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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • I have recently traded my 2002 AWD Mountaineer. It had the 4.6L V-8. I really liked the car and it was so good in the ice and snow we have here in the NC mountains. But, @ 47,000 miles and out of warranty, the front end began to rumble. Sounded like a wheel bearing. Top local mechanic agreed so we setup a change-out. Cost of the part from NAPA Auto Parts @ $349.00, (wow!) Well NAPA called right back and said they could not supply the part. Called local Ford dealer, same thing. They said on "National Backorder". After two-weeks, the rumble was getting toward a growl. Local Advance guy could not get the part either and further said the part was French made and this was the reason for the unavailability. (Although Advance has it on their web site; it is still unavailable). The Advance guy added that he had knowledge that the front end of the 2002 Mountaineer was all French made, (Renault), and manufactured for a 3000 lb car with a V-6. When the application was into a 4,600 lb car with a V-8; it just was too much. My question is; is any part of this true? I panicked and gave the Merc a "good-country-trading" but I hated to do it.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    "The Advance guy added that he had knowledge that the front end of the 2002 Mountaineer was all French made, (Renault), and manufactured for a 3000 lb car with a V-6."

    No, but funny how such rumors would spread. This rumor might have come because the some of the transmissions (for the V6) are built in France, while the engine is built in Cologne Germany. As for the front end, it's designed specifically for Ford, and not designed by anyone else or used anywhere else for that matter.

    As it is, and comparison (depending how much you might know about front ends), Renault doesn't even build anything remotely that could accomodate an Explorer type of front end.

    Or the french remark could have come out because Ford in a joint venture with Peugeot share design and manufacturing of a diesel engine used in various Ford of Europe products.

    You might have a french part here and there, but it's not the whole front end for that matter.

    Maybe he had a personal agenda of his own against the french maybe ? I mean, I ticked off a jewish acquaintence once when she boasted she only bought american, etc.etc and I mentioned to her, that her Explorer's engine was built in Cologne Germany... That car only lasted 2 more months in her driveway after I told her that... :)
  • daryll44daryll44 Posts: 307
    Let me get this straight: An approximate $500 repair on a 50,000 mile vehicle caused you to "panic" and buy a new vehicle? HUH?

    C'mon. You wanted a new vehicle and this relatively minor repair was a great excuse to splurge for one. I don't like out of warranty repairs either, but in the big scheme of car ownership, this was a molehole that you made a mountain out of.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Totally agree.... There's nothing wrong with that, I've done it myself. Once I was just out of patience with a car....and traded it in a huff..... Could have had it fixed under warranty at no expense.
  • It was not the $500 as much as it was the dead-end I had run into getting the part. NAPA, Advance and Ford all said it was "unavailable". Ford parts guy used the term
    "National Back Order". The grinding was getting worst by the day and since My wife used that car to get to work; I needed it fixed and in a reasonably quick time. Sure, I like a new car as well as the next guy; but given the situation as stated, what would you have done?
  • I still don't understand why the part was "unavailable" and on what the Ford guy called "National Back Order". I seemed to me that a guy with a Mountaineer with this problem was at a dead-end. The front wheel bearing was not going to cure itself; so park it or trade it seemed to be the only solutions. With those options, I could easily be persuaded that all Mountaineers were built by Commies in Red China and the front end was originally designed for a rickshaw.
  • jonpnjjonpnj Posts: 52
    I would prefer to have the AWD as opposed to the 4WD. I also think Ford did a wonderful job with the 06 versions. The thing I like the most is the quiet ride I read about. That is tough to achieve in an SUV with their high Cds. Can anyone attest to the fact that the 06s are quieter than the previous versions??
  • daryll44daryll44 Posts: 307
    What would I have done? I'll tell you exactly:

    I would have worked at managing the problem instead of knee-jerk throwing big money at it. This is a manageable smallish problem that was really more of a nusance than a problem.

