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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    You are more prone to hearing about Explorer complaints since there are so many of them on the road. We are talking about 350-431K units yearly. When one thing goes wrong, many more people are seen complaining since it affects a higher population.


    Explorer on average, are near the top of their segment in reliability, and beat some comparable imports. But when something does go wrong, it's viewed as "the sky is falling"...While Honda has transmissions failing at high speeds, and Toyota has oil sludge/engine problems yet are easily forgiven. Something the media recently has been critisized over doing.


    If a recall hasn't been issue, chances are it's affecting such a lower percentage of the vehicles population, and/or NHTSA hasn't found a need to require the manufacturer to initiate a recall.


    As I've mentioned before, if a specific dealer hasn't been willing to fix your issue, you can try another, and/or try Ford's Customer support and document the issues till a resolution is made.
  • 02xls02xls Posts: 40
    Thanks ANT14 Dude do you work for Ford? I have called every Ford dealer in my local area as well as the Customer Support Lines (I wonder if over in India where they are answering the phones they call it customer support with a straight face) and I have gotten no help what so ever. I know Ford has alot of vehicles on the road, the way I see that is if you have made that many vehicles you should know how to engineer and build a rear end that works and will not begin to fail in large numbers and in short time periods. I mean is the rear diff. in a vehicle like the Explorer some kind of new technology?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    I would guestimate a good 90% of the time, it's not really Ford's fault. It's really the supplier's. Because of the bad economy, and the increased costs on raw resources/materials, it's much more diffucult for supplier's to manufacturer/supply a part and keep it profittable for themselves while fighting for business with competitors. Therefore, change the formula on one part, and it can adversly affect it. Everything down to "the oven wasn't set at the appropiate temperature", and that itself can cause an issue for the mentioned issue.


    Many times the manufacturer has no idea there's an issue with the part, and goes ahead to install it. Us as consumers, will always run the risk of testing most of these parts, even if supposedly they have been used before-yet the formula changed a bit.
  • 02xls02xls Posts: 40
    One of your suggestions was to contact my local dealers about the rear end problem. This response you just gave must be a canned answer that Ford is telling their people to give to customers. The service mgr. at one of my local dealers gave me the same line of bull. I was going to ask what dealership you worked for so I could bring my truck in to you but I already see what response I will get. Look I don't mean to target the brunt of my frustration toward you but I do not believe that a company like Ford can use a supplier like Dana for rear ends and settle for faulty/cheap parts and not be able to accept the responsibility when they do so. A Service Mgr. told me that it was not Fords fault it was the supplier. I then asked for the suppliers phone # and a contact name and was told that the supplier did not take calls from Ford customers with problems. The redesigned Explorers came out in 01, how many years and how many rear end failures have to occur before Engineers at Ford will either fix the problem or find a new supplier. This is not rocket science but I guess Ford is smarter than all of us consumers because they can continue to build sub par vehicles with known mechanical problems and foolish people myself at one time included, will continue to buy them. I sure would like to hear others opinions on this subject.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    I do not deal directly with dealership experiences, other than taking care of it for friends (for other manufacturer's) when they can't resolve an issue. The same advice I'm giving you, is the same advice I've given friends whenever they have an issue over any vehicle.


    If you understand the structure of how dealerships work, you will understand that it's not Ford's fault directly how a dealership treats you. There's certain limitations overall, the dealership is seen as a service center, and outlet. Or for another example, it's like returning an item to your favorite dept. store...If one won't do it, you try the other, and the other.


    You could contact the supplier and your own, and vent your frustration, although their contract with Ford doesn't require them to even read or respond to your letter. And because of the contract, it means Ford is bound to them till the contract expires. At that time, Ford will assess if they wish to continue the contract with a certain supplier. We all saw what happened with the Ford/Firestone marriage.


    Now pertaining to the current issue, it only affected certain '04 vehicles, because that's when the supplier messed up. The problem was caught, and rectified promptly. In your case I would continue to press the issue till you reach a resolution.


