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What would you do?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by tishpit, November 28, 2014.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. tishpit

    tishpit New Member

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    Have an interesting situation and would like some feedback. I am NEW to the Explorer, having had a 2004 Jeep Liberty and Wrangler (loved the Lib, very disappointed in the Wrangler) and Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute SUVs. (Also had a 1989 Bronco II back in the days!). I need a mid-size SUV to haul dogs, yard sale stuff, and elderly parents. I now drive a Chevy Spark (great MPG, but not enough room).

    Looking for a second vehicle and found on Craigs List a 1997 Explorer XLT 4x4 with 236,000 miles, 4.0 V6. Took a look and the transfer case is stuck on 4WD Lo (shift motor????), has an exhaust leak, power driver's seat back doesn't work, and vacuum leak (owner showed which hose needed changed), needs paint. Ran o.k. overall, interior is fair (some torn and ragged parts, but usable), body is good (solid). Got it for $400 and planned to use for a parts vehicle and for business (students to practice auto repair/body work skills). But didn't really consider it for actual street use. Then recently found a very nice 1999 Explorer XLT V8, loaded, a little surface rust here and there, 144,000 miles, immaculate interior, new tires, runs nice for a hair under $2,000. It does need a new windshield (cracked), some minor rust repair, and the infamous cruise control buttons are missing (1 side).

    So here is the question... the choice is buy second Explorer and keep 1st for parts OR just repair the 1997 and use as second vehicle. I know, I need to have a mechanic look at and give a estimate on repairs on '97... so basing on what we know is wrong with it. Will need "mobile" mechanic as only running in 4WD Lo, so cannot go too far. Prev. owner drove it to our property, about 3 - 4 miles away... very slowly! He did disconnected the front drive shaft.

    So... just would like some suggestions to help us make a good decision. I'm figuring a couple grand to fix the '97. I am NOT a DIY, so would need to pay someone to do the work. Also, work 7 days/wk., so no time to research YouTube and try to muddle my way through it for anything more complicated than replacing a bulb LOL! Thank you!
     
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  3. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    screw the '97. too old, too many miles/issues, v6. it's definitely not worth putting $2 grand into it. keep it for parts or scrap it. fix up the v8. the v8 engines and transmissions are very durable. w/144k that engine is barley broken it. you can easily replace the windshield and cruise control switches with new or used parts. I found some really nice used switches on eBay for $35 w/free shipping recently. they're a little tricky to install unless you know the secret to getting the wiring to disconnect. some pull-a-parts will install used windshields for cheap. if you're going to own an old vehicle you really should learn to do the simple maintenance/repairs yourself. otherwise you're going to put too much money into the vehicle pretty quickly. a 18-20 year old vehicle will need some kind of repair fairly frequently. most are easy to do, especially with the resources to be found on this forum.
     
    Last edited: November 28, 2014
  4. tishpit

    tishpit New Member

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    Thanks for your response. Turned out that the car lot lied (so what else is new) & the V8 was Snowbelt and after crawling under car, was very rusty. Under doors and cladding, chunks of rust falling out! Drove it & engine made loud rapping sound on acceleration. For $2k, said no. We've looked at about 6 Explorers so far & all were either rust buckets or needing a lot of work. Still considering fixing up our current one since its in no worse condition than what we are seeing on lots. We just want a hauler... not expecting perfection... but the pickings here are horrible or very expensive (FL).
     
  5. lobo411

    lobo411 Active Member

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    Get a California car.
     
  6. MAS Tequila

    MAS Tequila Elite Explorer

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    Or a Florida one.

    Mine has been in south Florida it's whole life, and has NO rust.

    I didn't even have to use PBR when working on the suspension.

    MT
     
  7. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Most all my trucks are GA trucks and are totally rust free. The CL prices averaged $2k, or less, except for my near-perfect '01 Eddie Bauer. Only one state north of FL. Most needed a little work, largely easy fixes totaling a few hundred bucks and a few hours of my time.

    This one looks interesting, Though the miles are a little high for me. Still, most Gen II's will have around 200k on them now and the V8's usually still run great.

    http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/cto/4775325073.html
     
    Last edited: November 30, 2014
  8. tishpit

    tishpit New Member

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    Yep, that truck in GA looks nice... but now I am jaded re: CL ads. Went up and looked at another one today. Owner said it was great shape, 1997 XLT 4WD, no rust, runs nice, etc. Drove about 45 min. to get there and looked it over carefully (we are VERY thorough). Rust... yep. NO oil at all when checking the dipstick... checked three times as that was unbelievable. Looked underneath... found the oil... :eek: Broken power driver's seat, etc. etc. So.... we left. The more I look around, and I LIVE in Florida (lots of northern cars filtering down here), I'm going to get an estimate on repairing the one we have. The interior is mostly decent, body is solid, starts and runs, hooked up a scangauge and it showed mostly codes relating to vaccum leak (owner told us about that), possibly O2 sensor or catalytic conv. issue or may relate to needing exhaust work (leak), and the shift motor replaced or "beaten with a hammer" LOL! It may just end up being my "project" truck to repair and restore as $$$ allows. When the engine goes... throw in the 5.0 and tranny... it only cost $400 and will also be used as a "demo" vehicle for testing disabled individuals who want to learn mechanical work and body repair. The Explorer's name is "Zombie." I may just resurrect her from the dead :D
     
  9. rb142

    rb142 Active Member

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    It sounds like that 97 is going to take a lot more than 2K to fix. It sounds like you have some worthy secondary objectives for the vehicle if you want to proceed. Just have a realistic view of how much you are really going to have to dump into it.
     
