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Wow am I an idiot. I bought an '03 Taurus wagon a few years ago for $2500 and have sunk another $3500 into various parts for a total of 6 grand. I bought it with 93k miles on it and now it's 108k. Here's the punch line: the car is still a lemon, just basically junk. I doubt I could sell it for more than $1500. I didn't realize how bad it was until I bought a new Kia Soul and discovered what a new car drives like. Not even in the same universe and it only cost about twice as much as this beater has cost me. Yikes. Ok, done ranting, haha.
 

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Well you shouldn't compare a 17 year old car to a new one unless it is a classic ride. I wouldn't also recommend a car that was say 15 years old to a person that doesn't work on cars themselves. Believe me because I have had five Taurus and they have been constantly requiring work to keep them running. I can only compare them to newer cars but if I didn't know these cars inside and out I would never think of buying any car over five or six years old and have done a lot of research on reliability. That said they have been the cheapest of any of my cars to own because of initial cost, cheap parts and salvage part availability. I don't think I will ever own a car that has such a low ownership cost. I also don't mind driving these cars.
 

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Wow am I an idiot. I bought an '03 Taurus wagon a few years ago for $2500 and have sunk another $3500 into various parts for a total of 6 grand. I bought it with 93k miles on it and now it's 108k. Here's the punch line: the car is still a lemon, just basically junk. I doubt I could sell it for more than $1500. I didn't realize how bad it was until I bought a new Kia Soul and discovered what a new car drives like. Not even in the same universe and it only cost about twice as much as this beater has cost me. Yikes. Ok, done ranting, haha.
You bought a very very low end car based on price. 4.5 years ago I bought a '03 Mercury Sable wagon from a dealer at wholesale ~ auction price at $4K. It would be on the market at $6K if cleaned up and fixed up. I did that with about $50 in JY parts. At 99K miles it was about average usage. First off it had no spare tire or jack. I do my own work. Now 53K more miles and I would not take $4K for it now. About what is worth on the market now.
As for me, I have a '11 Buick Lucerne sitting in the parking in front of the apartment. Very nice vehicle, lots of extras, 70K miles on it. It has been driven one time in the last month. Every day I make minimum two round trips, 10 miles total each and I prefer to drive the '03 wagon. Very comfortable, quiet, reliable, great hauler.
Also have '03 Sable sedan, 190K, and '03 Taurus 118K. 6 drivers but only 3 are daily drivers.
-chart-
 

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Has It Been That Long?
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Sounds like you’ve been taken for a ride. That much cash could have gotten you a complete powertrain swap.
 

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if your going to rant about repair, at least post what repairs and how much it was.
 

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I own '99 Sable and Taurus wagon, 250K on the Sable and almost 300K on my wagon. What problems are you having with the car, check engine light on, any codes you are getting? Very easy to work on the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
if your going to rant about repair, at least post what repairs and how much it was.
I don't want to dig in the files for individual costs but here are the main items I've had done for a total of $3500:
new battery
new tires
new front struts
new rear coil springs
new starter
new water pump
new belts
new tie rods
flush trans
flush cooling system
brake job
The car is ok, it's drivable. I use it for hauling stuff and it's great for that. I'm not saying these cars are all bad, I'm just saying I personally did not use my money wisely on this whole 15,000 mile Taurus adventure, and it's my own fault.
 

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I don't want to dig in the files for individual costs but here are the main items I've had done for a total of $3500:
new battery
new tires
new front struts
new rear coil springs
new starter
new water pump
new belts
new tie rods
flush trans
flush cooling system
brake job
The car is ok, it's drivable. I use it for hauling stuff and it's great for that. I'm not saying these cars are all bad, I'm just saying I personally did not use my money wisely on this whole 15,000 mile Taurus adventure, and it's my own fault.
Seems to me that you're complaining about buying a used car that you should have expected to put some money into. EVERYTHING (except the water pump) would be a wear item, as far as I'm concerned. On the other hand, even water pumps wear out. I've bought used cars most of my life, and never expected them to drive/ride like a new car. You're right. Totally different universe, NOT comparable.
 

