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Ford Explorer Mercury Mountaineer 2005 and earlier



  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    "Chuck1, that dealer is so full of it when he said "when they go really bad-they are really loud!!". That's just plain nuts! He is just trying to convince you that a little noise is "normal", or "acceptable", but he is a bald faced liar! A whine is NOT acceptable. If you test drove a vehicle and the Rear Axle was whining, would you buy it? I don't think so."


    Don't misunderstand me, I agree with you. This noise is not normal. However, getting Ford dealers to perform warranty work is next to impossible. And it will only get worse as Ford continues to slip in their sales. So my wife and I work full time, what am I supposed to do? The only thing I could do is to buy an extended warranty, so I will be covered if/when it becomes worse. Yes, it's a sad state of affairs, isn't it?
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    SEE MESSAGE #2141 for warranty information.....

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "This noise is not normal. However, getting Ford dealers to perform warranty work is next to impossible. And it will only get worse as Ford continues to slip in their sales."


    A) First, this isn't a "Problems & Solutions" board, there is one of those, but this isn't it.


    B) You're right, this noise isn't normal.


    C) I've not had any problems getting Ford to perform any warranty work - ever, I think your dealer is at fault.


    D) Ford's sales aren't slipping at all - except to rental fleets, and even if they were, the cosmic result of that actually may bring them to become more concerned about customer image and service than not. I wouldn't worry.


    When asked for a comment about Ford slipping behind Chevy in sales for the first time in some 20 years, the President of the Ford division said, "So, I guess I should congratulate Chevy for being first in Rental Fleet sales, huh?".


    If your Ford is a dog, dump it. If your dealer is not treating you right, go to another one if you possibly can, there are some great ones out there. Ford just stepped up and did a complete brake job no questions asked on my truck at 24,000 miles for me, and I don't even know why. It was grinding, I took it in, when I went to pick it up, it had new linings, new rotors, everything new, no charge sir. And that's what I'm used to for years now. That's why I say, it may be your dealer. Good luck. YMMV, as always.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Congrats on the free brake job. I can surmise that you may have purchased multiple vehicles from this particular dealer, and they did the brake job as a "good will" thing towards a good customer. My Explorer is not a dog, but IT DOES have the whining between 50 and 65 mph. I have no plans to get rid of it-that's why I just purchased the ESP warranty for it as I stated earlier. I am now covered (powertrain anyways) for 5 years or 75,000 miles. Although, I have no plans to keep it much past 60,000 miles. For the extra dollars I figured the warranty would be a "selling point!"


    As far as "Ford Sales" is concerned, the real "acid test" will be when they discontinue the Taurus that is "DISCOUNTED STEEPLY" to COMPANY FLEETS-not rental car companies as much anymore. I know, my company just purchased for me a '05 Taurus, I can't believe what they paid for it. By the way-it's got the most uncomfortable seats of any car I have ever owned (twenty three plus cars...) but that's for another board!
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yeah, you're right, but like you said, for what they paid for it, they have really cheapened the car down. I have noticed that when I've rented them. They've frankly done the same thing to the Town Car Signature, unfortunately. I rented one last week, and although it was still comfy, it was nothing like the Town Car seats of yesteryear, but that's for the Hertz fleet. I can imagine what they sold that to Hertz for too.


    The dealer makes half the difference in the ownership experience over the life of a car for me. There is one Ford dealer in town I've not been able to buy a car from since 1975 because of their abysmal sales attitude - I can imagine how much I'm gonna love their service attitude. So I know what you mean.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Well NVBanker,


    We agree and have found some common ground......
  • If Ford is aware of the solenoid problem, why isn't there a recall on it?


    My wife's '03 is a V-8 auto, limited slip, 3.73. It has a very loud sporadic "clunking" in the transmission. It is not normal. It has had the transmission solenoid changed, but has not fixed the clunking noise. So far, I have not heard the rear-end whine (but, it only has 14K and it seems this problem occurs around 30K or later).


    As far as Ford reliability, I can only speak for my previous 4 vehicles (all Fords) and my current 3 vehicles (1 Ford, 2 Chevys):


    1986 Mercury Cougar XR-7 (purchased new) - 2.4L Turbo, 5-speed. Very fun to drive and driven pretty hard. Engine used about 1-1.5 qts. of oil every 1,000 miles at 70K when I traded it. Yes, it smoked.


