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2002 Taurus SEL 177K miles.

Trying to decide whether to repair or put repair money towards used car. I am not skilled in the mechanical arts, and will rely on a mechanic to do everything.

The car is in overall good shape. It has a slight oil leak. I add a quart between changes usually. Never wrecked, transmission is solid. But there are a host of general repairs that are adding up to expenses that are more than the car is worth. I should stop here, right? Have I answered my own question?

Recently had a the coil pack replaced. Asked about the oil leak. Was told the head gasket and rear seal were failing. At this point, wife and I are leaning towards not repairing and buying a new used car, thinking the repair is pushing $2000

Second opinion from diff mechanic gave a diff diagnosis and some other things as well.

Was told it was the valve cover where the oil was leaking from. Not clear if the head gasket and rear seal were incorrectly diagnosed from first mechanic. Additionally:

Fuel filter, plugs, brakes, ball joint, tie rod and alignments, etc. Roughly $2850 for everything.

This mechanic was impressed with shape of car, thought that it would be fine with these repairs. What I am afraid of is making these repairs, and having more repairs soon after and continually throwing good money after bad.

Would you spend $3000 on a 17 year old Bull?
 

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First mechanic was definitely wrong. Oil doesn't leak from head gasket very frequently if at all. $3000 is way to high for for the repairs listed. Of course the second guy will talk up condition of the car because he wants to make big money on the repairs. Rear shaft seal is the biggest cost if it is bad. It requires transmission removal. I wouldn't pay that much to repair.
 

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Also, beware of the mechanic who quotes these sky-high repair costs and then offers to buy the car from you for a low-ball offer just to take it off your hands.

This is the classic conundrum with owning an older vehicle. If you aren't able to work on them yourself, you're going to face the high costs of having someone do the work for you. It then becomes a personal decision as to whether you're better off paying for the repairs and knowing what you've got...or, buying another vehicle that may come with some surprises of it's own. Personally, if the body is solid and looks good overall, I'd ask around and see if you can't find someone who has their own small repair business out of their garage or workshop who would probably be able to do all of this work for a fraction of what you're being quoted.
 

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Older cars are only worth keeping if you are prepared to work on it yourself. On my '02 Taurus SE with the vulcan engine, I replaced both head gaskets at the cost of around 150$, and two days straight of working on it (with sleep). That alone would have been $1000 or more at a shop. Good luck to you whether you choose to junk it or fix it.
 

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Given that it's an 02 SEL and you're mentioning oil leaks, that sounds like a Duratec. That he's recommending a head gasket (which isn't the issue) to begin with means you should run - fast. No one does head gaskets on that engine, it's cheaper to swap it.

The valve cover gaskets do tend to seep, as does the oil pan (which shops love to misdiagnose as a rear main seal). I'd switch to high mileage oil to slow/stop the small leaks, then get things done at a different mechanic. Things like brakes and tie rods aren't expensive - if someone's quoting you hundreds and hundreds to do those, they're conning you.
 

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Half the battle of an older car is find an honest mechanic. I keep up the maintenance on my 2003 Duratec (137K Miles) and think its worth it. I don't have car payments. Body and interior are in good shape. Insurance is low. The valve cover does seep. My Ford dealer wanted $2400 to fix it, which involved dropping the engine. I can buy a lot of oil for $2400. As White Falcon says, using a high mileage oil does seem to help.
 

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I agree with the other commenters. These older cars are basically projects for diy enthusiasts. I didn't know much about cars until I bought my 03 Taurus last year. I've learned so much by fixing everything myself. It feels good taking on the constant issues and winning the battles until another declares war.

Just hang in there and give it a shot, you can do it trust me. Tie rods and fuel filters are perfect projects to begin with. You'll be proud of yourself, and confident, and humbled. Most importantly you'll have a pocket filled with money you saved. Try it out man... Good luck.
 

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I also concur with most here, on my Daytona 500 winning 2000 SEL, , i have replaced these myself; ( with my son on most of these) Front struts, ( KYB quick struts) brakes, (front) serviced tranny, pan drop, filter replacement, and fluid change 3 times in 6 years, coolant service, (twice) rear struts, (needed help with these) all coil packs replaced, and the grand daddy of my repairs was; 1 year ago my duratech blew a spark plug, driver side rear, i was a little overwhelmed when i found out what had to be done to repair, new head $600.00 or so, new motor $3000.00 or so, thats NOT installed, so i bought this >time sert< kit to repair spark plug hole, which consisted of; getting that piston to bottom dead center, tapping new threads with kit supplied tap, (while constantly leaning over motor under hood, and using mirrors to see down s p hole, then trying to vacuum, and blow aluminum shavings out of cylinder, then installing the time-sert insert which had to be red- loctited in to place, ( for the new spark plug) then checking i got ALL the aluminum shavings out of cylinder with a remote camera. then put top of intake back on, let loctite set up awhile, and car actually started! and is still running beautifully to this day! 193,000 miles. that last repair i seriously thought about just dumping car, but of course i am glad i didn't..... also both front wheel bearings, this was a fairly physical job, cause they needed to be pounded out on my car. ball joints and tie rods also, but those i payed a trusted friend to do, (cause he did the alignments also) my only advice would be; have very good attention to detail when working on stuff...
 

