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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    Yes, the Mountaineer and Explorer and excellent vehicles, and the 2006 versions will have significant improvements. My only complaint is that our 2002 Mountaineer does not ride as smoothly as I need for the lousy California roads. It does handle well, and it does ride far more smoothly than older designs and anything with a solid rear axle. However, the new frame and suspensions and other improvements should make the 2006 models significantly smoother. There is a good write-up on the improvements on the 2006 Mountaineer on the Ford media web site

    They are vehicles which offer the top safety features, planty of space, but not the bulk of larger SUVs or minivans, so they are easy to park, make U-turns and save on fuel (over larger vehicles).

    Choose whichever one looks best and gives the features you want, as they are the same, except for appearance and option combinations. You should be able to buy either for invoice or below, even if the "employee pricing" promotions do not continue - simply send bid letters to several dealers if your first choice dealer's fleet / internet department wants too much.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    chuck1...I see in another forum where you posted that you traded your '02 Explorer V6 for a 4 Runner V8 and you are happy that your V8 is getting the same mileage as your Explorer did (you also are basing that on the on-board computer that you tell me not to trust?).

    OK-guilty as charged. I haven't been through a whole tank of gas yet on the new 4Runner. I was looking at the onboard computer. The 4Runner has 5,000 miles on it. It was a dealer demo. So, I will measure this tank. Although with only 5K on it, don't know if it'd quite time to figure real world mpg. But I will let you know! :surprise:
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Well, for one - the V-8 in the 4-runner isn't that much more displacement than the 4.0L six in your Explorer....

    Secondly - it's not uncommon for the larger engine option to equal the smaller one in economy, since you have so much mass to move, the smaller engine often works much harder than the 8 does, which uses about as much gas.

    It takes so much energy to move a vehicle. The power plant that moves it needs to use a quantified amount of fuel to do it generally.

    The 4-runner is a great truck - but it's very trucky. Too trucky for my taste. I need more comfort for most of my driving, easier steering, better ride, etc.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    "Well, for one - the V-8 in the 4-runner isn't that much more displacement than the 4.0L six in your Explorer....'

    NVbanker.....the V6 in my Explorer was rated at 210HP. The V8 in the 4Runner is now at 270HP! It is a DOHC 32 valve motor! Also, it is a sport Edition and has the "X-REAS" suspension setup. It uses hydraulic fluid lines run to the opposite corners of the vehicle (example left rear to right front) shock absorbers to put the fluid where it is needed most. Hence, an "almost" sports car feel on corners. Also, the five speed automatic is so buttery smooth you can't even tell it is shifting. I hate to say this-but when it comes to powertrain refinement-the Toyota has the Explorer beat "hands down". Yeah, it has a solid axle, but with the sophisticated suspension setup, one can hardly tell. You know NVBanker-you have very discerning taste, you should take one on a test drive! The steering...very accurate. It is a VARIABLE GEAR rack and pinion setup!
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    "when it comes to powertrain refinement-the Toyota has the Explorer beat "hands down". "

    Probably true for 2005 & earlier. Explorer leap-frogs Toyota in 2006 with the 292 HP, 3-valve 4.6L engine and world-class SIX speed, buttery-smooth transmission.
  • nymomnymom Posts: 17
    I am interested in purchasing a 05 Explorer XLT but was wondering if anyone had experience with the Explorer and Car Seats. We currently have two children under the age of four both in car seats. We would like to add to our family in the coming year and we are looking for a vehicle that can handle three car seats across in the second row. Like the XLT because if we needed to carry an extra person we could put them or one of the kids in the third row. Any one with knowledge about this i would love to hear your thoughts! Want to get an idea about how car seats may fit before i drag the family to the dealership for a test drive. Thanks in advance!!
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Explorer leap-frogs Toyota in 2006 with the 292 HP, 3-valve 4.6L engine and world-class SIX speed, buttery-smooth transmission.

    Well, the five speed in my '02 was supposed to be a great transmission. While making the motor turnover low RPMs at highway speeds - translating in to 20 mpg; it wasn't very smooth around town. Having the solenoid replaced helped some! So I guess time will prove your statement accurate.

    Happy Motoring.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "You know NVBanker-you have very discerning taste, you should take one on a test drive!"

