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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • kwikbillkwikbill Posts: 4
    If I remember correctly, (I have to go back and check my paperwork), my local dealership has already replaced the compressor pulley. It did remain quiet for a few weeks...then all of a sudden, It started back again, reckon it could be a defective pulley?..Did you ever have your compressor replaced??...Thanks for the reply....Bill
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    Bill, I'm looking at the "Special Service Messages" that the dealer printed out back in December 2004. It was message 18219 2002-2005 Explorer 4DR/Mountaineer 4.6L - Chirp from the Engine compartment with A/C Compressor Cycling. Goes on to say that some vehicles equipped with that engine may exhibit a chirp from the engine compartment when the A/C compressor is cycling. Engineering is currently investigating this condition and expects to have a new part and/or procedure available late fourth quarter 2004.
    The new fix didn't actually come available until fall of '05. I do believe they replaced the Compressor Clutch and set the Clutch Gap to a different setting in addition to the new Pulley. This pulley was different than the ones before fall of 2005. I have not had any issues with mine since it was fixed.

    Before that fix I would ask every other person driving an Explorer/Mountaineer with the V-8 if they were experiencing this problem. Not one had, so I guess it was very isolated incidents.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • cathmaccathmac Posts: 49
    My father subscribed to Consumer Reports (CR) when I was growing up and I have been turning to it for purchase information since I bought my first car in 1984 or so. I have found the information to be pretty reliable.

    Having said that I like to think I've gotten a little more sophisticated. I tend to buy newer used vehicles so I check with the NHTSA for Recalls, Technical Service Bulletins, Defect Investigations and Consumer Complaints. I haven't made a scientific study of how well that info tracks with Consumer Reports reliability data but my sense is that they tend to be fairly consistent with each other.

    I also check chat sites like this to see what people in the real world have to say about any problems they have.

    I do agree with one other poster that the reliability data CR gets depends upon what their average member drives but I don't know that more CR members buy foreign than domestic vehicles. Assuming, for the sake of discussion, that more of them buy foreign that doesn't mean the data is statistically invalid unless you further assume that blind loyalty compels them to under-report problems. In my experience anyone who has been inconvenienced &/or hit in the pocketbook by an unreliable vehicle is probably going to vent their grievance, given the opportunity.

    Currently I am in the market for a newer used SUV. I have been pretty happy with my 1997 Subaru Outback (Imprezza) Sport so I had been looking for a 2005 Subaru Outback (Legacy). One with average miles and about 1 1/2 to 2 years left on the warranty is going for about $19,000 to $20,000. A discounted "Gold Plus" extended Mfr warranty, 7 years / 100K, $0.00 Deductible would cost me about $1,400.00. Consumer Reports gives Subaru a better than average rating for the OB / Legacy overall but the 2005 is only about average. As much as I liked the OB Sport the extended warranty did get a workout so I want the warranty this time for the peace of mind.

    But since I was hoping to do better on price I started looking at some domestic alternatives including the 2005 Ford Explorer which CR rates as worse than average on reliability. Since I could save about $2000 to $3,000 buying a 2005 Explorer with 18 months, but only 6,688 miles left on the original Mfrs warranty I would definitely need the extended warranty. However, the MSRP on a comparable Ford warranty is about $800. Worse yet, the difference between the best discounted price on a Subaru warranty and the ford warranty is about $1,300.

    So the real difference in cost between the Outback and the Explorer is about $700 to $2,300 but that difference could get eaten up by repairs pretty quickly after the extended warranty runs.

    So, I have come to believe that what a Mfr charges for their extended warranties is a pretty good indicator of the faith they have in their product and probably a fair predictor of reliability.

    As additional examples here is a rough idea of what Toyota and GMC warranties cost at MSRP and after a decent discount. Note, both of these warranties are the highest level of coverage I could find for the Mfr in question and are for 7 year / 100K, $0.00 Ded.

