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Brian_05_SEL

Scarlett: 1987 Mercury Sable (A Low Mileage Survivor)

757 posts in this topic

Well, earlier this afternoon I had a conversation with Nick (Bull Geek) about locating a suitable older generation Taurus or Sable to become a long-term project car for me. In a matter of minutes, he had found a Craigslist posting for a nice looking Gen 1 Sable sedan located about an hour from where I live. After looking over the photos and ad copy, I decided to email the seller and see what was up. Long story short (Kevin will probably chime in with the longer part later :P) I am now the proud third owner of a low mileage 1987 Mercury Sable LS. B) See the first round of photos below. More will definitely be coming in daylight, later on this week. I'll also be pulling a ton of holiday OT at the office for the foreseeable future to help pay for some upcoming service and modifications to this car. :ph34r:

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Yes, the actual miles. :D

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First tank of gas in my new baby. :)

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The family gathers. Yes, we actually got our first taste of local snowfall tonight... :(

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What do you think, TSOC? B)

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Did the gen 2 sables have the same dashboard as the gen 1?

She's a beauty, wow, what low miles! She'll outlast your daily driver if you keep her garaged.

That is a fiery red interior, holy cow.

How much did she cost ya?

Edited by breeves002
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That red interior brings back memories of my childhood. The super advanced for the time digital gauges too.

She's a winner.

Who's sharp looking blue car is that in the background, lol.

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It does seem fitting that the Sable is Chicago built being that you're in Chicago. Cool :)

Definitely looks like a local car under the hood (looking at the fasteners, etc), but it's all there and complete minus 2 hubcaps right? Even the doors look good, and normal body rot painted surfaces look good. Clearly someone did good with keeping the rust bug away. My wagon is starting to have surface rust under the seam sealer on the doors where the skin of the door is pressed onto the shell. Take off all the weather stripping and clean the metal behind it (esp on the trunk).

Looks like it was converted to R134A. Cool, that's a bonus. So what does and doesn't work on it?

I see that since it's an LS, you will have the light bulb out indicator on dash as well as low washer fluid, low oil level (not pressure but level!), auto parking brake popper, etc. That car def has 55K original miles.

What kind of documentation did you get with the car? Window sticker, etc.?

Congratulations on the car man. It may not be a wagon, but I still think the 1st Gen Sable sedan was the better looking of the two sedans. That light bar and wrap around view with nearly pillarless windows in the rear was cool.

For your no temp readout on the dash, you may have to swing by the Ford dealer and get a temperature sending unit if yours is not ohming right...does it have a readout at all?

And if you have any Qs post 'em up or let me know :) That porno red interior is top notch. Love it!

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The dashboard was revised a few times for Gen 1 and Gen 2 cars, IIRC.

The plan is to keep this car for cruising, tinkering, and the fun and sense of accomplishment that will come with restoring it to better condition (in time). I think my GF will like that it has the split front bench, too. :mj_banana:

Yeah, the red is actually starting to grow on me already. It's very 80's chic, along with other aspects of the overall Gen 1 Sable design. Old school class, yet timeless. B)

After examining the car and negotiating what it was worth considering that some work will be necessary before I can DD it, I paid $1,000 cash for it and have the title and a signed bill of sale in my possession as we speak.

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It's a very nice car. But she needs work. I guess that's where I come in... Sigh...

From what I found, CV Shafts do need to be replaced or looked at. When turning at low speeds, it makes horrible bumping noises. Only true way to figure it out is to jack her up and see what's going on.

From my observations, she needs the coolant system looked at. Rad fan was blasting on high, but she did have low coolant, and low pressure in upper rad hose. Figured on a cold night like tonight, it'd be somewhat safe.

Heater doesn't work, perhaps due to upper problem.

