1998 Ford Taurus SHO 3.4 liter V8 from North America


Unusual-looking Ford sedan with a finicky, high-strung V8


Alignment problems:

- Ball joints and other steering parts are special SHO parts so they cost me more to replace when they wore out.

Electrical problems:

- "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.

Engine problems:

- 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.

General Comments:

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

28th Jan 2007, 18:31

If you'd ever looked at the engine you'd notice fairly quickly that there is no V8 in sight. It's a Yamaha V6.

Just in case you were wondering where those 2 spark plugs disappeared to...

7th Jun 2007, 16:15

That's not true starting in 1996 to 1999 the SHO had a 32 valve Yamaha V8.

1998 Ford Taurus Wagon SE V6 from North America


I would not ever own a Ford Taurus again


At first my Taurus Wagon seemed like a nice car.

After I had the car for one week, I went through the car wash. The rear brake light fell off! Took it to the dealer and they told me that wasn't covered. So, I took it to another Ford dealer, and he couldn't believe it, he said it is covered bumper to bumper for 3 yrs/30,000 miles. He glued the part back on in 5 minutes.

One month after we had it a piece of the luggage rack flew off as I was on the freeway (we had never even used the luggage rack. Over the past four years various plastic pieces have "broken" off.

One year later, we were attaching a bike carrier to the rear and the rear hatch door cracked (apparently that is cheap plastic also).

Last winter (03) had the heater thermostat replaced ($125 repair) only to have no air conditioning come summer. Now it is winter 04 and no heat again. My husband replaced radiator hoses, thermostat, radiator reservoir- still no heat.

Dome light sometimes won't shut off, or a couple of miles down the road, dome light will shut off and doors will lock.

Once when the car was running, I shut the hatch and the doors locked with the car running and my baby inside!!!

General Comments:

Thank god the car hasn't "broken" down and left us stranded, but the constant repairs are getting old.

We will never buy another Ford ever again. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th November, 2004

6th Dec 2004, 21:44

"Last winter (03) had the heater thermostat replaced ($125 repair) only to have no air conditioning come summer. Now it is winter 04 and no heat again. My husband replaced radiator hoses, thermostat, radiator reservoir- still no heat. "

Throwing parts at a car will not fix the problem - anyone who tries replacing the radiator reservoir or radiator hoses to fix their heat obviously doesn't understand how the heating system of a car works.

"Dome light sometimes won't shut off"

Spray WD-40 into the door looks (not the key hole - the actual lock on the door frame) - this is a well known and easily fixed problem.

Some plastic trim pieces might break off on these cars, but they won't leave you stranded.