1999 Ford Explorer Sport Limited 4wd 4.0 from North America


Not the greatest SUV out there, but probably the best value that can be found


Serpentine idler pulley.

General Comments:

Used Explorers are cheap. It is what it is. There were millions of these things made. I won't say that they were the most awesome vehicle made, but it's serviceable and it's very easy to get a good deal on used one because there are so many out there. Parts are plentiful and cheap... they were so popular during the late 90's and early 00's that there are dozens and dozens of them (if not hundreds) in any given junkyard. They do have problems. My '99 has a solid rear axle, and the shocks are worn out. I can tell you that the combo does not make a smooth ride. I'm not a fan of the auto 4x4 on my Limited. Personally I would rather have full-time 2wd unless I choose to lock it in. I've heard this generation has had some tranny problems, but more so in the 3rd generation.

For the price I paid for mine (dirt cheap), and the price I'm gonna sell it for (slightly more dirt cheap), I will have driven around for nearly 3 years and 25k miles for about 1400 dollars. My total ownership cost will be under 500 dollars a year and close to 5 cents a mile. If I spent 40k on a new one, I would have to own it for 40 years, put nearly 400k miles on it, and sell it for 20k to realize the same value. We all know that won't happen. So... you won't ride around in the latest and greatest if you get a 2nd gen Explorer in 2014 or 2015, but you will get an incredible value.


- Parts are cheap and easy to come by in pick-and-pull junkyards.

- The vehicle is pretty reliable anyway, so no part may be needed.

- No crazy interior squeaks and groans like in a Blazer.

- Pretty good in mud or on the beach.

- The leather used on the Limited is a good quality and doesn't rip or tear easily.

- Can be found for cheap.


- Doesn't ride that great. They went to independent rear suspension in the 3rd gen to solve this.

- Skip the 4.0 V6. The 5.0 V8 will get the same gas mileage (if not slightly better) with greater power.

- Fuel mileage with either motor isn't great.

- I don't like the auto 4wd feature. I could care less about spinning tires in 2wd, but the auto 4wd relies on slip sensors to engage the transfer case. I've heard that tires that aren't the same tread pattern can cause it to engage 4wd. This could be bad on pavement. Mine has been reliable, but there's a chance that it may not be.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd September, 2014

1999 Ford Explorer Sport 4.0 from North America


Quality control was off the day my car was built


I have to agree with everyone else on the newer Fords. Since purchasing my Explorer, I have replaced the motor and the transmission, rear wiper, factory radio, IAC, most ABS components (light is still on). Also the outside temp/compass died and most of the dash lighting.

At about 96k miles, the oil pressure dropped while driving down the freeway and threw a rod. (common failure with the 4.0's)

A month later, the new motor almost got trashed when the seams on the side of the radiator started leaking.

The IAC I have replaced twice.

After owning it three months, the ABS light came on. At that time, no one knew how to even begin diagnosing it, and the dealer wanted me to pay for them to look at it.

Factory radio ate one of my CDs, literally, about a month after I bought it.

Recently the transmission died. It wants to go forward no matter what gear it's in, including reverse. Have searched all over for a reasonable used one, however I have yet to find one that would be backed by the seller.

The rear wiper; I have found that it was very fragile, and if handled wrong, it will have to be replaced (handled = resting something on it while trying to load the back with luggage).

General Comments:

I deal with a lot of cars on a daily basis. My second car is a 98 E-class Mercedes with just over 100k miles. I have had problems with it as well, but they seem to be all related. (i.e. transmission).

My Explorer reminds me of my ex-wife. No matter how much money I throw at it, it always wants more.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th February, 2011

20th Feb 2011, 21:13

"Quality control was off the day it was built"

Sounds like a typical day at Ford to me...

21st Feb 2011, 16:55

Wow, this review reflects a completely different ownership experience than I've had with my 2002 Explorer Sport. It has nearly 123,000 miles, with no engine, transmission, ABS, or other problems. I had certainly not heard that the 4.0 L V-6 is "known" for throwing rods.

I always wonder how people treat their cars when they have these kinds of problems. Well, I don't mean to sit and pick this review apart, especially since there may be some differences between his 1999 and my 2002, but suffice it to say that I have had none of these problems. Of course, I do all my regularly scheduled maintenance, and treat my vehicle well. In other words I don't use the rear wiper as a step plate, hand rail, or towing hitch and guess what, it still works.

22nd Mar 2013, 17:21

You are awesome. I have not actually had any issues with any of my vehicles that these blogs said I would have, because I just keep up my vehicle and treat it with respect.

23rd Mar 2013, 14:01

We have owned two Explorer Sports. Not a single problem with either. They were both absolutely flawless. We have never had any problems with any Ford or GM vehicles.

3rd Sep 2013, 23:51

I purchased my 1998 Explorer used with 60k miles in 2001. I am at 190,000 miles with only minor problems; water pump, belt pulley, and the door locks. Other than that, the engine has been a champ; no leaks, no stalls, and the tranny is great. Synthetic oil, periodic tune ups transmission, A/C, crank case, front and rear differentials serviced at 100k miles. It will make it to 200k no problem and a lot more. I am going to drive this car into the ground.

The leather seats are still good. The paint has taken a little bit of a beating, but I live in California with 320 days of sunshine and 100 degree summer days.

Gas mileage is not great, but with no car payments since I don't remember when, this has been a great car for me.

8th Feb 2015, 09:22

There is a considerable difference indeed, between a 1999 Explorer and a 2002 (3rd Generation) Explorer.

The 2002 has a different transmission, and is notorious for issues and independent rear axles amongst other features.

9th Feb 2015, 16:56

The 2002 Explorer Sport is a different vehicle than the 2002 Explorer. The Sport has more in common with older models, while the 2002 Explorer (4-door) was a new design.