By on January 16, 2013

TTAC commentator TheDward writes:

Sajeev! Thank you for taking the time to read this. My dad is dealing with some bullsh@t, and we could use your advice. His daily driver is a 2006 Taurus with 155k miles. (Bull huh, I get it! Snort! -SM)

Several months ago it was diagnosed with having a bad catalytic converter. The inspection is up this month and he isn’t sure what to do. The car has been very reliable, only leaving him stranded once when the battery croaked. He got price quotes from our trusted indie mechanic ($1700) and the local Ford dealer ($1800). It’s not clogged (according to both mechanics), so he still drives it everyday, but this situation obviously needs to be rectified soon.

His brother succumbed to colon cancer recently, leaving him with a 2004 Camry with a relatively low 43k miles. The thing is, we both dislike it quite a bit. The relative refinement of the engine and transmission in the Toyota do not make up for the mediocre handling and numb steering (the superiority of the Taurus in those two areas shocked me quite a bit when I drove them back to back). He hasn’t touched the Camry since January, and its not because of the death, he just isn’t a fan.

So is a cat replacement worth it for a Taurus with this mileage?

Alternatively, I’ve though of some scenarios that might be worth discussing:

1. Repair the Ford, keep the Camry. – This is pretty much the status quo. He’ll have the Camry as a backup if he needs it.
2. Sell the Ford, keep the Camry. – Considering the issue at hand, he won’t get much for it. But it becomes someone else’s problem, and the Camry does get better gas mileage.
3. Sell the Ford, sell the Camry. – The most interesting option. I’m putting the value of the bull at $2000 (Its the SEL) and the Camry at $8500 (4 cyl LE, with lots of scratches). That’s a decent chuck of change for another vehicle, and it could get him a brand new car for a low monthly payment. He’ll also be retiring within the next two years, so it would not see the same highway mileage as the bull.

Any ideas? I’d love to hear from you, and I’m sure my dad would too.

Sajeev answers:

Ya know, catalytic converters aren’t usually a problem, even at that mileage.  It’s usually a problem with the engine causing a trouble light, but whatever…two mechanics looked at it, so I’ll believe them.

But…a new catalytic converter (aftermarket part) from an exhaust shop (hole in the wall) should be 300 dollars installed, so I feel that you are getting screwed. Don’t believe me? Check out Rock Auto.

I’d keep the Taurus over the Camry because I agree with your comments.  After driving a 2006 model shortly after experiencing the then new Camry LE, that is.  You should be on the road and fixed for way less than 500 dollars, from what I’m reading here!

More to the point: MAD. VULCAN. POWAH.

TheDward replies:

Just spoke with my dad, and he is telling me that the $1700 price was for more than just the two cats, and included replacing the y pipes and all four oxygen sensors. He also mentioned that both the indie mechanic and the Ford dealer came to the same conclusion – all those parts need to be replaced. Does this make more sense now, and do you still recommend doing the repairs?

Sajeev answers:

I’m a little surprised that the whole exhaust is shot, but at that mileage and if you live in the Rust Belt…so let’s see.

  • The new Y-pipe (CATCO Part # 4184 ) is $350.
  • The Cat and associated plumbing (WALKER Part # 53349) is about $270.
  • New O2 sensors (about $50 each) is another $200 or so.

The labor involved at a local muffler shop won’t be too much, as these are normally BOLT-ON parts.  This should be around $1000, not $1700.  I am missing something. You need to go to a proper exhaust shop, not a mechanic/garage.

What say you, Best and Brightest?

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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65 Comments on “Piston Slap: Taurus fulla Bull!...”


  • avatar
    jjklongisland

    Option 4, find somebody who knows a guy who is friends with a guy who can get the inspection done (if ya know what I mean). Throw the guy a C note and drive the Taurus another worry free year…

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Do the O2 sensors yourself, now. Then see if the cat is still a “problem”. A bogus offset in measurements by aging sensors can trip a cat code, regardless of the actual state of the converter. Even if the sensors turn out not to be the whole problem, dad’s fuel savings should pay for the parts pretty quick. As will the cash from selling the Camry. No point in keeping a car he doesn’t want to drive. From there, replace any other rusted-out exhaust components on the Bull and keep on rolling. Hang on to the rest of the Camry cash for a future down payment.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinker

      I’d replace the tube and sensors, do the labor yourself (Use the appropriate sealers for the 02 Sensors, so they don’t immediately fail!).

