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kaybyrd's Avatar
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11-20-02, 07:31 PM   #1  
checklist

Joe,

Since I've just purchased this 93 Taurus Wagon, what is the first thing that I should check, or replace so that I can stay on top of its care? Aside from replacing the car .

It has new tires, just had the oil changed (filter, too), the struts are 6 months old. All fluid levels check out fine. Oh, brakes are 6 months old, too.

Kay

 
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11-21-02, 03:30 AM   #2  
Joe_F
I suggest you start with my "The Basics" post.

Did you have a mechanic check it out before you bought it? Any issues would have been found at that point, and could have been put into the negotiation.

When my grandfather gave me the 89 Chevy it was pretty easy..I'm the only one that's been under the hood since 1989 when he bought it (either me or me under my neighbor's tutelage), and he had every piece of paper pertaining to what I had done to it over the years (no matter what it was), so it was easy to determine what I had to do.

 
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11-21-02, 05:20 AM   #3  
I guess that's why I'm asking. Usually something goes wrong or sounds funny so I start there.

I have a warranty on the car the covers it bumper to bumper (except for oil changes) for 12 mos/12,000 miles. I figure for that time period that every time it sounds different, shimmies, shakes...it is going into the shop

I will print out your Basics for future reference. Do you recommend be purchasing a shop manual for the car or an alldata subscription?

Kay

 
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11-21-02, 10:20 AM   #4  
Joe_F
Shop manual because if you plan on keeping it, it pays for itself year after year. An Alldata.com subscription is gone after a year and you're 25 bucks in the hole.

A used service manual set will cost you 75 bucks or so.

 
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11-21-02, 10:36 PM   #5  
knuckles
Common sore spots w/ the Taurus are:

1. AXOD/AXOD-E transmission

2. Inner & outer tie rod ends

3. Sway bar end links

4. Crappy FX-15/FS-10 A/C compressors

5. P/S pumps

6. Rack and pinion assemblies.

7. The 3.8L engine is known for head gasket failure. Let's hope your car has the much more durable 3.0L.

I agree w/ Joe on the OEM manual. You'll want to buy all 3 manuals for complete coverage. Shop Manual, EVTM and Powertrain Control/Emissions Diagnosis manual.

 
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11-22-02, 04:48 AM   #6  
Other leaky spot: timing cover-to-block gasket.

My brothere's '93 Sable also had premature failures of ac compressor and motor mounts.

Make sure you have the tranny serviced religiously. #1 on Knuckles's list is pretty much our #1 reason for towing a Taurus/Sable. The running joke is, "Your Taurus [Sable] needs to be towed? Okay, which tranny shop is it going to?" Whatever the recommended severe service interval is, I would cut in HALF.

 
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11-22-02, 05:12 AM   #7  
Thanks guys, now I'm paranoid! Maybe it was a blessing that the buyer for the truck backed out at the last minute.

Anyway, back to the car and books. I found the service manual at Helms for $85. Where is another good site to look for books. You mentioned that the place I purchased my manual for the truck was higher priced on the set of books for one of your cars.

You also mentioned swap meets to me before. I don't watch tv, so if they're advertised there I wouldn't catch it. Maybe check the newspaper? Is a car swap meet like those computer shows I see on the billboards?

As soon as my kids get out here and on the bus I'm going to check the engine size. I need to know whether or not to carry a tow guy phone number in my wallet again! Probably a good idea after what you all listed! Maybe have him follow me around?!? LOL

Kay

 
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11-22-02, 07:33 AM   #8  
Should always know or carry the number of a good towing company anyway. If you break down and law enforcement stops and asks if you a need a tow and THEY have someone dispatched from the rotation list, the tow can cost double or more the standard tow rate.

Free towing for you, Kay, if you ever break down in our service area.

 
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11-22-02, 12:41 PM   #9  
I was once told that whenever you purchase a used car with over 60,000 miles on it you should always replace the belts and water pump just to be on the safe side. It's just too expensive to ever have the timing belt break on you. Besides, it's about $65 bucks as opposed to $600 if it does snap and is an interference type engine.

