Rotella for a Vulcan?

Not open for further replies.
May 26, 2003
Fleming Island, FL
I have a 1995 Ford Taurus with the 3.0l V-6 Vulcan engine, and ~142K miles. I bought the car used with 17K miles off of a lease (so I assume it was broken in and serviced with conventional oil), but during my ownership, I've been using M1 5W30 (owners manual recommended viscosity), with an occasional switch to Amsoil, and one AutoRX treatment ~4K miles ago with Castrol GTX 5W30 (for 1K miles, and then straight back to M1 5W30)(*). Car is now due for it's regular 3K mile oil change, and I'm very tempted to go with Shell Rotella T 5W-40 Synthetic. Most of the posts on others with this engine (in Taurus and other Ford models) seem to have been recommending either staying with the 5W30 recommendation from Ford, or going to the 0W20 or 0W30 oils. Since I'm in NE Florida, we do see a few days of sub-freezing weather, but I don't think it's that big a deal. In 8 years of ownership, I haven't noticed any difficulty cranking during the cold weather with the 5W30 oil, so I'm sure the 5W40 Shell Synthetic will also do as well. Is the 40 weight "operating" viscosity too thick for this engine? The car has the crummy AXOD transmission that's been hard shifting for the last 50K miles. "Have you driven a Fraud lately?" Some piston valve in the tranny is corroded and sticking, although how an aluminum piston corrodes when surrounded by ATF is beyond me, and I've studied a lot about corrosion. Anyway, I know this motor is going to outlast the car, but I still am compelled to take good care of it. Cost to rebuild the tranny (required to replace the valve - Ford now makes it out of steel that doesn't corrode - talk about closing the barn door after the horse has left) is greater than the KBB wholesale value of the car, so it ain't gonna happen. Thanks, - Arved (*) Call me anal - I did one 1,000 mile A-RX flush with M1 oil. Then I reread the instructions here, and noticed that I was supposed to use a conventional oil. So this motor has had 2 A-RX flushes. At 3K miles since the A-RX flush with Castrol GTX, the M1 oil is still clear - I know, not a substitute for an oil exam, but there was noticable darkening in the previous 10 oil changes that hasn't happened yet on the A-RX'd engine.
Originally posted by Ken2: Have you considered using Auto-Rx in the transmission?
Yes, two treatments. First treatment was at Pep Boys, and they used a generic ATF with some sort of additive to bring it within spec required for the transmission. I discussed this with Frank (at Auto-RX), and he suggested another flush at a more reputable transmission servicer. I was pretty desperate to get the Auto-RX to work, hoping the problem was something other than the valve. It wasn't. The valve corrodes and cracks. The metalurgical training I've had leaves me to beleive this is exfoliation corrosion expanding the metal along a grain boundry in the piston. Again, I don't know how aluminum corrodes smothered in ATF - Ford's engineers probably didn't either when they chose aluminum for the valve. This is known problem with the forward clutch piston in the AXOD and AXOD-E transmission (used in the Taurus, Sable, and Windstar). Ford has gone through three aluminum piston designs (the original and two updates) and settled the problem with a steel pistion, P/N F4DZ-7A262-A. It costs anywhere from $2-3K to rebuild the transmission, which is required to change out the valve (which is about $15). With a Kelly Blue Book value on the car of $1-1½K, the repair is not economically feasible. This is one miracle Auto-RX can't perform. - Arved
there is a whole website dedicated to ford taurus transmissions...type in ford taurus in your search..its a complaint site...but it has all you ever wanted to know about your tranny problem and what to do about it....funny though I was under the impression that ford fixed that aluminum piston problem in late the way the taurus will run well on just about anything...I had one as a company car once (91 model) used 5w30, 10w30, 10w40, 15w40 and 30. seemed to like the 30 the best but i'min texas. just keep at least one quart of oil in it and it will run [Smile] ..that engine scoffs at abuse..the tranny stinks.
