By on September 24, 2012

True Miles Unknown. For some folks these three words conjure up the fear of a car with more miles on it than the Grateful Dead. Others simply head on off to Carfax and try to approximate the mileage figure.

This one had 1 owner and 280,923 miles on it as of January 2012.

17 service records at the dealership. A pretty healthy record of attendance given that it’s an 01 model.

This Expedition had a surprisingly decent interior on it. You see those frayed edges on the driver seat? They’re as common as kudzu on these Fords. Trying to find an old Expedition with good leather seats is like trying to find an old Volvo 850 with a good left side bolster on the driver’s seat.  Weight, age and lack of leather conditioning always wear them out.

This Expedition also happens to be the ‘Quiver’ 8 seater. I always thought that these vehicles would end up in the holler or perhaps with 24 speakers, 6 TV’s and a young man with a deep appreciation for polka.

Actually this one was driven 30k+ for a while, then sat. It went through the sit/drive cycle a second time before finding the long and winding road to automotive wholesale heaven.

I wonder if that rear tailgate is sagging in sympathy of the frayed front seat. It sold ‘True Miles Unknown’ for $1100 + a $115 auction fee. The new owner is a buy-here pay-here dealer who has a solid Latino clientele at multiple locations. I’m sure he’ll have no trouble selling it.

The question for today is the same as last time. Which engine? Some of the features that I just highlighted should give you a good clue as to what’s lurking under the hood. Gotta love those Expeditions!



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38 Comments on “Monday Mileage Champion: 2001 Ford Expedition XLT...”

  • avatar

    Wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still on the original engine, the 2V 4.6 and 5.4 Triton V8’s that went in these things were like cockroaches. My dad took his 1999 Expedition Eddie Bauer with the 5.4 to 200,000 miles with no major engine work, and the next owner was a friend who drove it till it hit 260,000 miles and only scrapped it because it needed a boatload of front end work. It was a nice vehicle, but it had a temperamental factory air ride system that was quite expensive to keep operational.

  • avatar

    I thought all of these had the 5.4L standard. I could only imagine how slow one of these would be with the lowly 4.6.

  • avatar

    4WD or 2WD? Either way its a Ford mod motor 4.6 or 5.4 2v which are known to last. Most Expeditions had the 5.4 which is pretty much a given on a 4×4.

  • avatar

    I’ll hammer a guess on the 4.6l. XLT, appears to be 2WD, and – aside from leather – not lavishly-appointed. EBs usually all carry 5.4s, ditto 4WDs.

    Either way, don’t pressure wash the motor or you’ll be buying a coil or three.

  • avatar

    Do we know how many plugs were shot out of the heads in 280K miles? Because these engines throw plugs like crazy (pretty sad when an automaker can’t get spark plugs right. As far as I know, they have been a part of gasoline engines for some time now).

    • 0 avatar

      I’m thinking you are referring to the 3 valve versions of the 4.6 and 5.4, the 2 valve versions were not nearly as problematic as their successors. If you owned an 2004 to 2006 F-150 or 2003 to 2006 Expedition, you were lucky if a plug change came in at less than $500

      • 0 avatar

        No in certain years the 2 valve was reduced to only 4 spark plug threads and if the machine that torqued them was out of calibration or someone replacing them down the road over-torqued them they would blow out of the head while driving. The 3 valve has a different problem with it’s unique 2 piece design where if the proper procedures are not followed you can leave part of the plug in the engine. If you pay that much for removal it is because the person doing it #1 did not follow the proper procedure when removing the plugs and #2 does not have the good tool for removing the rest of the plug or doesn’t know how to use it.

    • 0 avatar

      Silvy has a new name but the same tired rhetoric. Must be difficult being an Obama Motors fanboy when the company is on the edge of bankruptcy #2. Anyway, these engines had plug issues for all of a year and a half (2000-2001, fixed in the 02 head revision) until they switched from 4 plug threads to 13. Even if you did have a blowout, the car wouldn’t even stop running – you would get an engine misfire code, and the head was fixed with a $10 helicoil. But lets not let facts get in the way of you bashing an out of production motor.

      • 0 avatar
        Ian Anderson

        Yep, Silvy lives on!!

