1997 Ford Explorer 4WD Sport 4.0L OHV V6 from North America


The perfect bargain SUV, reliable, fun and safe.


-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?

General Comments:

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.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th May, 2006

5th May 2006, 12:59

I'm only 17 years old and my mom owns a 1997 Ford Explorer. To me, it's the best SUV someone could have. It has a V8, 5.0L engine equipped with automatic all wheel drive. I was doing research on this vehicle, but I can't find if that particular year model was made with a factory installed engine that had a 5.0L. I'm still wondering. However, the truck has about 115,000 miles on it and is in nearly perfect condition, body wise. When I start it up, it sounds great. One trend that I'm noticing is when I sometimes make a right turn fairly sharp, there's a banging noise it makes as though it's rubbing against something. I looked into it, but have found no orgin of where its coming from. I also tested 2 other Explorers of the same exact year and they have the same problem. But nevertheless, it handles great. Stopping distance is great too. I have an idea for Ford, which would definitely boost sales up, but they won't take my ideas for some odd reason.

5th May 2006, 16:16

In response to the person who doesn't know whether the 97 Ford Explorer came with a factory installed 5.0L. The 5.0L/302 was first available in the Explorers in 1996, and in 2002, they replaced the 302 option with a 4.6L, which has 30 more horsepower. One of my friends has a 2000 Mountaineer (same vehicle) with the 5.0L (Full time 4WD) and it seems to have great get up and go, although the 302 only has 210 hp, not an exceptional amount.

5th May 2006, 21:52

What are the torque numbers on those engines then?

5th May 2006, 23:23

The 5.0L has 280-288 lb. ft. of torque, and the 4.6 is rated at 280.

25th Jan 2007, 20:11

On the 2006 model year, the 4.6L gained 62HP and 20lb.ft of torque, making it 302hp and 300lb.ft of torque, as Ford switched from an aluminum block SOHC 4.6L V8 from the Mustang GT, to the DOHC aluminum block 4.6L V8 from the Mustang Cobra, which was also used in the 2002-2005 Lincoln Aviator.

29th Oct 2008, 17:19

How are they on gas mileage? I'm looking at a 97 Ford Explorer Sport. It's a 4.0, V6, 5 speed, just curious how they are on gas.

1997 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0 from North America


Over all, I am extremely satisfied with Ford


I bought my V6 97 Explorer used, back in 2000. It had 103,000 miles on the odometer.

Now 6 years later, it has more than 307,000 miles. This truck does not smoke has never leaked oil, and has never had any major mechanical problems. The fuel pump gave out at about the 200,000-mile mark, but once replaced the truck was up and running again. Air conditioner went out at 250,000.

General Comments:

I change the engine oil and filter on this truck about every 10,000 miles and change the transmission oil every 50,000. The only oil I use in my truck is Castrol Full Synthetic Oil, 10w30 for winter months, 10w40 for the summer and Mobil 1 Full Synthetic Transmission Oil. Sure Full Synthetic oil is more expensive, but in the long run it will save you lots of money on engine and transmission repairs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th March, 2006

20th Apr 2006, 15:29

I have a question for you, since you have drive your car for more than 200 k miles...

When you drive your car in the city or on traffic, the over-drive light must be on or Off??

I just bought an explorer...thanks.

20th Apr 2006, 19:45

Only turn overdrive off if the tranny is constantly "hunting" for gears by upshifting and downshifting too much. Or if you're towing something.

For most city/traffic driving you can keep overdrive on.