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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to move my updates here instead of polluting general chat. This is my 2000 Tropic Green Taurus SE that I've named "Seamus" because that seems appropriate. Pretty cool car, with a fairly unique option list. Black cloth/"comfort" pattern interior. Adjustable pedals, column shift, keyless entry. Flex Fuel Vulcan. Heated mirrors. AX4N. The typical early 4th gen 5 spoke alloy wheels. Definitely a unique list. I would wager that a car with this combination of options was incredibly rare in the first place, let alone 21 years later. I might get a Marti report done on it eventually since I'm curious.

The Good:
Excellent overall condition for its age, almost no actual rust anywhere to be seen.

Only 80,000 miles.

Interior is mint.

The Bad:
Flex Fuel Vulcan is honestly just a hassle at this point. Way too many unique parts.

This color is beautiful, but time has not been kind. Most of the roof has peeled and left surface rust spots. Hood and trunk aren't far behind, with several cracks/creases from the paint starting to lift from the base coat. Given this car comes from a transition period of sorts from petroleum based paints to water based ones, I suspect that the formulation simply wasn't very good. The car likely sat outside its whole life in the high desert, accelerating the decay. I MAY have the problem areas repainted at some point if the car ends up being reliable.

Lots of mechanical intervention for such low mileage. Both cylinder heads have been replaced. Old coolant tank showed evidence of spill over, probably from overheating that led to the head job. Trans (or engine) has been out based on bolt witness marks. Some could argue this is good, but given that it was sold to me on the pretense of having bad head gaskets, I'm not so sure. Sucks not having a complete list of what all was done and having to guess based on my observations. She certainly cost someone a lot of money at one point.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I figured it was worth dropping the coolant and replacing the overflow bottle. The old bottle was caked on the walls with scale and sludge, the normal markers of an unmaintained Vulcan cooling system. Sure makes sense why the heads had to be pulled before. However, the coolant that was in there currently looked excellent, actually. Hardly any debris at all. Certainly no rust or scale, or any other contaminants. Doesn't look like the right type of coolant though. I'd guess Motorcraft Orange, but it could also be Motorcraft Gold with a few years on it. I replaced with 2 gallons of Prestone 50/50 since it's compatible with pretty much anything (handy when you don't know what's in there already), and I typically like to change the coolant on Vulcans yearly anyway. Second picture is after my final top off after air bleeding. Got that nice mango orange color from the mixing. Going to monitor for loss now. But I consider this a pretty good sign that things are normal. Next I'm waiting on parts to do an ignition tune up and replace the upstream 02 sensors, since they likely had some coolant contaminate them from when the head gaskets were blown before. Fuel trims are consistently negative on both banks, although not to an egregious degree. -5% to -7% or so on average in all driving conditions. Idle is closer to 0%. I saw this same thing on my 98, but never did find a reason for it.

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You mean your new cap was leaky? I have the updated RS527, but that's surprising if they can go bad too.
NO. OE caps failed, RS527 have been 100% good.
Lin Cot. used with 40K. Record shows dealer replaced the coolant pump and stat, including gaskets. I had car few days and it blew the colant out. Coolant all over the tank top. As bought, there was streak stain on the under side of the hood where it had been slinging coolant. After my cap let go, same streak.99%+ it was the cap. Doing the pump and stat likely all day project. I put the OE cap back on with coolant fill, drove it around the block and coolant over the top of the tank again. Put the cap from my wagon in it, drove around and no leak. Caused me to borrow my daughter's Sable to do a medical trip 135 mi each way, leaving my Lin home. My next wagon had seeping on the tank as in my previous pic. I do new caps on my used buys. My last buy already had the revised cap on it.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My stereo stuff came before my parts, so here we are, lol. Since modern phones have no headphone jacks for aux ports anymore, I just went with a bluetooth head unit and the metra kit. It honestly sounds really good even with just the factory speakers. Reminds me of a Mach setup but even louder.

