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2011 Ford Explorer



  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited August 2010
    they are NOT unsafe in those conditions

    It's the tires.

    Ok, it's the driver.

    It's been a decade since I left Anchorage but I still remember passing lots of 4WD rigs in the ditch with my FWD Tercel and my FWD minivans. Seems like most of the ditch diggers were in 4WD vehicles that they were overdriving.
  • That is Funny! Reminds me of frequently taking my RWD 1980 Toyota Corolla onto un-maintained sand, gravel, dirt, mud trails (not recommended!) and seeing so many of the R/AWD's not making it - the FWD's did fine. It seemed the heaver the AWD's were the worse trouble they were in. I got a lot of angry stares as I passed by.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    But....It's still a "TRUCK"...!

    If you only want to haul 5 people then the Venza F/awd with the 4 cylinder would be the way to go. Explorer "class" people hauling capability would be the Toyota Highlander but not before it gets upgraded to the new F/awd system. Value to Value I'd still choose the Sienna with the V6 and F/awd.

    I suspect the new 4 cylinder in the Venza, ~190HP, will soon be upgraded with DFI, (~215 HP along with improved FE) in which case I will be looking forward to a Sienna F/awd with that same engine.

    Now, just what have you got to look forward to at Ford...?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Sounds as if you knew not to over-use the throttle and the R/awd driver's didn't.

    It is that simple, really.


    Spin-outs, intentional spin-outs, on a sandy beach are a LOT more fun in a RWD or R/awd.

    Once filled the "cockpit" of my 911 Targa with sand driving, drifting(?), through the cloud of sand I had just thrown up.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Regretably that's also true around here immediately after a serious snow storm. Idiots thinking their AWD/4WD/4X4 vehicle will go anywhere without losing control.

    But a few days later, if the bad weather holds, all I see is FWD's sideways in the road, or in the ditch, abandoned, many with "thrown" tire chains wrapped around the front axle/halfshaft.

    It was something of a joy a few years ago to see all the BMW's MB's and Porsche's scattered about helter-skelter parked and abandoned on the slight incline into MS headquarters.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Idiots thinking their AWD/4WD/4X4 vehicle will go anywhere without losing control.

    And that my friend, is why 4WD vehicles are patently unsafe in the snow. :P

    The TV ads showing people driving up ski hills don't help any either. Or is that only Subarus?
  • berriberri Posts: 7,969
    I've always felt that the higher 4X4 center of gravity is also a culprit to SUV and 4WD pickups in the ditch. While the higher ground clearance can help getting moving in deeper snow, I think a similar weight minivan probably handles better in icy snow conditions on the highway. Its lower height or distance from the pavement makes it easier to control in these situations. Those higher road clearances can act as force multipliers when you start sliding around and make handling become more tipsy.

    I also don't see why people are getting all worked up about the new Explorer not being a truck. There are plenty of options out there for whatever a person's preference may be. When the Explorer was an SUV it never really gave you all that much space inside and didn't really get much better mileage than an Expedition or Tahoe.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    new Explorer not being a truck

    No more Sport Trac either. May be a good time to buy one if you like the SUV/truck combo.

    Ford Discontinues Explorer Sport Trac; Incentives Available (Edmunds Daily)
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    Not sure why I bother, but here goes......

    help us understand why HEAT is not a problem with the PTO/PTU seals and high level of mechanical failures..

    Heat makes seals expand, not contract. Cold makes seals contract and lose their sealing ability. PTU seals are only failing in cold weather climates when it's cold. If heat was a problem there would be more failures in the Southwest and Southeast. Also - if heat was the cause then Ford would have just added extra cooling to fix the problem but they didn't. They replaced the seals with a new design. They're not stupid and they don't want to continue doing repairs on these things.

    And what aspect of an Ecoboost engine is not "just" for more power. Ford's only claim that I can see is that it produces more power than a larger engine while consuming less fuel than the LARGER engine.

    The Explorer's 2.0L engine puts out 250 lb/ft - which is the same as the competition's V6 engines but with better fuel economy. If the market wanted less power then Ford will have a 1.6L EB soon. The whole point of EB is to get more power from much less displacement and that applies to whatever engine output you need. To get the same output as a 2.0L EB engine without a turbo but with DI would require at least a 2.5L engine - maybe 2.7.

    Where do you get the information that running summer tires in wintertime isn't safer.

