edmunds. You could probably make money by buying it, and selling it if you wanted.
  • zslickzslick Posts: 11
    We have a 98 Taurus SE with 3.0 Vulcan V6. This engine has one really annoying glitch: Any time I take my foot off the gas to slow the car down, it will not slow down on its own, even with the overdrive locked out. According to the tach, the engine seems to hold about 75% throttle when gas pedal is released. If I am driving downhill, the car will accelerate at a significant rate. The only way to slow the car is to keep a firm foot on the brake pedal. Makes me wonder about safety on slippery road surfaces. After 13 years of driving manual transmission cars, I find this extremely disconcerting. Does anyone else have this problem?
  • sable93sable93 Posts: 107
    going downhill has a lot to do with gravity and momentum. You might want to think about it differently. You can take your foot off the gas, and not loose much speed. That is great for gas mileage!! If you want to slow down your car, just tap the brakes a few times. In my '93 Sable, I've noticed that the car tends to hold onto speed more than other cars on the street and on the highway. If I tap the brake, it will slow down. This wasn't a glitch. It is just the car's personality. As for slippery road surfaces, you should be driving a little slower than usual, and with more distance between your car, and the car in front of you.

    Oh, I also just noticed you mention driving manual cars for a while, where a lot of people use down shifting to slow their cars down. Us auto folks just use the brake.
  • zslickzslick Posts: 11
    I understand what you're saying, but our other car is a 94 Mercury Grand Marquis and it doesn't exhibit this behavior. The Taurus should at least slow down a little when the overdrive is locked out. Also, when I shift into drive and release the brake on a level road surface, the Taurus will actually go fast enough on its own for the transmission to invoke a 1-2 upshift. I suspect that Ford may have set up the engine management system this way to counter the natural tendency some front-wheel drive cars have to fishtail when sudden deceleration occurs. I have experienced this with other front drivers. But this Taurus feels like its on the verge of becoming an Audi 5000!
    BTW, thanks for the input.
  • Edmunds has the most car problems I have seen. If enough people post their problem on this site. They will surely do something about your problem.

    "Government engineers analyze the problem. If warranted, the manufacturer is asked to conduct a recall. If the manufacturer does not initiate a recall, the government can order the manufacturer to do a recall.

    We do not have to receive a set number of reports before we look into a problem. We gather all available information on a problem. Your report is important to us."
  • 90' GL Wgn now 90K miles. First transmission died at 55 K, I thought I was lucky I had an extended warrenty. The second tranny died at 65K, out of warranty out of luck. Dealer wanted 1800$ for another rebuilt tranny. I Said %$%^ you and went to the local junk yard and was amazed to see assortment of Taurus cars. Very easily negotiated for a tranny from a rear hit car for $125 and paid another $150 for installing it :). This seems the way to go. Now I am looking for some cheap AC work (dealer wants $1300$ He He He).
  • My 5 year old battery just died on a 1990 Ford
    Taurus. The mechanic replaced it and ran a
    computer test on the alternator. The test read
    something like alternator"has a bad diode". The
    mechanic said he felt the alternator did not need
    to be replaced. A second mechanic at Pep Boys w/out
    seeing the car felt that it should be replaced on
    the basis of the test. Any thoughts.
  • gkarggkarg Posts: 230
    Have you ever had the tranny fluid changed? How many miles are on your car. My parents' 1993 3.8 was beginning to shudder with 110,000 miles on it. The tranny is still original. I told them it was time for a tranny fluid and filter change. A local garage (he works daytime at a ford garage) did the change and also put a shudder protector of some sort in it as well. It is not shuddering anymore!
  • My 98 Taurus acclerates on its own also. I have the 24 valve duratec engine in mine. If I have the cruise set at say 65 and I encounter a pretty good hill (descent), my car will be going 75-80 mph before you know it. Also, when cruisin down the road put the car in neutral. Instead of maintaining low rpms the engine races up to 4000 rpm. Try it!!!!! Weird. And annoying.
  • johnwngjohnwng Posts: 24
    I have a '97 Taurus GL. Tried to change coolant but couldn't find the valve at the bottom of the radiator. Couldn't see the radiator cap either. Only the coolant reservoir. Any advise as to how to bleed coolant system? Thanks.
  • you appear to be in the self maintenance mode - go to the parts store and get a book on your car. One brand is HAYNES and another is CHILTON. They have paperback books for about $15 to$20 or less. They are not the best but get you over the hump on a lot of these type of issues.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    Funny thing.....My 1990 Taurus gives me fewer problems at 140k miles than my 1996 Contour at 50k miles.

