I'm thinking of buying a Ford Explorer and converting it to run on LPG. I know that I must ensure it's a multi-point injection system to illiminate possible backfires.
What I want to know is people's experiences of the Explorer - Do you owners love it or loath it? Are there any niggling things about it? Is it always going wrong? It's at the top end of my budget and I can't afford to buy a car that's going to send a lot of time in the garage (Which is why, incidentally, I've decided against the Discovery!!). I'd really appreciate feedback from Explorer owners - Thanks
I don't want to be an unknowledgeable pessimist re the Explorer and I know nothing about the car except via a recent television programme investigation. My opinion of the vehicle was changed from "interested" to "highly concerned" when I saw the recent TV programme which investigated the number of failures, with this particular vehicle, of it's cruise control system. An alarming number of incidents have been reported of these vehicle going out of control on start up, and demolishing a few walls and, I think, people, in the process. I should think that Ford will have sorted it all out by now and, hopefully, any Explorer owner who answers your query, will advise on the recall programme and any modifications which have (or should have) been done.
Thanks for the advice.
I'd be very intrested if anyone could tell me what recalls the Explorer has had. Also, what the service interval is - especially when the cambelt needs replacing as any Explorer I could afford would have done about 70,000 (What parts should have been replaced by 70K?)
DO not do it.I have a Explorer and I tried it .Complete disaster the ECU cannot cope ,because of the low revs at overun the engine cuts out on gas causing loss of braking and steering ,this can happen uphill down hill or on motorways.I had it removed with a large compensation payment.But do not let this put you of buying a Explorer ,I have had Discos Range rovers ,Blazers ,and the Explorer leaves them for dead in top speed, off road, towing you name it the Explorer is tops except for petrol consumption.Try drive an Disco on the motorway over 70 its like steering porridge,try get a Range rover to its destination almost immpossible ,take a Jeep off road and you will twist the non existant chassis,.I am not saying the Ford is the best in the world the Land cruisers take some beating but for the price the Ford wins hands down.Also the Jeep built DB is useless off road along with the BMW .It depends what you want a work horse or a city poser
If you do a search, you will find someone else that converted an explorer to run on gas, and as far as I can remember it was a bit of a mess. Convertions to gas are extremely difficult to do on modern cars with complicated electronics.
I recently traded in my Explorer North Face for an 3 litre Omega Estate. I hated the Explorer, the most expensive mistake in 25 years of motoring and 15 years of caravan towing. As a tug it was hopeless, the caravan constantly swaying and very tiring on busy motorways or cross winds - two jaunts to south of France really exhausted me and I had to keep speed down more than I'm used to. Solo, it was not happy at motorway speeds esp in heavy traffic, e.g. passing HGVs and strong cross winds.
Having said this, I spoke with about 20 or so other explorer owner/towers via the Caravan Club, and most were happy with the car, though some shared my reservations and a couple had experienced serious incidents. I can only conclude that either the cars vary a lot, or that I am a lot more fussy than most.
I think the problems come down to a combination of soft suspension and truck chassis, plus possible steering geometry problems. Its also possible that the need to position the European tow hook further back than the US one, might be a factor (this is 'cos US tow bars are higher up than we do and the Explorer has provision for the hook to fit integrally in the rear bumper).
On the plus side - no reliability problems - though mine had only done 20k. The engine / gearbox are very good and power. Economy not too bad - (better than a V8 Disco) - servicing cheap (Ford dealers tend to use the Granada menu). My wife loved it, though she only ever drove round town.
Bare in mind that on 10000 cars sold in the UK - so knowledge is sparse and most Ford dealers don't know anything about it at all.
I don't know much about LPG conversions, but I seem to remember cost up to £3k (which is a lot of petrol) and you have to find somewhere else for the spare wheel.
If you intend to tow - think very carefully - if you must have a 4x4 look at the Japs. I love the Omega and it is a much much better towcar, and is much more comfortable - only disadvantage is that I can't see over hedges or pull the 'van out of muddy fields.
There have been recalls with cruise control sticking the throttle open, and of course the famous Firestone tyre debacle. You can get full info on this from the Ford US website.
I have one.Over 40,000 miles its had nothing but routine servicing. Economy 17mpg around town, 22 on a run. The engine does not have a belt, its chain driven. I reckon they are fairly good value compared to a similar aged Grand Cherokee, Disco etc.
My SWMBO used to work for a car leasing co in fairly senior management. We are 4x4 fans so used to get all the 4x4 demonstrators to try. We had 2 different Explorers about a year apart.
In my opinion the Explorer is the worst 4x4 on the market, and quite possibly onew of the worst cars.
It is noisy and thirsty without being particularly fast or torquey. It achieves the almost impossible by combining rock-hard ride with mushy handling. It is huge on the outside while being fairly cramped inside. The door opening is particularly small for a vehicle of this type. Switchgear arrangement is appalling - I think they threw a tube of Smarties over a drawing of the dash and put the switches where a Smartie landed.
Both the vehicles we tried had significant problems - one had a leaking sunroof, the parts to repair it took SIX WEEKS to come. The other had an auto box so sloppy that it was easily possible to slide backwards several feet on a hill start in Drive.
We also found that with the fuel tank less than about 1/4 full, the thing wouldn't start if parked nose-up on our drive (about 15 degrees) - the pickup is obviously at the front of the tank. Only way to get mobile was to pour in extra fuel from a can to bring the level up.
Add in the cruise control runaway syndrome which was exposed on TV and I can't see why anyone would want one. The residuals are fairily shocking, which demonstrates that most people don't.
Remember I'm comparing it with extended periods of using nearly every other 4x4 in it's sector.