Power steering fluid is black

Trans fluid is dark, and trans kicks from 1st to 2nd. All other gears seem smooth. Hopefully reviving the fluid over time will help (Drop pan, and add fluid, and repeat a few times)

But, I can't wait to get my hands on it. I've always loved Gen1/2 Taurus Sables. If Brian didn't jump on it, I probably would have had to... Very nicely equipped :)

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Holy crap! 56K original miles? That's pretty dang good. I'm jealous of all the low mileage gen 1s I've been seeing lately. Very nice find Brian, and welcome to the gen 1 club. Now hurry up and start a project log so I can subscibe. :D

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It does seem fitting that the Sable is Chicago built being that you're in Chicago. Cool :)

Definitely looks like a local car under the hood (looking at the fasteners, etc), but it's all there and complete minus 2 hubcaps right? Even the doors look good, and normal body rot painted surfaces look good. Clearly someone did good with keeping the rust bug away. My wagon is starting to have surface rust under the seam sealer on the doors where the skin of the door is pressed onto the shell. Take off all the weather stripping and clean the metal behind it (esp on the trunk).

Looks like it was converted to R134A. Cool, that's a bonus. So what does and doesn't work on it?

I see that since it's an LS, you will have the light bulb out indicator on dash as well as low washer fluid, low oil level (not pressure but level!), auto parking brake popper, etc. That car def has 55K original miles.

What kind of documentation did you get with the car? Window sticker, etc.?

Congratulations on the car man. It may not be a wagon, but I still think the 1st Gen Sable sedan was the better looking of the two sedans. That light bar and wrap around view with nearly pillarless windows in the rear was cool.

For your no temp readout on the dash, you may have to swing by the Ford dealer and get a temperature sending unit if yours is not ohming right...does it have a readout at all?

And if you have any Qs post 'em up or let me know :) That porno red interior is top notch. Love it!

Some old receipts, etc from the past owners. We got the detailed history on it tonight, too. Elderly couple bought it new in 1987, the wife drove it primarily and it was garage kept at all times. She is a widow now, and sold it in 2011 with 32k miles on the clock to a young guy who needed a family sized vehicle for all of his kids. He got it for $900 last year. It took regular daily trips to where he works (20-30 min daily commute), and semi-regular trips up to northern Wisconsin for weekend family getaways like fishing and boating. It was his daily driver up until last week.

He and his new girlfriend (or fiance?) now have 5 children in total, so they just bought a minivan to replace the Sable. However, both of them (and their two oldest kids) were genuinely sad to see this car go away but are really happy that it's being taken by someone who plans to restore it and keep it on the road. (Really nice folks, actually- I think I'll visit to let them see it again once the car is at 100% ;) )

It currently has non-functional needle gauges for coolant temp and fuel level. The DTE display will take care of the fuel level info until that can be fixed, though. 40 miles to empty on that display = "go fill up, fool!". The heat is essentially nonfunctional, but Kevin and I are relatively confident that the thermostat and/or bad coolant are gonna be the culprit there. The 1-2 upshift seems a bit harsh, although other shifting seems perfect. It engages the O/D just fine, according to the 30 miles of expressway that lie between the seller's house and my driveway. The AXOD is on the factory original transmission fluid, so that will have to get changed out gradually by dropping the pan- NO SUCTION! And the two driveaxles will need to be replaced pretty soon, due to audibly worn-out CV joints that make a rattling noise during cornering.

Other than that, though, it's just going to need the typical maintenance and a lot of TLC. I'm certainly up for it. The car drives like a dream. That instrument panel sure is a breathtaking sight at night. :)

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Oh, some minor stuff that I'll be replacing to get it 100% functional: the panel dimmer switch, the MFS stalk, driver's side wiper arm, and the driver's seat belt (the retractor is basically shot).

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What is wrong with the mfs?

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Love the new ride, brian!!! Nostalgic as hell!!

Ive now learned that the digidashes in the G1's had needles as well as displays... cool!

Must be interesting with no shoulder belt strap!! Im also jealous of the seemingly non cracked windshield cowl! yours must be one of the only ones still intact.

$had3 :ford::merc::Shady_J:

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Nice catch, Brian. Should be an interesting resto thread coming up.

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Nice :D

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I may have a spare dimmer in the garage, I will have to check. Has to come from an 86-89. The seatbelt has to come from an 86-88. Good luck finding, you may want to try the repair option on the retractor. MFS, 88-90 Continentals use the same as a Taurus except their version is chrome. Sometimes cheaper. 88 Linc Continental shifter is chrome version of the Taurus. Other years won't work.

