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New Guy needs help with decision

patmac6075

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'98 Explorer
Hey to all, new guy here from WI and I'm hoping to get some input to help me make an informed decision.
I have the opportunity to take possession of one of two Explorers...free of charge! Can't take both, as which ever I pass on will be donated.
The first is a '98 base model V6 OHV with about 170K mi on it. (interesting back story on this car...it was mine from new as a company car till lease ran out ('01), the boss bought it out and let his kids drive the car (AF officer first, spent 10 years in NM desert, then his daughter had it in college) I believe maintenance has been kept up on this car, but recently it has developed an engine vibration, the mechanic he uses says it needs a fuel injector and he's not willing to dump anymore cash into it. Otherwise it's in decent condition for it's age, a little body rust and the interior is shot. BTW, this is the car I'm leaning toward.

Second car is a '00 Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition w/V8, this has been his work car, has about the same mileage. He says the brakes are very spongy and one of the exhaust manifolds is cracked, otherwise runs well with some intermittent electrical issues (basically it's a crap shoot if windows, door locks, lights, ect. work at any given time). Again light body rust, but interior is better.

Whichever car I take will be passed along to my high school kid for use when he goes away to college, so amenities are less important to me than dependability.
I'm competent with a wrench, but more of a parts hanger than a technician....ie I can follow directions but not so much at diagnosis.

My former boss is also my brother-in-law....hence the free car.

Lastly, I haven't seen either of these cars in 10 years as I live in a different state.

Your input is greatly appreciated.
 



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patmac6075

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Just thought of one other thing....I'm a member on several other forums depending on what I'm working on at the moment....right now I'm recommissioning an '84 Yamaha Venture Royale, anyway what I've found is there are usually a handful of members on a forum whose advise is always solid and those are the guys newbies should adhere to. Who are the universally respected guys here?
 






Mr. Alligator

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Welcome!

Welcome to the Forum.

I think I would prefer the v8 Explorer. The higher mileage 4.0 SOHC engines get more prone to timing chain issues. There are four chains, and replacement is complex, expensive and time consuming. Also, I would prefer a vehicle driven by an adult. The v8 engines are "more bullet-proofer".

Good luck with your decision and your Ford!!!
 






2TimingTom

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The higher mileage 4.0 SOHC engines get more prone to timing chain issues.

The V6 he's considering has the OHV engine- not the SOHC engine. The OHV engine, while less powerful, is more reliable than the SOHC. No timing chain issues.

The interior is trashed, eh? Like how? Could you swap the interior from the Eddie Bauer over to the other? Physically yes you can, but logistically can you? Or would a good vacuum and carpet clean take care of the V6 interior?

Electrical problems are never fun to diagnose. And if you identify as not a good diagnoser, I'd stay away from that project.
 






patmac6075

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I would prefer a vehicle driven by an adult.

Not too worried about the kids beating on this car...as they lean more towards the "egg-head" type, and Dad mostly took care of the maintenance.




The V6 he's considering has the OHV engine- not the SOHC engine. The OHV engine, while less powerful, is more reliable than the SOHC. No timing chain issues.

The interior is trashed, eh? Like how? Could you swap the interior from the Eddie Bauer over to the other? Physically yes you can, but logistically can you? Or would a good vacuum and carpet clean take care of the V6 interior?

Electrical problems are never fun to diagnose. And if you identify as not a good diagnoser, I'd stay away from that project.

Not worried about the less powerful OHV as I am ease of maintenance and dependability (Ha Ha....my kid's going to be driving it, not me!)

Interior trashed, as in, sun-cracked dash, worn/torn seat covers, broken/missing door cards. Not to mention, this car has nothing "power" on the interior so door cards from the EB would also mean adding motors for windows and locks... same goes with grey leather seats into tan fabric interior....too much hassle.
Actually, I was hoping to visit the local "bone-yard" and pick through whatever interiors they had, but now I'm intrigued....how much work is it to transfer an EB all-power interior into a base no-power-anything model?

Any major flaws to look for in the OHV Base 4WD model...common issues? easy fixes?
 






lobo411

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Are they both 4wd?

