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1999 Ford Taurus Wagon

7064 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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Hells yeah 3rd row seat faces the back. What sort of mileage are you getting?
I haven't had it long enough to run a tank of gas through so I'm not really sure. The Duratec is supposed to get the same mileage as the Vulcan, but what that is I don't know.

I researched the daylights of the Taurus and then did just about everything wrong. The car I bought didn't have the 3rd row seat but I went to a fellow parting out a 2000 wagon which had one. I pulled out the 3rd row seat, a factory 6-disc CD Changer, and the 16" aluminum wheels.

The 3rd row seats required the rear seat belts, the 2nd row seat belt shoulder anchors, and the side plastic to clear the seat belts.
I thought the CD Changer would be bad, but I plugged it in and it worked great! It came with 2 magazines as well.

The 1999 came with 15" wheels so in addition to liking the look of the 2000 wheels better, it opens up a slightly better choice of tires.

16" x 6" with 215/60-16 size tires.

The air conditioning works REALLY well, unlike those in my Celica Supras.
The standard sound system is surprisingly good.

The 1999 has air bags but it does not have the weight and position sensors that came standard in the 2000 Taurus so that it looks like it will be possible to install the Recaro LS-C seat that I've had in the basement since I sold my 1978 Capri decades ago. This would cause real problems with the air bag operation if I tried this on a newer car.

There are a multitude of things to do. The paint needs a good cut polish, the oval headlight covers are really UV fogged so I need to either polish them or replace them, the fuel tank gauge shows half full when actually filled up, and a multitude of other smaller things.

I've got to change all the fluids, spark plugs and wires which is a real hassle because the rear bank is covered by the intake manifold. I'll probably change the accessory serpentine belt and tensioner.

Let the games begin!
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LOL, you have turned into an old fart. People complained about the electronics on Supras when they were new.
Last winter I was up in Edmonton Alberta during the first real snow of the year and I was driving a Ford Explorer rental car. It had the navigation screen on it which was incredibly complicated. I was driving in the dark and it was snowing heavily on the main ring road. The radio station lost reception on the channel I was listening to. I wanted to change the channel, but I had the heater controls displayed and it was too dangerous to look down in an unfamiliar car to figure out how to change the channel. I had to listen to static for half an hour.

Electronics................bah humbug!

Sadly, I am a field service technician for an instrumentation company so I generally keep up with electronics. However, when a car dash starts to look like a cellular phone, it is too complicated.

The heater controls should be 3 round dials. One for fan speed, one for temperature, and one for air direction. Hooo boy, I AM old and crotchety, aren't I.
Well, I've learned to accept it.

Curmudgeons of the world unite!
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Question tho? Did they ever put the SHO package in a wagon?
No, they never did. Car and Driver built one with assistance from Ford in 1993, but it was never seriously contemplated by Ford.

The SHO V6 only produced 220HP but it was/is amazingly beautiful. Yamaha designed the cylinder heads and there was a dual runner intake manifold. The block and heads are cast iron.

The Duratec 3.0 is actually very similar. The short block has the same architecture and there is a tuned length induction system called IMRC (Intake Manifold Runner Control) which has a valve switching between long and short runners for low/high speed operation. The early Duratec produced 200HP which is not too far from the SHO V6. The block and heads are aluminum with cast iron liners in the block.

The later 3.4L V8 SHO engines only produced 235HP and had a fatal flaw. The camshaft lobes were swaged onto a hollow tube with an expander run through the tube. After several years the cam lobes would come loose and piston/valve damage would result. People now have the lobes welded on, but this seems like a lot of work for only 35HP.
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This would be surprisingly affordable to build.
There are LOTS of Wagons out there and because of the SHO V8 motor problems, the donor SHO cars and engines are not that hard to find.
Put them together and you definitely have something a bit different.

1998 SHO powered Wagon - Not your grand dad's Taurus!

This one has had the roof rack shaved and the tea tray spoiler from the SHO sedan added to the roof. The wheels are stock SHO too.

You would definitely want a motor with the camshaft lobes welded and I suppose it would be pretty reliable.
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The following seems to be a pretty accurate figure. Obviously someone weighed everything before putting it back together!

