Recently bought a 2003 Ford Taurus, has the Duratec engine. From what I see online the engine is pretty tough, nice engine. But I ear the transmission is not so tolerant of any neglect or lack of fluid changes at regular intervals. If you have a low mileage one or just had a tranny rebuild, I’d recommend a fluid change every 30 – 60k miles tops. maybe a half a bottle of Lucas Stop-Slip Tranny Fix will help too, that stuff did a miracle fix of my Transaxle bearing seal in my 2001 Focus. Anyway, from what I see online, and the oddities with mine, every once in a while, when selecting reverse, it seems to “pop” into reverse, and sometimes 1st and 2nd gear shifts seem a bit odd. The fluid is also a bit of a dirty red color but not burnt or horrid. Other than that, seems to be an all around great car.
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