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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • okmomokmom Posts: 37
    We got new right lower ball joint for 2000 Mountaineer AWD on 11/2003 (at 30K miles)
    Ford didn't honor the Warranty .(we bought it 1/2000)
    now we have told we need right upper ball joint replacement.(37K miles)
    another $300 job.

    We never replaced the "ball joint" on any other cars we own/owned. (last 20 years, we had total of 8 cars)

    Is just our Mountaineer or all Mountaineers having this problem?
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    I just unloaded a 1997 Ford Explorer V8/AWD that needed upper and lower ball joints at 57k. I was pretty surprised that they wore out so quickly. Total job parts & labor was going to run approx $1000 for all 4 ball joints and no, I didn't fix it, drove it right to the dealer loose front end squawking for all it was worth.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    OTOH, I've had 4 Explorers/Mountaineers. Have only had to put ball joints on the 94, at 120,000 miles. I consider that to be acceptable, so I can't explain your problem, unfortunately. But I would say no, they're not all like that.
  • okmomokmom Posts: 37
    The repair shop(not the dealer) guy said we need to replace upper control arm.
    He said it's same thing as ball joint.
    Is it so?

    I don't want him to pull my "short" legs.
    (people thinks I'm a naive Asain women, haha)
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    On my 97 Explorer AWD that's how it was. The upper ball joint is integrated into the control arm, parts alone for the upper ball joints on mine was $450. Labor was another $220. Then it needed lowers too, um, no thanks, the Ford dealer got the 97 and I got a new 2004 Explorer.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    I had a (popular repair/store chain)) tell me I needed a ball joint and control arm, while they were doing my brakes and alignment. Stupidly I acted as if I didn't know anything about the vehicle whatsoever. "Oh what does this cute little thing do here, Sir".

    My vehicle DID NOT NEED any of the above, told them exactly how every part worked. How they were engineered, and using what methods and who the CORRECT (not 2nd hand suppliers)were.... What they were looking at, told them how they were all going to rot in hell as I sit upon it's throne.

    Needless to say I got coupons for free service that lasted me quite awhile (Although I gave them away to friends).

    I would say, ask for the parts back so you know they are really changing the parts. And also view the vehicle as it's propped up on the hydraulic lift, and that should help quite a bit.
  • okmomokmom Posts: 37

    I will get the second opinion.
    Squeak noise worry us.
    The repair shop will charges us..
    Right front upper control arm
    part $140 labor $90, Alignment $49.95
    after tax $303.05

    We paid $182 for lower ball joint replacement at the dealer.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,024
    A reporter is looking to interview someone in the Portland, OR metro area who owns an SUV and is feeling quite proud of its capabilities in the city's unusual weather. Please respond to no later than Friday, January 9.
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    You should have heard my 97 Explorer, holy cow, the guards at gate for the AFB where my hubby works said they could hear it coming from 1/2 mile away. It was the most horrible noise I've ever heard, honestly sounded like the truck was coming apart. On the way to the Ford dealer to trade it in (300 mile one way trip) something popped loose in the front end and the handling went from bad to worse. I miss my purple Limited, but love the new XLS.

    We had my new one up on a lift yesterday doing the winterization (we live in Alaska), big difference when compared to the 97.
  • tjf2000tjf2000 Posts: 61
    Thanks for the information....
  • I have a 2002 Limited with sunroof. Every now and then with the rainy Seattle weather, I will get water dripping from the center light console located between the two visors just forward of the sun roof. Brought it to the dealer. He said the sun roof drains get clogged and water sometimes backs up and can leak into the cab. I guess they have to pull apart the interior doorpost covering to get at the drains and clear them. Problem went away for a couple of months and now drip, drip again. Anyone else having this problem?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,786
    i have an '02 and i think it's a great design, but i just want to make a few comments, having owned a '97 xlt v8 awd. yours looked like a 'limited'. mine was unaltered and after 50k miles the original tires had plenty of tread left on them.
    from the pictures of when it was in the body shop, it looked like it had aftermarket wheels/tires. if these were not factory offset, and were not rotated every 6k(could be wrong on the book on that one), then this might have contributed to the front end problems.
    ct is not ak, but the high is going to be <10 tomorrow.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    The aftermarket wheels were factory offset, they were exactly what the book called for, the ONLY reason it had them on was because I used dedicated winter tires which I only had on there for 5k, so no rotation was needed as of yet. I had the summer set with the original Limited wheels in the shed.

