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Sadly, after 7 months of daily use, my Sable has developed the dreaded front converter seal failure. ATF is leaking through the converter access hole onto the ground. I know this means the converter is pretty much done for. So, I have the tools to fix it, but not a lift. I'd prefer to just drop the whole engine and cradle on the ground, but without a lift that's an obnoxious undertaking. No matter what, it's a lot of labor that I *can* do, but don't necessarily want to do. She has 177,310 as she sits, and the transmission still shifts like butter, engine has good oil pressure, etc. Rust is there but very minor for a 20 year old car; nothing that stands out as bad.

Thoughts? I know for a normal person the answer is the scrap yard, but this was my daily beater for 7 months and I definitely enjoy driving it.
 

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Sadly, after 7 months of daily use, my Sable has developed the dreaded front converter seal failure. ATF is leaking through the converter access hole onto the ground. I know this means the converter is pretty much done for. So, I have the tools to fix it, but not a lift. I'd prefer to just drop the whole engine and cradle on the ground, but without a lift that's an obnoxious undertaking. No matter what, it's a lot of labor that I *can* do, but don't necessarily want to do. She has 177,310 as she sits, and the transmission still shifts like butter, engine has good oil pressure, etc. Rust is there but very minor for a 20 year old car; nothing that stands out as bad.

Thoughts? I know for a normal person the answer is the scrap yard, but this was my daily beater for 7 months and I definitely enjoy driving it.
There comes a time to let the vehicle be a donator of parts to keep others on the road. I plan to let my '03 Sable go to do that at ~186K but rusting. 8 years and 106K miles on a total and partial repair, it has served well. I just spend $3600 on a very clean, no rust, loaded Taurus with 107K.


Lot depends on one's ability or desire to search out a replacement.


-chart-
 

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If you have the ability, time, and willingness to do repairs and maintenance I think that makes a difference over a person that must go to a shop, pay for shop overhead, parts, etc. I can see both sides, you kind of have a known quantity of the car. Next one could be a gem, or a dismal collection of deferred maintenance and repairs. You would not have sales tax, or higher licensure fees, nor insurance if you repair. My biggest concern for my 2000 Taurus is that if someone hits me, though no fault to me, it will be totaled for nearly nothing. Chart seems to be a master at finding values as well as subsequent evaluation of these cars. So I understand his advice. I drove a 1989 Ranger to 369,000 miles so see your desire to keep it going. If body and the rest of the car is in pretty good shape, maybe extend it's life. I think the decision will come to you, good luck.

Scott
 

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If you can do it yourself, fix it. If you cant fix it yourself, the bill would be more than its worth. You might get lucky and find some shade tree mechanic that can do it, but your results may vary.

I have had good luck with shade tree mechanics. Shade tree house handy man, not so much.
 

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Try advertising on craigslist or a neighborhood message board for anyone who might have a lift that you could pay to use. I was thinking recently how it seems like there would be a market for a DIY type of garage where they provide a lift and tools you can check out if needed, but you do the work. I have a similar situation... gravel driveway that is useless with ramps and bad with jacks. So I use a piece of plywood under the jack stands, but I still really don't like putting my head under the car.
 

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Try advertising on craigslist or a neighborhood message board for anyone who might have a lift that you could pay to use. I was thinking recently how it seems like there would be a market for a DIY type of garage where they provide a lift and tools you can check out if needed, but you do the work. I have a similar situation... gravel driveway that is useless with ramps and bad with jacks. So I use a piece of plywood under the jack stands, but I still really don't like putting my head under the car.
Thats a really good suggestion, FaceBook market can help there.

Here in Denver, there is a place you can rent a Car Lift in their shop. Just do a search for Rent A Car Lift with your nearest big city, and see what you come up. The only down side is they rental rate for my local shop is 40 per hour, So if I can do it in a couple hours. Its not bad. My local shop also offers a ASE mechanic, and you just provide the parts. 95 an hour for that.

Edit: Looks like there is a bay rental place in Salt Lake..
http://www.knucklebashers.com/wrench-it/wi_redirect.html
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thats a really good suggestion, FaceBook market can help there.

