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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2006 and newer



  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,229
    Like nvbanker said it does display that a tire is low in the message center but not which specific tire.

    I didn't know you were looking to see if the message center displayed anything. There is a light too IIRC.
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    Just the basic light. Sorry.
  • nbxnbx Posts: 28
    Would like for nvbanker or some of the regulars to post their take on the Mountaineer AWD system versus the 4wd currently used for Explorer. Just for demo rides the AWD in the V-6 2007 Mountaineer seems to be working really well and would be ideal for the wife's suburban use, light snow in Tennessee. No off-road at all for her.

    We have 2004 Expedition NBX with 5.4L and 2003 Ford Explorer XLT in 4wd 4.6L. The 4.6L in Explorer with 3.73 ratio for trailer tow is mostly a gas hog. Does have lots of power even with older 4.6L due to the 3.73 ratio.

    We found a new 2007 Mountaineer Luxury (base in 07), AWD, V-6, dual auto air, upgraded leather seats, 3.73 TT package at a very good price. Build quality, all the new safety features, air bags, etc, seem to be a lot of vehicle for the discounted price. I prefer the V-8 per nvbanker's comments, but when you go to the V-8 in the Mountaineer the pricey Premier is mandatory. Found the 07 seats to be much better, brakes better, and rear handling much improved versus the 02-05 models.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Really, the only difference between the AWD system in the Mountaineer, and the 4WD system in the Explorer, is the lack of a low range on the Mountaineer. We currently have an Explorer with 4WD, and it's fine. It actually does what the AWD system does when you have it on AUTO 4WD. But I'll tell ya this - I have driven the AWD Mountaineers in some bad snow storms - and through mud a foot deep - and it performed better than my Cadillac Escalade AWD did for sure. It got me places the Cadillac won't go, and was the most stable driving system I've ever experienced. It felt impossible to stick in the snow, like it was glued to the road. I'm a big fan of the AWD. We have had no issues with the Explorer system either.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,229
    Really, the only difference between the AWD system in the Mountaineer, and the 4WD system in the Explorer, is the lack of a low range on the Mountaineer.

    There's a low, high, and auto setting in the Explorer just to make that clear. IIRC the AWD system in the Mountaineer is, like you said, the auto setting in the Explorer. We've had no problem in the snow, mud, loose gravel, etc with the auto setting but I do like the high setting on ice. It's not necessary for the ice, but nice to have. I plan to try the low setting when we drive on the beach this summer but haven't had any use for it yet. Therefore I'd say the AWD is probably all you'll ever need.
  • panzerpanzer Posts: 125
    The AWD with high range only is fine for most people. Low range is not at all useful for any paved road, including snowy ones. The car doesnt have enough ground clearance to go where low range would be useful. When it's snowy and icy on the road, I usually lock it in 4WD to avoid the clunk when the front axle decides to hook up. Otherwise it stays in AWD and is forgotten. The 2006-7 Explorer-Mountaineer works well in the snow, but that's as much a function of the tires as the car. Mine came with Michelin Cross Terrains, which have proven a good all-season compromise in other SUV's I've owned. I live in Colorado. We see a little snow from time to time. The V6 will also serve most people just fine, but the gas mileage is only 1 or maybe 2 mpg better. If you really are planning on towing, get the V8, in an Explorer if you have to. It would be better to have a V8 Explorer than a V6 Mountaineer, dollars to dollars. Not only that, but the V8 sounds and feels like a real motor, the V6 sounds like a V6. BTW, the V8 gets a 3.55 rear end and that's all it needs. Mash the accelerator on an on-ramp and you'll see what I mean. Sure wish I could turn off the stability control. Makes life miserable in the sand. The Explorer-Mountaineer is really a poor excuse for a Jeep, but works well on the road and is quiet and comfortable. Some Jeeps are poor excuses for Jeeps though.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I agree with everything you said, Panzer. You explained it better and in more detail than I bothered to do. On the Jeep comment, you're right, the Explorer isn't made for rock crawling at all. Anything tougher than gravel or a graded road is inappropriate for it. Jeeps do much better at this - but will give you spine compression on the paved road. Depends on what your needs, or wants are.
  • nbxnbx Posts: 28
    Can you reply to your own post? Ha!

    Thanks for the insight.

    Just today Ford agreed to spring for the third rearend in our 2003 Explorer XLT, 4wd 4.6L, 3.73 with TT package, safety canopy. Hate to part with such nice vehicle due to all around performance. Modest to poor gas mileage is main negative. Like the 2007 Mountaineer AWD/Explorer 4wd due to new seats, brakes, rear handling, better NVH control. But, may just wear out the 4.6L in the 03 Explorer.

