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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, as many of you know my beloved '04 Sable LS was totaled by a drunk driver. Since then I've been casually scanning Autotrader and craigslist trying to find something that would be able to replace it.

Today I found a 2003 Sable LS Premium "Platinum Edition". The car is beautiful; it looks EXACTLY like my totaled car, except it's a wagon instead and has a few more features. It only has 81,000 miles on it and the owner says they have all service records on the vehicle. From the pics the car looks like it's in excellent shape. The only thing I found that made me concerned is that it has a new transmission. I'm torn as to whether this should concern me or not. It also has new brakes and tires-but this isn't what concerns me. We did email the seller to see why the tranny had to be replaced, and who did the work. The price is $7,900 negotiable.

I may be jumping the gun here, since the insurance co. hasn't given us a settlement yet; but are there any particular things I need to look for in a used G4 Sable wagon? Should the new transmission be a red flag? If things work out and we go to test drive it I'm going to put it through its paces, but I want to know if there are any key areas I need to check.

Thanks.
 

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A price somewhere around Edmunds and NADA is a good value. KBB is overinflated. Course used car prices have also gone up....

Wagons are no different than sedans. Really only thing to check is to make sure the rear hatch wiring harness (passenger side near roof goes between body and hatch) make sure no busted wires in there that cause weird things to happen...ie no speakers working, lights randomly on or not working at all, lock cylinder not working, etc.

Find out some info about this transmission (such as is it a rebuild, or a remanufactured, or a new...find out who did the labor and who did the parts... and find out what the deal is with the warranty on it. That will help tremendously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I just wanted to be sure that there weren't any major things to check for that were different from the sedan. Good thing for me is that I'm so familiar with my G4 I'll be able to tell right away with any other G4 if "somethin' ain't right".

Hopefully that G4 Sable wagon will still be for sale when I settle up with the insurance co.; but I know fully loaded G4's sell fast around here.
 

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I agree with Nick (Bull Geek) the Gen4's are all about the same so issues are about the same, sedans vs wagons. The only issues I can think of other than Nicks would be to look over the tail gate really good. Wagons tend to rub the window in the center of the tailgate and cause a rust spot. My wagons up here in the rust belt and is holding up well, so I hope that one is clean also. The price is a bit high, but see what they are willing to take, not alot of people want wagons. The other thing to look over, the rear suspention is coil springs & shocks. The shocks on my wagon just went out at 90K miles, though they are easy to change and cheap ($25 each @ autozone) so that shouldnt be to big an issue but something to look at. Oh yea..... Look in the foot well for the 3rd seat for wet carpet / water as well as under the spair tire. If the antena doesnt seal good you will get water in the fender below your spair, left rear in the back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Made contact with the seller. The lady is in her 70s and her husband just passed away recently. She's willing to negotiate on the price so I will probably shoot for $7200. The transmission was replaced by a Ford dealer and all service ever done to the car was done by Ford, all service records are available. Transmission was replaced by Ford 3 years ago. It also has brand new Yokohama tires and brakes. She's wanting to get rid of the car because she wants something with less mileage that's newer.

Pray for us here guys :p! Might have us another Sable here soon, but it's going to come down to the wire! Hopefully no one else will jump on it before we get our insurance $$$.

The excitement/anticipation is unbearable! haha
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Don't kill me for double-posting, but I just wanted to give an update.

After sicking our lawyer on her, the insurance rep came up to $6904 for our totaled car.

The person who is selling the Sable Wagon is going to let us have first dibs on it. She seemed like the kind of person who really enjoyed and took care of her car, and seems glad to have found someone else that has the same love for Sables. Ran a CarFax and it's 100% clean; no wrecks, southern car, and one owner. We may be able to talk her down to $7200, or at least we'll try that.

Wish us luck guys, we may be back in another Sable by the weekend. And thanks for the tips, I'll be sure to check everything you told me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The wagon turned out to be a no-go, but thanks for the info. I'll save it in case I come across another one. The person who had it went back on their word and decided not to hold it for us, 10 minutes after we rented a car so we could make the trip to Atlanta to buy it. Note to self: 70 year-old ladies aren't as trustworthy as they may seem.

