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.
i agree great suv. bought my 96explorer xlt limited 4wd with the 4.0l v6 in december of 06. i had to rebuild my trans at 210k i do alot of towing. besides alternator power steering
still orig water pump. tires and brakes i havent had any problems with mine at all. the back hatch knob out side only opens the glass now but hell now she has 310k miles and i have put 18000 miles on it since november of 2013 to present day. not the greatest on gas but its one hell of a dependable suv. the wife has a 2012 chevy bought new and have had to put about 2500dollars
in it since the warranty expired. but my 96 explorer is always running like a champ