2003 Aviator. | Page 2 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

  • Explorer Forum license plate frames are available 2 for $12, or 4 for $17. For photos and more details CLICK HERE

2003 Aviator.

Have an 03 Aviator bought new, has about 65k on it now. Love it, have had only a couple of minor issues in 7 years of driving.

Yes they call for premium fuel, they drink gas, but thats the price of the 32V 4.6 engine.

Have not had the coil on plug issue that was mentioned or any transmission or rear end problems.

Very quiet on the highway and loves to run at high speeds. Does not like city driving, they are meant for road trips.

There were not many built, only 3 years production, i believe no more than 70k if that total for the three years.

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

I still think Aviators are just a little bit unique in a good way plus stylish. The heated/cooled seats are also unique and have the temperature controls on the door panels instead of being on the bottom side of the seats themselves. The windows controls are in the center console along with the gear selector which is like the 4th gen Explorers. The cobra engine is a sleeper and well worth the investment in premium gas.

I have a Love / Hate relationship going with mine. It's a 2003 with 70k miles. AWD. Important to note it's not an advance trac which means even though it's AWD when the tires slip...they keep slipping.... Not a limited slip, which kinda sucks for offroading. It is effectively 'dumb' all wheel drive, sending 60% of the power to the rear and 40% to the front wheels all the time, regardless of traction. My understanding is advance trac is basically an electronically controlled limited slip dif. when the computer senses a tire is slipping it applies the brakes on that wheel and transfers the power where it isn't slipping. works side to side and front to rear. That being said, the Aviator even without advance trac is an absolutely unstoppable beast in the snow. my guess is it has to do with the added weight, it's like a tank. snow tires are usually thinner and my aviator came with what i think are thin 245/65-17 Bridgestone Dueler HL Alenza tires. they dig right through even deep snow like it's not there. Trust me. here in pittsburgh we got 25" of snow in one night last month and the next day my car was the only one on the block that could move. I was running to the store for my neighbors.

Maybe it's just mine but i think the ride is too soft. i think it's mainly to do with the tires. the Alenzas are designed specifically for 'luxury' vehicles which tells me they have softer than normal sidewalls and feel like warm marshmallows. The body mounts on the aviator are different then explorers/mountys. the avi has a 2 part body mount that is half rubber to make the ride softer. again i think it's a bit too soft and you feel liek you driving a car and not a truck or suv. i get a bit too much body roll for my liking as well.

One thing that is true is it hauls a**. its very powerful and fast for a big truck. I've read it is designed to deliver 80% of it's max torque at only 2000rpms and you can really feel it. It hauls up steep hills and will sink you into the seat easy.
Yes it has the 4.6l which most ppl refer to as the cobra engine. this is only partly true. the 4v cobra engine has an iron block to withstand the blower pressure, the avi has an aluminum block. So though the design is the same, it's not the same engine. The only other vehicle with this engine is the Merc Marauder. IT has the 4.6l 4v aluminum block exactly like the aviator...

Also the aviator has cast aluminum lower control arms in the front and cast upper arms in the rear. with slightly different sway bar configurations. explorers have cheap-o stamped pieces in the suspension. the shocks and springs are the same dimensions and fitament as the explorer but they are valved a little different again to provide a little better ride. you'll notice different part numbers for them but they look identical. other than that i believe the suspension is pretty much the same. i had to replace a front hub/bearing on mine and it was a huge PITA. the same three bolts hold it on and it is hard to get off... PS the axle nut is 27mm on the aviator not 30 like the explorer...

If it sounds like i know too much about this truck it's probably because i do. If anyone has questions about the aviator let me know... i can probably answer them...

One question, why are you teasing me? If I don't think about it, I can avoid daydreaming about buying another car. I figured I'd get an Aviator some day, but my plans for my current SUV keep growing and taking longer.

FYI, the Aviator and Explorers were given the new aluminum block, not as good as the first Teksid, but still light weight. Those are all great engines, there are good parts choices over the years, and better new parts coming out now. The trans is the weak link, invest in the knowledge of doing a valve body kit, solenoids, and better fluid. Add an external filter, Amsoil ATF, all of that will make it last longer.

I'm trying to get my 91 LSC painted and rebuild the suspension, stop diverting my attention. LOL, you keep enjoying that truck. I hope other Aviators will be well taken care of. I'd love to have one.

Don- what have you got done with your LSC? Is it a VII or an VIII?

It's a 91 Special Edition, I took it out of my signature by accident. The paint has been bare base coat for several years, and the exhaust and suspension are shot. It must have had a very rough life before I got it, my first one was like new after 112k when I wrecked it.

