89 ford taurus, auto trans, shudders like a slipping clutch

i have a 89 ford taurus with close to 200K on it, it runs and drives beautifully, the body is a whole different question though! it has an automatic transmission, sometimes when starting from a dead stop it will shudder in a way that reminds me of a bad clutch, i was thinking that it is probably the torque converter but i am not sure as i have never had one fail on me, i am hopping it is not the tranny as i have two teenagers that are going to be starting to drive this year and they need an old beater to bomab around in

Have all the mounts checked. If that is the only problem, you’re lucky. I say that the car is done and it won’t cost you much to drive it to an automotive recycler. You don’t want to hurt anybody by keeping that thing on the road. You put a jack under that thing and the body might collapse. It’s dangerous. It’s an 89 Taurus body.

Transmission failures are not unheard of on these cars and at 20 years and 200k it’s quite possible a transmission problem could exist (not the converter).

Some things to consider before assuming the transmission is at fault could be a faulty mount or worn CV shafts.

With the former, the right rear (passenger side) mount is prone to failure. By removing the right front wheel the mount can be easily examined to see if it has collapsed. This mount takes the bulk of the abuse and when bad can allow the entire engine/trans assembly to wallow around a bit.

With the latter, it’s possible to have worn CV joints that may cause a shudder but will not click or knock. (The only way to verify this is to remove them for a careful inspection and if one is going to go to that trouble at that mileage then it’s simply best to replace them).

it has been very well taken care of, brake system is 100%, ball joints are good, suspension is still adequate, so i dont really think it is “dangerous” to have it on the road, the whole story cannot be told by miles or years

i will check the mounts, never really thought of those as i have never had mounts fail that acted quite like this! there is NO lurch or clunk as i shift into drive or when it down shifts or shifts at higher speeds as bad mounts are want to do, if the mounts are not bad i will check the cv joints, thanks for the input

The weak link in those old Taurus Transmissions was a Forward Clutch Piston. It was made of aluminum, and when it failed caused the symptom you described. It really sounds like the transmission is need of a rebuild.