    1991 F-150 4X4 (purchased new) - 5.0L, 5-speed. Decent truck overall, but did have to replace the engine at 110K. Sold at 130K.


    1993 Explorer (purchased new) - 4.0L, auto. Replaced transmission at 105K. No engine problems. Traded at 120K (transmission slipping again).


    2002 Taurus (purchased new - fleet car) - brake problems from 15K. Electronic issues with engine (dies and won't restart). Had to replace right side front axle at 60K. Recently sold with 75K. Would never own another one of these.


    2003 Explorer (purchased new) - 4.6L, auto. Transmission solenoid replaced at 14K. Still has a sporadic loud clunking in the transmission.


    1992 Chevy Lumina Z34 (purchased used at 105K). Runs great. Now has 112K. Uses about 1 qt. of oil every 3,000 miles. No other problems so far (about 8 months).


    2001 Chevy K2500HD (purchased new) - 6.0L, auto. It does have the infamous GM start-up engine knock (Chevy free extended warranty to 100K). 45K with no problems (there was a recall on the tailgate hinges). Doesn't use any oil between 3,000 mile changes. Plenty of power, but could do better on gas mileage. I am really happy with this truck.


    As you can see by my townhall name (whatsachevy) I signed up with in 2000 when I was looking for a new 3/4 ton truck, I had always been a Ford man. I was convinced by a friend to test drive the Chevy. I liked it better than the F-250 at the time and thought I would give Chevy a try. At this point, I wouldn't go back to Ford. Only time will tell, but it may be time to start looking for a Trailblazer to replace the '03 Explorer. My lifetime experience with Ford reliability and Ford customer service would certainly be graded no higher than "C". So far with Chevy (although very short-lived at maybe 4 years), I would still have to give them at least a "B", if not higher.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Their isn't a recall since it doesn't affect all vehicles. Just like there isn't a recall for Chevy's ticking (piston slap) Vortec engines, since it doesn't affect all of them.
  • Explorers rated "average" reliability and recommended by Consumer Reports. Trailblazers rated "below average" and are on the "leat reliable/cars to avoid" list.
  • All this talk about how bad the Explorer is makes me wonder if I should sell mine. I bought a 2004 in November and if has about 1200 miles. Wondering if I should take a few grand loss and go back to a Camry.


    Anyway, what kind of mileage should I expect during this break in period. I'm only getting 13 miles a gallon. My drive to work is 17 miles each way and 14 of it is non-stop. Wondering if I should be getting better mileage.


    I also hear a high pitched whistle when accelerating and the noise changes when the transmission changes gears. The whistle goes away while cruising. Could this be some sort of air leak that is causing me to lose gas mileage? Dealer says he can't hear the whistle.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    My wife's '02 SOHC V6 gets no better than 14 mpg in town. On the highway it's much better, 20 mpg at 75mph plus. As far as the whistle is concerned, mine has always had it-it doesn't seem to affect anything. I believe it's a noise form within the transmission. As far as trading it in-your loss will be VERY HIGH. I just looked in the paper this past weekend-used '02's with low miles-$12,000.00. What do you think yours would be worth? If it's under warranty-keep it-if you don't have an extended warranty; buy one before you click past 36K!
  • You did not mention what engine and transmission you have in your explorer. 13 mpg sucks.

    My 97 XLT 5.0L V8 Automatic 2WD get 14 mpg in town and 18 on the road.

    How loud is the whistle? It could be a tranny whine because it changes at at shifts, or it could be a vacuumn leak that changes in pitch as manifold vacuumn changes.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,031
    i have a similar distance to drive to work. my trans has a slightly reedy whistle when very cold, but it goes away pretty quickly. 13 mpg is definitely too low. push the button at the end of the shift to turn the overdrive off when at normal cruising speed. do the rpms change (rise)?

    the other thing that can make a big difference is tire pressure, especially in the front. what is the air pressure in your tires?
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Certain unhappy individuals tend to dominate this board with their issues.

