Mercury Sable









January 2001


Dear Taurus/Sable Owner:


Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your
Taurus or Sable. Although the most popular car since its 1986 debut, problems
such as surging, transmission failure, peeling paint, head gasket
failure, rust, seatbelt failure
and poor brake performance
are common.


In 1993, Ford recalled more than 1.5 million 1986-93 Tauruses and Sables
for two costly corrosion defects but limited the recall to 14 states with
high salt use and did not enter the repair in OASIS, Ford’s national dealer
computer system, so that consumers in the other 36 states who have brake
rotor hub failures
and/or subframe mount failures
would receive free repairs. Consumers in the non-salt belt states have
to pay $300 or more for each repair. In 1998 Ford expanded the subframe
recall to 25 states and 1986-95 models


The AXOD/AXOD-E automatic 4-speed overdrive transmission has been plagued
with performance problems since its introduction in 1986. CAS has received
numerous reports of chronic stalling, slippage,
harsh or erratic shifting, and/or hesitation.
The automatic transmission in the 1991 Taurus/Sable is especially prone
to erratic operation, overheating and/or sudden
failure
. Although Ford recalled 1.1 million 1984-85 cars with
1.6L and 2.3L engines for stalling at highway speeds
when ignition modules mounted on the distributor overheated, Ford failed
to recall any Tauruses/Sables with similar modules. Ford continued this
design through 1995 on all 3.0L non-SHO models but changed to a safer
design on 3.8L engines in 1988. The 3.8L engine also has a failure prone
head gasket that costs $1,000 to replace and $4,000 if the engine goes.
Ford extended the warranty to 7 years or 100,000 miles on 1994-95 models
but refused to extend the warranty on 1988-93 models with the same failure
prone head gasket.


A common and expensive defect is peeling paint on 1985-92
models. Ford attempted to cover up paint problems by buying off aggressive
consumers under a secret warranty and ignoring consumers who didn’t complain
loudly. CAS petitioned the FTC and every state attorney general in 1994
to take action on Ford’s peeling paint secret warranty. A more serious
defect is an aggressive driver’s side airbag in 1990-92
models which has resulted in the death of five drivers. The National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration denied a CAS petition in July 1997 to recall
these vehicles.


You’ll find more information on Ford Taurus/Sable problems below and
what you can do about them plus a complaint
box
. Your information will help us build a strong case against Ford
as we fight for action on Taurus/Sable defects.


We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer
rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution
is tax-deductible which
entitles you to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit
the membership form along with your contribution
and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis.


Sincerely,


Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director


TAURUS & SABLE FACT SHEET
Sable Taurus Taurus SHO


Ford technical service bulletin (TSB) number in parentheses; bulletins
apply to all models unless stated.


Brakes:
Roughness/vibration during braking, 1986-95 (95-6-2, 93-26-2); ABS noise/vibration,
1993 & 1989-93 Taurus SHO(94-13-3 & 94-25-1); “Thumping”/”clacking”
while braking, 1994-95 (94-23-5); Extra pedal travel, 1993-94 (94-5-5);
ABS cycling, 1990-94 (94-5-6) & 1993-96 (95-20-2, 98-5A-6); Brake
wobble, drag, accelerator wear, 1986-93 (93-22-4); Pedal slow/no return,
1991-92 (92-19-2); Intermittent squeal, 1986-91 (90-22-6) & 1993-95
(96-7-4); Premature wear/cracking front disc brake pads, 1986-87 (87-24-9);
ABS noise, 1998-99 (98-26-5).


