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Old 08-17-2005, 14:01   #1 (permalink)
carbide@egine.com
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Need Advice Before Buying Explorer

I need a vehicle for occasional trips on rough dirt/gravel roads and
dealing with some mud and maybe fording less than a foot of water. I'm
not going to be doing any off-road stuff, just dusty washboard/potholes
and rocks on rough roads, and trying not to get stuck in soft spots. I
won't be putting a lot of miles on it, it'll be a secondary vehicle.

I'm a big, tall guy, so the Explorer seemed like a good choice, and
lots of them are for sale locally, I guess due to the surge in gas
prices.

Does the Explorer seem like a good choice for this kind of use?

What years, '98 and earlier should I look at or avoid? Is the 4.0 SOHC
engine a lot better than the older one? I don't need a lot of power,
but I do want reliability and fuel economy. How about the
transmissions, any recomendations?

I'd appreciate any Explorer-specific buying tips.
-Paul

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Old 08-17-2005, 15:01   #2 (permalink)
Ulysses
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Re: Need Advice Before Buying Explorer


<carbide@egine.com> wrote in message
news:1124309084.448713.143420@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> I need a vehicle for occasional trips on rough dirt/gravel roads and
> dealing with some mud and maybe fording less than a foot of water. I'm
> not going to be doing any off-road stuff, just dusty washboard/potholes
> and rocks on rough roads, and trying not to get stuck in soft spots. I
> won't be putting a lot of miles on it, it'll be a secondary vehicle.
>
> I'm a big, tall guy, so the Explorer seemed like a good choice, and
> lots of them are for sale locally, I guess due to the surge in gas
> prices.
>
> Does the Explorer seem like a good choice for this kind of use?
>
> What years, '98 and earlier should I look at or avoid? Is the 4.0 SOHC
> engine a lot better than the older one? I don't need a lot of power,
> but I do want reliability and fuel economy. How about the
> transmissions, any recomendations?
>
> I'd appreciate any Explorer-specific buying tips.
> -Paul
>


My wife and I do that kind of driving in '91 and '92 Explorers. There have
been times when we were just about the only people who made it down the
road, passing multitudes of stuck vehicles. There was one guy with a new
F250 4WD that also made it easily. My wife managed to get stuck once but
she would have made it if she's just been going a bit faster. I easily
pulled her out with my '91. The only time my '91 got stuck was when I was
driving along a deep rut and the ground collapsed beneath me and all 4
wheels were off the ground. As long as 3 wheels can get traction it'll go
just about anywhere.

The original (91-94) Explorers have a high rate of automatic transmission
failure around 175K miles or so and the autohubs fail too. If you decide to
get one I suggest you find one that has already had the transmission
replaced/rebuilt and has Warn manual locking hubs. The 4WD servo motors
have a tendancy to get stuck and the front differential won't engage but
it's only been a matter of fiddleing around with it to get it to work again
(for me anyway).

The 4.0 V6 that's in both of them has been a very good engine with few
problems. I'm not sure what the letter designation is for it but it might
be OHC. Right now it's looking like the '92's engine may be wore out at
280K miles. My '91 has about 198K miles and it still runs great.


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Old 08-17-2005, 15:01   #3 (permalink)
carbide@egine.com
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Re: Need Advice Before Buying Explorer


Ulysses wrote:
> <carbide@egine.com> wrote in message
> news:1124309084.448713.143420@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > I need a vehicle for occasional trips on rough dirt/gravel roads and
> > dealing with some mud and maybe fording less than a foot of water.

>
> My wife and I do that kind of driving in '91 and '92 Explorers.


Thanks, that's just the kind of info I need.
-Paul

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Old 08-19-2005, 19:01   #4 (permalink)
ross via CarKB.com
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Re: Need Advice Before Buying Explorer

carbide@egine.com wrote:
>> > I need a vehicle for occasional trips on rough dirt/gravel roads and
>> > dealing with some mud and maybe fording less than a foot of water.

>>
>> My wife and I do that kind of driving in '91 and '92 Explorers.

>
>Thanks, that's just the kind of info I need.
>-Paul


I think the V8's with the 4r70w tranny are considered the most reliable
engine and tranny combo. Gas mileage is a couple of mpg less, but better
power. I use the awd for just the type of things you are talking about.
It's been very good in snow up to 14 -16 inches in Colo.

As far as buying, push HARD on price. Ex's are flooding the market here and
with gas prices, people are dumping. I would seriously offer a dealer 2,
000 to 4,000 under asking price, depending, and be prepared to walk if they
don't meet it. You will find another one to buy quickly.

Buyers market!


--
Message posted via http://www.carkb.com
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Old 08-19-2005, 22:01   #5 (permalink)
carbide@egine.com
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Posts: n/a
Re: Need Advice Before Buying Explorer


ross via CarKB.com wrote:
> carbide@egine.com wrote:
> >> > I need a vehicle for occasional trips on rough dirt/gravel roads and
> >> > dealing with some mud and maybe fording less than a foot of water.
> >>
> >> My wife and I do that kind of driving in '91 and '92 Explorers.

