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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier

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  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    unless you really can talk Granny into a ride with you so she can hold the switch in.

    in the Ely / BWCAW area, I periodically have my compass go wacko due to the magnetite rock, depending on where I'm going, and at some point when it gets annoying enough do the idiot dance in a parking lot. but in my 2000 limited, the CAL button is a one-tap over the rear view mirror.

    the compass is a backup to the GPS, except where the compass goes wacko, in which case the GPS is the backup. in case both fail, the sun rises in the east, and the big dipper points to the north star. happy canoeing!
  • Hi guys, I am thinking about trading my '98 Sidekick Sport in on a 2000 Moutaineer with V8 and AWD. I wanted to know if any of you know of any problems that have occured with this vehicle,(I noticed a rear window wiper is one), and things I should look for in examining the vehicle and during the test drive. I'm actually looking at 2 different ones. They are both 2000 models with the V8 and AWD, but one has the Monterey package, with 38,800 miles, and is priced "wholesale" at $17,900. The other one doesn't have any certain packaging, but is equipped the same, with 44k miles and the price is $15,926. Not that colors matter, but there could be a problem with paint as well, so I'll mention that the more expensive Monterey is black with gold pinstipes, and gold cladding around the bottom(which I love). The other is Laser Red, with a darker red on the cladding(I could live with it). I really like the looks of the Monterey, and it is equipped with the back up sensor system, but the other one is MUCH cheaper, and I'd be getting a MUCH better deal on it. Dealer told me they'd give me $5500 trade in on my 98 Sidekick sport with 55k. Which sounds better?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    part of the fun is getting what you want. if you can swing the extra and like it better, what the hay.

    that 5L V8 AWD is the best drivetrain combination offered in the vehicle, not much went wrong. there were some issues around february 2000 build dates with intermittent oil pressure switches, but if you haven't seen problems, don't worry much. kind of a bear to get them replaced because of the ancillary equipment in the way, my dealer got full reimbursement for hoisting the engine on that issue.

    march through may or june 2000 had a recall for side airbag sensor issues on the left side, by the seat belt assembly.

    there were, of course, major issues with the Wilderness AT tires, by this time either vehicle should be off those sneakers even if the previous owner had a "thing" about standing up against the crowd.

    a seat belt anchor thing in a few cars, I missed that recall as well.

    and that's about all there was for recalls on that vehicle. it's solid and steady and with good rubber holds the road well.

    rear wiper issues... I had the wiper motor assembly replaced and haven't seen the issue again. however... if you do... try lifting the wiper blade out of its cradle and let it hang free for a little while. one of the issues that end up being "won't wipe" is that some of the motor units don't close the limit switches, and a couple of tar strip bumps with the wiper blade hanging loose in "service position" usually fixes the issue. if not, you could try loosening the locknut on the motor shaft and rotate it a tad to the left before seeking new motors.

    I like my 2000 exp limited, the guy in the cube across from me traded his 96 in for an EB almost exactly like it, and the mountaineer even had the option of adjustable pedals. wish I had 'em.
  • I have a '97 Explorer with Control trac drive train that has developed a worrysome problem at 85,000 miles. When starting up from stop with wheels turned- even slightly the vehicle kinda shudders as I slowly start up, like an old manual trans vehicle that has a bad clutch. Dealer said it's in the control trac clutch system that diverts some power to front wheels and that it could be "adjusted by computer, which they did. Problem if anything is more pronounced now after the adjustment.

    I know there is some kind of clutch system that the computer engages when traction at rea slips but this is happening on dry pavement and ONLY when wheels are turned - either direction.

    Anybody out there experiencing similar problems? Solutions ???
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    maybe you have a bad half-shaft assembly in front, in particular, the flex joint next to the wheel. also check the fluid level in the front drive unit, if it's low, get a sample analyzed and drain and refill the system. low fluid can wreck that system; an analysis should tell if it's time for a new transfer case or a rebuild.

    late 90s control-trac used an electric clutch to engage the front drive to power, but there are parts of the system that are always spinning when the wheels do in 2wd. I'm not sure how far back it goes in the drive system, but my guess is that it goes back to the transfer case, and that would make both the drive joints and the transfer case suspect.

    if the vehicle was supported on a frame or axle lift, not a tire contact lift, and showed the fronts turning in 2wd, then the electric clutch control and 4wd clutch stuff in the tranny become part of the suspect lineup.

    the number of miles on the vehicle grossly coincide with where FWD half shafts start dying, so that's most likely IMHO
  • I got a quote for new 03 Explorer Eddie Bauer with Moonroof and Tow Package in MA

    for $4500 below invoice at $30K. (including $2500 rebate)
    No trade-ins

    I think this is a very good price.

