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Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable Sedans Pre-2008



  • Thanks s852 and nvbanker for your replies.

    I'm also interested in confirming something about Taurii since I just purchased one. My cruise buttons do not illuminate at night, though they are coded by touch. Is it correct that they do not illuminate? I didn't think much of it until I drove my friend's Alero this weekend and noticed that hers were illuminated, and if they are supposed to be illuminated I'd like to get it corrected.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    The symptoms you tell are not normal. The dealer is b**s. #1 problem might be related to your tires. I have 00 SES, I replaced mine with Yokohama Avid Touring. These tires are giving me the smoothest ride I've ever have. Get your tires checked, if they are Firestones, get them replaced.
    #2 seems like fuel filter. The filter is $15 and very easy to change. You won't loose anything for trying. Appears to be a starvation for fuel. It could be air filter too...

    Let us know what you find...
  • Chicagosky, what year is your Taurus?

    I know that the buttons in my '98 do not light up. I've had a few loaner Sables/Taurus over the last 3 years, but I can't recall whether the buttons were lit in those cars or not.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    My 2000 Taurus SES cruise control buttons do not light up. I doubt if Ford made any changes to that area, so your 2002 probably were not designed to light up either.
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    I don't know about other years, but I have seen it light up on 2002 models.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    We are talking about lighted buttons on the steering wheel, not the cruise control light that comes on on the dash when the cruise control is active, correct?
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    Yes, the cruise control buttons on he steering wheel light up on 2002 SES models when the headlights are on.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I guess they did indeed make a change somewhere between 2000 and 2002 model year. Either that, or mine are supposed to light up but never have!
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    My wife's 2001 SEL does not have light up buttons. Last Dec we rented a 2003 SES from Hertz...the buttons were illuminated. I asked the service manager at our dealer who I have a good relation with if they were supposed to light and he checked and told me no...not on the 2001 SEL. Ford also added lights to the bottom of the mirrors on the new Taurui so I guess the "lighting package" changed.
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    2003s have it and some 2002s (I have personally seen a 2002 with it), so it's possible it was added as a running change for 2002 models then was on all 2003s from the beginning of that model year.

    "For 2003, the Taurus gets an interior that's updated and much quieter. New seals for the doors, windows and rearview mirrors along with new sound damping in the floor make for a quieter cabin. Illuminated cruise control switches have been added and the controls for the adjustable pedals have been moved to the instrument panel for easier access. New seven-spoke wheels add a fresh look to the 2003 models.

    For 2003, more features come standard, including power windows and door locks, a tilt steering column and floor mats. Seat coverings, both leather and cloth, are improved, with lighter colors used to brighten the car's interior. 2003 also brings new dashboard treatments."
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Perhaps this is just another way that Ford has neglected the once proud Taurus. My wife's '97 Ford E-150 Custom Hi-Top Van had lighted cruise buttons. Now, in 2001 we trade that in for a top of the line, with all the bells and whistles Taurus SEL and find that this small thing is not a part of this top of the line Taurus.

    Its really a shame that Ford decided to basically let this wonderful car languish while they spent un-told dollars on trucks and SUVs! I guess that the decision to go for fleet sales (rentals) meant that the consumer got the left overs as Ford decided to become a truck company. A shame that they now have to play catch up with the 500 and other new vehicle lines when they had the classic vehicle line that was at one time, synonymous with the mid sized family car.

    What a shame that when Ford comes out with a vehicle to once again challenge the Camry and the Accord as the best selling car in America it will not be called a Taurus.

    As a two time Taurus owner (also an '89 Wagon)I think this was a real screw up by the Ford folks!
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    Honda's new generation 03 Accord doesn't have lighted cruise buttons either. And, I believe it does not have available dual sun visors available on any versions. (I don't know if they have implemented either of these for 04 Accords)

    So if you want to nitpick about minor features, you can find things to nitpick on any car. Besides, it appears Ford did add the lighted buttons as a running change. Certainly not a deal breaker anyways, as it takes only a few times to learn the feel of the buttons and operate them at night without lights.

    Yes, Ford did concentrate most of its efforts in recent years on trucks and SUV's, but wouldn't you do it also if your profit margins were bigger on those vehicles? New car models will be introduced in the next few years. My main concern is that they drop the well known Taurus name in favor of Futura and 500. That and the Futura may be a bit small for a "mainstream" family car and the 500 may end up too big and likely more expensive. We will see when they are introduced.
    Barring my car getting totalled somehow, I won't be in the market for many years anyways.
  • Thanks all for your responses to my cruise button inquiry. I'm returning from out-of-town, checking the message board, and am amazed by the number of posts! Ehenness, it's an '02 SES. Fdthird, interestingly enough I have lighted sideview mirrors. Yes, I think that my vehicle just didn't get the running change, which is fine, as they're coded by touch anyway.

