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Should I Buy A Used V8SHO?

updated  5/26/02, 1/16/03, 4/23/03, 10/18/05

Leaving out issues like how many miles, and how much money; let me say this: The V8 SHO is among the finest executive express you can buy for under $45,000.

Having said that all V8SHOs have few know issues.

1) Being a v8 DOHC engine you have 4 camshafts. Failure of any one of them can destroy an engine. Most failures happen between 70,000 -100,000 miles and in time I think all cams will fail. It is a design defect. 

http://www.v8sho.com/SHO/ThePUSHSideoftheChain.htm tells you why the cam fails.

You have 2 options to avoid failure.

SHO Shop (see http://www.v8sho.com/SHO/SHOShopCamsPartII.htm) has an elegant solution, it is proven but not inexpensive in terms of labor or parts. (SHO Shop 714-894-8415)

Another option is to have the cams welded. The problem with option is it is highly dependant on the skills and experience of the welder / mechanic. At least 100 V8SHO owners have made the pilgrimage to FPS (770- 949-7191) near Atlanta GA to have our cams welded and are very satisfied with the results. Cost is about $450, plus time & travel.

There may be a link between sustained high speeds and transmission failure. SHO owners and their cars relish very high speeds. Looking back at cases of ATX failure, many owners admit failure sustained high speeds just prior to failure. Either way an auxiliary ATF cooler and regular ATX maintenance is emphatically recommended for "sporting" use.

The SHO has an expensive and exotic ZF power steering. Ford has no scheduled PM interval for the power steering but we have noticed the fluid has a life of 30,000 - 50,000 miles. Keep it further and you risk replacing the ZF rack and pinion, and power steering pump. This is a very inexpensive item to take care of.

SHOs are tuned for high quality "Z" rated tires. Many used SHOs lack quality tires and owners may wonder about the "magic" other SHO owners speed about in glowing terms.

In my case the OE struts lasted 60,000 miles, it is a revelation what fresh struts will do since worn out strut are sloppy and vague but otherwise asymptomatic.

I hope this helps, we love our cars, most of us think the joy of owning such a thoroughbred more than off sets the cam issue which can be evaded. see: also http://www.v8sho.com/SHO/Owner%20Testimonials.htm and http://www.v8sho.com/SHO/ultimatetaurus.html

Timothy Wright
'97 SHO

The test drive (and visual observation) will tell all. Would be nice if you got service receipts, but unlikely. You could get the VIN before Tuesday and run a CarFax. You could also take the VIN to a Ford dealer and have them check the Oasis system.

When you drive it, check for an abnormal clicking sound at idle (possible cams). Also be very observant of how the tranny reacts. Check and make sure the climate control system works well for heat and A/C. Test the ABS to make sure it works OK. If the brakes otherwise feel OK with no rotor warpage, feel the top inside of the front rotors for scoring. When the pads are getting worn, this is the first spot that wears through. Take a look at the oil and the air filter to see if the car has had basic routine maintenance done to it. Check the tranny fluid as well.

It could be the car has a lot of highway miles and could be in fine shape for the miles. If you go with it, plan on a cam weld job. I would also change the tranny fluid & filter, flush the PS system, and flush the brake fluid. Obviously an oil & filter change also, as well as the fuel filter. Sometime in the near future, a cooling system flush would be good.

Ron Porter

1) My '96 blew a set of front cams. I had those replaced by a dealer a year and a half ago. This month I had the cams welded by Kirk Doucette in MA. So that problem is finally over for me. I would get the cams welded immediately, then you too, can put that out of your mind. Think of it as part of the acquisition cost, build it into a loan if you have to! The prices for this service are between $550 and say $850 depending or what other services are provided. There are several shops that the V8SHO community has used and had good experience with. Be advised that these shops all seem to do things a little differently. Some guys have traveled more than a thousand miles to have the job done by a particular shop. Others have chosen the shop closest to them. I think this is a personal choice. Bottom line is, I recommend you getting this done and put it behind you. If you happen to chose Kirk Doucette, understand that he will do lots of services to the engine while the intake system is off and really takes pride on doing the job right. I, and many others, have written many testimonials to thise list about his above and beyond attitude, quality of work, and professionalism.

2) Some people have had issues with the ATX trannys. Some have had them replaced or rebuilt a couple of times. Mine has 145K on it and is running strong. Personally, if you plan on dragging the car, plan on rebuilding the tranny. I would say immediately put a tranny cooler on it as soon as you buy it and have the tranny fluid purged out and tranny filter replaced as soon as you get it as well. That way you have a base line for a repair / maintenance schedule. 

3) The brakes can use upgrading and there is lots of information about that on the www.v8sho.com website. In fact, there is a ton of information there for your evening reading!

4) There are lots of modifications available to the car, and the list enjoys helping one another. Enjoy it.

Hope this helps. Email Back if there is anything else I can help you with.

Jim Merriman
'93 CR SHO
'96 ES SHO


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