      While you are under there, look at the catalytic converter. If it’s rusted out, go the parts shop route. If it looks okay, bring it up to temp, and check out the codes if any.

      If you can find a serviceable part used, ex-junkyard, even better. Ask them to give you a warranty to cover the next couple years, if possible.

      Or take it to a muffler place and ask them to find the cheapest solution that will last two years, remind them of the used parts market. (Midas?) Simpler than doing it yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        Guys, if the O2 sensors and cat are shot, there’s a good chance something upstream is doing it. Check the rings. Do a compression check. Look at the plugs.

        The exhaust gas could be really unclean.

      • 0 avatar
        SomeGuy

        I agree. You can easily rent a tool from Autozone that will aid in removal of the 02 sensors. A Tarus should have plenty of room under there so this could be an easy Saturday project with a respectable number of beers to enjoy while working on it.

        If it was me? I’d sell the Taurus and drive the Camry. The Taurus could go 200k, but the Camry will easily go 300k++

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I’m with bryanska here. Too many people go to Vatozone, scan the code, and want to replace O2 sensors. Terry discussed this in a Steven Lang column 2 weeks ago:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/question-of-the-day-how-much-would-you-pay-for-perfect-diagnostic-information/#comment-1986911

        Too many people replace O2 sensors without seeing whether they are actually the problem.

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        I agree with bryanska on this one. Check out the engine first. A colleague recently replaced a couple of o2 sensors after they both flashed up as dud on a recent service on his old Maxima. After driving around for a few hundred miles they too flashed up as dud. It turned out there was an issue with oily crud coming down the pipes (I didn’t find out exactly what was causing this), and the new o2 sensors were also now buggered.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Throw it away. Tauruses aren’t worth fixing.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      My first car? A 1996 Taurus. Found out a week later that the transmission had a stuck solenoid (was young/new and didn’t realize 4k RPM on the highway wasn’t normal). A month later found out the head gasket had gone.

      A few years and a few junker cars later, I owned a 1994 Taurus. Head gasket problem. Replaced gasket. Two weeks later, oil/coolant leak suggests another gasket.

      I’ll never own a Taurus again.

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        Wow Tuffjuff, your car history (when you include your latest shinanigans with the Kia) sounds very much like mine. Several sh*tty old cars in the past that explode/die in mundane or spectacular ways, followed by a new car which is permanently in the shop.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        To be fair to the Forte, there’s a reason the current gen model is priced in Corolla territory – it’s just not a $20,000 small car, ala Cruze or Focus, so you get what you pay for; not an excuse for Kia to not acknowledge or fix my particular vehicle’s issues, but at least their newer stuff is getting better.

        But yeah, this is why I only buy new, and as the years have gone by so has my pay grade, so thankfully the gross cost of the vehicles I own will steadily continue to climb. No more Kia’s in my future. :)

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        You must have had the 3.8l engine. The 3.0l Vulcans are almost unkillable. I just changed out the original water pump on a 1996 Taurus 3.0 that had 214K miles on it and it still ran like new.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I find this interesting. I had a Taurus of that generation (company car) and considered it to be basically crap; it was very durable & reliable but that is where it ended. It’s probably a good 200,000 mile car before the transaxle quits and then you will be done. I am surprised that the cat is finished however, they usually last forever and frequently fall off before they wear out. Are you sure it’s bad?

    I would imagine the Camry will last quite a bit longer than the Taurus but it must be a real dog if you like the Taurus better; it is what it is however and you should act accordingly.

    That being the case, I’d fix the Taurus & sell the Camry but I’d never pay $1,700 for the cat replacement; someone is putting the boots to you. I am assuming that you live in a car inspection state and that is the reason you want to replace the cat because if that’s not the case I wouldn’t bother. I think you should shop around, I’m sure you can get a much better deal somewhere else, go see someone who does custom exhaust work, etc. Exhaust system work is tough to do yourself (I know from hard experience) unless you have a lift and the right tools which includes an air chisel or metal sawsall and maybe a small welder. Heat from the cat, in particular, and the resulting corrosion makes dismantling difficult.

    • 0 avatar
      moedaman

      “I am assuming that you live in a car inspection state and that is the reason you want to replace the cat because if that’s not the case I wouldn’t bother.”

      That’s probably the reason $1700 is the going price. Car inspection laws help out mechanics more than it does drivers.