    Given the numbers of Explorers on the road, I don't think that's at all indicative of a reason to panic. If you read back a ways, you'll find several of us who love ours, and have had several of them, like me. I have had 5, still have 2 of them. I think they're the best SUV on the market overall, and have had -0- bad ones. Make up your own mind about your's. Be a man! Remember, the passion for these boards tends to come from those who are mad at the time, the rest of us coast along generally, and only chime in to help someone who has a question - like you.


    Oh, mileage? If you have the V-8, you're not gonna get much over 15-16 probably, it's what they do. There's nothing wrong, that's what they get. The Six would get you more like 20. At least that's what we get, but we still prefer the V-8. You'll need a few thousand on it to get to your average, and probably 7,000 for it to start to breathe easy.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405

    My wife drives 16 miles ROUND TRIP (8 miles freeway) to work in her 2002 XLT SOHC V6 2 wheel drive. She has a very light foot. She has NEVER OBTAINED more than 14 miles per gallon city. By comparison, the '99 Suburban we traded in got between 11 and 12 mpg city-and NEVER more than 15 MPG highway with the standard V8! The Explorer ALWAYS get 20 MPG on the highway! Of course, in California we have to use that special recipe oxygenated gasoline.
  • 02xls02xls Posts: 40
    nvbanker, how long did you keep the previous 3 Explorers you have owned? What year models are your current trucks? Did you buy them all from the same dealer? Just curious.


    Just Another Unhappy Individual
  • Thanks for the responses.


    The XLT I drive is a 4.0L V6 4X4. So far I have only driven it in 4X4 auto mode. I set the tire pressure to factory specs of 35 psi per tire but the dealer just set it to 32 psi after my last visit.


    Not sure if it means anything but the sticker says this is a duel fuel vehicle but I haven't tried to use Ethanol-only 87 octane.


    I expect the mileage to be around 15-16 but 13 is pretty low. That's why I was wondering if the whistling sound from the transmission could be causing some of the low mileage. I'll switch the OD off tomorrow on my way to work to see if RPM's change.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254

    I have to agree with nvbanker, because I feel he is including me in the group that dominates this board ;), even though he is the one who told me this one sounded like a lemon before I even bought it. These guys are very honest about these things, and you should definitely take their advice to heart.


    I also happen to know several people who have Explorers, love them swear by them. I just happen to have a bad one.


    Like they suggested, keep it, enjoy it, and buy that extended warranty, preferably a FORD warranty. Don't do like I did and go with a no name that sounded good.


    I'm getting the ball joints replaced this week, and then maybe one of these days whatever is causing the antifreeze leak will "fail" so my warranty will cover it, haha. It's a great truck, not a rattle in the place, I love it's look and I have yet to find anything that fits me as well. I'm a pretty good sized ol' boy, so I need something with plenty of room and that is comfortable. I'm trying to give a little praise to this thing, hoping that maybe I can make it another year without any major problems. I'd love to see it make it to 70k before I get rid of it. My warranty is good until 67k. Who knows, it might get all it's kinks worked out and go on to be a great truck, just have to wait and see. As you know, I'm one to jump to conclusions, haha. I could take this thing and trade it right now for a Toyota or a Nissan, and it be even worse. All car makes have a lemon now and then, even the most reliable makes. As I've been told many times, "show me a car, and I'll show you a money pit."
  • "Like they suggested, keep it, enjoy it, and buy that extended warranty, preferably a FORD warranty. Don't do like I did and go with a no name that sounded good."


    I purchased the Extended Warranty from the Ford Dealer when I bought the car. However, it's not an ESP warranty but and EASY CARE warranty. Dealer said it has to be accepted at all Ford dealerships and is owned by Ford. Any idea if this is good? I didn't see any information on it in the Extended warranty forum.
  • pnewbypnewby Posts: 277
    I have had an Easy Care on my last 2 Explorers, and they have been OK so far. I don't think it is owned by Ford, but don't really know. I prefer to stick with Ford ESP though. Best prices I've seen on the web are from here-
  • jcat707jcat707 Posts: 168
    Do any of you guys thing that there will be an availble navigation system on the Explorers and Mountaineers when they are refreshened for the 2006. I think it might be possible since most of their competitors already offer them.
  • ESP on this website is $90 higher than what I paid for the EasyCare. Wonder if its worth the switch?
  • pnewbypnewby Posts: 277
    Even though I've had no problem with Easy Care, I've always felt better when it was the Ford plan.
  • "Certain unhappy individuals tend to dominate this board with their issues. Given the numbers of Explorers on the road, I don't think that's at all indicative of a reason to panic. If you read back a ways, you'll find several of us who love ours, and have had several of them... Remember, the passion for these boards tends to come from those who are mad at the time."


