By on October 31, 2012

Tauruses are the kudzu of cars here in the South.

You find them everywhere to the point that you never ever notice em’. At the Waffle House. At the Coke Museum. At Braves games, and most definitely at the heavily suburbanized neighborhoods of metro-Atlanta.

To be perfectly frank about it, Atlanta has always seemed to be a Taurus-tee type of place. Popular, affordable, a little bland, and just plain functional. Tough to hate. Tough to love. Such is the case of the Taurus.

We even had a Ford plant that built Tauruses by the hundreds of thousands year, after year, after seemingly endless year. 22 long years in all with many quality awards rightly given to the hometown team. This particular one you see above had well over 263,000 miles before the owner finally decided to use it as trade-in fodder.

Ford made the last generation of mid-sized Tauruses for eight long, fleet ridden model years.  In much of the United States you would see Impalas and Crown Vics of varying bare equipment levels take up the brunt of modern day government mules. But here in Georgia during the 2000’s it sometimes seemed like Taurus-land.

The auctions that liquidated these vehicles would offer three things with every Taurus that was liquidated by the local, city and state governments. White paint. Black antenna masts. V6 3.0 Engine. Ford offered the hammer of a 24 valve DOHC engine with 200 horsepower engine, or an over-head valve model whose origins dated all the way back to the era of Sony Walkmans and MS-DOS. 1986 to be exact.

The question(s) for today are the usual. Which engine is it? What price did it sell for at auction? Oh, I’ll even throw in third. What are your experiences with Tauruses… or Atlanta for that matter? If you were just passing through don’t worry about it. A lot of people do thanks to our super-sized airport.

 

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57 Comments on “(VERY LATE) Monday Mileage Champion: 2002 Ford Taurus...”


  • avatar
    Verbal

    No fender badge indicates it has the Vulcan V6.

    It sold for $750.

    Rented a 2000 model once, and it seemed to handle nicely. The transmission did not crap out during the time I had it.

  • avatar
    86er

    A 92 Sable went through the gauntlet of my sister, wife, and her sister.

    It still runs.

    Now to the trivia portion: 3.0L Vulcan, and auction sale of $650.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’ve driven three examples of this model Taurus, and I was always shocked at the following:

    -The drone of the engine
    -The terribly boring gauges and interior grey/beigeness
    -The huge turning circle that’d put a Fleetwood to shame
    -Cheap feeling doors

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Some of the droning might have been the power steering pump.

      Famous Ford Foible.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      I can tell you with a degree of certainty that Ford couldn’t engineer a power steering system deep into the 90s. At a former job last decade I worked for a manager who had previously worked for Ford on the last (or next to last) Ranger refresh. He talked about the big project to identify why the steering kept breaking joints and ultimately they discovered they needed to add pressure-relief valves at the end of steering travel to stop the system from boosting the steering input right into linkage failure. I thought such a feature had been standard since, well, power steering was commonplace.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    We had three Sable/taurus wagons, a 1990, 93 and 2000. All had the Vulcan, the most reliable motor ever made. At 140K, the 90 was replaced because we ran over a deer. At the time it was running fine, delivering 25mpg and starting on first turn of the key. All had the jump seats.

    Parts are cheap, and the only real weak points are the transmissions and the weird radio panels that make upgrading difficult.

    Trivia answers: Vulcan and $950.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The house we rented was nice, so was Olympic Park.

    Six Flags was fun, although it lacked the atmosphere of WDW.

    World of Coke was a little underwhelming.

    The aquarium was packed.

    I like the 1st and 2nd gen Taurus/Sable. After that I’m largely indifferent.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    How many of these where bought under one of Ford employees alphabet buying plans; or were Ford executive cars giving a slight distortion in the market? Bought cheap and won’t die is a big factor in the I need a cheap ride market.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Undoubtedly the Vulcan, $750 plus fees.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    IIRC, wasn’t this and the previous generation of Taurus/Sable built at the Atlanta assembly plant? Just because it’s built there doesn’t totally explain the popularity of the car, but it makes a case for it.

    My company has an identical one of these it leaves at an airport in Florida. Only about 50k miles, feels like much more. To be fair, it has always been a company car with a myriad of drivers. Serves its purpose as transportation while in town, no more.Though I do like the puddle lights under the mirrors that our car has.

