Bought my 4.0L, 4dr, 4wd, auto XLT as a new loss leader from the Sunday newspaper auto section in 1996 for $23k. Had to replace a blown head gasket twice. First time was my fault because thermostat was bad and temp gage wasn't working so engine overheated & blew the head gasket. 2nd time was just from age & I was able to save a few thousand by doing the labor myself (~$700 in parts & machine shop work on the valves/heads). Now has 157k on it. Transmission is starting to slip but I understand that's normal wear & tear with this many miles. Other than that, just had the usual, tires, alternator, brakes stuff. The truck has been a workhorse.
Dependability & all-weather handling but have rarely used the 4wd. Love the hatchback/rear storage, nice sound system (upgraded). Best overall feature is versatility
Would have liked a more heavy duty transmission. Recessed oil filter is a pain to get off sometimes without spilling dirty oil. Would like more power ports - especially in read seat. Entire dashboard, while functional, looks very plain and "plasticy". Would like some kind of integrated maintenance reminder system based on time or mileage.
When I purchased the 96 Explorer it was my 2nd one. I had a 91 2dr 4wd and sold it to my Dad. My 96 was fine till 55,000 miles when the odometer broke. It was already out of warranty and cost $1000 to fix due to it being one of a cluster . I had to repair the a/c twice costing $1000 each time. I replaced the radiator at $800. I've replaced the transfer case at $3500 and the Transmission at $2000. This vehicle is only used to go to and from work and school 5-10 miles away. Recently, my daughter was driving it on I-95 coing home from college and the engine failed costing me $400 to tow it home 71 miles. It appears it is only worth $2000 when running.
The only feature I liked on this car was it had a rear a/c blower for persons in the back seat and it had a smooth ride up to 60mph.
The engineering of the car was cheap and I will never by another Ford Product. I sank so much money in this car to keep it maintained and it still failed.
I bought my 96 in 98 with 14000 miles on it. 12 years and 160,000 miles later and it never had a breakdown. The transmission never gave me problems. Only problem after many years was the link to the auto transmission and the back door lock had problems that I never took it in for. I did most of the scheduled maintenance myself and I'm no real mechanic. Great vehicle from Ford.
92,000 miles on 5.0 L and it still looks and runs almost like new. Terrible gas mileage(16)and some engine noise. I've pulled a 16 ft box trailer all over, it has plenty of power and suspension, just doesn't have the long wheel base for stability.Love the short turning radius, tight suspension, and awd traction. No significant repairs other than the heater controls are shot, can't turn it off - damper? On the second set of brake pads and have just recently started noticing rotor warp on original set. Still uses zero oil between changes. On the second set of tires. Original muffler and suspension!! No rust. This vehicle has been babied, but it is still runs and looks great at 14.
Steering and turning circle, pulling power. Nice seats and sound. No alignment issues to ruin the tires. True keyless entry with key pad.
Better MPG. Extended rear view mirrors for trailer. Less engine whine. Lessen the weight. Auto on lights should be on every vehicle. Ford touts safety, but fails to implement this vital low cost feature. Better a few dollars to avoid a crash than armoring up to surviving one. 4 whl traction control
I have 200,100 miles on my SUV. I purchased my 1996 with 108,000 miles for $3200.00. I have put 92,000 miles on it. I have had to replace upper ball joints, tires and routine oil changes, battery, alternator. Other than that I got more than my money's worth still running strong. I purchased 70,000 tires thinking they would outlive the truck. Now I need new tires.