Should I Take Mounty To Alaska, Or Rent A Car? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Should I Take Mounty To Alaska, Or Rent A Car?

mountaineer2004

Elite Explorer
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Mountaineer (AWD V8)
I've recently retired from work, so I've decided to take a road trip of a lifetime from NY to Alaska...with a 20 yo 315k car.

It's impeccably maintained, so I had no worries about doing so, but only recently started hearing the putt-putt-putt of an exhaust manifold leak.

It's not normally there, but only upon acceleration, so it's not a problem so far. My question is do you think it'll stay this way for 9k miles?

Although I always planned on bringing the vehicle title with me just in case I needed to junk it, I'd rather not have that complication in some lonely place.

I only recently replaced all fuel injectors, coils, and plugs myself in preparation for the big trip, and I'm willing to replace the manifold, although I don't want to open up a can of worms.

So my question is, what's the chance of the exhaust manifold suddenly opening up...or will it only gradually increase in noise? Thanks.

@boominXplorer
 



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If it’s only the manifold you’re worried about, I’d say run it. I don’t think it’s going to have a catastrophic failure, it’ll just get louder and might not get any worse than it is. I had a cracked manifold on my last Mounty for years, and probably 50k.

It never really changed, I had to change it out for inspection, or I’d have just left it.

I say go for it.
 






If it’s only the manifold you’re worried about, I’d say run it. I don’t think it’s going to have a catastrophic failure, it’ll just get louder and might not get any worse than it is. I had a cracked manifold on my last Mounty for years, and probably 50k.

It never really changed, I had to change it out for inspection, or I’d have just left it.

I say go for it.
Thanks for your helpful reply. I'm winding down maintenance on the car (only relatively minor upkeep now), so if it lasts the trip that'll be perfect.

Unless it blows wide open before the trip, I'll take it and hope for the best, and make it part of the adventure.
 






I'd rent.
Less worry, you'll save the rental cost in fuel alone.

Let alone worry about your own vehicle sleeping in a strange place every night. Rent an Altima. It only hurts the first few minutes after getting out. Youll get over 35 mpg. Do that math.

Rent at an airport for lowest cost and secure parking for your vehicle while away.

You might even have credit card miles which will apply toward rental. Use the card on your trip, accrue more miles.
 






At 4 bux per gallon, Mounty fuel will exceed 1900.00
Altima or similar 950. Saving will mount as fuel price gets higher. Looking at 8500 mile round trip at least. You'll need oil changes both ways. Rental, just fill oil as needed
 






At 4 bux per gallon, Mounty fuel will exceed 1900.00
Altima or similar 950. Saving will mount as fuel price gets higher. Looking at 8500 mile round trip at least. You'll need oil changes both ways. Rental, just fill oil as needed
$$ is good to save, but it's not everything in life...this will be the road trip of my lifetime, so it's no expense spared here.

I'm planning on getting the oil changed just before I leave, and then again in Fairbanks at Seekins Ford.
 






Why are you determined to take such an old vehicle on such a long trip? I mean my explorer is very comfortable to drive in but there is no way I'd take it on a trip that long. You are just courting disaster. The rental idea seems like a good one., I actually know someone who just did cross country and back in a rental nissan rogue and it worked out fine.

If a rental goes belly up on you during the trip, you call the rental agency and they will have you in a new vehicle the same day and you never have to even think about the broken down one and at no additional expense to you. If your own vehicle dies you either have to fix it or junk it and you are stuck until it's fixed or you can buy a new vehicle.

It sounds worse and worse the more I think about it. Rent something and leave the mounty at home. I only use mine for running around when we need to move something big or dirty and once a year to move my kid out of his dorm. If it dies, and it has, we are never far from home.
 






in some ways, regardless of expense, i like taking the explorer. from the heart standpoint, i know everything thats been in it, the space, its clean, and there is just something about making memories in your own rig. now from the head standpoint, rental makes much more sense.
 






That's alot for an older vehicle. It's all the little stuff that can get you. The heater hose connectors, fuel pump, transmission, wheel bearings, ect. That being said I'd drive my raptor with 272k on it up there if I wanted to. Would it make it? Most likely. Would it be cheaper on fuel to rent one? Probably. Could I be able to rest knowing I'm paying daily for a car? Not really. I've got the newer explorer so anytime I go far we are in that but I've been averaging 25k mi per year on the raptor so it doesn't sit still. If you don't mind being at the mercy of other shops and don't want a rental then jump in your truck and go.

Oh and like it was already mentioned the manifold won't get but so bad. I don't recommend and amature messing with rusty exhaust studs. Good way to have a driveway ornament for a few weeks
 






Do it! In 2019 I drove a 1977 F150 from Nevada to Anchorage over about 12 days. It was a trip I will always remember not only for the trip itself but also for the vehicle that took me there. I wouldn't say that in a rental car. The Canadian border agent even looked at us funny when we crossed and asked my friend and I if we were sure the truck would make it all the way to Alaska.

