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1999 Ford Taurus Wagon

7060 Views 29 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  supraz
So I'm getting to the point in my life where I have to start to consider retiring.

I've got a job that comes with a company car so I haven't had to purchase my own daily driver for 37 years.
I've got 2 Celica Supra's but they are in good enough shape that I don't want to use one of them as a daily driver.
I want something that I can throw wood, or concrete blocks, or dirt into without being concerned about ruining the car.
I absolutely detest new cars that have so many electronics the cars are unusable.

What to do?

1999 Ford Taurus Station Wagon.

No laughing or sneering or whatever.
I have been going through Craigslist ads and have found the perfect car. A lot of the Taurus' for sale are being sold by seniors who no longer drive. 2001 models with 78,000 km (48,500 miles) on them. They usually have front and back bumper dings because the vision goes before the will to drive does!

There were 2 motors available, both 3.0L V6s. The more common is the Vulcan pushrod V6. They only made about 145-155hp through the years. They are renowned for running 300,000 to 500,000 miles in these and Ford Ranger pickups.

The second is the Duratec DOHC V6 which in the Taurus put out about 200hp with the same fuel mileage as the Vulcan. This engine had the primary design done by Porsche who sold the rights to Ford. Ford then had Cosworth Engineering (who they owned at the time) do final design work on it. This engine has been around a long time and was in a lot of different models of Ford and Mazda. Variable Cam Timing was introduced on different versions, but the one in the Taurus did not have it.

The Duratec is quite reliable as long as the oil is changed religiously (cam bearing surfaces ride in aluminum rather than in replaceable bearing shells) and antifreeze is kept up to strength (aluminum block and heads can suffer electrolysis in reaction to steel accessories).

How can you tell if a Taurus has a Duratec?

If the Taurus has these on the front fender in front of the door, it's got a Duratec.

The looks are hit or miss. I used to detest the look of the wagon, but now I sort of like it!

The handling is "honest". It is not very lively, but does not have a lot of vices. The Duratec actually delivers quite a kick in the pants when called upon. It is not a torque monster, but when you look down at the tach and see 6,000rpm come up before you know it, you realize that you are actually traveling pretty quickly.

Parts are getting harder to source from Ford, but there are still a lot of the cars at junk yards.

There are a lot of seating formats available. With the front bench seat and the optional pop-up rear facing seats in the cargo area one can legally carry 8 people. The really nice thing about the rear facing seats is that the grand kids like to sit there facing people behind so they can make faces at them and you have a full row of seats between you and them so it's quiet!

Rear facing seats in the cargo area. There are seat belts with shoulder straps so it's legal.

It's been fun to play with so far.

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I drove a V6 Duratec to Idaho and back to pick up some frineds from college in the late 90's, I was actually impressed with just how much umph that car really had. It had surprising power under the curve; while the numbers are not impressive by modern "standards" I would rate the V6 Duratec as just as good as any modern car, and in many cases actually more enjoyable to drive.

Now I am curious about the service weight on that SHO V8; is the block alloy? Are he heads alloy??

Something of note, power under the curve is something that people forget about; its something that cars of the 90's actually did very well. With the "numbers" wars where auto makers try ever harder to boast more impressive numbers than the next guy or the previous year, they push further and further from engines that are enjoyable to drive. Sure the new stuff makes a crapload of power, but the problem I have seen is these new cars don't really have any more in the RPM range where you actually drive.

This brings me back to the cars of the 90's, where they were producing decent power figures, but at the same time providing you with power where you really use it.
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