    I couldn't agree more! I love mine! Still, looking at some of the posts on these boards can be scary at times, but you have to put things back in perspective.


    On the issue of fuel mileage, the V6 will not get much better mileage than the V8 because Explorers are heavy (4500lbs) and aren't aerodynamic at all. The V8 does not have to "work" as hard to accelerate and then keep the vehicle moving. The EPA ratings reflect this; only 1 mpg less for the V8.


    I have the V6 and only get 14-15 mpg in the city and 18 highway, but I am a leadfoot as well!
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Hey guys the Easy Care warrenty is a good product. This is a warranty administered by Automobile Protection Corporation which is a wholy owned subsidery of FMC.


    APC is the Administrater of several "factory" warranties, including Nissan, Mazda, Volvo.


    This is a way to get a warranty that will be accepted more readily at non Ford dealership shops, such as when you are on a road trip.


    Also because Easy Care pays by credit card, the shop gets funded immediately and makes them more willing to honor the warrenty.



    Hope this makes you feel a little better about the warranty you purchased. If it wasn't Ford owned, I wouldn't say any thing good about it.


  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    "nvbanker, how long did you keep the previous 3 Explorers you have owned? What year models are your current trucks? Did you buy them all from the same dealer?"


    Happy to oblige:


    1994 Explorer 4WD Eddie Bauer 140,000, still own.

    Bought from Ford dealer, obviously.

    1997 Mountaineer 2WD V8, leased for 2 years.

    1998 Mountaineer 2WD V8, leased for 3 years.

    2002 Mountaineer 2WD V6, leased for 3 years.

    2004 Mountaineer 4WD V8, still own.


    All Mountaineers leased from same dealer. They have all been extraordinary trucks, really, I'd put them up against any Toyota service record you can find. I know there are bad ones out there there and there, but with the zillions of them on the road, that's gonna happen. It is the best selling SUV for the past what 13 years now? The important thing is, when one of them is a lemon, Ford needs to step up on the truck. They always have for me. It's very unfortunate when there is a dealer who doesn't, they hurt the whole company.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    With the exception of the '94; if you drove 15,000 miles a year-the most miles you would have is on the ones you leased for three years-45,000 miles. If this is correct-I do not know if I would call this the "full ownership" experience! And I think we could all agree that the '94 is a entirely different vehicle than today's Explorer.

    At least I know why you got that free brake job. Your one loyal customer!
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687


    I wanted to nominate you for being a good customer...

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Hey, thanks ANT. Nice compliment. My dealer has made me feel almost that good with great deals and service for over a decade - he valued my repeat business, but he died right there in the showroom one day. The store was just acquired by a different group who has several stores in town including Saturn, Cadillac, Saab, Pontiac. This is their first Ford brand store. Some of the 20 year employees are already being replaced. I expect my red carpet is already fraying there.


    Chuck - I understand what you're saying about short term ownership not getting the full picture of the vehicle's long term performance, and I admit the furthest I pushed any of the Mountaineers was 65,000 miles, but really, not one of them gave us a minute in the shop. I never even put brakes on any of them except the 94. The only repair I remember ever needed to have done, was an exhaust manifold on the 97 that leaked, fixed in one day under warranty, and a squeaking pully on the 02, same thing. That's very minor stuff.


    I only buy Ford vehicles because I like them, and because they treat me very well, generally. The dealer experience also has helped considerably. I have no other loyalties, no relatives, no super deals to claim, and not one share of Ford stock. At least, at this time.
  • I think 65,000 miles is quite substantial- I put 13,000 on mine this year, so that means I should have at least 4 more good years!
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