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Old 12-31-2012, 12:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2nd Taurus I've owned

Hello,

I was recently in need of a vehicle when my 98 Nissan Altima died. It developed a manual trans leak for which the only cure is a trans rebuild. For a while I was thinking for the 3 years I've owned the car and all the money I've sunk into both axles, tires, alternator, water pump, radiator, hoses, brakes, valve cover gasket, power steering hose (to name things done off the top of my head) I might as well sink $1500 into a trans rebuild? What else could go wrong? The engine? Well luckily before I could make a bad investment on the trans rebuild, both motor and trans went and and for the second and last time this car left me stranded when both the motor and trans went out at 128k. Trans I could understand, but the motor also at 128k? Ever since I bought the vehicle at 93k I religiously changed the oil every 3,000 miles and warmed the car before driving. Only thing I could think is a kid owned the car for a year and a half before me and maybe he beat the crap out of it?

Anyway, I started looking for vehicles vigorously. Decided to stay away from a dealership because I wanted to pay cash and also I spent nearly 20 years at a Ford dealer and all my life and paid cash for my vehicles. Of course it was easy finding decent relatively cheap vehicles working in the used car dept for the dealership before leasing destroyed the trade-in system. Even though they were all high miles, I've pretty much always had a decent car to drive. As I stated, that was when I worked at the dealer and they had decent trades coming in. But those days are gone and I've been left to searching on my own.

I took my time searching because I had the luxury of decent, borrowed transportation from my parents. I found through my vigorous search that nearly all private owners over value their vehicles. Kelly Blue books inflated estimates and folks definitions of what a clean vehicle was make people think their cars are worth much more than they are. I had usually gone by NADA black book values from my used car days. I had pretty much focused my search on a manual trans import. I had just assumed through owning a few of them that would be the best for reliability. But I live in Ford country. Most imports listed were over priced and had a lot of miles. I had forgotten that I had a high mile 92 taurus wagon for 7 years that I bought for $500 from a coworker from my dealership days that was an incredibly reliable vehicle. Only real reason I sold it was because I had found my Nissan and had grown tired of driving a brown wagon others and myself affectionately named Mr Hanky. Unfortunately, the person I sold Mr. Hanky to didn't have enough sense to check the oil periodically and ran the car out of oil. I wish I would have kept Hanky.

After a frustrating weekend of going to look at another 3 overpriced letdowns I found a new listing for a 2000 Taurus. Original owner, garage kept and hadn't even turned 57k. It was on a Monday morning and out of my search area, but I had to call on it. Turns out it was the son in law of the owner that answered the call. An old ladies car she couldn't drive. State took her license away and they were trying to sell the vehicle. They were only asking $3000 obo. It was an inconvenience to leave work and drive out of my way for what might be another letdown. But I asked my boss if I could skip out and look at it sometime during the week. She suggested I go that day. So glad she did. If I hadn't jumped, the first person to look at it would have scooped it up. The car was in fantastic shape! Just some body blemishes where she scuffed up the body parking the vehicle. It's an SE with the Vulcan motor and steel wheels and full wheel covers (which I always liked more even when seeing just about every flavor of wheel offered then while I was still working at the dealership). The only thing I wish it had was ABS which my wagon had ABS and four wheel disks, but I'm not complaining.

The car is a dream to drive. I had my mechanic look at it and he said he couldn't find anything wrong with the car besides what I had suggested (which was a trans flush, coolant flush, and power steering flush. Oil had recently been changed). I'm trying to keep it as in good a condition as possible. I am driving it through the Winter. But I've always had a habit with previous vehicles of washing them vigorously through the winter when the roads are dry. I've even gone a step further with this vehicle and we have relocated it to our 1 car garage. This came at the price of paying for permanent storage for my wife's 86 Camaro Z28 which gets parked in the Winter and much resistance from her. But we agreed there is not much sense in her car taking up the garage all winter when it sits parked. She'll get the garage back when its not Winter and I'll feel better about leaving the Taurus outside with a good coat of wax since our climate in spring/summer/fall is mostly pretty mild here in Michigan.

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Sorry the pictures aren't better. Just the ones from the saved ad and not my own. The odometer pic is showing 056720.

Last edited by djacks; 12-31-2012 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the site! It is unfortunate that your Altima let you down, but I can guarantee that your new to you Taurus will give you years of great service. From your post, I can tell that you are one to know how to maintain a vehicle, and congrats on such a great find.

Silver Frost is a great color too!
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Congrats on a nice find! You got a fair price on the car too, they could have gotten more with the low mileage, and at 56k, that Taurus is just "broken in". It should give you 3-4 times that many miles with regular service routines. And welcome to the BEST Taurus/Sable resource site on the Web!
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaurusDailyDriver View Post
Welcome to the site! It is unfortunate that your Altima let you down, but I can guarantee that your new to you Taurus will give you years of great service. From your post, I can tell that you are one to know how to maintain a vehicle, and congrats on such a great find.