    Toyota MSRP: $2,400; discount price: $ 900
    GMC/Chevy MSRP $3,300; discount price: $2,800 (appx'ly)

    Interestingly, in my limited experience, if you shop aggressively you can save about 40% on a foreign Mfr warranty but only about 15% on a domestic Mfr warranty. I don't think that is any sort of predictor of reliablity though.

    Anyways, these are just my observations; for what they are worth.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405

    Anyway, I don't know how you can compare an Outback against an Explorer. The Explorer is a true SUV, with optional seating for seven. And while I haven't looked up the numbers, I would venture to say the Explorer probably has more interior room and towing capacity (if you opt. for the V8) than the Subaru.

    In addition, I really don't agree with your assessment of the cost of warrantys. It is the dealers (unfortunately) that sets the ultimate sales price of the warranty, not the manufacturer.
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    There is no comparison. The Subaru can't tow anywhere near the 6900lbs and Explorer/Mountaineer with the V-8 can. As far as interior space again it's like comparing Apples to Oranges. Subaru is listed as a small SUV along with the CRV, Escape, etc. Explorer is a mid Size. No one is buying a Subaru to tow with. Most people that buy them probably like the idea of having a family vehicle with the ability of an AWD vehicle. I on the other hand wanted an SUV with towing capability and the comforts of a luxury vehicle. The Mountaineer with the Luxury trim level is loaded plus it comes standard with a third row seat. I don't think the guy really meant to compare them as SUV's, but was making a comparison in pricing and reliability.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    After checking Edmunds for specs I found that the Explorer V-8 can tow 7240 lbs vs. 3000 lbs for the Subaru Outback. Edmunds lists the Outback as a Mid Sized Station Wagon not an SUV. Again, I don't think anyone buys a Subaru Outback with the idea of any serious towing. They like the car and it suits their needs just like the Explorer may suit someone else better.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,604
    great post. one of the best of original thought i have seen here. really makes a lot of sense. after the zillions of posts i have read and made, all i can say is thanks.
    it is a breath of fresh air.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • cathmaccathmac Posts: 49
    Thanks for the kind words. I'll "correct" two typos of mine here --regarding the Ford and Toyota warranties-- before anyone points them out. The Ford warranty MSRP is $800.00 more than the Subaru warranty MSRP (I omitted the word "more"). The Toyota MSRP is about $1,400 (not $2,400). Sorry for any confusion.

    Chuck1 and Mtnman1,
    Regarding the differences between the Subaru Outback and the Explorer, for a more accurate frame of reference I did price a Taurus warranty at (where I got the $3,300 warranty MSRP on the Explorer). I put in comparable vehicle info (Year & Mileage) for a comparable warranty (highest / longest level of coverage, $0.00 Ded) for a Taurus (without AWD or 4WD). The price I came up with is $3760. (?!?!?!?!) I believe that price is inflated since it is higher than the price I got just yesterday for the Explorer on that site, using the same warranty and vehicle parameters. I have no idea how or why that happened. It must be some sort of marketing thing.

    However, they are running a 10% - 25% "promotion" which at best (25% off) would translate to $2,820. This would still be about $300 more than the Subaru MSRP on a comparable Outback warranty. And of course the Subaru has AWD, which would increase the cost of potential repairs, all other factors being equal.

    Obviously this isn't a scientific survey but it reinforces my impression that domestic warranty prices are more expensive than Japanese warranties (again, for comparable vehicles). To to the observation about dealers setting the final cost, that may be corect to an extent. The real indicator of reliability would be the wholesale price the Manufacturer charges the dealer, which is probably the amount that would cover the Manufacturer's risk of repair (plus the Manufacturer's profit, if any). Nevertheless, I maintain that as with any kind of insurance, the price is a pretty good reflection of the actuaries' assessment of the risk of repair. Otherwise the prices would be arbitrary and unrealistic and if market forces didn't correct that then no one would by them.

    I should note that my husband's gripe with Consumer Reports is that they do not tend to report the cost of repairs. His impression is that American cars may need repairs more often but those repairs tend to be less expensive. The big weakness in any almost any reliablity data (not just CRs) has more to do with the severity of potential problems, than the likelihood.