    Cheapness abounds inside, droning Vulcan V6 engine,slow transmission and minivan fuel economy. Your assessment of tough to love, tough to hate is accurate.

    500+ fees?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Hope it has new motor mounts.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    As already stated, with that kind of mileage, has to be a Vulcan.

    Pretty durable boat anchors those were. The most extensive service I’ve ever had to do to one was replacing freeze plugs.

    I’ve owned a few Vulcan Tauruses and a Duratec. Oh and one 3.8L wagon that never blew a head gasket after 160,000 miles.

    The Duratec was an oil leaker (as many did). From the bed plate. That one got a good hose down of brake clean and was resealed with some black RTV from the outside to last the rest of the time I had it.

    The Vulcans were a first and a second gen and were terrific beaters. The ’90 I picked up at a public auction as a theft recovery (who would have stolen this car even in 2001?). It’s dash was destroyed where there used to be a radio. It must have had some decent system in it to cause it to be stolen because the rest of the car was had for $500 in decent shape.

    I think I put a control arm bushing in it and another factory radio in it before I sold it for $1200.

    I’ll bet someone paid $700 for this ’02 which adjusted for inflation would be right on target for what I paid for my ’90 back in ’01.

  • avatar
    Mike

    Some of my earliest driving years were spent behind the wheel of a 1987 Taurus with the 4-banger. After my grandfather crashed it the second time and lost his license, it came to my family to be used primarily by my sister and I.

    I personally had it airborne once, and partially submerged once. (enough to stall the engine.) It handled both with far more grace than one would expect. Even then, I preferred to drive the ’85 Crown Vic, which might explain my carelessness.

    It later took my sister to college, and eventually met its demise when she was driving it home and the serpentine belt broke. I’m not sure how far she made it after that, but I know at some point it stopped since she had failed to. Thus ended our time with the Taurus. Looking back, that was a surprisingly good car.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      A friend in high school had an ’87 with the 2.3L Tempo engine and a 5 speed. What a brutally underpowered vehicle. Maybe 90hp in 3300lbs or so of steel.

      I remember when you could still buy new cars that were so underpowered they were unsafe.

      Today your basic Hyundai is a hot rod in comparison to an HSC Taurus.

  • avatar
    ott

    Vulcan, and I’d be surprised if it brought more than $400 with 263000(!!!) MILES on the clock. The Taurus was a good car but there are limits to its life expectancy. I suspect the previous owner sucked all the life out of it and dropped it off at the dealer with a slipping tranny, a head gasket that’s about to give up the ghost, etc, etc, etc…

    If that same car ran at the dealer auction here in Ottawa, Canada with that mileage you’d struggle to get any bid at all, and if you did the car would probably sell for $50-$100, or basically scrap/parts value.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I’ve never heard of Vulcans having head-gasket issues. In total, I owned four vehicles with the Vulcan. The high-mileage ones used no oil at all, never failed to start on the first try and ran without a hiccup. Performance-wise, it’s an utterly underwhelming motor. But if I had too choose a powerplant purely for reliability, it would be at the top of my list.

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        $400, if you are lucky, with that many miles.

        Dad bought the “Blue Goose”, the 1995 Taurus GL wagon in my avatar, new for Mom. Dad was old school, and did not believe in keeping cars much past 75,000, so he gave it to us in about 2001. He then bought Mom a Saturn wagon, her last car.

        The Blue Goose was the main family car for about 2-3 years. The alternator went out, then the radiator started leaking. We were living on the Texas Gulf Coast at the time, where it rarely froze, and I was only driving 4-10 miles at a time. So, I just kept topping it off with tap water.

        Then Hurricane Rita hit in 2005. We had a newer F-150 pickup at the time; so we evacuated in it. I parked the Taurus at the edge of the driveway away from any trees, but we were not supposed to get a direct hit at the time.

        A local fire station recorded winds of 160 with gusts of 180 when Rita came on shore. All of the carport covers were blown away on our along with some of the fences, a massive tree in our backyard was uprooted, and about a third of the shingles on the roof were scattered everywhere. The only “damage” the Blue Goose sustained was a shingle was stuck in one of the windows.

        We drove it to our new home, and not a week later, we got a winter storm that freeze cracked the engine block. It spent the next year laid up; in our minds, it was still worth more to us than the roughly $200 scrap value.

