Don't feel bad about the valve body. It seems to be a common problem. Ford produced this part knowing it would go bad. Mine went out at 90,000 miles (95% highway driving). I'm lucky I found a mechanic who did not want to run me through the ringer. I filed a grievance with Ford for willingly putting in a faulty part.
2000 Limited Ford Explorer, bought with 42,000 miles. Thank God for the warranty which went for a good 2 grand, but saved me thousands. From normal daily driving, the dealer has replaced:
ALL front ball joints numerous times
ENGINE! (at 72,000 miles)
Transmission wiring and sensors
Both front wheel bearings, one twice
Both front and rear stabilizer bar links
A tie rod or 2.
As soon as I can get the truck to a good running state, I'm getting rid of it. The 100$ deductibles add up, as do the costs of the rental cars. You pay 20 grand for the truck, and they give you a Kia or Focus, and they don't even pay the total cost each day!
I'm afraid to drive my truck, wondering what is gonna go wrong next...
It is always something. Then it gets worse. The last two times the vehicle went from a smooth ride up the grade to a a spastic crawl--pinging and knocking--I thought it threw a rod. Spark plugs and wires fixed it. Then, a plug blew out of the block. The same noise, no power. This time just worse. I thought it threw a rod. Faulty plugs, replaced plugs and wires and it was on the road again. Signs, of a valve job ahead, but ran fine. This time the same thing, this time not so lucky. I brought the car to a reputable mechanic and after tearing in to it determined he is unable to fix it. Vehicle still crawls--pings and knocks--knock lessens under load.
I bought a 2000 very used and abused (154K mil and climbing) RWD 4-door Exp. What a dummy! Never buy a RWD when you can get 4x4.
This DC winter was worse ever, and I couldn't even get it out from the driveway after shoveling five times during the storms to stay ahead. I might as well kept indoors; warm, dry and happy.
It leaks, rattles, rolls, wind noise like the coming apocalypse, rides like a park bench.
Only two dash bulbs work.
It needs a timing chain, four shocks, struts, ball joints, transmission leaks and (I'm told there are three chains! OMG!) engine oil seeps in to the trans fluid. Stupid me; my first SUV, thought all were 4x4s! Doh!
My gut tells me if it was taken care of, it would be running better.
All the electric system works flawlessly, even cruise control, radio/cassette/CD, power doors/lock.
MPG is bad, but it was worse with my old Olds station wagon(the weight of my large mother-in-law in the backseat?).
I would buy a newer Exp. I enjoy how it handles, the view from above, and I feel confident (unless it snows, but because I didn't get 4x4).