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Hello everyone new to the forum, but not new to cars only problem is im stuck in the 80's so for reliablitiy issues what are the newer 97-02 taurus's known for having problems ? such a timing belt breaking after so many miles, transmission reliability ? Im more worried aboiut the 'major' things rather than minor.

I was over at the escort forum and they tell me its almost typically for an escort to drop a valvle seat costing thousands in damage any thing like that happeing over here ?

All the info you can give me the better as Taurus prices around my parts of the woods have been dropping like flies and i should see if i can get a good deal on one of them ? thx
 

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#1 Problem is bad AX4S transmissions on Vulcan 3.0L engined cars. Average life of a new AX4S is 100K miles. A new or rebuilt transmission will cost more to install ($2500-$3500) than the Blue Book says the cars are worth. AX4N is the other transmission installed in some cars by Ford, and they last much longer.

#2 Bad distributor Synchroshaft. Ford Dealers charge $400-$700 to replace this part which is a common failure item, which lasts about 100K miles. $100-$150 to use the diagnostic computer. $150-$300 (rebuilt A-1 Cardone with lifetime warranty is about $50-$60) for new Ford Parts, and another $150-$250 to install (30-60 minute job if you do it yourself). If you don't replace this part when it signals you with what sounds like belt squeel from the car's left side of the engine, the engine will die from lack of lubrication (synchroshaft drives the oil pump).

#3 Blown heatercore ($700-$800) repair at the Ford Dealer. Heatercores last about 150K miles unless your engine mounts fail, and you do not replacement immediately. New all metal heatercore is about $60 from NAPA, and takes about 2-4 hours to install yourself.

#4 Engine mounts ($100-$150 from NAPA). About $400 from Ford Dealer with labor to install. Bad engine mounts allow the engine to rock destroying the plastic radiator tanks and plastic heatercore tanks.

#5 Cracking coolant reserve tanks. Factory tanks last about 2-3 years, aftermarket ones are all made by Dorman and last 1-2 years if you're lucky. $20-$30 for the dorman tanks, and $40-$50 for a Ford Tank. When the tank fails it cracks on the bottom, and can cause your waterpump to fail prematurely, or blow the headgaskets if the engine overheats severely. 15 minute fix.

#6 Vulcan 3.0L waterpumps New and Rebuilt Ford Factory waterpumps last about 150K miles. Aftermarket waterpumps are not as well made. GMB waterpumps (sold under their own name, previously housemarked by AutoZone, Kragen, and NAPA last about 25K miles if you are lucky. The Ford Dealer charges $200 for a rebuilt waterpump, and another $200-$250 to install. Takes me about 1 hour, will take you 2-4 hours.

#7 Power steering racks Last 100K-150K miles. Rebuilts cost about $150-$200, plus $300-$500 for labor if you don't install yourself. Takes me about 2 hours to install, will take others 4-8 hours to install. I've replace a few, and it gets faster with time.
 

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There is no timing belt. Taurus engines use a chain. It should last a long time.

The transmission in any Taurus is the big thing to worry about. Over 10 years, several revisions and versions of the transaxle and they still have problems. Now the six-speed auto in the 4-cylinder Fusion is having major issues. Can't they learn? Japanese-engineered 6-speed auto in the 6-cylinder Fusion has no issues at all.
 

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Don't buy any 96/97 Taurus. Don't buy a 96-99 with the Vulcan engine. Taurus reliability is average, examine typical things like coolant condition, transmission shifting, oil leaks around the pan gasket, etc. In the Northeast look for rust around the subframe and front springs.
 

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some 3rd gen cars came with the Vulcan and the AX4N. I had a 97 and have a 98 with this combination.
 

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Early AX4Ns had a lot of problems, too, I really wouldn't say one is more reliable than the other.
 

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Early AX4Ns had a lot of problems, too, I really wouldn't say one is more reliable than the other.
True. I bought my 97 with a failed AX4N. When I checked the history of the car it had already been replaced once before. Despite the transmission / Engine combination my opinion is that adding a quality transmission cooler and doing annual trans fluid changes is the best insurance you can buy for these cars.
 