    Chuck - Toyota is my second favorite brand in the world. I bought an 04 4-runner for my neighbor, and drove it extensively. I'm very familiar with it. I was quite disappointed with how it drove. Much more like a Jeep, frankly, except the hood bubble is so high, you can't see the ground in front of you, which if you're off road, is a problem. No question, the power train is probably the finest in the world, and that's why she wanted it - reliability. She's happy with it. But it didn't work for me - if the car is too hard to drive, too much effort in the steering, and these have a LOT of effort to steer, I don't like 'em. YMMV. Enjoy your Runner. It'll last forever.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,703
    Forgive my query, and I do hope you are correct, but how do you know that Ford's six speed tranny will be buttery smooth??? any current models have that same 6 speed tranny now???
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The Navigator has it, and its awesome.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    I believe that it is also used in various Jaguar models (actually the first use of the transmission).
  • spring25spring25 Posts: 11
    Thanks Steve I will look into it! like I mentioned I didn't make the right choice with my Nissan, also gas wise, and I am not saving that much in gas with my car either.
  • fdthirdfdthird Posts: 352
    Hi All,

    Just bought a 2001 Explorer Sport and notice that all the messages under the Explorer Sport Heading are read only. Were they folded into the regular Explorer postings in 2002 when they were marked read only? If that's so, is this where I should be looking for info and comments?

  • spring25spring25 Posts: 11
    I forgot to mention I am in New York city, I have to drive about 1 hour to work everyday in heavy traffic. I would use my SUV quite often and also I need to travel to the city once in while. I live in Long Island. So that whay I asked if the Mountaineer would be reliable, dependeble and right choice for me. I am doing my reseach in pricing, APR etc. I am not sure If I should go with a new one free of mechanical problems for a while or take a risk with a old certified one. I being reading about the cons and pro of getting a new car or an used one but I still worry about the high monthly payments and the car price.In the other hand I really cannot afford to be in the mechanic too often, as woman unfortunelty, I am affraid to be overcharge by an incrupuleous mechanic. Most of men know we don't know about mechanic, at least I don't know anything about mechanic so I would believe whatever they tell me. I really need to buy a bigger Vehicle for my everyday activities, grocery shopping, taking the kids out, family events etc. that why I being wondering for my next car the Mountaineer SUV. How much should I put down?, how much should I pay?, what is a good deal for me?, how can I know they are offering me a good trade off price for my Nissan Altima 98? I am also a young mom so I think I am not ready for Mini Van, not yet please :P
    I thank yo very much Steve because you were the only one that reply to my message, I wonder if there is anybody else that would like to add their 0.2 in this?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    I think the Sport discussions faded away since Ford quit making the Sport. My understanding is that a lot of the mechanicals on yours are the same as the pre-2002 four-door Explorer, so ask away in here. Or check out the Ford Explorer: Problems & Solutions discussion.

    Steve, Host
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,858
    too bad it wasn't 'apples to apples'. the v8 explorer is pretty smooth. i test drove a v6 and a v8 before i bought my '02. my wife and i both agreed, get the v8.
    just put on some new tires. based on how they feel, seems like they have lower rolling resistence than my original tires, i think i'll be able to better the miileage i had been getting. :)
    hey lat... i had a '97 explorer v8 awd. back then the towing package was standard. loved that transmission, no slop in it. the rpms would hardly drop during shifts. the biggest drawback was that the second row seats were not very comfortable, and we like taking long road trips. i'd tell you that i could get over 19 mpg on long trips, but chuck1 might have a heart attack, so i'm not telling you that. ;)
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yes, either one of them are generally very dependable, and cheap to fix when they do need work. The Mountaineer is my wife's choice, it's a nicer grade of SUV than most of the Explorer models, rides a little softer, and the seats are a tad lower for women if they're a bit shorter. We've had 4 of them, and they've all been great.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I also had a 97 V-8, and loved the whole powertrain. It was about perfect, and terrific off road.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Yes, but let's not forget that the redesign of the Explorer in '01 made the SUV an entirely different "animal". The good - lowered floor height due to independent suspension. The bad - very noisy V6 motor and not the smoothest five speed transmission around, as well as the rear-end whine mine had in it (that I was told wasn't bad/loud enough to fix!). Other good
    things such as nice ride, etc. Other bad things such as various rattles and middle of the road build quality in the interior.

    Let's see what '06 brings!
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Well - I had a 94, a 97, 98, 02 and currently have an 04. The Cologne - V-6 is the same engine block it had in 01, just has been updated with SOHC heads, which didn't make a lot of noise difference, and is a little rough, but not a BAD engine at all! I ran my 04 150,000 miles with no engine issues at all, and sold it. I like the V-8s better, and my 97, 98 and 04 have them. My 02 had the 6, and it worked fine, I just got spoiled with the power of the 8s. On the 5 speed transmission, both of mind have shifted like butter - if yours doesn't, it may need a reflash.