      But I would go to an exhaust shop for an estimate before doing anything else. Someone who does exhausts for a living should be able to do the work more efficiently (cheaper).

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      I had an 06 or 07 as a loaner car years ago. It amazed me in the year 2007 that it was possible to have a cassette player in a car.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @tuffjuff – My theory is that this was because of audiobooks. Cassette remained the dominant medium for audiobooks until quite recently.

        In a 2009 comparison of the LaCrosse and the ES 350, Edmunds.com ridiculed Lexus for including a cassette player. It was an unwarranted cheap shot, IMO. First, cassette capability was offered in addition to other media, not in place of them. Second, it indicated that Lexus was paying attention to its customer base.

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        @Feather

        A few things are at play here: back in 2006 (when a MY2007 cars are introduced), car makers were still trying to figure out factory iPod integration, so including a cassette deck gave them a cheap out – the customer can just use a cassette adapter if they don’t want to go the aftermarket route. The other thing is that Lexus is typically way behind on the technology front, compared to other luxury marques. I’m not sure if that’s by design or just conservative product planning.

      • 0 avatar
        Jacob

        The 2007 Taurus was not available through dealers. It was built strictly for fleet customers. This has to give you a hint. In fact, most of used 2000-2005 Tauri I have seen were former fleet vehicles.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Some of you guys kill me with your comments. Say what you want, an 06 V6 Taurus is a helluva lot better driving car than a 04 4 cylinder Camry. Neither are exciting, but I know which one I would want to live with.

    • 0 avatar

      Sad but true…the differences are shockingly significant!

    • 0 avatar
      iantm

      I would go with the Taurus – while it has deficiencies – those deficiencies are far less expensive to correct than the deficiencies of the Camry (assuming it is the 4 cylinder with the 2AZ-FE engine). Considering how the Camry engines have a less than ideal reputation for longevity between timing chains that stretch, plastics that break off and get caught in the chain, head bolt threads that strip out of the block, and oil sludging issues that impact the functionality of the VVTi. Bear in mind that this IS an interference engine – so if the timing gets out of whack – the valves get crushed. Sadly, the 02 onwards Toyota Camry is a far more maintenance intensive vehicle with a smaller tolerance for abuse than previous models. Typical age of failure from what I’ve seen is around 125-140k on these. Sell the Camry for top dollar to someone who is under the illusion that Toyotas never break and when they do – Toyota takes care of it. In the case of the Camry – Toyota will gladly give you a break of replacing the whole works for $12k. $5k in parts if you’re lucky and only need a short block. At least with the Ford, you have no illusions about any goofiness and the Vulcan motor, while less than refined – is pretty simple and easy to work on.

      It should be noted that I am a mechanic who specializes in Foreign cars – primarily European. Based on my experiences with post 2001 Toyotas – you may as well buy a Ford because you’re at least getting decent value for money due to lack of pretense about reliability. Don’t even get me started on the Tundra/Sequoia transmission issues or the late 90′s early 00′s 3.0l V6 sludge issues. Of course, most Toyota loyalists won’t talk about the problems because they assume that they didn’t take good enough care of the car or never mention the issue to anyone. I have a number of customers who defected from Toyota to Hyundai despite the whole Elantra lower control arms/front subframes collapsing due to rot on cars less than 5 years old. I’ll stick with recommending goofball domestic cars for basic use because – for the most part – they are simple and cheap to fix.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        The missus 2000 Camry she had a few years back (before it was ironically replaced with a 2003 Mercury Sable) had door handles made of thin plastic that broke in the Wisconsin cold one winter. Talk about build quality!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Preach brother, preach.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        This.

        Everything brakes but domestics are cheap to get parts for and you can pick them up for a song.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        “The missus 2000 Camry she had a few years back… had door handles made of thin plastic that broke in the Wisconsin cold one winter. Talk about build quality!”

        Big Toyota problem that goes back at least as far as 1983 in my experience – yes very cheesy. I still see late model Camrys with broken outside door handles.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Thanks for offering your perspective. During my time as a mechanic (I still work on a lot of cars, but it’s not my day job any more) has been much of the same.

        When people ask me to recommend them a low cost, relaible car, they sometimes scoff when I tell them to find a GM 3800 vehicle, Ford Panther, latest possible vulcan Taurus or even a Chrysler 3.5L LH product. These cars present tremendous value, are quite reliable and parts are cheap.

