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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there folks!

I'm looking at purchasing a new(er) car, and I'm considering a 2003 Taurus SES. Anyone who has experience with this model PLEASE let me know if there's anything I ought to be aware of.

How's the transmission?
Any notorious engine woes?
Modifications I should do to prevent something down the road?
(You get the idea.)

Please post any advice you can give me so I can consider the new bull before riding it.


Pax,
Matthew
 

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the 2003 should be a good year. It should be almost identical to my 2000, though any of the few bugs they had in the early gen 4's should not be present there. I don't think there are many people who have had any problems with thier transmission, though it's a bit early to tell. I have almost 44K on my 2000 and as far as I can tell, no transmission problems. The only engine problems I've had was failed coil packs. I don't know if the 2003 still uses coil on plug ignition, but it was something new in 2000. I think I had two or three replaced under warrenty, but haven't had any problems in the last year or two (knock on wood). They may have fixed the problem now or moved away from coil on plug all together (FYI corvettes and some high performance cars use coil-on-plug ignition). I had the brake switch interlock problem, but I think that was specific to 200 - 2001 models and the 2003's have this fixed. All an all the majority of any other problems I've had has been my own fault through upgrades-gone-wrong or backing over a rock (replaced fuel tank
). If you take care of the car, it will take care of you. if you want to do a preventitive maintenance modification, the very best I reccomend is a secondary transmission cool. Generally we reccomend as big as you can fit. Historicly, the transmission has been the Taurus's akilies heel in all models and all years (except on the rare few older years when manual transmissions were offered). Install a cooler and change the tranny fluid regularly and you should be worry free for well over 100K miles.

*Edit* Oh, by the way... Happy Birthday!

-Dan
 

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I have a had a few quirks with my 2003, but all were warranty issues, most recently the EATC. And the 2003 has a trans cooler from the factory.

I would recommend one.
 
J

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I have been very happy with my Gen 4 (2001) and have put over 20k miles on it in about 6 months. Spfidaddytaurs01 on our site has over 71k miles on his 2001 and has not had any tranny issues *knocks on wood* and the Gen 4 trannies are supposed to be the best yet, and from what I can tell they are.
A tranny cooler is definitely recommended though. Are you getting the Vulcan or the Duratec engine, just curious? But overall I'd say you're getting a very sporty, safe, fun and reliable car.
If you're interested in added handling performance I'd recommend the Anonda Motorsports Front Strut Tower Brace and Subframe Connectors, I have them and love them!


Welcome to the club and prepare to become addicted!


Good luck with your purchase!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the birthday wishes, Dan. =)

Regarding the tranny cooler, what aftermarket cooler would you recommend for a Gen4? My '96 GL (The Condor) hauled a trailer across the continent without a tranny cooler, probably why it's starting to shift rough. Any buying/maintenance advice would be appreciated.

I'm getting whatever a local dealer has in stock, though I'm hoping to find a Duratec. I can only afford the neighborhood of $12K, give or take a grand, so I don't know if I can get a Duratec. Anyone know of anything available within driving distance (like a hundred miles) of Nashville?

And please, keep coming with the advice!

Pax,
Matthew
 

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I love my 2003, even though there was a lot deleated for the 2003 year. Ford did away with the coil-on-plug, and now have the dino plug wires. Makes the engine kinda look empty after having a 2000 with the coil-on-plug. You will have to put up with no glove box light, which is a major pain in the A** everytime you open it and have to turn on the interior lights to see whats going on. Ford deleated the passager side key hole, trunk rear deck liner and trunk lid liner. There is also no ash tray light for the 2003 year.

Personally if you are buying used, I would look at an 02' and an 03' with around the same miles and what features are missing on the 03' for yourself. The 02' also has the same cool LED third brake light. I am not sure if the 02' has the same flush door handles as on the 03' though. I just know that my 2000 had the old style door handles. My 03' is also lacking the plastic trim piece that is inside your front fender when you open up the front doors, (I could swear my 2000 had this though).

Just wanted to give you a few heads ups. Good luck and happy hunting.
 

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They don't come with an ashtray light. Other than that, I'm totally happy.
 

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I have a 2003 SES Sport. Had a 2001 SES that I gave to my daughter. Funny how they change, or in this case, delete stuff from year to year. However, I do have a glove box light in mine (just checked). Some of the other deletes are the "extra" sun visor on the passenger side. The interior door handles are now black plastic instead of chrome plated. Anything to save a buck apparently. Had no problems with the 2001 but did the maintenance thing i.e. oil changes every 3000 miles, transmission service at 30000 and changed air/cabin filters every 15000 or so miles. The 2003 only has about 3000 miles at this point; just use it as a work car back and forth to work. Not much driving it other than that. New recall out regarding the air filter; just make sure that is taken care of before purchase. Good luck
 

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i saw this elsewhere on this site somewhere, forget where and who posted it, but anyhow heres a link to where you can get a tranmission cooler. Some are very cheap, i'm even thinking if i should get one for my 94 with 160k on it. Guys what isnt overkill for these? is there really a need for a cooler from a semi?


[edit] Matthew, I found where i got that link from its from the performance section and you were in that thread too so you probably already saw it..
 

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wkohler-you sure you looked in the 03' and not the 01' for the glove box light? If it does have it, is it the same style as the 01'? Also, what is the birthdate of your 03'? Mine is april 03', maybe it was a mid-year delete.
 

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My '03 SES has:

glove box light
passenger side keyhole
extra sun-visors on each side
chrome interior door handles
liners everywhere in the trunk

What else is supposedly "deleted"?
 

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My brother just got back from Japan and needed a car. He went down to a place that just got a 2000 in for trade. It looked like a**. It was SO dirty.

The next day they had it cleaned and detailed before pickup. I was perfect. 4 tires and a new alternator later, it looks and runs great. He got it for $2000.

Get this! It has 165,000 miles.. LOL - I'm only hoping mine does so well. I have a 2002 SES and it runs good except phantom idle fluxuations.

I have the lights in the glove and ashtray. I also have dual visors and chrome handles. Not sure on the passenger side keyhole. I'll have to look. By the way, I just tinted mine 50% (utah max) in front and 35% in back. Looks sharp as I have a black car.

Funny thing is, his is an SE and it has all the same options as mine. Was their a difference? Guess I can find that on the site somewhere.
 
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