    As an example, my sister recently got a great price on a used Lexus RX300. The CR reliability data is excellent but knowing how expensive they are to fix I went to the NHTSA Technical Service Bulletins and to Edmunds Forums and found what is essentially a voluntary recall and warranty extension for oil sludge problems. I went back to CR online and found a separate article on that repair issue for a variety of foreign and domestic manufacturers. Needless to say I helped her find a good price on a Lexus backed used car warranty.

    Interestingly, I had never heard about oil sludge problems in any vehicles before. And no one else I have spoken to since had heard of the problem before. I specifically had to research this particular vehicle to find the issue. So I'm not sure it reflects poorly on CR that that uncommon but serious issues aren't highlighted in their reliability data.

    However, knowing that a lot of used car buyers only look at the Annual Auto issue I would feel better if they could find an efficient way to spotlight infrequent, but potentially catastrophic failures, perhaps in sidebar articles in those issues so that people can weigh the likelihood of potential problems against the severity. Maybe that's impractical, since I would imagine there are a lot of infrequent but potentially catastrophic repairs.

    For what it's worth, in my opinion CR, is as unbiased as it can be but it has its limitations and car buyers would be wise to look to the NHTSA and sites like this for supplemental information. If I’m not mistaken, this is consistent with CR recommendations on researching major purchases.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    The True Cost to Own tool will estimate repair costs for a new car for the first five years of ownership.

    I like to check out JD Power too, and I think their sampling methodology is better than CR's. We report their Power Circle ratings here for many makes/models.

    Lots of good resources out there. Oh, this was an interesting safety score link Varmint posted last week: Informed For Life (via Straightline Blog)

    Steve, Host
  • ramhappyramhappy Posts: 2
    I just purchased a 2002 Explorer XLT that seems very highly optioned. Is there any source where one could enter a VIN and get what amounts to the options on this vehicle? :confuse:
  • cathmaccathmac Posts: 49
    I know that CR gets its reliability data from its members, a method that has obvious limitations but no obvious actual reliability bias that I'm aware of. What methodology does JD Powers use and do they rate the reliability of used vehicles? I'm familiar with the JD Power's term "initial quality" used in new car advertising but it never occurred to me they might have used car data.

    Do they buy the new vehicles themselves, as CR does?

    I like the NHTSA info when making a used car purchase so I I can bring any potentially expensive issues to the attention of the mechanic doing the pre-purchase inspection. Even if I have another Subaru dealer doing the inspection I wouldn't assume they are going to be familiar with all of the Recalls, TSBs, or certainly consumer complaints that haven't resulted in a Recall or TSB.

    "Straightline" link but it doesn't seem to take me to any safety score info, Varmint or otherwise.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059

    You need to click on one of the links near the top of Varmint's page. It's a link to a .pdf file which requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view it. If your browser isn't set up to handle those files you may need to install the reader (Varmint provides a link on his page!)

