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Buying a used '98 Explorer, what to watch for?


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July 7, 2015
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 explorer
Buying a used '98 Explorer, what to watch for?

I'm considering to buy a 1998 Ford explorer Eddie Bauer edition.
It got about 172k miles on it clean title, good service records.
Carfax reports no problems.

The seller (a garage with a good reputation) is asking $ 2,500 firm.

Also, according to the seller the transmission was replaced with a rebuild about 20k-30k miles ago. Seller says they have all service records. (at least the ones they did since '07 when they started servicing the truck)

The truck drives good, engine is quiet, transmission as well, shift very smooth.
Has four new tires on, new break pads.

There is a slight knock/rattle coming somewhere in the front end when driving over uneven road/patched potholes but other than that all seems well.

So, what to watch out for?

Your advice is much appreciated!

which engine?

OHV V8, OHV V6 or SOHC V6? If its the V8 and in original configuration it could provide many more miles of reliable transportation. The OHV V6 was susceptible to blowing head gaskets if it overheated. If it has the SOHC V6 with the original camshaft timing chain related components you could be risking a major expense in the near future.

Sounds like a promising opportunity...especially, if they have service records going back 8 yrs. To begin with, check to see what front suspension parts have been replaced if you're worried about the knock when you drive over a bump or pothole. The lower thermostat housing is notorious for leaking are the lower intake gaskets. Listen for a howling noise coming from the rear differential (bad pinion gears/brgs). Make sure the transfer case functions properly when switching the dash switch from Auto to 4Hi to 4Lo. Be advised that the required method to shift into and out of 4Lo is to put the transmission in Neutral and foot on the brake. Otherwise, if the engine is running smoothly and quietly...and, with a rebuilt tranny...I'd say go for it. I see these trucks in our local U Pulls all the time with well over 200K miles and I'm guessing most could have lasted longer with some general maintenance. But, here in the Upper Midwest, rust eats them and people give up on them once they are faced with a $500+ repair bill (which, these days, doesn't involve much in the way of repairs if you're having someone do the work for you).

What ^ they^ said. And check over the maintenance records closely. If it is a SOHC make sure the timing chain issue has been addressed because if it cuts loose, the rest don't matter. That said, I think $2500 might be a bit high. My 98 SOHC is in excellent condition with full maintenance records, many new parts, and a rebuilt (4/15) trans. Even with that I don't know if I could get $2500 for it.