    For instance, any decent repair shop/dealer understands that sometimes things like this happen and they often can be creative. Maybe they could get a used part, even if only temporary, from a junk yard. Or maybe they needed to hunt better for the part. Certainly SOME dealer SOMEWHERE (with the huge volume of Ford dealers over this great land) has that part in inventory for FEDEX to you. Or maybe a call from you direct to a Ford zone rep could have gotten some result.

    I just can't buy that something like a wheel bearing was so rare and caused so much uncertainty that it was worth buying a new car. Decision-making processes like that destroy wealth and certainly prevent the accumulation of wealth. I hate uncertainty too, but I have learned that living with a reasonable amount of it pays big rewards versus always needing certainty.

    Sorry to beat you up but you asked what I would I answered and explained why.
  • illini7illini7 Posts: 19
    Can anyone with a 2002-2005 model Explorer give me real world mpg on a V-6 and V-8 Explorer? I am looking into buying a used one and am interested to know the gas mileage that owners are currently getting.
  • daryll44daryll44 Posts: 307
    Here up and down the hills of Pittsburgh we are getting 13.5 to 14 in the city and 19 on the highway in our 2003 Mountaineer (Explorer clone) V8 with AWD. I suspect a flatter topography would be 1 or 2 MPG better. In other words, the 14/19 window sticker is about what we are getting in the real world.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    "Can anyone with a 2002-2005 model Explorer give me real world mpg on a V-6 and V-8 Explorer?"

    There have been fantastic claims on mpg on this forum. HOWEVER, for the V6 expect REAL WORLD of 14-15 city/20Hwy (if you keep it at 70mph or below on the highway). The V8 mpg is about one mile-per-gallon difference.
  • jefferygjefferyg Posts: 418
    I know it's an oddity up North, but we live in South Mississippi with no need for AWD or 4WD and our 04 Mountaineer with V6 and 2WD gets 14.5-16 around town (short trips under 10 miles) and 20-21 on the highway. Best I've ever seen the the trip computer indicate was 23.0. Economy is not what made them the best selling SUVs in the world.

    My wife's uncle says their Explorer (same set up as our Mountaineer) gets 25 mpg...12 in town and 13 on the highway. :P Actually I believe they get about the same mileage or a little better than we do, but Aunt Ruth drives a little farther to get to work each day than we do.

    Chuck is exactly right about speed. Get up to around 80 and it gets ugly in a hurry. I've never taken a long trip in the Mtneer that didn't include some interstate. I think on a good, somewhat level road I might could squeeze a little more mileage out of ours if I held it below 65.

    A couple of other points I would make about our Mountaineer is that it gets better mileage if you set the cruise, and interestingly, we don't get any better mileage, city or highway, by petting it, easing off from a dead stop, accelerating downhill and coasting up, etc.

    Hope that helps a little.
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    I have a 2004 Mountaineer AWD V-8. We live in a flat area of the country. We drive a lot of short distances. We get about 12 to 13 MPG in the winter and about 13 to 14 MPG in the warmer months. This past October we took a 630 mile trip which was pretty much all highway driving. Was mixed with flat country to mainly Mountain areas through West Virginia and Virginia. We got 19 to 20 MPG. I believe you might get a bit better mileage with a 2WD or a 4 x 4 that can be switched off when not in use. The AWD in the Mountaineer is always switched on in varying degrees as the vehicle senses when the front wheels may need more power and less power.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,901
    i pretty much agree with daryll44, i get in the range of 14-19 with an '02, v8 and towing package. funny thing is the mileage doesn't seem to suffer with a load or 75-80 mph.
    i live in the northeast which has a lot of hills.
    there is a point on hills, where going too slow will cause a downshift, which will cut your mileage. i hate downshifts.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    "funny thing is the mileage doesn't seem to suffer with a load or 75-80 mph"

