-Sway bar/Stabilizer bar links broke - my fault doing drift corners in the snow around the city, replaced with stronger ones, never any problems since, and I still do drifting :) fairly cheap parts and labour ($150 installed)
-Front driver side wheel bearing wore out - not unusual for a 9 year old car expensive ($400 part, $175 labour)
-Replaced fan belt tensioner (making some noise, not sure if it was necessary, but could've resulted in something worse like engine overheating!)
Ford overprices maintenance, take it to a reputable local shop, get the parts through NAPA and you're set. who needs to service a 9 year old car at the dealership when it doesn't get you any more resale value and lightens your wallet?
I follow the provided regular scheduled maintenance guide religiously, I don't drive more than 200kms over the service period ex. 168000kms, just like a woman, if you take care of her she will take care of you!
I only use Castrol syntec 5w50 oil. and change it every 3 months or 5,000kms 3 months always seems to happens first, I only drive about 1,500kms a month at most.
I love the looks of this car clean lines, big grille, large opening doors, comfortable seats and all the dials are where you want them to be, A/C and heat are incredible I can't stand to have either on full, there's something you don't see with imports, they have small weak vents that don't give off any sort of temperature control compared to this one! power is decent gotten it up to 165km/h with no problems and its only at 3200 rpm! Unbeleivable. The ride is fairly rough even after I swapped in a set of monroe sensatrac shocks all around, but increased handling and decresed stopping distance (made it shorter) but I still feel all the cracks and bumps in the road (and yes I have played with tire pressure, it didn't do much at all).
Stock stereo was barely passable, put in panasonic deck, and alpine type r speakers all around. Unbeleivable acoustics for an SUV.
Gas mileage is what you expect from a full-time 4WD (control track) SUV with a decent engine. If you want better gas mileage swap in a performance air filter system such as a K&N stock air system replacement, also gives about 10% more HP and 15% more torque (who wouldn't want mroe of those?) or get a 4Runner with the 4 cylinder engine, and put a turbo on it for addded power.
The 4WD system is unbeleivable, in 4wheel auto its almost bullet proof, in 4 High I climbed a solid ice mountain road. I have left the following competitors in the ditch: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hummer H2, Yukon Denali, GMC Envoy, Dodge Durango, any and all full size pick ups (yes including F150, no enough weight in the back for good winter traction) and finally, to my surprise I was able to pull an Audi A6 Quattro out of the ditch in 4 Low and it didn't even struggle. I might add that I have stock sized Michelin LTX M/S tires, they are all seasons, ride quiet, but have awesome traction when needed. If you want a used SUV PLEASE, do yourself a favour and drive an Explorer. Those who believe in "fix or repair daily" clearly have never owned an Explorer. Remember, domestic cars are OK, Domestic SUV's are king of the road.
Ford has made an excellent, reliable, fun to drive, truck based SUV. No wonder its still the #1 selling SUV in NORTH AMERICA!
I loved my Honda, but she was aging, 1986 Prelude, and I needed something to get me to the mountains, and to college/work without any hassles no matter what the weather is. I've driven in snow that has been above the top of the rims leaving 6 inches of tire untouched and still plows through like you wouldn't believe.
I will be selling my Explorer in the next few months to get the next generation model (2002-2005), better riding suspension, a little bigger overall and a more powerful, better gas mileage V8. 2 doors is fine if you don't haul people all the time, but I suggest if you have trouble getting in and out of high places, you don't want a 2 door explorer, otherwise its got the same power, less weight and almost the same amount of cargo space as the 4 door. The OHV V6 is a very very reliable engine, but if you want a little more power, try for the OHC V6.