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Fluid level checks Ford Taurus 1996 - 2005 Petrol 3.0 V6

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Ford Taurus 1996 - 2005  | 3.0 V6 Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1
1 Fluids are an essential part of the lubrication, cooling, brake and windshield washer systems. Because the fluids gradually become depleted or contaminated during normal operation of the vehicle, they must be periodically replenished. See Recommended lubricants and fluids before adding fluid to any of the following components. Note: The vehicle must be on level ground when fluid levels are checked
2 The oil level is checked with a dipstick, which is mounted on the left side of the engine block at the front of the engine compartment. The dipstick extends through a metal tube down into the oil pan
3 The oil level should be checked before the vehicle has been driven, or about 15 minutes after the engine has been shut off. If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper part of the engine, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick
4 Pull the dipstick out of the tube and wipe all the oil from the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick all the way back into the tube and pull it out again. Note the oil at the end of the dipstick. At its highest point, the level should be above the ADD 1 QT mark, within the hatched marked section of the dipstick
5 Do not allow the level to drop below the ADD 1 QT mark or oil starvation may cause engine damage. Conversely, overfilling the engine (adding oil above the FULL mark) may cause oil-fouled spark plugs, oil leaks or oil seal failures
6 To add oil, remove the filler cap from the valve cover. After adding oil, wait a few minutes to allow the level to stabilize, then pull out the dipstick and check the level again. Add more oil if required. Install the filler cap and tighten it by hand only
7 Checking the oil level is an important preventive maintenance step. A consistently low oil level indicates oil leakage through damaged seals, defective gaskets, or past worn rings or valve guides. If the oil looks milky or has water droplets in it, a cylinder head gasket may be blown or a head or the block may be cracked. The engine should be checked immediately. The condition of the oil should also be checked. Whenever you check the oil level, slide your thumb and index finger up the dipstick before wiping off the oil. If you see small dirt or metal particles clinging to the dipstick, the oil should be changed

Engine coolant

Warning: Do not allow antifreeze to contact your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Flush contaminated areas immediately with plenty of water. Don’t store new coolant or leave old coolant lying around where it’s accessible to children or pets. They may be attracted by its sweet smell. Ingestion of even a small amount of coolant can be fatal! Wipe up garage floor and drip pan spills immediately. Keep antifreeze containers covered and repair cooling system leaks as soon as they’re noticed
8 All vehicles covered by this manual have a pressurized coolant recovery system. A pressurized plastic expansion tank is located at the front of the engine compartment and connected by a hose to the radiator. As the engine heats up during operation, the expanding coolant fills the tank. The Taurus and Sable models covered by this manual do not have traditional radiator caps. The pressurized cap of the expansion tank is point at which the cooling system is filled and the coolant level checked
9 Check the coolant level in the expansion tank regularly. Warning: Do not remove the pressure cap on the expansion tank until the engine has completely cooled. The level in the expansion tank varies with the temperature of the engine. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be within the COLD FILL RANGE marked on the bottle. Once the engine has warmed up, the level should be at or near the top of that range. If it isn’t, allow the engine to cool, then remove the cap from the expansion tank and add a 50:50 mixture of ethylene glycol antifreeze and water
10 Drive the vehicle and recheck the coolant level. Don’t use rust inhibitors or additives. If only a small amount of coolant is required to bring the system up to the proper level, water can be used. However, repeated additions of water will dilute the antifreeze and water mixture. To maintain the proper ratio of antifreeze and water, always top up the coolant level with the correct mixture. An empty plastic milk jug or bleach bottle makes an excellent container for mixing coolant
11 If the coolant level drops consistently, there may be a leak in the system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, filler cap, drain plugs and water pump. If no leaks are noted, have the cooling system pressure tested by a garage or radiator shop with the necessary equipment
12 If you have to remove the expansion tank cap, wait until the engine has cooled completely, then wrap a thick cloth around the cap and turn it to the first stop. Loosen it slowly, stopping if you hear a hissing noise. If coolant or steam escapes, let the engine cool longer, then remove the cap
13 Check the condition of the coolant. It should be relatively clear. If it’s brown or rust colored, the system should be drained, flushed and refilled. Even if the coolant appears to be normal, the corrosion inhibitors wear out, so it must be replaced at the specified intervals

