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Which year is the most reliable Explorer?

tpalen46

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I am looking to buy a 2006-2010 Explorer. I know very little about them, so I was wondering if anyone had any opinions on which years are the most reliable. I would probably buy one with around 100,000 miles on it, and would like to get at least 3 years out of it. I would love to hear any information or opinions, Thanks!
 



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Rcflyer330

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2010 Ford Explorer XLT V6
Typically the later years are better (less age) but the best years are 2008 to 2010 with the V8 engine. Even with a 2010 you are looking at an 11 year old vehicle and some parts could be hard to find.

Everybody will tell you to stay away from the v6 they have too many problems. My 2010 v6 has 160k miles original engine and trans I changed the oil when the car said too until 75k then every 5k since. I don't believe the trans fluid has every been changed (possibly playing with fire there). The trans seems to be shifting fine but not as smooth as when it was new. The engine does have a timing chain tick when the temp falls below 30 f but that goes away as soon as the engine warms up. On the topic of timing chain I have had a noise when decelerating when the engine is cold (i believe it to be the rear timing chain) that has been there since around 60k miles. Common problems I have had are rear axle seals the second one took out the diff so keep an eye out for leaks. The other is thermostats I have had two fail one was slow to open the other stuck open. The front wheel bearings have been changed twice. I have had problems with brakes not lasting long before a pulsation starts (I am on the 4th or 5th set now hopefully I fixed it this time) this is not common. I will strait up say I don't follow the book on maintenance or maintain the car like everybody says (oil every 3k trans fluid every 30k along with the transfer case and diff fluids) and have gotten 160k miles and still going. I do try and keep some of the salt off the car and only have one spot of corrosion that is visible if you look hard enough the under side well that a different story. The biggest problem with the v6 is the timing chains they are expensive to fix its pretty much cheaper to get a reman or salvage engine unless you do it yourself. The trans its not that strong and has some problems with servo bores wearing out and shift bands breaking. While I would really like to have the v8 I like my v6.

Common problems that I see on here are radiator leaking, thermostat housing leaking(v6), wheel bearings, soft brake pedal, ac check valve, and blend doors stripping gears.
 






Mbrooks420

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The most durable, and cheapest to operate Explorer would be a 99-2001 V8, or a 2nd Gen OHV 5 speed.
 






94Eddie

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Here is a reply I made to a previous post asking nearly the same question:

Get a 2009 or 2010 V8. The reasons are:

  • The V8 is more reliable than the V6 and doesn't have the timing chain issues.
  • The V8 doesn't require removal of the engine to replace the chains and guides, if necessary.
  • The V8 has the six speed transmission which is more robust and reliable than the five speeds used in the V6s.
  • The V8 gets the same gas mileage as the V6 and has a good bit more power.
  • The 2009 and 2010 V8 models have the newer design spark plugs so the chance of breaking them during replacement is lower.
  • The wiring insulation appears to be better and does not deteriorate like it can on the 2006-2008 models.
  • The 2009 and 2010 V8 models have the beefier 6R80 transmission that has a higher torque rating than the 6R60 transmissions in the 2006-2008 V8 models.
Personally, I wouldn't buy a V6 3rd or 4th gen model unless it had well under 100k miles on it. Even then I would immediately install a pre-oiler to limit the odds of a timing chain/guide failure. Also, the V6s have the five speed transmissions that are almost guaranteed to need a rebuild as the miles rack up over 100k. There are still plenty of V8 models to buy but you have to be patient to snag a good one. My advice is to buy one that hasn't lived in the rust belt. Even if you have to travel to find one. Lastly, a Carfax report will tell you where a vehicle has spent the majority of its life and give you some info on maintenance history and might indicate collision damage.
 






410Fortune

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I have heard many many good things about the 2010 model with the v8 they are proving to be VERY reliable and fun to own
 






mountaineer2004

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The 5 speed transmission is reliable, at least for me.
I still have the original one and it's going strong at 247K.
Or maybe I just got lucky. Only changed ATF once, at 100K.

But in answer to your original question, get the later years of this generation with the V8. 2009/2010 instead of 2006/2007.
Just like in my (preceding) generation, the general thinking is the later years 2004/2005 are more reliable than the early 2002/2003.
YMMV.
 