    While my car was getting repainted, we rented an '03 SES with a bazillion options from the dealership. For those who ever have to have warrantee work done, though I did have to pay for the rental, when I played a polite hardball, they negotiated with me on the price, until I was down to $18/day with unlimited mileage (started at $26). Just an fyi, that though you may have to pay, it may be worth it to request that you get a fairly inexpensive price, if it is within the 3/36.

    Anyway, the rental was gorgeous, though I'm partial to my car because I'm more at home in it. The rental had the center gearshift, the leather package, a sunroof, MACH speakers, traction control, power-adjust pedals, etc. It was that pretty metallic gray color. I've read that Taurus leather packages wear prematurely, so I was wondering if anybody with experience had comment on that. Also, if anybody had the center console, I was wondering if they could speak to their preference of that. I found it more sporty looking and aesthetically pleasing, but after having adjusted to all that extra space in the center for my purse and whatnot, a bit cumbersome. However, that center console is very large, and the storage spaces are all very nice.

    Just a curiosity thing. I also enjoyed the sunroof immensely, though I'm cheap and a graduate student so I'd have a hard time justifying paying for that as an option.

    Aside from the options, I had a hard time noticing much difference between the '02 I own and the '02 I rented (both SESes). I didn't notice any "new dashboard treatments," but maybe I just didn't catch any. I could've sworn the car had five-spoke alloys but I may be wrong. I guess the cabin was quieter-- if anything the engine felt more powerful but it wasn't a Duratec-- but maybe I just thought it was quieter because I had read your post, S852.

    Yes, Taurii have perhaps been a bit neglected by Ford, but my last experience with a Ford was the '89 GL I grew up with (it was the family car), and I'm astounded by how far it's come. One of my friends who is very into car appearances even commented on how far Tauruses have come. They look better, outside and inside, and the second generation Tauruses seem better mechanically (this coming from a girl who doesn't know much about cars) as well.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Please, don't get me wrong...I think the Taurus is a great car and when we were looking for a new car for my wife in 2001 there were few others that could come close to it for the price. I was only expressing my opinion that Ford put the Taurus way on the back burner. The Taurus was and still is very competitive with the Accord and Camry but Ford seemed to be more interested in selling it as a rental than keeping it "cutting edge" as it had been from its introduction. It seems to be that when the "oval themed" Taurus didn't take off they lost interest. I think de-ovaling of the car worked very well and my wife loves driving her Taurus. The interior is laid out very well, the seats comfortable, everything falls very well to your finger tips and the car drives great with lots of power from the 24V engine. Please, understand that I think it is a great car and as someone who has a 14 year history with the Taurus I am just a bit disappointed that Ford didn't go the extra mile to still make the Taurus name synonymous with the top of the field. Perhaps they needed to do more with the vehicle or perhaps they just needed to do some better PR work but I for one do not think the Taurus deserves the "bad press" it gets from many.

    chicagosky, my wife's 2001 SEL has the leather, sunroof Mach audio with 6 Cd changer, traction control and center console....We like a lot the console and floor shifter and feel it gives the car a sporty and upmarket feel. One great thing about the console is that with it the 6 CD changer is mounted right inside rather than the trunk. I love the Mach audio system and the sunroof! The car will be 3 years old this coming March so I really can't speak well re the long term life of the leather but her dove gray interior still looks and feels great. I mean, the leather isn't glove soft Rolls Royce quality but then I paid less for the car then RR probably pays for its seats!
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    Guys how do you like new instrument cluster and steering wheel on 2004 Taurus/Sable?

    Chicagosky I like bucket seats more. First it is more easy to switch gears, esp when driving. Then there is central armrest that is mostly occupied by CD changer, but still there is some place to put stuff. Also it looks handsome and sporty. Mach audio system may be okay but CD players sound quality sucks. I would install something else. Adjustable pedals were proven to be useless, moonroof and leather are great but it is free option anyway on premium cars. I prefer leather because you don't get ussie with static. And it looks and feels nicer than velure.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    You're writing about the illuminated cruise control on the Taurus and some changes on the 2004 model, I have a question for anybody with a 2004 Taurus:

    In the new 2004 Freestar, Ford eliminated the illuminated glove box - a feature they used to offer for years, even in the old Aerostars. But they added illuminated controls on the steering wheel for cruise control and audio controls.

