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Ok, you know how when you take your car in, the mechanics are bound to find something wrong? Yeah, well that's what happened.

I planned to take my car in last Thursday to get the alignment done. Well, they (an independent garage, not the dealership) had my car for an hour and said that the passenger side tie-rod was bad. They charged me $28 to look at it and gave the car back to me. Well I thought about it over the weekend and I've seen what happens when a tie-rod breaks and it's not pretty. So I make appointment for Friday (yesterday).

So I take the car in again to get the tie-rod done at around 10 AM. They said it would probably be $220 for the tie-rod and alignment and it would be done at around 1:30 PM. So I go home and do some other stuff. They call me at around 2 PM to ask me if I want to do the camber. I'm like, "Isn't that part of the alignment?" and they're like, "We might need to order special shims and it'd probably add $100 to the total." Then I freak out and tell them just to do the toe. Then about 15 minutes later, they call me again and they made a mistake looking up the specs on the suspension and that it'd only cost and extra $20 ($50 at worst) for the camber. I figure that's not too bad so I told them to do it.

Then the car's ready to be picked up at around 3:30 PM. I ge there and they tell me that they did the camber and all the other stuff, but they found some other stuff that needs fixing. Remember a while ago I mentioned that the car looked a little front heavy, but everyone was saying that's a characteristic of FWD cars? Turns out the shocks and springs were bad and one of the subframe mounts might be worn. Not to mention I have an exhaust leak, need a tune-up, and the passenger side power window switch stopped working. Well, I'm mostly pissed at the shocks. I had them do the camber, which involved moving the struts about 1/2 inch. Now if I knew the suspension was worn, I would have waited to do the camber after I got them replaced. Now I gotta watch how hard I hit bumps so I don'd screw the suspension to the point of no return.

So the total came to $251. I was a little shocked. So, I'm planning to try to do my own tune-up next month. BTW, does anyone know what size socket I need to get the spark plugs out? The exhaust leak, I won't worry about since I haven't noticed anything and there's no emmissions inspections here. The power window switch I can grab at the junkyard. It's not too hard to replace. And the subframe mount, I won't worry about that since we use sand instead of salt on the roads. What was surprising was that I backed over a couple of parking islands, but the computer showed that the rear wheels were near perfect alignment. Go figure.

I was also washing my car this morning because my car was REALLY dirty (been driving down some dirt roads). There were some light scratches on the front fenders. That really pissed me off, but I guess that's a way of life. After all it is an older car so I shouldn't be so protective. I also noticed they got some sort of grease or oil on the passenger side front wheel and it just won't come off! I tried scrubbing with soapy water and it won't come off. I'll probably need to use something stronger. I love my car and I wouldn't want any other car, so I guess I'll live with the stuff I don't need to fix. I'm just a little ticked off right now from this experience.
 

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Wow, I guess they saw you coming, it does seem a little high just for an alignment and a tie rod. So was that $251+28 from the day before for a total of $279? For just struts, I think the quickie shops like Sears and other chains tend to be cheaper as they'll quote a fixed rate and do them all the time.

I'd do something about that exhaust leak though, you don't want carbon monixide getting in the cabin of the car. I think it's one of those colorless orderless gasses that will kill you. It's what will kill you when you start the car and don't open the garage door.

I think newer cars actually don't produce enough to kill you so I heard of a few stories where people tried to commit suicide and it didn't work. With your car out of tune, who knows though.
 

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If I remember correctly on the spark plug wrench it is 3/4. But make sure you get one that has the rubber lining( I dunno why, I've always just been told this). And they say use a torque wrench for re-tightening, but I've never done that.
 

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If they didn't break the welds on the strut tower plate they didn't do anything for camber.

Spark plugs are 5/8", get the special socket.
 

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And so it begins....

be prepared to be spending that much every few months from here on out :unsure:
 

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Isn't it great how our cars will be fine for months, then all of a sudden need $500 bucks worth of work. My 2000 just pulled on of those on me. Cursed moody car. She needs her PMS medication...and a trans cooler. lol
 

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You'd have done better at a dealership service dept. WE don't rip people off!
"FIX-IT RIGHT, THE FIRST TIME" Do not go back to that shop ever again!
 
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Originally posted by KevinMarble@Sep 12 2004, 06:51 AM
You'd have done better at a dealership service dept. WE don't rip people off!
"FIX-IT RIGHT, THE FIRST TIME" Do not go back to that shop ever again!
I agree. If the car needs struts/springs etc. they should have told you that and waited to do the alignment at the same time they did the struts. When they do the struts (if they do), I would demand that they align the car again free of charge.
 

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When they do the struts (if they do), I would demand that they align the car again free of charge.
The problem with that is. They will say O.K. and add the price of the alignment else where so you actually pay for it. :rolleyes: <_< :angry:
 

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In regards to the power window switch you may be able to fix it yourself. I am not sure which switch you are referring to i.e. the switch on the door which the window is in or the master switch is on the driver's door. My rear windows would only operate intermittently via the master switch. I was bored and ended on taking the switch apart. After screwing around with it for a minute or two I figured out that the contacts in the switch were fine it was just the actual buttons on the panel were not making enough contact on the switches. I ended up taking a file to the buttons, grinding them down a bit. The windows now operate normally.

