Unusual-looking Ford sedan with a finicky, high-strung V8
- Ball joints and other steering parts are special SHO parts so they cost me more to replace when they wore out.
- "Football" console (stereo and climate control) goes dead sometimes.
- Climate control goes dead sometimes and shuts off air conditioner.
- Cassette player whines with engine RPM noise (this is a known defect with a Ford technical service bulletin) Oddly enough, the radio and the CD player do not make this noise.
- "Door Ajar" light stays on when doors are all firmly closed and this keeps the interior lights on. The map lights cannot be turned off when the Door Ajar light is on.
- Headlight lens covers are plastic and they get dull. You can't just replace the clear plastic lens cover, you have to replace the entire headlight assembly which is over $200 apiece retail. Shop around the web for this.
- Some missing at idle and high speed. These are known defects with a Ford technical service bulletin.
- There is a known defect with the camshafts. I do not know if this has been fixed on my car.
This car is very fast once it gets up to high revs, but not so fast from a standing start. Once the secondary intake manifold runners "kick in" at about 3500 rpms, it howls like a banshee and goes like one too.
This car has a serious known defect with the camshafts. Since it is a 32 valve V-8 (made by Yamaha) it has 4 overhead camshafts. All of these camshafts have multiple pieces and they can come apart while the engine is running. Many 1996-2000 V8 SHO owners have their camshafts welded or drilled and pinned to keep the camshafts together. Ford has a technical service bulletin that recommends using Loc-Tite on the cams, but serious SHO owners think that's a joke. If any of the camshafts falls apart, it destroys the motor. The motor is up to $10,000 to replace, if you can find one.
The SHO has upgraded steering and suspension and is fully loaded with lots of electronic stuff that likes to go dead on you.
I also drive a regular Taurus company car and it has less problems than the SHO has. The regular Taurus has heating and air conditioning knobs instead of a computerized climate control so I think it is less likely to die on me.
The 1996-2000 Taurus body has a weird "guppy" look to it... you either love it or hate it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th January, 2005