> >
> >Thanks, that's just the kind of info I need.
> >-Paul

>
> I think the V8's with the 4r70w tranny are considered the most reliable
> engine and tranny combo. Gas mileage is a couple of mpg less, but better
> power. I use the awd for just the type of things you are talking about.
> It's been very good in snow up to 14 -16 inches in Colo.
>
> As far as buying, push HARD on price. Ex's are flooding the market here and
> with gas prices, people are dumping. I would seriously offer a dealer 2,
> 000 to 4,000 under asking price, depending, and be prepared to walk if they
> don't meet it. You will find another one to buy quickly.
>
> Buyers market!


You're right about that. I'm shopping the San Francisco Bay Area
Craig's List. There are many to choose from, and they are asking well
under the Kelly Blue Book private party price. And not finding buyers.
The ads are running for weeks. I really wanted a truck, but as you say
the Explorers are a glut on the market and therefore way cheaper than,
say, a Ranger 4x4 of the same year/miles. My Labradors don't really
need leather seats, but what the heck. ;-)

I'm afraid to buy from dealers, they know all the tricks. I have some
funny stories of the stuff they've tried to pull...
-Paul

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Old 08-20-2005, 12:01   #6 (permalink)
Ulysses
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Posts: n/a
Re: Need Advice Before Buying Explorer


<carbide@egine.com> wrote in message
news:1124512522.307594.112460@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>
> ross via CarKB.com wrote:
> > carbide@egine.com wrote:
> > >> > I need a vehicle for occasional trips on rough dirt/gravel roads

and
> > >> > dealing with some mud and maybe fording less than a foot of water.
> > >>
> > >> My wife and I do that kind of driving in '91 and '92 Explorers.
> > >
> > >Thanks, that's just the kind of info I need.
> > >-Paul

> >
> > I think the V8's with the 4r70w tranny are considered the most reliable
> > engine and tranny combo. Gas mileage is a couple of mpg less, but

better
> > power. I use the awd for just the type of things you are talking about.
> > It's been very good in snow up to 14 -16 inches in Colo.
> >
> > As far as buying, push HARD on price. Ex's are flooding the market here

and
> > with gas prices, people are dumping. I would seriously offer a dealer

2,
> > 000 to 4,000 under asking price, depending, and be prepared to walk if

they
> > don't meet it. You will find another one to buy quickly.
> >
> > Buyers market!


Hmmmm.... right here we have two buyers (me included) looking for used
Explorers. I hope that doesn't turn it back into a seller's market ;-)

I got the impression that new car sales are down too. I clicked on one of
those online car quote things and the phone rang. It was a Nissan dealer
(looking into the 4X4 Frontier) who must have been sitting there waiting for
a sales lead. When I hung up the phone it rang again, this time the Ford
guy. Funny, but I can't get Toyota to call me or answer my emails. I guess
their sales are still good.

>
> You're right about that. I'm shopping the San Francisco Bay Area
> Craig's List. There are many to choose from, and they are asking well
> under the Kelly Blue Book private party price. And not finding buyers.


You might want to do a Google and determine which engine had the 3 timing
chains in case you decide to get something newer than 91-94. I seem to
recall there was a problem with the '97 in particular.

> The ads are running for weeks. I really wanted a truck, but as you say
> the Explorers are a glut on the market and therefore way cheaper than,
> say, a Ranger 4x4 of the same year/miles. My Labradors don't really
> need leather seats, but what the heck. ;-)


Actually, my dogs tend to slide off the leather seats and prefer cloth
interior ;-). The leather lasts a lot longer though.


>
> I'm afraid to buy from dealers, they know all the tricks. I have some
> funny stories of the stuff they've tried to pull...
> -Paul
>


I'm generally more comfortable buying from a dealer here in Calif because
they have to make sure it meets certain safety standards and pass the smog
test and such. Some places will even give you 30 days or whatever in case
there is something wrong with it. If you buy from a private party AS IS and
it craps out in a week you are pretty much SOL.


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Old 08-20-2005, 22:01   #7 (permalink)
carbide@egine.com
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Posts: n/a
Re: Need Advice Before Buying Explorer


Ulysses wrote:

>
> You might want to do a Google and determine which engine had the 3 timing
> chains in case you decide to get something newer than 91-94. I seem to
> recall there was a problem with the '97 in particular.
>


Thanks for pointing that out. I researched it and there were three
problems with the early SOHC engines that were covered by Ford:

1. Sticking throttle body- crud would cause the butterfly plate to
stick, so that when you started it and pressed on the gas it would
stick and then suddenly come unstuck, presumably causing you to lurch
forward.

2. Cam chain tensioners/guides that wore or broke up, causing a sound
"like a bike chain running on a coke can".

3. Leaky intake manifold gaskets- not sure if that's the coolant
problem, or air that leaked.

All those things would be fixed by the dealer at the expense of the
factory.
So I'll be looking for one that had that work done.

There seems to be agreement that the SOHC engine has terrific
performance, but a mixed bag on reliability. Some people say that the
early ones had the problems listed, but after they were fixed they were
good. People seem to like the later ones. Of course everything has some
problems. In my case, I had the radiator and head gasket problems
with the older 4.0L OHV engine.