    Summer tires use soft rubber. In wintertime soft rubber turns to hard plastic. Hard plastic has NO grip on the road. Not having grip on the road is PATENTLY unsafe. Period. End of story. Ask ANY tire mfr. That's exactly why they make special winter tires - they use a different rubber compound that doesn't get hard in freezing temps and which have been PROVEN in test after test to provide more traction in cold weather.

    I don't see how even you could possibly argue with that. But I'm sure you'll find a way.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I suspect it isn't so much about not being a "truck" any more but rather not having some of the more desireable charactoristics of a truck.

    Put an equally experienced driver, experienced in both "venues", in either a FWD or a RWD on a slippery inclined roadbed and the driver will automatically be more conservative with the FWD due to past learning experience.
  • vrmvrm Posts: 308
    The 4Runner now seems like an antique whose sales have nose dived. In the last 2 years, the 4Runner has seen a 40% decline in sales.

    The AWD system used in the 4Runner is questionable and under investigation by the Government.
  • tgoodelltgoodell Posts: 19
    I do agree that the 2011 Exlorer is no longer a true competitor in terms of off-road capability against the 4Runner due to its no longer having a true transfer case and 4WD, but keep in mind that like Explorer owners--the vast majority of consumers who buy 4Runners also never take them off road either. Being that Ford only sold around 50,000 Explorers in 2009, personally I don't think there's been much real "competition" against the 4Runner sales-wise for a while.

    So, other than a transfer case-based 4WD system and a frame on body chassis (which is still the norm for almost every off-road capable SUV/truck currently on the market), what else about the new 4Runner is "post-WWII technology"? Windshield wipers still work basically the same as they did in WWII, too ;)

    To my knowledge the only formidable off-roader in this class which doesn't have a truck-on-body chassis is the Jeep GC (although it still has a traditional-style transfer case)....but their long-running lack of reliability doesn't really allow myself or a lot of other consumers to consider one as an option.

    Many of your comments about the 4Runner make me wonder if you've seen/driven the 2010 or 2011 model. Maybe you haven't seen Toyota's KDSS system, its hill decent system, or the terrain management system on the Trail model? Pretty leading-edge stuff, if you ask me.

    And when did 4Runners (or any Toy for that matter) become "expensive to maintain"?

    Personally, other than some of the new technology which Ford has been offering in its vehicles (Sync, etc) I'm not sure comparing a loaded 2011 Explorer and a loaded 2011 4Runner would really underscore either vehicles price...both have seating for 7, both have great interior room and loaded up, they're both about the same cost. Unless serious off-road capabilities were a "must have" (which would align a buyer with the Toy), I think these two vehicles will be in greater competition with one another than they have in the past with the old Explorers decline in overall sales.

    Just my $.02
  • tgoodelltgoodell Posts: 19
    "The Explorer's optional all-wheel-drive system is similar to, but significantly upgraded from what lurks under a Taurus with all-wheel drive. An independent cooling circuit was added to the Power Take Off (PTO), the component that sends power to the rear axle (see above, right). In off-road conditions, the Explorer's PTO must be able to transmit lots of torque rearward for extended periods of time. The heat generated by this could easily damage the unit, so the integrated cooler keeps the PTO working in a safe temperature window during heavy-duty use."

    First Ride: Autoblog gets hot in Dubai with 2011 Ford Explorer

    And as for the idea that summer tires work great in snow and ice....clearly the orig poster who believes this, he either doesn't know anything about tires, he doesn't read information about tires--or he's never driven any vehicle in snow/ice with summer tires on it. Preposterous!
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    Notice that article says the extra cooling was needed due to extended off-road use. The Explorer was designed for mild off-roading where the PTO/PTU would be in use a lot more than normal street driving.

    Wwest has been making this argument about the Edge PTU which hardly ever sees any off road use, much less extended use. And the article doesn't say that overheating causes seal failure, which is the problem with the Edge. It was a bad seal - materials, design and/or installation and once properly fixed most have not reoccured - and they haven't added any cooling to it. Therefore lack of cooling is not the problem with the 07-09 Edge PTU seals.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    There are many of us that oftentimes need/require off-road 4WD traction capability but NEVER go off-road. No transfer case nor low range gearbox required, just a good, fully functional R/awd system.

    Personally I suspect the "old" Explorer's decline in sales was more the result of the "ballooning" of the exterior without an increase in the wheelbase cognizant with the increased weight/size. That's also what more likely led to the rollover propensity that Ford engineers thought they could abate via tire deflation.