 
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11-22-02, 04:43 PM   #10  
Sounds like a good idea to me. I will use the 'bonus' deal of free labor at their shop for the life of the loan to have them do this for me. Something that just struck me, boy do I feel stupid, that I should have also gotten in writing is the on the free labor: have it performed by their certified mechanics, not trainees. The warranty work is written out that way, but not the other work I choose to have done.

Still haven't checked the engine size. These sinus headaches are getting to me. Looks like a doctor's visit before the mechanical security can be done on the car.

TowGuy, thats a very generous offer! Thank you. Hopefully it won't be required, but is nice to know its there. I have written the numbers down of two tow services to carry with me. These are recommended services since I'm new to the area, and my regular tow service company is over the state line. Seems there are extra fees due to bonding issues that require the extra fee. You guys don't have it easy do you!?

Maybe I can get a few miles out this car if I take care of it and watch for its special needs. Thanks to everyone that has posted. Keep your fingers crossed that I'm not whining and crying about this car here, or in the Chats & Whines forums!

Kay

 
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11-22-02, 08:58 PM   #11  
knuckles
It's super easy to spot a 3.8L V-6.

The 3.8L has a black intake plenum with the "3.8 Liter" script embossed on it.

The 3.0L uses a plain cast aluminum intake plenum. The 8th digit of your VIN will be "U" if your engine is a 3.0L.

The 3.0L and 3.8L both use timing chains, which pretty much last the life of the engine. Ford got ONE thing right. LOL

Can't argue with water pump and belt/hose replacement. The Taurus is loaded with little moulded heater/bypass hoses. Make sure you replace 'em all when you replace the water pump & accessory drive belt.

My wife drove an '88 Sable 3.0L AXOD station wagon until a few years ago. It gave us very little trouble. She put 50K on it over 3 years. During those 3 years, I replaced the front & rear brakes, water pump, inner & outer tie rod ends sway bar end links, transmission oil cooler fittings & an air conditioner hose/accumulator assembly. All in all, it was a cheap car to own, but this is the exception rather than the rule w/ this car.

One thing I forgot to mention in my first reply is the heater core. They're prone to failure & cost a small fortune in labor to replace. The entire instrument panel must be removed to access the heater core. The previous owner of our old Sable got hosed for $400 for this job in the mid 1990s.

We sold the car after 3 yrs. & 50K+ miles. We recovered about 70% of our purchase price when we sold it. 1995 and older Taurus/Sable cars typically sell for $2K or less. I hope you didn't pay more than that.

 
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11-22-02, 10:06 PM   #12  
It is the 3.0L. Has the 'u' in the vin. Much easier to check that way right now since I didn't have to pop the hood or go outside. Thanks for the vin clue.

We paid too much for the car, but had to finance. Not too much more though, or I wouldn't have gone for it. Not just because of the value of the car itself, but simply because I don't want to have to live to pay a car off. Mom was wondering why I didn't buy a new car. That is simply the reason. House notes are okay to pay, but a car note is foolish to me to begin with, but not so much that I put back money for one. I may be wrong in thinking this way, but if I can get a year or more out of this car then I'm good to go. I've put so much money, time and effort into my truck that this is a much cheaper vehicle...if I have no major problems out of it. I do have the bumper to bumper warranty for the first year, so I'm not too worried about the price. Hopefully by then we will have enough saved, the car will be in decent running shape, physical shape and then we can get into a much nicer vehicle.

We just have to work with what we have, and thats not a whole lot right now. It would be nice if I could put a little more money into the truck and get it back up to where it should be. Its been, all in all, the most reliable vehicle I've owned. It is a little harder for me to keep up with since its 4wd, and a much older vehicle. I could rebuild the engine and pretty much have a new truck again. The tranny and transfer case are in great working condition. a/c works on it, etc. Nice truck if I could keep up with the tires, and other piddly stuff, too. Just a little overwhelmed by the idea of trying to rebuild an engine without an instructor standing nearby. I only worked on one in school. I worked mainly on trannies since I was so fascinated with how they worked. Maybe this is a sign that I am overdue on my plans to return to school to finish my automotive education.

