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1999 Ford Taurus Wagon

7059 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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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...

I ran into one at the wreckers the other day and had a good look at them. They are literally just a wagon Camry with a lift kit. You can get them fwd\awd, 2.7l inline 4 or 3.5l v6. They don't have a third bench or rear facing seats, but there is a decent amount of room behind the rear seats and the interior back there is all durable plastic panels like the Matrix has (win!). I detest SUV\crossovers, but it only gets that designation due to the ride height, which is a solvable problem...

That said, they start at 3700lbs and go north of 4000 with the AWD. Too much in my book (another huge issue I have with new cars). We'll probably just end up with one of these next...

The utility and economy of the Matrix is awesome, I just can't stand the looks of the first gen. Luckily the 2nd gen is much improved in that department, and can be had with the 2.5l from the Camry.

Sorry for the thread derail, been thinking about stuff like this a lot lately.
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you know what else does all of that well? A mk2 Supra. I've had a beater 85 around for about a decade that I've used as my occasional DD and for tasks like that. I widened the space behind the rear seats so I can carry wider loads or sleep 2 people in the back when camping. I've modified the hatch struts with quick release pins so I can quickly disconnect them and open the hatch straight up so I can drop motors in with a hoist. I've put in an 82 rear hatch board and reinforced it so it can survive those kinds of loads, and tossed the hatch carpet. I also have a roof rack for it now and a couple more mods on the horizon to make it handle sheets of plywood and drywall easier (it can already do it hanging out the back). That said, the car is a bit of an eyesore and it was rusty when I got it 10 years ago. I've known for awhile that its time left was limited and the car is not worth restoring, so I've been restoring another car to replace it. But that one is going to be a lot nicer so there will be some things I will not want to use it for, and it would be handy if the family DD could handle some of them. Sounds like a truck is going to live on our property for a few years at least too.
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Oh I'm not in the market for a truck, I go out of my way to avoid needing to own such a large, fuel heavy, boring to drive, maintenance heavy vehicle. There is a family yard truck that is going to come live at our place. I borrow it a few times a year for the odd time that I need to haul something that I can't carry nicely in my beater mk2, and there will continue to be a few trips like that to make in the coming years so I don't mind it living at my place for awhile. We'll be sharing it across a couple families so the cost and maintenance will be spread out.

The Ridgelines are pretty cool. My best friend has one, and I also borrow it on occasion when I need to haul something thats just too big for the supra but small enough that a medium duty truck can handle. Lots of times though its small bed and low weight capacity (and fragile bed, its made of fiber glass btw) means I end up having to borrow this full size yard truck anyways. But for a vehicle that size, the ridgeline certainly gets pretty good gas mileage and I find it plenty fast. I'm sure its slow with a trailer though. I think they sell quite well though Phil. I see them everywhere. And considering how many people who buy real trucks just end up DDing them solo, a truck with a unibody, relatively low weight and good gas mileage makes a lot of sense in this market.

Yeah, I understand the design change for the new Ridgeline, the bed is certainly more useful now, but it is completley unrecognizable as a Ridgeline. An aunt of ours just got one and I walked by it like 3 times before I realized what it was. It just looks like every other truck now.

Yeah what is up with the death of small pick ups? There is nothing like the great old 22r powered Toy pickups of the 80s and 90s left on the market. Everything is freakin huge and weighs 5000+ lbs now. There is a huge hole in the market place, a traditional small pickup would sell like hot cakes today I think, literally nobody makes one anymore for some reason.
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