    tidester, host
  • FYI... yesterday I got in the mail a JD Power survey on my 2003 Mountaineer that I purchased new. Asked if I still had it and asked me to then take the survey. Survey was very inclusive and took 20 minutes to complete.
  • I now have 7922 miles on a 2006 Explorer, V8 with the 6 speed tranny. My average MPG for the entire time: 15.63 MPG, with about two thirds of that mileage on the highway. The best mileage so far: 17.5 MPG at a steady 65-70, and the worst: 11.6 on a tankfull mostly around town in 30-35 degree weather.
    Other likes and dislikes: I love the seats, the ride, the QUIETNESS; I HATE the inside door pull handles (moronic CAREFULL ! You will be dinging OTHER people's doors as the heavy door gets out of your grasp and slams the car next to you !!), and I HATE the GLARE off of the tacky chrome rims around the speedo and tack (I finally resorted to putting strips of black electrical tape on them to reduce the windshield glare). Troubles so far (which are typical Ford quality issues): 1) defective turn signal switch (just like my 2000 Ranger !!!!), replaced under warranty; 2) faulty blower motor switch (replaced); 3) LR tire out of round (Michelin, replaced); 4) exhaust hanger bracket broke off (replaced); 5) left rear passenger door not aligned (wow...I thought this type of stuff was supposed to be OVER). They cannot seem to get it to latch properly. ???? And, 6) the driver's side running light will not last. I suspect a wiring harnesss short someplace. The "Blue Dumbell Dealer" is still trying to fix it. DO NOT believe the hype about "IMPROVED FUEL ECONOMY". Over what, an M 1 Abrahms tank ??
    But, so far, so good. I hope a year from now I don't wish I would have bought a 4 Runner or a Pilot. Wish me luck. I have a feeling I'm gonna need it.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    My understanding is that JD Power gets its sample from DMV type records, so they are sampling actual owners from the entire pool of owners in the country. Maybe Virgiesmom can clarify if the questionnaire is out of the blue or if he requested it through the panel you can join at their web site.

    Here's another link to the safety page that I learned about from Varmint.

    Steve, Host
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    I don't understand some of you people that get on here and complain about a vehicle that apparently you must not have liked before you bought. If you had such a negative attitude about Ford Quality Issues, then I have to ask why would any intelligent life form buy another one. I have never heard so much whining. Obviously, out of the thousands of Explorers that are sold each year there are going to be some that have problems and this forum lets those people vent. But come on. It seems to me that you already didn't think much of Ford. Why didn't you buy a Honda or Toyota?
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Warranties are a big part of buying a car and it's natural to compare various makes and features of cars. If a thread doesn't interest you, please use your down arrow and navigate to the next post.

    Steve, Host
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    Whatever there Steve O. It just seemed off topic to me. I'll try not to comment on such things in the future.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Hi Hoganj55, your post has been moved to the existing Explorer Problems discussion. Here's the link:

    hoganj55, "Ford Explorer: Problems & Solutions" #4895, 16 Mar 2006 5:28 pm

    Please continue over there.

    For anyone wanting to discuss buying a new or used Explorer, please check out the Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer: Prices Paid & Buying Experience discussion.

    Steve, Host
  • I did not request to be on the survey. If I recall a few months after I purchased the 2003 Mountaineer I received a survey from them on the initial quality of vehicle and dealership. Perhaps that initiated this 3 year follow-up.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    1,700 for an Extra care warranty for 100,000 miles ('05 Taurus)

    Whats wrong with that?
  • cathmaccathmac Posts: 49
    In order for the comparison to the Subaru "Gold Plus" warranty to be valid, the "Extra Care" which is one step down from the "Premium Care" would need to essentially offer bumper to bumper coverage comparable to the original Manufacurers 3yr / 36K warranty (this is how Subaru describes their Gold Plus warranty).

    Subaru OB (AWD) 7yr/100K,
    "Gold Plus", $0 Ded = (MSRP) $2,460.00

    Ford Taurus (FWD) 7yr/100K
    "Premium" , $0 Ded = (MSRP)$2,820.00 (assuming a 25% discount)

    My experience trying to comparison shop, on 4 different websites, for the Explorer warranty tells me the most I am probably going to save on a Ford warranty is 15%. In which case my expectation is that the best I could do for a Ford backed "Premium Care" warranty --with the most comprehensive coverage-- on the Taurus is about $2,400 compared to the best discounted price on the Subaru OB, 40% off or $1,400. As I pointed out earlier, the Subaru warranty is covering an AWD vehicle so one would actually expect that warranty to be more expensive, all other factors being equal.

    Even though the Ford "Extra Care" coverage would seem to be less comprehensive than the Subaru "Gold Plus" coverage, at $1,700 the Ford Taurus warranty is still $300 more expensive even though it's covering a less complicated vehicle, (FWD as opposed to AWD).
  • bitusabitusa Posts: 60

    Wow! Sorry you are having so many problems with your '06 Explorer. I bought one for my wife. We have put about 8,500 miles on it so far. We have not had one problem with it. Our average fuel economy (ours is a V6) is 17.8 mpg. Mostly around town driving. I'm surprised by your mileage since the V8 and V6 are rated very similar.