    I myself have been known to drive to 7 counties, to get a friends POS Passat fixed, over an A/C mold issue that dealer's didn't wish to touch. It was an "interpretation" case.... I SMELLED it, they didn't. Hence, no one wanted to bother. Found one dealership 190 miles away that did.... (4th time the charm though). But I'm annoyingly persistant that way, others might not be.
  • I have a 03 Explorer that had the rear end 'whine' problem. It took about three visits to the dealer, but it did get fixed. I was just persistent and they finally told me that a fix was not yet available, although a fix was being worked on (I believe this was around Spring 04) and that they would call me when it was available.


    Well they did call (yes, a minor miracle IMHO) and about 2 days later the problem was truly fixed. I have not had any problems at all since then. I believe they (Ford) replaced the rear end gears,etc.. (minus the housing).
  • 02xls02xls Posts: 40
    ANT14 Thanks for your responses to my questions.

    Patrick9 how many miles were on your 03 and I am assuming that it was under warranty. How many miles on truck post repair?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Still have 94 Explorer, 140,000 miles - original engine, transmission. Have only repaired A/C and normal wear items on truck since new.


    Had 97 Mountaineer. No mechanical problems in 24,000 miles.


    Had 98 Mountaineer. No mechanical problems in 30,000 miles.


    Had 02 Mountaineer - No mechanical problems in 35,000 miles.


    Have 04 Mountaineer - No mechanical problems so far in 8,000 miles. Although transmission sometimes misses a shift. I'm not ready to quit buying Ford products because of it though, after this kind of track record, if the transmission does fail on this one, I'll get Ford to fix it. Plenty of time left on the warranty. If the truck turns out to disappoint me, I will turn it back in when the lease is up and get another one. After all of these great trucks, I'm probably due for one with a glitch, don't you think? Unlike some people, I don't expect perfection, because they're machines and machines sometimes break. I just expect it to be fixed as agreed, by the manufacturer's authorized dealer. And usually, they do that pretty well, I've found at my Lincoln/Mercury dealer here.
  • My wife's '03 Explorer XLT V8 has been occasionally making a clunking noise and seems, at times, to "slip" at lower speeds. The vehicle has approximately 14,000 miles. Just got it back from the dealer for the second time. First time they said it was the transmission solenoid which they replaced. Noticed the "slipping" sensation again. Second time they couldn't find anything else wrong. I have also noticed a "clicking" sound when starting forward or backward from a standing stop. It almost sounds like the hubs unlocking on my old pickup. Dealer did not mention anything about any reoccurring rear-end problems. If anyone has any additional information on this issue, could you please post. THANKS!
  • We currently have approx. 13k miles on our Explorer. We noticed the rear-end whine very early on, and I think it finally got fixed at approx. 9-10k miles. So we have been driving with the fix for about 3-4k miles or so.


    One other thing I should mention (see post just above). We also had an issue where it would feel like the transmission would 'slip' or 'shudder' when going around corners. For example, when making a right turn from a stop sign - you could feel a shudder or slip. I thought that problem was related to the rear-end whine issue, but it was not. This problem was fixed prior to the whine problem.


    All of the above was corrected under warranty.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    If your expericing problems, after resolving the initial problem, go back again and complain over it. Worst case senario, they'll have to backtrack on the same way they fixed it initially.
  • svofan2svofan2 Posts: 440
    Ant14, I always follow your posts since they are concise,logical and well thought out. This time I am confused,I do have an Explorer 2002 Limited and I am interested in the 2006 model if in reality there will be changes (otherwise it will be like getting the same vehicle). The site that you point us to only shows the terrific looking Sport Track, am I to assume that this is the way the 2006 explorer will look like?....thanks for your reply and continue to provide us with your insights...greatly appreciated....
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Yes, the next Sport Trac and next Explorer, will share similar front fascia styling as well as interior.


    The changes are a bit more in depth than just styling. Other changes will take place engineering wise to improve the structure, ride, NVH, power, braking, fuel economy, response, etc.