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Don't spend any money on it all! Just keep the oil clean and the coolant level where it should be — and drive it 'till the wheels fall off! Thing might keep going for years.
As mentioned above - if you can't work on your old clunker yourself, drive it 'till it won't go no more and get rid of it.
You can ignore those stupid 'check engine' lights too. That light has been ON on my wife's 99 Taurus wagon for the past 15 years - I don't care! The oil's clean, the coolant's clean, the car runs fine, end of story!
When/if your faithful steed finally does depart this world, maybe find a good deal on a used EV (Bolt, Leaf, etc.). No more mechanical problems!
And yes, as above, learning how to fix your car yourself is immensely satisfying.
 

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A 17 year old car that requires a quart between changes is par for the course. Keep it topped off and otherwise leave that be. A chimp could replace the fuel filter in a 2002 Bull, that chimp would then also avoid the mark up on the filter as well. As for the other repairs, an itemized estimate would go a long way in determining whether the 2nd mechanic is looking to bend you over. We already know the 1st one was. TBH, other than the balljoint, the plugs and front end work are relatively simple jobs a decent shade tree mechanic would bang out in relatively short order. Sounds to me it's mechanic shopping not car shopping you should be contemplating.

As for the post recommending you ignore the CEL, ignore the post.
 

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2002 Taurus SEL 177K miles.

Trying to decide whether to repair or put repair money towards used car. I am not skilled in the mechanical arts, and will rely on a mechanic to do everything.

The car is in overall good shape. It has a slight oil leak. I add a quart between changes usually. Never wrecked, transmission is solid. But there are a host of general repairs that are adding up to expenses that are more than the car is worth. I should stop here, right? Have I answered my own question?

Recently had a the coil pack replaced. Asked about the oil leak. Was told the head gasket and rear seal were failing. At this point, wife and I are leaning towards not repairing and buying a new used car, thinking the repair is pushing $2000

Second opinion from diff mechanic gave a diff diagnosis and some other things as well.

Was told it was the valve cover where the oil was leaking from. Not clear if the head gasket and rear seal were incorrectly diagnosed from first mechanic. Additionally:

Fuel filter, plugs, brakes, ball joint, tie rod and alignments, etc. Roughly $2850 for everything.

This mechanic was impressed with shape of car, thought that it would be fine with these repairs. What I am afraid of is making these repairs, and having more repairs soon after and continually throwing good money after bad.

Would you spend $3000 on a 17 year old Bull?
Lot depends on condition of what you repair. See pic. I bought this last March for $3600. One owner, no wrecks, no smoking, no rust, only one small parkinglot ding. Miles 107K loaded, super clean. Serviced by the selling dealer all required maint. Needed new head lights to meet my perfection.

Depends on one's willing to look up what is available and go to where the nice cars are.This one 175 miles and down out of the rust belt. Not a thing for everyone.
-chart-
 

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I think the answer to your question is different for everyone and factors to consider are budget and how you intend to use it. I do almost all my own repairs so for me it's a no-brainer to keep it and fix it if you like the car. And paying someone to do that work is still going to be cheaper than new car payments and it's probably got several more good years left in it. If you sell it for another used car, unless it's very new or you get lucky, the used car could need a lot of those maintenance items soon if not already when you get it.

As others have indicated, likely culprits for the oil leak are valve cover and oil pan gaskets. I wouldn't worry about it unless it really bothers you then a local shop should be able to do that for a couple hundred bucks or less. The rest of the items depends on how bad they are whether or not you need to fix them now or if it was just mechanic #1 giving you the full list of things that are wearing.
 

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You can repair the car, lots of video on youtube, simple but improtant items like air and fuel filters, pcv valve.
Do check the pcv valve hose, sometimes it gets soft and collapes, look for wet areas that is a clue.
Get a good LED flashlight to check for wet areas on the engine. Valve cover gaskets on the 3.0 Vulcan not a big job.

I agree to keep fluid levels in spec and check them weekly.
 