Supposedly the OHV has the worse transmission, though I haven't had any problems and I'm at ~170k. IMO, the OHV is easier to work on because the engine compartment isn't as crowded. I can change the water pump on my OHV in about 45 mins. Can't say that with a V8!

The OHV seems to have a weaker setup when it comes to the intake manifold, timing chain cover, and head gaskets. I'd expect to change all those soon on a 170k OHV.

However, I'd take a V8 over a V6 if the choice came down to a V6 w/ 4WD and a V8 w/ 2WD.
 






patmac6075

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Thanks Lobo,

Both cars vehicles are 4WD.

Really? Head Gaskets at 170K? Is that typical?
 






jester1023

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The V6 is 4x4, while the V8 is an AWD unit. The transfer case is non-selectable in the EB. It's not too hard to find interior for 4 door Explorers. The non-power accessories will also be much easier to fix, as they aren't likely to break.
 






lobo411

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Thanks Lobo,

Both cars vehicles are 4WD.

Really? Head Gaskets at 170K? Is that typical?

I dunno if the head gaskets are typical, but mine were leaking externally at around 115k. They weren't blown, but when I replaced them they were definitely leaking.

The intake manifold and timing cover gaskets are typical, though. Not too difficult to repair, though, and probably on a 170k truck you'll only have to do it once.
 






FexplorerV8

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the v8 5.0 will be a gas guzzler, the ohv 4.0 would be my choice much easier to work on hands down, master mechanic 10 years' experience.
 






2TimingTom

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When I had my V8 AWD, it got 18 mpg. 18 in the city. 18 on the highway. 18 on the interstate into a headwind.

My V6 SOHC also got about 18 prior to being heavily modded.
 






BrianDye

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The V8's tend to get near identical gas mileage. The 4.0 OHV's I had in the past just seemed like too much truck with not enough engine, the 5.0 I had was a perfect match, plus it sounds so good.

I would say go for the V8. I loved my 2000 Limited. When I finally sold it, it had over 200k on original engine and trans, with no issues aside from regular wear and tear stuff like ball joints and such. I averaged around 18-19mpg as well IIRC.
 






1997XLTRollover

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I'd take the V8 truck. The OHV is known for head gasket issues as they age and is way underpowered. The V8 trucks have rock solid drivetrains and being an Eddie Bauer it probably has heated seats and other things the V6 truck does not. At 170k I'd bet the OHV V6 doesn't have much life left. The 302 will run well over 200k and the tranny was better too.

Oh and I agree with the above, my old 4.0 SOHC got about the same mileage as my 5.0's. Maybe 1 MPG better but that's about it. After owning a V6 and now 2 V8's, I'd never buy another V6 again (although my 4.0 SOHC ripped).
 






patmac6075

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UPDATE on my choice

So I went down to make my pick between an '00 V8 Limited (not EB) and a base model '98 OHV......I chose the vastly underpowered V6 OHV.
While the V8 was clearly more powerful, there were just too many other issues, and a cracked exhaust manifold sealed the deal.
I had about 7 1/2 hours to get acquainted with the car, and was quite impressed...very good highway manners, tracked straight/no unusual vibrations, but it does drive like a truck (which I remember from when it was new). When cold, the engine stumbles and lurches, but that clears up within a few minutes (fuel filter? plugs? wires?...his mechanic says it's an injector....but why would that clean up after driving?). Check Engine light and ABS light are on, so I'll head over to O'Really's and use their reader. Anybody got any ideas about what sets off the ABS light?
Lastly, I'll need to head over to the local bone-yard and pick up 4 door pulls...were these things prone to breakage? Hard to believe all 4 failed...maybe happened while his kids owned it?
Otherwise very happy with choice...car has just a tick over 195K, so compression test is in order (I'm familiar with variation, but what is a passable number?), fuel filter, plugs, wires, oil filter, air filter, trans fluid and filter, p/s fluid, coolant flush, brake fluid flush will all be on schedule this fall.
My kid is scheduled to get his license in January, so this could be some good father son bonding time.
Look forward to many posts
Cheers
Pat
 






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