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Old 04-07-2005, 03:01   #1 (permalink)
Richard Minami
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Explorer Reliability Issues?

Well, we've almost pulled the trigger on a brand new 2005 Explorer. What
are peoples' opinions on their reliability? I'm forgoing a Honda Pilot,
going with an Explorer due to my towing needs, and I guess, future wants.
The Honda tows 3,500 lbs, or 4,500 if it's a boat. (? I guess it has to do
with aerodynamics of a boat trailer vs. a regular trailer) That will
probably tow our Coleman tent trailer fine (~2,100 lbs loaded), but leaves
no upgrade path (probably want a hard sided travel trailer in the next few
years). I called my buddy who sells Fords. I'll be meeting him on
Saturday.
I also e-mailed some friends about this. Man, are they pushing me toward
the Honda Pilot! We almost went with the Pilot, but the towing and lack of
features just kind of turned me off. Also, Honda's stability control is
only available on the EX with leather model, not the EX with cloth seating,
because they consider it a "luxury item". Hmmm, sounds like a safety item
to me!
Anyway, now I'm second guessing my decision a little. I know the Explorer
will pull it better, probably won't be too bad (our '94 was a HORRIBLE
experience the first 3 years, but not bad the last 5 - not sure if my
standards went down after the warranty expired, or it just had everything
replaced - e-mail me directly for the whole story), and should be a better
experience than our last Exploder.
But I guess I'd just like to hear from other late model owners how they
feel. I knew a lot of 1st generation Explorer owners who had their
transmissions die right around 70,000 miles. Mine is still factory, at
120,000. (I've changed tranny fluid frequently since I tow) I plan to keep
this one at least 10 years, if not more. The newer models are built to last
longer, right?
Thanks in advance for everyone's input!


--


Richard Minami
'94 Explorer XLT 4x4
'94 Honda Accord LX
'97 Coleman Yukon


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Old 04-07-2005, 10:01   #2 (permalink)
tobe
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Re: Explorer Reliability Issues?

One should note that U-Haul will not rent a trailer to someone towing with a
Ford Explorer. They don't consider it a "safety issue", but it is a direct
result of lawsuits from accidents involving this combo (Explorer + U-Haul
trailer).

Check out the A/C. I have heard several complaints that the 2005 Explorer
A/C blows cold air only on your feet!

The max tow trailer weight depends upon the engine size (V-6 or V-8), the
axle ratio (3.55 or 3.73), and the size of the wheels (16" or 17") and 4X2
vs. 4X4. Note that on some Explorer models (and this is typical of other
manufacturers too) if you take the GCWR minus the curb weight of the
vehicle, you come up with a max trailer weight that is LESS than that
listed. Oh, yes, add the weight of gas, driver, passengers, and cargo in
the Explorer to reduce that number even more.

Check out the specs (on the car and in the actual manual in the glove box)
for the particular vehicle you are thinking of buying: GCWR, curb weight
(empty), and listed max trailer weight . Often the manual also lists the
maximum allowed square footage of the front of the towed vehicle (important
mostly if you are looking at a TT in the future). I can't find this listed
for Ford SUV's, but the trailer max frontal area for all their properly
equipped trucks and vans is 60 sq. ft. (i.e. 7' X 8.5')

"Richard Minami" wrote:
> Well, we've almost pulled the trigger on a brand new 2005 Explorer. What
> are peoples' opinions on their reliability?



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Old 04-07-2005, 15:02   #3 (permalink)
Chris Cowles
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Re: Explorer Reliability Issues?

Please elaborate on how wheel size influences max tow weight.

Thanks in advance.
--
Chris Cowles
Gainesville, FL


"tobe" <ybotkaSPM@cinci.rr.com> wrote in message
news:X4c5e.359$qS4.320@fe2.columbus.rr.com...
>
> The max tow trailer weight depends upon the engine size (V-6 or V-8), the
> axle ratio (3.55 or 3.73), and the size of the wheels (16" or 17") and 4X2
> vs. 4X4.



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Old 04-07-2005, 15:02   #4 (permalink)
Bill Jeffrey
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Posts: n/a
Re: Explorer Reliability Issues?

