Monday Mileage Champion: 2000 Ford Explorer
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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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.
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.