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Discussion Starter #1
At the end of April 2013, I picked up a 2000 Sable LS Premium wagon for use as my daily driver. It was a one owner car (originally from MD), that I found at a used car dealer in NJ just across the river from Philly. At the time it had 113K miles on it. Clean interior (still had the original floor mats) with good leather, non-smoker vehicle, no rust, and a good running Duratec and AX4N. All the pieces and parts worked. Had the peeling door panels (dealer tried to fix) and original struts/shocks. The dealer had resealed the oil pan, replaced the sway bar links, replaced the brake fluid reservoir, and replaced the ABS control module. Although the vehicle history showed no accidents, several body panels had been repainted. But, the repairs were well done. Given some of the scars on the bumpers, I suspect the previous owner was spatially challenged and probably an older individual. But, all in all it appeared to be a well taken care of vehicle.

So, why this car? My previous daily driver was a 2008 Nissan Titan Crew Cab, long bed, 4x4. The 13-14 MPG was killing me. In 5 years the Titan would be 10 years old with 150K miles on it and ready to be replaced. With the kids college expenses starting to mount about then, I'd be in no shape to replace it. So, it was time for a new daily driver to get another 5 years or so out of the T.

I started looking for a $3K Camry. But, $3K wasn't getting me much. Dirty interiors, plain jane models, 150K miles or more, dented body work, etc. Yeah, it'd probably run forever, but I'm too much of a car person to deal with those issues. But, on one trip out to look at a Camry, I found a really nice 2000 Taurus SE wagon from FL, 143K miles on it, 3.0 Vulcan for $4K. Hmmm. Up to this point I'd never really considered a Taurus or Sable and the wagon offers some versatility.

So, home to the internet to do some research. Broken spring issues, some transmission problems, oil leaks. Solid engines and not a lot of fancy stuff to cause problems later. But, they looked fairly reliable, generally easy to work on, good parts availability, a good online support network, and there's a bazillion of them out there.

So, I set up some internet searches across southern PA, NJ, and MD for a Taurus/Sable wagon for less than $5K and under 125K miles. After about 4 weeks, and a couple of false starts, I found this one in NJ. Took a Wed off of work and drove south 200 miles to take a look at it. After a couple of hours crawling all over it, I decided to go for it. The following Sun my wife and I went down to pick it up. The dealer was gracious enough to open up on his day off so we could pick it up.

So, some pictures after a thorough cleaning and waxing:











Let the mods begin!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
On my first trip to the local pull-it-yourself junk yard, I found a set of Gen4.5 door panel inserts! I couldn't believe it. Needless to say, my wife didn't understand.



These definitely had to go:



Much better now! :D

 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Before the snow started falling, the front and rear suspensions needed attention. I scored a pair of KYB Gas-A-Just shocks off Amazon Marketplace for about $40. That firmed up the rear when I had rear seat passengers.

Next came the front end and the joy of pinch bolts used to hold struts in. I went with KYB Excel-G/GR-2 struts and a pair of Gen3 Moog front springs. That got rid of the remaining floatiness. I popped in a new outer tie rod on the right side since the original was starting to get a bit loose. A new pair of rotors and new front brake pads rounded out the weekend's fun.

The Moog cargo springs for the rear would have to wait until spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Then the snow started falling:



The Sable handled the snow and the 15 sub-zero mornings without any issues.

Why didn't I build a 3 car garage?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Warmer weather brought me out of hibernation and the mod/repair bug started biting again.

First up was a ProClips iPod holder.



Next, were some new carpet floor mats:



Finally, some acoustical accompaniment - a Magnaflow XL Turbo muffler with a Flowmaster dual stainless steel tip:







It sounds great, except for the drone around 2K RPMs. I'm looking to add a 1/4 wave resonator tube to address that. Looks like the best place to put it is just behind the rear axle. Something 18"-26" long ought to do it. That'll have to wait a few weeks.

Next up will be valve cover gaskets and ignition coils. I bought the gaskets last summer, but never got around to doing them. I'll probably paint the valve covers while I'm at it. The black plastic isn't doing anything for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks. When I got the car I was only going to do what was necessary mechanically to keep it going. Well, I can't leave things alone...

Heading south is definitely the way to go. The downside is the time and $$ spent getting there. Then, if the car doesn't pan out, you get to do it again!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Got any exhaust videos yet?
Sorry, not yet. Ran into a misfire problem that kind of ruins the sound quality. :) I'm out of town until the end of next week. Hopefully, I can get things running smoothly once I get home.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here are some preliminary pictures of the interior trim repaint.

First, the console shifter trim done in Dupli-Color Metallic Black:



Next, the radio trim bezel done in Dupli-Color Metallic Black and Graphite.





Now to let it dry well while I go work on the valve cover gaskets.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Did you too destroy some woodgrain?
Yes I did. But, it put up a good fight. I grabbed it from a JY car. My woodgrain is still intact. Given the quantity I saw in a couple of junk yards, I don't feel too bad about it.
 

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Woodgrain is cheap and plentiful. It's the LS Platinum stuff that's rare, mainly because it's hard to find in good condition.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Here are some pictures documenting the weekend's work on the Sable.

First up, the new paint on the instrument cluster trim. And the ABS light now works!



Next is the new paint on the radio bezel and console trim. I need more direct light to really show off the metallic black paint.



Now, for the best part - engine eye candy!







That's the best it might ever look. The paint is Dupli-Color Metallic Black on the valve covers and Dupli-Color Graphite on the UIM.

In more mundane matters all of this was brought on by needing to replace the valve cover and UIM gaskets. I bought a set of Fel-Pro gaskets last spring, but never got around to installing them until now.

Here's an internal shot of the front valve/cam/cylinder head. Looks pretty clean for 127K miles.



I found the source of the engine misfire. The #1 spark plug bore had a lake in it. So, I dried that out.

I pulled the plugs to look them over to see if they were OEM or newer. They were Motorcraft double platinum. Since the gaps were 0.055-0.058", I suspect they might be the original plugs. They were all very clean, a light grayish-tan. I installed a set of Autolite APP104s with plenty of anti-sieze compound.

I looked over the ignition coils. Two were unmarked, two were definitely of Chinese origin, and two were original Motorcraft (both cracked). So, I put 3 of the 4 new Denso coils I bought in the back. That left 1 Denso, 1 Motorcraft JY coil, and 1 Chinese special in the front. I'll pick up a couple of more Denso coils at some point.

Next, I replaced the PCV valve and hose. They looked to be in decent shape, but replaced them anyway. I found a 7/8" 12 point socket fits the valve quite nicely. So, removal and re-installation was quite easy.

About 5 minutes into the UIM removal, I broke the expansion tank tee off the upper radiator hose. So, it didn't get off to a good start. I installed a new hose to finish off the job.

I started all this on Saturday morning and finished at 12:30am Monday morning. I was worried some of the 14 year old hoses and connectors would give me problems. But, everything appears to be working fine.
 

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Oh my goodness that Duratec looks so amazing with a simple paint job. I want!
 

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I wouldn't have thought painting the UIM a color that isn't a drastic contrast to the valve covers would stand out as much as it does. The whole engine looks good!
 

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Looks very nice :) I would do something similar if I wasn't lazy! Also, I'm not under the hood often enough to appreciate it.
 
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