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BUying an Explorer Sport

Discussion in 'General Explorations!!' started by pagz, September 30, 2002.

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    1. pagz

      pagz New Member

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      City, State:
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      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      97 sport
      I am considering buying a 1997 Explorer Sport 4x4. I'm getting it really cheap as it has 120K miles on it. It is loaded with leather, all pwr..etc,etc. Is there anything I should check before purchasing? I do not know too much about these cars and would like to know how reliable the engines and transmissions are. Any help is appreciated

      Thanks
       
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    3. Explorer46L

      Explorer46L Active Member

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      I guess that you have to be careful with them. My dad used to have a 98 Sport and sold it recently with 99K. The only real problem he had was needing a new engine at 34K. There was a problem and Ford couldn't fix it so they actually replaced it entirely under warrantee, even labor. Besides that he had a wheel bearing problem but that was about it. I did just look at Consumer Reports and they rated the Explorer reliability since 96 as "below par". You might just want to check out consumer reports for that year and see what problems they have found in it. Nice style SUV though. Gotta love 'em
       
    4. jobunn

      jobunn Elite Explorer Elite Explorer

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      It's hard to pass up a good deal, I know, but make sure the car has had at least decent service records. A major issue is the transmission especially at that mileage. If it has had regular service that's great. I'd give it another flush right away, along with the transfer case.

      Also what engine do you have? If it is the SOHC, '97 was its first year, there are some TSB and recalls on it. Make sure the recalls have been completed.

      Other than that it's a good vehicle.
       
    5. LudusHatesReese

      LudusHatesReese Active Member

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      '91 Sport 4.0L
      Run a Carfax to make sure it hasn't been wrecked or stolen.
       
    6. pagz

      pagz New Member

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      Thanks for the input, carfax done, no problems noted, clean title, no replaced fenders. AC blows cold, tranny seems to be running ok,(and I ran it pretty hard) I'm just scared of the mileage and I don't know anything about the track record on these trucks. If I do buy it i'll be back on this site asking for help if anything goes wrong!!!
       
    7. MONMIX

      MONMIX I fix dents Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      120k is in fact a lot of miles for an Explorer.
      There are a few people here well above 100k and even into 200k but those folks earned those miles with lots of tlc.
      It is a tough call. Think about this , how much will you be able to spend if you need nurse it back to health.
       
    8. dogfriend

      dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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      I have a 97 Explorer Sport 4x4

      I bought mine with 32k, now I have 80k. Mine has been very reliable for the most part, but the guy I bought it from treated it very well.

      I would suggest taking it to a mechanic and having it checked out before buying. I went to the AAA diagnostic center which is on Chippendale Drive next to I-80 and Madison. It cost $75 to have a mechanic check it out but was well worth it. They put it up on a lift, and also put the engine on a scope. In my case, there weren't any major problems, just that the ATF needed to be changed and a pinion seal leak which I had repaired before the warrenty ran out.

      Most of the repairs I have made so far have been electrical parts; the IAC valve, two of the door lock solenoids, the driver door lock switch (haven't replaced that yet).
       
    9. SWLathrop

      SWLathrop Active Member

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      I've got a 97 Sport with 75,000 miles on it with the 4.0 SOHC in it. Run it both hard and easy. Have had no problems what so ever with it. All AMSOIL lubricants/Filters with scheduled maintainence. She still purs quiet as a mouse and runs 20-22MPG on the highway.
       
    10. pagz

      pagz New Member

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      Well, I picked up the truck last night and drove it home from Roseville to Elk Grove. I must say it drove very smooth. There were no weird noises from the engine (which is the 4.0 SOHC) and it pulled strong when I got on the accelorator to pass. I checked under neath and there were no signs of any leaks except for a very small one in the transfer case. The body was straight as hell!! no dents whatsoever.

      There are some electrical issues that I hope you guys can help me out with. When I put the blower on at any speed, and put it on AC max, it blows cold, but when I move it to any other position like regular AC or any other position, it blows hot even when the temperature knob is on cold. Any ideas???
       
