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Unread 08-23-2013, 11:24 AM   #1
wsar10
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Considering adding a newer FORD Explorer to the fleet...

I posted this in a FORD forum and apparently they know nothing about the vehicles they own (unlike JEEP guys) so in a last ditched effort Ill post it here.....

My family and I are in need of an SUV with 3rd row seating and are considering a Ford explorer. I refuse to have car payments (especially given the economical outlook under this administration) and will be purchasing from savings so that seems to put us looking at 04-05 with roughly 100k on the clock or roughly $7-8,000 or less.
I would like to know the ins and outs of the explorer (pros and cons) and PLEASE don't be biased just because your a"Ford guy"...... I have always drove JEEPS and Subaru's and I know there issues from front to back and how to prevent most of them or deal with them when they happen. I am VERY "OCD" about maintenance, I even go as far as changing the brake fluid every other year. When I bring home a 100k vehicle I usually spend another grand changing ALL fluids and o2 sensors, filters etc. etc. This discipline has prooved to pay of time and time again. I will also do most repairs myself.
All I ever here about are explorer transmission problems and how poor the oiling setup on the 4.6 is, and that guys are replacing tranny's and 4.6 v8 all the time........... So I guess that puts us in a 4.0 but that concerns me as well for the simple fact of lack of power in a vehicle that big. This will pretty much be my wifes DD and a vehicle we would use for family trips locally and out of town, very good chance we may tow our pop-up with it ( this is probably unlikely, as we also have a truck and 2 other JEEPS), it must also be 4x4.

-what is the best overall explorer, what year to stay away from ?
-what are common issues for one that I would be looking at within the above price range and Mileage ?
-Is the 4.0 underpowered ?
-do they have tranny issue with proper maintenance ?
-what tranny's are problematic ?
-what kind of MPG am I looking at ?
-what rear diff, transfer case,front diff and transmissions are offered, what are the most reliable of each ?

Any info, help ,opinion's will be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Dave

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QUOTE=billzcat1;wsar10 is right on point on this oil thread - as usual. Anyone reading this would be well-served taking his advice.


-03 WJ laredo 4.0 120k a few minor mods
-93 XJ 5spd, 3" zone lift
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Unread 08-25-2013, 10:13 AM   #2
_AdriaN_
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I dont know everything about them but I did have an 02 that I purchased from a fire department and it started to have tranny issues. I figure they take pretty good care of their vehicles but you never known. It had the 4.0 and it had enough power in my opinion.
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Unread 08-25-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
wsar10
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I joined a different FORD forum and from what I can tell We may go with 06-08 with a V8, not sure yet. We are really looking at anything with 3rd row seating, the Explorers just seem overall reliable (given certain tranny's) and with a V* they seem truck like. I would like to get a newer Durango with the 4.7 (same as the WJ) but allot of ppl have problems with Durangos and Dakotas
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QUOTE=billzcat1;wsar10 is right on point on this oil thread - as usual. Anyone reading this would be well-served taking his advice.


-03 WJ laredo 4.0 120k a few minor mods
-93 XJ 5spd, 3" zone lift
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Unread 08-25-2013, 10:56 AM   #4
Tom95YJ
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Get an excursion with a 7.3 psd.
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Unread 08-25-2013, 12:03 PM   #5
hoaxci5
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Have you sized up the third row? It's pretty much useless except for small children or the occasional short trip usage. With the third row up you have almost no space behind the seats for storage. I had one as a rental when I needed a vehicle with extra seats..

I owned an 2002 Explorer Sport Trac (truck version) which had the 4.0 and it was great. That was the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned, but I religiously drained and filled the transmission fluid because they were known to have issues. I towed from 4500 lbs from VA to CA and then about 2500 lbs from CA to WA for various military moves, I felt the motor was plenty for DD and for towing those loads which included mountains along the way.

www.mysporttrac.com - more focused on the sport trac but good group of guys and lots of information, and since the sport trac is essentially the same as an explorer you should be able to find the info you need.
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Unread 08-25-2013, 02:17 PM   #6
wsar10
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Yeah I have had rentals with 3rd row and we have test drove a few, I know its not really a seat unless its something a Tahoe, Suburban or Excursion. We understand that going in and really will barely use the 3rd seat, and when we do it would be for one child. thanks for the link, I'll check it out. Really at this point Id like to know what years in 3rd or 4th gen Explorers have a decent 4.6, I have learned that generally speaking the tranny that was paired with the V8's is not to problematic. I have also learned that the 4.0 SOHC has timing chain problems and generally a problematic tranny hooked to them.

