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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Your dealer can get you a lease extension month to month until the new model is in, or until a car you order comes in. You just keep making your monthly payment, and keep your car, Ford Credit is happy. See your participating Lincoln-Mercury dealer. No problem.
  • 02xls02xls Posts: 40
    Chevy Trailblazer 5 out of 5

    Jeep Grand Cherokee 5 out of 5

    Nissan Pathfinder 5 out of 5

    Dodge Durango 5 out of 5

    Mitsubishi Montero 5 out of 5

    Buick Rendezvous 5 out of 5

    Hyundai Santa Fe 5 out of 5


    This is what RELIABILITY RANKINGS the so called industry leading EXPERTS at MSN Autos (AIS) gave these makes and models. These are the same ones who as you pointed out earlier gave the Explorer 4 out of 5. You are right,"not bad for any mid-sized SUV!" Did you read the list of trucks that the EXPERTS ranked higher than the Explorer? The Trailblazer? Rendezvous? Santa Fe? Are you serious???


    CR-- "Expert testing" "survey 675,000 consumers annually" Please refer to the 2004 Annual Auto Issue, there on page 81 you will find the Ford Explorer on a list titled USED CARS TO AVOID. Also in a section referring to reliability the Explorer falls below average for predicted reliability landing behind the Highlander,4-Runner,Pathfinder,Montero,Rendezvous,Murano and Pilot. There is a bright spot from CR that you also pointed out, because the Explorers reliability has risen to AVERAGE, CR can now RECOMMEND this truck. I personally am not one to accept AVERAGE! I guess for all those who want to live with mediocrity, this is the SUV for you.


    Recalls-- BOB You do not have to quote any of your so called EXPERTS or Gov't Offices, just look on Edmunds and you will easily find at least one Recall on the Explorer. It's not a big deal, but I wanted to point this out because you so boldly stated "NONE!" were issued. Is that fluid for the Tranny any kind of Recall? Maybe that's just a letter to owners pointing out some sort of screw-up.


    Recent Press Release-- Ford sales dropped 5.4% in January. Ford to cut production this quarter after posting weak sales month in January. Ford to offer Interest-Free loans in an effort to boost sales. This does include the Explorer. (Maybe alot of people out there want better than AVERAGE!)


    Post #2223---"I have worn out my brake pads at 13,500 miles(not used to driving something so heavy!)my dealer is going to replace them(and turn the rotors if necessary, they feel a bit warped) FOC." Now BOB, first of all what did you drive before that made the tank of an Explorer feel so heavy? A Focus? The rotors felt like they needed to be turned after 13,500 miles? I don't know BOB, I'm not sure what to make of this. You say these things then change your story and blame it on some tire situation. I know what I think of this but I will keep those thoughts to myself.


    I can't thank you enough for pointing out all of this Gov't and Expert info., I have learned quite a bit. Mainly, that if I had known then, what I know now, I never would have purchased an Explorer and I am certainly not foolish enough to ever do it again.
  • svofan2svofan2 Posts: 442
    ANT you would be really a NICE guy if you could find something about the 2006 EXPLORER...I know...I know...IT will be similar....but Mountanier has always been 2 notches above in looks....thanks anyways....
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Under the skin, you know it'll be the same. What differs will be interior 2-tone color senario, and rear LED tail-lights on white background as the Mountaineer sports.


    Out of the 2, I prefer the Explorer front fascia. Looks a bit more sportier, over the Mountaineers which looks a bit more car-like and sophisticated. Which is perfectly fine, according to the persons taste. Currently, I liked the Mountaineer because of it's sharp crease/angles in it's front fascia. Made it different. I feel the new one was softened up a bit, but again... All personal taste.


    The Explorer Sport Trac concept's front fascia, is very similar to what the Explorer will sport. The top grill, and bottom fascia are evidently bisected by the solid bumper area. It has a "hint" of new Audi's front fascia. It has that horse collar form as you saw, with the bi-secting bumper area. And the bumper area is (in my taste/opnion) a bit better integrated into the top grill, and bottom fascia.


    Obviously in the higher trims like Limited, you'll have more touch of chrome in the front fascia over the base version. And the usual round of tech toys, from the DVD based Navigation system, to the power folding 3rd row seats.
  • Thank you for bringing some of your own research to the table, now we should be able to have discussions which are more interesting. It is frustrating to try and debate someone who doesn't support their claims. Good work by the way.


