1998 Ford Taurus Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1998 Ford Taurus as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

White smoke coming from the exhaust could indicate that a head gasket has blown or there is a cracked cylinder head. Our technicians tell us that removal and inspection of the cylinder heads will be required to confirm a crack is present.

The engine may misfire and/or buck while driving at freeway speeds with no fault code stored in the powertrain control module (PCM). This can be caused by an intermittent fault with the camshaft synchronizer assembly. This condition can be diagnosed by monitoring knock sensor data as per Ford service bulletin #05-22-12. Replacement of the synchronizer assembly will be required to correct this concern.

The engine oil pan gasket can develop a leak. Leaking oil may accumulate on the exhaust system resulting in a burning smell. Replacing the gasket should correct this leak.

If you experience difficulty starting the engine when cold, stalling at idle, or hesitations during acceleration, it may be the idle air bypass valve. This valve helps the vehicle idle steady when the accelerator pedal is not pressed.

Multiple owners have reported instances of the automatic headlights not functioning properly. Possible causes are failure of the sunload sensor, the light switch, or the Smart Junction Box (SJB). Professional electrical diagnosis is recommended before replacement of any parts. 

The synchronizer shaft for the camshaft position sensor can cause a loud squeak or chirping noise due to failure of the upper bushing. The noise may be erratic and is usually present when the engine is warm.

The magnet for the camshaft position sensor may fall out of its mount and damage the synchronizers. This causes long crank times when starting the engine and may cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. If this happens, both the magnets and the synchronizers need to be replaced.