Mileage Capacity of Taurus Engines

Hey all,
I'm cruising for a decent used car (3 - 6K range for work and comfortable road trips) and not knowing much about Fords (though I hear the Taurus is a pretty decent model) I'm wondering what the
lifespan/reliability is of the various Taurus engines? Does anyone know a good site that lists this?
For example: I drove an '03 Taurus with 120,000 on it and it drove nicely, $4300 they wanted and it had some dings and some busted trim on passenger side, leather, moon roof, etc. So not knowing much about the motor, thought I'd ask here.
Are Taurus motors considered as reliable as the 3800 series for example?
Thanks RG
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One thing I should mention, that it was a dealer that wanted the 4500, and they're famous for 'best price' IE - they won't negotiate, or so they say. The salesmen did a whole spiel about it. I had it out for a nice drive and it really ran nice, good glass, tires, interior was pretty nice, highway miles, but still I thought 120K might be trouble. Thanks again.
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Ranking wrote:

A 3.0 vulcan taken care of should easily go over 200K miles. The Duratec is a little more mechanically busy, (and higher HP), but i don't seem to see massive failures of those either. The transmission is the weakest link. The basic drive train has been refined and revised over 20 years, so i would hope they got most of the real bugs out of it by then.
It all comes down to how much the car was taken care of or abused before you got it. 120K of all city miles is a lot worse than 120K of mixed or mainly highway miles.
If you have a independent mechanic you trust, you might slip him a few bucks to take a look at it for you.
Taurus do not have as high as resale value as a honda, toyota or such. So, if you look around there may be deals to be had. Sometimes there are piles of them off lease or government auction cars. Keep in mind, new dealer used car lots are HUGE profit centers for them. A private sale if you dig and dicker may provide a better deal. You might find an estate car with 50K that literally some little old lady drove to church.
Bob
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Thanks Bob. I did a VIN check, tried to get into the local Ford dealership to do an inspection, but they were booked. MSN Autos says the 03 Taurus is very good, all green checks on the reliability, but I think I could spend a little more and, like you said, from a private party and get one with less miles and more of a history.
I have driven 2 Hondas (just totaled one) and a Toyota clone and find the interiors to be pretty basic, cheap if durable and not really comfortable for trips over 20 minutes. I don't want to open up the whole 'Accord vs. Taurus' thing again, but yeah, give me the better deal on a domestic car and the extra cash in my pocket when something breaks. Accords used to be great, but since 98 the trannys haven't been any better than any other maker and don't get me started on Toyota sludge.
But vehicle history and care is probably the most important factor when buying used, as well as unbiased reliability ratings, I love the features under MSN AUTOS.
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there aren't many engines that WON'T go high miles IF they have been properly cared for and driven reasonably. (years ago I bought a Chevette with 115,000 miles on it and it was still running strong when I sold at 150,000). Problem is - you don't know the history of an older car.
Question: Do Vulcan and Duratec engines have timing belts or chains? I've been thru my Owner's Manual & Maintenance guide front to back and not a word.
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Belts tend to be hidden behind plastic covers easily visible while chains seem to become "part of the engine" hidden by steel covers with a dozen or so bolts.
Belts need to replaced at approximately 60K miles hence the ease of access while chains can easily go 120K or even 150K (properly maintained by oil changes ect).
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On Mon, 19 Nov 2007 18:41:14 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Itsfrom Click) wrote:

Vulcans and duratecs are both chain drive. Short chain on the Vulcen, long on the Duratec.
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The engines are not bad if properly maintained but the automatic trannys tend to bit the dust rather early even with fluid changes.
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On Sun, 18 Nov 2007 07:12:07 -0800 (PST), Ranking

The 3.8 is a time bomb. Very poor reliability - head gasket and timing cover leaks and extremely fragile bearings. An ounce of antifreeze in the oil will wipe the bearings right out.
The 3.0, on the other hand, is an exceptional engine as Ford engines go. Virtually bullet proof if reasonably maintained. One weakness is the oil pump drive (on the cam sensor, where the distributor would "normally" be.)
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I have had oil analysis done at 150K and 160K on my '03 and it is wearing fine. I expect it to run for a long time. I drive about 200 miles a day, six days a week so I am running Pennzoil Platinum 5w20 at 10k miles per change. It works out to about the same money as the 5w20 Motorcraft I was running at 5k but I spend half as much time doing oil changes.
The bigger worry with a Taurus is the transmission. I can speak from experience that the Ford A/T's are no where near as reliable as what you might find mated to a 3800. Before the Taurus I had a '00 Impala that I ran to 210K on the factory-filled ATF - I didn't know any better. Once I got into the Taurus I had the ATF changed out every 20k and it still fell to pieces at 135K. From what I have read that's about average for the Taurus.
$4300 for a dinged up Taurus w/120K? I'd laugh at the dealer's sign in my rear-view mirror. If I had $4000 to spend I'd go find another gen1 Impala with a 3800 and as close to 100K miles as possible. A gen1 Impala will give you a peppy 30mpg on the highway while the Taurus will give you a dumpy 25mpg if you're lucky.
Calvin
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To cut past the debate, The Ford Taurus is a solid reliable car. The basic car and 3.0 engine have carried on since 1986. The refinements were numerous, but the end result is that a late model 3.0 Taurus with an automatic trans is almost bulletproof mechanically. $4300 for a car with 120K and external flaws, well... Maybe $3500 or a bit more, but that's just me. There's a sharp drop in perceived value after +100K miles, IMHE. Still, it's an '03 and only 3 years old. (I really understand your dilemma)???
I've seen Taurii with the 3.0l\AX4N combo go for 300K+ miles. I don't think I've ever actually seen a 3.0L "fail" mechanically (as in, "throw a rod" or "blow up" ). BTW, the 3.0 has proven a bit more reliable than the 3800 Series in recent years. GM has had some intake gasket related engine failures recently on that series. Prior to that, the 3.0 and 3800 were about neck and neck. Both are proven, reliable engines.
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On Fri, 23 Nov 2007 22:47:49 -0800 (PST), Tom Adkins

One relatively common problem on the 3.0 Ford is the oil pump drive gear/cam sensor assembly. They have been known to take the gears out anywhere after about 50-60,000 miles. This can allow the engine to run with no (or very poor) oil pressure. This will damage the engine. So, if the oil light comes on, shut it off. It should then be a bit difficult to start. Not terribly expensive or serious if caught on time.
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clare at snyder.on.ca wrote: <...>

That advice applies to any vehicle.
Jeff
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wrote:

Obviously - but on the Taurus 3.0, it can be a simple fix if caught on time. Many other vehicles by the time the light comes on it's already become VERY expensive.
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