        We finally got the engine rebuilt a year later. @Bunkie, a Vulcan V-6 will blow a head gasket if you allow it to overheat. That was what happened to the Blue Goose just a year later. Living in denial that my rebuilt motor was now broken, I continued to drive it until I cracked a cylinder head. We towed it home and parked it on the driveway.

        For the next four years, it sat up. Some of the family insisted we scrap it; I could not bring myself to do it. Mom passed away during that time, and Dad passed away last year. My brother-in-law came to visit, and could not believe we had the Blue Goose, and that other than the motor, it was still in good shape. Someone later came by offering money for it.

        But the clincer moment was when I was behind another 2nd gen Taurus wagon in a drive thru last December, not long after Dad died. I felt a profound sense of sadness that here was a Taurus wagon in great condition, and the Blue Goose was at home broke down. I knew then that if I sold it for scrap without one more try, I would regret it for years to come.

        We used some of the money from Dad’s estate to have it repaired. The tow truck driver who towed it in was the same driver who towed it in five years ago and still remembered it. He remarked you rarely see them anymore — yet one more reason I wanted to restore it.

        Four years sitting up were not kind to it. The gas tank rusted up on the inside, and three injectors needed to be replaced along with the cylinder and head gaskets. But, once again, the Blue Goose was alive. Four new tires, a new radiator, and a few other minor things were also needed throughout the year.

        It had been without Freon in the system for about six years; when Dad was alive, I remarked that I wanted to put Freon in it to see if it would work. Dad chuckled to himself when I said that, but the same shop did just that, and it worked for the heat of this summer before a line blew somewhere, requiring repairs.

        I drive 60-70 miles one way across the DFW metroplex to work. The Blue Goose has accumulated 15,000 miles since it returned to life, and now has 157,000 miles. The torque converter and engine seals are leaking bad now, so it will need some more work. But, it still looks good inside and out; I am getting a job a little closer that will help with the miles, and maybe in the near future I can relegate it to the weekend car it should be. But, my family, in particular the boys and I, are glad to have the Blue Goose back, a rolling tribute to my wagoneer Dad and aero cars of the 1980s-1990s.

        And yes, Taurii are like kudzo down here. Besides mine, there are four other Taurus and a Sable on our block; the Sable and one Taurus are the “catfish face” third gen, the others are fourth gens like this one in that rental “putty” color. Thanks for reading.

        http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/486440_3216868675112_1167999401_n.jpg

        http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/550741_3585469249896_1330934272_n.jpg

        http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/398879_3642940206634_470423564_n.jpg

        http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/550399_4338587397379_281519845_n.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        Hoser

        It’s not uncommon for them to lose a head gasket around 170-190k. Replace them and they’re good for another 170-190k.

        From the rear this looks to be a SE trim, very likely a former rental. That means Vulcan for sure. I’m guessing if it ran decent it could bring up to $1000 + fees.

        I briefly owned a 2000 that was a twin of this car and had 200k. I bought it for scrap value with a bad torque converter. I put in a 160k salvage trans and a rebuilt TC, and sold it for $1600. It still ran and drove great. Not even a check engine light.

        I still have a ’96 LX with 134k and the Duratec. It has a minor oil leak that requires a quart every 1500 miles. It’s good transportation.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        My high-mileage Vulcan didn’t use any oil either, while it got 28-30 mpg on the highway (despite my lead foot). I believe there was a small leak at some point that my mechanic caught, and after that I never had to put any extra oil in the crankcase.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      If this car was in Ottawa, you’d already be able to see through most of the body panels.

      I agree it wouldn’t fetch much in Canada. 263k miles (420,000km!) is a tough sell in a region where most people shut the door and walk away at 200,000km.

      I find people stateside are much less afraid of high mileage. Steve would probably find a buyer for this old mule, or at least be able to make the money back as a rental if he bought it.

  • avatar
    CompWizrd

    From the way people are praising the Vulcan here…

    Engine pulled and put in a different car, so no engine, and $500.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I often toy with the idea of finding a 65-66 Mustang, early Falcon or Comet and dropping in a Vulcan 5sp combo out of a Ranger for a economical commuter car. Of course it would look lost in those engine bays but it could be set so far back and it’s lighter weight would likely seriously improve the weight distribution.

