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Need help re: 2004 Ford Explorer

ExploreFord

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August 11, 2008
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City, State
Maine
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Explorer
Hi there. I am new to this site. I came here for some advice, if at all possible :)

I am looking at a 2004 Ford Explorer, white, (very classy), with 36k. Seems like a pretty good vehicle. Took it for a test drive, and fell in love with it. I have never owned a Ford before (My grandfather was never big on them).......

It is a base model....XLS? (sorry if I got that wrong!) A few things are needed for the vehicle, tires and the hood latch sticks. Nothing major, as far as I know.

What types of things should I look for, or make sure is checked for this particular model? I've heard the transmissions, brakes, and rear end have problems with the explorers.....?

It has 4x4 auto, 4x4 high, and 4x4 low. Just wondering if it was 2wd with 4x4 option, OR if it was always in 4x4 (4x4 auto). Sorry, I do not know much about cars in general........

Also, how is the gas mileage on this thing?

Anything else I should know? Thanks so much!
 
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wood1

Explorer Addict
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North of Edmonton
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'93 XLT, Cayman Green RIP
Hey, welcome to the site. If you go to the main forum page you should be able to look around and answer some of those questions. I have a '93 (1st generation) so I don't know much about the newer ones.

Chances are though, if the hood latch is hard to open it's because it hasn't been opened much. Not a good sign, but what can go wrong in 34K? I suppose if it never had an oil change or something like that...
 
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BWilliams

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Buffalo, NY (home) // Rochester, NY (school)
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'05 XLT Sport
The biggest thing to watch out for with these is the rear end.

Take a nice long test-drive, and try to get up to highway speeds (at least 50-ish)... if you hear a whine coming from the rear end when you're just cruising with the throttle open just enough to maintain speed, you've got one of troublesome rear ends. If it's being purchased from a dealer, I wouldn't buy it unless they do the TSB repair on it... private party, have them knock off probably 1500$ or so, or have them take it in to have the TSB done before buying it.

As far as the transmission... the Explorer has never had a particularly good transmission, across all the generations. The best thing to do is, when you're test-driving it, just watch for any slipping or other transmission oddities (no OD, perhaps, if you notice extremely high RPMs at highway speeds)


The 4x4 system in the 3rd-generation Explorers is really a pretty good system. The system normally functions in 4x4 Auto, which means that the drivetrain is 2WD until the wheel speed sensors notice a wheel slippage condition, at which time the system automatically locks in 4x4 until traction is regained on all 4 wheels.

Seeing that you're from Maine (and therefore familiar with winter weather like I am here in Buffalo), you'll definately appreciate the combination of 4x4Auto and the fantastic ABS system in these trucks in the snow... other then taking it a little easier with the steering so you don't spin when turning, you hardly even know that you're on snow or ice with this system.
 
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ExploreFord

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Explorer
Thanks for the advice. I am a little disappointed, because I went to look at the Explorer again this morning.....(still in love with it), and I took a mechanic friend of mine, with me. Sure enough, the rear end is on it's way out (or alteast at the beginning stages). The whining noise, was hard to hear while driving. You had to sit in the back seat. The transmission is tight.....no problems with that at all. It was estimated to be around 1500.00 to 2000.00 to repair the back end.

And, reading many posts on here, rear ends seem to go, even after being fixed.

I am not sure, as of now, what I am going to do. I know there are no guarantees buying used...but if I am going to pay to get the rear end repaired....I'd want it stay that way. It only has 36k on it.

Anyway, thanks so much for replying to my request!
 
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