    I never tried to make the argument that the Explorer is among the best in reliability. I was countering your claims that is was un-reliable, to be avoided, definately will have problems, etc. I am happy to come to an agreement with you that it is "average." What model year did CR list as to be avoided? I just find it interesting that everyone on this forum agrees that the 1991-2001 Explorers were really reliable, durable long-lasting trucks; and now even though CR indicates improving reliability and other indicators are showing average or above, you still try to say they aren't as good as they were.


    Of course Ford and GM still have a way to go to match the quality of the imports. Don't snub Hyundai, they are making dramatic improvements in quality, spending very large sums of money and implementing impressive new technologies and processes. Interesting you should mention the Trailblazer and Rendezvous, their sibling the GMC Envoy was actually rated 4/5 by AIS also. I still consider 4/5 to be above average, on a 5-point scale. I'd say three was average.


    I stated that the NHTSA ODI had not issued any recalls for the Explorer based on consumer complaints, even though they had conducted three investigations. That was to show that either there are not as many people out there complaining as you lead on, or that their complaints are the individual dealers' (service departments') fault and not Fords. There are no recalls '04 and above, I'm not sure if the letter for the tranny additive counts. It's not showing up yet if it does. For '02 models there are 4 recalls, concerning the liftgate and running board lights. For a good comparison, take a look at the '02 Chevy Trailblazer, they are pretty scary: "front lower control arm brackets may fracture... result in separation of the front lower control arm from the frame- loss of vehicle control, resulting in a crash; vehicle can roll when the transmission is in "park" and a crash could result without warning; air bag inflator could fracture at a weld during a deployment, pieces of the inflator could strike and injure vehicle occupants and the air bag cushion would not inflate fully, reducing the capability of the bag to protect the driver; In a crash missing welds could degrade performance of the third row seat and safety belt anchorage and occupants could receive greater injuries; windshield wipers can cease operation while in use, causing reduced visibility resulting in a crash." Way more serious that the X.


    Here's the whole story behind post #2223, which I had abbreviated for use as an example of how a good relationship with your service department can make a big difference. I noticed during a very high-speed run on the freeway that I was getting a very slight vibration in the steering wheel upon light brake application. I consulted some friends who know more about vehicle mechanics than I do and they said it was most likely warped brake rotors. This made sense to me because I know I have been very hard on the brakes. If you read my profile you will see that before this I drove a Mazda 626 which weighed about 2,850 lbs. The Explorer is about 4,475 lbs. That's a big difference! I had to adjust my driving style big-time. Anyways, when I told my service advisor about the vibration she thought it would be warped rotors as well. I told her not to fix those that day as I wanted to wait until it got worse before I shelled out the dough (I assumed that, as normal wear items, pads and rotors would be excluded from my warranty, as stated by the papers at time of purchase). However, she suprised me by saying she'd get them taken care of under warranty. However it turned out a tire was out of balance and causing the vibration under certain conditions. Even if it had been the rotors, why would that mean that Ford had definately used a cheap supplier or installed them incorrectly? Those are the kinds of slippery slope arguments which irritate me. Doesn't driving style play a big part in brake life?


    The main thing I don't understand is how everyone can agree (even you yourself have said) that the older Explorers last a very long time relatively trouble-free, and we have both done research showing that the newer models are rated as good or better as their predecessors, but yet you still try to put them down and call them unreliable. It doesn't make sense.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,859
    i think my '02 explorer has pretty good brakes. just over 40k, still on originals, no pedal vibration. although i try not to use the brakes, i have to drive in an urban setting when commuting and take lots of trips with a heavy load(not towing though). they still have good 'feel', although i'm pretty sure i will have to get them serviced before i hit 50k, but you never know.

    the transmission issue may be what is termed a 'customer satisfaction program', or something like that.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • ottavottav Posts: 31

    Do you think the 2006 will be significantly more expensive than a 2005?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Hardly, prices will increase by a few hundreds, but mainly to reflect the changes. Otherwise they will level off at what you currently see now.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    and the floor shifter, the Mountaineer is now competing (in my mind, that is) with Jeep Grand Cherokee Hemi...
  • ottavottav Posts: 31