    Then there is the issue of Ford "trucks" not being designed/outfitted to take advantage of current technological aspects, engines, transmission, radios, sync, etc.

    I guess at Ford you have to be a "soft" SUV crossover to be eligible for a DOHC 24 valve V6 DFI engine.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    If you look around the internet a bit you will find that the Escape and Escape hybrid F/awd system, PTO/PTU specifically, seems especially subject to premature failures.

    I suspect that Ford engineers at one time, some time in the past, decided that the these failures could be somewhat alleviated via filling the PTO/PTU case to the "brim" with lubricating/cooling oil. Apparently that simply resulted in the expansion of theh oil due to HEAT and thereby BLOWN seals.

    The Escape, and likely the Edge, have a KNOWN history of overheating problems. The earlier Escape and Mariner F/awd systems actually had a temperature sensor in the system to detect the rising heat level and advise the driver via an indicator light that the system was approaching an overheat condition.

    If the driver chose to ignore the warning and the heat level continued to rise then the entire F/awd system would be disabled and the driver was cautioned by the owners manual that should that happen the best procedure would be to pull to the sude of the road and give the system the chance to cool down.

    My guess would be that all Fords with this F/awd system will soon be adapted to this new PTO/PTU cooling system.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited August 2010
    akirby: You need to take a look back at the history of this F/awd system as implemented by Ford. The original systems on the Escape and Mariner gave the driver the ability to manually engage the rear drive clutch. There was a caution to the driver that this was NOT to be done for extended periods on any highly tractive surface, off-road or otherwise.

    Apparently many drivers ignored the caution note and Ford paid the price via having to provide warranty service for failed PTO/PTU and rear clutch systems or else losing customer goodwill.

    So the temperature detection system was added to first warn the driver that the F/awd system was being over used/abused and then disable the F/awd system entirely should the driver ignore the "early" warning.

    Then as a last resort the manual switch was removed entirely in order to reduce the F/awd failure rate by reducing the overall usefulness of the F/awd system.

    But the Ford F/awd PTO/PTU gearsets continued to fail, first the seals would fail due to the lubricating oil expansion rupturing them and subsequently the gearset itsself due to severe overheating.

    Please take note that these F/awd systems will FULLY engage the rear drive under hard acceleration from a stop or low speed REGARDLESS of TRACTIVE conditions. It will even partially engage the rear drive clutch while turning during HARD acceleration. It out there that doesn't understand that these conditions, especially the latter one, are the very conditions that result in the more severe stress on the drive train, driveline windup and tire scrubbing.

    So, given that knowledge why would the Ford engineers choose to design such an IDIOTIC system..?

    A) First, there is currently NO way to detect/predict IMPENDING, FUTURE, wheelspin/slip resulting from engine torque, leading or lagging (engine compression braking).

    B) Second, there is currently no way to detect/predict the roadbed tractive condition, traction coefficient. The only system of this type that I am aware of is on the Escape and Mariner hybrids. They use the OAT sensor to modulate, lower the effectiveness, of the regenerative braking system, FRONT wheels ONLY regenerative braking system, if the OAT declines nearby or below freezing.

    C) Third, wheelspin/slip on a FWD or F/awd vehicle can turn HAZARDOUS, even DEADLY in just a few milliseconds if not QUICKLY abated.

    The answer: PREVENTION.

    Design a system that PRE-EMPTIVELY apportions engine torque to ALL traction surfaces at times must likely to otherwise result in a threat to life and limp.

    While all along Mazda was using engine coolant to solve this problem with the very same F/awd system.

    Now, FINALLY, Ford comes to the "table".
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    If your theory was true then we'd also see cases in the desert southwest where ptus could get a workout driving in sand plus the excessive heat. Yet the only failures seem to be in cold climates Cold ambient temps are a much more plausible explanation for seal failure. If overfilling was the problem they could just take out a few ounces of fluid or add cooling fins.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    Let me also point out once again that wwest believes that FWD vehicles are PATENTLY UNSAFE in slippery conditions. Yet his daily driver is a Lexus RX300. That should tell you all you need to know.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...if overfilling was a problem....could just take out a few ounces..."

    Catch 22, taking out a few ounces of fluid reduces the cooling capability.

    Does the Ford PTO/PTU not have "cooling fins" already..?