    I think the new Explorer is far superior to the old one. Granted, it's less trucky, but still gets me anywhere off road I wanna go with no problems. A Jeep would be better, or a Land Rover, but for the money, I think the Explorer is the best value on the road.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    Yes, and the 2006 model raises the bar even higher. I learned elsewhere that Ford will be showing the 2006 models in public, apparently tomorrow or the enxt day:
  • rollin59rollin59 Posts: 4
    I have a 2003 Eddie Bauer Explorer with V6 and 4WD, which I bought for towing snowmobiles in Wisconsin. Nice truck, but I question if it would be a good choice for New York City. If you can get a good, low miles used one, your total cost will almost always be lower (lower payment, lower depreciation, lower insurance, etc.). Remember, the highest cost of a car is DEPRECIATION. If it's an 03 or newer it should have factory warranty remaining and may be "certified" (by the way, the "certified" warranty only costs your dealer about $350, so don''t pay a $2,000 premium for "certified"). New has advantage of factory warranty, but new vehicles can have problems too. From a practicality standpoint a minivan is probably a better bet than the Mountaineer (and has more room too). Honda Odyssey is the gold standard minivan. SUV's are not that good for city driving, and the Merc Mountaineer/Ford Explorer has notoriously bad city gas mileage (real life: with V6, 15-17mpg is about all you can expect, probably less in NYC traffic.) Generally, SUVs are high maintenance, despite their tough-guy image. Particularly hard on brakes, tires, and driveline components.

    General advice for dealing with dealers: Leave the kids at home. Take a friend who is experienced negotiating with dealers. Research the value of your trade, and the car you are buying, and know the correct price difference between your trade and whatever you're buying. Don't pay more than that difference, and don't let them confuse you by fiddling with the trade and sales price, which they WILL do. If the deal isn't to your liking, be ready to walk away. You the customer hold the ultimate power tool: Your money. Remember: Unless your car is totally dead, :sick: you don't have to buy, but they eventually have to sell or they're out of business.
  • spring25spring25 Posts: 11
    Thank you very much for your advise, I greatly appreciated !
    I already have 2 friends that volunteer to go with me, and wont allow those shark car sales people to take advantage, we will be ready to walk if the deal they are giving me, it is not such of great deal for me. Thanks again for your input.
  • spring25spring25 Posts: 11
    So, Rollin59 advised me to get a minivan instead of the Mountaineer, and I am thankful for his advise, but I am not ready for minivan yet, so It is possible I can find a SUV that is excellent ride and handling, fuel economy, seven seating,good crash score,stylish and safe, comfortable cabin with user-friendly layout and of course within a decent price range???
    Anybody??? suggestions please?????
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    I suggest a test drive in a Freestyle.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    Sounds like a good question for the SUV vs. Minivans discussion.

    Steve, Host
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    My minivan experience.....

    Toyota Sienna - BEST, but most expensive.
    Honda Odyssey - Also great, older design, also expensive.
    Dodge Caravan - Darn good van, good design, pretty good reliability.
    Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey - Better than you think. Older design, but hold up surprisingly well.
    GM any of the 5 copies they make - Too narrow, old tech, worst of the bunch.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    I sold my 2002 Mountaineer (V8, RWD, every option except sunroof and running boards, just under 98,000 miles, always garaged, California car with no rust, excellent in and out) to Car Max today for $8,800. The trade-in values on the web average $12,000. This just shows how fast the market for SUVs is shrinking.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Wow, you were desperate to sell it? Don't count on that being a result of the SUV market shrinking, although, no doubt, it is less vibrant than before. My friend was just offered $8000 for her Camry on a trade for a new one, and the KBB trade in value is $12,500, Manheim wholesale value is $12,700. You just got Car Maxxed, that's all. And they made a quick $4000-5000 on your trade. They can put it through the auction for $12,000, or try to retail it for $14,000.
  • fsmmcsifsmmcsi Posts: 792
    NVBanker - I was desperate only to the extent that I knew the value would plumet if it went beyond 100,000 miles, and it had reached just below 98,000. I had previously advertised it myself, and the best anyone would offer was approximately what I got, and many wanted to pay far less. Also, I would much reather sell to a dealer than to a private party, because there is no way for the buyer to come back and complain to me if something breaks. I tolerated the rough ride and excessive mechanical noise, wind noise, and vibration for almost 4 years and almost 98,000 miles, but that was enough. I understand that the 2002 to 2005 models are far smoother than earlier models, and anyone who has one they like, especially in light of the current resale values, will probably want to keep it until it is only worth $2,000 or $3,000. That was my original plan. In my case, the ride and noise were more of an issue due to the high annual mileage I drive and the poor quality of southern California freeways.
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