    Are any of the '06 going to be two-tone, or are they all going to be monochromatic? Also, in the literature, it seems that they are not going to have the cladding that the current models have. Is the bottom part going to be steel?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Yes, 2-tone will continue.
  • I own a '02.5 Explorer EB and on my vehicle I noticed that the fog lights will not go on if the headlight switch is in the automatic mode. I tried to pull on the switch. The fog lights work when the headlight switch is in the park or normal headlight position by pulling on the switch. The owners manual states that the fog lights should be able to be used in all switch locations. I brought the vehicle into a dealer last week and said that the automatic mode had a different circuit so the fog lights would not work. Recently had a rental '05 Explorer and the fog lights worked in the automatic mode. Just want to know the real story before the original warranty expires
  • pnewbypnewby Posts: 277
    My early '02 works like yours. No fogs on auto mode. I think it was a mid yaer switchover, so you might have hit the early switch with the '02.5 My OM stated it worked this way on auto.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yes, at some point, this switch was upgraded to allow for the fog lights to work automatically in the auto mode, but the early 02's didn't. You could have the switch changed out possibly?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,859
    mine was built 03/02. the fogs work with the lights in auto mode.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • fsvfsv Posts: 196
    For whaetever reason I am getting now only 250 miles from a tank of gas on my Mountaineer. And, I used to get 340. What could it be? Winter? It's '04, 14,000 miles, syntetic oil in the engine, drive it like a Miss Daisy.


    The smell from heating system is getting real bad. Nearly lost my voice yesterday after an hour drive - got allergy... If Ford knows about it, why they don't install filtration system or something?
  • You can quote all you want, but like 02XLS, I got a POS! Period, end of story. I'll not only back up my claims, make me an offer on a loaded 2003 NBX, purchased new 12/03 and I'll personally deliver it to you. Just got it back from the shop for the fifth time in one year. BOTH rear axle seals leaking all over the garage floor. This POS has less than 15K and it spends as much time in the shop as it does on the road. The transmission is still making clunking noises that are "normal". This vehicle replaced a '93 Eddie Bauer (new tranny at just over 100K). Yea, I was one of those repeat buyers you mentioned, but that won't happen again! I learned my lesson from the first one (not a horrible vehicle, but more problems than what I would call average), but my wife insisted on buying the 2003. As far as I'm concerned, if she wants another Ford, she can make the payments. I am trying to talk her into an '05 Chevy 1500 Crew Cab, if we can unload this POS.


    Oh, BTW, it also has developed the rear-end whine that is also "normal" and "does not effect vehicle longevity". Hell, I'll even load it on my trailer and pull it to you, so I make sure and get it there.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    No buying and selling on the boards please.


    Venting is ok. :-)


    Is it still under warranty and have you investigated lemon laws?


    Steve, Host
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,859
    "I got a POS! Period," - lots of others do not.

    my '02 has 41k on it, still has green on green/yellow/red scale for tires and brakes. i am happy about this, although i must ready to hit the yellow zone.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • jcat707jcat707 Posts: 168
    I can't wait for the redesigned or should I say refreshened 06 Explorer. The new Mountaineers look pretty nice. When might they release pics of the Explorer?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    IN a few Months...
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Does piston slap annoy you at all?
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    has major changes coming, will the Explorer share the same, or will they hold for a year just to give the M'eer a head start for sales...seems that they released the M'eer photos to let the world know they are not killing Mercury like the Olds and COULD cause changes on Explorer to be delayed, is the cynical side of me that asks that query...
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Explorer will always be produced prior to the Mountaineer version. Assembly line must make sure both versions are readily avialable. I also have the build date for the Explorer, so yes, it will be first. The first few vehicles will be Explorer's, and the Mountaineers come in a bit after.


    Ford takes advantage of the Chicago show to display the Mercury variations of their vehicles, and while Ford could have used the spotlight of the NAIAS (Detroit Show) to display the Explorer, it wanted to give the Mountaineer the spotlight first.
  • I know there are unreliable ones out there. I fully believe you, 02xls, chuck, and all of the other horror stories I have heard in person. I would be very upset if I was having such severe problems with mine.

    I have been back in the shop five times myself. From the factory, the rear passenger door lock was not operating properly. Later I had the transmission soleniod changed to fix the clunking. I had the front suspension bushings replaced as they were squeaking. I had the transmission fluid added when I got that service letter. One morning, it almost did not start; I had to crank it for about 5 minutes to get it to fire, and even then it ran very rough until it warmed up. That hasn't happened again.

    My dealer was fantastic through all of this. Excellent service, good explanations, very willing, loaner car, fixed right the first time, etc. Couldn't be happier. Maybe if they weren't so skilful and accommodating my attitude would be different.

    My first post in this forum was just a tribute to the fact that with all of these little problems, not once have I been stranded by the side of the road or placed in a dangerous situation while driving, such as I have before on different vehicles; and that the majority of Explorers are average and not lemons. Really, that's all that got me started debating 02xls. All I wanted to say was that they are overall, on average, good trucks, average in reliability, and they won't leave you stranded. Some are flawless, the vast majority are average, some are problematic. I'm sure that's how it is with all cars.