Brake fluid

Warning: Brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces, so use extreme caution when handling or pouring it. Do not use brake fluid that has been standing open or is more than one year old. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air, which can cause a dangerous loss of braking effectiveness
14 The brake fluid level is checked by looking through the plastic reservoir on the master cylinder. The master cylinder is mounted on the front of the power booster unit in the left (driver’s side) rear corner of the engine compartment
15 The fluid level should be between the MAX and MIN lines on the side of the reservoir
16 If the fluid level is low, wipe the top of the reservoir and the cap with a clean rag to prevent contamination of the system as the cap is unscrewed.
17 Add only the specified brake fluid to the reservoir. (Refer to Recommended lubricants and fluids at the end of this Chapter or your owner’s manual.) Mixing different types of brake fluid can damage the system. Fill the reservoir to the MAX line
18 While the reservoir cap is off, check the master cylinder reservoir for contamination. If rust, dirt or water is present, the system should be flushed and refilled by a repair shop
19 After filling the reservoir to the proper level, make sure the cap is seated to prevent fluid leakage and contamination
20 The fluid level in the master cylinder will drop slightly as the disc brake pads wear down during normal operation. If the brake fluid level drops consistently, check the entire system for leaks immediately. Examine all brake lines, hoses and connections, along with the calipers, wheel cylinders and master cylinder
21 If you discover the reservoir empty or nearly empty when you check the fluid level, the brake system should be bled
22 Windshield washer fluid is stored in a plastic reservoir located under the right front (passenger’s side) fender, directly behind the coolant expansion tank
23 In milder climates, plain water can be used in the reservoir, but it should be kept no more than 2/3 full to allow for expansion if the water freezes. In colder climates, use windshield washer system antifreeze, available at any auto parts store, to lower the freezing point of the fluid. Mix the antifreeze with water according to the manufacturer’s directions on the container. Caution: Do not use cooling system antifreeze, it will damage the vehicle’s paint


Note: Listed here are manufacturer recommendations at the time this manual was written. Manufacturers occasionally upgrade their fluid and lubricant specifications, so check with your local auto parts store for current recommendations
Engine oil
  Type API “certified for gasoline engines”
  Viscosity See accompanying chart
Fuel Unleaded gasoline, 87 octane (minimum)
Engine coolant 50:50 mixture of ethylene glycol antifreeze and water
Brake fluid DOT 3 heavy-duty brake fluid
Power steering fluid MERCON automatic transmission fluid
Automatic transaxle fluid MERCON V automatic transmission fluid
Chassis grease SAE NLGI no.2 chassis grease
18.23a Recommended engine oil viscosity


Engine oil (with filter change)
  OHV engine 4.5 qts
  OHC engine 5.5 qts
Fuel tank
  1996 to 1999 16.0 gal
  2000 and later 18.0 gal
Cooling system
  OHV engine 11.6 qts
  OHC engine 10.6 qts
Automatic transaxle (total fill)
  AX4S 12.2 qts
  AX4N 13.4 qts
24 *All capacities approximate. Add as necessary to bring to appropriate level
18.24a Cylinder location and coil terminal identification diagram - 3.0L OHV V6 engine
18.24b Cylinder location and coil terminal identification diagram - 3.0L OHC V6 engines through 1999. 2000 and later 3.0L OHC V6 engines have individual coils at each spark plug
Torque specifications Ft-lbs (unless otherwise noted)
Wheel lug nuts 85 to 105
Spark plugs 7 to 14
Oil pan drain plug
  OHV engine 9 to 12
  OHC engine 16 to 22
Automatic transaxle pan bolts 106 in-lbs
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