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What can I expect to break down?

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by Guswah, April 8, 2017.

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    1. Guswah

      Guswah New Member

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      1991 Explorer Eddie Bauer
      I have a 1991 Explorer (Eddie Bauer) V6 with only about 23,000 miles on it. It sat untouched for more than 20 years. I did all the minor things -- brakes, filters, et cetera. It runs like a new car, which it almost is.

      My wife and I are considering a round trip to Mexico next January. My concern is how I might prepare for on-road breakdowns, meaning what would be likely to give out, bearing in mind that so far NOTHING has ever been changed on this lovely old girl. Considering the experience of owners of this make and model, there must be some vulnerable components that have been known to give grief, and it would be great to know what they are.
       
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    3. Josh P

      Josh P Shaggin Wagon Elite Explorer

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      Aged dry rotted rubber hoses, belts and bushings would be my only concern, the rest of the car is basically brand new. I bought a van that was abandoned on the side of the road for over 2 years, the automatic transmission went out in the first 10k miles I put on it, the rest of the car has ran untouched for the 500+ miles a week I put on it for close to 3 years as a work vehicle. Also, welcome to the forum.
       
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    4. Jason94sport

      Jason94sport Well-Known Member

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      I would replace all the coolant/heater hoses, & flush the system. Replace the rubber brake lines if not done, & belts. I would drop the trans pan & change the fluid as well as the rear end fluid & transfer case if equipped & lube all bushings
       
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    5. RangerX

      RangerX Elite Ranger Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Wow! Normally I would say expect the auto trans and auto hubs to crap out, but if this really has only 23k, maybe they'll run for awhile more.
      How positive are you on the mileage? A 91 only has a 5 digit odometer I believe, so it could have turned over, even more than once! Could be 123,000, etc.
      My 93 Ranger shows about 4,000 on the odometer right now, but it recently turned over for the third time!

      Welcome to the forum!
       
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    6. iLoveMyExploder

      iLoveMyExploder Active Member

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      i have done a lot of research on these trucks..... according to what i have learned, the transmission is by far the weakest link. i also did research on specific year models of the 1st gen explorer. the 1992, 1993, and 1994 year models were factory fitted with a transmission fluid cooler, the 1991 was not. according to my research- countlesss 1991 models suffered premature transmission failure- before the warranty even went out. if the transmission went out in it before the warranty, there is a chance a dealership has added the cooler upgrade when they replaced the transmission with a new one. apparantly the A4LD transmission is not the greatest no matter how you look at it. it sucks for towing, and the transmission can easily overheat if in operation for too long, assuming it is not equipped with the transmission cooler. if you are planning a long trip- especially to a place where it tends to get hot- i think you should make sure your 1991 is equipped with a transmission cooler. if it is not... you better get one or else you will most likely find yourself on the side of the road 1,000 miles away from home. the transmission fluid cooler is easy to find- if you have one. it should be located between the grille and the radiatior. it looks like a little radiator. if it does not have this upgrade- dont take it on the trip to mexico.
       
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    7. Rhett

      Rhett Let Them Eat Cake Elite Explorer

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      Ditto on what everyone has said. I would have reservations about taking that vehicle to Mexico, unless I could make sure I had gone thru it (or had a mechanic go through it). As was said, make sure the transmission has new fluid, new filter, and an auxiliary cooler. Even so I'd be takin' all my tools and extra fluids along :)

      You really don't want to be in Zihuatenejo and have them gouge you just to replace some plug wires or a cam synchronizer. Sitting for 20 years is bad, I would want to take the truck on some "warm up" trips (100 miles, 200 miles etc.) to test its reliability, before I committed it to a long drive to Mexico and back.
       
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    8. Centaurious

      Centaurious Active Member

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      Inspect the radiator fan for cracking of the plastic. If you replace the brake hoses remember the one to the rear axle. Have the battery cables inspected for corrosion under the insulation. AAA membership for towing in the US and separate insurance for travel in Mexico
       
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    9. Ranger1991

      Ranger1991 New Member

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      1991 4.0 ranger
      I reccomend keeping the low mi explorer home, and renting a car at the mexico border, there are a ton of the explorers now in mexico though now. From the fuel pump to all the old dried out little vacuem lines, fittings etc, mexicos a test i dont reccomend.

      George
      1991 Ranger 4.0
      2 x reg bed.
      Currently have the bed off for fuel pump and upgrades.
       
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    10. Guswah

      Guswah New Member

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      Thanks, everyone. This is all VERY HELPFUL information.

