How I saved over $1000. on parts with a donor car - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Year: 2003
Model: Ford Taurus
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How I saved over $1000. on parts with a donor car

This is NOT an ad for a car parts company. I'm new to this, so I'm excited about something that some of you already know and have done.
I bought a 2006 Taurus SEL for $400 with a clean title. I planned on spending another $1600 or so to get it just right. The body is great, sunroof, no rust, great paint, low miles. It needs a tune up and some parts replaced. It needs Power steering pump, Battery, hood lifts, air filter, a hood jouncer(?), three tires and a few non-critical trim pieces.
Oh, and an ENTIRE interior.
The leather interior was absolutely shredded, even the foam under the leather. Plus it stank of funk. My guess is that someone or something died in it, or it was a flood car or it has a very leaky passenger side issue. Or all of the above.

I removed the entire interior. Literally everything that was made of cloth except the headliner. It's an empty metal shell inside now.
Still stank. I put a odor removing fogger in it and now it smells like a sharpie. haha
I started looking for interior pieces and realized two things:
1) Repairing the interior is outrageously expensive.
2) Buying the individual pieces is very expensive.
3) It's too difficult to find every piece matching.

My solution?
I watched Craig's List and found (and bought) a state inspected 2002 Taurus for $400. Clean title. 200,000+ miles. The body is beater-chic but the interior is pretty good. It runs great but doesn't shift into OD. It has nearly new: battery, plug wires, plugs, hood lifts, alternator plus most of the missing pieces I need except for the center console flip-thing. It also has two almost new tires and one good enough to pass inspection.
Basically, I just bought about $2000 worth of parts for $400.
Now, hopefully, all I have to do is transfer the parts to the 2006 Taurus, repair the rest and have someone tow the 2002 donor car to a junk yard.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 05:59 PM
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Congrats...very fortuitous to be able to buy a parts car at that price and save yourself time and money chasing down parts. Hopefully, you can get rid of that smell and it doesn't come back when it really gets hot/humid outside this Summer.

I have the luxury of a U Pull yard about 15 mins from the house and I find all kinds of nice used parts for a fraction of what new would cost. Makes sense to me as, with 256K miles on my car, I don't know if it will last another day...or, another year. Recently, was tempted to redo my interior from gray leather to black when a '05 Sable with super nice interior showed up. Would have cost me less than $200 including complete dash...but, decided it was probably pointless due to aforementioned reason of high miles. Besides, replacing the dash was way more work than I wanted to deal with.

Good luck with your new ride!
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 06:03 PM
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BTDT with my old Durango. It had some rust, mismatched body colors, etc. Bought a little newer one(same generation) but an R/T in the same color with a blown motor and no title for $200. Swapped over about $1500 in parts and scrapped the shell for $150.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 06:17 PM
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If one has the time and will there are good savings out there. I am getting a bit old for this (79) but still visit the local Pick A Part. About 2 miles for me now. Many trips out there, hood and top glass when a tree fell on my '03. Recent found they sell alloy tires/wheels for $30 including tax. I found these on the office rack so no effort except I went out and got the lugs as I am replacing 7 spoke. So I began to watch each week their new intake and drop by and check for condition. So over couple months got total of 8 and switched out both my '03 Sables. Now it will cost me $2 per get rid of the old ones.

Saved a relative in a pickle. V6 Chrysler product and he was changing the fuel injectors and broke a plastic fuel rail. Son was visiting and we went out and took us 15 minutes total in and out and $15. Dealer wanted ~$400 and 4-6 week delivery. This family only vehicle.

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Last edited by chartmaker; 03-05-2019 at 06:39 PM.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 06:45 PM
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Good thinking!

