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My wife was recently hired at Ford. For her to be able to park near where she works in the plant she must have a Ford, all other makes are relegated to having to park in a lot a long ways off, which is well over a 1/2 mile walk. We need a good 4x4 recommendation on a used one. Someone suggested 1998 Explorer, but I had bad luck with a 1991. Thanks.
 

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My wife was recently hired at Ford. For her to be able to park near where she works in the plant she must have a Ford, all other makes are relegated to having to park in a lot a long ways off, which is well over a 1/2 mile walk. We need a good 4x4 recommendation on a used one. Someone suggested 1998 Explorer, but I had bad luck with a 1991. Thanks.
I'd say late 80s and 90s with fuel injection for being reliable
but in the same token you will have to deal with rust issues.
It would be great to find a private owner that has one so you would know the history of the truck.
 

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Congrats on the new job for your wife!!!

Wow, such a broad q.

What is she driving now?
Why do you need a 4X4?
Are you looking for a SUV, car or a pick up?
What price range are you looking f0r?

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I'd say late 80s and 90s with fuel injection for being reliable
but in the same token you will have to deal with rust issues.
It would be great to find a private owner that has one so you would know the history of the truck.
Right now she drives a Jeep Cherokee and loves it. We live in a rural area where a 4x4 is a must. Our budget is around $4000, as we just cannot afford more than this at this time. Of course, trying to find a reliable used vehicle in this price range is a real challenge. After researching all kinds of reviews and also running it past my auto mechanic son-in-law, we are leaning towards an Explorer. Here are our concerns: older V-6 have known timing chain issues and many Explorers have transmission problems. We thought of the Escape, but it looks like it has a much higher problem rate than an Explorer. We are zeroing in on an Explorer with a V-8 (the 302) 1998 through 2001. Any remarks on what I have shared? Any suggestions? Thanks
 

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$4000 for a 4X4 SUV (or almost any ride) of any make or size is going to have issues or it will have very high miles and then it may have issues because of miles. A 4X4 truck or SUV is at the top of all price ranges in any given year. A AWD car is very hard to find at any price.

There are a pile of Explorers out there. Find the best one for the money however it is your money that will limit the choices. Set aside your past experience because you are getting ready to repeat it. Finding a reliable ride in that price range as you stated is difficult. Because in that price range most cars are almost used up. Just expect repairs if this will be a daily driver.

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$4000 for a 4X4 SUV (or almost any ride) of any make or size is going to have issues or it will have very high miles and then it may have issues because of miles. A 4X4 truck or SUV is at the top of all price ranges in any given year. A AWD car is very hard to find at any price.

There are a pile of Explorers out there. Find the best one for the money however it is your money that will limit the choices. Set aside your past experience because you are getting ready to repeat it. Finding a reliable ride in that price range as you stated is difficult. Because in that price range most cars are almost used up. Just expect repairs if this will be a daily driver.

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Thank you for the frank reply. Yes, I fully expect repairs, which many I can do myself. However, we cannot afford a major repair, so I am trying to avoid any highly verified lemons or problem years. We bought our Cherokee used (1997 with the inline six, 4.0L motor) and it has been very reliable. Now I need to find a Ford.
 

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The major stuff I will define as over $1000. (25% of the price you want to pay to buy)

Generally that scenario is going to be drivetrain, some suspension pieces and electronics. For these you get an inspection by some one that would do those repairs. My wife (and step daughter) has an affinity for Toyotas. (Don't go there I have many times) The 2.2l 4 cyl engine will get a significant engine oil leak that sets us back $1000 to $1500. However I have discovered if the oil is changed frequently the oil leak shows up later. I am assuming this is because the rubber in the seal hardens the rubber and with fresher oil this happens later.

Same for your scenario. Most vehicles I have ever had that may be involved in common issues ALWAYS occurred later and at higher mileage for me than the issue I found on the internet. I don't have documented proof of why and yet I am going to venture into my care of the vehicles. So a V6 with a known timing chain issue is likely discovered by the general vehicle owner that doesn't maintain the vehicle at least to manufacturer's intervals.

I hate to hammer maintenance so hard and it is a frequent thing I see on this (and any) forum regarding major systems. OP states "I have a transmission issue on a ??? model". Question how many miles on it? Answer 100,000! Q, when was it last serviced? A, never. My step daughter is right there. She only puts in gas when she has to and everything else about her car is an after thought if ever thought about!

My opinion, skip looking for a common major problem. Find a $4K vehicle that fits the bill. Change every fluid, filter, belt and hose that came on it to get a base line. Then drive and maintain to better standards than is published in the owner's manual. BTW reading & following the owner's manual goes a long way.

Sorry for the rant.

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The major stuff I will define as over $1000. (25% of the price you want to pay to buy)

Generally that scenario is going to be drivetrain, some suspension pieces and electronics. For these you get an inspection by some one that would do those repairs. My wife (and step daughter) has an affinity for Toyotas. (Don't go there I have many times) The 2.2l 4 cyl engine will get a significant engine oil leak that sets us back $1000 to $1500. However I have discovered if the oil is changed frequently the oil leak shows up later. I am assuming this is because the rubber in the seal hardens the rubber and with fresher oil this happens later.

Same for your scenario. Most vehicles I have ever had that may be involved in common issues ALWAYS occurred later and at higher mileage for me than the issue I found on the internet. I don't have documented proof of why and yet I am going to venture into my care of the vehicles. So a V6 with a known timing chain issue is likely discovered by the general vehicle owner that doesn't maintain the vehicle at least to manufacturer's intervals.

I hate to hammer maintenance so hard and it is a frequent thing I see on this (and any) forum regarding major systems. OP states "I have a transmission issue on a ??? model". Question how many miles on it? Answer 100,000! Q, when was it last serviced? A, never. My step daughter is right there. She only puts in gas when she has to and everything else about her car is an after thought if ever thought about!

My opinion, skip looking for a common major problem. Find a $4K vehicle that fits the bill. Change every fluid, filter, belt and hose that came on it to get a base line. Then drive and maintain to better standards than is published in the owner's manual. BTW reading & following the owner's manual goes a long way.

Sorry for the rant.

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Thank you for the sound advice. I concur that most problems develop from a lack of maintenance. The timing chain problem with the V6 has to do with fact that when it goes it spews fragmented chain pieces throughout the engine, which turns it into a very expensive job. Finding a used vehicle that does not have a timing chain on the verge of failing is the trick. Well kept maintenance records by an owner is a big help.
 

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Timing chains fail on all kinds of engines. There is a lot of pressure and joints in a timing chain. And fro the most part the chain gets lubed from the bottom end of the chain in the oil pan. Low on oil ... less oil contacting the chain.

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Timing chains fail on all kinds of engines. There is a lot of pressure and joints in a timing chain. And fro the most part the chain gets lubed from the bottom end of the chain in the oil pan. Low on oil ... less oil contacting the chain.

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True, I am hoping to find a vehicle where the owner stayed on top of the maintenance. Thanks for the reply.
 

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to having to park in a lot a long ways off, which is well over a 1/2 mile walk. We need a good 4x4 recommendation on a used one. Someone suggested 1998 Explorer, but I had bad luck with a 1991. Thanks. Speed Test
 

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I've had very good luck with a 08 Expedition, I bought it in 12 with 35k and it now has 136k. Wheel bearings have all needed replacing but that's been the only big thing other than matanece. I run oversized tires and pull my camper and car trailer so that might explain the bearings. But I've seen Expedition's for sale with over 200k on them and they are the vehicle kept the longest in America, averaging 11 years.
I would look at one newer than 06, I think you should be able to get close to your price range.
 
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