      My Explorer lacks the tranny cooler, and I will definitely install one. I have already replaced all rad hoses, even though the original ones looked new. I'm going in for new refrigerant hoses next week. The brakes have now been completely redone including master cylinder and vacuum booster, and I'll do a full tune-up in the fall (plugs, fuel filter, etc.) in preparation for the trip south.

      As for the authenticity of my 23,000 miles -- well, yes, those are the only miles on this vehicle. Here in Canada the models all had six-digit odometers for metric. When I say 23K miles, I'm converting the actual readout which is about 37K kilometres. I know the sole owner and the history quite well. The vehicle was bought and used only as a cottage vehicle each summer before it was abandoned (for a dead battery). Everything about it smacks of newness. I have been driving it as much as possible, including a 250-mile trip last month. It purred like a kitten and made 24 miles to the gallon.

      We were in Mazatlan last winter, and we saw many Explorers driving around, although few were this old. We don't actually plan to drive it during our stay, just to and from to lessen the chance of problems.

      Some commenters above mentioned bearings. Which bearings specifically? If someone has replaced Explorer bearings it would be helpful to know which ones might be dodgy.
       
      Last edited: June 10, 2017
    11. Ranger1991

      Ranger1991 New Member

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      I think you should rent a car for one purpose of, theft prevention, they steal cars there pretty often.
       
    12. iLoveMyExploder

      iLoveMyExploder Active Member

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      i agree with the idea of renting a car to take to mexico.... that would be wise for a lot of reasons...
       
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    13. Guswah

      Guswah New Member

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      Not that I don't appreciate sage advice ... but where we go the cars are locked in a compound during our stay. So if they steal it from us, they'd have to do it enroute, at gunpoint, and physically throw us out of the vehicle. I don't think an old Explorer is THAT appealing to them when you consider that most cars there are a good 10 years newer.
       
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    14. iLoveMyExploder

      iLoveMyExploder Active Member

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      i have heard 1st gen explorers are quite popular in mexico... my 93 limited was stolen while i was gone out of state. i wouldnt be suprised if it went to a chop shop and all the parts ended up in mexico....
       
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    15. toypaseo

      toypaseo Flunked daycare Elite Explorer

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      I would also suggest to rent a car. You will get better MPG. The ride will be more comfortable.

      Also, is your Explorer 2WD or 4x4? Depending on your route, driving through some states during winter might be sketchy or even dangerous in a 2WD vehicle.
       
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    16. Guswah

      Guswah New Member

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      No, this is a 4x4. It also has air and cruise control. Maybe they all did. I should mention that I've driven to Mazatlan before. Agreed that it's not the land of manicured highways that we have, but I wouldn't consider it that absurdly wild and dangerous.
       
    17. rschaab

      rschaab New Member

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      As long as you don't plan on off roading and rock-climbing, I wouldn't worry too much. Sounds like you've done as much as you can to prepare for the long trip. I always bring a little tool kit with me on trips "just in case".
       
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    18. Guswah

      Guswah New Member

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      Yes, thanks a million, rschaab. I will do that.

      One or more of the folks above mentioned the possibility that bearings could give out. I asked which bearings they might be suggesting, but nobody's answered that yet. Maybe you've had experience with that?
       
    19. Guswah

      Guswah New Member

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      I goofed big-time on this. I was in there yesterday and lo and behold ... I've already got a transmission fluid cooler. I don't know how I'd missed that, but I will say there ain't much room in there to begin with!

      Then I started thinking about what iLoveMyExploder said above, that coolers weren't standard equipment until the 1992 models. So I did a bit more exploring and found that while mine was first registered in 1991, it was actually a brand new, next-year model -- meaning that it is a 1992.

      It's interesting that the governmental registration office didn't catch that when I insured it, because undoubtedly the serial number would have made it clear. Of course at this point, it doesn't matter at all. I wish my aging mother would break the news to me that she made a mistake on my birth certificate and that I was actually born a full year later in 1951. Woo-ha! I get another year ... for free.
       
    20. Rhett

      Rhett Let Them Eat Cake Elite Explorer

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      Maybe they were talking about the front wheel bearings. They tend to go bad if your Explorer has automatic locking hubs and they never get serviced. It sounds like you've had everything checked out though.
       
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    21. RangerX

      RangerX Elite Ranger Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Yes, I believe they were talking about front wheel bearings.

      On the trans cooler, I suggest installing a secondary cooler. These auto transmissions are weak to begin with, and if you add a long trip, long mountain grades, a loaded vehicle, and the age, it's kind of a recipe for overheating, which equals trans death. Look at it as ' trip insurance'.
       
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