    I think what contributed to the front end problems was all the road construction we had last summer. That poor truck took a major beating, nothing I could do about it, I had to drive through that construction for 15 miles to get anywhere. Lots of ruts, potholes, gravel, rough roads, it was truely a nightmare. I'm sure that had tons to do with the reason they gave up. However, that said, our 1994 Chevy K3500 drove on the same roads all last summer/fall and it still had its ORIGINAL front end, ball joints, tie rod ends, everything at 150k miles and it stayed tight and true. Didn't faze it in the least and yes, it was an IFS front end too. So, I think the Explorer was a little wimpy to give up so quickly, but hey, its Alaska, so I'll forgive it.

    I still miss it, but the 2004 is so much smoother and nicer to drive. Oh and the fuel economy is better, my 97 V8/AWD had dropped to a measley 12 mpg and was seriously lacking in the power department. The 2004 is hanging at 15 mpg with only 560 miles on it, that's idling and using 4WD.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,786
    all i can say is good luck, but i have my money in for the next pool(thanksgiving, last time).
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Ha, thanks for the vote of confidence. I honestly wouldn't have gotten rid of my 97 if it wasn't for the front end and the heater, oh and the mind of its own sunroof (that was always fun). My husband doesn't deal well with shelling out money for vehicle repairs (especially for the family vehicle). Thus the reason I've given up 2 vehicles now that I adored, one my 97 Explorer and one my 1990 Suburban. We will have an ESC on the 2004 Explorer, I should be able to make it until 100k (about 3 to 4 years).
  • sisu145sisu145 Posts: 22
    I have an opportunity to buy an xlt with 44,000
    miles on it for 6,000. I like the mileage on it but still a little wary of the age. I'm reading here for as much info as possible. The owner of the truck died and his widow is finally selling it. The truck supposedly was well maintained and is in very clean condition. The age thing is the only thing bugging me. Some input from some you experienced Explorer owners would help.
  • gregb5gregb5 Posts: 82
    Buy it. It's a good truck. You won't have to deal with any of the OHC engine problems. I traded my 95 Sport in on an '02 with 100K miles on it and hated doing it, but I needed a fifth seat belt. The truck had the original battery and every original light bulb in it; the only repairs were a steering rack at 50K and a broken sway bar link (there was eventually a recall for that one).
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I still have my 94 with 120,000 miles on it now, it runs every day, and repairs have been very minimal.
  • Need advice...

    I'm considering purchasing the above vehicle. It's mint in and out and priced fairly at 22K. I'm concerned about it's repair history and resale value in 2 yrs. when it's got 90K+ miles on it. However, I do like the features, ride, styling, room, etc. of it.

    My 01 Nissan P'finder has 88K carefree miles on it and I'm being offered a trade value of 12K, which I consider fair also. (Reluctant to part with it because it's been so troublefree.)

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!!!!!
  • To recent 04 buyers: I'm looking at the 04 XLT, with options & $3000 cash back, invoice should be @ $27,700. Edmunds lists TMV at $28,028. 1.1% over invoice seems low without much negotiation. Been 6 yrs since I bought a new Explorer (98 XLT...Love it!!).

    Is 1.1% over invoice realistic??