  10. tishpit

    tishpit New Member

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    Yep... you are right. We attached the Scan Gauge and it brought up codes even though the check engine light was not on. Seems to be indicating a possible catalytic converter issue..... ich.... so, re-assessing. This may be more than we thought, though can still be used for students to practice body work and some mechanical tasks. Just may not be a good truck to put back onto the street.:thumbdwn:
     
  11. jremington59

    jremington59 Well-Known Member

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    Either of those vehicles are to much money with repairs. Just keep looking and check ebay. You should be able to find a nice clean explorer in Florida.
     
  12. tishpit

    tishpit New Member

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    Rust question and pointers

    Found a seemingly nice 2001 Mountaineer with only 89,000 original miles, FSBO, original owner (senior) from up north. Truck is AWD, V8, reg. oil changes and maintenance per owner. Interior is clean with only one minor split on driver's seat (leather), which is common. Lots of nice options incl. tow pkg., onboard computer, sunroof, and back up sensors. Problems: driver's power seat will not move forward, only height up and down or tilt (looked at another Explorer, same problem), so I cannot drive it as my feet don't reach the pedals. Would need repaired and read online that can be an easy fix. Also, check engine light on and owner said it is some kind of emission thing... didn't remember... but has been on for last 7 yrs. and mechanic said not to worry about it. We will put Scan Gauge on to check it. But... it does have some rust on interior lower doors, right along the bottom seam. Doesn't appear to be through the metal, but some flaking. Didn't see any other rust and none on exterior (though lower door covered by plastic trim). Since it was dusk when I looked at it... going back tomorrow.

    Any tips or suggestions regarding the problems I mentioned? We will look underneath and more carefully inspect rust (was too dark before). Will check for codes with Scan Gauge. Not sure about seat if it is a stuck part or need to replace motors or just swap seat (???). Owner wants $2600. Engine appeared to run fine, a/c works, interior was nice overall and electronics appear to work incl. sunroof.
     
  13. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    1. The CEL on always means an emission problem. Scan for codes. Some are inexpensive easy fixes, some are not. Never take anything a seller tells you at face value.
    2. For that kind of money, don't buy a rusty truck.
    3. Do you want/need AWD in Florida? If not, the AWD adds complexity, cost of ownership, weight and lowers fuel economy slightly. If you don't want/need it look for a 2WD.

    Fixing/replacing the leather on the driver's seat can cost you $200. Getting it to move forward/backward often has to do with a jammed seatbelt buckle track. The best thing about that truck sounds like the low mileage.
     
  14. tishpit

    tishpit New Member

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    I prefer 4WD or AWD as we get some flooding here during rainy season, and I make trips up north (Pa.), so it can come in handy. My BF is cheering for a 2005 Caravan... it too needs some stuff (sounds like bushing or ball joint going & power rear door lock doesn't work, otherwise great shape, drives beautifully, 111,000 miles, but $4k). We need room to carry dogs, elderly parents with walkers, sometimes wheelchair, and lots of stuff from furniture to boxes. Either vehicle should do the job, I just prefer a truck to a van. So far, for under $4,000 (I wanted to stay under $3k as it's a third vehicle... we both have very small main cars), I've found vehicles needing repairs and/or rusty. Although the Caravan is a FL. van (CarFax) and has absolutely NO rust.
     
  15. Camacorn

    Camacorn B

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    My '97 Mountaineer 5.0 HO only ran me $700.00, has zero issues, all it needed was a new tranny pan gasket. Mechanically and cosmetically damn near mint. Zero rust.

    You just have to look harder, I've seen hundreds here in Florida that look great. I'm near Brooksville.
     
  16. Flash

    Flash Well-Known Member

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    You should buy it. You haven't got a black one have you?

    Btw, my CEL is on because I don't have a VSS.
     
  17. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    I probably would have, but I already have a black one... lol
     

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  18. tishpit

    tishpit New Member

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    Question re: 2005 model

    I looked at a '91 Mountaineer today, owned by a sweet old man since new, but brought down from up north and rust rust rust... so back to square one. Found an Explorer, but it's a 2005 (decided to up the $$$ to get something in decent shape). I've read that the transmission is sealed, so you cannot check a dipstick to see the condition of the trans. fluid. So how do you check to know if the trans. was maintained well and such? I know you do a test drive and see how it shifts, but any other recommendations???

    BY the way, the Caravan was sold. Oh well :)
     
  19. lobo411

    lobo411 Active Member

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    You have to get under the truck and use several special tools. This is called "progress." ;)

    http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r26969741-Change-transmission-oil-on-my-2005-Ford-Explorer-XLT-
     
  20. bill06447

    bill06447 Active Member

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    If the transmission doesn't leak, the level should be fine. The days of changing transmission oil are pretty much over with the advent of full synthetic oils. Had a 2006 Chevy van from new, put 196k on it, never touched the tranny, one of the heads cracked and that was the end of that. The tranny is now in another vehicle still going strong.

    Bill
     

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