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2000 XLS


April 9, 2015
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City, State
Valley, Alabama
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Ford Explorer
I finally bought back into the explorer world, I could not be happier. I was in the market for a second vehicle just A to B, I did not think twice about it.

Vehicle is a 2000 XLS 4x4 4.0 OHV with 210K miles. It's a little rough mechanically but very sound cosmetically. Which leads me to the following questions.

1. It is need of a transmission and I am unsure as to what makes and models I should be looking for other this specific year range 98-01 explorer 4x4. Were there other years and makes I could use? (I tried researching but nothing was written in stone).

2. Seems the head gaskets need replacing, do you all recommend replacing the head gaskets on these or looking for a replacement engine? I paid next to nothing for this explorer so whatever is best.

3. The guy I purchased it from mentioned it was AWD but had 4-hi and 4-lo options... That didn't sound right to me, is that an option that was available on this vehicle? Figured it if had the options it was 2wd unless locked in via your control.

Thanks for any help guys. I cannot wait to get this puppy on the road.

No true AWD on V6's, only the V8's have a AWD option. Some of the V6's 4x4's had an AUTO setting which would engage 4WD automatically if rear wheel slippage is sensed.

The weak part of the OHV engine are the heads. They tend to crack between the valve seats. Pretty common. The bottom end of the 4.0L is very strong and replacing the heads isn't that big of a deal, or that expensive, so I wouldn't be thinking of looking for another used engine. I also wouldn't just replace head gaskets w/out getting new heads, or at least having the old heads magnafluxed for cracks, then you might want to get a valve job too.

As far as a transmission, all the 2000 V6's used the same auto trans, which I believe would be the 5R55E, which is a 5-speed. I'd try to find a 2000 model year trans to avoid any possible issues with wiring or sensors.

Thanks for all that info. Any recommendations on a kit for all the parts to do the head job? Obviously heads will have to be purchased separately.

Thanks for all that info. Any recommendations on a kit for all the parts to do the head job? Obviously heads will have to be purchased separately.

Search the forum for replacement 4.0L OHV head recommendations. There was just a discussion on replacement heads (within the past several weeks). Personally I wouldn't want to go through the trouble of having to install valves and springs in replacement heads if I could help it, so I'd purchase loaded heads if available. Other than the heads the only other parts needed should be head bolts (as I'm sure they are torque-to-yield, single use only) and gaskets unless you want to replace the lifters while you're in there. I've found that sometimes it's cheaper to buy a full engine gasket set, rather than individual gaskets, but check prices. When possible I prefer Felpro brand premium gaskets. Don't skimp on the head bolts either and use a reliable/calibrated torque wrench.

Read this:
Confused about cylinder head purchase