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Time for another Explorer, any recommendations?

ejscarfo

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Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Explorer XLT
It's been awhile since I've posted here so please bear with me.

I'm the market for a larger SUV as my wife and I are expecting twins and my little Saturn Vue is not going to cut it when we all go out as we also have a son. I've had 2 Explorers in the past but they were the first and second generation models with the solid rear axle. Both the Explorers I had were great trucks and never let me down so I figured it might be a good replacement for my Vue as the family's second vehicle.

So, it seems like a third or fourth gen Explorer or second or third gen Mountaineer might work for me and I was wondering if any year was better than another. Either has to have the third row (I'm not sure they were standard) and I need the second row to have the 3 sections so I can take the middle part out so my son has easy access to the third row. I'd like a V8 model but I'd be open to the V6 as well. What should I be looking for when I shop for a used Explorer or Mountaineer of these generations? What are the common problems and issues people have had?

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 



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Joe in NY

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City, State
Binghamton, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Eddie Bauer V8 4X4
Well 3rd gen is the worst explorers and considered worst car ever made by ford....

Also, The 2nd row seats are benches. Nothing you can about it. I have the 30/30/30 split bench. I might be able to remove the middle section by unbolting it but I am not sure ATM.
 






ejscarfo

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1996 Explorer XLT
Well 3rd gen is the worst explorers and considered worst car ever made by ford....

Also, The 2nd row seats are benches. Nothing you can about it. I have the 30/30/30 split bench. I might be able to remove the middle section by unbolting it but I am not sure ATM.

I'm pretty sure I can unbolt the middle section, I'll have to do some research.

Would the 4th gen be any better? I see loads of 3rd and 4th gens for sale.
 






dla

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 2wd, 2.3, 5spd man
Well 3rd gen is the worst explorers and considered worst car ever made by ford....

Really? I didn't know that. Please, where did you learn this?
 






LMHmedchem

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Explorer XLT v8
I might recommend a 2010 v8 (gen4). They seem to go for around $10,000-$12,000 depending on miles and features. That price range is generally for trucks in the 100,000 mile range. I have seen them all the way down into the $6000 range, but they also get over $15,000 quickly when the miles are less than 100,000. If something like that would be in your price range, I might start there.

LMHmedchem
 






MarCar

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2010 Ford Explorer
2010

Just traded my 2005 for a nice 2010 with 64k miles. Real clean inside and out It's a much better vehicle and the upgrades are noticeable. It is a V6. It sold for just over $13000 at a local Ford garage. I say look for a similar find while you can. In a short time the trucks will be scarce and the crossovers will be the only choice. Good luck!

Marty:usa:
 












gtyates

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Goodlettsville Tennessee
Year, Model & Trim Level
'09 Sport Trac, '17 Explo
Maybe my wife and I have been lucky/fortunate/blessed but her 2004 4x4 Ex. has basically been trouble free since we purchased it in 2008 with around 30k miles. The only repairs have been the egr valve/sensor assembly, the rear wheel bearings, and recently the blower motor. We maintain it by the book, and so far it has treated us well in return. We have about 113k miles on it now. So, based on our experience so far, I would not call this the "worst vehicle Ford ever produced". Just my 2 cents worth.

To ejscarfo, we have the third row in ours, which is very handy. I do wish it had rear air, and I highly recommend a unit with rear air regardless of which generation you buy.

My uncle and aunt have a 2008 2 wheel drive that has 160k and still going strong. Like mine, they also have the 4.0 V6.

I believe the key to these units is maintenance. Try to find as much info as you can on maintenance history before you purchase. Carfax reports can help with this if it was repaired at a facility that reports to Carfax. Also, Ford can run warranty claims reports to give you a clue about the early life of the vehicle.
 






fordysenior

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City, State
Snow elevation California
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Expl 4x4 XLT 4.6L
My 2002 four wheel drive has been a very reliable vehicle. Still no rattles at 120k miles, bought it used in 2004 with 26k. My second row seats are the multi fold down type, but I'm thinking mine was a custom order vehicle.
 






apenland01

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City, State
Tucson AZ
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Eddie Bauer V8 4.6L
Mine has the tri-fold second row and the third row seats. I know it was an option package (included in the Eddie Bauer), so some models may have the third row and others just have the large cargo area.