Electrical/Instruments:
Free Repair: Long cranking times/no start, 1992-93 Taurus SHO(93-B-18
& 93-3-8)
; Erratic fuel gauge operation, 1986-92 Taurus &
1986-94 Sable & 1986 & 1988 (95-2-3 & 88-18-3); Fuel gauge
indicates full too long or not full after fill-up or flucates at 1/4 full,
1996-98 & 1999 (99-2-6 & 99-15-1); No crank/starter solenoid corrosion,
1992-95 (94-26-3); Driver seat sensor locks doors on exit, 1993-94 (94-10-2);
Dim or black EATC or instrument display, 1986-88 (90-23-9, 90-23-13 &
89-6-8); Speedometer reads high, 1991-93 (92-12-9); No power, 1990-92
with speed control & AXOD-E (92-12-9); Fuel gauge intermittently reads
high, 1989-90 (91-13-4); Low battery/no crank, 1986-91 & 1996-99 (91-10-8
& 98-19-2); Excessive cranking during start, 1989-90 Taurus SHO(90-21-7);
Fuel pump relay sticks, 1986-90 (90-18-3); Abnormal speed control operation,
1986-89 (89-3-4); Fuel gauge inoperative after new circuit installed,
1986-87 (88-8-4); Weak low beam, 1986-87 (88-8-5); A/C compressor moan,
1993-95 All with 3.8L (95-16-8, 97-17-11); Erratic temperature gauge readings,
1993-95 (95-13-2) & 1993-94 (95-18-5); Poor heater output, 1993-94
(93-24-8); Fuel pump buzz thru radio, 1994-98 & 1995-99 (96-7-3 &
99-12-9); Fuel pump wires chaf, no start, 1996-98 (98-25-1).


Engine/Driveability:
Free Repair: Piston knock/scuff, 1986-87 (021987); Free Repair:
Uncontrolled acceleration, 1988-91 with 3.8L (92M77)
; Free
Repair:
Head gasket, 1994-95 with 3.8L (98M01) Main
bearing knock, 1991-92 (95-10-5); Cold start/hesitation, 1993-94 (94-19-11);
Jerking, 1992-94 (94-19-4, 93-23-6); No start, lack of power/hesitation/stumble,
1993-94 (94-16-3); Cooling system bypass hose leaks, 1991-94 (94-15-8);
Engine mount fluid leak, 1991-93 (94-12-6); Rough idle/hesitation, 1986-94
T/S, 1986-87 Taurus (93-24-8, 88-14-2); No start, 1992-93 (93-18-5); Timing
belt whine, 1989-93 SHO, 1993-95 Taurus SHO with 3.0L (93-13-7, 95-22-10);
Oil pan gasket leak, 1988-91 (91-13-7); Intermittent idle knock, 1986-91
(91-9-8); Rear oil leak, 1986-91 (91-7-8); Engine overheats, 1986-89 Taurus
(89-6-10); Crankshaft rear seal oil leak, 1987-88 (88-25-11); Head to
engine block mating surface leak, 1987-88 (88-8-7); Loose crankshaft pulley
retaining bolts, 1986-87 (88-5-9); “Clunk” on heavy acceleration &/or
deceleration, 1996-97 (97-2-3); Fuel slosh, 1993-95 (94-21-1); Intermittent
hesitation, 1993-95 All with 3.0L/3.8L (96-7-5) & 1996-97 All with
3.0L 4-valve (97-7-2); Long crank &/or stalls, 1995-96 (97-9-5); No
crank, 1993-95 All with 3.0L/3.8L (94-26-3); Hard start/long crank time,
1996-98 with 3.0/3.4L & 1996-97 3.0L flex fuel (96-21-12 & 97-16-2);
Spark knock, 3.0L 2-valve 1996-97 & 1998 (99-1-5 & 99-12-6); Fuel
pump “gurgling,” 1993-94 (96-15-3); Shudder during accleration, “94-97
(96-19-3); Head gasket leaks, 1988-95 with 3.8L (98-4-9). For more information
on 3.8L head gasket failures, go to Ford 3.8L
head gasket
.


Paint:
Rough texture &/or orange/rust dots, 1993-00 (92-6-4, 95-6-1). For
detailed package on peeling paint on 1985-92 models, go to CAS-Ford
Pain
t.


Steering/Suspension:
Rear tire inner edge wear, 1986-95, 1994-97 (95-5-6, 96-26-3); Front suspension
rattling/clicking &/or “clunking,” 1988-93 (95-3-4, 93-14-11) &
1996-97 (97-2-5); Pull/drift to right, 1993-94 Taurus SHO with AX4S (94-8-7);
Air in P/S system, 1990-94 (93-26-5); Rear tension strut noise, 1986-94
wagon (93-26-4); P/S cooler noise, 1992-93 (93-15-12); Difficulty using
ignition switch or steering lock, 1990-93 (93-3-9); High steering effort,
1990-92 with variable assist P/S (93-1-4); Steering wheel clicks, 1990-91
(91-3-1 & 92-12-3) & 1986-89 with tilt steering column (90-1-4);
Front/rear stabilizing bar bushings noise, 1986-88 (88-4-10); P/S “grunt”
&/or “groan,” 1993-95 T/S, 1996-97 (95-19-1, 97-13-3); P/S reduction,
FEAD belt slip, 1994-97, 1995-98 (97-25-1 & 98-9-4); Rattling during
acceleration, 1996-98 with 3.0L (97-26-11); Steering wheel movement @
45-75 mph on smooth road, 1996-98 (98-18-13); P/S moan during idle in
3.0L 4-valve engines, 1996-98 (99-4-1).