I ALSO found out this car is basically a unicorn. It was optioned with that early phone/hands free system where you can pair your phone with the car and have calls play through the audio system. I was wondering what the little "phone" button above the rear view mirror was for, and why there was a high gain antenna on the back glass. I just assumed someone added something aftermarket at one point, but nope.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Did an engine checkup today, got to try out my new borescope camera. I can't believe how fresh this engine is on the inside, the cylinder walls look literally brand new. Perfect crosshatching. Guess that's a well maintained Vulcan for you. I was looking to see if I could see any areas with unusual piston cleanliness, but there were none. Normal carbon deposits on all 6 pistons. I also did a compression test and there was almost zero variance. 150PSI across the board, which is exactly what it should be for a pre 2003 flex engine. I also identified a problem on cylinder #2, the wire had been overheated from being laid on the EGR tube, and the grease inside the boot had turned to sludge and was carbon tracking. Also had a code brown when the ceramic cracked on removal, but luckily it stayed intact enough until I had removed it from the cylinder. I have a LOT of new parts for this girl, so there will be some fun updates over the next few days.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yay timing cover and oil pan gaskets! My favorite Taurus activity, truly. I'm replacing the chain this time while I'm in there, I got a Cloyes chain (I opted not to replace the sprockets given the low mileage of the OEM ones). Timing cover doesn't look all that bad, and I don't think it has the original oil pan gasket. Maybe someone's been here before many years ago. What's interesting is the front water port also showed signs of leakage, or maybe it was about to start soon. Haven't seen that before. The backside was leaking pretty good though, as usual.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Back together, with tons of new parts. Not many things I didn't replace. Entire belt drive, entire ignition system, timing chain, oil pan gasket, entire cooling system (hoses, thermostat). Hopefully she runs good for a while now. Had a small oops with my rotary tool trying to clean the thermostat housing of the CONCRETE paper gasket (got I hate paper gaskets) and ate two wires. Had to whip out the electric repair skills. Crap happens, especially when trying to restore old stuff with less patience than was required that day.
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Makers are moving to metal/rubber gaskets. Pic of a WP gasket. Likely saves them on assembly/ Then, intake gaskets now silicone in groves. Help is on the way.
Old paper gaskets are a real pain. The leak and are a labor issue. "Back in the day" when we replaced stats every season, I would lightly coat the new gasket with silicone gasket. Light coat of oil on the metal. They never leaked, and came apart with no effort.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Makers are moving to metal/rubber gaskets. Pic of a WP gasket. Likely saves them on assembly/ Then, intake gaskets now silicone in groves. Help is on the way.
Old paper gaskets are a real pain. The leak and are a labor issue. "Back in the day" when we replaced stats every season, I would lightly coat the new gasket with silicone gasket. Light coat of oil on the metal. They never leaked, and came apart with no effort.
-chart-
Yeah, they certainly are a nuisance. For the thermostat housing I ended up using permatex "the right stuff" which worked great. For the timing cover and water pump I used the very light coat of rtv on both sides. So far so good!
 

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Yeah, they certainly are a nuisance. For the thermostat housing I ended up using permatex "the right stuff" which worked great. For the timing cover and water pump I used the very light coat of rtv on both sides. So far so good!
The Essex as far as any I dealt with use no pan gasket, just silicone bead. I remember years ago my brother was a diesel mechanic in a large shop. He told me they banned the stuff. Seems careless use and gobs gets into the oil, gets stuck in the pressure regulator bypass and makes for low oil pressure. I am sure today's product is much better than 30 years ago or so. Still some care is needed in the proper amount. Pic of one of my recent uses. Then the A/C drain on both of my '03's.
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Essex as far as any I dealt with use no pan gasket, just silicone bead. I remember years ago my brother was a diesel mechanic in a large shop. He told me they banned the stuff. Seems careless use and gobs gets into the oil, gets stuck in the pressure regulator bypass and makes for low oil pressure. I am sure today's product is much better than 30 years ago or so. Still some care is needed in the proper amount. Pic of one of my recent uses. Then the A/C drain on both of my '03's.
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I can definitely see it causing issues if you use too much. For the oil pan I used a mahle updated rigid gasket with the clips, and only put RTV on the corners where it's needed. The old style floppy gasket isn't the best, lol
 
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