    By the way traded 97 Ford T/B 4.6L on new red 2007 Camry LE V-6 for daughter who will be teaching at UGA in Athens next fall. Tried out Camry SE in V-6 that was great but bought the LE model. The T/B had 190,000 on 4.6L--not using hardly any oil and would have run on many more thousands. Belt and plugs and plug wires and factory recall on intake only replacement. Even alternator still the original. A/C still cold on vehicle built in August 1996. OEM Ford battery lasted 9 yrs. Tranny getting weak but still the original. Old T/B with Sport option, factory spoiler, rear l/s axle, 225/60/16 tires still fun to drive.

    New V-6 in Camry with new six speed auto sweet,fast. Excellent EPA numbers for V-6 with 268 hp.

    ..again thanks for the replies..
  • pnewbypnewby Posts: 277
    I'll agree with the rock crawling comment, except that the biggest limiting factor for any brand is the wheel base. All things being equal, the wheel base is the biggest difference. Shorter wheel base = better rock crawling ability. As for the 4WD low, I did use it in snow once, and it will pull you through drifts that 4WD high will not, but that is not something most of us see very often. In the snow, if you have enough traction, ground clearance is not quite as critical. Kinda the snow plow syndrome I guess.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,229
    Sure wish I could turn off the stability control. Makes life miserable in the sand.

    You can but you have to stay below 25 mph.

    From the manual of my '06 V6 XLT.

    AdvanceTrac with RSC button and icon functionality
    The AdvanceTrac with RSC system automatically turns on each time
    the engine is started, even if it was turned off when the engine was last
    shut down. The “sliding car” icon which is located with the warning
    lights in the instrument cluster will illuminate during bulb check at initial
    start-up and then go off. This tells you that the system is normal and
    active. All functions of the AdvanceTrac with RSC (RSC, ESC, Engine
    Traction Control, and Brake Traction Control) will be activated at start
    up. When the system is left active, the “sliding car” icon will flash only
    when any of the components of the system are affecting the vehicles
    performance, otherwise the light will remain off. Consequently, the
    “sliding car” icon will not be illuminated during most of your normal
    The AdvanceTrac with RSC button,
    located on the center stack of the
    instrument panel, allows the driver
    to control certain features of the
    AdvanceTrac with RSC system
    below 25 mph (40 km/h). If the
    vehicle is below 25 mph (40 km/h), momentarily pressing the
    AdvanceTrac with RSC button will disable RSC, ESC and Engine
    Traction Control and steadily illuminate the “sliding car” icon. Pressing
    and holding the AdvanceTrac with RSC button for more than five
    seconds will further disable the brake portion of the Traction Control
    feature and the “sliding car” icon will flash momentarily and then
    illuminate steady.
    If the vehicle is above 25 mph (40 km/h), momentarily pressing the
    AdvanceTrac with RSC button will steadily illuminate the “sliding car”
    icon, however, the AdvanceTrac with RSC system will remain enabled
    until the vehicle speed drops below 25 mph. If the vehicle speed
    decreases below 25 mph (40 km/h), the system will become deactivated,
    but if the vehicle speed subsequently increases to above 25 mph (40
    km/h), the system will again become active. In general, the system will
    be active at all times the vehicle speed is above 25 mph (40 km/h).
    In R (Reverse), ABS and the Traction Control feature will continue to
    function, however ESC and RSC are disabled.
    All these conditions are normal during AdvanceTrac with RSC
    operation. Refer to the following table.
  • sacmtnrsacmtnr Posts: 15
    I will be going to Florida in a few weeks and plan on doing a fair amount of driving on the beach there. Sand varies from packed to very soft. I gather from the information above that I should probably disable the traction control system to achieve better performance. Does anyone have any further advise to help make sure my beach driving is enjoyable and hopefully tow free? I do have tow straps, a platform for the jack, and a shovel just in case but would rather they never came out of the back of the truck. Thanks
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Air down - seems like 15 to 20 psi is the usual recommended tire pressure, although it depends. People were getting stuck in normally hard Daytona Beach a couple of weeks ago. (link)

    I'd ask about local conditions once I got there, and either take a compressor or figure out where the closest service station with air is so you can air back up when you get back on the tarmac.
  • panzerpanzer Posts: 125
    Nice to know you can do it, kinda. 25MPH comes up pretty quick when I drive on sand. Speed is your friend.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Speed is your friend.

    That depends on what kind of sand you're driving on. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    It's my view that disabling traction control is the wrong thing to do. If it is disabled, the first wheel to lose traction will spin, unchecked, digging a nice hole.
  • panzerpanzer Posts: 125
    I thought about that again. Not always true. The sand I typically drive on is in NW Nebraska, on the shore of a big lake that's down about 80 feet from high water line, leaving a beach that's over a mile wide down to the water in some areas. The sand is quite fine and fluffy, alot like a New England seashore beach. It gives traction and stability control quite a workout. They both work against playing "Rat Patrol." There are few real hazards there. It would be reckless to drive fast on most any seashore beach that I'm aware of. With beachcombers, walking traffic and the various shore life, driving on the beach, even slowly must be done with great care. That's why it's illegal to do so in many jurisdictions.