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I understand where you’re at with the car. I have a 96 mustang Iv got 560000 miles on just keep repairing it. It started 200 dollar me to death. It was in shop more than I was driving it. At this point it has no value so at some point it’s time to set aside thank her for her service and move on. That’s my take on it.
 

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2002 Taurus SEL 177K miles.
Would you spend $3000 on a 17 year old Bull?
Depends but perhaps like one of the previous posters said to just run it and perhaps take on 1 of the repairs you consider or for that matter what the most serious of the repairs are and pay to get that 1 done. I have a 2003 with 109k that has more sentamental value than real value. It was my first responder car and went through many of the worst hurricanes here in Florida. All factory serviced up until 100k at Ford it keeps running = Vulcan. Good luck....
215550
 

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Don't spend any money on it all! Just keep the oil clean and the coolant level where it should be — and drive it 'till the wheels fall off! Thing might keep going for years.
As mentioned above - if you can't work on your old clunker yourself, drive it 'till it won't go no more and get rid of it.
You can ignore those stupid 'check engine' lights too. That light has been ON on my wife's 99 Taurus wagon for the past 15 years - I don't care! The oil's clean, the coolant's clean, the car runs fine, end of story!
When/if your faithful steed finally does depart this world, maybe find a good deal on a used EV (Bolt, Leaf, etc.). No more mechanical problems!
And yes, as above, learning how to fix your car yourself is immensely satisfying.
That reminds me of a friend who had a red light on (56 ford). It annoyed him, so he put a bandaid over it.
 

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2002 Taurus SEL 177K miles.

Trying to decide whether to repair or put repair money towards used car. I am not skilled in the mechanical arts, and will rely on a mechanic to do everything.

The car is in overall good shape. It has a slight oil leak. I add a quart between changes usually. Never wrecked, transmission is solid. But there are a host of general repairs that are adding up to expenses that are more than the car is worth. I should stop here, right? Have I answered my own question?

Recently had a the coil pack replaced. Asked about the oil leak. Was told the head gasket and rear seal were failing. At this point, wife and I are leaning towards not repairing and buying a new used car, thinking the repair is pushing $2000

Second opinion from diff mechanic gave a diff diagnosis and some other things as well.

Was told it was the valve cover where the oil was leaking from. Not clear if the head gasket and rear seal were incorrectly diagnosed from first mechanic. Additionally:

Fuel filter, plugs, brakes, ball joint, tie rod and alignments, etc. Roughly $2850 for everything.

This mechanic was impressed with shape of car, thought that it would be fine with these repairs. What I am afraid of is making these repairs, and having more repairs soon after and continually throwing good money after bad.

Would you spend $3000 on a 17 year old Bull?
I have a 2003 SE and i'm a skilled mechanic. my SE has 134,000 miles and in the last two years i've performed work that would have easily have cost $3000 to someone taking it in for that service work. I would have not paid that for this old of a car. although i love the way it drives and runs, the vulcan engine is a nice runner, fords assembly quality is it's major weaknesses. I've done things to this engine gasket wise that should not have been needed at this mileage. then there's the cam synchronizer shafts that obviously lack lubrication...replaced the first with OEM at 90,000 miles, then again at 134,000. I've done all 4 strut assemblies, brake systems complete, inner outer tie rods, hub bearings, half shafts, front engine cover gaskets because of the plagued coolant leaks, front seal. I still need to change the valve cover gaskets because on every ford i ever owned they drip oil right on to the exhaust pipe and stink. I hope to be set for awhile now but, if i was not a skilled mechanic as you are not, i'd suggest Toyota's because these needs would not be needed at 134,000 miles, and maybe not even at 234,000 miles.
 

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I have a 2003 SE and i'm a skilled mechanic. my SE has 134,000 miles and in the last two years i've performed work that would have easily have cost $3000 to someone taking it in for that service work. I would have not paid that for this old of a car. although i love the way it drives and runs, the vulcan engine is a nice runner, fords assembly quality is it's major weaknesses. I've done things to this engine gasket wise that should not have been needed at this mileage. then there's the cam synchronizer shafts that obviously lack lubrication...replaced the first with OEM at 90,000 miles, then again at 134,000. I've done all 4 strut assemblies, brake systems complete, inner outer tie rods, hub bearings, half shafts, front engine cover gaskets because of the plagued coolant leaks, front seal. I still need to change the valve cover gaskets because on every ford i ever owned they drip oil right on to the exhaust pipe and stink. I hope to be set for awhile now but, if i was not a skilled mechanic as you are not, i'd suggest Toyota's because these needs would not be needed at 134,000 miles, and maybe not even at 234,000 miles.
Agree, I had the same maintenance experience.
 
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