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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just picked up my first Ford; a '98 Taurus SE/Duratec. Got her at 166k and things seem well enough aside from an oil leak that has yet to be pinpointed (mechanic replaced a seal/sensor a few days ago, and advised that we wait through the weekend before doing a full tune up to see if it fixes the leak), a transmission leak (was down 2qts when we checked it), and a Service Engine light that wont go away.

He wants $310 w/ parts and labor for plugs, plug wires and fuel filter along with the other standard stuff. And I'm quite sure he said he'd do an electronic diagnostic as well. I'm half tempted to do it all myself, but the parts alone would run $100+ and that's assuming I wont need to buy any tools (of which I have very few at the moment) and then there's the diagnostic, which I obviously can't do myself.

I've called around town, and apparently the fact that this is a DOHC puts the labor cost through the roof. I've heard estimates upwards of $600, but nothing lower than $375~ or so.

The mechanic is a good guy and was pretty easy on me with the oil seal/sensor work he did (total of $90~ for something that took well over an hour), so I don't distrust him when he says a tune up in my car's case will take between two and three hours to work.

So what do you guys things? Does $300 for a pretty thorough tuneup, minus the oil change that was already done, seem pretty fair?

I normally wouldn't be dragging my feet over this, but on my last car a similar level of tune up cost around half this with wires. Though that was on a V6 3800 GM which is a bit easier to work on.

Thanks for any opinions guys. :)
 

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Replacing the spark plugs on ANY V6 transversal mounted engine is labor intesive. It's about the ones in the "back"...
Plug wires, plugs and fuel filter you can check the prices online at Advance Auto Parts (or what store you prefer). I replaced the plugs myself...

Average parts prices: plugs Iridium kind (6x10$), spark plug wires (40$), you might need a new intake manifold/plenum gasket set (40$), fuel filter (12$), fuel filter removal tools (20$).
AAP will read the code free of charge and they have free tools rental (if you know what to do with them)...
 

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Considering what is involved in changing plugs & wires on a tech, $300 is a fair price. Like you said, parts are going to cost you over $100 just for the basics. I would say if your not handy with taking your car apart then I would jump at the $300 and let him have the fun.
 

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$310 to tune a Tec that only needs a tune every 75 - 100k miles? I'd jump on it if you're not comfortable with taking stuff apart and doing it yourself.
 

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Many have paid over double that for a "Tec tuneup". As others have said, go for it assuming you dont feel comfortable doing it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the 'go-ahead' guys. I just scheduled my tune up for Monday. :D

And hopefully this never needs to be done again. :lol2:
 

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I would personally ask for the plugs back from him and the holes they came out of. Both because I'd want to see what condition the engine is in and many times I've seen the fronts changed and the rears left in place.
 

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Hell Okie, if you were closer, id do it for free if you supplied the parts. Just did plugs and wires on a 98tec last nite. Also cleaned the iac, tb, egr valve and channel, maf, intake, slapped on a new dpfe sensor for a po401 code, a new pcv valve and hose, air filter and fuel filter in 2-3 hrs. time. Today im gonna change oil, atf, coolant, ps and brake fluids. Itll be ready for another 200k! Git er dun!
 

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You are a busy bee...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I would personally ask for the plugs back from him and the holes they came out of. Both because I'd want to see what condition the engine is in and many times I've seen the fronts changed and the rears left in place.
I'd never thought of that, for either reason. Though I guess the tell-tale bit will be the wires, since I'm getting a new set of those. If they're all new I can assume he actually did the plugs.

But I'd still like to see the old plugs now just out of curiosity; The guy I bought the car from hadn't changed they oil since he's owned the car (August '10), so I think it's a safe bet that he never did the plugs. And he picked up the car at a dealer, so who knows when the owner before him changed 'em.

Hell Okie, if you were closer, id do it for free if you supplied the parts.
Dammit, don't tell me that! I wouldn't let you do it for free though, you'd at least get a case of beer and a pizza out of it. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, it's done. And the car is driving even more nicely. I also saw the pulled plugs and they were totally shot.

My Service Engine light was/is from an exhaust/emission leak or something of the sort. They cleared it and warned me it would probably return, and sure enough it was back within 6 hours.

Pricey little tune up, but I'm happy that it was done correctly - I don't think this is the best engine for me to cut my teeth on, or at least not a week after buying the car. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Also, something I was watching that I thought new plugs/filter/wires might affect but it hasn't; the engine does 2,000 RPM at 55mph. Is that normal? Maybe I'm just used to the GM 3800 V6 (a Park Avenue and an Intrigue) which was pulling RPMs in the teens even in the 60mph range.
 

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That sounds normal. It's only a 4 speed transmission.
Plus the GM gearing in the 3800 is quite low on vehicles like the Impala and LeSabre. You can barely be pulling 2000 RPM doing 80, lol.
 

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It's normal, the DOHC engines have 4 valves with a purpouse - they are built for higher rpm's...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Heh, good. I'd just gotten so familiar with the behavior of the 3800 after having it in the only two cars I've ever owned. But yeah, I noticed that it doesn't take a ton of effort to get this Duratec up into the 6000-7000 RPM range. :D

Other bit of good news; the 'big' oil leak that I inherited has apparently been fixed by the seal that was replaced. After that replacement, I started parking the car over cardboard nightly to monitor the drips, and what was originally two or three per drops per night became two, then one... and for the past three nights there hasn't been a single drop.

Good car. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Nah, that was more of an accidental discovery during my 'testing phase' - I'm too much of a fuel miser to do it intentionally/regularly. :p
 
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