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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for the most reliable taurus or sable wagon. I think that means duratec or vulcan 3.0. Just wondering which would be my best choice as far as cost and ease of repair as well as reliability.
thanks!
Nick

EDIT:
I just noticed that the heads and block on the Vulcan are Cast Iron vs the Duratec being Aluminum. Does this translate into more cracked heads or blown head gaskets on the Duratec (aluminum)?
 

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Least expensive, most reliable, and easiest to work on.... my vote would be for a '98-99 Vulcan with the AX4N transaxle. This combination is difficult to find because most Vulcans have the AX4S. Otherwise, I'd look for an early Gen 4 ('00-07) with the same setup. Last, I would look for a '98-05 Duratec (avoiding the '00), it will always have the AX4N, but you'll trade simplicity and inexpensiveness for higher cost.
 

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Depends on where you live. If where you are, cars don't seem to rust out too badly, then go for a 98/99. You can usually find a decently low mileage one from an old person for under a grand. If you're above the rust belt, then I'd say an 03 or newer, still can find low mileage in good shape for less than 2 or 3 grand. Simple to work on? Stick with 12valve/ohv/vulcan, whatever you want to call it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. I read a day or two ago that a lot of people said the Duratec was a better engine as far as longevity etc. I've owned a '96 an '00 in the past with a Vulcan and only thing I ever had go wrong was it'd stutter once in a while when I floored it. Maybe a fuel filter... who knows. But it seemed like a good engine.


So the AX4S vs. AX4N transaxle... what's the differences/advantages there?

Seems like these cars transmissions are good for around 150k or so. Are there things that commonly go bad on the trans that's repairable by the average skilled home mechanic?

Also, I am in Missouri. I see 96-99s all the time with no rust which is great. That gives more options I suppose. What is the bad on the 2000 models?
 

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2000 was a hybrid year for the duratec. it was an oval port (00 to 05) but it was also a front mount waterpump (96 to 00). for some reason the 2000s like to blow sparkplugs out. and as i am finding during my swap they have alot of 2000 only parts. if you work on your own cars and have a decent amount of know how i think you would enjoy a duratec more, although much harder to work on, it is a great engine, the vulcan is much much easier to work on but is kinda down on power... for the duratec you also have to watch the oil pan gasket (except on the newer ones) they tend to leak alot and often dont stay repaired long before they leak again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
QUOTE (sable23 @ May 25 2010, 02:25 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=806825
2000 was a hybrid year for the duratec. it was an oval port (00 to 05) but it was also a front mount waterpump (96 to 00). for some reason the 2000s like to blow sparkplugs out. and as i am finding during my swap they have alot of 2000 only parts. if you work on your own cars and have a decent amount of know how i think you would enjoy a duratec more, although much harder to work on, it is a great engine, the vulcan is much much easier to work on but is kinda down on power... for the duratec you also have to watch the oil pan gasket (except on the newer ones) they tend to leak alot and often dont stay repaired long before they leak again.[/b]
Great thanks. As far as working on the D-tec, what makes it harder to repair? Are the belt drive components impossible to get to or something else?



Also, different topic but I'm getting a Sable or Taurus wagon. I'd like to get one that will seat 8 (column shift-not floor shift). Is there a certain Sable or Taurus model I'm after to get that option (column shift)? Also, is a Sable Wagon better than a Taurus wagon in any certain areas?
 

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well the duratec is a much larger engine it fills the engine bay alot more. often you have to remove another part just to get to the one you are after where the vulcan you dont have to do that so much. and the duratec you have to remove the oil filter from under the car where the vulcan you can remove it from the top even though they are basically in the exact same spot.

the duratec normally comes with a floor shifter and the vulcan normally comes with a column shifter but there are exceptions to that rule but it may be harder to find.

a taurus is much easier to find front end parts for (in case of a collision) but a sable is more unique not as common. the gen 4 sable is very hard to find used body parts for (at least where i live).
 
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Id go the simpler Vulcan... Saves gas, the Duratec is not very easy to work on the extra 50hp or so is nice but it will only get you in trouble lol. The newer you go the harder it usually gets as well.