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Well said!
Well you shouldn't compare a 17 year old car to a new one unless it is a classic ride. I wouldn't also recommend a car that was say 15 years old to a person that doesn't work on cars themselves. Believe me because I have had five Taurus and they have been constantly requiring work to keep them running. I can only compare them to newer cars but if I didn't know these cars inside and out I would never think of buying any car over five or six years old and have done a lot of research on reliability. That said they have been the cheapest of any of my cars to own because of initial cost, cheap parts and salvage part availability. I don't think I will ever own a car that has such a low ownership cost. I also don't mind driving these cars.
 

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Sizeable amount but you have a car that will last you a long time before you need any of the above replaced.
I've done all of that to our 99 wagon and sable, plus transmission swap with Ford reman unit and a second reman transmission in my wagon. I do all my own work because it is therapy for me. This forum is a great resource.
 

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I agree with many of the above replies. It would not be fair to complain about the usual wear items, such as battery, tires, brake jobs, and such. On the other hand, if things such as the transmission had gone out multiple times in the few miles of your ownership, then I would agree on the lemon issue. As one said above, now that it is repaired, you should be getting some good life out of it.
 

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Seems to me that you're complaining about buying a used car that you should have expected to put some money into. EVERYTHING (except the water pump) would be a wear item, as far as I'm concerned. On the other hand, even water pumps wear out. I've bought used cars most of my life, and never expected them to drive/ride like a new car. You're right. Totally different universe, NOT comparable.
well , agree to disagree about the water pump. I have put 3 or 4 of them in all the tauri i have owned.
The Vulcan water pumps have sleeve bearings on the shaft. the shaft wears the bearing eccentric and the
shaft will wobble around. It will either start leaking, or you will hear a scrapping noise as the water pump impeller
scrapes the inside of the water pump housing due to the shaft flopping around. so they will wear out. Some even
have had the impeller rot away.

its much more insidious in the newer generation 3.5+ that have the water pump buried inside the timing cover.
hard to get to. and it will leak internally. Can destroy the engine if your not on top of things soon enough.
Thats one milkshake you don't want to taste.
 

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As others have said, every one of those listed "repairs" are basic MAINTENANCE items, NOT REPAIRS.

What did you expect, buying a 17 year old car with nearly 100K miles?
 

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I bought a 250,000 mile 2003 SES for $250, put about $1200 into it and have driven it for about 4 years. Almost 300k mi., the rockers are falling off. I do my own work and understand these cars intimately.
 

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OK, you are catching a lot of flak about the post. Hopefully it doesn’t discourage you. Like most people here, I agree that most of that is maintenance. A water pump will need to be replaced on occasion and my only thought is the starter. Now that you have that work done, keep the oil changed regularly, and maintain other fluid maintenance like coolant, power steering, and transmission. If you don’t drive the vehicle a lot you might consider switching to synthetic oil. If you use regular oil, it should still be changed about every 6 months whether you hit the mileage or not. Do a little bit of research and you’ll find that the Costco Kirkland brand and the Walmart SuperTech brand seem to be the same oil and both are very well rated. Use a quality filter like Wix or the NAPA gold line. Keep the tires inflated. Keep them balanced and get the car aligned. I purchased a lifetime alignment from Firestone. When I needed tires, I got the car aligned. When I had ball joints put in, I got the car aligned. When I hit a hard pothole and some thing seemed out of whack, I had it inspected and found that it only needed an alignment. I only paid for it once.

You can download a free copy of FORScan (search in this forum for it) for your computer and with a $15 ELM327 Bluetooth OBD-II Interface, you can see and check a lot of data. Any of the cars sensors. Any check engine light codes (and clear the codes as well to see if it has been fixed). It will also give you the ability to program keys and remotes, though it is not needed for remotes with some simple instructions. With that same OBD reader, if you have an android device you can invest $5 in a program called torque pro. You can check out a pretty restricted version of it for free; I believe it is called torque pro light or something like that.

I remember reading about a year or so ago that the three major reasons why people become dissatisfied with their vehicles are the 3 D’s: dents, dings, and dirt. Keep it clean, try to fix dents or dings but if you can’t at least touch up paint or otherwise prevent rust. Basic maintenance, keep it clean, figure out what codes mean (you can come here or go online once you have the code) so you can do it yourself or ask a technically inclined friend to assist, and that car should last you quite a long time.

My apologies for rambling on and on.


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