Road Trip Report | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Road Trip Report

Stephen Cannon

Well-Known Member
August 25, 2018
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
2018 Explorer Sport
I recently took my 2018 Explorer Sport on a fairly decent road trip. Fort Worth-Texas-Arlington, VA and back with stops in Nashville, Louisville, Morgantown, Huntington, Louisville, St. Louis, Tulsa and back to Fort Worth.

Road trip overall good highway cruiser. My dog loved the center console removed on the 2nd row seats and he was able to sit on the floor or the seats. I found a way to build up the center row with his pillow and he could also stretch across the entire row side-side. He had a D-Ring clip tether to his harness, which allowed some freedom of movement to stretch but not too much. He also had a ice cooler on between the first and second row passengers side for a small snack and ice water tray.

Ride: Smooth and quiet. Normal volume during acceleration but no excessive road noise even during acceleration. Ride was about 95% interstate so good area to judge ride and noise. Even though sport suspension ride did not feel too stiff.

Safety Nannies: As skeptical as I was about them during purchase I have to admit they worked. Normal safety items such as BLIS/CTA/Forward Collision Warning worked as advertised. The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) worked as normal but there is a slight trick. DO NOT USE IN METRO AREAS especially during rush hour. When outside the metro areas I kept it to a four car length and it worked pretty much perfectly. The drawback in this feature is if you have it set to four car lengths and someone cuts in front of will try to keep that four car length interval.....even if it means you and dog hanging in your seatbelt for a few seconds) Think Landing in any short field airport of the country. I tried four car length to test but eventually set to two car lengths as a steady. If you wanted to give more buffer you could set to two during the day and maybe three-four at night.

Also whatever car length you set it wants to keep that, so even with a safe distance the vehicle will adjust speed to keep the interval....example cruise set at 75 MPH but actual speed might only be 71-72 to keep the spacing. Again safe and working as advertised just a FYI if you see speedometer needle lower than what is set in the speed window.

Fuel Economy, I have the Livernois Tune back from LMS but not installed yet. In this particular case that was good. Most of the stations on the DFW and Washington area were 93 but a lot of stations enroute especially Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma the highest octane available was 91. I observed that the fuel economy suffered even without the tune on the 89/91 octane. I was getting around 350 miles from a tank which is not that good. Even 20 MPG at a 18.5 gallon tank is 370. Yes mountains and hills but still not that good. I will use the 93 tune which seemed to yield low-mid 20's MPG in my SHO. Yes I know different vehicle but will feel confident in at least low 20's. When I switched back to 93 Octane my MPG went back up to around 22 which is decent considering hills, mountains, interstate speeds (70-80 MPH) usually around 75/76 for the 70 MPH stated and 78-80 for the 75 MPH States.

Just over 3300 miles and about 1/3 qt. of engine oil used. I am not totally worried and am factoring in some of the catch can drainage as part of that...…….Should I be worried with that kind of oil use on that distance, considering most engine use highway and not stop and go.?

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!

You are correct dropping octane will decrease mileage and power. Now you still could have loaded tune and brought device with you because they should have gave you 93 and 91 if not 89 87 as well. You could have loaded up right tune if not able to find 93. Now with such long highway use being turbocharged I wouldn't be concerned about a little oil loss just make sure you monitor and top off as needed. If it becomes consistent then maybe be concerned. Let me know if anything else we can help you with my name is Jake

Thanks, Jake...…….I have the tune but been wither too busy or now too cold to install. I used 93 wherever I could get it available. My normal road trip area is DFW-Carlisle or DC. 93 Octane is normally available on each end but enroute gets spotty. Added to the issue was the lack of "Top Tier" Stations and I will have to admit part of that is my fault for not researching better. The stations I have used before on the same enroute corridors and same octane were Top Tier so that helped offset some of the octane loss. Yes I know Top Tier is a extra cleaning additive but I still found better results with Top Tier stations even if not able to find 93. I will bring tuner next time and either set the 89 to start with and once I can get in the 93 Octane Corridor I will re calibrate. I guess my next road trip checklist needs to include a map of 93 Octane stations. One fairly noticeable improvement was Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Tulsa is 91 but that area is starting to get Ethanol Free stations.

Again I didn't install tune to begin with so not a major loss other than the range. Power seemed to be O.K. just fuel range. If you did a tank with compliant and non compliant stations under similar driving conditions the MPG, power and fuel range should be better.

To others wondering what "top Tier" gasoline rating is here is a quick overview. Keep in mind Top Tier is not a octane rating (87/89/91/93) or fuel grade Unleaded/Mid Grade/Premium/ but a detergent additive in that octane/grade to help reduce deposits in the injectors, intake valves. Basically a voluntary compliance method of higher levels of cleaning additives in the already regulated fuel. Also remember like the video. The Top Tier rating must be available across all grades for that station. Example. Costco. They must designate top tier for all grades. There are two parts to the Top Tier voluntary compliance. 1. Is the recommendations by the manufacturers for their engine designs. 2. Is the compliance by the fuel distributors, (Costco, Chevron, Exxon, Shell, Mobil,, Texaco etc...) Even though octanes may be different across different parts of the country the Top Tier designation must be available to the entire distribution network of that fuel station. Example to keep the Top Tier rating ALL Chevron stations must be compliant.

Top Tier Complaint list as of 1/1/2019: This is a quick partial list of major compliant fuel distributors

ARCO, Amoco, BP, Chevron, Conoco, Costco....(Yes Costco is compliant), Exxon, Mobil, Phillips 66, Shell, Sunoco,Texaco, Valero. Refer to the link for more detailed listing.

If you note the full list on the Top Tier site you might also note that some of the compliant companies are some low market, regional or even mom and pop stations.

Major fuel companies that ARE NOT Compliant as of Jan 1 2019

Loves, Pilot/Flying J, Speedway,

If in doubt check for the Top Toer label on the pump. Also keep in mind mergers, take overs there may be some companies that merge complaint and non compliant companies so watch.

Over all I find it to be a good program and if you compare stations especially in immediate area you should not see any difference in price. (Example Interstate exit with multiple fuel sources the prices should be the same or very little difference in price. If you have the choice for the same price take the Compliant fuel source. I have never had issue with Top Tier Stations even with not having the best octane available (93)

Remember Top Tier is a Voluntary compliance, but seems to be getting more attention. I was actually shocked to find out that some of the major fuel networks especially along major interstates were not part of the program. Also remember I am only talking about Automotive grade fuel (Unleaded/Premium, Super) Diesel is a separate category so refer to the list.


Yes a lot of my customers in the Texas Arizona area's have a low fuel octane even then what it says sometimes. So even though there pump says 91 octane we have to give them an 89 tune because of poor fuel quality.

Are there auxiliary fuel tanks available for the newer model explorers ?

My F150 holds 35 gallons and I get 600+ miles per tank. I love it.
It's not a factory option if that's what you mean. I also don't think there is a place to mount one.