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The Atkins Explorer

Joe Dirt

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07 Camry
This is a great read about how the new Ex really came to be the way it is, and who both threatened it, and saved it at the same time.

"He gave Ford engineers an ultimatum: Put the Explorer on a diet, or it’s dead..."


CLICK ME




 
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bcbid

Active Member
Joined
April 1, 2008
Messages
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City, State
,MI
Year, Model & Trim Level
1993 Eddie Bauer (4X4)
If anybody could save Ford. Mulally could. IMO Buying several shares of Ford Stock when it was around $1.74 per share was one of my better investment plans. :):thumbsup::D
 

Bwana Bob

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February 2, 2002
Messages
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City, State
Morris Plains, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
92 XLT
Well... I have mixed reactions to the new Explorer. Ford really had no choice but to redesign it if they wanted to stay competitive. I don't see any Explorer DNA in this new vehicle. They had to keep the Explorer name, though. Ford learned their lesson when they dropped the Taurus name in favor of Ford 500. "Explorer II" won't do. (Remember the ill-fated Mustang II?) The Explorer name is legendary (at least among Explorer enthusiasts) and no doubt Ford hopes that the name will attract present Explorer owners looking to trade up, and perhaps they also hope that this new model will become legendary.

Styling: Personally, I prefer the boxy truck-like styling of the old Ex, but it had the aerodynamics of a brick, so Ford had to rake back the windshield and put in more curves. The front looks OK, a little like a Range Rover. The back looks like an Edge (yuk) or Subaru Tribeca (double yuk). I think I could get used to it. All new SUVs (CUVs?) are starting to look like that anyway.

Design features I like: (1) The terrain management system is a major improvement. Here in NJ, in winter the roads go from snow/ice to dry pavement and back. I find that I have to constantly switch in and out of 4WD with my '92 Ex. (2) The ability to manually shift the transmission. I would have preferred an available manual transmission, but at least the new transmission gives some level of control to the driver.

I am doubtful: It is built on the Taurus platform. I don't see how an SUV built with a passenger car suspension and drivetrain can be as rugged as the old design. Aren't MacPherson struts and CV joints pretty fragile? Plus, there is no low range. I do use the low range for creeping through snow, but admittedly, the mall cruisers and soccer moms (i.e. most owners) probably never use it over the life of the vehicle. Maybe the terrain management system overcomes the lack of a low range transfer case.

Glaring errors: (What was Ford thinking?): (1) Compact spare tire on a 4X4?
(2) The air dam on the front, while it is supposed to improve fuel economy, is much too low. (3) The radio antenna is on the roof, which means one has to remove it to carry a kayak or lumber. Its height is such that it may even snap off while going into the garage. These issues are probably not deal breakers, but I hope that Ford corrects them with the next model year.

I do hope that Ford sells a lot of Explorers. I think that the new Ex will compete well against the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Jeep Grand Cherokee. I just don't know if it would be a good replacement for my venerable '92 XLT, when the time comes. I would consider an Escape, which looks a lot more like the traditional Explorer, but it will be replaced by the Kuga/Vertrex, and it doesn't have enough cargo space to suit me. A Ranger might better meet my needs, but it is being discontinued. Looking at present and future vehicles gives me even more incentive to keep my 1st gen Explorer running!
 

College Student

Well-Known Member
Joined
September 27, 2010
Messages
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City, State
Indinapolis, IN
Year, Model & Trim Level
'03 EB
In thew article it spoke about using aluminum for the hood to save more weight, except I thought Ford was already doing this, im not sure anymore but i thought my hood was aluminum. meaning the new hood saves no weight because that weight has already been taken care of.
 

BrooklynBay

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Year, Model & Trim Level
88 89 93 95 96 Aerostars

IZwack

Moderator Emeritus
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City, State
Germantown, MD
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer
Why not just use fiberglass? It's been used on the Econolines for over a decade now.
 

BrooklynBay

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IZwack

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Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer
Fiberglass eventually develops cracks.
I think that depends on the structural design. I've had two E-350s (a 95 and now an 01) and, at the time of ownership, were both at 10+ years of age, and both hoods were fine.
 
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snoranger

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 28, 2007
Messages
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City, State
Jackson, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 limited on 35's
I think that depends on the structural design. I've had two E-350s (a 95 and now an 01) and, at the time of ownership, were both at 10+ years of age, and both hoods were fine.
+1. I got a '94 we bought brand new, you can feel free to come check it for cracks, you wont find any.
 

BrooklynBay

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Backwoods "X"

Active Member
Joined
June 20, 2011
Messages
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City, State
Mt. Sterling, Ky
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 XLT
This thing looks like a Taurus that had a bad allergic reaction to peanuts: MAJOR swelling. NO THANKS. I will keep my 84 BII, 94 X, and the new to us 98 Mounty. If this is the crap that is going to be continually foisted upon us, then, a new ride is NOT going to be a part of this family.

Old School For Ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( Even if it is EFI. )
 

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