    Keep an eye out on the next round of auto shows in the next few weeks for more details. I'll also link as the information becomes public and I can mention more about it.
  • 02xls02xls Posts: 40
    Of course your dealer did not mention anything about a rear end problem in the redesigned Explorer. If you ask your local dealer or call Ford directly they will act like they do not know what you are talking about. After you tell them about the rear end whine between 50-70 mph they will check it out replace the rear end, at no charge if it is under warranty or charge you $1200+ to put one in. That is if they can get the part. Ford is having to replace so many of these rear ends that the sorry supplier and Ford can't keep up with the demand. The best part about this all to frequent scenario is that once they replace the faulty rear end with another faulty rear end you will have the same problem in about 5-7000 miles. Ford has no real fix for this problem and I guess according to the very knowledgeable and informative ANT14 all you experiencing this problem are just test subjects until the contract Ford has with their suppliers is finally over. There are 3 solutions to this problem. (1) Never let your truck run out of warranty. (2) Never buy another Ford. (3) Do what I did after owning 3 Explorers and planning to continue to buy Ford products until this, get rid of your Fords and buy a reliable, well built import suv or crossover!
  • Thanks for the info - if the rear end issue continues, it could be covered under the lemon law...


    As for the ongoing domestic/import debate:


    1. The main reason I bought the 2003 Explorer (I'm sure this is true for others as well) was $$ - 0% financing (72 month) + $2000 rebate + considerable discount off of the price (based on edmunds what people are paying). Try getting that deal on a Toyota.


    And while the Toyota depreciation may be less over time, I think with a substantially lower initial price on the Explorer it 'all comes out in the wash' so to speak...


    2. Although I do feel Toyota,etc...does make more reliable and generally higher quality vehicles vs. Ford, my gut feeling is that an Explorer is probably overall safer than a 4Runner or comparable import. The Explorer seems to be heavier - just bang on the sheet metal with your fist...the Toyota might need body work.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Hey first hand experience with RWD Explorer in the snow. I got to tell you, traction control is standard and its a wonderful thing.

    I had to move a bunch of RWD Explorers around our snow covered lot this past winter and they were able to move fine without getting stock.

    Sure I had to See Saw fwd back fwd back to get through the berm in front of the truck that was about bumper high but it went through.

    Incidently the 4x4 went through the snow like it wasn't even there.

    As for Fuel Econ, its very easy to waste gas in either the Explorer or the V6 Escape when driving around town. There is so much power on tap that you will find yourself really getting on the trucks to get them moving away from stop lights if you are use to driving a car. These trucks can definitely move but you burn the fuel to do it if you aren't careful.

  • 02xls02xls Posts: 40
    Ford Explorer 4304# Curb weight

    4 Runner 4300#

    Pathfinder 4815#

    Pilot 4431#


    I realize that Ford often offers great finance/rebate incentives on the Exporers. However, and I learned this the hard way about Ford, you do get what you pay for.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Actually the Explorer/Mountaineer did very well in crash testing.


    My friend has a 4runner and he's had more issues with his 4runner than I've had with my Mountaineer, even though I have the rear-end whine.


    The Mountaineer also feels much more planted in the bad stuff.


  • 02xls02xls Posts: 40
    I believe that the Explorer/Mountaineer are decent vehicles. The rear end problem however and Fords lack of handling the problem has completely turned me off as you can tell to their products. I will tell all that have the whine that if you do not address the problem and think that you can live with the hum between 50-70 mph that the problem will progress and the rear end will progressively worsen. My 02 Explorer had 70,000 miles on it and a whine since 30K. The noise got to where it sounded like a bad wheel bearing and I took it to the shop to have the wheel bearing replaced. I figured I could live with the whine between 50-70 but not a constant noise at all speeds. This is when I was told it was not a wheel bearing and that the entire rear end was failing and needed to be replaced. I traded my truck in and recently purchased a 05 Honda Pilot. The Pilot has a curb weight of 4431#'s, Full time 4WD,NHTSA crash ratings of excellent and a rollover rating of good. I have not had the truck long and have had no problems yet.
  • Can someone point me to the post the describes this problem. I have an 04 Explorer with 980 miles on it. When I accelerate I hear a high pitched noise from what I think is the engine and goes away when I'm cruising. (I know its not a belt). Just trying to figure out if the high pitched noise is normal for Explorers or if its the rear end "whine" I'm reading about.
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