    11. Robert

      Robert Well-Known Member

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      That is probably a broken blend door. Do a search for blend door. Unfortunately, if that is what it is it is a $1200 fix at Ford (probably whey they sold it). I would find out very quickly if it is. If it turns out the buyer sold it to you knowing that it needed $1200 in repairs, you might have an issue.
       
    12. SWLathrop

      SWLathrop Active Member

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      Blowing nothing but cold air on MAX A/C is the normal design.

      The '95 and up Explorers have a heater coolant solenoid that is vacuum controlled. When you put your selector in MAX, it closes the solenoid which prevents the hot coolant from circulating through the A/C - Heater. The vacuum line that goes to it is about 1/8". The solenoid is on the heater line down past the bottom of your overflow reservoir. It has the hose coming off of it which then goes into a rubber connector, more hose then to a 'T'. Disconnect the line down by the solenoid and stick a golf 'T' inside the rubber adapter and cover up the end of the hose going to the solenoid to prevent water/dirt from getting in to it. It is nice to be able to block off the exhaust fumes from the car in front of you while still being able to adjust the temp for comfort.

      Hope this helps...
       
    13. pagz

      pagz New Member

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      SW Lathrop,

      With your little modification, does this mean that it will always be on recirculate and the door will just stay open? Will I be able to adjust the temperature as needed from inside the car? Thanks for the help.
       
    14. Robert

      Robert Well-Known Member

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      SWLathrop - If the only issue pagz had was that he couldn't adjust the temperature when on MAX, then what you said is correct. However he also said "but when I move it to any other position like regular AC or any other position, it blows hot even when the temperature knob is on cold. Any ideas???" These are classic signs of a failed blend door that is stuck in the heater position. What is happening is when he selects Max, it closes the heater solenoid you spoke of which prevents all heat from getting through and nothing but A/C. When he moves his selector to any position but MAX, the solenoid is opened again which allows the heated coolant to circulate through the system. Since he has no temperature control even in A/C it is likely that his blend door (which controls the temperature control) has stuck in the heater position.

      pagz - You will need to fix your blend door problem first. After that, doing as SWLathrop said, will allow temperature control when in Max A/C. Max A/C closes off the outside vents and recirculates the air inside the cabin. It also closes off the solenoid that allows the heated coolant to circulate through the system which prevents you from blending in warm air with A/C like you can on the normal A/C mode. Disable the solenoid and you'll gain that ability. I do it to mine from October to March so that if I get stuck behind a smelly vehicle in the winter, I can close off the outside vents without freezing myself out by running the A/C. The only other way to shut off the outside air is to turn the switch to off, but even here in Arizona I still need heated air when it's cold outside.
       
    15. pagz

      pagz New Member

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      Thanks Robert. Is there an easy way to fix the blend door without taking the entire dash out? I have read some of the other threads on here and it seems that this is the only way to fix it. Any ideas?
       
    16. Robert

      Robert Well-Known Member

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      That is the only way I've seen it done. Contact JJue. He is right now in the middle of doing his. Last message from him was that he had the blend door back in, but things wouldn't line up quite right. He had an entire day in it and expected to finish up by mid afternoon the next.
       
    17. SWLathrop

      SWLathrop Active Member

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      Yeppers, I guess I missed the "BLOWS HOT AIR" problem. Guess I'll need to get new glasses...:D
       
    18. pagz

      pagz New Member

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      Thanks Guys, I'm glad I found this site. i do have another question for you. I do not have the code to open the doors with the automatic keypad. Is this noted anywhere on the car?
       
    19. Robert

      Robert Well-Known Member

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      As long as no one has removed it, there is a sticker on the RAPS module in the rear jack compartment. Remove the cover and look in the hole towards the front. The electrical box is the RAPS module. You will likely need a flashlight and dental mirror to see the code. Worst case would be to remove the plastic trim panel. Look for a 5-digit code on a sticker. There might be some other numbers on it, but what you want is the 5 larger digits.
       