    Must be the "Northeaster" blowing your car down the highway if mpg doesn't suffer after 70 mph! :)
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    Hey guys - I am still an AMC fan. My brother and I bought a used 1970 AMX in 1975 (remember those - 2 seats?) when we were in high school, then one of my sisters joined us in replacing it with a 1979 Trans Am WS6 400 4-speed. In 1970 my mother bought a 1970 Ambassador which had been a rental and we gave it away in 1986 at about 140,000 miles. The Borg-Warner automatic had started to show signs of its age, and it had some rust in the unit-body upper frame rails (due to storage outdoors in the last several years before we gave it away), but it was very reliable and the AMC V8 in both of those cars was a very good engine. Remember the fold-flat coil spring seats dating back to the Ramber and maybe even the Nash or Hudson days (AMC was formed when Nash and Hudson merged)?

    I only wish the new Explorer and other new Fords, for all that they cost, had seats with real coil springs, at least as an option.

    As for resale value, I remember posting here about the dismal resale value of my 2002 Mountaineer V8, with almost 100,000 miles. I still can not think of something better I could have bought in mid-2001, and the Mountaineer, although rougher and noiser than I liked (things fixed in the 2006 version) was highly reliable after a few initial build defects were quickly fixed.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,901
    i think the ral reason is that the 4.6 is a better engine than the 4.0. the 4.6 designed with a wider operating range.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Vehicle deprecation is a function of supply and demand. With Ford stuck in over capicity on the Explorer, this is a problem.

    There are way more out there than there is a demand for.
    Also the Explorer expecially prior to the 06 model had the most incentive money of any new Ford. Every time Ford throws out a rebate or a sweetheart lease deal, your truck gets depreciated.

    The good news is that Ford is trying to end doing business this way, and will idle 1 Explorer pant to bring supply more in line with demand.

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    It's a shame - this is the best Explorer Ford has ever built - and it's not selling. Partly due to gas prices.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    Gas prices are a big factor, but blatant errors, such as the lack of reachable door handles, certainly hurt, and probably hurt more than Ford knows or is willing to admit. Isn't it stunning to see Ford, with all of its people and money, producing a vehicle with such an annoying and obvious defect which any of those on this forum could have identified after a short time with the vehicle?

    Also, once the Freestyle has the 3.5 V6, new six speed automatic, and revised front styling, who but people towing will need an Explorer?

    Even the people towing could just as easily buy an Expedition, or a new Tahoe / Yukon with cylinder shut off which allows them to achieve the same mileage ratings as the smaller Explorer.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757

    The door handle is going to be fixed for the 07 model year by adding a cup to the arm rest.

    This obvious solution should have been in place from the get go.

    I hope the person that screwd it up is one of the peeps getting the AXE!

  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    "Gas prices are a big factor, but blatant errors, such as the lack of reachable door handles, certainly hurt, and probably hurt more than Ford knows or is willing to admit."

    Let's not forget that the (exterior) styling made no major inroads in the redesign for '06. Look at the new Yukon and Tahoes... much improved. And isn't the Freestyle going over to Mercury and will be discontinued as a Ford? It's too bad about the layoffs that are coming. But if they built more of cars and trucks that people would want to buy ...they would be OK. You can't carry the company the size of Ford with the Mustang and F150. The 500 is a joke and the Fusion isn't good enough to go up against the Accord and the new redesigned Camry!
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,901
    have you actually seen the to tahoe? it does not look a good as the pictures.
    exterior styling is not reason the explorer is not selling.
    the door handles are not it either.
    general bashing posts are obvious for their lack of thought.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    "Also, once the Freestyle has the 3.5 V6, new six speed automatic, and revised front styling, who but people towing will need an Explorer?"

    Some people prefer riding higher, or having a higher ground clearance. I was able to talk my mother down from a Navi, to a '06 Mountaineer...and not because I used the fuel issue, but more like "HEY, dad has a Navi, do you REALLY want to have twin vehicles? Isn't that unimaginative and tacky"... And I won that war.