Here in Denver, there is a place you can rent a Car Lift in their shop. Just do a search for Rent A Car Lift with your nearest big city, and see what you come up. The only down side is they rental rate for my local shop is 40 per hour, So if I can do it in a couple hours. Its not bad. My local shop also offers a ASE mechanic, and you just provide the parts. 95 an hour for that.

Edit: Looks like there is a bay rental place in Salt Lake..
Redirect

Thanks for the link, but it seems that shop has closed down, unfortunately. I'm looking around for other options, but I think I'm just going to grab a shop crane and lift the car off the cradle, if that makes sense.


I think I will fix it though, I hate just throwing away a car that works fine over such cheap parts. I have all summer to work on it anyway, I'll probably fix some other things while the cradle is dropped. The car hasn't given me one check engine light and runs like a top.
 

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No lift needed, just use floor jack and stands to get the car up higher. Need engine support bar tool.
You lower the box frame to the ground with floor jack and 2x4" to hold it.
Need transmission jack, easy to rent one, I bought one from Northern Tool, works great, I now use ratchet tie down instead of the chain to hold transmission firm to the jack plate.
I did several transmission transplants (using Ford remanufactured units) for my own cars and for a few close friends to keep their Bulls running.


I am doing my '99 wagon right now, second time, 300K but I have purchased the BendPak MD6-XP scissor lift from Summit Racing,

should have got this 20 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No lift needed, just use floor jack and stands to get the car up higher. Need engine support bar tool.
You lower the box frame to the ground with floor jack and 2x4" to hold it.
Need transmission jack, easy to rent one, I bought one from Northern Tool, works great, I now use ratchet tie down instead of the chain to hold transmission firm to the jack plate.
I did several transmission transplants (using Ford remanufactured units) for my own cars and for a few close friends to keep their Bulls running.


I am doing my '99 wagon right now, second time, 300K but I have purchased the BendPak MD6-XP scissor lift from Summit Racing, should have got this 20 years ago.

Yep, after doing some more research this is the way I'm going to do it for sure. Especially since the car needs all new motor+tranny mount, and new control arms and front subframe bushings. No brainer to just drop the subframe. Do you have any idea how high I need the car? I've done a lot of stuff but this will be my first trans pull on these. I do have some "medium lift" jackstands, AKA about double what a normal one can do.
 

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18" at least, 19-20" better. I had the front up a bit higher then the rear, once the transmission is lowered I moved it out the wheel well to clear the frame of the car. Transmission jack is must, transaxle is hefty.

To remove the oxygen sensor connectors above the rack and pinion, use two long screwdrivers, one between the connector halves and the other to press on the release tab. Twist them apart.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Depends on how bad the leak is. Fluids are inexpensive vs. new car.

It's not that bad, just a steady drip after I drive on the highway for a while or otherwise get the transmission warmed up enough. The leak in itself isn't a big problem, it's more that the converter lockup is jerky and inconsistent at times. I also know it's only going to get worse, and given I need to replace all the motor mount and control arms, ball joints, and other front end components anyway, it's really not that much more work to just get the converter done while I'm at it.


I have a much newer car to drive, but I really do like this one.
 

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My transmission was causing codes and was due for inspection, I left it in D not overdrive and that stopped the codes until I got inspection.
Once I left the shop I put it in overdrive and the codes came back. This trick may or may not help with the lockup problem.
Had the transmission repaired at Ford dealer under the three year warranty when I had a week off to leave the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My transmission was causing codes and was due for inspection, I left it in D not overdrive and that stopped the codes until I got inspection.
Once I left the shop I put it in overdrive and the codes came back. This trick may or may not help with the lockup problem.
Had the transmission repaired at Ford dealer under the three year warranty when I had a week off to leave the car.

Good trick. Unfortunately it likely won't stop the leak, only delay its appearance slightly. With that said I'm about to tear down the car sometime this month once I get some shop space. It just hasn't been a huge priority since summer is fun car season. But It will be done before winter.
 
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