    Now my question is, the new 2004 interior of the Taurus is very similar to the new Freestar. The same instrument panel and steering wheel, etc. So somebody should check out if the glove box is still illuminated when you open it? And how are the 2003 and earlier models, are the illuminated?

    I personally liked the Windstars instrument panel more than the new Freestars modern design; but the Taurus is a different story. A digital odometer for the first time! and the numbers on the gauges are more bright and clear than ever on Taurus.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Can you believe that as a way to save a buck! I ran into this with my 2000 Mustang and could not believe that this was where they decided to save a few pennies! They blamed that on Jacque but now that he's gone I still they're saving money there!

    I also miss the under hood light!
  • Thanks for your responses to my curiosity questions. I have one more: are the bucket seats really different? Because I have a "bench" seat 2002 SES, and it's not a bench seat. It's just two seats, bucket-style, with an insert of upholstery in the center. I was just wondering, because everywhere I look, the column gearshift and the floor gearshift are distinguished by, among other things, bench and non-bench seating, and I can't tell the difference.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I believe that you are correct, the flip fold console version Taurus with the column shifter I am 99% sure has the same seats as the floor mounted shifter version. I have a 2000 SES with column shift and the flip fold console, and the seats are definitely more bucket-like than bench-like. My seats have a significant amount of side bolstering. The flip fold console theoretically provides the possibility of 6 passenger seating, but I wouldn't want to be the middle passenger in the front row! I would only consider it an option for short distances, as it would not be very comfortable.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    I agree with badgerfan about front seat.

    New steering wheel on 2004 seems too busy to me. I find older one more elegant. But that style started from European Mondeo, where it looks more handsome.

    Gauge cluster is made in VW style. The placement of gauges makes uncomfortable to watch speedometer and tachometer at the same time. You don't need unimportant gauges in the center. Don't know why they'd choosen to mimic VW.
  • The 'bucket' seats are those in the floor shift cars, the 'bench' is the seat with the flip/fold console/armrest between the seats. Although they look the same, they're most definitely different seats, and I can feel the difference. My '98 has buckets, and similar '98/'99 cars are a LOT more confortable with the buckets than the bench. I've driven some 2000-03 cars with both types of seats, and they're still more comfortable with buckets.

    The bench seats felt like hard slabs, with less thigh support, less lumbar support (this is in cars without power lumbar on either type seat), and it felt like you sat ON the seat, not IN it. And I'm comparing power seats, same upholstery type, etc.

    I sought out a bucket car on purpose, and have not regretted my decision one bit. I've been on a couple of 500+ mile trips (one way) and have been very comfortable without fatigue. For me, the buckets are the best choice. I'd recommend that people try both types and decide what suits them best.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    I think that the Hertz rented SES with "bench" seats did feel different than my wife's SEL with buckets, but think ehenness is much more versed in the subject.

    I haven't seen the new dash/steering wheel (where has everyone seen it) but I do like the dash on my wife's but do wish the wheel has audio controls.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Okay...did some web surfing and found some 2004 pictures. A few comments:

    1 - I have to agree with the steering wheel comment, I like the old one better. Also, the cruise control buttons look like add ons...more suited to my son's Focus.

    2 - As to the gauge placement...looks to me like change for change sake. Think the old style has a more traditional look (it worked for Mercedes for a long time) and the new look doesn't bring anything to the table for me.

    3 - Is the console new this year too or was that change made before? I like the adjustable cup holder and the general look of my wife's 2001 better.

    4 - Finally...I noticed 3 vertical buttons just to the right of the gauge cluster. Are they trying to go back to that "remote" button audio control method they had back in the mid 90s?? If so, I think that is a lame alternative to wheel mounted controls.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    My guess is those buttons operate the functions of the new "driver information center"-I don't know for sure as I have only seen the photos in the Ford web site which are too small.

    I am going in to get my 30k mile transmission fluid/filter change after work at my dealer after work, so if I see any 04's around I will take a closer look and report back tomorrow.
  • upsetter1upsetter1 Posts: 205
    I find radio control buttons on gauge cluster on my older Taurus very convinient.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    The new VW style gauges is b/c the new designer at Ford worked at VW before (I don't remember his name). I also liked the old steering wheel style from Taurus & Windstar (they are the same) much more than the new one on the Freestar and 2004 Taurus, but the illuminated cruise and audio controls are certainly a welcome addition.