    Your input??
  • nlmnlm Posts: 1
    There seems to be a slight, continuous "humming" noise once the vehicle has kicked into overdrive. I don't know if it's from the transfer case in the front (that's where the sound appears to originate from) and if this is a common occurance for the AWD. And if it is advisable to put and "additive" into the transmition that may help (and what kind).
  • pomchi writes:
    I got a quote for new 03 Explorer Eddie Bauer with Moonroof and Tow Package in MA for $4500 below invoice at $30K. (including $2500 rebate)
    No trade-ins


    So you're saying the dealer will sell it to you for $2000 under invoice for a new 2003 with no miles on it? Even with the 3% dealer holdback and the 1.5% blue oval cash, it seems that they're losing money on that deal and that's pretty hard to believe. Is there a dealer incentive program happening for Explorers that hasn't hit Edmunds?

    Please tell us what dealer... I've been watching fuel prices soar and it's getting time to start thinking about finding a fantastic deal. I'm looking for a LTD, V8 AWD, moonroof, towing package, no 3rd row seat.
  • Dealer's name is Quirk Ford

    Visit www.quirkcars.com (Ford section)to see for yourself. Look for Advertised Special which is $8500 off on MSRP on all EBs and Limiteds which would translate to $4500 under invoice

    I have the invoice and you're right, even with holdback and blue oval cash, it is below cost..
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the best of them don't hurt much. I don't believe in that snake oil, it's like pouring hot coals into a cut to soothe demons instead of doing heart bypass surgery.

    an SUV is never going to be as quiet and glass-smooth as a rolls on a new road. if I have anything like that on my 00 exploder AWD, I've tuned it out long ago.
  • I have to laugh every time I read a post of yours with you reffering to your car as "exploder." I haven't had time to go drive the mountaineer I'm looking at yet, we've had tons of bad weather hit us here in VA lately, and I was out of state over the weekend. If I'm going to get a Mountaineer, it looks like it will be the 2000 with 44k miles. They made me a great offer for trade in, $500 than book value on my car without even looking at it, and the price for the Mountaineer is so great, its almost too great to pass up. However, I've been watching gas prices skyrocket, and it's making me think. Is the gas milage bad enough on the V8 AWD to say "stick with a rice rocket?" My suzuki gets about 22mpg, but I always fill it up at the 300 mile point. It holds 14.5 gal, but I never let it get below about 13. Its never gotten really great, and its only getting 22 now because I've eased off the pedal quite a bit. The rating for the V8 AWD is 14/19, so its not that much worse...but I'm still not sure. What do you think? $15,900 for fully loaded (except moonroof) and thousands below book, and $5500 trade in, $500 more than book? I don't necessarily need another vehicle right now, I'd be happy to keep my sidekick a while, but I just don't see passing this up. What is your advice? Thanks.
  • Pomchi writes:
    Dealer's name is Quirk Ford

    Quirk. Merci beaucoup. Bought a 1992 Mazda Navajo (rebadged 2 door Exploder) from them.
  • 1badsidekick writes:
    If I'm going to get a Mountaineer, it looks like it will be the 2000 with 44k miles. The rating for the V8 AWD is 14/19, so its not that much worse...but I'm still not sure. What do you think? $15,900 for fully loaded (except moonroof)

    Personally, I wouldn't own a Ford SUV that wasn't under some kind of warranty. My 98 Mountaineer V8 AWD chewed through every moving part in the front drive train and that would have racked up some serious repair bills if it had been on my nickel. I also had the usual rear wiper failures (repaired twice, dying again at 107K miles) and had problems with the power door locks. I don't think $15,900 is a great price on a 3 year old Mountaineer. Edmunds says the true market value on a dealer lot is $15,829. Soaring fuel prices are only going to push prices down so you might be better off waiting or shopping for a better deal.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    awful weather is a good time to test drive an AWD vehicle, though, we had a light winter in 2000 and it wasn't until early Feb that we got four or five inches of slushy snow. bang, down at the dealer to see what it did.

    as for "exploder"... well, I have a pocket full of nitroglycerin and I KNOW how to use it (yes, for angina, thanks for asking, Mr. Ridge), I park it in garage #C4... it MUST be an exploder :-D

    you will have to evaluate your own mileage situation, it's a political issue according to some people. I like mine and can afford to feed it. the sidekick/tracker figures you've got really aren't significantly better... I get 17-21 highway MPG depending on wind and whether I'm paying careful attention to the speed limit when I stick on the cruise control, and generally around 13 in town. that's not bad, it's in range with most of what's out there, and I can tow when I need to.

    that's a pretty nice deal all things considered, four months ago the guy in the opposite cube traded in his 95 for a 00 bauer explorer similar to mine (and the mountaineer you're looking at,) and his numbers were in the $20,000 range with a $6000 trade-in.

