Bought the car used from a very particular lease owner. It was in excellent shape. Paid $12K.
A/C blew three times... 1997, 1999 and 2000. Covered by warranty twice, but still cost labor. I live in Florida, not possible to own a non-A/C car as a family sedan. Poor trouble shooting by various Ford dealers would have prevented the second and 3rd blow-outs. They should have changed more parts than they did, and the radiator was not up to speed. I was driving it to Kansas and back every summer, so it was getting a workout. Last time, by reputable independent garage seems to have solved problem.
At 178,000+ miles, a serious engine noise occurred; sounded like bearings, but turned out to be a badly hammered lifter. Rebuilt the whole engine for about 5k.
Gas mileage has steadily deteriorated, which I attribute to the weakening of the transmission/torque converter. Eventually it will have to be rebuilt. Mechanic says wait till it blows completely and then do it all. One other transmission problem was the shifter for double low in 4WD that had to be replaced. Car was in warranty, but the warranty service said the fine print was only for internal parts, and the shifter was an electric motor on the outside of the case... I ate that one.
Other maintenance has included front bearings and hubs (4wd) ; muffler twice; electric window lifts and one window track; replaced cruise control panel in steering wheel; headlight switch replaced three times; odometer cable replaced; Molding around the rear cargo area windows leaked and replaced them twice, right side only? Probably because the car lives in a car port and gets sun on that side.
Gas tank float drowned at 220,000 miles, I just replaced it.
I love this car. I have put 157,000 miles on it, and plan to keep it. I started having back pains after I first got it, but added 2 inches of foam to the driver-seat cushion and cured the back pains. The paint has held up very well considering the horrible conditions it lives in. I would get the prisoners at Leavenworth to wax it twice a year; which I guess kept it well, but now at 15 years, it has lost a lot of battles to shopping carts and parking lot light poles, so the finish is looking sad.
I had a 1998 Explorer for while, got it from the same guy as this one; but it was not as well made as the 1991, so when I got an offer, I sold it in one day, kept the old one. It rides rough as a truck, but it keeps on going.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 14th January, 2006