    The 3 buttons are for the message center, also copied from other Ford models, and could be very useful.

    Another illuminated control missing from the Freestar (for the first time) is the audio power/volume knob. You can't see it at night. It's beyond my thoughts why Ford decided to do so. In the 2004 Taurus it shouldn't be a problem, since the audio & temp. controls remains unchanged. Ford says that the Freestar is the best minivan Ford has ever built (?) I doubt if it really is :-(

    I really hope that someone of Ford is reading our posts and will improve these things in the next models.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I couldn't find any '04 Tauri on my dealer's lot, even though their web site said they had about 10. I did get a brochure however, and the three buttons to the right of the dash do control the message center and the trip odomoter. The buttons are labeled from top to bottom SET, INFO, and RESET. Per the brochure, the message center(standard on all Tauri) can provide info on average fuel economy, distance to empty and several other diagnostics it also includes a trip elapsed time setting/odometer.

    Per the brochure at least, only the SEL has the white gauges with black markings, all other models have black gauges. Speedometer is now offset to the right with equal sized tach on the left. Don't know if I like that, but is no big deal either way. The steering wheel is different, but appears OK. Might be slightly better ergonomics to the cruise control buttons. Otherwise no earthshaking changes.

    As usual, my service experience at this place was phenomenally quick. In after work, out in less than 45 minutes. They have service department hours until 11 pm every week night and also 8 AM-5 PM saturdays. I called ahead for appointment, but they said no need, just bring it in and they would get on it right away. Pricey, though as I expected-$132, but I decided at least for the first (30K) transmission service I would let the dealer do this one. Other routine things like oil changes and all filters I do myself, so my overall routine maintenance costs are pretty low.

    I got a quick look at a new Freestar in show room. Looked OK inside, though it appears a lot more spartan than our 96 Caravan SE Sport. Exterior was so close to Windstar that I doubt if most people will even notice it.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    Sorry, i don't agree.

    The taurus has been far from competitive to the camry and accord for some time now. Even the previous generation camry and accord were far better cars. With the introduction of the new malibu and rapid improvement of the south korean entries, the taurus is finding itself overwhelmed in this segment.

    what do i base this on? if you follow the auto industry i think you know i can list a long "laundry" list of the whys.

    how can the taurus possibly be competitive when ford needs to use HUGE incentives in order for them to sell.

    ford is doing exactly the right thing in regulating these cars to rental/fleet sales. the taurus name has too much of a "rental" car connotation to use on a new model.

    the ford futura is one of my most anticipated cars.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    Unlike some, I build my discussion on different aspects, not on incentives that Ford gives.
    I had 93 Civic (brand new), 91 Accord(used) and 99 Accord (brand new). They were very good cars. But they were just cars like others. I didn't see any superiority on those I drove...
    Handling wise I think My Taurus is as good as my last Accord. In fact,it is quiter with Yokohoma Avid tires
    Styling wise, I really like gen.4 Taurus that I have one now. Accord is good too (camry is ugly) but why pay extra to name..
    Quality wise, I am very happy with it. It just shows some problems here there but easy to fix and cheaper to maintain. I do my own maintenance, parts are widely available and reasonable priced.
    As a matter of fact I am shopping Wagon Duratec now as second car to replace Neon. Taurus gives the most bang for your buck. And each time I lurke into Accord Problems forum, I laugh at those people. They paid the premium price but they just got an ordinary car.

    Some people talks about refinement bs that I never understood. What is so refine about Accord and Camry? Bottons..? Steering wheel..? Shifter...?
    What..? I belive this is just a hype. People love to belong a social class. Definitive entities of this class can be house, neigborhood, car, brand name clothing etc...
    I believe, the accord owners or I should say import owners (they are not really import in this global economy) are associating themselves with such class and trying to justify their purchase by telling themselves that how refine their cars, how superior the thecnology of their cars and try to boost their confidence on their imports by simply humiliating other brands. At least this is what they think.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    so the accord is actually not a superior car at all but only so in the minds of its owners. clever of honda and toyota to be able to fool so many people (even the people who work at ford).

    why did ford ever bother to introduce the ford focus? i'm sure the civic and corolla were not superior cars to the escort but only so in the minds of its owners.

    and why is ford even going to the trouble to build the ford futura and 500? don't those idiots at ford know the taurus is more than a match to the accords and camrys of the world. it doesn't matter how many times they been redesigned while the same ole taurus carrys on.

    memo to ford. it's not the car's fault but the gullible consumer who's in big time denial who doesn't know any better.
This discussion has been closed.