Transmission:
Free clutch replacement, 1989-90 Taurus SHO (91-M-73). For detailed
package on Taurus and Sable automatic transmissions, go to Ford Automatic
Transmissions.


Other:
Heated backlite inoperative, 1993-94 (93-26-1); Fishy/musty odor from
headliner, 1993-94 (94-10-1); Distorted/melted wheelcover, 1993-94 (95-15-1);
Battery discharges, 1993-94 Taurus SHO(94-21-3); W/S & interior glass
fog/film, 1993-97 (96-22-1); Fuel odor in passenger compartment, 1993-95
(94-17-3); Excessive current drain, 1995-96 (97-9-6); A/C mildew or mold
odors, 1994-97, 1995-98 (98-2-7, 99-19-5); Loose catalyst/muffler shield,
1994-98, 1995-99 (98-6-4 & 98-20-10); A/C blower motor chirp or squeak,
1994-97 (97-25-5); Clunk in floor pan area, subframe insulators, 1996-97
(97-2-3); Water leak onto passenger floor, 1996-98 (97-24-2); Inadvertent
disabling of brake shift interlock, 1995-99 (99-13-9); Power windows inoperative,
1996-98 (98-25-13).


MAJOR RECALLS
Copies may be obtained from NHTSA’s Technical Reference Division
at 202-366-2768.


Brakes:
600,000 1986-91 – Front disc brake rotors separate (91V-134-001); 212
1993 – Wrong ABS system controllers installed (93V-023); 1,500 1995 –
Push rod separates from brake pedal arm (94V-198); 76,500 1996 – Brake
fluid level indicator malfunctions & brake warning lamps remain lit/don’t
illuminate (96V-016).


Fires:
50,000+ 1997, 1,800 1999 – Transmission fluid leak onto catalyst (97V-097,
98V-288); 400 1996 – Incorrect replacement fuel tank (98V-067); 40,000+
1992-95 with 2.3L/3.0L/3.8L – Engine cooling fan seizes (97V-019); 278,000
1988-89 – P/seat wiring shorts (91V-036); 700,000+ 1986-87 – Fuel line
couplings separate & leak (87V-139).


Electrical/Instruments:
400,000+ 1993-94 – Headlights flash off (98V-009); 2,900 1989 – Light
sensor malfunction (89V-171); 28,000 1986-87 – Rear wipers break &
glass fractures (87V-017); 22,000 1989 Sable – Front side marker lamps
have wrong bulbs (88V-190).


Seatbelt:
7,000 1998-99 – Seat belt buckle stud cracks (98V-198); 400,000+ 1989-90
– Rigid mounted belt buckles (92V-113); 20,000+ 1999-2000 – Webbing sticks
in retractor (99V-250).


Suspension/Wheels:
281,000 1993 – Front coil spring fracture (98V-094); 4,714 1987 – Steering
shaft separates (86V-144); 631 1987 – Rear spindle assemblies separate
(86V-148); 1,212 1990 Taurus with Police package – Cracks in 14″ x5.5″
heavy-duty steel wheels (90V-159).


Other:
2,000,000+ 1986-95 – Subframe body mounts for engine/transmission separate
(93V-106, 98V-323); 654,000 1986-92 wagons – Child suffocates in storage
compartment (92V-065); 1,300 1992 Taurus wagons – Liftgate opens without
warning (91V-145); 10,000+ 1990 Taurus – Airbag inflator leaks hot gases
(90E-043.1); 6,000 1999 – Accelerator cable interference (98V-204); 150,000+
1991-95 with 3.8L – Speed control cable freezes & throttle sticks
(97V-025); 4,700 1986 – Improper tempered glass (86V-039); 328,100 1997-98
– Incorrect owner manual headlamp aiming instructions (98V-028.002); 167,000
2000 – Incorrect vehicle weight label (00V-242).

 

grey Line