Silver Frost is a great color too!
I'm not feeling too bad about the Altima now. It was a fun car to drive, but it was nickle and diming me to death with something breaking here or something leaking there I had to fix. Makes me think it had a rough life. Plus the kid I bought it from said the reason for selling was he wanted an automatic. Also, him and his dad "claimed" they replaced the clutch on the car because they wanted to and not because it was worn out or needed replaced. Apart from that, they were asking $3500 for the Altima and didn't hesitate when I offered them $3000 for it. Plus I had to replace both front tires and axle shafts when I got it. Also, it not dying wouldn't have led me back to this great Taurus and refresh my memory on how great a vehicle the Taurus is. Like I said, I had "forgotten" how Mr. Hanky never let me down and needed so little maintenance. Also, working at a Ford dealer for so many years just gave me a bias against Fords and American cars in general. Don't know why it did? Maybe I felt like seeing so many Fords so often for so many years, I had to drive something different. I realize now that any vehicle is only as good as it's been maintained. And yes, very happy with the silver frost!

Quote:
Originally Posted by danhasenauer View Post
Congrats on a nice find! You got a fair price on the car too, they could have gotten more with the low mileage, and at 56k, that Taurus is just "broken in". It should give you 3-4 times that many miles with regular service routines. And welcome to the BEST Taurus/Sable resource site on the Web!
Yeah, I feel like I got a fantastic deal. I've had a habit now of browsing local ads daily and seeing what folks are listing. There were only two other taurus' that came close. The first was a 00 SE with 68k where they were asking $4500. That particular vehicle has been re-listed once since. Other than that, there was a 00 SE with 64k that they were asking $3800 and that listing disappeared by the next day. I've had a knack for finding great deals by not being an impulse buyer and by spending nearly 20 years at a dealer. I'm by no means cheap, but I know a great deal when I see one. I've always been a fanatic about maintenance. Mr. Hanky had well over 200k on the original motor and trans before I sold it. It just used about 1/2 quart of oil every month and had a place in the block were a small amount of coolant would escape. I sold Mr. Hanky to a long time friend and mechanic who was a former coworker at the dealership who gave the car to his stepson, who is the one that ran it out of oil.

Thanks much for the warm welcomes!

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Old 12-31-2012, 10:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome......sorry about good, reliable, trusty old Mr. Hanky. But your silver beauty looks like a winner. Some nissans are tempting but welcome back to the Ford fold.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yes, great to be in a Ford again. My wife has a 4cyl 5sp Ranger I got for her over 8 years ago before I left the dealer that she is still driving and is still running strong with 155k. Another example of a great Ford. Especially nice to have a vehicle with this low miles and no car payment. Besides Mr. Hanky, I've owned 4 other Fords. All were great vehicles. I just bought and sold many vehicles over the years for whatever reason. But I'm done with that and plan to hold onto this vehicle for a long time. I must've just been too close to Fords for so many years to realize what great vehicles they can be? Even when they do need work they are relatively cheap to fix and parts are easy to find as well.

During my vehicle search, every time I seen a potential vehicle listing I might want to pursue, I'd check consumer reliability comments and was enlightened to find some Honda models plagued with issues like auto trans and air condition issues. Interesting enough, these vehicles would be on their second or third trans rebuild or replacement and people would still be asking a fortune. By comparison, I seen a few issues with Taurus, but most "known" issues were not catastrophic trans failures or air conditioning failures like Honda seemed haunted by.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Welcome to the site! Nice find, the car looks good.

Any pics of "Mr. Hanky" (that's not an invitation for you other guys to post pics of the South Park character)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by djacks View Post
Hello,

I was recently in need of a vehicle when my 98 Nissan Altima died. It developed a manual trans leak for which the only cure is a trans rebuild. For a while I was thinking for the 3 years I've owned the car and all the money I've sunk into both axles, tires, alternator, water pump, radiator, hoses, brakes, valve cover gasket, power steering hose (to name things done off the top of my head) I might as well sink $1500 into a trans rebuild? What else could go wrong? The engine? Well luckily before I could make a bad investment on the trans rebuild, both motor and trans went and and for the second and last time this car left me stranded when both the motor and trans went out at 128k. Trans I could understand, but the motor also at 128k? Ever since I bought the vehicle at 93k I religiously changed the oil every 3,000 miles and warmed the car before driving. Only thing I could think is a kid owned the car for a year and a half before me and maybe he beat the crap out of it?

Anyway, I started looking for vehicles vigorously. Decided to stay away from a dealership because I wanted to pay cash and also I spent nearly 20 years at a Ford dealer and all my life and paid cash for my vehicles. Of course it was easy finding decent relatively cheap vehicles working in the used car dept for the dealership before leasing destroyed the trade-in system. Even though they were all high miles, I've pretty much always had a decent car to drive. As I stated, that was when I worked at the dealer and they had decent trades coming in. But those days are gone and I've been left to searching on my own.

