1. Holiday Special! - 2 for 1 Elite Explorer sale!

    Right now you can purchase an Elite Explorer membership for $20 and receive a two year membership!

    Click Here to start your membership and get rid of the ads!

    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice



Register Today It's free! This box and some ads will disappear once registered!

Building a Reliable 2005 3rd Gen

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by bener, February 18, 2019.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





Tags:
  1. bener

    bener New Member

    Joined:
    February 18, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    3.0 Diesel Toyota Surf
    Hi there,

    I've been doing a bunch of research here in New Zealand, as my goal is to replace my rather unsafe 1996 Toyota Surf with something safer for the family and still capable off-road.

    The Explorer ticks all the boxes for me - side airbags, good safety rating, heaps of room etc.

    My concern is building a reliable Explorer - from my research the main concerns seem to be transmission, rear diff and wheel bearings.

    If I was to get a good condition, low mileage 2005 Explorer and upgrade trans with the aj1e kit and a trans cooler, service the rear diff immediately, and do bearings as needed, would I be avoiding the most major issues?

    Also, can any of you comment on 4.6 v8 performance? I haven't test driven one yet, but a customer of mine said he didn't buy one as it felt way underpowered. It doesn't need to be a rocket but if it's a slug it'll be extra hungry on fuel!

    I know there are other small issues like the door open sensors etc, but I just want to build something that won't get me stranded! Some places where I go to surf are tide affected and getting a breakdown could mean getting stuck in the tide!

    I've done a lot of reading, especially on this forum, but I'd love some real owner/enthusiast advice!

    Edit: I'll be running all terrain tyres, maybe with a slight lift.
     
  2. Support EF

    Elite Explorer 2 for 1 Sale! $20 for 2 years!

    Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see practically no ads, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.



  3. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    August 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,801
    Likes Received:
    193
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Texas
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2003 XLS 4X4 4.0L FLEX
    Last edited: February 19, 2019
    • Like Like x 2
  4. bener

    bener New Member

    Joined:
    February 18, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    3.0 Diesel Toyota Surf
    I've already got one! 1996 Toyota Surf, it's the NZ version of a 4runner, with a 3 litre diesel. Awesome vehicle but it's got a terrible safety rating, which is a concern now that we have young children!
     
  5. Joe in NY

    Joe in NY Active Member

    Joined:
    June 5, 2014
    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    38
    City, State:
    Binghamton, NY
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2002 Eddie Bauer V8 4X4
    Really, to start reliably is to start with a 2006 or newer or even better; don't buy a Ford.

    By today standards the 4.6 2V is a real dog and thirsty for fuel.

    By standards 20 years ago the 5r55w is pure crap.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. bener

    bener New Member

    Joined:
    February 18, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    3.0 Diesel Toyota Surf
    Wow I'm totally surprised with the responses so far, I knew there were issues but I thought they were fixable! Thanks for the info!

    After 3rd Gen Explorers were never made in right hand drive, so they aren't imported to NZ.

    A lot of the Fords over here a renowned for reliability - the Ford Falcon is an unstoppable beast that will do 1,000,000kms without a worry.
     
  7. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    August 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,801
    Likes Received:
    193
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Texas
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2003 XLS 4X4 4.0L FLEX
    I'm referring to 2010 or newer. Which a 2010 is already about to be 10 years old in a Year...any older and you're asking for problems...
     
  8. bener

    bener New Member

    Joined:
    February 18, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    3.0 Diesel Toyota Surf
    Thanks for the response - the 3rd gen Surf/4runner is one of the best you can get, my only concern is safety, otherwise I'd gladly keep it forever.

    My current build is absolutely bulletproof, but it only has front airbags, and minimal side impact protection.
     
  9. hertfordnc

    hertfordnc Member

    Joined:
    August 19, 2014
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    City, State:
    Hertford, NC
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2004 XLT 4.6 xlt
    THat's weird, you come to an Explorer forum asking for advice on how to get the most out of an Explorer and the consensus is "Explorers suck, get something else"

    I have 295,000 KM on mine. Changed the engine at 225K (low oil) but otherwise evertthing else is holding up well.

    It's a 2V 4.6 and with 3.73 rear axle i think it's pretty quick.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  10. bener

    bener New Member

    Joined:
    February 18, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    3.0 Diesel Toyota Surf
    Yeah I thought it was strange too but I appreciated the advice either way. Thanks for adding to the conversation!
     
  11. Joe in NY

    Joe in NY Active Member

    Joined:
    June 5, 2014
    Messages:
    946
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    38
    City, State:
    Binghamton, NY
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2002 Eddie Bauer V8 4X4
    Just giving honest opinions. If one is mechanically inclined and doesn't mind fixing stupid issues and silly assemblies then by all means pick up an explorer.
    If you are going to rely on mechanics for all the work and expect a reliable car, look elsewhere.

    My own Ford fanatic shop mechanic uncle wanted me to buy a Chevy/GMC Trailblazer/Envoy above all else. All he does is oil changes for his clients and they go 200k+ miles easy. 3rd gen explorers he is always fixing issues; weak transmissions, weak bearings...