    1200 miles hit a deer (not the cars fault)
    65k alternator
    75k waterpump
    125k air conditioning
    130k power steering pump
    losing 1qt about every 1000-1500 miles
    clean air intake and replace several intake parts

    I wanted 200k out of it but I guess I would be happy with 150k after reading some of the posts here. Perhaps I got a good one but in my car, that 3.0 liter trusty old pushrod Vulcan V6 engine just keep plugging along. It still runs accelerates well and I have done nothing special to maintain it. All I did were regular oil (4000-6000 miles) and fluid changes (probably a little more frequently that required).

    Since it has been pretty good we got Contour. That was a fatal mistake I will not make again. Although it is fun to drive (V6), over the last year it been in the shop every 3 months for several annoying problems from stalling (still doing it), sticky accelerator, various electrical problems, the oxygen sensor 3 times (finally fixed), uneven brake wear, 3 unrelated recalls, a loud sound from the engine (still doing it), and theres plenty more but I dont want to cause too much clutter. Its only at 50k!!!!!!!!!

    I called Ford......dont bother. Their customer help line is useless and might as well be a recording. Too bad....not only did they lose a loyal customer and I'm spreading the word because they pissed me off.
  • roussrouss Posts: 1
    If you think the Taurus repairs are bad, then check out the Q45 responses in the maintenance and repair section. Sounds a lot worse than any Taurus and costs much more in the beginning. Also disproves the myth that the Japanese cars don't have problems! Give me a Taurus anyday.
  • Well, I had my first problem surface last week.
    my 97 Taurus GL with 34,600 has developed a high pitched rattling sound. It occurs after the car is warmed up when I press down the accelerator. If I take my foot off the gas, the sound stops.
    I took it the the dealer and they told me I have excessive engine pinging. They ran a bunch of tests and replaced the mass airflow sensor assembly. Two days later and the pinging is back. I use 87 octane like the owners manual says. Any suggestions? The car is still under warranty until May.
  • Suddenly my wind shield washer pump started to hesitate and now totally failed. I keep pressing the knob, but the washer fluid does not spray. My wipers goes on and on on the dry wind shield leaving the marks. I checked the washer fluid, it is not frozen and it is filled to the top. Any ideas as what could be the problem?
  • bobs5bobs5 Posts: 557
    Do you hear the pump motor running?

    1-If not, see if pump motor is getting voltage, check for burned out fuse, or could be a bad switch. Could always apply 12 volts to the pump motor to see if it still works.

    2-If so, the washer lines or nozzles may be clogged or frozen. Pull the hose from pump outlet and see if washer fluid gets pumped out. A seperate hose would be useful to check this so that fluid is not sprayed all over the place.

    A hair dryer could be used to thaw out the frozen lines if necessary. Use the winter mix of washer fluid as it has an antifreeze in the blend to keep the system from freezing.

    good luck
  • ... for your reply. I will do as you have suggested and will post here again if I have more problems or questions.
  • jake696jake696 Posts: 111
    This topic is never ending, lots of Tortoise problems!

    Soon, they'll all be in the boneyard and no one will worry about them anymore. The tears from the repairs may take a little longer to forget!
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    The post from bobs5 has good suggestions, but if you use anything other than a hair dryer, such as a heat gun, be careful not to melt plastic parts-
  • You all are an opinionated group. Are you telling me that nobody has any suggestions about my problem. I find that hard to believe. Come on guys. I need some help!
  • bobs5bobs5 Posts: 557
    If it is a pinging problem, try a higher octane gas.
    Problem are hard to diagnose over the internet, especially sounds.
    Maybe check for something loose under the hood.
    Wish I could be of more help, but I am kind of stumped on this one.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I agree with bobs5. Take it back to the dealer and get it done under warranty. Could be timing, carbon build up (not likely), ECM, or emmision control problems, just to name a few. Almost impossible to tell without doing tests.
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