Hope this helps.


Spiff
 

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Well, man, dont feel bad. I mean, your car is probably paid off, right? My point is that you're getting constant use out of the car, so yes you will be required to spend some from time to time. Think if you were renting a car for this long, it'd be incredibly expensive. Or, if you had a new Accord, those $400/month car payments would get old FAST. Of course, you probably wouldnt worry about having to repair a rental or new car every few months but of course you'd be spending even more money anyway.

My point is that even though you're having to spend some money on the Sable, it is providing you a valuable service: It gets you where you need to go and it doesnt sound like its ever left you on the side of the road (or at least it doesnt do so regularly).

I had some jackass on Yahoo! suggest I get rid of my Taurus for a new Aveo. He went on to say how I wouldnt have to repair it and by the time I paid it off, it'd still have 5-10 years of life left (he also said that Taurus was a poor car in general, second only to my Tempo...like I said he's a jackass). So, instead of spending about $1K to put Taurus in great mechanical condition (fix heater core, struts, new GoodYears, and p.steering leak), I should pay $10K so I can drive some frekin' shoe box that has already been recalled several times? Worse, by the time its as old as my Taurus is now, I doubt it'll be worth the investment of putting tires on it. I cant fit stuff I need in it. With a bad back, it'd kill me to drive it accross town let alone accross country. I used to have a 1990 Festiva. It was a good little commuter car, it served its purpose well for the few houndred I paid for it. I woulndt buy one new (if they still had them) and I certainly wouldnt make it my sole source of transportation if I could possibly help it. It was reliable, cheap to operate, and took abuse relativly well. But, so is my Taurus and Tempo. On top of that, they are WAY more comfortable, quiet, luxurious, powerful, etc.

I'm getting off on a tangent, I'm sorry! LOL! The point is I dont mind spending money on a 10-15 year old car that I otherwise like to keep it alive. The most relaible car I've ever owned was a 1983 Mercury Zephyr I paid only $100 for. I wish I still had it, but my brother lost it for me :( .

I'd also demand that the shop re-align the car when they replace the struts. I wouldnt trust them on the other stuff, I'd do as you suggested and try to do most of it myself. I just recently replaced the plugs on my Taurus (3.0) and it was fairly easy, look about an hour including stopping for a coffee break when a freind of mine came by, LMAO. The 3.8 cant be that much harder. I had a spark plug removal tool, basicly what SHOZ123 suggested. It came with my socket set, its a deepwell socket that has a little rubber ring inside that wont damage the spark plug when you install it. I'd think that O'Rileys would probably have this for less than $3.00. The one service I doubt you'll be able to perform on your own is a intake/injection service. DO NOT trust that little $2.00 bottle of injection cleaner, it doesnt do 1/2 the job I'm talking about. The Lincoln-Mercury or Ford dealer will have a special stuff they hook right up to your fuel rail, and run it directly through your injection system. You'll notice a smoother idle, a more brisk accleration, and increased gas mileage. This also can cure the "stiff gas pedal" some of our cars get from time to time. Replacing the oil, air, fuel fitlers of course shouldnt be too hard, though I'm not sure about the fuel since I havnt done one on a Taurus before (they're easy as cake on my Tempo). Let us know how it goes and forgive the long post. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, they told me that they only use the best quality parts and that the parts have a lifetime warrenty and there's 6 months warrenty on the labor. They also did drill out the welds on the strut tower and moved the assembly about 1/2 inch. And they asked me if I wanted to do the camber so it wasn't like I didn't have a choice. I've been blaming myself for making a bad judgement call. I'm worried that if do get teh shocks/springs done, they'd have to adjust the camber too, but wouldn't all that rewelding weaken the metal? I'm also worrying about the cost. I don't think I can afford to get both front shocks and springs done. The car does pass the "bounce" test, but the front bottoms out on high speed bumps when the car's loaded with passengers.

About the exhasut leak. They said it's coming from the exhaust manifold, but I don't see any smoke or smell anything coming from the engine compartment. And I usually drive with my windows down since I don't drive fast enough to use the A/C effieciently. I was figuring that was BS or they mistaked the flex pipe as a leak. It would definitely cost a bundle to get it fixed.

My car is reliable and has never failed on me (*knock on wood*). I'm hoping I can drive it as-is for a few more years before I do anymore major maintenence
 

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the fuel fiulter is easy to do and I would reccomenbd replacing it if it hasnt been replaced an a while, IF it is clogged it can shorten the life of the fuel pump and you'll loose power, theyre cheap and easy to do. some people say to replace the fuel filter when you replace your air filter.

most of the stuff you mentioned you can do your self and save your save a lot of money. thats what were here for isnt it.
 

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When you replace the struts and springs and if the spot welds on the strut tower plate has been broken you will have to have an alignment again.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Regular Autolites will usually last about 3 years or 30k miles, right? Same with the spark plug wires, fuel filter, distrutor cap, and rotor?
 
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