2000 Tuarus Wagon Rear Rotar - Spindle?

Hello Folks,
My 2000 Tuarus Wagon with 84,000mi. is at issue here...
Today as I was driving I began hearing a metal on metal scraping sound from my drivers rear wheel. Upon pulling over and investigating I
noticed a flat semi-circular piece of metal wedged inside the inner part of the rim - that's what was making the scraping noise. I loosened the lugs and began jacking her up when the rusted semi-circular piece of tin (metal) fell to the ground.
I think I know what it is. Correct me please but is it the splash guard or heat dissipator from the rear spindle? The piece belongs attached to the inside of the (what I am calling a spindle) the part behind the disc brake assembly. I verified this by checking out the other rear wheel. I would assume it protects the disc - caliper - from stones and splashing water or it may also be used to dissipate heat from the discs.
So, am I safe driving with this forever removed? Can it be replaced (is it riveted into place) or do I need to replace an entire rear spindle? How much does that cost? Do I need to bother? My wise arse mechanic took it and flung it into the junk heap and said that when it fell to the ground I solved my problem and not to worry about it but it's not his car and he is not behind the wheel driving my dear 4 other family members.
Can my Taurus live without it? What is your opinion / advice?
I would appreciate any help!
Thanks,
Lou
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Louis F. Carbone wrote:

My advice is to take it to a mechanic who knows brakes. She (or he) can check for any other damage to the brakes and make sure the car is safe to drive.
Jeff
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On 20/08/2010 11:46 AM, Louis F. Carbone wrote:

It sounds like the dust shield and yes, you can live without it. As long as it didn't tear anything up as it dis-mounted your vehicle, you should be perfectly safe driving your crew around. Your "wise arse mechanic" sounds like a practical guy who was trying to save you from unnecessary expense - a rare combination, treasure him.
That said, it did serve a purpose: it is supposed to help keep road crap from being splashed or blown onto the disk surface as you drive (it apparently also helps direct air flow over the rotors to keep them cool... I'd say that was a minimal contribution). When the front shields rotted out on my old Mazda truck, I pulled off what was left hanging (didn't want a loose edge cutting tire or brake line or anything) and happily and safely drove the truck for another 4 years - for all I know that truck is still driving around sans dust shields.
If you do feel you must have shields, buy a "slotted" or after market type. Some of the original shields were installed before the bearings, wheel hubs and brake assemblies were installed. That means that in order to put a new one on, you have to strip the wheel down to the stub shaft to fit it on like a doughnut. The slotted types are open at the bottom so that you can slip it over the axle without removing half the world. If your original shields were doughnut-shaped, look around for a replacement type that isn't.
Either way, it's your call. I won't go as far as to call them cosmetic, but it is a very, very, very low risk option to drive without them (certainly lower risk than driving a 10 year-old Taurus... I kid).
Good luck and let us know which way you decided to go.
W.
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BIG SNIP>>>>>>>>>
My 2k Sable with 175k miles has been living without the rusted out rear dust shields for 2 yr now. Aprox 40k miles. Let not your heart be troubled, your mechanic could have BSed you and lightened your wallet. Keep giving him your business IMO
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On 8/20/2010 10:46 AM, Louis F. Carbone wrote:

Thank you, all, for your comments. I really appreciate the responses.
You are all correct about my mechanic, I've been with him since the mid 1990's when I had my first Taurus wagon, a "92. He hates fords and I have to "put up" with his pontificating of how bad a car it is and, thus his dramatics of tossing the plate into the junk heap after taking out of my hands! He is definitely the type to try and save me a buck when it applies though, as it does, this time.
Thanks again and stay well!
Lou
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On 8/21/2010 10:09 AM, Louis F. Carbone wrote:

Does anyone know if there is an aftermarket part that can be installed in its place?
Thanks,
Lou
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On 8/21/2010 10:09 AM, Louis F. Carbone wrote:

Is there an aftermarket part that can be used to replace the rusted one?
Lou
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