07EddyB

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Tough call. I would say any 2006 to 2010 that has a V8 which, of course, is against conventional wisdom here. I have a 2007 V8 - the only thing I know about the V6 is what I read here but it sounds pretty bad engine and transmission wise to the V8. My timing components are holding up well at 120K+. My 6R60 responded very well at 100K to a proper pan drop - filter change - and the proper attention to fluid level afterwards. Yeah - I lost a follower but fixed it cheap. It's not like Ford is the only company using roller rockers on overhead cams.
There is no way I can emphatically prove this - but if you can score a V8 with maintenance records then you are likely good. Oil pressure matters so much on how these 3V engines work that history matters a lot. I bought mine a year old with 17K as a CPO. So I've been in charge since it was practically new and while it's been challenging at times, it's been manageable.
At the end of the day, everything changes when you buy any vehicle with 100K. Anyone can destroy a vehicle in 100K miles.
 






96eb96

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Tough call. I would say any 2006 to 2010 that has a V8 which, of course, is against conventional wisdom here. I have a 2007 V8 - the only thing I know about the V6 is what I read here but it sounds pretty bad engine and transmission wise to the V8. My timing components are holding up well at 120K+. My 6R60 responded very well at 100K to a proper pan drop - filter change - and the proper attention to fluid level afterwards. Yeah - I lost a follower but fixed it cheap. It's not like Ford is the only company using roller rockers on overhead cams.
There is no way I can emphatically prove this - but if you can score a V8 with maintenance records then you are likely good. Oil pressure matters so much on how these 3V engines work that history matters a lot. I bought mine a year old with 17K as a CPO. So I've been in charge since it was practically new and while it's been challenging at times, it's been manageable.
At the end of the day, everything changes when you buy any vehicle with 100K. Anyone can destroy a vehicle in 100K miles.
The 09-10 use the 6R80 Trans, which is from the F150. All the bugs were worked out, supposed to be good. But, I looked at an 10 V8 Explorer at a used car lot, 110K or so, the owner said he just rebuilt the trans, he bought it at an auction thinking it was bulletproof. He thinks the prior owners used it for near capacity towing, the hitch was pretty well worn. I think the V8 could tow almost 8k lbs, putting it in base F150 territory.



Still, in this generation of explorer (for the V8) (not so common things that can happen)
-The 06 v8 transmission seems to have many complaints, but I've driven 2, a mounty and an explorer, they drove perfect.
-There is a tsb about the cam followers, one can fail and possibly take out the engine (or nothing)...
-Exhaust Manifolds, and it is a difficult job, I've seen a few with this problem.
-Cam phasors (not very common on the 4.6, but it does happen). Again, the used vehicle thing, oil changes, etc.
-Radiators (not such a big deal)
 






tripplec

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Here is a reply I made to a previous post asking nearly the same question:

Get a 2009 or 2010 V8. The reasons are:

  • The V8 is more reliable than the V6 and doesn't have the timing chain issues.
  • The V8 doesn't require removal of the engine to replace the chains and guides, if necessary.
  • The V8 has the six speed transmission which is more robust and reliable than the five speeds used in the V6s.
  • The V8 gets the same gas mileage as the V6 and has a good bit more power.
  • The 2009 and 2010 V8 models have the newer design spark plugs so the chance of breaking them during replacement is lower.
  • The wiring insulation appears to be better and does not deteriorate like it can on the 2006-2008 models.
  • The 2009 and 2010 V8 models have the beefier 6R80 transmission that has a higher torque rating than the 6R60 transmissions in the 2006-2008 V8 models.
Personally, I wouldn't buy a V6 3rd or 4th gen model unless it had well under 100k miles on it. Even then I would immediately install a pre-oiler to limit the odds of a timing chain/guide failure. Also, the V6s have the five speed transmissions that are almost guaranteed to need a rebuild as the miles rack up over 100k. There are still plenty of V8 models to buy but you have to be patient to snag a good one. My advice is to buy one that hasn't lived in the rust belt. Even if you have to travel to find one. Lastly, a Carfax report will tell you where a vehicle has spent the majority of its life and give you some info on maintenance history and might indicate collision damage.

Sums it up, higher trim builds as well but for power train etc as stated above is by far the best way to got. What we considered before buying one. These engines require regular oil changes and we've used Synthetic since picking it up as well.
 






