From its inception the Taurus got poor fuel economy. We regularly recorded 22MPG declining in cooler climate to 18-19MPG. The dealer explained this as posted economy is an "average". However, we explained our 1990 Taurus Wagon and then 2000 Taurus Wagon both greatly out performed the sedan (all with 3.0). No resolution after they have tested it a couple of times.
The rubber oil pan gasket blew out at
84,000 miles. I self-installed a replacement, but oil still dripped onto the exhaust pipe. The dealer informed me Ford had redesigned a rigid gasket. I had them install this new one at 85,000 miles. Cost: $50 replacement gasket + $380 Ford's replacement of new gasket + oil and frustration.
No heat in drivers compartment at 84,000 (not a good period for our Taurus). I noticed the coolant is brown with rust deposits in overflow tank. I thought the problem was related to above. I drained and replaced coolant, cleaned overflow tank and changed the thermostat. No heating improvement. Research indicated a possible actuator door malfunction, but it was operating OK. I suspected the heater core so flushed it with water until it ran clear. It restored heat for only a couple of weeks. Returned it to the Ford dealer to flush system which resolved the problem for 5 weeks. Discussion and research revealed 1996-98 Fords had a flushing service for this problem, but the program ended. Essentially, I can continue to flush rust flakes out of the system while the heater core oxidizes at $45 per service or replace the heater core for $900. Additionally, I'm told the water pump impellers are going too.