Upper Intake : 17 pounds
Lower Intake : 5 pounds (it's in 2 pieces, not 1 piece like I thought)
Fuel Rail w/ Injectors : 2 pounds
A/C compressor : 11 pounds
P/S pump : 3 pounds
P/S pump bracket : < 1 pound
IMRC : 12 pounds
Water pump assembly complete : 13 pounds
Complete wiring : 15 pounds
Alternator Bracket : 7 pounds.
Exhaust manifolds : 11 pounds each.
Heat shields : 1 pound for both
Complete Aluminum Head : 48 pounds each
Valve Cover : 5 pounds each
Short Block : 175 pounds
TOTAL 374 pounds

I have seen other weights mentioned, but this seems quite specific

60 Degree V8
Compression ratio is 10:1
Redline 7000 rpm
235hp @ 6100 rpm
230 lb*ft @ 4800 rpm
Weight 374 pounds
It's aluminum block and heads. The block has cast iron liners

The Duratec 3.0 as used in the 1999 Taurus
60 Degree V6
Compression ratio is 10:1
Redline 6500 rpm
200hp @ 6000 rpm
193 lb*ft @ 4850 rpm
89.0mm x 79.5 mm bore and stroke
Total weight with accessories 360 pounds
It's aluminum block and heads. The block has cast iron liners

The problem with both these engines is that there are not really any speed parts available for them. They are pretty radical right from Ford.
The Duratec doesn't have a lot of people rebuilding them. They are a relatively complicated engine compared to a Vulcan 3.0 OHV for instance!

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Nope, I can't do it, don't trust Fords lol. For the reasons you've highlighted here yourself. Sorry Dale, these things have always been and always will be hideous :p

Though, you're reasons for getting a wagon I can relate with. Currently the family is driving around in a low miles 98 Corolla that I fixed up nicely. Threw some 17s on it, tinted it and lowered it slightly so I can stand being in it lol. Its not so bad, but I don't really want the wifey in something I'd find exciting or it would distract me. Otherwise we'd already own an is300, maybe even a Sport Cross wagon version!

But I'm always looking ahead. Realistically the corolla could last us 5+ years easily, but it could be written off anytime and I find it a touch on the old side already for a vehicle that we depend on this much. I've been kind of eyeballing future alternatives, and am also morning the death of the station wagon. But these things keep catching my eye, Toyota Venzas...

Sorry for the thread derail, been thinking about stuff like this a lot lately.
No problem. It's not a derail. I needed something practical and I'm quite curious as to other solutions out there.
Like you, I have a real problem with SUVs/CUVs/whatever. I don't particularly enjoy riding high up in one of these. It may intimidate other drivers, but it doesn't feel good driving.

Engines and transmissions are getting more efficient all the time, but the cars are getting heavier and boxier.

I love station wagons. you can camp in them, haul stuff in them, and still be driving a car.

They're too old and too far up on the price curve, but a Volvo P1800ES

Has enough surface interest to be interesting

Or this! If you want something a bit different, nothing says different like an American Motors Pacer Wagon

I think that the current crop of automotive designers learned their trade on Tonka Toys. Most modern cars are boxy, block, and lacking in a theme. These vehicles were designed by committee.

The cars above definitely broke the mold. They are so odd they are cool.

The Taurus Wagon almost fits in here while being dirt cheap.

And the most important thing of all for a wagon; the Taurus just fits a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood in the back hatch.

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Don't forget the MGB GT too, those are sweet old wagons/shooting brakes/breadvans/whatever you wanna call em.
I'd forgotten about these. They are a nice combination of sporty and practical. However, the English reputation for quality scares me. I'm a ******* and a firm believer in American iron. Sure it may not be the best, but they design to the 90 percentile and parts are usually available and inexpensive (nothing is cheap these days!).
Hey Seamus,

I just realized something.
When Toyota wanted to build the 2000GT they went to Yamaha for assistance in the design.
Fast forward to 1984 and Ford wanted to design something special to spice up their sedan product line. Who do they go to for engine design assistance? Yamaha.

This means that the Toyota 2000GT and the Ford Taurus SHO are practically brother and sister!


I never noticed it before but when you look at them side by side they are absolute clones!

I think that Toyota will demand that ford rename the Taurus the 2000GT-2 or they will rename the 2000GT the Toyota Taurus!.

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I'm just having fun with you!

But seriously, I think both Toyota and Ford have to thank Yamaha for some things!

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It's the first time I've seen how the Ford Taurus Wagon looks and I don't know... I have mixed feelings about how it looks. I mean, on one hand it's really appealing, and on the other hand there's something that's pushing me away from it :D

I understand. There were 4 generations of Tauruses (Taurii?) and they all have a different look. The 1996-1999 were the most radical in look with an oval concept which is supposedly based on the Ford blue oval. I work for a company that had always purchased Taurus company cars and when I first saw this look in 1996 I was appalled. But it's funny how time changes things and now I actually find it appealing. It is recognizable from a distance.