    And in her case, she didn't like the lower feeling of the FS. And when she's PMS-ing, she'll throw the car over curbs/sidewalks...and not wait for curb cuts. So considering how she abused the vehicles, the FS wouldn't have been best suited for her.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Have you seen and read about the new Camry? Is there any question that Toyota isn't going to sell a TON of these?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,901
    of course toyota is gong to sell a lot of camrys. the questions is, are they going to sell more or less than they used to? say i have an '03 camry 4 cyl auto. based on it's longevity reputation, why should i buy an '07?
    personally, i'd rather have an explorer. ;)
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    question, how did Ford let the door handle get by???... Doesn't ANYONE actually drive these things as they design them???...Don't Ford employees notice and speak up when something is so awkwardly out of place???

    But, then again, when Cadillac sold millions of vehicles, some fool came out with the V8-6-4, and it failed from the release date...I can understand if it failed in 24 or 30K miles, but it was a botch job from the get-go...didn't anyone try driving the vehicles prior to release???

    Which is why the US makers have a "well earned" reputation for designing vehicles and letting the buyers work out the kinks...which creates millions of disgruntled buyers who become loyal toyota and Honda buyers, never to step in a US maker showroom for the next 50 their children, who are warned not to buy American...
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    "Which is why the US makers have a "well earned" reputation for designing vehicles and letting the buyers work out the kinks...which creates millions of disgruntled buyers who become loyal toyota and Honda buyers, never to step in a US maker showroom for the next 50 their children, who are warned not to buy American.."

    You have said this very well, and I may add that the Unions have not helped matters at all.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    ANT14 - as usual, a good point - people who want a Ford and who don't want an Expedition / Navigator, but who do some "off roading" will also certainly prefer an Explorer to a Freestyle. As long as the volume exists to keep building it and making money, there is no reason to stop doing so. I just wonder if the volume will hold up?

    However, Ford can no longer afford mistakes such as the door handles. I wonder why they don't find a way to obtain feedback from people on forumns such as this before they finalize new vehicle designs? Besides being able to easily identify problems such as the bad door handles, who here would not want to see and comment on pre-production designs (after signing a confidentiality agreement with teeth)?

    Maybe Ford could stretch their investment by also using the Explorer's independent rear suspension on the Crown Victoria / Grand Marquis / Town Car?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Since it's body on frame architecture, the volume could be quite low and still make it financially sensible. Even at 20-30K unit sales, would still keep that program alive, and/or intergrated with another vehicle.

    The suspension of the Explorer cannot integrate with the Crown Vic, the mounting towers, structs, overall structure/assemble doesn't make it a viable option, although it has crossed peoples mind. The same with the "Why not just make the CV/GM/TV built on the Explorer platform (a' la 500/FS)", but overall that's not possible.

    The door handles with the solution which takes side impact in emphansize. There's a large styrofoam piece behind the handle assembly, which helps absorb impact to the hip area. The governments crashed testing just gained the Explorer perfect 5 stars all around including side impact.

    For the redesigned handle, most probably the door panel will protude a bit more towards the seat, or the styrofoam block be replaced with something else.

    Ironically, for years Ford had a closing "Strap" in the 80's Cougars, Mark8, etc where the "strap" was located 10 inches north of the actual door release mechanism. Guess it wasn't an issue then, but it is now. Although I agree, it's not intuitive for many people.

    It's just like my issue with Honda switchgear which many lacks nighttime illumination, and sunroof button is NOT where it should be yet hidden behind the steering wheel.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    >The door handle is going to be fixed for the 07 model year by adding a cup to the arm rest.

    This obvious solution should have been in place from the get go.