  • avatar
    heoliverjr

    I’m gonna say definitely a Vulcan, and I have no idea what these things go for at auction but I’d love to know. I wish there was a picture of the right hand side…I think that is my Taurus that I sold on Oct. 20. 2002 Ford Taurus SE from Carmax left it with 263,000+ plus miles on it and the stain on the front bench looks about right. If the right hand side has a nice gash on it from getting too close to a chain link fence its mine…or was. Regardless my Taurus experience was great up until around the 250,000 miles then stuff started breaking on a regular basis. Transmission did not like shifting into fourth gear by the time I sold it. Did not mind the engine sounds did not seem that bad to me, my previous car was a 2000 Chevy Cavalier with a 2.2L so that might be part of why I thought the Taurus was great. That two tone interior was a big step up for me, and a CD player to boot! AC was a little weak and so were the headlights! Even before they got all fogged over looking.

  • avatar
    Loser

    I would think part of the reason you see so many in Atlanta is because they were built there and Ford employees bought them. When ever I’m in to the Cleveland area of Ohio I’m shocked by how many 90’s T-Bird/Cougars are still around despite age and salt. Again my thinking is that many Ford employees bought these due to the cars being built in the Lorain plant.

    We bought an ’06 Taurus from a friend for our son. We’ve owned it for 3 years and it has 115,000 miles on it. Other than than struts nothing more than regular maintenance has been done. Seems like a very good car for the money. The only reason I bought it was because I knew it’s history, otherwise a used Taurus wasn’t even on my radar.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Proximity to the plant is definietely a huge reason for the high numbers.

      Around here (Windsor Assembly) it seems like every 3rd vehicle is a Chrysler minivan.

      • 0 avatar
        crtfour

        Same where I am. Here in middle Tennessee, every other vehicle is a Nissan….usually an Altima.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Yes, proximity makes a big difference. Sometimes if the manufacturer has oversupply, they will allow local dealers to sell them cheaply in order to dump them.

        It is very common in Ohio to be able to get over-produced Honda Accords for much cheaper than market-rate for the exact same reason. It’s near the factory, so American Honda doesn’t have to ship them far. You can get ridiculous lease/finance deals that you can’t get elsewhere, and out-of-state dealers will not price-match them.

  • avatar

    I’ve had two. An 1997 Sable wagon and a 1988 Sable GS. Both with the Vulcan. The wagon was that weird metallic green with a tan interior. It was one of the best snow cars I’ve ever driven. We traded it in when the trans started slipping. I bought the GS on Ebay for 400 and drove it to Ohio from Philly. It had the lattice alloy wheels and the heated windshield, and we got rid of it after it kept eating alternators and burning up batteries. My wife had one in high school, and her mom had two of the last gen. She just traded the last one in on a new Legacy.

    I actually like these cars. They’re not exciting but they do have a certain charm. They all have that ‘Taurus smell’ to them. I’d actually still like to have a first gen wagon or an SHO.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I don’t know about the Taurus, but on 1990s GM products with the heated windshield (a great idea until you have to pay to replace it), they used a larger alternator due to the additional load.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “They all have that ‘Taurus smell’ to them.”

      To this day, I can hear a Taurus starting up and tell you that it was a Taurus by hearing it alone. Maybe it was the Vulcan only that I could do this with, not sure. We had three as company cars, of which one we bought out.

  • avatar
    gasser

    1987 Sable LS wagon. Blown head gasket while under 3/36 warranty. Also blown A/C compressor and THREE transmissions by the end of an extended, extra cost Ford 6/70,000 warranty. Lastly a blown alternator and leaking heater core, after all warranty coverage up. The Sable also ate brake pads every 12K miles or so. Traded for a Windstar with the 3.8. No problems with the head gasket or auto trans in 75,000, when everything else fell off.

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    Take aways from Atlanta: The Underground is cool, and Coca-Cola needs to sell honey lemon Qoo in the US.

    I have nothing profound to say about the 3rd/4th generation Taurus, even though we had one in the family for several years. It’s a car, and it does car-like things. That is all.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I had 2 of these, a 1999 and a 2004. Bought both for a song ( around $5000 ). Each had around 40,000 miles. Each lasted until the transmission blew at around 100,000 miles. Those were a great deal. Each delivered 60,000 miles for $5000 each. That equals 120,000 miles for $10,000. Plus, you could park them anywhere.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Thanks for all the comments!