    Have the same likes as you, but don't have the glare problem, and believe it or not, I'm used to the door handles where they are, but did have an instance or two where I had to put a little pressure on the armrest to keep the door from swinging out too quickly. (My wife is still not a fan of the handles.) I heard that the interior designers have already made a door handle change on the next one coming in September.

    But overall, we love the Explorer. My wife says the best vehicle she has ever driven. Her favorite feature is the suede and leather seats. Man, are they comfortable.
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    My 2004 Mountaineer AWD V-8 has always gotten good highway gas mileage. This past weekend we drove from Columbus to Pittsburgh. Had two lane and 4 lane driving since we don't like to drive I-70. Got 21 miles per on the way there and got 20.4 miles coming back. Last summer driving to myrtle beach going 70 to 75 miles per hour we usualy got 20 miles per gallon on the trip down and the trip back. This is better than what it was estimated to get. Around town mileage in the winter is very bad though. I get about 12 to 13 miles per gallon in that situation. I new from the research before I bought the vehicle that fuel economy was not one of it's highlights. I didn't really think twice about that. I was buying an SUV. If I wanted good fuel economy I would have bought a pretend SUV. I think it has a lot to do with how you break it in. I have a 2003 Sonata V-6 that I drive to Cincinnati about twice per month. I always get 29 to 30 miles per gallon. It was rated to get 26 highway. These are not just what the trip computer says. I always randomly check mine by using a calculator. I find the trip computer is very accurate.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    The Ford ESPs are basically insurance policies. The rates are determined by actuarys based on the real world cost of repair datas.

    Keep in mind that a warranty for a more complicated vehicle will also cost more. Accordingly a lower priced warranty with the same exact coverage means that that vehicle has a history of lower repair costs.

    Unfortunately, every dealer has different markup practices on these warranties and the markup is HUGE! like designer clothes HUGE and by designer I mean Versace or Armini! So its hard to compare between dealerships if you don't call around.

  • comancoman Posts: 11
    My new 06 4Runner has a lot of gear whine in the same speed range as your Explorer had and Toyota won't fix it either. While Toyota may have better overall quality stats than Ford, my experience shows their service is no better.

    I owned a 97 Mountaineer previously and I actually had fewer problems and better service than I've gotten so far with Toyota. Just the luck of the draw, I guess.
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    I owned a 97 Mountaineer previously and I actually had fewer problems and better service than I've gotten so far with Toyota.

    Coman, that just can't be true. A toyota having more problems than a Ford product. No way. All those people out there that own Toyotas will be crushed and devastated by this news. My god, I think I'll just go jump in my 2004 Mountaineer and drive to the nearest bridge and jump off. I'm just flabbergasted. NOT!

    Good luck in the future with your new Toyota.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I'm going to be eating some crap from chuck1 here - but my wife's 04 Mountaineer is shifting strangely, kinda slidddddding into home, IYKWIM. Going in tomorrow to have it serviced and checked. Probably, they'll try a reflash first. That fixed my 02 like a charm, and it was one of the smoothest transmissions I'd ever had after that. However, this one was one of the trannies with the wrong fluid in it, and by the time they got the fix out, mine was lunch meat, so it's already been rebuilt once.

    My dealer though is great on service, never an excuse, nor a harsh word. They always give me a free loaner, and treat me like gold there.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Well - at least you admit it.

    Maybe the pesky solenoid.....
  • kwikbillkwikbill Posts: 4
    I had the same problem with my 04 Explorer...and after several tries...fluid additive (from a TSB) didnt even help,reprogramming the computer codes,(worked for a week or two, then same thing), they finally changed out the solenoid, and that cured the problem, and have had no problem with it since just tell them to change out that solenoid, and that should cure the problem.
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