    20. BGN

      BGN Active Member

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      I'm the current owner of a 91 Sport with 213,000 miles on it. I've recently been looking at a 97 Sport 5spd here in southern NH with mileage at 95,533, the std cloth interior,EFI OHV,tilt,PS,4 whl PB,AC,AM/FM cass,etc. Kind of the basic model so no keyless remote entry,color keyed ext trim,overhead console, leather or CD jukebox

      This is a private sale, the price we've agreed on is $4200. The color is not exactly what I would want (dark green paint with green int) with but for the price I don't want to pass it up. CARFAX says its totally clean and that it was originally a corp fleet vehicle--I'm buying from the 2nd owners who bought it at 40,000 miles. They are selling because it was a second car and too small with two kids. Car looks and seems to run good but has been sitting for a while under some pine trees and could use a good cleaning--there is some pine sap on the roof that bothers me little bit.

      Questions

      The main instrument cluster seems to have a light thats burnt out. How difficult is it to remove the plastice "lense" and fascia to get at this?

      The stereo has a CD/TAPE button (I think) on the far right. Does this mean a jukebox changer can be added (in the console???) Does it have to be the Ford unit? How much are these?

      I've already had someone do a cursory lookover--front brakes are brand new and rears at 50% with no leaks to be seen and almost new Michelin tires. I'm supposed to pick it up on 9/8 but after reading thru some of posts here I'm feeling a bit paranoid--what typically would my local Ford dealer be doing in the course of looking over a vehicle like this?

      Thanks in advance for any suggestions or opinions.

      Regards,
      Barry
       
    21. SiLenZe

      SiLenZe Active Member

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      have him clean the car up before you buy it. you dont want to spend the next day cleaning pine sap off your (new) car.
      i dont think the dealer does much besides looking for a new sucker to buy the car for more then what they paid.
       
    22. BenS

      BenS Golden Monkey Addict

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      Pagz I would check your transfer case fluid level ASAP. If it has a leak there's a possibility its mostly empty if it has never been touched.
       
    23. Majisto

      Majisto Active Member

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      BS! My Explorer has been abused and thrashed through its 108K miles of its lifetime. And guess what? Stock suspension, even was on the original brakes up until 90K miles. Nah, these things are tougher than CR gives it credit for. My Explorer is a tank. Wouldn't trade it for anything. It has gone over sand and dunes, seen redline almost everyday. It has been up on 2 wheels before (Test the limits of the suspension), gone sideways down the road (Practicing skid recovery) and various other horrible things you would never want done to your car. I was doing a 0-60 run which turned into 0-80 and at about 70 MPH the transmission dropped back into 2nd. 7,500 RPMs all of sudden, and the car surged forward.

      Even after all of that, that motor pulls off high 7 0-60s, 5R55E transmission keeps on shifting as strong and crisp as when we bought it, and we still get 25 MPG on the highway and high teens in the city.

      Best vehicle ever made.
       
    24. SWLathrop

      SWLathrop Active Member

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      Have to agree with "Majisto" on that one. My 97 Sport was run hard. Loved running it to the highend shift points all the time. Ran like new the day i sold it last year. Lady that bought it is still "Happier than a pig in a mud puddle" with the way it runs and handles.

      However, with that many miles, most dealers would just send the vehicle to the auction. BUT, if they kept it to sell on their lot, they would do the following:

      1. Change the oil, oil filter and check/change air filter.
      2. Change fuel filter.
      3. Check brake pads, rotors and park brake shoes/operation.
      4. Check for slop in the front end.
      5. Check for major leaks.
      6. Check/change tranny fluid and filter.
      7. Check for a good spare tire.
      8. Check/change fluid in front/rear diff. and T-Case.
      9. Detail the vehicle inside and out.
      10. A few other things my brain is missing at this time.

      Being a private sale, it may be pretty much a "Thank you very much"..."SEE YA".
       
      Last edited: October 7, 2003

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