      • 0 avatar

        Dave, my wife’s sister had an expedition a few years back that blew out a plug. I got a helicoil insert kit from Autozone for around 10 bucks and it took me about 10 minutes to fix it. As far as the ball joints go, they aren’t hard to replace, and a good brand such as Moog will last.

      • 0 avatar

        “Silvy has a new name but the same tired rhetoric. Must be difficult being an Obama Motors fanboy when the company is on the edge of bankruptcy #2”

        Oh how creative! Baseless personal attacks.

        I don’t know what Obama Motors is, so I really can’t be a fanboy.

        Nice try though.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep, not really all the frequent of a problem. Once fixed, the rest of the motor will last a long time if taken care of.

  • avatar

    We had a 2002 Expedition XLT which we purchased as the new body style 2003s were coming in. That Truck was built FORD TOUGH. Only downside was the brake wear and the need for new suspension parts every 30,000 miles. Finally got rid of it after 111,000 miles… traded it for $4000 to Cadillac for a 2nd generation STS.

    Back then, the only options were an upgrade to 18″ wheels from 17″, leather seats and a moonroof. The 2003 didn’t even offer Navigation at the time.

    When I first got the truck, it was back during 2001 – prior to 911 when pimping yo truck was cool. I had 26″ rims on it LOL. When I look back it’s so funny. no more rims for me ever again. From now on, factory wheels no bigger than 20″.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s disturbing that a vehicle that cost $50,000 new traded in for $4,000. :-

    • 0 avatar

      How is an SUV that needs suspension parts every 30k miles tough? These Expeditions, along with F150s, and explorers with the SLA front end are notorious for wearing out balljoint, a failure in design.

      • 0 avatar

        The solution to the ball joint wear, and a few other weak points were solved by using premium aftermarket parts that were designed to address the issues that Ford did not. Once the factory parts failed and the proper replacements used there were no longer any suspension issues to worry about. I do know several people who had plug issues and those were big buck repairs. How an engineer, or should I say beancounter, accept four threads as proper bite is beyond me. Overall, though, these were durable trucks as that mileage attests. No matter what Silvy says….

      • 0 avatar

        I dunno, I’ve got a 95 Explorer that went 270,000 miles on the original ball joints, about twice as long as the 3 other GM products I’ve owned for front end parts. (305,500 as of 30 minutes ago) It’s still on the original rubber bushings.

        the reason for the balljoint change at that mileage? Not noise, but I mis-diagnosed a worn intermediate shaft between the rack and the steering wheel.

      • 0 avatar

        Texan, put another 270K on it only then will I be impressed :-D

      • 0 avatar

        I have a ’99 V8 Explorer with 112k on it that just barely had it’s first ever ball joint repair. Other than that, I’ve only put maybe $1,200 in repairs in the 7 years and 75k miles I’ve owned it. Same but not quite as bad wear on the drivers seat at this Expedition though.

    • 0 avatar

      “That Truck was built FORD TOUGH. Only downside was the brake wear and the need for new suspension parts every 30,000 miles. Finally got rid of it after 111,000 miles…”

      Unless “FORD TOUGH” is an attempt at sarcasm or irony, that first sentence doesn’t belong in the same paragraph as the second two. Suspension work every 30k miles is fail-tastic.

      “…traded it for $4000 to Cadillac for a 2nd generation STS.”

      What did a 2002 Expedition cost new? $30k? $35k? More? If you traded that in today and only got $4k, that’s awful. If you traded it for a STS, I assume this was at least a few years ago, which makes that $4k trade in atrociously, embarrassingly awful. By comparison, I sold a lousy 2002 Civic to a stealer for $4500 this year; that car cost, at best, half what you paid new.

      “When I first got the truck, it was back during 2001 – prior to 911…”

      Wait, you bought a 2002 truck no later than 09/10/2001, and this was “as the new body style 2003s were coming in?” I realize that Ford abuses the concept of a “model year” more than any other automaker, but a 2003 model vehicle could not legally be sold until January 2nd, 2002. Does not compute.

      “…pimping yo truck was cool. I had 26″ rims on it LOL.”