Kay

 
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11-23-02, 04:37 AM   #13  
Joe_F
I agree with all said here. My uncle is a fleet director for a major company in the states, and by far Ford accomodates them the best. Ford is a VERY fleet oriented company.

GM and Chrysler have a lesser accomodating fleet attitude, at least what I've seen with my uncle's dealings with them.

My uncle's company had a ton of those 95 and down Taurus and Sables (86 to 95 is the first generation of these cars), and they were fairly reliable. My cousins in turn bought some of these vehicles out from the fleet of my uncle's. A lot of them were hit, or had other damage. Most of the basics were done on them.

This is the same uncle that gave me the 84 Olds 88 I own--he threatened to junk it if I didn't take it. I was taking public transit to my coworker's house at the time (where I would get picked u for a ride to and from work), but decided that it was easier to put the Olds on the road and just use that to go to his house. I also started graduate school for my MBA that January and said, "If it lasts me through graduate school (1997 to 1999), I'll be happy". Still going 4 years later . He told me a couple of times that it was the best car he ever owned, and "when am I giving it back"

The Ford is reasonably well equipped for the price, but they have quality problems. You either get a good one, or you get a bomb, no real inbetween. LOL.

Someone like Knuckles or myself can take a gamble (I've owned 231 carbed V6's, 229 Chevy V6's, two of the "worst" engines made by GM in the early 80's and late 70's) and neither gave me single problem. Then again, we can fix what breaks rather easily, so it's a bit different.

I buy GM cars and trucks (eventually the latter, I've never owned a truck) because they are #1 for a reason .

 
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11-23-02, 05:03 AM   #14  
I didn't catch it when mom said this the other day until now: all my kids drive a Ford. Never thought I'd see the day.

I don't remember any of us owning a Ford except for me back in 1981. I picked up a Ford Mustang, 1968, for $400. Needed a paint job, brakes and a clutch. Sold it for $1500, as is (was) . And my mom picked up a '94 Taurus 4dr for me, $3000, 10,000 actual miles on it, 4 cyl, P. O. S*&! (piece of junk LOL) in '95 and I sold it for the same - to a dealership in another town. Too much wrong with that car. A/c, etc. all going bad.

Kay

 
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11-23-02, 05:05 AM   #15  
Joe_F
The only 4 cylinder in a Taurus was a 2.5 from 1986 to 1990. I've driven one with a 5 speed.

To say it's slow is an understatement. A motorized minibike will out run it. LOL.

 
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11-23-02, 09:14 AM   #16  
Maybe it was a 6 cylinder. It didn't have any power, but I thought it was a 4 cylinder. This was before I even knew how to change the oil in a car! LOL

Learning about a car and how it worked was very fascinating to me. To go from learning how to simply check oil and put gas in a car to understanding WHY you must do these things amazed me.

Kay

 
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11-24-02, 09:01 AM   #17  
You know, it's very interesting to hear you all speak on GM and Ford and almost recommend their quality (especially GM right Joe?). I have set my eyes on a Hundai! Don't laugh. The most remarkable thing to me is their 10 year , 100,000 mile warranty. The first 5 years of which, you get 24hr roadside assistance. To me, it just seems like I wouldn't have to worry about the car for a whole ten years, and by then, I'll sell it. What a bargain! Now, I know these things aren't the strongest of cars, but with a little defensive driving and some luck, a parking lot fender bender would be the only thing assaulting my wallet. The way I see, I just have to get a tune-up, change the oil, and pump gas in the sucka and I'm set! And of course, I'll have to change all the belts and the water pump at about 60,000 miles too (nothing wrong with that). It's nicer than a non-stick pan or a self-cleaning oven, or sliced bread! Well, maybe not sliced bread, but at any rate, I'd really like to hear your thoughts on what I've said.

 
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11-24-02, 09:49 AM   #18  
Joe_F
Hyundai is gambling that most folks will have renewed confidence in their product due to this warranty.

Previous iterations of Hyundais were nothing short of Yugo quality. Their track record depends on getting it right this time around.

My neighbor has a 2002 Elantra. It's a decent looking car and he likes it, however it's cheap and flimsy and the sheetmetal on my Craftsman toolbox is thicker .

 
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