By on October 8, 2012

Every classic Mercedes enthusiast and their antique mother will brag about the longevity of their ride. Then you have the Camrys. The Accords. The Volvo 240/740/940 triplets. Silverados. F-150s. Crown Vics. Town Cars. And of course the VW TDI models.

They all will endure along with Cavalier cockroaches and the ever ready Rangers. But there is only one true ‘Exploder’ in the car business.

This Ford Explorer represents the absolute best of Fords work in the 1990′s. Tough, strong, durable, simple, comfortable. Even luxurious if you went for an Eddie Bauer or a maxed out XLT package.

I love these SUV’s. Every one I finance can endure the worst of owners if need be. I try to avoid that. But I’ve probably gone through over a dozen Explorers and Mountaineers over the last few years and every one of them has been tougher than a brick shithouse.

This one is as well. 321,534 miles of American quality will be going through the block sometime this week. There will be no announcements of transmission, engine, or any other mechanical issue when it is given the thirty seconds of attention at the auction.

 

Will it sell for $300 $500? $1000? Maybe even $1500? I have no idea. But feel free to guess. It has a cloth interior, alloy wheels, step rails and an engine somewhere between 3.0 Liters and 5.0 Liters. Guess which one, and while you’re at it, feel free to lament the loss of 91,000 Explorers during the Cash for Clunkers debacle.

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90 Comments on “Monday Mileage Champion: 2000 Ford Explorer...”


  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I’d say the 5.0. And I don’t really lament the passing of Explorers in CFC. I did get upset about the one GNX though. What an idiot! The VIN on that car would be worth more than the rebate…

  • avatar
    turbosaab

    I think the V8s typically came with alloy wheels, no the chromed steelies on this one. I’ll go with 4.0. (was the 3.0 even available in Explorers of this vintage?)

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      There was an xlt towing package with the 5.0, this might be it. Otherwise it came with a sohc 4.0 tht likes to eat timing belts or an ohv 4.0. The only way it could be the og engine is if it’s the 5.0 or ohv, if it has the 5.0 it has a heavy duty 4 speed instead of the weaker 5. It could easily be the og engine and transmission. Otherwise it’s on its second engine and third transmission. Still love them with their Panther like parts prices.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    A 90s Ford with 321K miles? Anything over $300 is pure insanity. I bet the transmission isn’t original and probably quite a few other things too.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I’m thinking $1000. Picture a divorced mom with 3 or 4 kids shopping at the cheap grocery store. She’ll be making weekly payments.

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    An Explorer on Columbus Day? Oh you…

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I can attest to the longevity of these, especially the Rangers, having owned one a bit older, a ’92 with the 4.0L pushrod V6, getting nearly 237K out of mine before I had to dump it, still running strong, though with issues that had developed over the previous year.

    I’d wager this one probably has either the 4.0L V6, or it has the V8. Seems no matter what motor either these, or the trucks got, they seem to last, and last, and last during the late 80′s, on through much of the 90′s. This is mid to late 90′s era Explorer and looks to be in decent enough shape for over 300K miles on it.

    The thing with the older ones with the mechanical odometers, it lacks the 6th digit, so you have to document the mileage over 100K, and I had a clue as at 126K, mine was reported to CarFax during a repair, I think (can’t remember now), and that was in 2001, so from there, I was able to ascertain that the mileage on my truck was, indeed, 189K or so when I bought it in 2006.

    This one may, or may not have the electronic odometer, and thus will probably show the full mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      How much money was saved by omitting the 6th digit from the odometer? Very short-sighted, literally. Unless, of course, it was expected to Expire before 100K miles.

      I believe contemporary European and Japanese cars had six-digit odometers as a rule.

      • 0 avatar
        chicagoland

        The used older style odo’s, not “omit” the 6th digit.

        Cars from before WW2 had 4 digit odos!

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The sixth digit really never was a money issue. As chicagoland mentions below, the odometers back in the day kind of matched life. Five digits were adequate back in the 60s. The real reason European and Japanese cars had six digits is very simple. 100,000 kilometers is 63,000 miles. Even in 1965 the crappiest car could turn over a 5 digit kilometer based odometer. So, all cars from the land of metric had six digits. Cars that were imported here were just recalibrated to read miles and the sixth digit remained. Domestic makers began to add the extra digit to silence the idiots who said the lack of six digits was “proof” that the domestic product couldn’t last. Today, almost any car is 200K capable with proper care….