    I hope the person that screwd it up is one of the peeps getting the AXE!<

    It was a female designer who came up with the "really cute" door handles you can't find. I want the guy who approved the design to get the AXE!
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    I already thought straps as an easy fix - a leather or plastic strap 7" - 10" long mounted horizontally three inches above the armrest, and retained by the ends wrapped around on one side of rectangular metal buckles, with the opposite side of each buckle attached to the door with a loop clip and screw. It could lay flat against the door panel, or entend out the dinension of the rectangualr buckles plus some amount based on the flexibility of the material. I know that some cars had such straps, but can't remember which ones, or I would dig out a photo reference.

    I certainly agree that both the designer and the ones who approved the door handles need to be let go, and everyone else told why they were fired so they get the message to avoid such nonsense.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Well- not so fast - I had the famous strap on my 84 Thunderbird, and while it was a great car, and I kept it an inordinately long time, the door panels, and straps were the chinseyest thing on the car, and one of the reasons I had to eventually sell it. I'm not a big fan of the strap unless they put some guts into it. Perhaps they should just redesign the whole door panel again, and make it more user friendly like the last one.

    You know, the same thing happened on the Taurus of old. The original 86 Taurus had probably the most functionally designed interior in history, which is what sold me on the car. Everything was in sight, in reach, and easy to operate on the dash, and was pleasing to look at as well. When I got my first 89 Taurus though, they had redesigned the interior, and made it all just a little worse. Just for the sake of "freshening", they tweaked it all, but the window buttons were not positioned as well, and the dash, while still good looking, was not as ergonomic, etc..... In my opinion, they should have changed the color or something, and left the best design ever, pretty much intact for the life of the car. And of course, today's Taurus, while a good running car, is just a mere shadow of the original design. The seats feel cheap, they used to be world class in the original, the whole car feels cheap. It's tragic. Besides, the Fusion should carry the Taurus name on. It would have revived a world champion.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    Agreed, the straps would have to be quality material which would look good for many years and many miles.

    Also agreed on the old Taurus. It was a most impressive design which should have been appropriated updated and enhanced, instead of being destroyed by an attack of some sort of oval virus. If they had to try ovals, they could have done it to the Sable and left the Taurus alone. Had they not grown complacent due to the profits from sales of the Explorer and Expedition, the Taurus might today have the same market position and same sales volume as the Camry.

    Yes, Ford and the other car makers are all giving their so-called designers way too much power. That is where I think they need more input from people such as you and me. It does seem that they often change things just to be different, or to be cheaper and hope that nobody notices. Of course, people always notice.

    Even though it is obvious, I was reminded today why fuel costs are having such a significant impact on sales of the Explorer. Having not been dependent on consumer debt for so long, I had forgotten that what seems like trivial differences in fuel costs may make the difference between breaking even or going negative every month for the people who live on the edge and in debt. They will switch to a vehicle with lower fuel costs, but keep the same payment.
  • fsvfsv Posts: 196
    Turn signal bulb in my left tail light burned out :surprise: . Looked at the light housing - couldn't figure out :blush: how to open it in order to be able to replace the bulb. Can somebody help, please :confuse: :confuse: :confuse: ?
  • What year? On my 2002 you lift the tailgate and there are two or three screws in the frame between the light and the tailgate. Remove those screws and then the light housing pulls out. The bulbs are in those standard twist out holders.

