Last post on Jan 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM
You are in the Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable
What is this discussion about?
Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable, Sedan
Mar 16, 2003 (12:49 pm)
I would have preferred the Duratec, but I got such a good deal on this car, that I was not going to bother searching for hours or days looking for a 2002 Taurus with Duratec for a comparable price. The few I had seen were fully loaded ones with leather, moonroof etc, that they were trying to sell for a lot more money.
The main advantage I have seen with the Vulcan is that they are readily available. Ford should probably just make the 200HP engine standard if there is no other advantage to the Vulcan.
I will be driving mostly around town and there is no lack of power in that situation. It has enough power to accelerate quickly onto a freeway onramp. The only time I would notice the lack of power compared to the Duractec, is if I was trying to quickly pass another car while already traveling at highway speeds.
I still prefer the torquey feel around town compared to a 4 cylinder Japanese car.
I paid less that I could have purchased even a 115HP used 2002 Civic LX with the same miles and price was a big factor in the selection of this car.
Mar 16, 2003 (2:46 pm)
Seems to me that the fastest, highest horsepower engines are still pushrod motors. The Vette's 350 small block still blows most cars out of the water AND gets very good mileage. If you want torque down low, get a pushrod motor. If you want high rpm horsepower, go multi-cam, multi valve. The S2000 has, what, 200hp? Look at the torque. IIRC, somewhere around 135ftlb. Torque wins in the end. Anyone can up the hp by upping revs.
Mar 16, 2003 (4:24 pm)
anyone can up the hp by upping DISPLACEMENT. That corvette motor needs all 350 cubic inches to get the power it does. The revered but overated 3800 has to use its oversized displacement to make the power it does. Many competitors achieve the same numbers in their cars with only 3 litres of displacement.
And 'upping the revs' on a pushrod motor ultimately doesn't do you any good because the pushrod valvetrain has more mass and becomes inefficient at high rpm. The limitation of the technology limits it to low rpm operation only. The engine gets coarse and unruly in mid-upper rpm ranges. OHC motors can be tuned for low end torque and high rpm power. The valvetrain is lighter so the valvetrain can remain operational at higher speeds.
Mar 16, 2003 (8:26 pm)
was designed for Taurus in early 80s, because Taurus was new fw drive platform that needed new powertrain. Another engine was doomed 3.8L pushrod with more torque but same hp. Ford was on tight schedule to deliver new midzise car. Small Escort though success was hardly moneymaker and Tempo wasn't any breakthrough. Other Ford cars were so bad that couldn't compete with GM. So I guess that Vulcan was made to save money Ford still had. Of course right thing was to make completely new aliminum 4 valve per cyl. engine. But there were no time and money. It is miracle that Ford survived at all.
But using technologies kind of Vulcan now means loosing market to competition and it becomes tougher every year. Everyone introducing excelent cars, even GM and Chrysler. GM pushrods are efficient fuel thirsty engines and transmissions are perfect. Ford has to turn its attention to engine and transmission design asap.
#2177 of 3389 regfootball
Mar 16, 2003 (9:43 pm)
I can agree with everything you say except, the 3800 and some other pushrods are still viable powerplants. Compare the Duratec and the 3800: Duratec hp 2005650rpm and 200 ft lbs of torque at 4400rpm / 3800, 2055200rpm and a more significant 230 ft lbs of torque at 4000rpm. More torque at lower Rpm's is a very favorable factor. Now I realize numbers don't mean a hill of beans in the real world so just compare the mpg for a 2003 Sable and a stodgy LeSabre. The Buick gets better mileage and it weighs 250lbs more! I know one could argue that final drive gear ratio plays a big part of mpg but isn't it the greater torque of the 3800 that allows for the higher gear ratio thus yielding the higher mpg? To me the larger displacement satisfies the end result. I chose the 3800 because I've owned a vehicle with one and it was a fine engine that gave me over 130,000 trouble free miles before it was retired for a Sable with a Duratec. In my experience they are both good engines.
Mar 17, 2003 (12:50 am)
Class leading and worthy of gushing acclaim GM loyalists spew about it?
No. Its a decent reliable engine. Get over it GM fans. It is average by today's standards and although reliable for a GM product, its not any more reliable than typical Hondas, Toyotas, etc. In fact you will see the Duratec is just as reliable.
In no way do I say the GM 3800 is a bad engine. What i am saying is its performance and reliability are not above the standard of anything else these days. For someone accustomed to GM's less than stellar powerplants a 3800 may be a godsend. But in comparison to the industry as a whole, its 'just another engine'.
Ordinary, average, typical it is, the 3800. Like it for its power, reliability, etc....but its mid pack when all is considered. no reason to hand GM a gold medal for it. I certainly wouldn't seek out a car that has it, just for the engine. Especially when 300 other vehicles out there have just as good of powertrains or better.
Mar 17, 2003 (12:01 pm)
I need to change my brake light on a 99 Taurus. The book said to contact a local dealer. I don't see this as very necessary, but I cannot find the part at the local parts store. Any Ideas?
#2180 of 3389 regfootball
Mar 17, 2003 (2:04 pm)
I would say you were right on target. Nothing special about the 3800 or the Duratec for that matter. I don't believe anyone claimed they were special. The 3800 was only used as an example for pushrod versus OHC.
Mar 17, 2003 (3:47 pm)
you're right about the s2000 engine (it's 240 hp though). it's great for application in the s2000, but would be very lousy in a heavier car that uses an automatic.
now hondas v6 engines for the accords, odysseys and pilots are a different story. GM's 3.8l pushrod may have a little more low end grunt, but is otherwise put to shame (maybe this is too strong) by a good OHC engine. with the advent of 5 speed automatic transmissions and drive by wire throttle, that one advantage is dissipating.
even when GM supercharges the 3.8l, it's still no match for nissan's 3.5l in the maxima.
#2182 of 3389 atcers, venus - the 3800
Mar 17, 2003 (4:37 pm)
"I don't believe anyone claimed they were special."
Go to some of the GM car boards, the folks there think the 3800 is still at the top of the heap! Some even think the 3800 is still on Wards' ten best engines list! They have the audacity to diss the best Honda and Nissan mills and say the 3800 is superior!
glad there are still others who have things in proper perspective and see its just run of the mill motor. Let's see how special that 3800 is when Nissan comes out with the TWIN TURBO v6 in the 350z. Those GM cars will be eating dust dust dust.
I think the whole 'to do' about the 3800 is that its ONE engine GM managed to figure how to make somewhat reliable and so the GM love crew thinks that's a special accomplishment. And even now, the 3800's are blowing plastic intake manifolds on aregular basis because they screwed up the design.
OHC is what enables a light car like the s2000 to produce phenomenal power. That engine COULD be retuned for torque if they wanted. With OHC you can have it either, or both ways. With pushrodsyou get only the torque....not the rpms, not the ultimate smoothness, not the full powerband hp experience.