Taurus/Sable Wagon

Having just sold my 1983 F-150 a few days ago, I decided that I may end up selling my smaller truck as well and looking for a station wagon to replace
it. My wife and I just had our first baby a few months back and we're probably going to have one more in the future. The reason we will be looking at wagons is that our 'first' baby, 80 lb golden lab, loves going in the car just as much as we do, and the extra rear area is the perfect spot for him.
I'm going to be looking at two used vehicles, Subaru Outback or Forester, or a Taurus/Sable stationwagon. Around here, used Fords are much cheaper than Subaru's, so unless I win the lottery, the Ford will probably be my first choice. What I want to know is what year did Ford finally get all of the problems with the 3.8L engines and both transmissions resolved? And if the 24 valve 3.0L is just as reliable as the Vulcan in my Ranger, what are the differences between the two? Is the 3.8L the better engine for reliability (minus the head gasket issues of course)? Is the mileage comparable between the two? Towing capacity? Eventually down the road I will probably own some type of camping trailer, so this vehicle would have to be able to tow it. More than likely a tent trailer.
I know I could very easily have done a search with Google myself, but I know there are a few regulars that have owned/own Sable and Taurus and would like some of their opinions first.
Thanks for any replies, Sharky
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I've got a '00 Sable wagon, 24V, got it used on a good deal. 105k now and only a COP coil went bad and that was after cleaning the motor. Other than that it's been a good car so far. It will get 30 mpg on the highway no problem. Engine power is OK, alot better than the Vulcan's I've owned. 1500 lb. tow cap. on the wagon. I've put a hitch on mine for light duty towing for bringing home stuff from the home stores. Got a real truck for the camper, boat and snowmobiles. I expect 200k easily from the car, got 160k from 2 prev. used bulls and they had the weak trannies in them.
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My family has not had good luck with any taurus/sable based platform including my moms 1996 Sable Wagon and my sister's 200? Taurus Sedan. All have had the 3.0 v6, which has been bullet proof except for water pumps and ignition systems on the 1989, 1990 models we have owned, but every thing else keeps on falling apart all around them. Granted we are not gentle on them. We put lots of miles on them and use them , not baby them. The wagons are great for family vacations and home depot runs. I've pretty much given up on Ford products, especially since I'm looking at a huge job to replace the heater core on my MN12 1995 T-Bird or about $1,000 to have a $25 heater core replaced.
Shame since the family has been all Ford since 1956.
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Nothing is MORE reliable than the Vulcan. But Headgaskets aside, so is the 3.8. lower fuel economy by about 3 mpg.
Needs good tranny cooler to tow, or for trans reliability.
Engine mounts.
High end brake pads and rotors needed
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I bought Taurus wagon, a 99 with 14k miles. It now has about 122k. Gets 27 highway mpg. Went 90k on original tires. Went over 100k before replaced plugs. I had the body undercoated when I got it. Replacing light bulbs is a chore. I have had to replace a few emission control sensors and the gas cap. I believe the drive train isn't designed for much towing. I towed a small boat a couple times. The car is really straining to tow in 4th gear and runs high rpm in 3rd. I am very satisfied with the car, though.
Sharky wrote:

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