I think if you get the v8, it will last you a long time and is a great family vehicle. I've got nothing but good things to say about mine with 206,000 on it, but I bought it brand new and have done all the PM over the years.

Good luck!
 






Machine090767

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City, State
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2014 Explorer XLT
The worst year for the Explorer was 2002. many complaints about transmission problems.
 






ejscarfo

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1996 Explorer XLT
So does anyone know if the middle seat in the second row can be removed where you have the 30/30/30 split? I've seen Aviators that have a center console in the second row so I'm sure I could remove that and place a mat over the holes but I'm not sure about the 30/30/30 split seats. I remember reading that the center seat holds the seat belt receivers. Anyone have any ideas?
 






LMHmedchem

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Since the back seats fold forward, is it not possible to just climb over the rear seats and into the back? Have you ever looked at one of these models to see how easy or difficult the 3rd row access actually is? Maybe it's not enough of an issue to bother with.

LMHmedchem
 






extra-medium

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City, State
Charlottesville, VA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Mercury Mountaineer
The middle row should all fold flat and the outside seats fold flat and flip forward to gain access to the 3rd row. The middle seat should have a small storage compartment under it if you pull the seat bottom forward from the back. I would suggest getting one with the V-8 since the V-6 is prone to have timing chain problems. Fuel mileage will be roughly the same and the 4.6 gives you 30 more hp. I would get either the 4wd or AWD depending if you get Explorer or Mountaineer. The rear air package is nice. I haven't used it over the summer since my A/C compressor went out but over the winter it is nice to be able to have even heating through the whole vehicle. I wish I found one with a sunroof, but that is just my preference, and I absolutely love the Audiophile stereo that is in it. Wiring can be a common problem to worry about here and there but that isn't something you can really predict, mine is intermittent. If you go for a V-6 model I would listen closely to the engine run with the hood open for any signs of tapping/rattling from the timing chains. Last is the transmission. The later years had better transmissions since Ford switched to a 5 speed auto in 2002 and it was about halfway through the model year when the figured some problems out.

I wouldn't say they were the worst car ever made by Ford, I think that goes to the Pinto. The Explorers have had problems but almost every car does at some point and it is expected after a major revision like Ford did in 2002, since it was a ground up redesign.
 












chefduane

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Get a Toyota 4Runner.

heh... or a 1980 Checker Superba with the GM straight 6. Built like a tank, plenty of room, and it'll last forever.:salute:
 






lincolnshibuya

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2002 mercury mountaineer
actually the straight six WJ (Jeep Grand Cherokee 99-04) are way simpler and easy to work with compared to Explorers. i found one really cheap, it's a laredo but all the upgrades from a v8 limited are all plug and play (all came from junk yard), ended up with all the luxury features at a bargain price (leather seats, auto dim mirrors, auto headlights, fog, home link)

the forum support and docs about jeep are also abundant (too many jeep forums)
 






lincolnshibuya

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I wouldn't say they were the worst car ever made by Ford, I think that goes to the Pinto. The Explorers have had problems but almost every car does at some point and it is expected after a major revision like Ford did in 2002, since it was a ground up redesign.

try owning one of those new edge cougars (1999-2002) they are the mechanic's worst car to work with. i also find the design of it very idiotic as if drop outs from mechanical engineering were hired to design this car mechanically (partnered with porsche) it's a very nimble car (v6) with lots of power but once you start replacing parts that's where the cursing begins. it also has electrical issues where the dealership just issued a hack rather than a redesign (move the wire closer to the battery) and you're wondering who the hell designed the electrical portion of this car (the accountants!)
 






ejscarfo

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1996 Explorer XLT
Since the back seats fold forward, is it not possible to just climb over the rear seats and into the back? Have you ever looked at one of these models to see how easy or difficult the 3rd row access actually is? Maybe it's not enough of an issue to bother with.

LMHmedchem

Once I have two baby seats secured, I won't be able to fold down either of the seats they are in including the one in the middle because the baby seats are wide. I don't want to have my son jump over the seat. If I could just remove the center section then access to the third row would be a breeze.

I need to actually see one and fold down the middle to see how high it is folded. I'd let my son climb over it if need be.
 



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