One thing to consider for a rental car is being able to cross into Canada with it. You may have to avoid that altogether and take a ferry which takes some of the fun out of it (IMO) and you miss a lot of scenery along the way vs. being on the interior pavement. Also, the Alaskan highway is rough from frost heaves so there are a lot of bumps and rollers in the pavement so make sure your suspension is in good condition with good shocks.

For traveling from the Canadian Border up through Alaska I would highly recommend buying a book called The Milepost for Alaska and reading through it a month or two before your trip and highlighting things you are interested in. It was a big help in planning my trip and knowing where to stop at cool places for hikes, camping, history and other points of interest. Drive the Cassiar Highway going one way and the regular Alaskan Highway the other.
 






Are you under 50? Drive the Mounty, take a risk, have an adventure.
Are you over 50? Get a rental, you don’t need the risk.
 






Are you under 50? Drive the Mounty, take a risk, have an adventure.
Are you over 50? Get a rental, you don’t need the risk.
I'm in my early 60s. I used to sleep in my car in parking lots and sneak into private campgrounds to shower, but those days are long gone...now I need a Hilton hotel room to be comfortable.

If the putt-putt-putt stays the same I'll take my Mounty and get a pic of it in Fairbanks.

If it gets worse beforehand, I'll think of other options. Thank you for all the helpful replies.
 






I've recently retired from work, so I've decided to take a road trip of a lifetime from NY to Alaska...with a 20 yo 315k car.

It's impeccably maintained, so I had no worries about doing so, but only recently started hearing the putt-putt-putt of an exhaust manifold leak.

It's not normally there, but only upon acceleration, so it's not a problem so far. My question is do you think it'll stay this way for 9k miles?

Although I always planned on bringing the vehicle title with me just in case I needed to junk it, I'd rather not have that complication in some lonely place.

I only recently replaced all fuel injectors, coils, and plugs myself in preparation for the big trip, and I'm willing to replace the manifold, although I don't want to open up a can of worms.

So my question is, what's the chance of the exhaust manifold suddenly opening up...or will it only gradually increase in noise? Thanks.

@boominXplorer
I would buy a manifold, gasket, needed hardware etc. and take it with me just incase it fails to the point it needs replaced. This way any shop can do the repair quickly and you won't have to try and get parts out in the middle of nowhere.
 






A trip of a lifetime. I'm a truck driver and I hope to eventually drive that way as well. I say take your car, I'd do the same.
 






Everyone needs a 7.3 excursion!
What a beautiful drive

An old clunker w exhaust leak will fit right in up there!
 






Why are you determined to take such an old vehicle on such a long trip? I mean my explorer is very comfortable to drive in but there is no way I'd take it on a trip that long. You are just courting disaster. The rental idea seems like a good one., I actually know someone who just did cross country and back in a rental nissan rogue and it worked out fine.

If a rental goes belly up on you during the trip, you call the rental agency and they will have you in a new vehicle the same day and you never have to even think about the broken down one and at no additional expense to you. If your own vehicle dies you either have to fix it or junk it and you are stuck until it's fixed or you can buy a new vehicle.

It sounds worse and worse the more I think about it. Rent something and leave the mounty at home. I only use mine for running around when we need to move something big or dirty and once a year to move my kid out of his dorm. If it dies, and it has, we are never far from home.
Mostly for the challenge and plus I want Mounty to see Alaska too...it's our final voyage together after previously taking me to the 4 corners of the US...Key West Florida, Fort Kent Maine, San Diego California, Forks Washington (and the "Four Corners" : UT, CO, NM, AZ)

I would buy a manifold, gasket, needed hardware etc. and take it with me just incase it fails to the point it needs replaced. This way any shop can do the repair quickly and you won't have to try and get parts out in the middle of nowhere.
Good thinking...maybe I'll spray the manifold bolts with PB Blaster beforehand to make it easier in case it pops.

A trip of a lifetime. I'm a truck driver and I hope to eventually drive that way as well. I say take your car, I'd do the same.
I like your thinking!

Everyone needs a 7.3 excursion!
What a beautiful drive

An old clunker w exhaust leak will fit right in up there!
Old Clunkers and Alaska go together for sure!
 






If she’s taken you everywhere else, let her take you to Alaska. It’s a Mountaineer, she’ll bring you home.

You’re obviously well traveled. Prepare the best you can, and send it.
 






Rent. You going to go through some rough areas for a breakdown. If you do drive it, make sure you have the extra tow miles of AAA.
 






Rent. You going to go through some rough areas for a breakdown. If you do drive it, make sure you have the extra tow miles of AAA.
True enough, but I'm probably not going to take the Dalton Highway like I originally planned, so it should be okay.

Excellent suggestion on the extended AAA, I'll do that!
 



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True enough, but I'm probably not going to take the Dalton Highway like I originally planned, so it should be okay.

Excellent suggestion on the extended AAA, I'll do that!
esp for a long trip like this having aaa premeir (or howveer much miles you feel is adequate) is really helpful, especiall with okder vehicles
 






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