        They may not be the pinnacle of automotive vogue, but they generally won’t fuck you.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If you’re replacing the cats to pass inspection, you’ve gotta watch out with some of the cheaper aftermarket parts. Often, they won’t pass emission inspection. The manufacturer might warranty the part for you, maybe, but you’ll still be in it for the labor. Paying for an OEM part may be the best route.

    If the Taurus is in otherwise good shape and he likes it, fix it, this shouldn’t a detrimental repair. It is interesting that they say the cats and ALL O2s need to be replaced. Perhaps they are shotgunning parts instead of providing accurate diagnosis.

  • avatar
    Mykl

    “Go to an exhaust shop.”

    Probably the best advice so far. ~$1000 to ~$1500 is worth it to keep an otherwise reliable car on the road, IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yeah, most custom exhaust shops could do this in their sleep. Heck you might even end up spending the same money you would at the Ford or the indie but get a performance high flow cat.

  • avatar
    nikita

    Im shocked at the indie price. At that mileage it is possible for the cats to become just marginal enough not to pass inspection. Our 325i failed at about 140k. California keep tightening the inspection standards, forcing more cars to fail. A marginal cat would have been good enough a decade earlier. I replaced the O2 myself before that (OBD I CEL). A complete new aftermarket SS exhaust system with cats, all factory welded, was $1100 installed at a muffler shop that was smog check inspection station.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      What emissions standard do you believe was tightened that caused your car to fail?

      The CARB standards are locked in to when you bought your car and they specifically allow for the car and its emissions system to age, so I’d like to know what specifically you think changed. CARB did change the standards in 1996 to modernize them a bit, but that resulted in fewer cars failing smog checks overall.

      My now-sadly-departed well-maintained 80s Panther passed emissions with numbers comparable to much newer cars because it was well-maintained, even though it could have run much dirtier and still passed.

      • 0 avatar
        pdog

        I’m sorry, Corntrollio, but you are wrong on this one. I have 1996 and 1980 vehicles subject to CA’s biennial smog tests, and I have reviewed my records of past smog test results and can confirm that the maximum “passing” levels for the various exhaust gases are ratcheted down regularly.

        My cars are well-tuned and pass easily, but a family member’s car recently failed, being just over the limit for NOx. We looked back at previous records, and it turns out that the car had passed with similar numbers two years earlier, but at that point the allowable level was higher.

        I like clean air as much as the next person, but I hate the way California’s smog test program is administered.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I don’t think I am. Check out this chart:

        www dot smogcheck dot ca dot gov/80_BARResources/02_SmogCheck/Engineering/ASM_Ave_Ph43.pdf

        You may have confused 15mph NOx and 25 mph NOx. They are two different standards.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Sell both. Used car prices are high now due to scarcity (Hurricane Sandy) and upcoming tax refund season. Despite Steve Lang’s reporting of used cars with 800,000 miles (joke) being auctioned, the Taurus is over its designed mileage life. New cars are fighting for sales, deals are good, if not great. Interest rates are low for new car purchase.
    I am totally ignoring the mechanical aspects of this situation and focusing on the macro-economic picture. Also your Dad is almost retiring and deserves a prize. I’m 65 and prefer driving to skinning knuckles.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Glad to see at least _one_ person remember’s it’s Dad who’s in a bind , not a kid who wants to race everywhere .

    The Camry is likely a reminder of things he’s trying to forget .

    In any case the wise is to replace the sensors as yes , they do poop out and cause all the failure modes , if it then passes smog testing , he can drive it or bump the sales price a bit by it being ” Turn Key ” .

    Me , I’m old yes but still driving as fast as whatever I’m driving will go most of the time ~ life’s far too short not to plus I still enjoy spinning my wrenches as much as I can .

    -Nate

  • avatar

    Every car I’ve owned thats made it past 160k has needed a cat around 160,000 miles. They’ve all slagged out by then. the ’76 Chevelle, the 95 Explorer (all highway miles!), and I’m wondering about the factory ’70s pellet cat in my 180,000 mile ’77 Chevelle, Dad’s 87 Dakota needed one at 170k, my friends 04 Avalanche needed one at 162k. GFs POS ’98 Saturn amazingly has made it to 200k without a bad cat so far…. it’ll fail today.

    Something about that magic 155-165,000 mile mark seems to cause them to fail, around that time. I was quoted $400 for the dual cats on the Explorer at a muffler shop.