Since look into the Exp.'s I have started looking at the Trailblazers (I hate GM vehicle they are all pretty much 100k throw aways other than the old 350's) since I have learned they use a I6 4.2, and I have yet to see an UN-reliable inline 6 and the 07,08 have a nicer front end and interior than the prev. years.
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QUOTE=billzcat1;wsar10 is right on point on this oil thread - as usual. Anyone reading this would be well-served taking his advice.


-03 WJ laredo 4.0 120k a few minor mods
-93 XJ 5spd, 3" zone lift
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Unread 08-25-2013, 03:49 PM   #7
whorunit1475
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My second vehicle was a 97 explorer with the 4.o. never any issues except transmission and ball joints. One of the most dependable vehicles I had.
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Unread 08-25-2013, 06:31 PM   #8
_AdriaN_
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If it were me, I would find a Chevy SUV that fit my needs. From my experiences Ford makes a crappy vehicle. The way they split up years with running changes makes finding parts a nightmare.
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Unread 08-25-2013, 07:09 PM   #9
wsar10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _AdriaN_ View Post
If it were me, I would find a Chevy SUV that fit my needs. From my experiences Ford makes a crappy vehicle. The way they split up years with running changes makes finding parts a nightmare.
I would consider an 07 or newer trailblazer with the I6, but I hear horror stories about the tranny that its a VERY expensive job. I'm really not a GM fan I think there kinda chinsy 100k vehicles. I've never been an American made vehicle person at all other than JEEPS.
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QUOTE=billzcat1;wsar10 is right on point on this oil thread - as usual. Anyone reading this would be well-served taking his advice.


-03 WJ laredo 4.0 120k a few minor mods
-93 XJ 5spd, 3" zone lift
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Unread 08-25-2013, 07:29 PM   #10
spacecoyote15
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The regular 2 valve 4.6 is a damn near bullet proof engine seen many with over 300k on them. The 3 valves were a little more problematic but still not to bad. The transes an the 02 to 05 did have shift accumulator bore wear problems but if your looking at a 100k mile one its 99% its been replaced already and they were updated on rebuilds. After 05 not as bad with the trans issues. Parts are not that hard to get they made tons of these SUV's so parts are not hard to get. Some are still under factory warranty. I have a 99 5.0 all wheel drive with 180k on it still runs like new drive 80 miles round trip to work every day. Wife has a 05 80k on it wouldn't hesitate to drive it cross country tomorrow. Now I am master certified tech at a ford dealer, but I am giving an unbiased opinion on these things almost all the techs at work either have one or there wife has one. If you know any professional mechanics you know they hate working on there own cars. They also do have the same problems as any 4x4 ball joints, wheel bearings and the like but overall they are not bad trucks. Definitely have a dealer look it over for you though because if people who owned them before you put off all the little repairs they needed over time it can add up quick. But if people took a little pride in them when they owned them and didn't just let everything go they are great family haulers. Stay away from the 4.0 sohc motors if you can the earlier ones did have timing chain issues that they later fixed on them but they also had to be spot on on there oil changes. They do not like any sludge and its a interference motor so if it jumps time you just bought an engine and if people were lazy about oil changes it will eventually jump time. Hope this helps in your decision.
P. S. My next car will be a jeep Cherokee just need to wait for mine to die. Saw one lifted and done up and was hooked been trolling on here to learn a little before the time comes.
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Unread 08-25-2013, 08:27 PM   #11
wsar10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacecoyote15 View Post
The regular 2 valve 4.6 is a damn near bullet proof engine seen many with over 300k on them. The 3 valves were a little more problematic but still not to bad. The transes an the 02 to 05 did have shift accumulator bore wear problems but if your looking at a 100k mile one its 99% its been replaced already and they were updated on rebuilds. After 05 not as bad with the trans issues. Parts are not that hard to get they made tons of these SUV's so parts are not hard to get. Some are still under factory warranty. I have a 99 5.0 all wheel drive with 180k on it still runs like new drive 80 miles round trip to work every day. Wife has a 05 80k on it wouldn't hesitate to drive it cross country tomorrow. Now I am master certified tech at a ford dealer, but I am giving an unbiased opinion on these things almost all the techs at work either have one or there wife has one. If you know any professional mechanics you know they hate working on there own cars. They also do have the same problems as any 4x4 ball joints, wheel bearings and the like but overall they are not bad trucks. Definitely have a dealer look it over for you though because if people who owned them before you put off all the little repairs they needed over time it can add up quick. But if people took a little pride in them when they owned them and didn't just let everything go they are great family haulers. Stay away from the 4.0 sohc motors if you can the earlier ones did have timing chain issues that they later fixed on them but they also had to be spot on on there oil changes. They do not like any sludge and its a interference motor so if it jumps time you just bought an engine and if people were lazy about oil changes it will eventually jump time. Hope this helps in your decision.
P. S. My next car will be a jeep Cherokee just need to wait for mine to die. Saw one lifted and done up and was hooked been trolling on here to learn a little before the time comes.
XJ's i could tell ya about ! any other american made vehicle ....not so much.

