Some questions about a Ford SHO
You know, cars are a very terrible addiction...:drunk:
I was "window shopping" online as I sometimes do...you know drool over what you'd like to have. Then I came upon this Taurus SHO in distress. The owner described it as clean and running good, listed a few add-ons (flowmasters, new tires), but said the the trans was "no good".
This was a '91 SHO, and I'm thinking it probably still had the 5-speed manual trans. I believe it had somewhere in the vicinity of 145,000 miles. The price was pretty cheap, and the picture of the vehicle looked like it was pretty decent. I was thinking of travelling out to see it.
If I assume the worse, and the trans needs an overhaul, how difficult will it be if it is a manual or automatic. Funny thing is, I don't remember owning or driving too many front-wheelers. I think the only one I had was a Civic, and nothing major ever went South on that except the gas tank...then I sold it. What does one get involved with when owning a hi-po "modern" vehicle with front wheel drive?
ive got a 94 non sho taurus, I have pulled the heads off, i havent pulled the tranny, but it can't be much harder than the fwd tranny was in spookis car..... it been swapped twice. gets quicker and quicker every time:mwink:.
as far as working on one, you have to get in the mindset of having to deal with all of that electronic crap. (your friend). its a tight fit to work on, but my big self has done it with out to much trouble.... get a code reader, actually a scanner is better, as you can moniter real time functions..... i'd like to put a sho on a tbird or couger tranny and drop that in a 'coupe or a bucket....
and the tranny is the weakest link in the sho drive train, 4Jaw had a good thread on awhile back, where he had found a website that had a bunch of mods listed to do to the tranny to beef it up.....
Re: Some questions about a Ford SHO
The most desirable SHO's are the 94-95 versions, most consider the styling the most attractive and the chassis to have the least amount of bugs to fix. The worst bug is the trans, it's not that it's not strong enough, the problem lies more with the tuning. Ford decided to market this car as a sporty alternative to the Lincoln and tuned it for comfort not sport. The trans "slides" it's shifts under light loads and aggressively upshifts until your locked up in 4 gear at 60 kph. It is responsive to throttle changes and does react very nicely to load but when you couple the sliding shifts with small fluid capacity and realize that the transaxle is surrounded on both sides with red hot cats you can get the picture. The trans cooler factory installed is better suited as a power steering oil cooler not cooling a transmission.
It is commonly recognized that a Transgo kit and updated shift drum (older models had a rivetted two piece drum that cracked the spider if abused) solves 95% of the problems, a nice big cooler and chopping out the cats takes care of the last 5%. There is a list of updated components that should also be installed that basically bullet proofs the trans for any kind of street use up to 300HP or so. Most 94-95 models had these updated components factory installed except for the shift kit. Manual transmissions on the early models were saddled with a small diameter clutch disc better suited to a less powerful engine and is the only weak link in the manual models.
You should also note that the engine needs special attention at 100 miles, valve adjustment and cam belt replacement is required and it has motorcycle like shim over bucket design valvetrain, neglecting this critical service dooms the engine and can require cam replacement to repair. Ford has stopped selling some shims in certain sizes, this can complicate manitaining the engine. I think it goes without saying that if the 100K service was not done on time, find another example...you could be sorry. Warmed up there should be no noise from the valve train and listening to it with a stethoscope through the valve covers should show equal noise from each valve, a very light ticking is all you should hear. If it is not perfect...pass, valve recession and cam damage is not reversible.
Many manual trans models had main bearing problems if they were abused, most people just drop the pan and insert new bearings which seems to solve the problem without an overhaul. The bottom end is very beefy and as long as the journals are clean you can usually get away with this kind of repair. Lugging the engine causes this, the autos almost never have this problem.
Other problems center around the variable assist power steering pump, typical interior switch components failing and cosmetic problems like the climate control switch button covers punching out because the buttons are hollow. 2 cents worth of extra plastic would have prevented the last problem. Basically it's a Taurus with a Ferrari engine and the rest of the car is just not built like an exotic.
The automatic versions had 3.2 litre versions of the Yamaha engine and the manuals were 3.0 litre, do not confuse them with the 3.0 litre Vulcan Ford engine, they have absolutely nothing in common. Yamaha produced an engine according to Ford spec and Ford dropped the ball on the drivetrain side as if they expected Yamaha to not deliver on the HP spec, it's too bad, the engine is a jewel and compares nicely to most newer V6's like the Grand Prix Supercharged and other like sized Japanese models. 220 HP from a 3.2 litre engine is still competive today, remember this is a naturally aspirated engine. Magazine tests from the day note that the extra cc's of the auto version offset the advantage of the manual trans so the manual and auto versions are very similar speed wise in the quarter mile.