I have the Maximum Motorsports rear suspension parts for it, TA/PHB/LCA's etc. The front will be all Griggs and all Koni coil overs. I finally got tired of not driving it and it needing a little battery help every so often. It just went over 100k and the engine is great for just an HO.

I do wish that I could get an Aviator for my sister, she needs a 3rd row seat SUV. She has a 2008 Jeep though which she owes too much on. I've seen them for under 10k within 200 miles of here.

This thread was moved into the Ford/Lincoln/Mercury section.

I was looking at them, but kept seeing them for $12-$14k around here. There was one Avi locally that was $7995 with 140k on it, but something just wasn't right about it, I didn't trust it- or the guy selling it. "Yeah, I'm a dealer, but I do a lot of other things too." he said. Nope, I'll pass... :)

My Mark VII only made it 8 months before the rear air suspension went out, and the rear drip lip on the upper inside of the trunk rusted away, so I cashed her in. It was a fun car though... And I've always liked them. I was inquiring about buying this one a few years back when I was still racing...

I think this car looks bad-ass...




Gentlemen, back on topic please :rolleyes:

Don, you REALLY need an Aviator ;)

Gentlemen, back on topic please :rolleyes:

Don, you REALLY need an Aviator ;)

To anewser your question from earlier, 3rd gen Explorers and Mounties have fully boxed frames as well, I think its was something like 300% stronger than the 2nd gen frames.

Thanks Guys. I still am very fond of the uniqueness of the Aviator and the Cobra engine. I just got the new annual auto issue of Consumer Reports magazine. I realize this is not a "Bible" but they listed the Aviator as one of the "Worst of the worst" (Much worse-than-average reliability). I have never heard nor read anything really bad about an Aviator other than it requires premium fuel. Any thoughts?

Consider that this is a luxury car and people who buy them new complain a lot more. They can take more time to take the car to dealer and wait for someone else to rub the scuff off the tire. Most customer satisfaction surveys are done in the first 90 days and are not reliable indicators. Think about how long it took the Toyota accelerator problem to surface.

Electronic issue '03 Aviator

Check engine light came on today. Pulled code: P1336. "Crankshaft position not learned". Haven't disconnected the battery lately. Disconnected crankshaft sensor to try to get engine to idle smoothly and then it wouldn't start. Reconnected and got it home. Haven't looked under the engine cover yet. Any suggestions? Is this going to be a Crank or a Cam sensor problem? Is the cam sensor in the engine or like a Chevy, in the distributor?

Avoid disconnecting the battery, that erases dozens of learned data cycles, plus any codes. It's best to learn as much from the PCM as possible, before starting over. Look for history on other like DOHC 4.6's with that trouble code or symptom. It may be obvious, or just point to a likely part to replace.

Just a funny update...

Back when I was looking at the Aviator which I passed on, it had 146,500 miles on it. Something seemed fishy, so I passed.

It's on CL again locally, with a new owner, check the mileage and the new parts: ;)


That sounds good Joe, it's $700 cheaper with a new trans. I know you know how to buy cars up there. I'd bet it also has a lot of corrosion that nobody wants to have on their nice vehicle.

glad i popped in here, going to look at an 04 and an 03 Aviator tomorrow...always liked them....like baby navigators =)

didn't realize they needed premium, but after years of nothing but sports cars, I'm used to it =)

thanks for the honest info, now I feel better about (hopefully) owning one

Don't skimp on the tires. Make sure they are 'H' rated and it will handle VERY nicely! :thumbsup::D

So I picked up an 03 with 65k on the clock...nice ride, I'm glad I got it =)

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

I can believe I ran into this forum... Have an 03 X- and im bored with it. Aviator has everything I want but im VERY terrified to take that final step. I need to buy an Aviator with high mileage and found one I want that I will take in a heartbeat if I can get the right price for it. But I TOO am concerned that it will be like my buddys LS- a gift wrapped POS. Mind you, the LS is AMAZING- but problems all the time (but hes got the V6 and a 2000- which was a bad year until 03). IM looking at an AWD 04 with a **** ton of miles. White with tan and every option except dvd- which I really dont need. MY ex girlfriend also had a 05 LSE and she had to replace her Navi unit- but was covered under Ford ESP. What should i do if/whenI get one- besides get an extended warranty... And YES to premium fuel... Albino- what kinda mileage are you getting? I do alot of highway right now and can get 20 in my V6 x, hoping to get the 17/18 as promised in the epa..