    • 0 avatar
      supremebrougham

      A little Explorer trivia…

      The only engines offered for the Explorers was either the 4.0 liter V6 or the 5.0 liter V8. The V8 wasn’t offered until the 1997 model year. In 1998 the rear end was restyled to move the license plate up to the lift gate from the bumper. In 1999 the front bumper got the round fog lamps, which this one has. This look stayed on through 2001. All Explorers from 1995-2001 have a mechanical six-digit odometer.

      I’m betting that this one has the 4.0 liter, because the V8 models always had a V8 emblem on them, usually on the front fenders, and I don’t see it on this one.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    I think our 2000 Mountaineer had “V8″ badges behind the front wheels, so I’m guessing this one has the 4.0 V6.

    This one doesn’t appear to have rust along the bottoms of the doors like its upper Midwest siblings all seem to have these days, and the plastic cladding is covering up the equally rust-prone rear quarters.

    Our Mountaineer was traded in on our minivan back in 2005 without any issues. My in-laws have the next gen Mountaineer, which has had four, count ‘em, four radiator replacements for some crazy reason.

    I’ll say it goes for $1000.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    Trying to decide if it says “XlS” or V8 on the side there…I think it says XLS lol

  • avatar

    No V8 badge on the fender, no V8. It’s a 4.0.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      If it’s a 4.0 its the ohv, not a chance that it’s the original engine if it’s the sohc. As I incorrectly stated above the timing chain guides wear out, not a belt. The guides wear out or break eventually. The chain slacks, the rear most one usually. Ya turn the key one day and she’s dead, but no worries about running one is just $250 an afternoon and a few cases of beer away from getting her back k on the road.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    Ah the glory day when the Explorer was a competant, reliable, and durable SUV.

    Now were stucl with an ugly “thing” that’s nothing more than a Taurus with a half an inch more ground clearence and a hatch.

    Bold moves indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      Hoser

      And Egoboost! you forgot Egoboost! And V6 with the fuel economy of a V8. You’re slipping.

      The 5.0s of this era had a V8 badge on the fender. This one seems to be lacking those, so I’d say it has the 4.0

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        The obvious doesn’t have to be stated all the time.

        But I’ll throw you a bone:

        It’s an appliance too. And has Ford figured or even acknowledge the complete loss of steering in the new Explorers yet?

        Of course not, must be the way forward.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      What about the 4th generation Explorer? Used ones should be getting down below $10,000 by now, right? Still durable and reliable?

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      The bold move was the realization that when you drive down the street, you see a single person in a 5 or 7 passenger BOF SUV getting 10 miles per gallon, and that makes absolutely no sense.

      The two reasons you’d buy a $50,000 Tahoe over a $24,000 Equinox? You want to tow something or you want 4WD. The first reason makes some sense, until you realize you could buy a truck AND an Equinox for the price of one Tahoe, new, and get the best of both worlds. And the second reason makes little sense for 99.9% of people, because AWD and a good set of tires will do wonders. Again, for most people.

      Freedom is great and all, but when we’re all trying to use the same resources, maybe you *shouldn’t* drive your nasty, sagging, going-to-breakdown-soon 20 year old SUV that gets single digit mileage, in town, by yourself. You may not mind the $120 to fill your tank (in the same period it cost me $35, mind you) but part of me should at least try and care that you’re using a FINITE resource, rather obnoxiously I might add, and maybe it makes more sense to buy what you need.

      Technology is great in that today, I could get a 7 passenger CUV (GMT900) that gets the same gas mileage that my girlfriend’s especially cramped by today’s standards 2003 Mercury Sable gets. Or, if we are sticking to what we need, we could get as near as makes no difference double that mileage in a Focus/3/Golf hatch, which by the way has more room than that billed-as-larger Sable.

      Anyway, don’t be so silly.

      Bold moves.

      Etc.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        Wow, so much ignorance.

        Are you saying that the only difference between a 24K Equinox (V6 mileage of 16/23) and a $50K tahoe (V8 mileage of (15/21) is the tow rating?

        AWD is a joke. 4WD serves a purpose, AWD is for people that don’t know how to drive.

        I drive a Crew Cab Silverado all by myself. I have a big, gas guzzling boat that I pull a few times in the summer, thus I need the truck.

        The GMT900 is not a limp-wristed CUV chassis. The GMT900 platform is the Tahoe/Suburban/etc chassis.

        So, you, sir, shouldn’t be so silly.

        Next?

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        My apologies for confusing GMT960 with GMT900.