I took my time searching because I had the luxury of decent, borrowed transportation from my parents. I found through my vigorous search that nearly all private owners over value their vehicles. Kelly Blue books inflated estimates and folks definitions of what a clean vehicle was make people think their cars are worth much more than they are. I had usually gone by NADA black book values from my used car days. I had pretty much focused my search on a manual trans import. I had just assumed through owning a few of them that would be the best for reliability. But I live in Ford country. Most imports listed were over priced and had a lot of miles. I had forgotten that I had a high mile 92 taurus wagon for 7 years that I bought for $500 from a coworker from my dealership days that was an incredibly reliable vehicle. Only real reason I sold it was because I had found my Nissan and had grown tired of driving a brown wagon others and myself affectionately named Mr Hanky. Unfortunately, the person I sold Mr. Hanky to didn't have enough sense to check the oil periodically and ran the car out of oil. I wish I would have kept Hanky.
I've never understood this line of thinking, and I see it quite often. People with horribly unreliable imports still towing the line that Japanese imports are the holy grail of reliability. I know of a girl who's Corolla kicked the bucket and left her stranded when it sludged up (common on many Toyotas). Still claims that Toyotas are the bee's knees.

Yet another friend that had all sorts of issues with an Accord. What's he do? Buys a Civic.

Now, granted, many issues people have are maintenance issues. That, however, is the same with any car. Yet Japanese cars get an automatic pass, while domestics get trashed.

Boggles my mind.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dschinghis Kahn View Post
Welcome to the site! Nice find, the car looks good.

Any pics of "Mr. Hanky" (that's not an invitation for you other guys to post pics of the South Park character)?

I've never understood this line of thinking, and I see it quite often. People with horribly unreliable imports still towing the line that Japanese imports are the holy grail of reliability. I know of a girl who's Corolla kicked the bucket and left her stranded when it sludged up (common on many Toyotas). Still claims that Toyotas are the bee's knees.

Yet another friend that had all sorts of issues with an Accord. What's he do? Buys a Civic.

Now, granted, many issues people have are maintenance issues. That, however, is the same with any car. Yet Japanese cars get an automatic pass, while domestics get trashed.

Boggles my mind.
Sorry, no pics of Hanky. Didn't have a camera or good enough phone for decent picture taking over 3 years ago when I still had Hanky. Also, it was such a good but under-appreciated car. Not exactly something somebody is normally proud to drive. Even when I bought it, my Honda accord had just been totaled because somebody pulled out in front of me. I only had no fault insurance on the Honda and was in need of relatively cheap transportation. Hanky was offered to me for $500 and I needed a car so I bought it.

Interestingly enough, the swear by import mentality extends to mechanics and engineers. I once bought a Toyota pickup from a Ford engineer, who had just bought another Toyota. He swore by them. Worked with several mechanics over the years that also swore by imports. But, on the other hand, a good friend of mine who has been a mechanic for nearly 30 years spent most of his life working at Ford dealers and only drives and buys Fords.

Also, I started working at the dealer straight out of high school in the late 80s. Not exactly a proud time in American automobile manufacturing. It was widely known and documented that Japan had been eating our lunch for at least a decade in regards to automotive engineering and manufacturing by then. In nearly 20 years of working at the dealer I'd seen Ford progressively go from building junk to some really good vehicles. I suppose some of that import mentality has stuck and it has taken a while for the public to around and realize now Ford products can now stand up against and even dominate imports in regards to reliability.
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djacks View Post
Sorry, no pics of Hanky. Didn't have a camera or good enough phone for decent picture taking over 3 years ago when I still had Hanky. Also, it was such a good but under-appreciated car. Not exactly something somebody is normally proud to drive. Even when I bought it, my Honda accord had just been totaled because somebody pulled out in front of me. I only had no fault insurance on the Honda and was in need of relatively cheap transportation. Hanky was offered to me for $500 and I needed a car so I bought it.

Interestingly enough, the swear by import mentality extends to mechanics and engineers. I once bought a Toyota pickup from a Ford engineer, who had just bought another Toyota. He swore by them. Worked with several mechanics over the years that also swore by imports. But, on the other hand, a good friend of mine who has been a mechanic for nearly 30 years spent most of his life working at Ford dealers and only drives and buys Fords.

Also, I started working at the dealer straight out of high school in the late 80s. Not exactly a proud time in American automobile manufacturing. It was widely known and documented that Japan had been eating our lunch for at least a decade in regards to automotive engineering and manufacturing by then. In nearly 20 years of working at the dealer I'd seen Ford progressively go from building junk to some really good vehicles. I suppose some of that import mentality has stuck and it has taken a while for the public to around and realize now Ford products can now stand up against and even dominate imports in regards to reliability.
Don't get me wrong, they build some fine cars. Those little Toyota pickups, for example. Aside from rust, they're absolutely unstoppable.

It just gets to me that the attitude persists, even when personal experience should suggest otherwise.
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