    If not that would even be more idiotic on Ford's part, my '01 F/awd RX300 VC (Viscous clutch/coupling) case even has those.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    And that's exactly why my F/awd '01 RX300 always runs on nice and quite running, comfortably riding, SUMMER use ONLY Bridgestone Turanza tires, has 1.5" wheel spacers all around (rear tire chains cannot be fitted absent the spacers) and I carry a set of tire chains throughout the year.

    I carry two sets of tire chains during the winter and the first set goes on the REAR and then the second set on the front but only at times of CERTAIN need.

    Here on the eastside of Seattle the weather is consistently such that the clear majority of the time my summer tires provide more traction than any wintertime specialty tire.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    PTO cooling is not rocket science. As you say even Mazda already had it. If that was the root cause of the seal failures then a) Ford would have easily seen this in testing and b) they would have fixed this at some point to resolve the problem.

    But then again you obviously know more than Ford engineers. After all - they still think that winter tires are safer in winter than summer tires. Idiots........ ;)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Again, history of the Escape and Mariner F/awd system indicates that while the Ford engineers quite clearly knew of the drive train design shortcomings they refused, for some reason, to take the appropreate corrective action, "patchwork" only.

    We must assume that at each "step" in the way they were of the thought that the problem was solved.

    Look at Toyota's history, beginning in 1998, with their transaxle design problems resulting from the "abolition" of the old line pressure control system. Problems that persist until this very day, with no solution in sight.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    Except that even you said Mazda already had a working cooling system in production on the CX, so it was readily available to Ford had they wanted to use it.

    The horse was dead long ago. Let's move on.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited August 2010
    "..Except that..." only makes the Ford engineers moreso the idiots.

    On the other hand the CX-7 came to market years after the Ford Escape/Mariner/Tribute had been commited to design and in production.

    So maybe the Mazda engineers,starting with a clean sheet design, simply learned from the Ford engineer's mistakes.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 8,040
    Never mind - I'll just go bang my head into a brick wall. It's more satisfying.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Don't give up, please..

    The more you challenge me the deeper I dig/study/learn to prove my point. I'm sure both sides have an audience so let's keep them happy.
  • I need a question answered...... the total cargo space specs for the new 2011 Explorer is listed on Edmunds as approx. 81 cu.ft, the Chevy Traverse is listed as 116 cu.ft. and the Ford Expedition is listed as approx. 108 cu.ft. Now there is no way there is 7% more cargo space in the Chevy Traverse as compared to the Expediton....... what goes here? I looked at GM website specs for the Chevy Traverse and they have the cargo space figure of 116 cu.ft. foot noted, but do not explain anywhere what the footnote (3) is. I currently own a Ford Expediton and recently test drove a Chevy Traverse and the Expedition no question has more cargo space. Do the different companies play games with these numbers, or measure them in a different way? I am going to replace my Expediton with either a Chevy Traverse or the new 2011 Explorer, which is listed as having 81 cu.ft of cargo space. I just find it hard to believe the Traverse has 43% more cargo space than the Explorer which is about the same size. Can anyone shed some light on this subject.
  • I just got off the website. It lists cargo capacity as 80.7 cubic feet behind the first row of seats. I also checked to see what the estimated mpg listing was. Not one mention of that. Since Ford skirts that issue, I can only imagine that it isn't as stingy on gas as the Traverse. If you throw in the 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain coverage, it probably isn't a fair fight.

    Is the cargo capacity your primary buying motive? If that's the case, sounds like you've already made your decision!
  • Cargo space is not my primary goal........ the point is I DO NOT BELIEVE the posted cargo space of the Traverse (116 cu ft). The Traverse is only 8 inches longer than the 2011 Explorer and the Traverse is 1/2 inch less in width than the Explorer........ so how in the world can you have 44% more cargo space in the Traverse?

    I was leaning toward the Traverse until last year, however since the bankruptcy I am leaning toward a Ford SUV......... I do not like the fact the GM screwed all of those "mom and pop" bond holders. GM sold bonds for years in low denominations of under $1k to the public. It just does not sit well with me that they got their slate wiped clean at the expense of many retired people that relied on them for income. I do own 2 GM vehicles at the present time.......1986 Fiero GT and a 2002 Saturn. The Saturn needed a valve job at $69k and of course GM would do nothing for me...... so it would be hard for me to buy a Traverse, although it is a nice vehicle.
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