The engine compartment looks daunting for repair but most things are accessible if you remove certain key components and have small hands, most newer cars are no different as Madd has noted. The power steering system is variable assist and has a small capacity (1 litre), the pump has to endure the 7000 rpm abuse the engine puts out and wears out quickly if the fluid is not regularly changed and synthetic substituted for regular Dextron. Replacing the pump is a bugger and cost me $260+tax for the rebuilt pump (it took me 8 hours to replace it and flush the system manually), luckily it didn't damage the rack (as far as I can tell) but getting all the metal particles out required me installing a fuel filter in the return line. So far so good, I'm still crossing my fingers. I won't repeat the words I used trying to get out the last mount bolt, it makes my forearms hurt just thinking about it.
Discs all around and ABS complicates the brake system but seems to need little repair except for rotor warpage on the fronts, the 3rd gens had larger front discs and is a popular swap for hipo use. The suspension springs are made of small diameter wire so rust can compromise their integrity, mine have already been replaced once. The fact that each generation only lasted 3 or so years makes finding used parts difficult and annoying especially when some parts look the same but are not dimensionally identical.
All in all I like the car and the styling and comfort, the stereo (Bose) is better than many aftermarket units and is tuned to the interior of the car, it handles well since the weight is low for a car this size and has a nice distribution. The backseat is a joke when you compare it to an Intrepid, same goes for the trunk, my Jetta is about the same size and better shaped.:confused: I call it the car you love to hate because for all the mechanical flaws and minor problems with interior components I continue to fix it even though for the money spent so far I could have bought a used Porche, they have similar repair costs and service requirements from my experience. Of course you can't fit three kids in the back of a 911 for a cross country trip and get 30 mpg either.
If you ask me this engine should have been in the Probe and they should have stuck a 302 in this car, many have noted that a Lincoln LSC is a better traditional hotrod and cheaper to maintain while retaining the luxury component. A Probe with this engine might actually had been a contender in the Supercar category, the engine is that sweet.
I was lucky Kaylah, my father bought this car from a Ford dealers wife and he took very good care of it. At 175 K the trans still works fine but is getting to the point where its time to overhaul it, full throttle shifts into second make me cringe, new it would smoke-em into second but not anymore. I don't want to wreck it so I am slowly working out the bugs one by one. You could say that if it wasn't Dad's old car I would have bailed on it long ago, it has sentimental value and that makes me a sucker. Oh well it still draws heads wherever I go and gas station atttendants are always asking me what kind of car it is and want to check the oil.:D I have been asked if I wanted to sell it more than once and I have found notes on my windshield from other enthusiasts in the know asking for a phone call. The sunroof is awesum and either tilts or retracts fully, everything is power with leather seats and has an attractive gauge package that is nicer than a 5.0 litre. The climate control is superb and easily cools even on 40 C days. I enjoy the car in it's stock form and I am only going to restore and repair/upgrade components as needed, this car deserves to stay stock and I intend to preserve the original look. For some reason not many of these cars made it here to Manitoba, I've only seen one other model of the same vintage. Down south and out East there seem to have been many more purchased, I have never seen one for sale here. My biggest complaint is the Opal Mist color, it seems to make the car disappear to other drivers and I'm constantly getting cut off, the last pinhead hit the back 6 inches of the rear bumper and spun me around when I had the right of way through the light. Good thing he was driving a police car, because somehow it was all my fault?:rolleyes: :mad: Ya, that one still stings.:pain:
I posted a thread earlier on how nice the exhaust sounds now with a big resonator and some performance muffs and no cats, at 5 grand you would swear you were driving a Ferrari. It sounds a little ricey at cruise speed but it is very subtle and not intrusive at all, I kinda like it. That V6 sound is not my favorite but the upper rpm rip makes me smile every time. I have had three serious races with it and only lost one, the first was a 360 ci new Dakota Sport and I sure opened his eyes when I passed him walking away, the second was a new Supercharged GrandPix, the slipping tranny let me down on that one otherwise it would have been very close and this is a much bigger car. The last was a riced up mid 90's Acura Legend, no challenge at all.
Here are some pics I snapped this afternoon, it turned out to be nice and I just washed her yesterday.