How many hours in total do you think you'll spend on this? Include getting the donor, doing the work and getting rid of the donor.
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2004 Taurus SES Duratec 110k

Upgrades: Mach RCU & Tweeters, Bluetooth, Ford Cargo Tray, LED Trunk Lighting, Headlight Relays, Adjustable Pedals
Running on: Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus, Pennzoil Platinum 5w20 & Fram Pro Synthetic Filter, Valvoline MERCON V, Valvoline DOT 3&4, ZEREX G-05, Top Tier Regular Gas
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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Engine: 3.0L 12v Vulcan V6
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Thanks, MERCrunnner!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Hey RJacket, Good question! In this case, my son is helping and we get to spend some time together so I haven't been counting or anything but it took us maybe 4 hours to remove the interior. It would have been shorter but neither of us did it before and the carpet and foam was tougher to pull than we thought it would be. We had to cut it up to get it out. It goes pretty far up under the dashboard and some of it we can't get to and I'm not so sure about pulling the dashboard. The drivers seatbelt was removed because it was covered in black/brown filth.
We were able to clean up the ceiling and save that.
We've been doing a little at a time since them because it's been too cold out.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 10:30 AM
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I give ya lots of credit for restoring an old Taurus but not sure I'd mess with a smelly vehicle that someone may have died in. It might be haunted!! Back in my younger years I restored my 88 GT Mustang after an engine fire. After the insurance company totaled it out, they sold it back to me for $500.00. Gave another $500.00 to a you-pick junkyard and replaced the wiring harness and everything else that melted. So for a thousand bucks I had my 50,000 mile Stang back on the street with a salvage title. Ended up selling it a few years later for $6,000.00.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-13-2019, 09:10 PM
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I would not waste time or money on that. I got just about perfect sables and tauruses for way cheaper than that i found on Craigslist from private owner's, For example in the picture i got this 03 sable ,116K miles, just about mint condition for $1200 last summer.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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We decided to switch and fix up the 2003 (I thought it was 2002) Taurus instead of the 2006.
It turned out ALL of the problems with the 03 car were caused by 3 melted wires shorting each other. These were easy to find -right above the rear oxygen sensor.
When that was repaired:
The transmission now works perfectly.
The A/C works perfectly.
The engine starts and runs.
Super-easy fix. Amazing how many different problems that simple wire shorting caused.
We raised the car about 2 feet off the ground- sitting on jack stands. Made it even easier.

Swapped out and cleaned the IAC.
Cleaned the throttle body and mass airflow sensor.
It still idled weird and would cut out.
Then I replaced the Throttle position sensor and viola! Runs perfect now!

We replaced the rear struts with new FCS from rock auto, ($135 both) cleaned up the rusty brake drums and painted them black. Adjusted the rear brakes and installed new brake cylinders.

Parts we took from the 2006:
-Hood Struts
-Entire windshield washer fluid hose assembly with the nozzles for the hood.
-Master cylinder
-Thick front pads
-Matching center seat /cup holder/ flip console-thingy
-Headlights and taillights
-Faux Wood bezel and radio
-4 Door panels
-Cowl assembly
-Wiper arms and wipers
-Both rear brake line sections that go to the new brake cylinders.
-Rubber seal for trunk lid
-Battery mount and cover
-Pinch bolts
-Brake bleeder valves
-Like new puddle lamps!
-Fuses, Bulbs
-TPS and IAC
-Vacuum lines
-variety of small rubber and plastic pieces

-Could take the aluminum sparkle wheels but my son likes the standard aluminum 5 spoke better.
-Could take the front struts but it's twice the work and would rather get new ones.
-Might remove and keep the starter and alternator

New parts we bought/will buy:
-3 big bottles of brake fluid
-Air Filter
-Cabin Filter
-Rear Struts
-Front struts
-4 new matching tires (don't have to, but I don't like mis-matched tires)
-Sandpaper and rattle cans

Note: There were a number of parts that did not fit. The gas cap, intake manifold, MAF and entire air cleaner system (close, but not right), Evap and ABS. Both are Vulcans but the 06 might be an ethanol option car.

Next up:
Front end: New struts and probably ball joints. Maybe a bearing-unsure.
Sand, Prime, Paint and Clearcoat the roof. Rattle-cans.
Sand and clearcoat the headlights.
Repair paint scratches.
We may have to clear coat the hood and trunk. Not sure yet, The worst is the roof. We tried using Mother's Mag Polish on the oxidized roof but it didn't work except one spot where it took the paint off.

We put all the seats back in the 2006 and now it doesn't stink. The stink was the carpet we removed. We found out the windshield leaks into the car.
It needs too much to make it worthy of saving. I'm going to get someone to haul it to the junkyard.

BTW_Drop the fuel tank, don't cut the floor sheet metal. What the heck was I thinking?? Stupid YouTube.
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