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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    1996 Explorer Sport. Sold in 2002 @ 92,000 Miles. Needed a fuel pump, new shocks, and a door lock actuator.

    2000 Explorer XLT 2 year lease. 4.0L SOHC motor had to have the timing chain tensioner fixed. Gave back to dealer with close to 30,000 miles on it.

    2000 Limited with the 4.0L SOHC that my wife currently drives. Has needed 2 lower ball joints and a thermostat. She is currently at 76,000 miles. I also mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was getting a lot of front suspension noise. Turned out to be the front stabilizer bar end links. I took off the bolt for each and installed 3 washers on each end link to pull it tighter together. It worked beautifully! A 29 cents fix! For the horrible roads we live on, the Explorer still remains to be very tight and quiet.


    I am a Ford guy, but I am not trying to sweeten a sour grape. I am reporting all problems I recall having, and am lead to believe these are very good trucks.
  • fsvfsv Posts: 196
    When I turn heat on, there is some sort of smell coming into the car for 10-15 minutes. It smells and feels like pulverised coal, or something similar. At times could be unbearable. Then it disappears. Sometimes I turn heat on, and - miracle - works just fine. What could it be? 2004 MM, V6, 12,500 miles, perfectly maintained. Wents position is windshield/floor.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Pulverized coal, you say......that's a new one on me... I'm not sure I made it to class in Chem lab the day we did that chapter. Is that what this new yellow coolant smells like hot now? No more sweet jello smell? What else could it be though? You gotta have a leak in the core somewhere, probably a pinhole. I'd make the dealer tear into it and find out. Does it do it enough to make them smell it reliably?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687


    Is it the same transitioning smell as a house A/C system, when you first switch it to heat, from months of cooling? My guess it's probably the coating from the heatcore, and might take awhile for it to dissipate.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    It could be what ANT just said......and you could be hyper-sensitive. :)
  • fsvfsv Posts: 196
    Could be. But the other six in the car say the same.


    coating from the heatcore - could be. I'll give it some time. Appointment at the dealer is on the 4th of February, anyway.
  • I have a similar problem - my '03 XLT has a pipe tobacco smoke odor come from the heat when it is first turned on - but ONLY when it is damp or raining out. It goes away after a couple of minutes. Before I try and have it looked at, any ideas on that one? Never a scent with the A/C on or on a dry day. I've owned it since new, and I don't smoke!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    It won't fix the problem but a half ounce of fresh ground coffee tossed on the carpet will mask odors for a few weeks, and doesn't outgas formaldehyde like those hanging trees.


    Avoid if you're sensitive to coffee odors.


    Steve, Host
  • I have a 4.0 2003 M. Mountaineer that was avg. 15 - 16 mpg; I brought it into the dealer for new tires. They said there was an upgrade to the computer - since then my mpg has fallen to approx. 12.5. The car seems to run fine other than that. I spoke with the shop and they said they can't remove the upgrade to the computer - Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    You need to talk to the Service Manager about the "reflash" they did on your computer. Whatever it is, unless you drive pretty crazy-12.5 mpg is WAY TOO LOW. The minimum you should get is around 14 MPG in town. BTW...I would never buy tires from the dealer. There are several "national chains" where if you buy their tires-they will do free rotation and rebalance for the life of those tires. Generally, the dealers don't do this. And if they do-is it really that convenient to take the SUV to the dealer for rotation and re balances? I don't think so!

  • fsvfsv Posts: 196
    is 300 miles on 20 gallons in mixed driving, which is merely highway. So, I average 15mpg too. And, as I stated previously, I drive like Miss Daisy's driver. I guess, MM are just gas burners. People saying they are getting 20 IN THE CITY - I doubt reality of these stories
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    This is a 4,500 lb. vehicle. They are not going to pull 20 mpg in town-no way. You miles-per-gallon at 15 mixed is right in there. As I stated previously, I have always got 20 MPG HIGHWAY at 75 mph. I have done this at least three times.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,859
    chuck1.. it is kind of stange i get my best miles on long, but high speed runs too. i have v8 with tow package.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Mines a V6 !