Richard -

In Nov '01, I bought a 2002 Explorer 4-DR XLT with the (kinda small) V-8
and factory towing package. The latter seems to include a 3.73 LS rear
end, 5-speed overdrive automatic trans, Class III hitch and 7-pin
connector. It is rated to tow somewhere around 7000 pounds - which it
will NOT COME CLOSE TO DOING if you venture out of the flatlands of the
midwest. For this reason I would not consider the 4.0 V-6 if you expect
to tow.

At the moment, I have about 85K miles on it (we drive a lot). Perhaps
20K of that involved towing low-profile camping trailer which I weighed
put on a scale and found about 3500 pounds. The vehicle has been
adequate, but no more than that, pulling this trailer into the high
Sierras and over Loveland Pass and Vail Pass in Colorado. The
combination of steep grades and high altitude just kill the engine's output.

Overall, this has been a great vehicle. I replaced the OEM Michelins at
about 80K, and just last week replaced the OEM battery. I change oil
religiously every 3K, but other than that haven't had to do anything to
it. My only complaint is that the tranny REALLY REALLY needs a Tow Mode
- it behaves very improperly when the camper is behind it. (I think
this is the 5R55W trans.) I also wish it had a tranny temp gauge (but
that's minor) and an extra tranny cooler.

I hope to get another 80K out of this vehicle, and don't see any reason
why I shouldn't if the tranny holds up as it has so far. At that time,
if the new models have a Towing Mode, I will probably replace it with
another Explorer - otherwise, I may look around.

Bill Jeffrey
=========================

Richard Minami wrote:

> Well, we've almost pulled the trigger on a brand new 2005 Explorer. What
> are peoples' opinions on their reliability? I'm forgoing a Honda Pilot,
> going with an Explorer due to my towing needs, and I guess, future wants.
> The Honda tows 3,500 lbs, or 4,500 if it's a boat. (? I guess it has to do
> with aerodynamics of a boat trailer vs. a regular trailer) That will
> probably tow our Coleman tent trailer fine (~2,100 lbs loaded), but leaves
> no upgrade path (probably want a hard sided travel trailer in the next few
> years). I called my buddy who sells Fords. I'll be meeting him on
> Saturday.
> I also e-mailed some friends about this. Man, are they pushing me toward
> the Honda Pilot! We almost went with the Pilot, but the towing and lack of
> features just kind of turned me off. Also, Honda's stability control is
> only available on the EX with leather model, not the EX with cloth seating,
> because they consider it a "luxury item". Hmmm, sounds like a safety item
> to me!
> Anyway, now I'm second guessing my decision a little. I know the Explorer
> will pull it better, probably won't be too bad (our '94 was a HORRIBLE
> experience the first 3 years, but not bad the last 5 - not sure if my
> standards went down after the warranty expired, or it just had everything
> replaced - e-mail me directly for the whole story), and should be a better
> experience than our last Exploder.
> But I guess I'd just like to hear from other late model owners how they
> feel. I knew a lot of 1st generation Explorer owners who had their
> transmissions die right around 70,000 miles. Mine is still factory, at
> 120,000. (I've changed tranny fluid frequently since I tow) I plan to keep
> this one at least 10 years, if not more. The newer models are built to last
> longer, right?
> Thanks in advance for everyone's input!
>
>


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Old 04-07-2005, 16:01   #5 (permalink)
tobe
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Explorer Reliability Issues?

I believe max tow rating is related not just to the actual size of the
wheel, but to the size of the brake rotors and pads which come stock with
the larger wheels from the factory. This is just a guess. If you look at
web sites which list different models of vehicles (such as my Expedition),
they list different GCWR with different wheel sizes (17 inch vs.16 inch), as
well as axle ratios, engine sizes, etc. Some of the limitation in towing
ability is in the braking ability of the tow vehicle.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Chris Cowles"

> Please elaborate on how wheel size influences max tow weight.



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Old 04-07-2005, 18:01   #6 (permalink)
respk
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Posts: n/a
Re: Explorer Reliability Issues?

I used to have an V8 AWD Explorer which we used to tow our 25' TT about
5000#. It towed it just fine as far as power goes. The only thing I
noticed was that on a long hill the air conditioning would start to blow
warmer air and then cool back down when we crested the hill. I also
towed with a hensley hitch since the wheelbase is so short on the
Explorer. Would not have tried it without one.