Thorhome

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I am looking to buy a 2006-2010 Explorer. I know very little about them, so I was wondering if anyone had any opinions on which years are the most reliable. I would probably buy one with around 100,000 miles on it, and would like to get at least 3 years out of it. I would love to hear any information or opinions, Thanks!
We have a 2006 with 175,000 miles on it. Have had no engine, transmission or coolant issues. All we have done is just recently is change front passenger and back driver site wheel bearings other than brakes. Has been very reliable. Has started to rust , but we live in Wisconsin with salt on roads during winter. Everything rusts up here.
 






tripplec

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2010 next 2009 with V8 4.6L & AWD Only. Scratch everything else. The why's are in the forum if you want to spend the time going over years of discussions. 2010 was the last year of the true Explorer thats why for the year
 






94Eddie

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2010 next 2009 with V8 4.6L & AWD Only. Scratch everything else. The why's are in the forum if you want to spend the time going over years of discussions. 2010 was the last year of the true Explorer thats why for the year
I agree. I spent 2-3 months waiting on a suitable 2010 model to show up. Also, it is just as important, IMO, to buy one that has lived its life outside the rust belt areas of the country. The damage caused by being exposed to 10+ years of road salt is not something I would want to deal with unless I bought it really cheap to use as a beater.
 






tripplec

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If any in this group are Krown or Rust Proof treated regularity then you should be ok. We have to do it here in Ontario as well. Bottom of tail gate, doors and rocker panels are the first to got if its not been done.
 






94Eddie

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If any in this group are Krown or Rust Proof treated regularity then you should be ok. We have to do it here in Ontario as well. Bottom of tail gate, doors and rocker panels are the first to got if its not been done.
I would agree. If someone has gone to the trouble of diligently rustproofing year after year they have probably maintained the vehicle well in other areas.
 






mijd

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Tough call. I would say any 2006 to 2010 that has a V8 which, of course, is against conventional wisdom here. I have a 2007 V8 - the only thing I know about the V6 is what I read here but it sounds pretty bad engine and transmission wise to the V8. My timing components are holding up well at 120K+. My 6R60 responded very well at 100K to a proper pan drop - filter change - and the proper attention to fluid level afterwards. Yeah - I lost a follower but fixed it cheap. It's not like Ford is the only company using roller rockers on overhead cams.
There is no way I can emphatically prove this - but if you can score a V8 with maintenance records then you are likely good. Oil pressure matters so much on how these 3V engines work that history matters a lot. I bought mine a year old with 17K as a CPO. So I've been in charge since it was practically new and while it's been challenging at times, it's been manageable.
At the end of the day, everything changes when you buy any vehicle with 100K. Anyone can destroy a vehicle in 100K miles.
I agree the V8 with maintenance records is the only way to go. I bought a 06 with a 4.6L V8 at 101k 4 years ago with 155k presently. Always a FL vehicle (although Carfax swears it was driven to CA for one oil change) I've changed the oil every 3k miles. At 115k with a engine service light on, I had the plugs and coils changed using motorcraft parts. Since that time I've had the radiator changed, alternator, all wheel brake job, front pads about a month ago, 3 of 4 wheel bearings, (the last is squeaking now) upper and lower ball joints. At 140 the engine started ticking, had the rollers and lifters replaced on the right engine bank.
 






tripplec

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that was a different engine than the new V8 used in 09 and 10 years. Yeah, we're using Pennzoil Utra Synthetic in my son's exclusively with figures crossed.
 






Thorhome

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Typically the later years are better (less age) but the best years are 2008 to 2010 with the V8 engine. Even with a 2010 you are looking at an 11 year old vehicle and some parts could be hard to find.

Everybody will tell you to stay away from the v6 they have too many problems. My 2010 v6 has 160k miles original engine and trans I changed the oil when the car said too until 75k then every 5k since. I don't believe the trans fluid has every been changed (possibly playing with fire there). The trans seems to be shifting fine but not as smooth as when it was new. The engine does have a timing chain tick when the temp falls below 30 f but that goes away as soon as the engine warms up. On the topic of timing chain I have had a noise when decelerating when the engine is cold (i believe it to be the rear timing chain) that has been there since around 60k miles. Common problems I have had are rear axle seals the second one took out the diff so keep an eye out for leaks. The other is thermostats I have had two fail one was slow to open the other stuck open. The front wheel bearings have been changed twice. I have had problems with brakes not lasting long before a pulsation starts (I am on the 4th or 5th set now hopefully I fixed it this time) this is not common. I will strait up say I don't follow the book on maintenance or maintain the car like everybody says (oil every 3k trans fluid every 30k along with the transfer case and diff fluids) and have gotten 160k miles and still going. I do try and keep some of the salt off the car and only have one spot of corrosion that is visible if you look hard enough the under side well that a different story. The biggest problem with the v6 is the timing chains they are expensive to fix its pretty much cheaper to get a reman or salvage engine unless you do it yourself. The trans its not that strong and has some problems with servo bores wearing out and shift bands breaking. While I would really like to have the v8 I like my v6.