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,859
    i still think mu eplorer eb looks great after 2 1/2 years. i mean clean or dirty. right now, it is trashed on the outside.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • My 03 explorer has now had a new ring and pinion at 24000mls and a complete rear end hub to hub at 36000mls. The second was covered under ESP I reluctantly paid the deductable then called ford and asked for a refund of the $50.00.I was told I should be glad i bought the ESP or I would have paid $1647.00 for the repair.I cant understand why acompany that spends millions to get customers in their dealerships wont spend$50.00 to keep one who has bought 3 new fords since 1999.
  • svofan2svofan2 Posts: 442
    ANT, a couple of shows (Detroit and LA) have come and still don't see any news anywhere about the Explorer 2006. At this point I ma undicided about the Explorer or the Expedition, it seems that the later already has must of the "goodies" expected in the 2006 Explorer...will we see anything by April's NY Auto show?....will the Explorer 2006 be available towards the 4th qt of 2005?....I ask you since you seem to have a "Ford crystal ball" into the near future.......thanks in advance...
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    We saw the Explorer Sport Trac and where that is headed and what's to be expected of the vehicle. When I return from vacation, I'll be able to give you a production date. I can't remember off the top of my head, but I believe 2005 is a short run year for it, before introducing the new one, or I believe it's 2006 has a short run, with a spring '06 introduction for it. As I stated, I'll try to look for the specific time period.
  • svofan2svofan2 Posts: 442
    Thanks for your reply..I will look forward to your info on the Explorer I said I am still undecided about the 2005 Expedition..have a great vacation
  • Hey ya'll


    If you own a 03 Ford Explorer get ready to have you rear end replaced on a fairly regular basis. I bought mine new 16 months ago and I put a few more miles on per month than most. The first replacement went in at 28000...they paid. The latest one went in at almost the same mileage 58000...I paid. Ford service was unsympathetic at best but the parts rep at the dealership was a little secretive but more than a little informative. The Nashville dealership I bought it at is one of the bigger ones in Tennesse but he told me mine was the 47th in 2004 that he had ordered. Ford is naturally silent about the problem because any TSB or recall will cost them. I'm in the music business with a major label deal so I'll make my noise where I can.


  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Well, it sounds like you're in a good position to give Ford your two cents (or is it .26 cents?).


    Good luck with the latest replacement.


    Steve, Host
  • Guilty as charged


  • 02xls02xls Posts: 40
    What? I can not believe that one single dealer in one city replaced 47 rear ends in Explorers in 12 months. I thought according to many who post on this forum that the rear end whine problem was minor. Some on this forum know people who have a whole fleet of these trucks with out a single problem. Man, I guess this particular dealership just got a bad batch of Explorers. Everyone remember this problem is not Ford's fault, it's their supplier! All sarcasm aside if you buy or own a 02-05 Explorer you better purchase an extended warranty or when the rear end fails you will pay the price.
  • OK Mr. Sarcastic, see if you can follow me here. I will attempt to spell out for you what has been briefly discussed before.

    It's generally agreed that only people who are strongly opinionated post messages about their vehicles online. And, people who have problems are more likely to be strongly opinionated than those who are merely satisfied. I bet for every one driver on here complaining, there are 20 more out there racking up the miles on their Explorers, happy as clams. But then, that's the story with nearly every single car on the road.


    In 2004, Ford sold 340,000 Explorers. There are over a million of the new body style (which you love to trash so much) on the roads. This 340k in 2004 accounted for about 12.5% of all of Ford's sales.


    Here in my state the "larger" Ford dealers sell between 250 and 1,000 total vehicles per month (on average). That means each one sells between 30 and 120 Explorers per month for a total of 360 to 1000 Explorers per year.


    The industry average for miles per year on a passenger car is about 12,500 (and that's conservative!) So, figure that almost every Explorer sold in 2002 (or in 2001 as an 02 model) has about 37,500 miles on average. And, 2002 Explorers were on the lots in March of 2001! So that number is most likely conservative as well.


    So, what does all this mean? How does this make sense? Here's how. Let's say the dealership in question, being described as a "larger" dealership, sells about 300 cars a month (again, on average, of course). If 12.5% of their sales were Explorers, they themselves put almost 38 of them on the road each month.


    If they started really selling them in April of 2001, this one "larger" dealer could very reasonably have 800 POTENTIALLY affected '02 and '03 vehicles on the road, all of which are on average right about 37,500 miles. And according to some in this forum, these rear ends are only good for about 30k.


    47 rear ends in one year, out of 800 vehicles in service just from that dealer, is less than six percent, or one in 17 vehicles. That's my main point, and a point that has been made over and over. The Ford Explorer is one of the best-selling vehicles around (for good reason). There are millions of them on the road. So, numbers like this one, that got you all sarcastic, really don't seem so big when you look at them in perspective. If we were talking about a vehicle that doesn't have so many examples on the road, that would be a different story.