>
> Actually, my dogs tend to slide off the leather seats and prefer cloth
> interior ;-). The leather lasts a lot longer though.
>


Heh heh! I made seat covers from an area rug for my van. It's like
super heavy duty canvas. Mine are black Labs, and they have a lot of
pep. Too much sometimes. ;-)

>
> I'm generally more comfortable buying from a dealer here in Calif because
> they have to make sure it meets certain safety standards and pass the smog
> test and such. Some places will even give you 30 days or whatever in case
> there is something wrong with it. If you buy from a private party AS IS and
> it craps out in a week you are pretty much SOL.


In this case, there are lots of private party vehicles to choose from,
so I'm being choosy. I just don't trust dealers. They know all the
tricks. Some are obvious, like the salesman flim flam stuff.

I gotta tell this funny story. I was thinking of replacing my van with
another, stopped by the dealer because they were have this big sale.
The sales guy, who I instantly disliked, showed me one marked $10K. He
said he'd talk to the manager and "see what he could do" on the price.
OK, so I figured it would be something less than $10K.

He comes back sits down, tears up the cardboard with the price on it,
throws the pieces on the table in front of me, and tells me "there's
been a mistake. That van was supposed to be $12K. I guess I have to let
you have it for $10K if you buy it now, but if you don't take it right
now, I'm going out and putting the correct price on it." I laughed, got
up and walked out. He was pissed.
-Paul

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Old 08-22-2005, 20:01   #8 (permalink)
Ulysses
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Need Advice Before Buying Explorer


<carbide@egine.com> wrote in message
news:1124597191.955198.164390@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
>
> Ulysses wrote:
>
> >
> > You might want to do a Google and determine which engine had the 3

timing
> > chains in case you decide to get something newer than 91-94. I seem to
> > recall there was a problem with the '97 in particular.
> >

>
> Thanks for pointing that out. I researched it and there were three
> problems with the early SOHC engines that were covered by Ford:


I just did a Google and came up with 4.0 V6 SOHC 1997- 2001. I'm looking
for a new (to me anyway) 4WD cause my brother-in-law proclaimed our '92
Explorer dead. He's a mechanic.

>
> 1. Sticking throttle body- crud would cause the butterfly plate to
> stick, so that when you started it and pressed on the gas it would
> stick and then suddenly come unstuck, presumably causing you to lurch
> forward.
>
> 2. Cam chain tensioners/guides that wore or broke up, causing a sound
> "like a bike chain running on a coke can".
>
> 3. Leaky intake manifold gaskets- not sure if that's the coolant
> problem, or air that leaked.
>
> All those things would be fixed by the dealer at the expense of the
> factory.
> So I'll be looking for one that had that work done.
>
> There seems to be agreement that the SOHC engine has terrific
> performance, but a mixed bag on reliability. Some people say that the
> early ones had the problems listed, but after they were fixed they were
> good. People seem to like the later ones. Of course everything has some
> problems. In my case, I had the radiator and head gasket problems
> with the older 4.0L OHV engine.
>
> >
> > Actually, my dogs tend to slide off the leather seats and prefer cloth
> > interior ;-). The leather lasts a lot longer though.
> >

>
> Heh heh! I made seat covers from an area rug for my van. It's like
> super heavy duty canvas. Mine are black Labs, and they have a lot of
> pep. Too much sometimes. ;-)
>
> >
> > I'm generally more comfortable buying from a dealer here in Calif

because
> > they have to make sure it meets certain safety standards and pass the

smog
> > test and such. Some places will even give you 30 days or whatever in

case
> > there is something wrong with it. If you buy from a private party AS IS

and
> > it craps out in a week you are pretty much SOL.

>
> In this case, there are lots of private party vehicles to choose from,
> so I'm being choosy. I just don't trust dealers. They know all the
> tricks. Some are obvious, like the salesman flim flam stuff.
>
> I gotta tell this funny story. I was thinking of replacing my van with
> another, stopped by the dealer because they were have this big sale.
> The sales guy, who I instantly disliked, showed me one marked $10K. He
> said he'd talk to the manager and "see what he could do" on the price.
> OK, so I figured it would be something less than $10K.
>
> He comes back sits down, tears up the cardboard with the price on it,
> throws the pieces on the table in front of me, and tells me "there's
> been a mistake. That van was supposed to be $12K. I guess I have to let
> you have it for $10K if you buy it now, but if you don't take it right
> now, I'm going out and putting the correct price on it." I laughed, got
> up and walked out. He was pissed.
> -Paul
>


To me that is part of the amusement factor when buying a car. They usually
sick the General Manager on me after a few minutes and that's when the fun
starts. They are so full of crap and tactless sale tactics (kinda
contradictory, huh?). They even insult your manhood if you want to discuss
it with your wife. I always make up my mind how much I'm willing to pay and
stick to it. They are trying to break me down and I end up getting it for
what I offered. Or I walk out. So far they always take my offer. They
crap they come up with sometimes is unbelievable.


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