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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
2001 Taurus SES

1. Heater doesn't work. Was told by the mechanic that the system was clogged and heater core needs to be replaced but that we could try to flush the crap out... didn't work. Talked to a different mechanic who said the heater core most likely doesn't need to be replaced but at this time I can't afford to fix it. Given that it is July I don't really care about fixing it right now anyway so it can wait.

2. Stereo volume knob has a mind of it's own and sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Not a big deal, I can replace the stereo myself eventually but just wanted to mention it.

3. Windshield washer fluid doesn't work. Fluid=full When I press the knob I can hear a whine of some sort. The hoses under the hood are in decent shape. I was told it is possibly the washer fluid pump by the guy at the AutoZone (reliability of source?).

4. Strange rattle in the engine. My mechanic replaced the pully from the engine near the end of last summer which fixed the rattle for awhile but now seems like it is back. It sounds like it is coming from the same place.

5. Car vibrates on the highway. I can't feel a shake at slow speeds, and not all stretches of roads on the highway cause such a violent rattle but it seems to me as if it is abnormal. I want to say it is suspension but I suppose I'm no expert. I had an alignment done on it about a month ago and they replaced the outer tie rod ends on both sides, but this did not make the shake better.

6. A/C hasn't worked in over a year. I decided it might be time to recharge the system with a DIY kit from AutoZone. I know how most of you feel about that from browsing the forum so PLEASE don't give me hell about it, but please do try to help me figure out what happened. Before I did the DIY kit the blower works fantastically. Very strong wind with the blower on. Followed the instructions on the can religiously, and about 15 seconds into the process the blower quit working. Checked the blower fuse and relay... both are good. Checked power to the blower motor and there is approximately 13-14V at the connector. The blower only moves air and it is my understanding that it has nothing to do with the actual a/c process so what happened to my blower at that exact moment to cause it to go out??!

7. Tranny shifts hard but I've been told by a few people that Tauruses are notorious for that. It seems to hard to me but I'm no mechanic.

8. I'm 99% positive that my rear brake shoes need to be replaced (possibly the drums as well). I've had the car for 4 years and have always done the front brakes myself with no problems, but I've never done shoes before. The E-Brake doesn't works which makes sense because as I understand it the e-brake is the rear brakes. It also makes sense that I have to replace the front brakes more than normal (~3 times in 4 years) because I've been told that when braking the car will use 70% front 30% rear...

Correct me if I'm wrong on any of this please, but I'm so damn frustrated and my girlfriend keeps insisting that I need to run the car into the ground before I go buy a different one but I reeeaaalllly hate this thing right now.

Please help

Jake

P.S.-The AC is my biggest beef right now 100* can't be compensated for with hot air rushing in your face at 75mph.
 

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At 9 years and 132K miles it's hit the point where it will need a lot of maintenance. This is a cycle that you need to budget for; these cars get expensive to own as they age. My 97 has been repurchased already with all the failed parts I've replaced, and it just wants more all the time.

Maintain the cooling system on the Vulcan religiously, flushing and filling every two years. The blower dying while charging was probably just bad luck. Most of the time a home recharge doesn't work long term, and you'll end up having to rebuild the system. Don't use A/C stopleak, regardless of what anyone else says.

Change the trans fluid if you haven't, otherwise many things like bad motor mounts can cause a hard shift sensation.

It sounds like your brake drums aren't self adjusting. You may need to buy a hardware kit when you install shoes. The shoes should have a very slight drag on the drum when you reinstall everything, this will ensure that the self adjusting mechanism will operate properly. Without drum action, you're burning through your front pads/discs too fast, and probably some of your highway shake is due to disc warpage.
 

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Sounds like a lot of deferred maintenance coming home to roost

2001 Taurus SES

1. Heater doesn't work. Was told by the mechanic that the system was clogged and heater core needs to be replaced but that we could try to flush the crap out... didn't work. Talked to a different mechanic who said the heater core most likely doesn't need to be replaced but at this time I can't afford to fix it. Given that it is July I don't really care about fixing it right now anyway so it can wait.

2. Stereo volume knob has a mind of it's own and sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Not a big deal, I can replace the stereo myself eventually but just wanted to mention it.

3. Windshield washer fluid doesn't work. Fluid=full When I press the knob I can hear a whine of some sort. The hoses under the hood are in decent shape. I was told it is possibly the washer fluid pump by the guy at the AutoZone (reliability of source?). Either that or the hose is plugged anywhere from the pump outlet to the nozzles. You may need to remove the passenger front wheel and splash shield under the fender to inspect/remove/flush the hose if the pump is good. If pump not good, replace.