        The only FUNCTIONAL difference between loading your 5’2 110 pound blonde wife and her small dog into an Equinox versus a Tahoe is tow rating. You can two a small boat or trailer with a mid-sized (or full sized) CUV, no problem. And sorry, but as somebody with common sense, if I’m spending all but a week or two of my year NOT towing things over 3,000 pounds, I’m going for the vehicle that gets double the gas mileage, is more comfortable and costs tens of thousands of dollars less.

        Yesterday I saw a half ton towing a large piece of farm equipment. That was the last first time I’ve seen somebody around here, in Green Bay, towing something that needed more than 1,500 pounds of towing capacity, in a loooooong time.

        Be dumb with your money. It’s your money. Just know there will be people like myself laughing whenever they see you in your huge 12 MPG truck, driving to the grocery store, by yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Why stop at an Equinox? There’s no functional difference stepping down to a Kia clown car, either.

        Life isn’t just about function. Cars are toys, too. If you don’t see that why are you here reading about them?

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @tuffjuff 86SN2001 drives his Silverado to work and shopping. Makes him an universally recognized truck expert without any known peer. He still doesn’t understand that if the new Explorer or any other vehicle loses power, the power steering mysteriously goes out. Have no fear, he’s a Dodge fan too!! Bailout Boy might be a better pseudonym. Oh, and Subaru built a brand with AWD and Audi doesn’t do too shabby with AWD

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Well put Dan.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        “Be dumb with your money. It’s your money.”

        How is it dumb? Do you have any idea what a 1986 Ski Nautique + trailer weighs? Clearly you don’t.

        Do you have any idea how much I paid for my ’06, crew cab truck with 18K miles on it? Clearly you don’t. Why do I need a $40K POS Explorer when my $22K truck can do more, get the same mileage (12 is a joke BTW)? Hell, if my truck got 6 MPG I would still be better off than to spend all that money for a few more MPGs. You are the one who needs some money help.

        And laugh all you want, I WILL GET the last laugh as I am very happy with my purchase and it makes no difference to me what you think. But you should know what you’re talking about before you make such silly statements.

        NEXT!

        ——————–

        “He still doesn’t understand that if the new Explorer or any other vehicle loses power, the power steering mysteriously goes out.”

        Where are you getting this?

        The new POS Explorers are losing power steering WHILE THEY CONTINUE TO RUN! While they are moving down the roads.

        Research before you run your mouth. And where did I call myself a “truck expert”?

        Your personal attacks are cute though, and in violation of TTACs terms of service.

        And yes, Dan, VERY well said!

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ SN I’ll run my my mouth whenever I feel like it. I though you where an expert because of your in-depth descriptions of vehicles you’ve never owned or driven. Your it’s a Ford, it’s a POS comments show such intellect and incisive analysis. How am I in violation of TTAC policies?

      • 0 avatar
        Loser

        “Wow, so much ignorance”

        “But you should know what you’re talking about before you make such silly statements”

        The irony! These are classic coming from you silvy, P71, 86SN or who ever you are this week!

        Bold ignorance indeed!!

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        The Explorer power steering was reported to the NHSTA back in June. Lot’s of reporting, gnashing of teeth, severe umbrage and shock in the press and on the ‘net for a few days. Ford went to work to fix real and percived faults under warranty. No updates from the NHSTA since then.
        Akin your making a mountain out of molehill over the Escape’s fuel line leaks. It’s seems you lurk like child anticipating saying neener, neener, neener, whenever Ford makes a mistake. However, you are totally silent when Ford corrects a problem. I doubt I’m the only one who notices this.
        Sorry about the pentasyllable words.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Hey, my Land Cruiser gets 12 MPG and I daily drive it (sometimes the daily drive is over “roads” covered with big rocks LOL). Go ahead, laugh at me when I fill it up at like 90 bucks a tank. I’ll laugh right back when you write that big check at the end of the month for your depreciating CUV. I bet all things considered my big gas guzzling Toyota is cheaper to drive. And what are you paying for? Something that tries to look like it is capable of doing the things my truck can actually do. A new Explorer may actually tow more than my truck. So what. Real SUVs are about things other than towing. My suspension probably has more flex in 1 corner than a CUV (or modern IRS truck for that matter) has in the whole suspension. Can I get locking diffs on a CUV? Will a winch fit behind the stock bumper on an Explorer? Don’t worry though. I may laugh when you get your CUV stuck in the snow, but I’ll still pull you out.

      • 0 avatar
        86SN2001

        “SN I’ll run my my mouth whenever I feel like it.”