So we're back to square one. I will say this much, it's next to impossible to find a decent Duratec Taurus or Sable in Alabama. I keep finding cars with Vulcan engines which I refuse to have after I've spent 6 years driving a 'tec.

There's always something wrong with any of the 'tecs I find too. They either have insane mileage(230,000 on a 6 year old car?), the vin-check comes back with a checkered past, or the person wants way too much. It's like all of the fully loaded bulls in Birmingham have been bought up, and everyone is holding on to them-that's for sure. I've even branched out to include Crown Vics and Grand Marquis in my car search, same deal there too.
/rant off.
 

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Used Cars

The wagon turned out to be a no-go, but thanks for the info. I'll save it in case I come across another one. The person who had it went back on their word and decided not to hold it for us, 10 minutes after we rented a car so we could make the trip to Atlanta to buy it. Note to self: 70 year-old ladies aren't as trustworthy as they may seem.

So we're back to square one. I will say this much, it's next to impossible to find a decent Duratec Taurus or Sable in Alabama. I keep finding cars with Vulcan engines which I refuse to have after I've spent 6 years driving a 'tec.

There's always something wrong with any of the 'tecs I find too. They either have insane mileage(230,000 on a 6 year old car?), the vin-check comes back with a checkered past, or the person wants way too much. It's like all of the fully loaded bulls in Birmingham have been bought up, and everyone is holding on to them-that's for sure. I've even branched out to include Crown Vics and Grand Marquis in my car search, same deal there too.
/rant off.
Used cars are a pain. In the rust belt, we need to go 150 miles S to find a low rust vehicle. I used cars.com and one other one to find cars in a group so I could see more than one in a town. I found about 17 or so, narrowed it down to 5 and did a carfax on the 5. Wow. One that looked OK on paper had 9 owners and been through the autcion 3 times and had been wrecked twice. One was a rebuilt wreck. Did find one '03 Sable LS Prem with 80K but apparent it was consignment and the owner would take only cash and as is. Really nice clean car. Bent wheel. Had to take cash 150 miles and bring it home on the temp spare. Had it reg 16 days and a tree fell on it and totaled. Ins paid me and I kept it for $406 and with ~$500 It is back on the road with a few dents in the roof.

Really a pain to buy a car, but sometimes it is worth it.

Good luck.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Used cars are a pain. In the rust belt, we need to go 150 miles S to find a low rust vehicle. I used cars.com and one other one to find cars in a group so I could see more than one in a town. I found about 17 or so, narrowed it down to 5 and did a carfax on the 5. Wow. One that looked OK on paper had 9 owners and been through the autcion 3 times and had been wrecked twice. One was a rebuilt wreck. Did find one '03 Sable LS Prem with 80K but apparent it was consignment and the owner would take only cash and as is. Really nice clean car. Bent wheel. Had to take cash 150 miles and bring it home on the temp spare. Had it reg 16 days and a tree fell on it and totaled. Ins paid me and I kept it for $406 and with ~$500 It is back on the road with a few dents in the roof.

Really a pain to buy a car, but sometimes it is worth it.

Good luck.

-chart-
I added "cars.com" to my "resources" :). The best thing in my case is that I won't be really desperate for a car until the end of August, so I have plenty of time to be picky and wait for something good to come along. I also went ahead and set up a few Autotrader alerts to notify me of any new Taurus/Sable, Grand Marquis/Crown Vic, or Montego/Five Hundred listings that come up within a 50 mile radius and meet my price and criteria. Maybe that will give me something? Who knows.

It didn't used to be such a chore to find a used car. The used to be an awesome Ford dealer here in town that always had both a full stock of new cars and an equal amount of Fords that were 4-5 years old and in good shape. Of course, they went out of business 6 years ago right after I bought my 04 Sable from them :rolleyes2:
 

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I added "cars.com" to my "resources" :). The best thing in my case is that I won't be really desperate for a car until the end of August, so I have plenty of time to be picky and wait for something good to come along. I also went ahead and set up a few Autotrader alerts to notify me of any new Taurus/Sable, Grand Marquis/Crown Vic, or Montego/Five Hundred listings that come up within a 50 mile radius and meet my price and criteria. Maybe that will give me something? Who knows.