I now have a F150 Supercrew that tows the trailer with power and control
to spare. I still use the hensley. It also lets us move to a larger
trailer when ready.

If it were me, I'd forget about the Explorer and move to the F150
Supercrew. Basically you get a more powerful truck, with more room,
with a longer wheelbase, with better brakes, etc. for about the same
price as the explorer. The only down side to the supercrew vs. the
explorer is the enclosed and heated bed on the explorer. The f150 has a
5.5' truck bed. I have it covered with a cap but it is separate from
the cab. So if you have a dog or something that you want out of the
elements, the the supercrew wouldn't provide that.

IMHO having driven both. The f150 is a much better towing vehicle than
the explorer and would give you the extra towing capacity you want in
the future.

Richard Minami wrote:
> Well, we've almost pulled the trigger on a brand new 2005 Explorer. What
> are peoples' opinions on their reliability? I'm forgoing a Honda Pilot,
> going with an Explorer due to my towing needs, and I guess, future wants.
> The Honda tows 3,500 lbs, or 4,500 if it's a boat. (? I guess it has to do
> with aerodynamics of a boat trailer vs. a regular trailer) That will
> probably tow our Coleman tent trailer fine (~2,100 lbs loaded), but leaves
> no upgrade path (probably want a hard sided travel trailer in the next few
> years). I called my buddy who sells Fords. I'll be meeting him on
> Saturday.
> I also e-mailed some friends about this. Man, are they pushing me toward
> the Honda Pilot! We almost went with the Pilot, but the towing and lack of
> features just kind of turned me off. Also, Honda's stability control is
> only available on the EX with leather model, not the EX with cloth seating,
> because they consider it a "luxury item". Hmmm, sounds like a safety item
> to me!
> Anyway, now I'm second guessing my decision a little. I know the Explorer
> will pull it better, probably won't be too bad (our '94 was a HORRIBLE
> experience the first 3 years, but not bad the last 5 - not sure if my
> standards went down after the warranty expired, or it just had everything
> replaced - e-mail me directly for the whole story), and should be a better
> experience than our last Exploder.
> But I guess I'd just like to hear from other late model owners how they
> feel. I knew a lot of 1st generation Explorer owners who had their
> transmissions die right around 70,000 miles. Mine is still factory, at
> 120,000. (I've changed tranny fluid frequently since I tow) I plan to keep
> this one at least 10 years, if not more. The newer models are built to last
> longer, right?
> Thanks in advance for everyone's input!
>
>


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Old 04-07-2005, 21:01   #7 (permalink)
Jean
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Posts: n/a
Re: Explorer Reliability Issues?

Bill Jeffrey wrote:
> Richard -
>
> In Nov '01, I bought a 2002 Explorer 4-DR XLT with the (kinda small) V-8
> and factory towing package. The latter seems to include a 3.73 LS rear
> end, 5-speed overdrive automatic trans, Class III hitch and 7-pin
> connector. It is rated to tow somewhere around 7000 pounds - which it
> will NOT COME CLOSE TO DOING if you venture out of the flatlands of the
> midwest. For this reason I would not consider the 4.0 V-6 if you expect
> to tow.
>
> At the moment, I have about 85K miles on it (we drive a lot). Perhaps
> 20K of that involved towing low-profile camping trailer which I weighed
> put on a scale and found about 3500 pounds. The vehicle has been
> adequate, but no more than that, pulling this trailer into the high
> Sierras and over Loveland Pass and Vail Pass in Colorado. The
> combination of steep grades and high altitude just kill the engine's
> output.

.....snip
>>
>>

>


It's not surprising that your Explorer couldn't cope with the mountain
passes. Based on my readings, you have to derate the capacity of a
vehicle anywhere from 2% to 4% per 1000 feet of altitude above sea
level. So for Loveland Pass (~12000ft altitude), that means you lose
anywhere from 24% to 48% of towing capacity - which makes towing your
3500lb camper kinda iffy.

Jean
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Old 04-07-2005, 22:01   #8 (permalink)
Big Bill
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Posts: n/a
Re: Explorer Reliability Issues?