        Clearly.
        ——–

        “The irony”

        Do you know the definition of irony? I don’t think you do.

        —————

        “Ford went to work to fix real and percived faults under warranty”

        No, they completely ignored and continue to ignore the issue, which is typical for Ford.

        And because it’s this silly electric power steering, it takes vastly more effort to turn the wee; than if a tried and true hydraulic unit stopped working.

        Again folks, research can be your friend.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Most common use of irony, people with no life on the internet debating if something is ironic or not. Verbal irony, either spoken or written, arises from an awareness of contrast between what is and what ought to be.

      “Again folks, research can be your friend”

      I agree with you on this, so please take your own advice.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    I think another example of a very well-built Ford from roughly the same time was the Aerostar van

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      I’ve never heard anything positive about the Aerostar. I don’t have anything against them, but did ride in quite a few of them and they really felt agricultural when compared to contemporary minivans. The sounds the powertrain and body structure made, were not pleasant. Neither was the ride…

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        Aerostar was IIRC the first non-luxury vehicle with a 5-speed automatic. For the last year only, I believe ’97 (mostly built in ’96). The Explorer Sport Trac with the same trans and engine plopped out in ’99 or so and I remember thinking it was pretty absurd that such a utilitarian vehicle got that before the mommy-mobile regular Explorer.

      • 0 avatar
        markholli

        +1 The 4.0 SOHC V6 used in the Aerostar and Explorer has got to be one of the worst sounding engines ever made. Agricultural indeed.

        But boy was that Aerostar a looker!!! Woooweee!

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        The aerostar like the explorer sport 4 door explorer and the truck variant the sport track and Ranger rode on the same chassis shared engines transmissions and transfer cases. You could purchase an extended length honest to God 4wd Eddie Bauer aerostar. Which I am currently looking for. For my summer camper.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    This is definitely a 4.0L Cologne V6. The XLS never came with the V8, and the plastic bumpers and clad wheels scream cheap, no options, and base motor.

    I’ve had two Explorers, 2002 and a 2008, 4.0 and 4.6 respectively. My 02 had 210k miles with plenty of life left. Sold the 2008 for an F-150. Explorers are, or we’re, tough BOF SUVs that were indestructible.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    These are well-liked? I had a 96 XLT 5-speed, and in 90k miles it ate three sets of ball joints, the gearbox needed a rebuild, and the clutch was messed up. Of course I wasn’t afraid to tow U-Haul car trailers with it (back before Exploders were banned from there), but it never struck me as the paragon on reliability/longevity that its made out to be here. At 90k miles, with a $1,000 repair bill to pass inspection, it got traded on a new 03 Subaru Legacy wagon that I still drive today (167k miles later). With the exception of towing automobiles with it (across the yard our out of a ditch probably doesn’t count), it’s been run harder and held up better (although it is getting tired now and has needed $$$$ thrown at it in the past two years).

    My father-in-law also had a similar vintage Exploder…it seemed to spend a bunch of time in the shop and generally was regarded as a “meh” vehicle.

    Also, up here in New England, most late 90s Exploders are complete rust buckets by now.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I know what you mean. This is parallel dimension stuff. I knew plenty of Explorer owners back in the day, the last one throwing in the towel about 3 years ago. Most were bought new and unloaded for less than was owed on them after one too many major expenses due to being costed-out pieces of junk. A coworker’s Explorer like the feature here was also the only vehicle to ever give me motion sickness, and I’ve sailed through tropical storms on a 42 foot sloop. Looking at True Delta reliability ratings shows that the Explorer has been one of the worst vehicles foisted on the public, so we’re not alone, nor were my customers when I worked as a service writer.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      Speaking of the Ford Exploder – remember those rich guys in Vegas who bought an Exploder and an RX350 and hardcore Ford Raptor’d them all over the desert until the RX350 actually did explode? That Explorer took SO much abuse with so little effort, it was insane.