    Take it there and have them do it. spend the money on the car you like to drive, and sell the one you don’t like.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Texan01,

      Up until the mid 2000s, catalytic converters were certified after aging for 100K miles, Now the number is 150K miles. That means that the EPA certification requires accelerating aging for the equivalent exhaust gas flow of 150K miles and not 15OK actual miles. This is done by taking a production model of a new car, removing the cat, and connecting it to an identical engine in a test cell. It’s then “aged” at full throggle for a couple weeks until the calculated equivalent miles. The cat is then put back in the original car and tested for EPA compliance.
      In reality, the cat should last more than 150K under real conditions. The biggest cat killer is heat. So extensive acceleration without enough time to cool down between power bursts (aka hooning) will shorten the cat’s life by agglomerating the precious metal particles on the cat into larger pargticles resulting in loss of effiency.
      That being said, the cat on my wife’s 99 Honda Oddy failed at 72K miles because Honda thought that they knew how to make cat coverters more cheaply than the suppliers could. Turned out that they couldn’t.
      The big three are not as conceited and buy them from tier 1 supplers who know what they are doing.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      My experience is first-gen Taurus, to 200K without failing. 80s Panther, to 200K+ without failing. 80s Toyota, failed at around 60K and only about 6-8 years old.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    I say cut your losses. Sell both and recommend to dad that he buy something new and comfortable for his last few years of commuting.

    The old bull may well make it to 200k after the repairs but I doubt it will be without a few more visits to the shop.

  • avatar

    check o2 wires for continuity. Visually inspect wires.
    Pull sensors and look at them. If the cats are not clogged,
    what is the problem? Does it pass emisions? Is the CEL on?
    Have you tried clearing the code if it is and seeing if it
    reappears?

    I got the PO420 Cat efficiency code RIGHT after I had a cheap
    aftermarket muffler installed on my Previa van. Too much of a
    coincidence for me. I still haven’t reached a proper solution.

    In Co. emissions can be passed even with a CEL.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    $1,700+ sounds like the going rate, but here’s an alternative. Try any muffler shop off the main street… When my cat got plugged, 1st I had a buddy gut the thing (allegedly). Then later, I asked my friendly neighborhood muffler shop, (that I’d patronized in the past), if he had a used/good cat for my car, laying around his cluttered shop (as the story goes). He did and 2 C-notes later, (cash, no receipt obviously) my car ace’d the smog test and everyone lived happily ever after…

    The End.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    Letting others do the diagnosis is causing you grief. It’s most likely only one piece of hardware has failed. And replacing everything is a mechanics CYA for the problem.

    The best $$$ you could spend here would be to buy an inexpensive OBDII reader for about $50. Scan the codes and write the codes down.

    Then post to one of the many ford forums or even here at TTAC.

    If the car is running well it’s possible it’s just one of the post cat O2 sensors as they have no effect on drivability. All they do is set a check engine light to tell you to replace either of the cats or the sensor.

    You can add spacers to the O2 mounts to move the sensor out of the exhaust gas main flow. This fools the sensor a lot of guys with tuned cars do it.

    http://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS-Performance-Products/555/30745/10002/-1?parentProductId=

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Agree totally. There is no way you need all those parts at one time.

      If you don’t hear noise, it’s not a pipe.

      A scanner will tell you which O2 sensor is signalling. Upstream sensors are important for driveability and emissions, downstream sensors only monitor the performance of the catalytic converter (emissions only).

      Fix the Taurus and sell the Camry. This means you’ll keep the car you like, and get some cash for the one you don’t.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    NO way. This is a Taurus. A single cat welded in place is $150 at my local shop. Replace both 02 sensors, should be around $80 a piece. You’re looking at 300 all in. Why replace the Y-pipe?

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I would sell the Taurus and the Camry, use as a down payment for something nice and new like an Audi A4 or Toyota Highlander Limited.

    Otherwise dump the Taurus alone, it isn’t a high quality vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      The A4 and Highlander Ltd are nice vehicles, but I think he’d be much happier with and S-class or even a Bentley. It’s kind of silly wasting time with nasty old cars when a mere hundred grand or so buys a much higher quality vehcile. I’m surprised his chauffeur hasn’t said anything before.

  • avatar
    punkybrewstershubby aka Troy D.