    I think if the worst happened on an oil-shock basis (lines at the pump), that rig would slide another thousand dollars. it's near bottom now.

    your decision, the mountaineer should be a smoother ride, though, due to longer and wider.
  • Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to eventually get down to the dealer that has this rig (30 minutes down the famed Fancy Gap mountain) when I get time. I had been hoping that it would snow again and I could take the thing out myself, WITHOUT the salesman riding along erking the crap out of me about payments and stuff. Can't they let you enjoy a simple test drive anymore? However, I have found something a bit newer, and more to my general liking at a dealership closer. Its a '01 Rodeo LS with leather, moonroof, and lo and behold, its a 5 speed. I'm going to check it out today and see how much $$$ and how many miles. Again, thanks for all the advice. And swschrad, you gave me a well needed laugh for the day. Watch out for terrorists.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    why, I see them under my bed at night and in the shadows of the ice cubes in the magazines every day, those terrorists. nice to know Our Beloved Government has made it impossible for them to operate with just a couple laws and a few billion dollars. :-D
  • I just picked up a 2002 Mountaineer with the v8 luxury edition package and conv packages.
    On the Web they list 17" wheels for 2002 with these packages but I have 16's on my truck. What gives. Sunflower Lin/Mercury is a screwed up
    dealer here in Kansas. They tried to sell me a Mountaineer with a scratch which had to be buffed out to the primer and re-painted so I switched to another one with two chips in the paint and a roof rack with the finish worn over a 4x3" area. I hope the rack can be replaced on the one side without any problems.. Any Ideas on the wheels???
  • I have a 2003 V8 Mountaineer. There is seriously excessive wind noise (whistle) coming from the front of the vehicle - no farther back than the front post of the front doors - especially on open roads. I suspect it is the windshield seal, but, of course, the dealer has "never heard of such a problem." Any advice? Please help - I'm beginning to avoid driving this car that I just spent all my money on!
    Also, is the highest fan setting supposed to be so loud? I have to turn the stereo up three full bars on the display to hear it over the heater when the automatic climate control kicks in.
  • Graham Ford (outstanding service shop) in Columbus, OH. uses a wind noise specialist who regularly visits their shop to help solve these kinds of problems. Give Graham Ford a call (ask for Brian in the service dept.) and they might be willing to give you this consultant's office phone number. If so, he might have some great ideas for helping you out.
  • dcddcd Posts: 25
    I would suggest checking the windshield seal. That was the problem for me on a previous 98 Honda Accord I had. It would whistle really loud sometimes at speeds higher than 60 mph.

    As for the auto climate control being loud, I personally like it cause I know it is warming the vehicle very quickly and will soon slow down. If you don't like it you can still adjust the fan speed manually while still in Auto Climate Control mode.
  • My experience has been so different with Ford SUVs. I had 2 Mountaineers, that never had repair one. My 02 has had a couple, but nothing serious. My Navigator I just sold went 65,000 miles with one 0 ring failure - period. I bought the extended warranty from Ford when my factory warranty was up - never used it once. Money down the drain....... So, honestly, there isn't any other SUV I even consider. I still have my 94 Explorer with 108,000 miles on it, just put a set of brakes on the front. It's still going strong. The 4WD is a little tempermental on release sometimes (have to back up a foot or two to get it to release) but for 9 years old, that's not bad in my book. It still works fine. It's been a hell of a truck.
  • This may sound strange, but I don't think my 4WD has ever worked!

    I've never really needed it until this past storm, but when I turn the know to 4 HI the light never comes on the the front wheels never spin. I always wondered why the truck was never that great in the smaller storms we've gotten.

    My neighbor has an Explorer and noticed the light was not coming on.