      Now I want to watch that video.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I had a Ranger with the 4.0 V6 and it could barely move my trailer, thus I never understood how people managed to tow with the same engine in a heavier Explorer. My Ford V6 would ping badly while towing if you didn’t move up to mid-grade, the cruise control considered +/- 20 mph close enough, had some issue with the injectors and overheating, plus got sorry mileage. Lastly the A/C was complete crap – I dropped close to $2K on A/C related repairs during one year before the wife said “enough, just buy a new truck”… so I got a Dodge Dakota. Worst these Explorers rolled over making their owners pay an even heavier price for owning such junk. I knew a guy who escaped (hey maybe that’s where Ford got the name for their smaller CUV) his Explorer death trap with only a broken arm. Regardless of price I’d recommend staying away from this ride.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Sorry you got a bad one. I used my Rangers as work trucks. I hauled skid-steer loaders, boats, and jet-skis with mine. No fuel/fuel injector issues, cruise worked correctly, and the AC was meat locker cold. What where you hauling in your trailer? Mine would tow a wood splitter like it wasn’t there. 2k? That would buy you a new AC system.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      Growing up, my dad had a ’92 Explorer with the OHV Cologne V6 and 5-speed manual. Pushbutton 4WD was a novelty, as were the cruise control buttons on the steering wheel. Even with something like 150 hp, we had no problems towing campers, trailers, or boats (probably nothing over 4,000 lbs…), all over the place, often on mountainous interstate highways. And it was our main trip vehicle for the family of 4 with stuff in the back stacked to the ceiling. Always seemed to do fairly well.

      The 4WD went out a single, solitary time on a beach on the NC Outer Banks.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    I’m guessing 4.0L…and at that mileage someone paid dearly at the gas station. These things were horrid on fuel economy. Just keeping the once strong fleet of Explorers running must have depleated the oil fields of several 3rd world countries.

    We had a 1st gen Explorer in the family. Compared to the Blazers and Grand Cherokees of the time I guess they were par, but all 3 were more or less garbage. The Ford was a winner in being slow and underpowered. It was also a death trap. Never ever felt safe driving or riding in that thing. I also blame the Explorer’s success for Ford ceeding the mid-size segment to Toyota and letting the Taurus become garbage.

    • 0 avatar
      texan01

      I dunno about horrible gas mileage, My 95 Explorer has gotten as high as 29 and a miserable 12mpg. Commuting back and forth it gets about 17-18mpg at my normal 35mph in heavy stop and go traffic, and gets on average 24 on the highway, That might be due to the 4.0s general wear after 305,000 miles but to me its not out of line with every other car I’ve owned. It gets slightly better than my V8 powered disco Chevy, and slightly worse than the 2000 4 cylinder Contour. I owned the Contour for about a year, and have owned the Explorer for 11 years. It was to be replaced by the Contour but considering that the Contour in traffic got 1-2mpg better, it wasn’t cost effective to keep it and be cramped and uncomfortable.

      It got slightly better than the Contour for road trips less than 300 miles. I could match what the car got due to the Contours lazy computer not adjusting for highway travel. That car could get about 40mpg once the computer figured out that you were driving a sustained speed, but it took at least two tanks of mediocre (for it) 23mpg for it to figure it out. Meanwhile the Explorer would hit 22-24 and stay there for any road trip. Both cars would be topped up just before getting on the highway.

      You are right, the 1st gens weren’t terribly well built or fuel efficient. When they went to the SLA and ditched the I-beam front end, they got a lot better, and my ’95 still has OBD-I same as your 1st gen. I did lower mine an inch which made for a much less ‘tippy’ feeling ride. The Grand Cherokee felt cramped, and the S-Blazers felt cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        The only way I can see an old Explorer getting 29 MPG is if you took the highway gas mileage figure and added 10 to it.

        I contend Ford didn’t build good cars in the 1990s, period. From the girl Mustangs (or were those 2001-2005′s?) to the head gasket happy Taurii.

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        It got it… once.

        Puttering around Colorado @ 55mph. I’ve never gotten it that high ever again. It usually gets 24 on the nose and sits there, unless you are hammering it at 90- then it drops to 17. I’ve kept records on it since about 2008, and also on fuel economy.gov you’ll find it on there as well for some sporadic older records. Looking at my records it went 230 miles on 7.7 gallons of gas on 5/26/09. I’ve tracked fuel economy for years starting with my first car as a way to gauge if its needing attention, and I know when the Explorers dips below 15 for any length of time, that it’s time to throw a tuneup at it or a new coolant temp sensor or hook the scanner up to it and read the engine variables to see what’s awry.

        As they say, your mileage may vary. Realistically mine gets 15-24. The 29 is an outlier but it is documented, as even my buddy with me was scratching his head at the numbers. I thought the sending unit had failed because we had gone for about 230 miles which usually is a bit over 1/2 tank used, and it hadn’t dropped much below 3/4 tank on the gauge. The nice thing about driving your car for 200,000 miles, you know all its habits and when things don’t seem right you stop and check it out.

        There was a dude on the explorer forum that consistently got over 30mpg on his 97.

