My wife bought the SUV before we married and has put on a new muffler before 35K miles. and a new battery before 40K miles.
Last summer (06) I completely disassembles drives side hub. 58K miles.
*The brakes where completely wore down from the failed bearings.
*Both inner and outer bearings wore out.
*Replaced free wheeling hub
*It took an extreme amount of effort and new tools to remove female spline off of axle. It is suppose to easily come off as one unit with the free wheeling hub. It rusted in place.
*Unable to replace weak seals due to 1 -2 week waiting time.
The cause: The free wheeling hub had corroded away allowing water intrusion into the bearing assembly. So when you pushed the 4X4 switch on and engaged the transfer case it turned on the vacuum activated 4X4 sucking moisture and water into the housing. The corrosion was due to insufficient dielectric grease on the hubs O-ring, which in turn allowed the aluminum alloy to corrode on the steel alloy disk.
Tire replacement with cooper all terrains, big difference in traction. 64Kmi.
4X4 not working again. 65K miles.
I just recently put on another tail pipe rusted out. 66K miles.
While under the car looking around I noticed that the fuel tank skid plate is 35% rusted out with the tank starting to rust. I also noticed antifreeze dripping off of the engine from odd places. Hopefully it is just blowing off the rotten radiator to the back of the engine. The valve cover gasket is leaking and the axle on the same free wheeling hub from earlier was not seated all the way. I tore it apart again. I repacked all the bearings and replaced the spring clip holding the axle in place with a better one. It was weak.
Parts: Just about every thing is dealer only. So far exhaust is after market, brake pads, wheel bearings, spark plugs, oil filter, and air filter parts store. The hub was purchased at a junkyard for $20 vs. $225 from a dealer.
4X4: Works great because all the weight is in the front, terrible weight distribution. From what I have learned in the last year, if there is just a little bit of snow or moisture on the road. You can forget about going anywhere in 2-wheel drive just sit and spin.
Handling: Actually good, like a go-cart.
Interior wear: Cant say, my wife is the only one that usually rides in it.
Interior noise: Loud at hi speeds. Door seals must not be seating correctly.
Pick up: Slow. It doesnt really start to get moving until 3500 RPM. If the AC is on you will kill you self pulling in to heavy traffic. But with the AC off, 4X4 on (with out the 4x4 working), and the power button pushed you can't get out of its way fast enough!
If you like to work on cars and surfing your local junk yards it is a must have.