It didn't used to be such a chore to find a used car. The used to be an awesome Ford dealer here in town that always had both a full stock of new cars and an equal amount of Fords that were 4-5 years old and in good shape. Of course, they went out of business 6 years ago right after I bought my 04 Sable from them :rolleyes2:
Couple of examples of what pops up. These are old, like 4 months ago. Both within 2 miles of each other. I find them to be grouped on some small town. My daughter and I looked at 5 within a 12 miles distance in a group of small towns in one morning. But in the much larger city several miles away, NONE showed up on the internet. At the time nothing within 80 miles of where I live.

Seems that some dealer sold a bunch, and in another area they sold none.

-chart-
 

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Wonder why that 06 Taurus has 00-01 rims on it??
 

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Wonder why that 06 Taurus has 00-01 rims on it??
It was a rebuild wreck. Red title.

And the reason it was priced so low vs it's mileage.

That is what CarFax is good for.

And the other '03 Sable, one owner, bought new and traded in the same town. I drove it. Was my second choice, but I bought the '03 Sable LS Prem, dow the road a few miles. The '03 Sable shown in the pic is still for sale. I drove it in March, dealer was willing to take less, had 3 month drive train warrenty.

Just some quick examples.

Wide variety of prices and quality of used cars. Price and quality do not match often. Car dealer once told me they price according to what they have in the car, not what it is worth by the book. Good thought to explain the wide variety of price.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I've had some luck on Craigslist, at least with finding Tauri listed locally. I will say this, it's next to impossible to find a G4 Taurus here that has the Duratec instead of the freakin' Vulcan! I swear it's like every one of them I find has the Vulcan. It could be a fully loaded SEL model, and for whatever reason it has a Vulcan. I mean, what's up with people ordering a fully loaded Taurus with all the options and then cheaping out on the engine? I'm a 'tec only guy. Wouldn't be so bad if it was easier to find Sables here. At least with those you automatically know the top of the line models had the Duratec standard.

I'm not bashing the Vulcan engine at all, but after owning a Duratec Sable for 6 years I couldn't see going to a Vulcan. Just wouldn't be the same.

EDIT:
Just got off the phone with another Craigslist seller of an '04 SES. He gave me the VIN and guess what? Another freakin' Vulcan!!!! I hate my life! haha
 

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All SEL and LS premiums in the U.S. thru 04 came with the tec as standard.
2005 SEL models had the tec as an option, but the 2005 Sable LS premium still had it standard.
All 06 and 07 Tauri, regardless of model, had the vulcan.
The tec was no longer an option after model year 2005. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
2005-07 ford 500/mercury montego were 3.0 tec equipped.
:D And that's why they're on my list as well!

I'll find a new car eventually, it might just take a while before a good one comes along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
OK how about an INTECH?:lol2:
Pic attached.

Low cost luxury.:wub:

OK just a little humor.

-chart-
Oooh yeah! 415,000 miles? That's just getting broken in! :p:lol2:

I'm going to the beach in a few weeks and we usually pass through a bunch of small-medium size cities on the way down. I used Autotrader and found an 04 SES and two 03 Sable LS Premiums for sale along the route we take to go to the beach. None of them had over 80k miles, one even had 48k! The VINs came back clean on all of them, so I'll probably check them out on my way down. The SES I found had a cloth interior, but at least it has the Duratec motor. I can always find a tan leather interior at the junkyard for it. The main thing for me is that I get a 'tec.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well we found a new car! Well "New" to us!

Went and bought a 2005 Mercury Montego Premiere for $8300 at Med Center Mazda in Pelham, AL today. Car is in perfect condition and had right at 93,000 miles on it. I really love driving it too. Reminds me a lot of the Sable only a lot bigger. To me it handles and drives very similar to what my old Sable did. The biggest difference is that in hard cornering you can tell you are in a taller car, but that's about it. I love it so far.

We wish we could've bought another Sable or Taurus but we just couldn't find any that were fully loaded nearby or for a reasonable price or in good condition. The Five Hundred/Montego was on our list so when we found this one, we had to jump on. Of course we checked everything, and everything on the car checks out both mechanically and cosmetically.
 
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