        Mine’s had head issues, radiator issues, heater core issues, new ball joints at 280,000 miles, two fuel pumps, 3 new rear bumpers, umpteen sets of brake pads and tires, 2 new injectors, new plugs about every 75,000 miles, a transmission at 225,000, replaced the OE alternator at 249,000 , and again at 300,000. It’s not been Japanese reliable, but then again, it’s a mechanical device, it will wear out.

        And you’re right Ford didn’t build good CARS. But they did it reasonably well with my truck, Quality was job 2 or 3 instead of 400.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      My 98 with over 200k on its second engine. And transmission has been getting a steady 20mpg for the last 5 years.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        Ford may have not built good cars, but my f150 and explorer have been the definition of reliable. My 96 f150 with the straight six has seen and done things 99% of trucks would never be able to accomplish and survive. Same with the explorer, use it like the truck that it is. When it breaks fix it and put her back on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        Mine’s still on the original engine, but it’s the pushrod version. I’ve run synthetic oil in it since 103,000 miles and keep 10-15,000 mile change intervals due to the mileage I had been accruing on it in college, The cylinders still have the original crosshatching on the bores, compression is still good and even, and uses virtually no oil between changes unless it’s been run hard on road trips.

        My brother in law bought it brand new, and I bought it from him, so it’s been in the family most of its life. Most of the miles on it came from college commutes from Dallas to Lubbock, Lubbock to College Station, CS to Dallas, Dallas to Stephenville, Plus the yearly 1,000+ mile road trips I’ll take, it’s been to Colorado with that little 2500-3,000 mile round trip yearly for the last 8 years, a couple trips to Nebraska, and all over Texas.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Was it only the people that I knew who owned one of these that had transmission problems at +/- 100K miles? Especially if any kind of towing was involved.

    I have worked on a few of these and I would say that the reliability is so-so. Typical 1990s Ford plastics and electrical component flakiness.

    • 0 avatar
      texan01

      Mine went 227,000 miles before the original trans grendaded 2nd gear.

      It’s not been perfect, but its never left me stranded, and today it looks like its due for a new radiator.

  • avatar
    dts187

    I’m with the B&B on this one. I’ve known a few who owned this generation of Explorer and they certainly weren’t the mileage champions this one is.

  • avatar
    raph

    Sigh… V8 Explorers got the good stuff (heads, intake, DIS)when it came to the 5.0, should put the Exploder V8 in the Mustang till oh… say…. 1999 when they had figured out how to give the 2v mod motors at least a little bit of power.

  • avatar
    markholli

    I bought a 1994 Explorer XLT (4.0 SOHC V6, Auto)in 2002 with 260,000 miles. Except for a transmission that had been replaced at 90,000 miles and fitted with a cooler for towing, everything else was original.

    I drove it for a couple years, then passed it on to my older brother, who drove it for 6 years, then passed it on to my younger brother who drove it for a year.

    When the family was done with it it had 320,000 miles or so. Still ran, but the entire brake system was shot. The guy who bought it drove it away from us, and as far as I know it’s still on the road.

  • avatar
    markholli

    Definitely the 4.0 V6 here. They didn’t offer the 3.0 in the Explorer.

    I guess it will sell for $900.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    If it sells for $1K or more I’m going to be mad.

    My wife had a 2001 Eddie Bauer with 150K that she dumped for a Prius (tripling her gas mileage). We donated the Explorer to charity and the charity’s contractor got $600 for it (I assume at auction). I was very disappointed, that truck was totally loaded and had relatively new tires and an aftermarket Pioneer stereo with nav, etc., that I spent $1k to put in for her two Christmases ago.

    I have a sneaking suspicion the charity’s contractor sweethearted it. So please let me know what this one ends up going for. Thanks.

  • avatar
    texan01

    I must have gotten one of the better ones then, as my ’95 has gone the distance with as few replacement parts needed. Actually the replacement parts haven’t lasted nearly as long as the original parts. like getting more than 40,000 miles out of a radiator vs 160,000 for the original. It’s at 306,050 as it sits outside of my office, last tank got it 17mpg of commuter and moving duties that also included pulling a 1500 pound trailer loaded with furniture, along with an overloaded cargo area.

    About the only things I’d change on mine, is the flinty ride, and needs more ponies from the rather muted OHV 4.0. It’s not very vocal as the revs climb unless its wrung completely out at 5200 rpm., but compared to my other car, it’s as noisy as a muscle car, but with no bacon to backup the begginstrips. I did lower it an inch which made it soooooo much better feeling. I don’t know why Ford didn’t go ahead and do that. Shocks last on average 100,000 miles before I replace them just on principal.