    I've actually not had the opportunity to take my 06 V8 Explorer to the sand. I've done plenty of sand driving with my old cars, including a VW Touareg and two Isuzu Troopers. Your comment about air pressure is right. Low pressure makes a big difference. I usually just fight it with highway air pressure in the tires, and let some out if the going gets tough. With the Touareg I could air up from the onboard pump.

    I much prefer a simple 4wd in the sand. Wonder how the Land Rovers are with an actual program in the traction/stability control that accounts for sand.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,229
    I much prefer a simple 4wd in the sand. Wonder how the Land Rovers are with an actual program in the traction/stability control that accounts for sand.

    If you go by the mags they are unstoppable! ;)
  • 97xltbeep97xltbeep Posts: 16
    where would I find the keypad passcode on a 2006 Mountaineer? I don't have the wallet card but I'm pretty sure the code is printed somewhere inside the car/engine compartment; I just can't seem to find it.
    Also, would it be possible to replace the factory-installed halogen lamps with HID lamps?
    Thank you.
  • sacmtnrsacmtnr Posts: 15
    The Mountaineers have the ability to "lock" the front and rear drive lines electronically. From some things I have read this makes them virtually the same as vehicles with 4WD high.
    I was just unsure how the traction control would work in sand. I didn't know if it would only provide power to one wheel until it spins and then to the next until all 4 wheels are stuck or if it would have the opposite effect by not letting any one wheel dig in before it transferred to additional wheels. I was just hoping someone else had driven their 06/07 Mountaineer in sand to lend 1st hand experience. I would rather not have to go through the learning curve and find out the hard way.
    Thanks for all the info.
  • nbxnbx Posts: 28
    I have seen results of tests done by Tire Rack staff that show that it is far better in rain not to lower tire pressure. Proper inflation allows the tires' sipes and grooves to do their jobs as designed. And tires when properly inflated are surely much less subject to damage to the body of the tire, less of a chance for overheated tires.

    Wonder if any of this holds true in the sand?
  • panzerpanzer Posts: 125
    Off-road in sand is a completely different animal. Lowering tire pressure works very well in sand, but never take out enough air to allow the tires to spin on the rims. The post by Steve had the proper air range for sand. Absolutely never run low tires on pavement. That is a well known safety issue. Off roading is only for people that can take full responsibility for their actions. That means air-up after you're finished playing. Also, there is a limit. Some dune sand is just too fluffy to drive a 4500 pound SUV designed to operate on the street. You'll get stuck no matter what you do.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    wheeled military vehicles like Humvees, LAVs and Strykers have a built in system to allow tire presure to be raised and lowered through automatic electic pumps from inside the vehicle to match the terrain.

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The key code - It no longer is printed on the car as it used to be in sight. I hear it's on the BMC somewhere in the driver rear quarter panel. Rather than go tearing the interior of my truck apart - I went to the dealer and had them read it from the scanner for me. Didn't cost that much.
  • adgrantadgrant Posts: 13
    I am not sure I see the point in a truck based SUV that doesn't have Low Range AWD. Why not just buy an AWD Station Wagon (or crossover its the same thing) and save some money on gas.

    Low range AWD is very useful when climbing or descending steep paved or unpaved roads. Some roads in Hawaii only legally allow AWD vehicles but what they really mean is AWD vehicles with a low range (if you don't want to destroy your brakes).
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Hope you don't try turning.

  • adgrantadgrant Posts: 13
    I would avoid it but sometimes you need to.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Clearly, in Hawaii, the Explorer would be your choice, as they offer the low range. But if the toughest thing your SUV is going to encounter is a speed bump in the snow, AWD is fine, and less neanderthal. My Escalade has AWD and gets around in the mountains on dirt snowy and muddy roads just great - and as well as my Explorer 4WD does.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Clearly, in Hawaii, the Explorer would be your choice ...

    Hawaii also boasts the highest gas prices in the nation. That might change the equation.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • adgrantadgrant Posts: 13
    Hawaii is also one of the smaller States in the nation. The Big Island is about the size of Connecticut and has fairly few paved roads.

    OTOH an AWD BMW station wagon handles snow just fine and gets about 28 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in the city. The Subaru is probably similar. I am guessing that as gas prices continue to rise, Explorer sales will continue to fall and a higher percentage of Explorer buyers will actually need the truck features the Explorer provides. It wouldn't shock me if the Mercury clone was eventually discontinued. They don't sell very many of them right now. OTOH there is that rumor that the next Explorer will be more of a crossover than a traditional SUV.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The next Explorer will be built on the Taurus X platform, and look like a Saturn Outlook, with a 3 bar chrome grille. Will I buy that? Don't know yet - I like the Outlook, so maybe I'll consider it. Will my Wife like it is the question - it'll be her car.
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