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I've got several minor issues with this ol beater that was given to me. I'll ask in a all in one thread and let it stew for a few days before I list the questions separately.

First the car doesn't like to warm up when it's cold out execpt when you let it set and idle. As soon as you start to drive it will start cooling back down, and therefore little to no heat in the winter. Dad (who gave me the car, and it's been family owned sense new) said he has put two thermostats in it trying to fix this issue, but no luck. In the summer it will warm up when driving slow (in town speeds), and the fan will come on once the gauge reed straight up, and down pulling the temp back down like it should. The car never overheats, or even gets close to over heating indicating any other issue with the cooling sys other than a bad T-stat (but three bad in a row including the factory I don't buy). The heater was replace as well for a leak several years ago, and that didn't help either.

Second there is a slight slip when the trans shifts between first-second (like a extremely soft shift between the two gears) it doesn't do this on the second to third, or the third to forth, and once it's in gear it is rock solid with no slippage whatsoever. As long as you don't get on it heavly, or lift your foot on the first to second shift it will shift fine enough to not excessively slip the second gear clutches. Also when floored to pass the trans only downshifts to third. If you floor it from a stop it seems like it shifts early, and doesn't let the motor rev out (there is no tach on the instrument cluster).

Third issue is the wipers. They only work reliably on low, or high. When set to internment they will some some time just run constantly, or will cycle stopping wherever on the windshield they please. If you turn off the wipers at any time other then when they are at the bottom of they will just stop right there, and not retract. They also sometimes will not retract when shut off at the bottom as well. It has the same symptoms when running the washer (just stopping where ever after making the three swipes). On occasion they will make one swipe like they are on high when going up the windshield, and then the return swipe will be normal. This only happens when traveling at highway speeds when the air pushes them up real quick.

Last does anyone know of a place to get replacement headlight lenses for a reasonable cost? The cheapest I have been able to find them is $160 for a pair, and I think that is a bit steep. I will probably do a harness upgrade on them, and a set of driving lights on it too. I do a lot of night driving to work & from work in the winter.
 

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All 3 sound like pretty common problems in this generation(or fords in general *hides*). Probably have clogs or something in radiator making it run colder longer, mine does the same thing and i need too flush it. Also tranny slipping, I think this car is the number one most famous for crap trannys you might get lucky like me and drop the pan and change out the fluid and filter and it run good again. And the wipers, you probably need to replace the whole control arm switch thing(whatever it's called) I know mine has a short in it only on the middle speeds though.
 

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As an owner of a 1989 Taurus GL 3.0 myself that's experienced some of these same things, I'll bite.

First the car doesn't like to warm up when it's cold out ... As soon as you start to drive it will start cooling back down, and therefore little to no heat in the winter.
This is totally and completely the symptoms of a failed thermostat. I've replaced mine 3 times now for the same issue. My opinion is the $10 units at the local auto stores are cheap ass chinese made junk, and have been for quite a number of years. The last one I replaced only lasted about 14 months. They open up wide open then never close again making the coolant free flow through the engine and not allowing it to ever heat properly except in summer.

There's also a certain way these thermostats are supposed to be installed and it can be confusing which way they go once you pull the housing off and clean everything up to reassemble. The housing is recessed and the t-stat is supposed to sorta twist lock into the removed housing in that recess, in a specific orientation, then the gasket goes in between the t-stat and block.

Second there is a slight slip when the trans shifts between first-second ... As long as you don't get on it heavly, or lift your foot on the first to second shift
You haven't said the mileage on the car, but this sounds about right for a now 21 year old car, and this is a known issue. Best thing you can do is either take it for a transmission fluid flush plus filter change or do it yourself. There's a sticky on the forums here that explains what to do and it about covers this. While this won't necessarily fix the problem it will help alleviate it to a good degree and lengthen the remaining life of the trans. You can also add a bottle of dope, like Lucas makes, in place of some of the fluid volume you are replacing.

Third issue is the wipers.
Another issue that happens almost to them all. Mines only done this a very few amount of times so I haven't delved into a fix. But the problem will either be in the switch or wiper motor. I know it's not much help but I'm sure searching the forum for wiper problems will find something relating to your problem.

Last does anyone know of a place to get replacement headlight lenses for a reasonable cost? The cheapest I have been able to find them is $160 for a pair
$160 is about the cheapest I've found also, before shipping. Autozone sells 2 different polishing kits in store. One is usually around the headlamp area, the other can be found around where the trailer lights/harnesses are stocked. Both a quite pricy at around $20-25 apiece and will shine them up on the exterior but will require re-doing them every 8-10 months. I've heard you can treat them with a clear UV-blocking spray paint to help keep them clear. But it's got to block the UV as that's what clouds them up on the outside.

If they are cloudy on the inside, or have tons of moisture inside them, then they're shot and you'll need new ones. I've tried to remove the moisture by removing them and putting 99% pure alcohol in them on a hot day, letting them sit hole up where everything can evap out, then resealing the seams with silicone but it never works for long before there's moisture inside again.
 
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