So IYO whats the best year of newer Exp.'s with what engine ?? I would really like to hav ethe V8 cuz we also have a pop-up camper and I would like to upgrade it as-well to something bigger.
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QUOTE=billzcat1;wsar10 is right on point on this oil thread - as usual. Anyone reading this would be well-served taking his advice.


-03 WJ laredo 4.0 120k a few minor mods
-93 XJ 5spd, 3" zone lift
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Unread 08-25-2013, 08:39 PM   #12
spacecoyote15
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04, 05 they had worked out the kinks of that body style for the most part. And any of the next generation 06 to 10 were pretty good the whole Run of that body style and don't be to worried about the 3 valve 4.6 to much they did have more issues than the older 4.6 but still not to bad it likes clean oil and new spark plugs every 60k. And the spark plugs do break off in the head if they have never been changed at 100k you can have a dealer do it the first time I can change 8 broken plugs out in about an hour and I have had all 8 break and I have had none break with 150k so that's luck of the draw. But if your a d.I.yer you can do them from then on if you do them on time.
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Unread 08-25-2013, 08:43 PM   #13
spacecoyote15
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And personally stick with the v8 the 4.0 sohc can be an OK engine but it can also be an expensive failure if it goes bad but if you find a well maintained one for a good price OK. If you here what sounds like a chain rattle on start up though that is not the v6 you want.
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Unread 08-26-2013, 06:13 AM   #14
wsar10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacecoyote15 View Post
04, 05 they had worked out the kinks of that body style for the most part. And any of the next generation 06 to 10 were pretty good the whole Run of that body style and don't be to worried about the 3 valve 4.6 to much they did have more issues than the older 4.6 but still not to bad it likes clean oil and new spark plugs every 60k. And the spark plugs do break off in the head if they have never been changed at 100k you can have a dealer do it the first time I can change 8 broken plugs out in about an hour and I have had all 8 break and I have had none break with 150k so that's luck of the draw. But if your a d.I.yer you can do them from then on if you do them on time.
this is good info, thanks !
I'm very particular about maintenance so clean oil and fresh plugs will not be an issue. I do plugs in my WJ every 60k or so and HDEO syn-blend every 4500K mi.
I assume they still use the Ford 8.8 ??
If I find a 4.0 SOHC that has had TC done as maintenance will it then be Ok, or do they just replace it with the same type of equipment and will need changed again ??
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QUOTE=billzcat1;wsar10 is right on point on this oil thread - as usual. Anyone reading this would be well-served taking his advice.


-03 WJ laredo 4.0 120k a few minor mods
-93 XJ 5spd, 3" zone lift
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Unread 08-26-2013, 09:24 AM   #15
spacecoyote15
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They do have 8.8 rear ends but they are independent rear suspension not solid axle but they can still tow pretty good. And they changed the timing chain tensioners which what really was causing the failures. So the later 4.0 is better than earlier ones but the tensioners are run off oil pressure that's where the problem comes in with lack of maintenance. If the chains have been changed which is a major job because there are 4 of them and they are on the front and back of the motor requiring engine removal to do. Then it can be an OK engine. But just saying buying a 100k car with unknown service records the v8 are bullet proof they run forever can't go wrong with those v6 just be more cautious about but even those I have seen with 200k on them.
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