      Pimping yo truck was not cool then. Not now, not ever. Perhaps it is if you’re 14. And perhaps yo pimping contributed to the excessive suspension/brake wear? Maybe you would have gotten more than $4k sold it to Xzibit.

      • 0 avatar

        28-days; Ha! I don’t think I want to keep the Explorer another 10 years. By then it’ll qualify for antique plates. I still like it, but I’ve already owned it 11 years. I don’t see these becoming collectable anytime soon.

        the Moog joints should last longer than the factory ones did, just because I can grease them now at each oil change interval.

        The last 6 years of commuter duty have been the hardest on it, before it was the college bound road tripper and routinely saw 20-25,000 miles a year and problems were far and few between. Now it’s down to 14,000 a year, and little things are cropping up.

  • avatar

    With most autos it’s pretty simply to unbolt the bottom cushions and switch the passenger and driver seats. I’ve done it with volvos and BMWs snd soon to with the Chevy. If you do it soon enough the leather will keep and an added bonus is the worn drivers side cushions will be refreshing to sit on.

  • avatar

    I ended the lease on a ’04 2wd Expi in 2009. 36,000 miles and super clean. Never a problem with it. Bank offered to sell it to me for $11K but I had just bought a commuter beater and did not need the thirsty blue ox anymore.

    I did follow it by Google searching the VIN, it traveled south to Fresno and sat on a lot with a $19K price tag for a while and then shifted to Texas where it must have been sold.

    Sweet machine. It was more taught that ’99 we had before it – yes the one with the loopy load leveling system the supplied the bounce house ride the first 600 feet.

  • avatar

    In my experience, Ford engines are pretty robust. It’s transmissions and cooling systems that do them in.

  • avatar

    As the proud owner of a 2000 Mustang GT with 145k miles I can say the 4.6 is a good motor. I’ve changed my plugs a few times, and never had one blow out. I use this tool called a torque wrench to make sure I tighten them properly.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Well, a lot of nice conversations and a few good guesses.

    The answer is the venerable 4.6 Liter. An engine so common that it may become the next state flower of Michigan in a few years.

  • avatar

    I don’t think the plasticized leather in Fords will absorb leather conditioner.

  • avatar

    I LOVE the Monday Mileage series. I have a bizarre fascination with high-mileage cars; something in reasonable shape past the quarter-million mark is way more impressive to me than a minty 2k/year car of any sort.

    I work as a general service tech in a tire chain. The other day I did an oil change on a late-ninties (I wanna say it was a ’98) Camry V6. Blue over tan leather. I noticed the interior was a little raggedy and there was more valvetrain noise than normal from the 3.0L 24v. Then I noticed it had 512,xxx miles on it!

    We get quarter-million mile cars in every day. Some are sh*theaps. Some are not. We had a 99 Blazer V6 4×4 in for tires the other day, you’d never tell it had 299,000 miles on it besides the worn-out front end. Cool stuff, please keep it up!

  • avatar

    Forget the engine. How many $2000 automatic transmission rebuilds has it had? Even without towing, that seems to be what I have seen go wrong in Ford trucks. The 8.8 rear axle also had problems until the factory fill lubricant was upgraded to 75W-140. As with the ball joints, there is a heck of a lot more than just the engine needed to keep a vehicle on the road. It is way too typical to obsess about engine oil changes and neglect everything else.

  • avatar

    Can’t vouch for these as I never owned one, and besides they were hideously huge by my estimation, but I CAN vouch that Ford CAN build a long lasting motor, no problem.

    I had a 1992 Ford Ranger with the venerable 4.0 V6, yes, that one, in the pushrod variation, and I got it up to almost 237K, before cooling system leaks, front in issues, shifter issues, a bad idle air controller valve and a bad, or loose U-joint, along with a prodigious oil leak, a Qt every 2 weeks or so finally did it in.

    Up until the very end, it was a reliable as the day is long, which was, it started up without issue, and rad just fine. I could not detect any valve clattering as yet and it didn’t seem to push the blue smoke anywhere and it still had plenty of oomph for it’s 120hp.

    If anything, I wished it weren’t so damned thirsty with the gas though.

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