    So unlike some on this board I wouldn't tell others that just because I have had some problems, they'll have them too. I wouldn't recommend that a potential buyer look elsewhere. I know many, on here and in person, who have had no problems whatsoever.

    As nvbanker pointed out, you could go buy a Chevy truck and have to deal with piston slap and numerous other severe problems, and not be any better off than you are now. GM is having a terrible time with quality control, look at all of their recent recalls.

    I looked at a Honda Accord (though the last one I had was total, total crap), because I am a chronic car buyer (I keep cars 1.6 years, on average, and go back and forth between sedans and SUVS). I went to their "problems and solutions" board, and wow, people are raising Cain over there too. Loud, incessant squeaks & rattles, lousy suspensions (ride deteriorates quickly), electrical gremlins, etc. etc. The Mazda6 board was worse. So I could trade for either one of those on a whim and still go to the shop every now and then for some complaint. But that wouldn't keep me from buying one.

    My posts were just meant to show the rest of the story. I'm not going to debate each person. I'm sorry you all have had problems. From now on I'll just let you guys rant and rave regardless of what kind of claims you make about what kind of ownership experiences others will have or Ford overall. It won't have any impact on Explorer sales any ways, but like I care.

    I do hope you get your situation worked out to your satisfaction.
  • I have an '01 Chevy 2500HD 6.0 4x4 EC purchased new 04/01. It has 45,000 piston slapping miles on it. It uses no oil between 3,000 mile oil changes and the only time its been in the shop was a recall, yes I said recall, on the tailgate straps. It took every bit of 10 minutes. I originally had some concerns with the piston slap issue. I discussed this with the service manager where I purchased the vehicle. He hooked me up with the regional sales manager. Both assured me, to my skepticism at the time, that this would not effect vehicle longevity. I am not one to trade vehicles every couple of years. I expect a vehicle to last a minimum of 10 years and 150,000 miles. GM was willing to put their money where their mouth was and gave me a free 100,000 mile extended warranty on the engine and all engine components. I figured if it doesn't start using oil or get worse by 100,000 miles, engine slap isn't a problem. So far, I would have to agree with them. This truck sees some fairly hard miles. It is used primarily to pull a 6,500 lb. travel trailer and a tandem axle trailer loaded with firewood that probably pushes 7,500 lbs. It is the first GM product that I have owned since my '75 Monte Carlo that I had in college (which had over 230,000 miles when it was finally trashed in a demolition derby).

    Unfortunately, I am not getting the same backing from Ford. While the dealership where I purchased it has been cooperative in repairing some of the problems and trying to diagnose the transmission problem, Ford is not willing to put their money where their mouth is as GM did. I was told by both the service manager and the regional sales manager that their were no problems and vehicle longevity would not be an issue (which I once again accept with skepticism, since they don't even seem to know what's wrong). I was also told that Ford would not offer a free extended warranty on the transmission or rear-end and, that if I had concerns, I should fork out about $1,500 for an extended warranty. It is this lack of standing behind their vehicles that has P'd me off.

    While I don't expect every vehicle to be problem free, this is getting rediculous. And, with the number of major problems that I have had from previous Ford vehicles (new tranny at 100K in a '93 Eddie Bauer Explorer, new engine in a '91 F-150 at 100K and the worst vehicle I have ever owned in an '02 Taurus), I am quickly becoming a GM customer.

    All I wish is that Ford would put their money where their mouth is. If these aren't problems, then warrant them beyond the 36-month/36,000 miles. I think a transmission and rear-end should last much longer than this!
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Go to

    You can buy an extended warranty that will cover the motor and tranny for $700.00. (Up to 75,000 miles)-that's what I did!
  • gregb5gregb5 Posts: 82
    I guess I got lucky with a good dealer. My '02 Explorer is on its third trans now. When the last one let go, after 40K miles and 46K on the odometer, the dealer made me pay half of the cost but gave me a 72 month/100K Powertrain warranty when it was done.
    That warranty is now coming in handy at 57K because the differential has gone bad and will be replaced next week.
    This is my third Explorer, but unless they improve the driveline components, it will be my last.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Yes,As much as my wife likes her '02 XLT 4.0 SOHC, one has to be nuts not to invest in an extended warranty on these SUVs. This is the ONLY VEHICLE where I have purchased an extended warranty, (and the only one where I felt I needed to) to cover that time bomb called the rear end differential!
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