Tempo & Taurus Are They Good Cars.

I have an older vehicle and am thinking of upgrading. Are Tempo and Taurus vehicles worth looking into. Are certain years good and other years particularly
bad?
Thanks in advance Denny B
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I had an '88 tempo, and I HATED that car with a burning passion. However, much of the reason I hated it was because I'm 6'6 and it's not a good car for big people.
Mine was reliable - you could always rely on little things to break on a regular basis. The engine was great though, always a good starter, but very crappy heater, blows cold air below -20. Stuff I replaced on it in one year:
clutch (I wasn't nice to it) starter alternator plug shorted tps sensor tie rod ends CV joints repacked and replaced tons of minor things like door handles, seat belts (the buckles are crap), mirror, trunk lock, etc, etc, etc....
Parts are plentiful, many dead tempo/topaz's in auto yards, and usually parts are cheap. $40 for the starter, $200 for clutch (new), $10 tps sensor, etc. I did all the work myself, and they are relatively easy cars to work on, although pulling the tranny without the engine will make you curse the idiot engineer that put the left frame rail so close to the tranny.
I had to replace most of the front suspension TWICE (although I bought used parts each time), I think the macpherson strut ford suspension is garbage, although this is my only experience with it, it rides like shit and breaks easily. If you dont put the sway bar back on in a particular order its a REAL pain, I tried 2, both needed a lot of pressure.
Rear tranny mount likes to die, causing clunks when engaging/disengaging drive.
Gas mileage was pretty good. Its FWD and understeers, another reason I hated it. I had the 2.3, and it was gutless (surprise surprise). AFAIK all years of topaz/tempo are similar. They dont seem very prone to rust, but when they do its over the rear wheel long before anywhere else, check that spot with a magnet before you buy, mine was stuffed full of bondo. If its not rusted through drill a hole for drainage as soon as you get it.
Its a good "point A to point B" car, some people trick them out and think they're cool (http://www.tempotopaz.com ), but this is just stupid, even a rustang beats the hell out of a tempo.
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wrote:

My opinion -- no.

I would personally avoid anything with a AXOD(-E?) transmission. My 89 Taurus transmission failed at 58k and I knew MANY others who got even less.. Lots of TSBs (technical service bulletins) on the subject. However, they are available cheap. I don't know how Ford changed them in later models.. So they might be ok.
The Tempo might work for basic transportation, but there are better choices.
May I suggest a Toyota Camry or Corolla, Honda Civic or Accord, or even the Chevrolet Malibu instead?
__________________ Note: To reply, replace the word 'spam' embedded in return address with 'mail'. N38.6 W121.4
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A tempo is basic transportation. A toastermobile if there ever was one. (a taurus is nicer toaster imo) Tempos seem to have come out of the factory one of two ways: falling apart or indestructable. Since the newest tempos are now 10 years old, the former should be off the road by now leaving only the ones that were put together properly. Find one that has been cared for and you'll probably be fine if all you want is basic a-to-b and not to spend much.
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Somewhere I read that the Tempo (one of the good ones, presumably) has been one of the cheapest of all cars in life-cycle ownership cost, when you integrate purchase price, maintenance, insurance, fuel, etc. I have the impression that they tend to be a good value from the buyer's perspective on the used market as well.
I drove them often as rental cars and found them perfectly adequate to the task, though the marginal power (never drove the V6 version that came out late in the game) and the feeling that the steering wheel was connected to the road via rubber bands kept me from desiring one of my own.
By now, the maintenance and driving habits of the owners probably dominate other factors in the quality of the surviving examples. Any particular one could be anywhere from treasure to trash by now. As always, I highly recommend a pre-purchase inspection by your favorite mechanic -- you're paying not just for expertise but also for objectivity, since by the time you've gotten that far you want the car.
The contemporary Taurus, the original jellybean-shaped one, was a bit bigger and nicer and better handling car, though not terribly powerful (the 3.8 liter V6 was decent, the 3.0 adequate) nor all *that* great in gas mileage. An "LX" badge designates the nice one with more options. Gotchas to watch for: they tend to warp their brake rotors easily and there was some problem with motor mounts on some early 3.8's. I have little firsthand experience with the second-generation Taurus.
Best of luck, --Joe
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On 14 Jan 2004, Ad absurdum per aspera wrote:

If the Taurus uses the same 3.8 as the Cougar/TBird of the mid 90's (I believe shared by Windstar, base Mustang, CrVic/TwCar although I'm not sure of the latter) I would stay away from it. My 95 Cougar gave me problems the whole year I owned it, culminating in what I believed was a head gasket failure (not worth the time and $$$ to do anything but donate the kicker). That engine has a history of head gasket problems - any search on the web will reveal the whole convoluted history and Ford's reluctant quasi-recall. My friend's 97 Tbird hasn't exactly soared with the eagle either in terms of it's reliability, although by that year Ford had altered the head gasket. I believe her problems were radiator related, but I wouldn't be suprised if that part was shared as well with the Taurus. I haven't heard good things about the base Mustang's engine reliability either.
Of course YMMV but at the very least the 3.8 certainly doesn't have a great track record.
Dave
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With the 3.0L V6 (in either), decent if dull transportation. I never liked the Four that most Tempos came with, and the 3.8L V6 has a bad reputation for blowing head gaskets, breaking motor mounts, and ruining transmissions. Decent ones earlier than the jellybean look (starting in '96) should be pretty cheap. I wouldn't bother with any older than '93, myself, and I can't stand the jellybean look.
--
Chris Green

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Ive heard of transmission problems in Tauruses so do some research and find out what to look out for. The SHO wouldn't be bad, but just make sure the motor has had regular maintenance done.
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Guy Noir - private eye wrote:

also, all non-SHO Tauruses are crap, period.
nate
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go dry to reply.
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Make sure you put away a couple grand for upcomming tranny overhauls. (they're a weak link in the Taurus).

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Ther Taurus suffers from the greatest transmission failure epidemic in automotive history (AXO) consider yourself warned.
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