    Thanks in advance.......
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    For anyone with an 02-04 Explorer V-6. Where in the heck is the dipstick to check the transmission fluid?? I've looked and looked, even checked the owner's manual, but to no avail, I can't find it. Yes, I know I'm a woman and a blonde to boot, but I can usually find the dipsticks for the fluids I need to check. Old habits die hard, I had a 90 Suburban for a while, that thing taught me to check fluids........often.
  • cubescubes Posts: 29
    For good or bad, my understanding that there is no dipstick and that the trans is sealed. Don't know the thinking on this, maybe someone else can shed some light on the subject.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    That's what I'm thinking, especially considering the first trans service isn't for 150k. That bugs me. I usually switch all fluids to synthetic, but it doesn't appear that I'll be able to do that with this one. Maybe just the front/rear end/t case/engine. Sure would have been nice to put synthetic in the transmission too. Oh well, gotta love technology.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    The transmission is sealed meaning that the fluid is supposed to last for the life of the transmission. I also believe that the transmission fluid is actually synthetic already because of the extended service interval. The transmission is still serviceable, but you must fill the transmission with new fluid underneath the vehicle. So in other words, it's not exactly easy for the home mechanic to do anymore, but you can wait a little extra while to change the fluid (maybe double the previous mileage for the last gen Explorers to 60,000mi). At least you will have peace of mind knowing that your trans fluid is already synthetic (I am 80 percent sure of this). Anyway hope this helps. If any others notice that this information is wrong, please correct it so akangl gets the correct information :-)
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    I'm thinking that too. I'm guessing the front and rear end are synthetic too, at least here in Alaska. Its 45 below zero this morning and all I have is an oil pan heater, block heater, and battery heater plugged in for 5 hours. Truck started right up and warmed up fine, moved ok too, just didn't have any heat until we got going (this after 30 minutes of idling). Tire pressure monitoring system wasn't too happy either, light didn't go off until I had driven about 3 miles. Truck drove fine, transmission shifted great, no problems.

    My 97 Explorer I highly doubt would have been so compliant, it would fight me at -20.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    " Yes, I know I'm a woman and a blonde to boot, "

    You can't imagine the number of men that have made this error, at least you knew there was a dipstick to begin with. I actually have some male friends that had no idea that brakes have "fluid", I had to draw them diagrams because they kept asking "brakes can't possibly have fluid, if they did, they wouldn't be able to brake"... Heh...

    BMW's transmissions are also sealed for life, and reality is when it the transmission does start to die, it's either time to replace the vehicle, or much cheaper to replace the whole unit than just re-build them.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Well, this woman can change oil, change a tire, check all the fluids, I'm pretty savy about cars.

    The guys at the gas station used to get a kick out of me last winter when I had my 90 Suburban, lifted 4", 31x10.5R15 tires, I had to climb up on the tire to check the oil (thing lost a quart every 250 miles) and then would have to climb into the engine bay to add oil. Very embarrassing and on occation I played the helpless female to get some guy to do it for me, lol.

    That truck (her name was Tabitha or TaBurbitha) taught me a lot about vehicles and reminded me that if I didn't check the fluids I was gonna be walking in no time. I miss that old girl.

    Anyway, I guess on my Explorer I'll be a good truck owner and leave it alone. I really do like the little thing, its much better than the 97 Explorer I had......that thing was known as *Squeaky*.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I actually heard there is no dipstick on these new ones, because there wasn't a way to route one up to the top. Sounds strange to me, but possible. I don't care. And I have also heard the fluid is synthetic.

    It seems to be a fine transmission too. We've noticed no deterioration at all in 30,000 miles so far on ours, and it's really smooth and quiet. This Mountaineer, despite being one of the first 2002 models ever made, early in 2001, has been surprisingly competent and trouble free.
  • gregb5gregb5 Posts: 82
    From the Motorcraft site:

    Related Chemicals & Lubricants
     The following Motorcraft® chemicals and lubricants are recommended for service and repairs associated with transmission replacement:
    Ford Type &#147;F&#148; ATF and Power Steering Fluid
    Power Steering Fluid
    Premium Power Steering Fluid
    MERCON® Multi-Purpose ATF Transmission Fluid
    Synthetic MERCON® Multi-Purpose Automatic Transmission Fluid
    MERCON® V Automatic Transmission Fluid

    The 5R55W in the '02 up Explorer needs Mercon V fluid. Since the entry above it notes that it is synthetic and the Mercon V is not noted as such, I am betting that it isn't a synthetic. The trans has no dipstick, and checking the fluid is not "required". I'll have mine professionally flushed at 36K intervals.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Well thats 3 yeses and 1 no for the 5R55W having synthetic transmission fluid.
    Anyone out there know for sure?
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