    If the V6 in this Taurus is a Duratec then it ain’t gonna be $300, but I agree that even with the Y-pipe and O2 sensors that almost $2000 is pricey. The DOHC Duratec is totally different than the Vulcan V6 as it pertains to the exhaust. Get a third estimate from a Midas or local guy/mom n pop shop that does only exhaust.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    What say I? Don’t think that I would ever shill out $8,500 for a ’04 4-pot Camry unless it came with a backseat full of medicinal marijuana, a deep fryer with a freezer full of chicken parts and french fries, and two tickets to Tijiuana. Seems an awful lot of money to estimate for a sub-par, albeit cockroach reliable, nearly 10 yr old car.

    • 0 avatar
      SherbornSean

      My insurer just totaled my ’04 Accord with 96K on it, and wrote me a check for $9,200. And it was only an LX with manual transmission, and that was after the $500 deductible.

      You’d be shocked at what prices used Toyotas and Honda are selling for these days.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I have to agree, the prices on those at new-used and buy-here pay-here lots will give you a nosebleed. Maybe new that stuffs worth buying new but used its poor value for the money.

        Even picking up a similar 04 Accord/96K for the insurance price of 92 bucks makes me quesey. That’s out the door ten grand plus any tire/brake and fluids the car needs replaced.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        It’s true. Being totalled out of her 2000 Camry was the best deal my mother could have hoped for back in 2009. I used the proceeds to pay for ~80% of a 30k mile ’07 Grand Prix at a repo auction at the height or the carpocalypse. It’s been a far less troublesome car than the Camry with not a single issue in the 60k miles and 3 years since then.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      LOL

  • avatar
    DGA

    Not that I would do this *whistle* BUT if the downstream O2 sensor is good and the cat. is bad, get an appropriate spark plug anti fouler that will thread into the O2 sensor hole (check the interwebs on proper size), drill it out with a 1/2″ drill, thread the O2 sensor into it, thread the whole thing back into the exhaust. Effectively what this does is move most of the O2 sensor out of the exhaust stream. *whistle* Guys that run bigger high flow converters do this to get rid of the CEL.

    If the car has dual cats you can swap the downstream O2 sensors and see if the trouble code changes to the other bank.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    This is that X factor, your father likes the “soul” he finds in the Taurus, and finds the Camry more – appliance-like.

    I would lean to keeping the just broken in Camry, however my mother owns a 4-banger nicely equipped XLE and it is pretty darn – soulless. The only thing I’ve driven more numb was a 2008 Camry LE rental. But I’m not a big fan of the ’06 Taurus either.

    I agree most importantly that $1700 for an exhaust job sounds over priced. I would get a third quote. Yelp is your friend in these matters (yes, people write reviews even on exhaust shops). What is being performed is not rocket science. I really have to question replacing the four O2 sensors – you’d have a CEL if they were failed – but if it’s all rotted out or a couple are failed, ehhh.

    I say either fix the Taurus (at a reasonable rate – not the $1700) quoted, keep it and sell the Camry. Put the money into an account for rainy day fund.

    My next recommendation would be to sell both, and buy something lightly used paid in full. $10K will get a fair amount of used car.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Man, I’m glad I live in a state without inspections. Saves me a lot of hassle, and really, I don’t see any greater number of rolling wrecks than I did when I lived in a state with the inspection scam.

    Sell the Camry for big $$$ to the “everybody knows Toyotas are the best cars” crowd. Hell, in my apartment complex you could sell it to an Indian computer programmer for cash in 20 minutes. Might even have bidders.

    Also, consider moving to an enlightened red state. : )

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I would do some research on suspension part upgrades for the toyota and sell the taurus to fund it.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    The 2006-07 Tauri were Vulcan powered and fleet only cars..
    Sell the Camry to pay for the Taurus repairs.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I would sell both and buy a nicely equipped 2010-11 Impala 3500 equipped LT. Those are going for around 10,900 or so with 35-40K miles and even less with more miles. From what I have personally seen and what many shops I have done business with, these cars will go the distance if properly serviced, will out handle, out break and be quicker than either car and the trunk is huge. Plus I’ll bet your dad will love the std remote start(on all LT/LTZ models)as well as my dad does on his 2008.

  • avatar
    George B

    A coworker of mine got a marginal car to get under the limit for unburned hydrocarbons by running the car on a fuel mixture with a higher percentage of alcohol than normal E-10. Many of the Taurus models were flex-fuel so this might be somewhat legitimate. Make sure that the engine and catalytic converter are hot before the test. At 155k miles, you probably only have a couple more emissions tests to worry about “passing” before some expensive repair ends the life of the car.


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