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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • So, that would explain the $400 - I didn't factory order the EB, so we will see. Thanks for the info. I'll let you when we pick it up ..........
  • Are there any major differences with these 2 models? Also, is there any size difference between the XLS and the XLT.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    so there will be a length increase of something just over two feet between 'em.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    If you click on the "New Cars" tab at the top of the page here, proceed to click on "Ford", then select "Explorer," you should be able to find all of the answers to your questions regarding the differences between the XLS and XLT. The photos that you will see once you get to that page will show you an XLT, and from what I know, I believe that both the XLT and XLS are 4-door.
    The big difference between the two, is mainly what options you can get. For instance with the XLT, you can upgrade your wheels, stereo, interior (to leather if you wish), and get the V8 just to name a few. I hope that this will help you at least a little :-) Goodluck!
  • fx4fx4 Posts: 72
    We have a new 2003, V-8, 4wd, t/tow package, XLT, air curtains, 3800 miles. In the early going the V-8's mileage is very suspect, gas tank too small. With miles, the mileage is slowly getting better. 15-16 mpg day in day out, 20 on the hwy.

    Michelin 235/70R/16 Cross-Terrain tires have a treadwear rating of 420 or so versus 700 for regular Michelin Tire Store Michelins. Anyone know the difference? Typical Ford cheapo
    version? Hnadling not that good witht he 235/70R/16 size. Any suggestions such as a tire in the 65 series? Is any 65 series size suitable? Same height? Michelin OEMs seem to be wearing down fast.

    No mechanical problems at all in first 3,800 miles.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    and that is alleged to be the mileage you should get on that pair of tires.

    ford may have spec'ed a softer or tackier rubber compound, or traction requirements that translate to the same thing, for their OEM tires, and that would account for the difference.

    if you tell the Michelin-franchise tire counter guy you want the tires for a 2003 explorer, they might indeed find their replacement tire is built more like the OEM tire than your look at what may be a general replacement.
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 785
    The most likely reason for the difference in treadwear ratings is rolling resistance.

    Vehicle manufacturers have to meet CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) requirements set by the US government. One of the ways to help meet these requirements is to use low rolling resistance tires, and one of the ways to get low rolling resistance in tires is to sacrifice treadwear (Another way is traction and that's just not a good option).

    Fuel economy is rarely an issue in the aftermarket, but treadwear is - big time! - so most aftermarket tires will have higher treadwear ratings than their OEM counterparts. The notable exception to this is high performance tires where traction is the issue in the aftermarket, and treadwear is a bit of an issue in the OEM market.

    Hope this helps.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    You're kidding right? I've never seen a number remotely that high, so either I need to get out more, or I just love cheap tires too. 420 is a good tire. There are lots of OEM tires out there with 260 and 320 numbers on them. I don't think Ford is cheaping out on the tires anymore after the Firestone mess. They can't afford to, and if you got Michelins, you don't have crap for tires.
  • I just purchased a set of Michelin Cross Terrains and the wear rating IS 700! I agree with you, I have never seen a rating that high...
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    well, the tread will way outlive the carcass then.......
  • I had as a company truck, a `98 Ford F150 with Firestone tires. I don't recall what the tread wear rating was, but I didn't have to replace those tires until about 89,500 miles. They were original equipment and still had about 1/4-inch of tread on them. We only replaced them at 89,500 miles because a 2-inch wide by 6-inch long strip of tread came off the left rear tire. They were excellent tires!
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yes, if the tread doesn't come off, Firestones wear forever.....
  • I just traded my 02 Explorer XLS 4x4 for an 03 MM V6 AWD Luxury Package. First, the fuel difference: They both had the v6 engine, but my Explorer got 18 city and almost 20 highway, and the Mountaineer is getting 15ish city and 18ish on the highway.

    The noise difference is dramatic. The cheapo XLS interior was much quieter than the MM interior. It seems that there's a wind noise in the MM that I can't quite track down. From the driver's seat it sounds like its coming from the passenger side. My wife, however, says it's coming from the middle. I don't have a sunroof.

    I also have the Goodrich tires on the car and they are way noisier than the OE Explorer tires.

    So, what problems can I look for in the MM? And how do I fix this wind noise, or is that something that we all live with?

    Note to all you Explorer buyers. I had the 02 XLS 4x4 for a year. Loved it. The only problems were a bad wheel sensor which caused the ABS light to come on, and the cruise control would go out or not function from time to time. Could never get it to do that at the dealership though. Gas mileage was great. I never thought I'd own one, but I wouldn't rule out another.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    I would say the main reason for the reduction in gas mileage from the Explorer to the Moutaineer is that the Mountaineer you have is AWD, and is on all of the time. Where the 4x4 of your previous Explorer was on only when you turned it on, or if A4WD was selected and wheel slippage was detected. As for wind noise, I would take it back to the dealer and see what they can do. It may be an improperly sealed windshield, or door seals that aren't sealing completely. Goodluck and enjoy your new truck!