Hope you like them.:)
Why would any-one want a ford with a Yamaha engine, Strange mix
Edge is that you?:)
Good question Buttons.:rolleyes:
street racing??? :D
Thanks for the great information, Chuck. I'm going to cut and splice it to a Word file so I can digest it a little more. The guy who had the SHO sold it before I could drive 175 miles to see it. Oh well, for $500, I knew it wouldn't last long because the car has a serious, almost "cult-like" following.
The tips you gave are very detailed and I appreciate that...especially the ones about the miliage service, and how to listend to the valves. That will be a major consideration. Also, I'll keep looking for a good deal on a 94-94 model. I am also guessing that since these engines were a "new breed", they probably don't suffer the head gasket fate of the 3.0 and 3.8 garden variety Fords.
These car have some kind of alluring feature to me. It seems like Ford kinda squeezed in a "modern-day" hot rod right beneath everyone's nose. To me, these cars seem like they are in a class of their own...a sort of Ford that was allowed to be "free" and broke away from the pack. I just think they are some really unique, interesting, and very fast NEW American Steel.
So the "newbie" posts a pretty lame question, eh? A veteran gearhead posts an extremely knowledgeable essay about a modern day hot rod, and the newbie starts his/her career in flames...Better keep an eye on this one too.
Why would anyone want to buy a Cadillac with a Chevy engine? Why would anyone buy a Rambler with a Ford engine? Why would anyone buy a Dodge with a Mitsu engine? Why would anyone buy a boat with a 351-Windsor? Why does a Marine 351-Windsor have different specs than a Land 351-Windsor? Why would anyone buy a Chrysler when instead of a Volkswagon, BMW, Benz, or Audi? Why would anyone buy a Japanese car that was built in Ohio? Is it a Japanese car, or is it American? Why would anyone think of a Corvette as a "hot rod" when its made out of plastic? Why doesn't Canada make their own brand of cars instead of making them for everyone else?
Why is there a 305, 327, 350, and 400 engine, when you can do the same thing with all of them? Couldn't they make just one? Why is a Firebird a Camaro and a Camaro a Firebird? Whatever happened to the 413 and where the heck did it come from anyway? Why did everybody decide to change engine size numbers at the same time? Why did Ford decide to make two entirely different engines with the same cubuc inch displacement...and why was that size 351 CID? Why is a Ford 352 engine a "Big Block" and a Ford 400 engine a "Small Block?" Why did everyone have to have a 400 and 360 CID engine? Were they all secretly made by the same company?
Why is there a Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac, when they are all Chevy's anyway? Why did Datsun change its name to Nissan? Why did Honda decide to make Lawn mowers while Yamaha was making audio equipment.
Who decided to name the colors? Why is the decimal system better when its based on fingers and toes? Why do adult men get paid millions of dollars to play games like children? Why do enigmas and anomalies sound so much like what they describe? To whom do we thank for coming up with the idea of an enema? Why is it that we need to see things upside down? Why don't whales have gills like fish, and what on earth do they need fur or hair for?
How do we know that numbers continue infinitely? What happens if we run out of words to name numbers.
Why is it that out of 13,000 HR.com members, there always has to be one that farts in the space suit?
PS- Nice car Chuck:P
Well put Kaylah,:) one day the car might be a collectors item, to me it means much more, Dad and I went and bought it together. Now if I can only stop police cars from hitting it.:mad:
The answer to your question Bubbles of who would buy a Ford with a Yamaha engine is quite simple.
You ever drive a V-Max motorcycle? The SHO is much the same and shares similarily designed intake manifolding, the secondary butterfly opens at around 5000 and you better have it pointed straight cause 7000 happens real fast. Thats the best example I can give of the character of the engine.
The secondarys open at 3,950 rpm. Better have your wood screw on, because it will blow your doors off. It's a great car if you are a hands on person. I love my 90 MTX SHO, it has 140,000.
Well worth the $2000 I paid.
How much of a market is there for a SHO parts car/rebuilder? My friends have a towing service and there is a 90ish sho in their impound lot. It had a moderate front hit but the motor trans looked ok and actually the car looked rebuildable. They will prolly just cut the car up and junk it, but if anyone is interested I will check into it for you.
You can sell parts for the SHO easily for sure.. I'm sure most parts would go fast on ebay. Things like belt tensioner pulleys and many other engine parts are abosolete. If the 5 speed tranny is still good, people need that stuff. I'd part the car off or get it fixed.
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