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Thanks, everyone. Nick... if you can keep any eye out for those two switch components from a southern Conti, it would be much appreciated. And if you have the dimmer switch I need, consider it sold. How would one go about trying to repair the belt retractor?

From what I can tell, the only major options that it has missing are the keyless entry keypad, EATC, Insta-Clear windshield, Autolamps, moonroof, and alloy wheels (soon to be corrected, Sable-style :ph34r: ). I spent the late hours of last night poring over the original owner's manual (almost completely without worn or aged paper, BTW) to find out more about what my new baby can do. :)

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Nice purchase! Best of luck getting her fixed up, and I look forward to seeing the results of your hard-work bringing her back to showroom condition! :)

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Funny thing though... The Sable reminds me a lot of my 2007 E-250 Super Duty... So Brian, if you ever need stuff like Window Switches, perhaps look for a late E-series van :P

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Do me a favor and take a picture of the right side of the dash where those buttons are. Or list the buttons functions. I'm just curious. It's funny how ford went back in time over the years until 2004 when they put in a semi-smart dashboard. That one was so ahead of its time!

I must say some of the coolest dashboards today are all digital, like the cadillac XTS. You can customize it and have analogue digital, you name it, put them where you want, it is so cool. Just the quality needs to be better, they are lower quality than I would expect from a cadillac.

I wish you could customize your cars gauges like that, but even more. It would be so cool if you could design your own and upload them. I have done that using dashxl (very basic, can't do fancy graphics and such, but still very custom). I really would love to be able to create a custom dashboard... All digital is fine too because then you can adjust it as you need! Cadillac has a good start with the XTS, but it needs more to please me... Video of XTS dash: http://bit.ly/W5IZzE

I shortened it so the video wouldn't pop up in the post, don't wanna hijack this thread! Is there a way you can make it so it won't pop up in the post with the normal link?

I'd still rather open my glovebox myself... It's gonna suck if in 10 years those buttons stop working... hah. Maybe I'm part on the dark side, but I LOVE Cadillac's. If I had to pick between buying a brand new 2013 taurus sho and a 2013 xts platinum (only cost slightly more), ... well that would be a really hard decision actually for me to make. As I think about it I don't actually know which one I would pick! AWD XTS Platinum LOADED: $61k while the SHO is 45k loaded (I think)... I'd pick the XTS then because its higher value haha, but I'd pick the sho over a low end cadillac.

Edited by breeves002

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Funny thing though... The Sable reminds me a lot of my 2007 E-250 Super Duty... So Brian, if you ever need stuff like Window Switches, perhaps look for a late E-series van :P

Or any car built around the same time. Friend with a 91' tempo has the same switches.

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I have a few if you want them... individual switches and a master drivers door switch in my buddies garage. let me know!

$had3 :ford::merc::Shady_J:

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Good idea would be to practice on a junkyard seat belt first. But what you are going to end up doing is tightening the spring that provides the tension for retraction. You'll end up having it tight enough that you can almost release it from your hand and have it fly back.

I'll look in my garage this weekend for the dimmer. You may want to consider taking that part off the dash and cleaning the dimmer with contact cleaner. Mine looked like a ball of fuzz. The contacts for the dimmer needed to be cleaned off. It's a very mechanical feeling gauge compared to newer cars. I will keep on the hunt for your MFS/shifter.

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Mmm, niiiiice. :)

My only complaint is the interior color. Way to bright for me.

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It's better in person.

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Ya the red interiors of that time are more of a red wine color. Camera overexposed, over brightened. Wait for Brian's pictures, they will be worth it.

And Brian, if that dash ain't cracked yet, and if that car is seeing sunlight, get a dashmat asap and a sunshade. I have only seen 1 early G1 Sable red interior before at a junkyard...hard to find replacement. $1000 to have a dash like that revinyled by a company in California :$$$:

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I want to see this Sable get Brian-ised, not just a restoration even though it's awesome as is now.

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