    BTW, I think Ford has done a commendable job working out all of the new Explorers/Mountaineers first year bugs. So your 03 should be even better than your 02 in terms of mechanical reliability!
  • I am looking to either purchase an Eddie Bauer Explorer or the MM luxury. Leaning towards Mercury because of AWD. Ford's web site says that Explorers have the option of AWD v. 4WD, but the dealers in the Wash DC area do not stock them. I have a '96 XLT with AWD and it drives like a tank in the snow. Any comments on Explorer v. MM and AWD v. 4WD would be appreciated. 0% financing on both.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,452
    the 4wd system has awd (4x4 auto) and 4wd (hi and low range). best of both worlds. the 4x4 auto mode doesn't slip much before engaging. i think the default mode is mostly rwd, until slippage is detected.
  • I have owned an 03 MM Premier for about 9 mnths and had a 98 MM prior to this. I feel my family of 3 + (one on the way)is safer in the AWD. My wife primarilary drives the trucks (98 and now the 03). She doesnt want to have to think about how to change to 4 wheel drive high/low etc. She wants to get in and drive, thats it. The AWD is perfect for her and me as well. I took the 03 on the beach this summer and had no problems what so ever. The 98 was a monster in the snow, havent had the 03 in the snow yet but I am sure it will be even better. Sometimes you cant see dangerous road conditions and its nice to know that you are running AWD all the time...Hope this helped in your decision between the MM and the Exploder!
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    There's a bit more involved as to the mechanisms of AWD and 4WD. It's paramount to know how each system works since they all are designed differently. Find out if the AWD system has a closed or open differential. That itself will make the difference between "give" and "correcting" upon the differential.

    I won't mention which vehicles/brands, but there's a few that are supposedly AWD and are the first to get stuck in snow. I've been able to defeat some AWD systems (on closed testing facilities) and hae an 4WD system. There should be a programmed ratio for each differential to correct a slip. The easily defeatable AWD systems are those that run ALL wheels, at the same time while 1, 2 or 3 wheels spin endlessly seeking traction, chances are the 4th won't recoupe, therefore you'll see them hit a snow drift or curb.

    The better AWD systems are those that send power to the wheels that grip, while the spinning one's regain traction, in whatever methods need be (some use brake intervention to do so, and these are the more advanced versions).

    One example, is the Jaguar X-type sedan, which is AWD, but uses a rear biased AWd system, directing around 60% of it's power towards the rear wheel, while the front receive the remaining power. On dicey situations the system is able to compensate for lost traction on one wheel, but becomes a bit riskier when more than 2 lose traction on the same axle.

    Most car-based SUV's such as Escape/VUE/Highlander/Pilot, will use an AWD systems that's quite easy and simple. Since it's FWD, their weight over the front wheels, allow them to use a simpler version, BUT many times in AWD optional form, might not work as well on black ice for example.

    In those simple systems, they are FWD biased, and will only switch to AWD by transfering their traction to the rear wheels when front slippage is detected. Chances are if the front wheels are slipping (considering the weight overthem) chances are the rear wheels MIGHT help, but don't expect a miracle. And all this needs ot be accomplished by a very active and fast computer programming management system to switch the hydraulics for the rear wheels to compensate.

    On the other field we have 4WD, that allows for more choices based on driver input. From 4WDlow, to 4wdAuto, or 2WD. These can help few economy, but most times are a bit more complex over AWD, and require a bit more mechanicals. Ford's Control Trac by far is one of the better 4WD systems on vehicles. Not only because of it's grip and ability, but it's durability as well.

    Not stating which is better over AWD/4WD, just stating each system is vastly different from manufacturer to manufacturer, finding out which system and how it works, is what will make the difference. Have peace of mind that either of Ford's system is ahead of the competition.

    And even better, are vehicles that incorporate an Anti-Skid Stability System onto their AWD/4WD. This can make good driver's, better. But doesn't make up for the bad one's that feel invisible either.
  • Thanks all for responding to my question.

    brast69: Your situation sounds very similar to mine. The new Exp. or MM will be my wife's daily driver, we have one child and another on the way. I, too, just want her to get in and drive and not think about whether or not the 4WD is engaged, so I'm leaning towards the MM. Glad to know the AWD does well at the beach as that is the only "off-roading" I would do as well. If I did a lot of off-roading and needed the 4WD low, I would either get the NBX or 4runner or Jeep for that matter.

    I test drove the Explorer last weekend, my first time feeling the new suspension. Great improvement over my '96. Haven't seen the inside of the MM yet, but have read it's nice as well.

    Still curious why I can't find an XLT with AWD, sales guy said it has to be special ordered from the factory? Then again, I want the heated seats/mirrors, upgraded stereo, so I'm back to the MM.
  • Just found this from a review of the '02 MM right here on

    "Take our 2002 Mercury Mountaineer test vehicle, for example. Why should someone buy this SUV over a Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer or Limited? For the exclusive all-wheel-drive system? That Control Trac automatic four-wheel-drive setup on the Explorer is a slick piece of work, transferring power when the wheels slip so quickly that the driver barely even feels the system working its magic. So the Mountaineer's AWD, which distributes engine torque in a 35 percent front/65 percent rear split under normal conditions, is no reason to choose the Merc over the Ford.

    Basically, it comes down to styling. Do you like the way the Mountaineer looks better than the Explorer? Then buy it. That AWD system isn't going to kill your fuel mileage; during two tanks drained on the mean streets of Detroit, we averaged 16.5 mpg with our V8 test truck, and that was with a reasonably heavy foot on the throttle."
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