142k miles out of a Taurus tranny aint all that bad. Had two rebuilds within the 36k warranty on mine. Nothing but an upgrade/rebuild will fix a manufacturer defect. But, you could try additives(since price is dirt cheap compared to rebuild). The Vulcan isn't really a stressed engine. A ~140hp 3.0 doesn't torture the oil much. I personally like the 40wts to quiet down this ancient motor. Look out for sludge. I've seen plenty vulcans with sludge.
I have a 96 3.0 Taurus that seems to prefer XXW40s. They seem to run hotter than the older 3.8s. I keep it out of overdrive as much as possible. I did take the tranny pan off when I first got the car. At 40,000 miles, the bottom of the pan looked like a turbo 400 at 250,000 miles. I hate changing auto tranny oil. What a mess it makes. A drain plug would be too easy. [ November 13, 2003, 07:40 PM: Message edited by: userfriendly ]
Arved, Ironic...I have a 95 with the Vulcan which I bought with 16K+ as a program car (rental in LA of all places) and which had its second tran in when I bought it (of course the dealer didn't mention that to me)...second one has had its moments but it is hanging in there...but to your question...while I have high regard for Shell Rotella Syn...I'd go with a 0W or 5W30, even in FL. My engine does REALLY well on 30 wts and driving at 5000'+ at seriously hot and cold temps tells you alot about what your engine likes. By the way, I have about 103K (some of them HARD miles) on it now.
The Vulcan is an old V6 but its rock solid! Our 1989 Ford Aerostar had the 3.0L. It blew a head gasket at 40K but was repaired under warrenty and it went all the way to 210K on 10W40, burning less than a quart in 3K miles. It always passed emissions and always had power, even to tow the 4000 lbs it was designed for. Now the tranny.... thats a different story. My friend has a 2003 Taurus with the Vulcan, its soo quiet! They are finally killing the 3.8L Essex V6 thats been in cars like the Taurus, SHO Taurus, Windstar, Mustang, Thunderbird, Cougar... etc. There is a new 3.9L that replaces it. Our 3.8 didn't blow the head gasket like i thought.... it was the intake manifold gasket. Back on topic...I think the Rotella maybe ok for the Vulcan. Try Delo 400. I've read that its a better oil in comparison to Rotella. I doesn't get cold where you live but Delo 400 pumps better in colder temps. Good luck!
Just a quick FYI [Smile] The Taurus SHO used (depending on year and tranny) a 3.0 or 3.2L Yamaha V6, or on 96+ a 3.4L Yamaha/Ford V8. Regular Taruii got the 3.8 [Wink]
Originally posted by Virtuoso: Just a quick FYI [Smile] The Taurus SHO used (depending on year and tranny) a 3.0 or 3.2L Yamaha V6, or on 96+ a 3.4L Yamaha/Ford V8. Regular Taruii got the 3.8 [Wink]
Whoops... i thought the 92-95 SHOs had the 3.8L. I just remembered, our rental Taurus we had in 95 was a 3.8L. Thanks.
As far as oil goes I think you could put crude oil in a vulcan and it would still never die!!! The 3.0 is a bulletproof motor- Dare I say as good as anything Honda has ever built? However the tranny is a bit of a week link. I worked at a Ford dealership up until about a year ago, and can tell you from experience that a lot of Ford trannys are mis-diagnosed. Both the AX4S and Ax4N have a common failure of the vehicle speed sensor. This will cause rough and or erattic shifting. Also belive it or not the mass air flow sensor can cause rough shifting. I had a 93 Taurus that I bought with 200,000 that was supposed to have a tranny that was on it's way out. After I cleaned the MAF sensor and replaced the Throttle position sensor it shifted fine. Well as good as a taurus tranny with 200k can shift! [Big Grin] Anyways I drove it till 214K then gave it to a friend who is still driving it. Not bad for 350 bucks!
Not open for further replies.