    What it isn’t – a sports car, a fuel miser, a luxury car, a ride that you can cut diamonds in the back, a HD 3/4 ton truck, fast, economical, quiet, have a bangin’ system.

    What it is – a 1/2 ton truck with a 6’4″ bed, or a 42″ bed truck with seating for 5, a good highway cruiser in the front seats,will go fast enough to out run most rednecks with full size trucks (fastest I’ve had it is 115mph) , it will carry 12′ of lumber much better than dad’s short bed truck, will take a fair amount of abuse off road despite lacking a transfer case, and all the other necssary bits for 4×4 action.

    What’ll tickle your nosehairs is the first of the Explorers are coming up on their eligibility for antique and classic car plates in Texas. IF I have mine another 8 years, it will have classic car plates just to screw with people.

    Having said that, yes, mine is working on transmission 2, and it looks like 3 is looming on the horizon after 85,000 miles of WOT into 3rd gear its starting to slip. The engine still has good compression and leaks substantially more than it burns (a quart every 4,500 miles) The body still looks new, I still get people asking me if it’s an 05 or 06 model, it still rides like a truck, it still gets ok mileage to me– actually better mileage now than it did at 100,000 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      typhoon

      I have a 2001 Eddie Bauer Explorer (with the Windsor V8 and AWD), fitted with a ladder rack, as my work unit. It rolled 200,000 miles a few weeks ago and still going strong. Fuel economy is awful for a commuter but fair for what it does. It’s an easy vehicle to appreciate if you take it for what it is—a comfortable and capable light-duty truck—rather than what it isn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        texan01

        Yep, I quit driving mine in a hurry, and get much better mileage as a result. I do work it like a truck, though mostly it’s my daily driver and commuter. I view it as an all-purpose light truck that is easy to park in town and can carry people comfortably.

        If I want fast and good handling– well thats why I have that ’77 Chevelle, which despite the 25hp handicap from the 305 is faster than the Explorer and gets about the same mileage.

        The V8s are damn near bullet-proof.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I bought a 94 Ranger XLT long cab, 5 spd 4×4 6//11 to replace the rotted out Grand Wagoneer. I only paid 600$ for it. Clutch was shot and it had a few mushy spots on the frame. Strictly speaking, I paid too much for it, because it needed at least 1500 worth of parts and labor. But other than that, the truck drove pretty OK. The usual frame trouble of the rear spring mounts rotting off had been fixed. But all I have done to the engine was oil and filters. The Ranger 4.0 V 6 runs great. It 26826.0 on the odometer. It now has 28,XXX , 1300 of that was a round trip to Toronto. It did great until the rear u-joint failed. I just disconnected the shaft and continued on the front end. On one tank , I got 21 MPG. I filled up the tank about 30 miles from home on July 4th and have yet to tank up. The truck is perfect for my needs.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    These horrible vehicles – cheap Ford made a passenger vehicle out of a pickup – are the reason for the extra cost of tire pressure monitoring today. Now snow tires cost twice as much when you buy separate wheels for a new vehicle.

    Thanks Ford for upholding your reputation. Nice that you made $10k on each one of these crapfests.

    • 0 avatar
      markholli

      Ford was definitely not the first company to make a passenger vehicle out of a pickup truck: Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Blazer, Toyota 4Runner, and others pre-date it by years. You can hardly blame them for the runaway success of these things.

      In fact, the overwhelming sales success of the Explorer shows pretty clearly how much better it must have been from other SUV’s of the time.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        As I recall, these things were so poorly designed that owners were instructed to lower tire pressure to improve ride/prevent flipping. That resulted in tire failure in high speed high temp situations.

        Ford made $10k on each of these heaps and the result is we have to pay for tire pressure monitoring systems.
        http://www.citizen.org/documents/rootcause.pdf

      • 0 avatar

        @thornmark

        Ford recommended 26psi at first and that makes it handle like a drunk pig with no reflexes. I run mine at 32-35 psi and it still handles like a pig but a sober one. It also addresses the problem of the tire tucking under and coming off the rim if you get it sideways. Mine still has the original sticker on the door for 26psi. It rides ok, but to me rides better at 32.

        Ford and Firestone both recommended higher pressures after the rollover debacle – which to me pointed to 3 faults, Ford for not lowering the thing an inch, Firestone for shitty tires, and drivers that had not one clue how to react to a blown tire. There were tests done by Car and Driver to simulate a blowout and never had one issue of it rolling over, or doing anything out of the ordinary.

