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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings fellow bull owners,

I've been logging all maintenance (and its cost) for my Taurus for a few years, and it's getting to the age where I'm trying to calculate when I should get another car. Given the past maintenance and its age and mileage, how much would you estimate my maintenance costs to be for the next year, at a shop (not DIY)?

I've gone ahead and forecasted maintenance that I'm pretty sure will need done. Do you see anything missing, especially high cost items that I should anticipate?

Some facts and summaries:

2005 Ford Taurus SE, Vulcan v6 Flex
183k miles (I only drive 3k miles/yr currently)

Avg monthly ownership cost past two years: $75

Total unplanned repairs last two years (new starter, alignment, lower ball joints, bad wheel cylinders): $700 - included in above monthly cost

Maintenance done in the last 20k miles (ignoring oil changes and tires): brake and radiatior fluid changed, air filters, fuel filter, front brake pads changed and rotors resurfaced, coilpack and spark plugs+wires, lower ball joints, starter motor, FE alignment, bank 2 o2 sensor 1 changed, transmission flush, new rear wheel cylinders and drum brakes. Transmission was rebuilt at around 150k miles.

Future needs this year: replace serpentine belt or idler/tensioner pulleys (taking it to the shop tomorrow to find out which - it squeaks constantly in tune with revs), diagnose and fix groaning PS pump when steering the wheel side to side. I'm provisioning $500 for this in the yearly forecast without more info.

If you can't tell from my obvious geekiness of collecting and analyzing my data, I'm not a car guy and only attempted DIY for air filters, coilpack and plugs/wires and, insanely, the o2 sensor (see my other thread if you want to facepalm. Probably melted my cat). I take it to the shop for everything else, so it's starting to get too unreliable for my dainty, desk jockey butt.

Is it ready for me to take my poor bull to the grandparent's farm, where it can watch all the lovely heifers prance about? Thanks for reading!
 

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There are sweet spots of ownership at times when the most frequently repaired items are done and you are waiting for the next round of items. I think you are in that spot for a while but repair cost are not linear. Have you done the timing cover gasket and waterpump yet. That's a high cost repair on a Vulcan and happens at 130k plus miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There are sweet spots of ownership at times when the most frequently repaired items are done and you are waiting for the next round of items. I think you are in that spot for a while. Have you done the timing cover gasket and waterpump yet. That's a high cost repair on a Vulcan and happens at 130k plus miles.
Hmm, I don't believe I've done that. I got the car private party in 2014 at 161k miles, so it's maybe possible the previous owner did that. But I don't know for sure. Recommend getting it done to be safe?
 

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Hmm, I don't believe I've done that. I got the car private party in 2014 at 161k miles, so it's maybe possible the previous owner did that. But I don't know for sure. Recommend getting it done to be safe?
No because it is too expensive just as preventative measure. Could run $600 to $800+ at a dealer. Most likely it is done since it isn't leaking.
 

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Another that I would allow for is a Fuel Pump, not seeing it in the list above of planned or have done.
Just FYI, there is a guy on eBay selling Airtex E2283M fuel pumps for $30 shipped. I bought one a couple weeks ago to replace the failed pump in my sable and it was exactly as advertised, brand new in box. If you need a fuel pump or think you're going to need one, just search eBay for Airtex E2283M.
 

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If you haven't already, I would highly recommend changing the fluid in the power steering system and the brake system. Those get old over time, and fluids are pretty easy.
 

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Just FYI, there is a guy on eBay selling Airtex E2283M fuel pumps for $30 shipped. I bought one a couple weeks ago to replace the failed pump in my sable and it was exactly as advertised, brand new in box. If you need a fuel pump or think you're going to need one, just search eBay for Airtex E2283M.

Poster's vehicle is a fuel flex which takes a different pump module.
 

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Get yourself a quart of Mercon V and a turkey baster from a dollar store, and suck and fill the power steering reservoir on days when you have 5 minutes to spare. If the groaning goes down, get another quart and do it again.

If you can change the air filter, you can do this too.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is your car chirping or squeaking. Chirping is the cam synchro. Put water on the belt and see if the noise goes away to test it.
I'd say it's squealing. It's in rhythm with the throttle, and it happens within 10 seconds of starting the car. It's also not erratic like a cam synch chirp.
 

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Your annual miles is fairly low... is that because you take a lot of short trips, or you just don't drive it much but when you do, you go farther out. This would weigh in my decision. I don't really mind driving an older vehicle around locally because I know it won't be too hard to get back home or get it worked on. About 10 years ago, I knew very little about car repair. But I found a Hayes manual for my Civic at a yard sale and then started learning more on the web and now I try to do as much repair as I can on my own. I have three older vehicles and two drivers, and I figure one can be down at any time, and I'll take my time working on it and still be able to go where I need. Plus, I live where I can catch a city bus or walk to a lot of things, or call Uber if needed.

The pulleys and belt problem you mentioned is actually pretty simple repair with some basic tools. I went through this a year ago. They are easy to access and the hardest part is re-routing a new belt back onto the pulleys. I highly recommend getting a Continental Elite or Goodyear Gatorback belt. Other store brand belts I've tried will squeak soon after installing.

A lot of the expensive repairs can be avoided or delayed by doing regular maintenance. I annually drain and fill the coolant. It's easy to do (after you cut a hole in the air dam per Chart's suggestion) and I'm sure helps prevent worse problems later. Don't let the gas level go below 1/4 tank to keep the fuel pump cooled. I agree with changing the power steering fluid and making sure it is completely filled before taking it to somebody. Mine was groaning a little bit last winter and I added probably just 2 tablespoons and it went away. I think it was just a bit lower due to cold weather.
 

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Your annual miles is fairly low... is that because you take a lot of short trips, or you just don't drive it much but when you do, you go farther out. This would weigh in my decision. I don't really mind driving an older vehicle around locally because I know it won't be too hard to get back home or get it worked on. About 10 years ago, I knew very little about car repair. But I found a Hayes manual for my Civic at a yard sale and then started learning more on the web and now I try to do as much repair as I can on my own. I have three older vehicles and two drivers, and I figure one can be down at any time, and I'll take my time working on it and still be able to go where I need. Plus, I live where I can catch a city bus or walk to a lot of things, or call Uber if needed.

The pulleys and belt problem you mentioned is actually pretty simple repair with some basic tools. I went through this a year ago. They are easy to access and the hardest part is re-routing a new belt back onto the pulleys. I highly recommend getting a Continental Elite or Goodyear Gatorback belt. Other store brand belts I've tried will squeak soon after installing.

A lot of the expensive repairs can be avoided or delayed by doing regular maintenance. I annually drain and fill the coolant. It's easy to do (after you cut a hole in the air dam per Chart's suggestion) and I'm sure helps prevent worse problems later. Don't let the gas level go below 1/4 tank to keep the fuel pump cooled. I agree with changing the power steering fluid and making sure it is completely filled before taking it to somebody. Mine was groaning a little bit last winter and I added probably just 2 tablespoons and it went away. I think it was just a bit lower due to cold weather.
As to belts see pic. This one house brand was not run long enough to wear the ink off the back side. But was bad already. Belt brand mentioned work well, on both my Sables. While back RA had discontinued sale and they were cheap, "Gatorback".
-chart-
 

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chartmaker
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