Purchased this vehicle new in November 2002. Currently has 145,000 miles on it. Rear end always had a whine which was especially noticeable around 60 mph, but a few years ago, I changed to more highway friendly tires which reduced the whine. I did not know this model has this issue until I read other reviews here. When the air conditioner is off, it still seems to blow cooler air as I think the way it is designed air flow continues past the coils into the cabin, so you have to have the heat on a low setting to counteract it. Had the transmission rebuilt at 115,000 miles. The dealer wanted over $4,000 for the rebuild, AAMCO did it for $2,600 and gave me a two year warranty. The gas gauge has never worked correctly, but it is intermittent. Took it in years ago under warranty, but the dealer could not find anything wrong with it. I just make sure I gas it up once a week. It has the rear window frame crack like every other NBX/XLT I have seen on the road. This is a design error which Ford should have fixed, but now that the vehicle is 15 years old, who cares (I read on another website some owners are pursuing a class action lawsuit). When the car was new, I used to get 15 mph in town and 21 on the freeway at 70 mph. Nowadays, I get about 17-18 mph for combined driving. My major complaint is the Ford dealership here in Colorado Springs. I do not trust them, so I take my vehicle in for service elsewhere now that it is not under warranty. The dealer here is very high priced, and is ALWAYS suggesting repairs for a couple of thousand dollars (e.g., new Macpherson struts. When I ask what is wrong with the original struts, the answer is nothing, we recommend you replace them based upon mileage. Struts are high tensile steel which should last the life of the vehicle in my opinion). Anyway, I good vehicle. I like to drive it around as it still has pep and power, and has always had a nice sound system. Sits up high too. One more issue. The airbag warning light comes on occasionally, but I think it is because the connection under the seat has come loose over the years, so I reach under there and squeeze it. That seems to take care of it. No body rust, but the paint on the posts did not take long to degrade after only a couple of years. I use Chevron Techron every 6 months, rotate the tires at every oil change, and change the oil every 5,000 miles. And I pretty much follow Ford's other recommendations for maintenance.
I bought this vehicle in April 2003, and although I have since bought another car for commuting to work, my Explorer XLT has never let me down after 120,000 miles of towing boats, campers, taking me on numerous trips to and from the mountains, and everyday usage. Not only does the engine still run well (my only complaint is a slight hum from the back end when accelerating), but the body and trim have held up remarkably well. Planning to keep "Old Faithful" for another 14 years!
2003 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Rwd 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Never go to a used car dealer right after dropping off a rental with your kids in tow needing a vehicle immediately, the dealers take advantage therein knowing you're already in a squeeze, these vehicles are plagued with rear end vibrations, obviously during design some technician didnt do his mathematical grams/ounces/lbs correctly nor did he/s calibrate centrifugal force correctly, centrifugal is right, vibration is 55+ mph, Im not buying any ford explorer's again.