How tough are these rigs? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How tough are these rigs?

JD Arnold

New Member
December 5, 2018
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City, State
Sparta, WI
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 explorer no badges
Hey JD here, I'm new to this generation explorer, only owning one other explorer a 99 sport, just curious as to how well these try is hold up to off road abuse. What is are weakest links in the drivetrain, suspension things like that. My new rig is an 03 4.0 allwheel drive. All stock, I do plan to run 235/85r16s when I get the finds up for them and a small spacer lift IF I have too. Its going to be my backwoods trail and camping rig. Thanks folks, KD from Wisconsin.

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The 4.0l is the alkalies heal. The 5r55 series transmission is weak, but still not as much of a dog as the engine. its not a matter of if but when the engine will grenade.

my 2014 Explorer XLT is much better than my old 99 Explorer Sport with 4.0 engine. the transmission gave out twice. The 2014 pull same popup with ease than the old explorer.

The 2002 and 2014 are nothing alike.

As noted the motor has a major shortcoming, especially if the oil changes haven’t been kept up. The transmissions aren’t especially stout either.

I'm wondering more about axle shafts CVS balljoints things like that. The washboards can get pretty nasty on the forest roads. Also are there any high clearance lower control arms? They seem to catch a lot of crap in rutted out trails.

Well, the AWD will make a great off roader as the viscous coupling seems to lock up solid on these. I've got the 4x4 but plenty of threads videos about removing the front drive shaft, and tearing down the transfer case to replace the viscous coupling.

Works great for me. Doubt you could go as far as a Jeep though.

The Outdoorsman