    Yep, it is the Vulcan engine. It sold for $1200 plus the auction fee which means the new owner now has around $1350 in it.

    Rust isn’t an issue in Atlanta and this was primarily a metro-Atlanta vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I guess I came the closest!

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      I had a 02 Taurus “SES Deluxe”, which included leather, ABS, the Duratec, side air bags, and a power seat. Got it new for 15,700 on a sticker of 23,200. The 24V V6 coupled with a pretty short geared suspension meant it always had easy power – felt quicker than its 200horses. But the MPG was not great, I averaged less than 20 in my mixed usage.

      I had 60K largely trouble free miles over 8+ years and it still looked very clean and drove quite well when I sold it to a used car lot for 3K in early 2011.

      I negotiated the owner of the lot up from 2K. He said “your car is in perfect shape, but nobody here (SF Bay area) wants these cars.”

      I felt like it should be worth more than 3K, as it likely had many years of good service left. In the end, I was just tired of it, and didnt want to deal with selling it myself. Lot owner did give me a ride back home after the sale!!

      Would have been a great car for your business, Steve.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Wow, $1350? That’s a tough sell for me.

    • 0 avatar
      200k-min

      Wow… $1350 for a Taurus with 260k on it. Riddle me this, what would a 4 cyl ’99 Accord with 200k and fully loaded ~ leather, sunroof, etc. go for? I may be underestimating the value of my daily driver.

      I took a ’90 Taurus to 200k with the vulcan and AXOD transmission. Never a problem except for the TFI module would kill it in hot weather. It was an inconvenience but otherwise would run fine after it cooled off. Sold it for $500 to a guy who thrashed it to death. Mine was off the Chicago line. Never had my Taurus to Hot-lanta but did take my Accord through a tropical storm there in ’04. Driving an Atlanta freeway blind rumble strip to rumble strip is an experience.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I had a 1990 Taurus with the Vulcan V6. Pretty reliable car I took to college. Biggest repairs I remember on it were a heater core (crazy expensive to replace) and I think a motor mount. Also CV boots and tie rods. Had drum brakes in the back that had to be adjusted by a mechanic every 3 months like clockwork, or stopping distances got too long. I think I drove it to 180,000 miles or so.

    Moved on to a 1993 Taurus, also with the Vulcan. It was more reliable than the ’90. Broke some piece of the rear suspension, but I recall that being pretty cheap to fix. Radiator split open once and had to be replaced, also lost a water pump at a later date. It was starting to smell consistently like burning oil under the hood when I sold it for $825 cash at 190,000 miles. The guy I sold it to drove it up to 225,000 miles before the transmission and head gasket blew within the same week.

    For the time, they were quite reliable and served me well. I frequently pushed 30 mpg in highway driving, and I don’t recall either one seeming that underpowered. Now, though, when I drive my grandmother’s 1995 Sable, also with the Vulcan, it feels like a complete dog. I’ve become accustomed to much more powerful cars.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    My mom has a 2002 Taurus wagon with the Vulcan that I learned to drive in. It was bought from the dealer in 06 with 60K, now has 160K on it.

    Issues:

    Entire coolant system crapped the bed the next day, fixed under warranty.

    Both ball joints. (No uppers)

    Terminally out of alignment, but it doesn’t eat tires for breakfast.

    Leaky rusted oil pan, replaced.

    Liftgate spring broke, junkyard fix.

    2 (!) starter motors.

    Stuck idle air control valve caused occasional stalling, replaced.

    One of the alloy rims leaks air so it has to be filled once a week or so.

    One of the rear shocks violently exploded into the cargo area. Easy replacement, but LOL.

    Rear defrost doesn’t work, windshield washer fluid sprays weak.

    Haven’t done anything to it in a year or so, but the brakes are next.

    Goodyear guys said the steering system leaks, but I’ve never heard anything more about it.

    Driveability:

    Squashy but comfy suspension.

    Sound system acceptable but difficult to upgrade.

    Seats hard but supportive.

    Engine gutless and inefficient, 0-60 in 10 seconds and 24 MPG on a good day, but reliable.