To be honest if you can find a 95 or 94 they are even simpler but they dont look as good as the newer ones IMO. Youll be hard pressed to find older ones in nice condition without a ton of miles. Good luck...
 

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The gas savings are negligible at best between the Duratec and Vulcan. They are both EPA rated for about the same. Duratec is harder to work on, when it comes time to have work done. But it's not like a highly exotic car, so you aren't constantly having to do little things. But as mentioned, when its time to work on something, you will have a chore ahead of ya...

Wagons you will tend to find are with a column shifter...even on high spec ones, it's not as normal to find a floor shift spec.

Finding a Taurus or Sable with some maintenance history is what I would be in search of...one that actually had somewhat routine fluid changes (ie had the coolant flushed every few years, as well as the trans fluid, etc) is probably going to be worth your time.
 

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Having had a 99 tek and a current 92 wagon with a vulcan...i can tell you that the vulcan is tons easier to work on, and doesn't breakdown as often. On the downside...its slower and there is a lot less you can do to make it faster. But if simplicity and reliabiltiy is what you are after, then thats the motor for you. B)
 

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I've had 2 Duratecs. My family has also had one Vulcan. The vulcan engine is puny to the Duratec, but man, oil filters and spark plugs are a snap to fix. It took me 4 hours and bloody knuckles the first time I replaced spark plugs on my engine.

Plus, on my 99, the alternator went. Again, because of the placement, it's a royal PITA to replace. The vulcan? Easiest job in the world...



That being said, I'd go with the 'tec anyday because of the power, but that's my preference. Plus, having a wagon means more weight....the extra HP helps.

This coming from a happy Gen4 Sable Wagon Owner and a Gen3 Taurus sedan owner :)
 

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I had a 91 L wagon witha Vulcan several years ago. No major problems in the three or so years I had it until I changed the trans fluid and it started slipping. Traded it in on a new 00 LX sedan.
 

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I'd avoid the 24 valve Duratec. Changing the alternator was sort of like childbirth. In order to remove a failed A/C compressor, the only way to get it out from below the engine was to go to Harbor Freight and buy a set of pullers to take off the compressor pulley. Partial-birth abortion? To change the three rear spark plugs you have to remove the plenium. Stuff doesn't necessarily go bad more often than on most cars, but when anything goes wrong in the engine compartment you are looking at a long, tough slog.
 

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You're all making me glad my 'Tec got smashed and replaced by a Vulcan. :D

I am actually beginning to love the Vulcan. The power loss took a little to get used to but it's a dream to drive compared to my Sunfire daily driver. Engine sounds great and I've been getting 27+ MPG lately, mixed driving.
 

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I'd go with the Vulcan it's a crazy economy and more HP means more gas just to get a speeding ticket? not worth it also you'll spend alot on repairs simply because the way the tec is made trust me i have a '99 tec ford and replaced the alternator pain in the ass! also powersteering pump and a coolant line . you'll save alot of money reliability and longevity is important!
 

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1997 Ford Taurus 3.0L Wagon 226,362 miles
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I've got a '97 GL wagon (3.0 Vulcan) with the third row seat purchased new as a leftover in Janurary of '98. About to turn 201k miles. You're gonna laugh (or shake your head in disgust) but I just recently pulled the original factory plugs out (except for plug #1, which I had changed when it popped up a code a few years back). I thought this was going to be an epic battle, but "surprise" - it was really easy (even the backside plugs)! Changed the original factory alternator recently, too. Again - really easy! But the car lacks for power - seriously (my '02 3.4L Impala - similar size and price class and hardly a 'muscle' car, would completely blow it away off a traffic light!). But it is what it is: a practical car at a reasonable price with very good interior room and great functionality with its hatchback and roofrack. If they still made them I'd probably buy another one.

About that third-row seat: I bought my wagon specifically with this feature, but when it came time to put my kids back there, I couldn't do it. Looked WAY too dangerous to me. The seat has seatbelts, but it's just a flat board with padding and if you were to get rear-ended your kids would probably get seriously injured (if not killed). Very little protection. It's a bad idea and I've never used it.

Also - someone mentioned removing the Vulcan's oil filter from the TOP? I don't think that's possible on my '97. I think the exhaust manifold is in the way, but I could be wrong...
 
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