    PLUS: there is a reason that the 2002 Ford Explorer is the worst car of all time according to CarComplaints.com
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. bener

    bener New Member

    Joined:
    February 18, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    3.0 Diesel Toyota Surf
    Yeah I definitely appreciate that Joe, I do almost all mechanical work myself, but I'd prefer to be doing preventative maintenance than fixing issues when things break, especially when they could potentially get me stranded.
     
  13. Mbrooks420

    Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer EF Vendor

    Joined:
    February 2, 2002
    Messages:
    8,980
    Media:
    4
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    1998 Mountaineer AWD
    The Trailblazer is a trash can on wheels. My mom had one since it was brand new and spent WAY more in repairs than I did on my Second gen Mounty. My Mounty was already over the 100k mark when the trailblazer was brand new.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Donystoy

    Donystoy Elite Explorer

    Joined:
    January 7, 2010
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    18
    City, State:
    Hamilton, Ontario
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    02 Eddie Bauer 4.6
    I guess that I must be lucky with my "02". I have around 120,000 miles on it and have not had any major issues. I have always oiled it and have looked after most issues myself. Sure I have replaced every wheel bearing and misc. suspension components over the years. If my transmission went out tomorrow I would not hesitate to have it repaired. Not sure how much longer I will need this vehicle as I need it for towing but to replace it with the same towing capacity and features I would be close to $100,000 Canadian new. And I have no desire to own a gigantic pick up truck that I cannot even carry a 2 x 4 without it sticking out the back.

    Over three years I built a 30''x 52" two story barn with materials almost exclusively hauled in a large tandem trailer behind the Explorer.

    I am old enough to remember when you were always tinkering with a vehicle to keep it in tune and were lucky to get 100,000 miles out of any vehicle. They usually rusted out or you were tired of the cost of the mechanical repairs like valve jobs.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Mbrooks420

    Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer EF Vendor

    Joined:
    February 2, 2002
    Messages:
    8,980
    Media:
    4
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    1998 Mountaineer AWD
    I guarantee you could replace an 02 Explorer for WAY less than 100,000.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. hertfordnc

    hertfordnc Member

    Joined:
    August 19, 2014
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    City, State:
    Hertford, NC
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2004 XLT 4.6 xlt
    I think a little bit of bad experience can really distort our impressions. So apparently the 3rd gen explorer has a lousy transmission but lots of people (like me) get 200,000 trouble free miles.

    Sure, Toyota trucks have incredible longevity but for the price of a comparable 4Runner i can buy by a 15 year old explorer and rebuild the engine and trans.

    I would love to see an answer to the OP's original question.

    I know nothing about the transmission and wheel bearings because mine have never given me any trouble but it makes sense to me that if you address the known (or perceived) weaknesses you'd be left wit ha pretty good truck for a lot less than a Toyota.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. bener

    bener New Member

    Joined:
    February 18, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    3.0 Diesel Toyota Surf
    This conversation is getting interesting now! Thanks for all the comments everyone!
     
  18. Blue m&m

    Blue m&m Elite Explorer

    Joined:
    January 5, 2019
    Messages:
    77
    Media:
    19
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    8
    City, State:
    Athens, GA
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    94 Sport 4X4
    92 Eddie 4x4
    Carcomplaints.com is a bit misleading because it’s based on total complaints, instead of complaints per # of vehicles sold. This data will inheriently tell you that America’s most popular cars are its most problematic. This may be the case occasionally, but normalizing the data would quickly point out the dogs.

    That being said, the 3rd gen Explorer isn’t the most reliable thing out there.
     
  19. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    August 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,801
    Likes Received:
    193
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Texas
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2003 XLS 4X4 4.0L FLEX
    Not to mention the first build year of a new generation always has problems...Always get the last model year of a generation. 2005 for 3rd gen, 2010 for 4th gen.

    Might be a good idea to buy a wrecked 2010 and transfer as many compatible parts as possible to a 3rd gen...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Donystoy

    Donystoy Elite Explorer

    Joined:
    January 7, 2010
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    18
    City, State:
    Hamilton, Ontario
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    02 Eddie Bauer 4.6
    Since the current Explorers do not have the required towing capacity or 4wd with hi-lo I did a build on a Chevrolet Tahoe which would be in the $85,000 range. Ford Expedition is just a bit too big and even more expensive.
    I remember when I bought my 02 in 05 it was $55-$60 to buy new. I paid close to $30,000 in 05 for my current 02 Explorer with about 47,000 miles on it. This is in Canadian dollars and after tax etc. Can probably knock off 30% for US currency.
     
  21. hertfordnc

    hertfordnc Member

    Joined:
    August 19, 2014
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    City, State:
    Hertford, NC
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2004 XLT 4.6 xlt
    I'd love to know more about the market where you are. Are These trucks cheap and plentiful like they are here?
     

Share This Page







We Support Our Troops!