Re: Thinking about buying an explorer
"....go 97 or up. 95 and 96 do not have 4wd HIGH...."
????? I'd sure hate to have to drive around in low range any time I wanted to use 4wd.
I had a '97 Explorer XLT, recently traded on an '06 F250. The Explorer had 160,000 miles on it when traded. There were 3 significant problems with it.
1) The blend door on the heater; a 39-cent part fails, and you have no temp control on the heater/AC. The fix is $125 or so if you do it yourself; you tear the whole dash apart and install a whole new heater plenum with the re-designed blend door. Check to be sure this has been done if it's a '98 or older.
2) I had the optional 6-way power sport bucket seats... the latch handle for the seatback angle adjustment breaks off. The new (redesigned) assembly is about $75
3) At about 130,000 miles, the pressure plate went south.... the diaphragm cracked. I since learned that it's pretty common on the Ranger/Explorer manual trans. My clutch disc was only about 1/2 gone, but as long as it was open, I replaced the clutch disc, release bearing, and slave cylinder. About $300 in parts, about $700 if you have it done.
Depending on how you intend to use it, I'd recommend the old pushrod V6 (available up to '97). At your typical 2,000 to 2,500 RPM operation, it has more torque than the OHC V6, and will get better mileage. The OHC has a few more horsepower, but only if you're cranking 3,500 RPM or better. The V8 is only necessary if you're going to tow a pretty fair size trailer. My Explorer had the pushrod V6 with a 5-speed manual, and I towed a 2,700 lb boat with it.... no problem.