        If you want a really scary handling SUV, try driving an Isuzu product, the Rodeo/Passport and Trooper all have lots of body roll at far lower speeds that don’t lead to confidence at parking lot speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Got the money from Ford for new tires. Took the Wilderness AT’s off my Ranger and put them on grandpa’s F-150. Forgot what brand of tires I put on the Ranger. The Ranger is long gone. Grandpa, the F-150, and the Wilderness AT’s are still going. I thought TMPS was an option.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I would say the absurd push for maximizing even minute fuel economy gains and lower emissions per vehicle mile travelled – a very left-leaning policy by and only by the federal government – is what we have to thank for TPMS being standard.

      By your thinking, we can thank GM for the poor crash performance of pre-CAD vehicles (or any other manufacturer, take your pick) for the added cost and complexity of mandatory airbags in modern cars.

      I smell a poorly-informed agenda.

  • avatar
    Marko

    Since it’s a V6, it has to have a 5R55 series transmission. Does anyone know why those aren’t such a problem in the Ranger and pre-2002 Explorer, but are terrible in the 2002+ Explorer? Extra weight to haul around?

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      Hell if I know but it’s a known issue for sure. I guess it’s just a roll of the dice, after I got mine rebuilt with top of the line components it shifts like butter.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    at least it survived!

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I had the precurser to this vehicle, a 1988 Bronco II. It remains to this day the best car my family has owned. It was a base XL with only a tape player and AC as options. 350k on it when I sold it (still on the road today). The AC still worked (had to charge it once a year after the driveway R134 conversion). The only major repair was a rebuild of the Mitsibushi sourced 5 speed at around 200k and a bad clutch slave cylinder (internal so had to drop the trans).

    Others I know however that owned these had very different experiences. Cracked and warped cylinder heads, rust, and other not so good experiences. They seemed to come in two flavors: The survive the apocalypse tough as nails zombies can’t kill it variety (mine), or the “I’ll never buy another Ford again after this pile of crap (most of the others I know of). Perhaps the Explorers were similar in this respect.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      Yet another derivative of the Ford Ranger. The difference between the crap box ones and the survive the apocalypse ones is the change from the 2.8 cologne v6 to the 2.9. Too bad the rust monsters done eated them all here in cleveland.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If the timing chain guides on that 4.0L are original and intact I would be very surprised! To change the rear timing chain and guides is a motor removing ordeal. If needed, it usually grounds these things permenantly.

    I’ve bought and sold several as well and they sell like hotcakes inspite of being one of the most useless vehicles (to me) to own. Small enough that it can’t carry a whole lot. Not big or powerful enough to tow my car trailer. Still gets crappy fuel mileage.

    Your average 18-35 year old male disagrees however, I’ve never had one sit for sale for more than 2 weeks.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      I wouldn’t tow a car trailer with the 4.0 unless you put a large cooler on the tranny. But the 5.0 is a different story. It will carry you your friends and their luggage and your car trailer with the heavy duty 4 speed automatic. With beefed up components, it will easily tow 7500 pounds. Anything more you need a 3/4 ton.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The power really isn’t the issue, it’s the chassis. I’ve towed a car trailer with a vehicle on it with a Explorer similar to the one above, as well as a 4.0L Ranger and they tend to really get tossed around in cross winds and feel a bit unstable.

        Not to mention when appropriately loaded with a 6000lb trailer, the tongue weight exceeds what Ford recommends and causes the rear suspension to bottom out over almost any bump.

        If you’re looking to tow, you might as well just go for a 1/2 ton based vehicle and get the same fuel mileage while being more useful.

        Sure you could install air helper springs, load distributing bars etc. to help, but the 1/2 ton will still be more sure footed while not exceeding the manufacturer’s published limits.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        I would never put that much weight on the bumper, anything over 5k i go with a weight distribution hitch as a matter of principle. The Eddie Bauer and limited models with towing package also had a rear air suspension load leveling option. But I’m the type of guy that that puts load range e tires on my trucks so I have a larger built in safety margin even when pulling heavy.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        A 7500 lb trailer plus a full cab seems like an awful lot of weight for a 2nd gen Explorer to handle for anything more than a few miles.

        I definitely wouldn’t put that scenario in the “easy” category.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        I wouldn’t and don’t do it every day, but if ya need to move a trailer or camper or a boat occasionally it does quite well.


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