    Anyone know if this is a know problem in Moutaineers?
  • if the light doesn't come on, you are not working. But the V-8 Mountaineers don't have the light, only the V-6 has real 4WD, the others are AWD, all the time.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    you might have an infant mortality fuse on the 4WD system, check those with a test light and replace any that may be bad. if that doesn't do it, there is a sensor assembly on the side of the transmission that some have reported gets its switch gooped with grease... the dealer can play with it without losing the tranny's position indicator to the switch.
  • jmingjming Posts: 9
    Hi - I'm new here but am reading up on recent posts. I owned a '97 Exploder Sport 4WD which was, shall we say, a LEMON from day one. Long story but it includes plenty of recalls, engineering / quality defects, scary clattering engine sounds that no mechanic could ever hear...and just plain poor service from several dealers. Since then I've very happily driven a foreign car, but a new house in a remote area is drawing me back toward an SUV. To my amazement, the Mountaineer seems to offer the best balance of price, cargo, power, style, and garage-ability. I feel bitter toward Ford for my very expensive '97 lemon and am resisting on one level, but I really would love the Mountaineer, if only it were made by a different mfr... I need convincing or the hard truth about Ford quality and dealers these days. So fellow Ford SUV veterans...would you recommend the current generation Mountaineer V8 to a returning (and battle-scarred) Ford veteran? Thanks - Jim
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Hehe I have to give you credit for considering a Ford after a lemon. Don't get me wrong here I like Fords (I currently own 4), but after I had a lemon GM product I decided to switch companies. That was a long time ago (81 Cutlass Ciera) I know that GM has made strides in quality with most of its cars, but since Fords have been good to me I have stuck with them.
    Now to answer your questions.
    Your Explorer was the first model year with that Engine (4.0L SOHC)and Transmition (5-Speed Auto) combination. This engine and transmition had defiant teething problems not to mention the timing chain noise but are OK now. Something Ford FINNALY managed to fix for the 2002 Explorer. Have you driven one of the new Mountaineers recently? I have good friends who just bought a black Premier with DVD entertainment and 4.6L V8. Wow what a machine. We took it to a Football game and I was very impressed. Very quiet, fast, and refined. However the ride still seems stiff, but more controlled. The TSB's are at a relatively low number which means that problems so far seem to be low, but these haven't been out that long. I do know that in Consumer Reports that the 2002 model Explorer/Mountaineer had much worse reliability than the average. However, if you look at the dots in the reliability box, nothing sticks out as being significantly wrong. If you are familiar with the dots:
    Red = Much better than average
    half Red = above average
    Clear = Average
    Half black = below average
    black = Much worse than average
    Nothing in the Explorer 2002 column is worse than above average.
    I guess if I were you just look at the comments and customer satisfaction rating found in under the new car tab here at Edmunds. Right now the Explorer and Mountaineer have the same 8.4 out of 10 rating. People with the V8's seem to be the most satisfied. Just thought I would pass on some information to you. Good luck with your decision. If you have any more questions I will try to help.
    OH and on the dealer thing. I know in my area (SE Michigan) which Ford dealers are good and which are bad. The ones that are good got a little better, and so did the bad ones. However the bad ones are still bad and I avoid dealing with them.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    have not heard a lot of local grousing about the 2002/2003 explorer/mountaineer/aviator, and the 2002 drove nicely when I had several on the No Boundaries Experience course a couple years ago. the V6 SOHC engine really took 4 years to tame, but I personally wouldn't take one yet, as it also came with a transmission having less throughput capacity than the A5 models on the V8s and some history of its own.

    the V8 is new, and if there are latent issues with it like NG cooling and head gasket problems, they should start showing up this year sometime. Ford did hold this new triton-series V8 back until they figured they had it ready, so that bodes well.

    if you're still iffy, try for a good deal on gold extended warranty as well if you like the vehicle.
  • I concur with my compadres here. My wife's 2002 has not been quite the machines our 97 & 98 were, but it's certainly not a bad car, no engine or tranny problems. And, from my experience, if you can be happy in a SAAB, well, this shouldn't be a problem. On the other hand, once burned, it's tough to get back in love with a car company. I still haven't quite gotten over my 75 Vega yet....even though I have had some GM cars since that I really liked. I think you'll be ok, but I'd sure hate to hear from you if you got another turkey. It would be cruel for you.
  • If you want a proven Mountaineer, with great reliability and very little worries, AND if you can live with buying a "used" one, then I'd highly suggest a 2000 or a 2001 model. I don't own one, but the people here in this forum (and the Mountaineer forum) have recently come to know me, as I have been looking at possibly getting a '00 model. From what I've been told, the 2000 and the 2001 were both great years for the V8 and AWD versions. On a personal note, I honestly do not like the styling of the '02 and newer. If you can live with a used one, I'd definetly look for an '01 with V8 and AWD. If you must have new, then you might take some problems along with it, although the new ones have a few more goodies to offer.
  • steverstever Ex Yooper, just arrived in New MexicoPosts: 40,537
    1974 Volvo. Never again :-)

    Well, maybe I'll stop ragging on the one I had in a couple of years - some things surely must have changed in 30 years.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

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