    Tranny is a slushbox.

    Nasty understeer.

    TONS of storage space, lots of leg room, no stupid center console.

    Much how the Crown Vic is the best modern 70’s car you can buy, the Taurus is the best modern 80’s car you can buy.

  • avatar
    NewsLynne

    My ’92 squeaked up to 250k on the original transmission but it was just barely hanging on. I sold it to a guy I worked with and he kept taking it on interstate rambles with the poor transmission just howling. The Taurus finally gave up the ghost on I64. Oh, the oil pump was on its last legs too.

    I never had engine troubles. The 3.0 always ate a quart of oil between changes but never seemed to leak out anywhere. I lived out in the country and had a 20 mile commute. I had a gravel driveway full of washouts, too. The car was nicknamed Wobbles after a few years because the suspension was never quite right. Neither was the steering rack.

    The only reason I believe the transmission held on so long was fluid and filter change each 50k.

    Funny now that my Regal has the opposite issues. Swiss cheese leaky 3.1 and everything else built like a tank.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    1989 SHO…
    Was a daily driver until recently.
    It needs a steering rack and an alignment.
    The Yamaha V-6 is still purring like a kitten even though it leaks oil from so many places I just give up and add a quart!
    Suspension is tender..needs a lot of love and care(and parts)to keep it right.
    Handles fantastic for its age and torque steer inst a problem.
    The motor sound great!
    Body pretty rigid for an oldie.
    But there are issues…..
    Automatic climate control consists of:
    Plugging in the harness in winter and(this is the hard part)unplugging in the spring before the flapper valve puts the heat back on!
    I could go on and on about this self inflicted Albatross around my neck but I have parted ways with sooooo many neat cars over many years and I just wont let this one go.

  • avatar
    challenger2012

    I had two of these cars. A 2000 and 2003, both were company cars. The 2000 had a water leak that would fill the AC fan motor housing under the dash. Dealers could never figure out how to fix it, so I would disassemble it a clean it. The 2003, I purchased with 65,000 and gave it to my in-laws. The transmission went out at 120K. A used transmission was installed, and now the car has 160K and is working fine. I liked it. It was comfortable, big, good ride, huge trunk and was safe. Not the best looking of cars, but quite and smooth on long trips. You can’t say that about a Civic or Mazda3. The only issues with the 2003 was a battery that went dead at 20K and a radio amp card all fixed under warranty, other than that is was a very good car.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    Has anyone noticed that the last (at least) three Monday Mileage Champion vehicles have been Fords? Taurus SE today, Expedition XLT last week, and an Explorer XLS the week before.

    Side note- I know I’ve read quite a few “mileage champion” articles in the recent past, yet only the Taurus and Expedition are the only ones that show up under that header?

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    I had a first gen Taurus. It was a company car originally, but all miles were driven by my family, and we bought it out for at most $4K including TTL. It went 180K on the first transmission despite the abuse thrown at it. At some point beyond that I gave it to my sister (even worse abuse), so it probably went over 200K before it got traded for something else as a 16-year old car. The engine was fine — pulling 28-30 mpg hwy without issue.

    Major repairs were probably air conditioning — maybe twice, because the replacement unit blew out. The original unit stopped running at some point, and I ran without A/C for a while, but then the pulley seized and ripped the belt, so it had to be replaced.

    I probably put 6 remanufactured alternators in it within 18 months, and the last one held for the life of the car (all replaced under warranty). Other than that, pretty routine stuff — a tierod or CV joint here or there because it wears out after a while.

    Except for the A/C unit, I probably spent at most $500-800/year on that car for maintenance, and it just kept running. Cheap to operate, cheap to maintain, cheap insurance.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    I drove one of these turds working for the city in Lower Alabama.

    Slap some generic municipal sticker on the door, an official-looking license plate, and prepare to be ignored. There was an engine, transmission, AC, and an interior that sent me back into an 80s timewarp of slippery blue cloth and Ford Escorts.

    If you could ever try to homogenize a car, by committee, this would probably be it. I could see drones in a dystopian future driving these things turned grey by industrial pollution to their 14 hour shifts at the Satanic mills.

    I’d pay 500 bucks, take it to a shooting range, and pump it full of 50 caliber holes.


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