    And, don't forget, like I have posted earlier, I am not saying that there is no problem. I have posted before that I know Ford is investigating both the gearset and the fluid used. I just want to show that these problems are much more minor than some people in these forums make them out to be. There is no need to buy an extended warranty (if you weren't going to otherwise) on a 6% chance that something will fail. And yes, I do beleive it is a supplier problem. In fact, I think that they probably used several suppliers, and that is why the problem only exists in a small percentage of the rear ends, instead of with a large portion of the vehicles produced.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Very well spoken, bender. Exactly what's going on here.
  • FYI

    The parts guy at the Nashville Ford dealership said that's how many had been order. Not sure if they were actually done at that dealership or by a third party mechanic. I had my second one put in by a shop that was a little closer to home.Didn't feel like giving Ford the money.I have own a number of vehicles in my 30 years of driving both 2wd and 4wd and I have never, never had to replace one rear end in any vehicle before this Ford. My father-in -law is getting a lot of mileage out of "I told you so" and I can't get back in to a GM product soon enough
  • That's interesting math in a hypothetical situation but does little to alleviate my concern that this in fact an Explorer issue> Dealerships are not seeing the same rear end issues with this frequency from other models. If you want an eye opener look for a similar number rearend complaints at websites thatdealer with other makers. Trust me this isn't paranoia
  • 02xls02xls Posts: 40
    Sounds like Fuzzy Math to me. I love how you pro-oval guys try to spin this problem into some minor issue. Ford sells so many Explorers because they are less expensive than many of their competitors. They cannot provide the quality of many other makes so they drop their prices with rebates and low finance offers. You get what you pay for. Ford also sells many of these trucks in fleet programs with rental car co. and Gov't programs. I guess Ford does not mind to lose 6% of their Explorer customers by not stepping to the plate and doing something about the rear end issue. You would think if you have built something over a million times you may be able to fix an obvious problem and make it right. Guess Ford can't.
  • I love how you anti-oval guys try to spin a problem that you had into something big that affects everyone (except that in reality, it doesn't). Further, you have nothing on which to base your claims. I love debating you because you never bring any good supportive material to the discussion; just inaccurate information, unfounded claims and scare tactics. You make it too easy! Where is your proof that more than 6% of Explorers are affected? Don't have any? Aww.


    My math is not fuzzy. And at least I can back up my claims. I accurately showed how the number in question (47 rear ends ordered by a large dealer in one year) is extremely low when you consider how many vehicles there are on the road, and how many were sold by that dealer.


    Ford sells so many Explorers because of a combination of desirable attributes, the least of which is a low price. It's domestic competitor, the Trailblazer, also has heavy rebates. By your logic that must make General Motors poor in quality as well huh? Have you even read the Edmund's review of the Explorer? You know they picked it as "Editors Most Wanted Midsize SUV Under $35K" for 2004, right?


    Ford does provide the quality of many other makes. In fact independent research organizations which study the automotive industry, such as JD Power and Consumer Reports, rate Ford as average (compared to all makes) in quality/reliability and the Explorer itself average as well. Both ratings are improving over previous generations.


    They are doing something about the rear end issue. Read the TSBs. They are trying to determine the cause of the problem. Do you think they made millions of rear ends themselves, or had suppliers? Do you think they had just one supplier, or chose not to put all of their eggs in one basket? If one assembly line in one supplier had a problem, that would explain why only (roughly) six percent of vehicles over 30k miles are affected. It would also explain why it would take some time for Ford to determine the source of the problem (fluid mixture, gearset, etc).


    Most importantly, the level of service (or dis-service) you get, on any issue, is going to vary from dealer to dealer. The service manager and the owner/dealer ultimately decide whether or not to fix something and at what cost to the customer. It is not Ford, Inc. who isn't stepping to the plate; it is some of the dealers. I know my dealer would replace my rear end (even after warranty) if I showed them the TSB.
  • “We just turned in our leased V6 AWD Mountaineer after 35 months/38000 miles and besides the seat track that needed to be replaced, the thing was solid as a rock… When you sell 400,000 +/- units per year on a particular platform, you're bound to have a few problems, but they are a good bang for the buck and I would have to say from reading other forums, much less troublesome than some of the other offerings in this class.” -#2020 by cubes Oct 15, 2004


    “I'd also like to chime in. Our 02 V6 AWD Mountaineer has been rock solid.” - #2021 by troyben Oct 15, 2004


    “So far our [02] Exp has been just fine, no problems whatsoever…This is our 3rd Exp and we fully intend to buy another one” - #2036 by roger341 Oct 18, 2004


    “like [nvbanker], i'm big explorer fan.... it's not perfect, but it's the best overall vehicle i've ever had, as far as overall satisfaction goes.” - #2016 by explorerx4 Oct 13, 2004


    “My 2003 Premier MM V-8 has 52k miles. To date no major repairs or issues.” - #1966 by tjf2000 Apr 27, 2004


    “4.0 in first 02 explorer… went 65 -68k, dont remember exactly, with no problems at all just routine maintenance. I now have another 02 with the 4.0 engine is 32k and has been trouble free too.” - #1917 by dondilio Mar 31, 2004


    Did I miss anybody? I'm sure I could have gone back farther and found a ton more.


    Anybody else out there have over 30k and want to share experiences?
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