4. Strange rattle in the engine. My mechanic replaced the pully from the engine near the end of last summer which fixed the rattle for awhile but now seems like it is back. It sounds like it is coming from the same place. Inspect the serpentine belt and accessory train - water pump pulley, idler wheels, tensioner, alternator and a/c compressor pulleys. Best if you can remove the belt and turn each component by hand or feel for looseness.

5. Car vibrates on the highway. I can't feel a shake at slow speeds, and not all stretches of roads on the highway cause such a violent rattle but it seems to me as if it is abnormal. I want to say it is suspension but I suppose I'm no expert. I had an alignment done on it about a month ago and they replaced the outer tie rod ends on both sides, but this did not make the shake better. When was the last time your wheels were balanced? Are the struts in good condition? Are other components like the stabilizer bar links OK?

6. A/C hasn't worked in over a year. I decided it might be time to recharge the system with a DIY kit from AutoZone. I know how most of you feel about that from browsing the forum so PLEASE don't give me hell about it, but please do try to help me figure out what happened. Before I did the DIY kit the blower works fantastically. Very strong wind with the blower on. Followed the instructions on the can religiously, and about 15 seconds into the process the blower quit working. Checked the blower fuse and relay... both are good. Checked power to the blower motor and there is approximately 13-14V at the connector. The blower only moves air and it is my understanding that it has nothing to do with the actual a/c process so what happened to my blower at that exact moment to cause it to go out??!
Did you have the A/C controls set to max cooling and fan speed? It sounds like a coincidence.

7. Tranny shifts hard but I've been told by a few people that Tauruses are notorious for that. It seems to hard to me but I'm no mechanic. Have you drained/flushed the transmission and replaced with fresh fluid?It may smooth out the shifts

8. I'm 99% positive that my rear brake shoes need to be replaced (possibly the drums as well). I've had the car for 4 years and have always done the front brakes myself with no problems, but I've never done shoes before. The E-Brake doesn't works which makes sense because as I understand it the e-brake is the rear brakes. It also makes sense that I have to replace the front brakes more than normal (~3 times in 4 years) because I've been told that when braking the car will use 70% front 30% rear... Is the parking brake pedal slack? As the shoes wear, the adjuster needs to tighten up the cable. It's a mechanical linkage on the driver's side under the car.

Correct me if I'm wrong on any of this please, but I'm so damn frustrated and my girlfriend keeps insisting that I need to run the car into the ground before I go buy a different one but I reeeaaalllly hate this thing right now. Pick the most important thing from a safety/reliability perspective first and focus on that. Trying to chase multiple problems will frustrate you. It doesn't sound like you are having serious engine or transmission problems (yet), count your blessings and make a plan to catch up on some of that maintenance.

Please help

Jake

P.S.-The AC is my biggest beef right now 100* can't be compensated for with hot air rushing in your face at 75mph.
Rick
 

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^^ Agreed.

It was only 83* here in NJ today:) I'll add to this......
#1 Could be the heater blend door motor gone south.
That could also be the root of your problem in #6 with the AC not working.

#2 Just turn the knob slowly and it will work. Mine goes crazy if I move the knob fast.

#5 I would say is definately something to do with your tires. Either they are worn to the wear indicators, out of round or out of balance.

#6 .... see #1 above.

#7 Do a drain and fill with Mercon V ONLY!

#8 Do you have rear drums or discs? Either way sounds like something is not adjusted properly, or the pads/shoes are worn out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, the AC was set to max and full speed. The strange thing about the blower was that yesterday when I got in the car I got the inclination to turn on the blower and it worked. It's blowing hard now but I don't understand why it would be doing this. I was reading somewhere else on the forum that these are notorious for getting water in them from bad weather seals. Is it possible that the blower could be fixed? And if it's not fixable then do you all have a suggestion for somewhere (online or elsewhere) to get reliable parts for a decent price?

The rear brakes are drum brakes. I had tires put on ~2 years ago, and I assume that they balanced the wheels then but I suppose it's possible I lost a weight somewhere along the way. I hadn't even thought about the wheels being unbalanced/out of round. I checked the tires out too. they probably have about 33% tread left on them.
 

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On a car of this age, if the rear shoes have never been replaced, they are likely to be near the wear limit. You can check it by removing the wheel and drum, not too difficult but messy as there will probably be a lot of dust in the drum. If you keep the drums, consider replacing them as well as the shoes especially if you find that you have worn past the lining material into the rivets which will score the drums. Check for leaks at the cylinder.
 
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