    Hope that helps. :)
  • fsvfsv Posts: 196
    It's what I suspected. My MM is 2004. Great car, if it would be less thirsty...
  • daryll44daryll44 Posts: 307
    What's the current deal with rear air on the 2006 Mountaineer? I am considering trading in our 2003 Mountaineer for an '06 Premier. We currently have rear, not that "puff of air" that comes from the front, but a true rear air heating/cooling thing that, on the original window sticker, was called "auxillary climate control" and cost exactly $600. I have been looking thru dealer inventories online but see none, even the $40,000+ vehicles, with this option. Perhaps they made it standard?
    My daughter gets car sick and rear air has been a lifesaver. I won't buy a big SUV without it. Again, so what is the current situation with that on the Mountaineer?
  • Hey Daryll... the 2006 models still have the option of AUXILIARY CLIMATE CONTROL it shows up under the tab "factory options" on the car details.
  • I have the same option on my 2002 Mountaineer. I won't buy one without it either. I searched and searched for it but it doesn't appear as an option for the Premier on any website so it must be standard equipment on the top of the line package. It does show as a $650 option on the lower models.
  • daryll44daryll44 Posts: 307
    Interesting. I wish someone could positively confirm that it is standard equipment on the top-o-the-line Premier. At least I now know that it still's just a question of if it is an OPTION on the Premier (that none of the inventoried ones I saw online seem to have) or if it's built into the Premier price as standard.
  • I finally found it on Mercury's website. If you go to ans scroll down to Features, it lists 'A/C - Rear Auxiliary Climate Control' as Standard for the Premier and Available for all other levels. :)
  • daryll44daryll44 Posts: 307
    Ah! Thank you very very much for that info.
  • ustazzafustazzaf Posts: 311
    Can someone give me an idea of the mileage differences between the 2WD, 4WD and AWD Mountaineer (around 99 vintage). I just got a 99 AWD yesterday. If I am not mistaken, AWD is only available with the 5.0, so it may not be a fair comparison.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I had a 97 and a 98 just like yours, and this much I'll tell ya - I miss those vehicles. My 02 and 04 are better designed from a functionality standpoint, but the grunt from that old 5.0L motor is special, and now a thing of the past. Plus, those 5.0Ls will run FOREVER with just oil changes. They're tough as a tank. So is the whole truck, frankly. You have a great vehicle, IMO. But, gas mileage is not what it was built for. Expect 13 in town, 17 on the highway at best.
  • fitguyfitguy Posts: 222
    Also had a '97 Explorer 5.0 AWD w/tow pkg; got exactly 13/17 mpg as above. As an owner of many Fords, and several 5.0 (or, 302 ci, back in the day) I was stunned when this motor fried a piston at 78K miles. Was towing at the time, a 4000# boat well within the 6400# tow rating, and I am an absolute stickler on maintenance. Mechanic was also baffled; no one could give a concrete answer as to "why". Liked the vehicle so much (it was in MINT cond otherwise) I sprung the $3500 for a re-man engine. Later traded it for an Expy with the 4.6, which was super-reliable, and now have an '05 Explorer 4.6 w/tow pkg that I really love. It rides better than the '97, and I feel the 4.6 has at least as much, if not better, towing power (same 3.73 gears on both). The '97 did have a more comfortable seat though, the '05 is good but not outstanding. And now we have that wonderful fold-down 3rd seat. I stuck with Ford when most folks would have run for the hills after frying a motor- it's still a mystery (bad oil, defective ring, who knows?) and generally the 5.0 is a 200K mile engine with good care. Luck of the draw, I guess. BTW, I get 14/18 mpg with the '05 V8 (non-towing), just as the EPA estimates. As said, we don't buy these vehicles for their economy.
  • Hi all I've had this suv for 3 weeks! 5.0 engine ok everything was fine my wife gets gas goes to my daughthers start engine to leave runs like crap missing sputterings etc call where we bought says bad gas we get additive no difference so we bring to shop for warranty work purchased with vehicle 1 min later found cracked egr valve adapter they said never seen anything like that have to wait for new one to come in wed anyone else have this problem thanks in advance mike
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,901
    also had a '97 explorer with 5.0. could hit up to 20 mpg occasionally on a long trip. great towing vehicle. better than my '00 exedition. with my '02 explorer(v8 tow pkg), i can get 19+ on long trips even if loaded down.
    new driver in family, local driving mileage drops below a bit below 14. the 3rd row and turning radius cannot be beat.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,901
    did you tell the shop it started running badly right after filling up?
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
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