Common problems that I see on here are radiator leaking, thermostat housing leaking(v6), wheel bearings, soft brake pedal, ac check valve, and blend doors stripping gears.
I had a reply before, but didn't mention mine was a V6. It has 170 thousand miles on it and like I said no engine, has 5 speed transmission and shifts fine. But my decision to choose a V6 would be to gas mileage. Short trips I still get 18/19 miles per gallon and on trips close to 23 and mine is a 2006. They have plenty of power. I can pass someone like nothing when I want too, lots of get up and go. I have a automatic starter and when it like 10 below it still starts with the remote. My choice would be V6.
 






ThunderbirdSport

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that was a different engine than the new V8 used in 09 and 10 years. Yeah, we're using Pennzoil Utra Synthetic in my son's exclusively with figures crossed.

I don't think there's enough of a difference in the engines at all to come to a definitive point where one is "better" than the other. HOW is it better? Different plugs? Most of all of them at this point have probably had the plugs changed. The stuff that concerns me more than plugs are the phasers, and the unknown quality/quantity of oil changes. It's commonly agreed that all of the 3v engines like good fresh oil and it's pretty much universally accepted that synthetic is important too.

The engine's wiring issues are well known. The newer units also will likely have a bit less mileage, but this isn't always the case, too.
The trans was updated, and was a little stronger. I'd not sweat that unless you pull a trailer a lot. Odds are, if you need to pull a trailer where you're worried about transmission issues, you probably need a bigger tow vehicle in the first place.

Pretty much all else is unchanged AFAIK. Some interior doo-dads and the Sync.

My '06 Eddie B just turned over 200K Friday night...still runs out strong and I'm not too gentle with it. Starting to get a little hub noise, I don't know when they were last done, I've owned it two years in March. Needs balls joints and brakes, hubs, and tie rod ends probably. Has the common exhaust leak, everything else is good to go. I'd not hesitate to drive to either ocean, as long as I can rob a bank or two on the way...she's thirsty.


I had a reply before, but didn't mention mine was a V6. It has 170 thousand miles on it and like I said no engine, has 5 speed transmission and shifts fine. But my decision to choose a V6 would be to gas mileage. Short trips I still get 18/19 miles per gallon and on trips close to 23 and mine is a 2006. They have plenty of power. I can pass someone like nothing when I want too, lots of get up and go. I have a automatic starter and when it like 10 below it still starts with the remote. My choice would be V6.

If you've got 170K on that V6 and the engine's never been opened up, you're exceedingly lucky. I'd buy a lottery ticket...
 






michael loibl

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I’m almost at 170,000 on my 2006 V6 as well. Original motor and trans, owned since new and been pulling a camper since 2010
 



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Todd82TA

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Everybody will tell you to stay away from the v6 they have too many problems. My 2010 v6 has 160k miles original engine and trans I changed the oil when the car said too until 75k then every 5k since.


Very surprised to hear people say this? I had a 2002 Ford Explorer Sport which I loved dearly. I bought it in 2009 w/ 32k miles on it. It was in great shape, but I got it for cheap because apparently a bunch of people threw up in it, and got in an accident, which had been completely repaired. The vomit smell was fantastic (not)... and for at least the next 3 years in the South Florida summers... man, it stank. It eventually went away, and I continued to drive it as my primary car (I like to save money). I loved that it was a 2-door, etc. I finally donated it in August of 2019 before I deployed to Afghanistan. I gave it to some kid in the neighborhood who had straight As. I'd literally stopped changing the oil or doing any maintenance on it because I knew I'd be donating it and figured I'd let them take care of it. I donated it with 183k miles. Only thing I'd ever done to the engine was change the spark plugs, and to be more accurate, I only changed 5 of them (yep... couldn't reach the 6th one... hahah). That was a year and a half ago, and the kid keeps it gleaming... I see it on the road all the time. It has to have over 200k miles on it now.

That V6 was one of the most rock-solid engines I've ever had. I didn't even have the "death rattle" that everyone talks about. I did have to change the water neck (which cracked) at 150k miles? And I also changed out the belt tensioner and fan clutch... but those are all things you expect after that many miles. I mean, literally... the car was perfect...
 






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