1997 Ford Explorer Eddie Baur 4.0 SOHC V6 from North America


A hole in the road you pour money into


The engine control unit (ECU) had to be replaced at 60,000 miles. The seats have started to wear badly and the interior panels are beginning to rattle and fall off. The outside driver's side door handle broke. Also, the lumbar adjustment on the drivers side seat broke so now it is frozen in one position. Heating Ventilation and Air Condition (HVAC) controller broke causing the heat to be turned on intermittently when the a/c was on, very expensive to repair because the entire dash had to be removed. Finally, the entire engine had to be replaced at 125,000 miles. The timing chain in the engine slipped and the teeth on the cam gears were chewed up and spit into the engine oil and that was the end of that.

General Comments:

The 4.0 liter engine is quick, however, the mere fact that the entire engine died at 125,000 miles is in my opinion unacceptable. I have not been impressed by the build quality either. There are numerous squeaks and rattles coming from the interior and the air suspension does not damp the ride well at all. Also some of the bulbs that illuminate the dash have burnt out. These too are expensive to replace because the entire dash must be removed. The Explorer is unreliable at best and not wise decision for anyone looking for a new car. I only have two compliments after owning this car. The 5 speed automatic transmission is brilliant and the JBL audio system sounds great. I would advise anyone looking for a nice used SUV to avoid this particular model like the plague.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th December, 2003

30th Jun 2004, 08:48

I agree, terrible choice if you want a SUV. My Eddie Bauer has cost me an average of $2,000.00 a year, every year since I've owned it. 5 years now. It only has 101,000mi.

19th Dec 2006, 16:30

Unfortunately, I cannot agree completely with the previous comments. I own a 1997 Ford Explorer (not even an Eddie Baure edition) and it has 116,000 miles and it has performed absolutely fantastic. We've just now (12/13/06) had to bring the car in for servicing. I too have had to repair the blend door in the A/C unit because it has the same symptom of giving off heat instead of A/C. Yes, the entire dash must be removed to correct this very minor problem! Be careful of misleading repair men, because we were told by a Ford dealership, the entire A/C system needed replacement (very expensive). We went to another repair shop because that seemed ridiculous, especially since we could get both cold A/C and heat from the unit, just not on the appropriate settings on the dial. Anyway, as far as performance and reliability, the Explorer is a very respectable vehicle. Problems that are encountered down the line are usually attributed to poor maintenance and hard driving, which may very well possibly be the reasons for the poor reviews! If the opportunity is there once again, I would purchase another Explorer in a flash!

1997 Ford Explorer 4wh Sport 4.0 SOHC V6 from North America


Good vehicle for good price


Transmission at 100,000 miles.

Oxygen Sensor.

Plastic seat recliner.

General Comments:

Very good towing power with SOHC V6 motor.

Very versatile for hauling, even for such a small vehicle. Back seats fold flat.

Transmission is okay. Shifts are very smooth, but mushy feeling. Prefer firmer shifts.

4 wheel drive with control track is okay. The Control track system is supposed to sense slippery conditions in 4 whd auto, but does not do it very well. 4 whd high works well, and engages with a flip of the dial.

Gas mileage averages 15 mpg combined city and highway.

A lot of rattles inside the cabin.

Brakes perform very well, but are mushy.

I have had no problems with rotors wearing fast. I commute up and down the San Bernardino mountains every day, and after one year, my brake pads showed very little wear.

My gear ratio is 3.55, I would prefer the 3.73s for going up and down mountains.

Get rid of factory shocks. My Explorer Sport had lots of body roll.

I got Monroe Sensamtic shocks, and now it handles much better. I give the handling a D+ with factory shocks. With the Monroe Sensamatics, I give it a B-.

I can tow a 3000 lb tent trailer 65mph up a 6% grade with the SOHC V6.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th August, 2003