On Thu, 07 Apr 2005 22:23:28 -0400, Jean <Jean@spam.not> wrote:

>Bill Jeffrey wrote:
>> Richard -
>>
>> In Nov '01, I bought a 2002 Explorer 4-DR XLT with the (kinda small) V-8
>> and factory towing package. The latter seems to include a 3.73 LS rear
>> end, 5-speed overdrive automatic trans, Class III hitch and 7-pin
>> connector. It is rated to tow somewhere around 7000 pounds - which it
>> will NOT COME CLOSE TO DOING if you venture out of the flatlands of the
>> midwest. For this reason I would not consider the 4.0 V-6 if you expect
>> to tow.
>>
>> At the moment, I have about 85K miles on it (we drive a lot). Perhaps
>> 20K of that involved towing low-profile camping trailer which I weighed
>> put on a scale and found about 3500 pounds. The vehicle has been
>> adequate, but no more than that, pulling this trailer into the high
>> Sierras and over Loveland Pass and Vail Pass in Colorado. The
>> combination of steep grades and high altitude just kill the engine's
>> output.

>....snip
>>>
>>>

>>

>
>It's not surprising that your Explorer couldn't cope with the mountain
>passes. Based on my readings, you have to derate the capacity of a
>vehicle anywhere from 2% to 4% per 1000 feet of altitude above sea
>level. So for Loveland Pass (~12000ft altitude), that means you lose
>anywhere from 24% to 48% of towing capacity - which makes towing your
>3500lb camper kinda iffy.
>
>Jean


I've heard you lose about 2% of your power for each 1000 ft of
altitude, but never heard about derating your towing capacity for
altitude.
The brakes, powertrain (except for power) and suspension don't change
with altitude.
The loss of power is self-limiting concerning towing.

--
Bill Funk
Change "g" to "a"
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Old 04-07-2005, 22:01   #9 (permalink)
Big Bill
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Posts: n/a
Re: Explorer Reliability Issues?

On Thu, 07 Apr 2005 23:09:15 GMT, respk <respwall@hotmailremove.com>
wrote:

>I used to have an V8 AWD Explorer which we used to tow our 25' TT about
>5000#. It towed it just fine as far as power goes. The only thing I
>noticed was that on a long hill the air conditioning would start to blow
> warmer air and then cool back down when we crested the hill. I also
>towed with a hensley hitch since the wheelbase is so short on the
>Explorer. Would not have tried it without one.


I think the loss of AC is because trhere's a vacuum switch that cuts
power to the compressor when the vacuum drops beyond a certain point -
as when pulling hard, for example.

--
Bill Funk
Change "g" to "a"
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Old 04-07-2005, 22:01   #10 (permalink)
Wesley
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Posts: n/a
Re: Explorer Reliability Issues?

Why don't you just add an aftermarket tranny cooler? We bought a 2002 Isuzu
Trooper new new in April of 2003...rated to tow 5000lbs, and we tow an 18"
travel trailer that the title says is 2400lbs empty. The auxilliary tranny
cooler (bought from Adavance or Autozone, can't remember for sure which)
went on around the same time I was putting on the hitch and accessories. My
theory is that it's cheap insurance! Even though the Trooper has a 10
year/120k drivetrain warranty... :-)

It has a "power mode" button, which definitely helps. It tends to upshift
too quickly without it...I've gotten to the point I like to just leave it in
that mode all the time. Problem is it then likes to downshift way to
quickly if you have to punch it...

Did you replace the OEM Michelins with the same thing? Just wondering what
to put on the Trooper when it finally wears out its original shoes (only up
to 16k so far). It's got 16" Bridgestone Dueler's on it now...

Wesley


"Bill Jeffrey" <wjeffreyAT@alum.DOTmit.edu> wrote in message
news:OWf5e.210$Xs.143@fed1read03...

> Overall, this has been a great vehicle. I replaced the OEM Michelins at
> about 80K, and just last week replaced the OEM battery. I change oil
> religiously every 3K, but other than that haven't had to do anything to
> it. My only complaint is that the tranny REALLY REALLY needs a Tow Mode
> - it behaves very improperly when the camper is behind it. (I think
> this is the 5R55W trans.) I also wish it had a tranny temp gauge (but
> that's minor) and an extra tranny cooler.



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