In 2000 the wagon stayed the same from the windshield back, but they gave the nose a more traditional nose and head lights. In addition they restyled the dash and got rid of the oval center console. When I started looking for a wagon I was looking for a Gen 4 (2000 - 2004) with this more traditional look. However, after looking at them I started to think they were a little too much like everything else and I went for a Gen 3.

1999 Taurus front end

2000 Taurus front end re-design.

The wagons are what they are. The interior of the Taurus is very plasticy. The center console creaks when you lean on it, but from the perspective of a wagon that I will use to haul junk, I don't really want a high quality leather interior that will be easy to mar.

1999 Taurus center console

The Gen 3 center console is very difficult to swap a modern stereo into. Having said that, the stock stereo is WAY better than the ones that came in the Celica Supra. 2 aftermarket companies make adapters to mate newer stereos in that will accept USB inputs.

2000 Taurus center console

The airbag in the Gen 3 cars is a single stage type which does not use seat sensors for weight and position so if you want to swap seats you can do it without messing up the air bag deployment. From 2000 up there are sensors in the seat which will prevent you customizing the car without a great deal of effort. I have an old Recaro LS-C seat which is going to find its way into mine.

There is a great deal of commonality between years so I have swapped the stock 15" wheels for 16" stock aluminum ones from a 2000. The Gen 4 cars had larger front discs and with the 16" wheels you can easily swap up to the larger size.

Like I said before, the Duratec has reasonable power but its unrealistic to hot rod it.

The best thing is that there are reasonable Duratec cars out there from C$1000 and up. You can go crazy with them!

It'll never be a collector car, but it sure is practical.
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I don't really know about Gen4 Taurus'. I've got a 1999 which is a Gen3. The Gen3 was 1996 to 1999 and Gen4 was from 2000 up.
The Gen4 has the restyled Integrated Control Panel (ICP) that wasn't football shaped any more.
I suspect that the cable harness changed between the two generations but that is strictly a guess.
The 2004 up Gen4 ICP definitely changed. They added an Airbag Indicator to the ICP so there must have been wiring changes for this year at least.

Vehicle Car Steering part Automotive design Motor vehicle

Gen4 2000-2003 ICP with manual heater controls

Laptop accessory Gas Computer hardware Machine Composite material

Gen4 2000-2003 ICP with manual heater controls.......
Motor vehicle Gas Automotive wheel system Auto part Machine

1999 ICP with manual heater controls

I could be wrong, but they look different to me
For the non-Ford people, the ICP is only a switch panel. The actual stereo is located in the trunk or cargo area of a Taurus. This makes putting in an aftermarket stereo somewhat more challenging.



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If you think this is bad, then I'm afraid to tell you what my company car is...

A 2020 Chevrolet Equinox 😱
The horror... the horror....

Wheel Automotive parking light Tire Land vehicle Car

200 hp Dual Overhead Cam aluminum block and head, Porsche designed, Cosworth tweaked

Automotive air manifold Motor vehicle Auto part Automotive super charger part Nut

Magnesium Alloy Valve Covers
True dual exhaust
IMRC Intake Manifold Runner Control for low speed torque and high speed horsepower with both long and short runners.

While common now, back in 1996, these were significant features.

The 1996-1999 version is certainly an acquired taste. Over the years though, I've started to 'groove on the unique look'.
In 2000, the nose of the car was redesigned and looks a lot like a Buick Century. While more conservative, I think it's a bit boring!

The 1996-99 football shaped entertainment center is certainly an ergonomic disaster and the digital hvac controls are abysmal. Again, ahead of it's time. All hvac controls are totally useless now!

Bullwinkle. Dare to be different!

Now to find an AM Pacer! Oh yeah.....
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And while this is not the Duratec 3.0 V6, it IS a near stock 1999 Taurus

Motor vehicle Automotive design Vehicle Automotive air manifold Car

Just a grocery getter Ford Taurus

The SHO was flawed, but who cares? And take the damn stereo out and play music with the throttle

3.4L 60 Degree V8 aluminum block and heads
235HP @ 5800 rpm
Red Line 6,800 rpm
Compression ratio: 10:1
Built by Yamaha for Ford with Ford block and Yamaha heads

Every once in a while Ford goes crazy and builds cars that aren't quite 'normal'.
1967 GT40 Mark III
1969/70 Boss 429
Ford GT
1971-1974 De Tomaso Pantera
1996-1999 Taurus SHO with V8

These cars probably never made any money, but hey, they sure are remembered.
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