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Thats one opinion. My '96 has the original AX4N and over 150,000 miles. It had some issues when I picked up the car at 138,000. The problem was in the valve body, so they fixed that, and it basically has been trouble free since.
 

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Properly maintained any car can be relatively trouble free for many years. The problem is so many cars are not properly maintained or maintained at all and then when something breaks that could have been prevented it is the fault of the car and not the owners own neglect.
 
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Properly maintained any car can be relatively trouble free for many years. The problem is so many cars are not properly maintained or maintained at all and then when something breaks that could have been prevented it is the fault of the car and not the owners own neglect.

This really is the truth to the matter.

When looking for these types of cars, the typical things that are NOT maintained is the coolant and transmission fluid (oil).

This is pretty much the case on a lot of cars as well. However, many other sedans transmissions can last longer without the frequent changes. AND a lot of other sedans coolant doesn't turn to rusty sludge like the iron block Vulcan engines (OHV).

Engine's in the Ford's went up substantially after aquiring Mazda. Even if the engine was not well maintained getting some quality oil in there could really help. However, a neglected transmission can't really be helped when it starts going.
 

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Properly maintained any car can be relatively trouble free for many years. The problem is so many cars are not properly maintained or maintained at all and then when something breaks that could have been prevented it is the fault of the car and not the owners own neglect.

I realized that this could have been worded better

Properly maintained any car can be relatively trouble free for many years. The problem is so many cars are not properly maintained or maintained at all and then when something breaks that could have been prevented the owner blames it on the car or manufacture and not themselves because of their own neglect.
 

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I disagree. I have owned a number of vehicles that were the result of incredibly poor design and manufacturing. Even with meticulous maintenance, some cars can and will continually break. Yes, if you replace the parts as they fail, it still is cheaper than buying a new car. But it's a fantasy to say that regular maintenance will preclude all problems. Sometimes you just get craphammered and have to deal with it.

Truly the best rule of thumb is to not buy a model that was within two years of its original new-design introduction. Manufacturers, American especially, release new models with teething problems that need a year or so to be sorted out.
 

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My experiences with Taurus Gen 4 is that DIY can be a major PITA. It's probably the same with any FWD V6 of any make or model. They were not built with the technician's sanity in mind LOL!
 

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I'd get a 98-2000 24 valve...my 1998 wagon has 253,000, miles with original engine and tranny. Only major thing I ever had done was the water pump, and engine mount. I have a 2000 Vulcan sedan as well. I'd buy those years all day long. Like mentioned, the factory clips ..suck..and are always the wrong direction to grab, to remove
 

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I had a 2000 LX sedan then a near-identical 2004 LX sedan. Both started to have transmission issues at just over 30,000 miles. These cars were driven gently and maintained to the factory schedule. I traded the 2000 for a smaller, more economical car. I traded the 2004 after several attempts by the dealer to fix the trans (Ford wouldn't let them replace it) and I lost faith in it.

I have over 110,000 miles on my 4-cylinder, manual-trans Fusion in 3 1/2 years and haven't had a bit of trouble.
 
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Thats one opinion. My '96 has the original AX4N and over 150,000 miles. It had some issues when I picked up the car at 138,000. The problem was in the valve body, so they fixed that, and it basically has been trouble free since.
I sold a 96 sable duratec with a4xn with 150K miles on it with no engine or trans. issues. The trans. fluid was changed every 30k (bought vehicle from family member).
It had the original starter and alternator in it, and never had to replace a burned out light bulb.
 

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I have a 97 ford taurus gl. Bought it with 140k miles already on it. Found out almost every part in it was original and now because I ignored my warning light Nd the camshaft synchronizer distribution code. Huge problems. Every spark plug was blown to over 100 gap and burned to a crisp. Don't wait to change it or your engine will seize from lack of oil lubrication. Not entirely sure how or if i can even get the engine to turn again. Had a good warning tochange it before it was too late but I didn't listen.
 
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