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Is the Expy a Poorly Built Vehicle?

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:27 AM
gcspray gcspray is offline
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Is the Expy a Poorly Built Vehicle?

I understand that all vehicles will need repairs, and this one is 12 years old, however right now, I am sort of hating my Expedition. I paid the final payment on October, and was planning to drive her right into retirement. Now I am beginning to wonder? We get enough snow and ice to see road salt about 3 to 4 times an average winter, so cars rust here, but rust much slower then they do in the rust belt. Every spring I jack the Expy up, place her on jack stands, powerwash the entire undercarriage, than go from front to rear with a wire brush cleaning any surface rust that has formed over the past winter. Than it gets a coat of Rustolium black. The undercarriage is black, shiny and rust free.

It is a 2001 XLT AWD with the 5.4 engine, and 4R100 trans. The vehicle has the the off road package and tow package which includes the 17 inch wheels, 3:55 gears, and HD cooling system. I bought the vehicle in 2008 as a winter truck and for when we need a larger vehicle to haul stuff. The vehicle was a one owner garage kept truck, and it is garage kept at our house. The people who owned it traded the Expy and a Porscha for a new Taurus and a new F-350 Crewcab. When I found out that they had traded the Expy, I went and bought it. It had 77K miles on it in 2008, and now has 94K. The silver paint is like new, and it has never had any body work of any kind. The interior was and still is perfect, except for minor wear on th driver's leather seat cover.

The second day that we owned the vehicle I took it to our local Ford dealer, and told them to check top to bottom. The Ford dealer in another town had done all of the service work, and I was able to get copies of the service records. The only thing that was due was a routine transmission service. They serviced the trans and the transfer case. The previous dealer had done the 100 point inspection and changed the oil.
The next three years, and 14K miles, the vehicle went in for routine maintiance, and a new set of Michelin tires.

In 2009, I noticed some water after a rain storm sitting on top of the driver's side plastic trim. The body shop said that they would have to check it out. It could be the window, or anything leaking. We made an appointment for service. As a lark I took a step ladder and looked at the top in the left rear. There was a seam that had a gap about a 1/4 inch long. It looked like it may have never been sealed. I bought some seam sealer from Napa and made a bead along the seam. I got some touchup paint and painted over the seam sealer. No more leak! Cool, that was easy enough, although I wonder if the quaility control is poor on these things?

One day in late 2010, the engine began to skip. It had 87K miles on it. A quick trip to the dealership, and the news was not nice. The intake manifold water jacket had cracked and coolent was squirting into two coil packs. We opted for a Dorman replacment intake, which saved me a few hundred dollars over a Ford intake. The dealer recommended doing the 100K tune-up, and since I was already paying the labor, the parts would be the only additional costs. While in the shop they fixed a sticky door lock and a couple of other minor issues.

Now apparently the coast clutch is worn in the transmission. The engine goes back to idle when decending a hill. Even in first or second gear the there is no engine braking. I took the truck to a recommended transmission repair center in our area. They told me that a remanufactured stock trans will be $1700.00 and the bullet proof build will be $2700.00.

Now this thing is beginng to feel like a money pit! One hears these stories about Expy's and F-150's going 200K plus, and mine has 94K on it.

Do I invest $2700.00 in a transmission only to have the engine start blowing out spark plugs or some other dumb thing that these things are known for? A local mechanic friend of mine who has an independent shop and helps me keep my two vintage Trans AM's running says that the Expy's are a total POS. Of course he is a Chevy guy, so I am not putting too much stock in what he is saying.

I have driven Fords for many years, and own four currently. I am beginning to have second thoughts. Does Expedition translate to Fix Or Repair Daily? My next vehicle was going to be an F-150 Supercrew. I am not so sure now?

Charles
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:59 AM
alloro alloro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcspray View Post
Now apparently the coast clutch is worn in the transmission. The engine goes back to idle when decending a hill. Even in first or second gear the there is no engine braking.
It's designed that way to save both gas and engine wear. Try it with the OD off and you should get engine braking.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:36 PM
Icefan71 Icefan71 is offline
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I have a 98 Expedition with 167k miles. I've owned it for over 8 years. I've had my complaints and many repairs over the years. But I have to say, for the abuse its been put through with a family of 4, dozens of road trips, Long Island traffic, and now Pennsylvania mountains, its been up to the task. If I remember correctly, the worst incident was when it spit a spark plug while visiting family 200 miles from home. I had to pay a mechanic $400 to helicoil it and replace the COP. Everything else I've done myself. I don't think I'll ever buy a brand new vehicle, so I accept doing my own maintenance. I've been happy with it so far. As for your situation, well, you'll have to decide whats best for you. As for the transmission, I don't really know my way around them. Is a new trans your only solution? Can't it be repaired? And also, I don't know Alloro personally. But I've read lots of his posts. He knows his stuff. He doesn't know it, but he's repaired my Expe several times
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:10 PM
gcspray gcspray is offline
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Originally Posted by alloro View Post
It's designed that way to save both gas and engine wear. Try it with the OD off and you should get engine braking.
Thanks for the suggestion.

With the OD on or off the engine goes back to idle RPM when you let off of the gas. Rolling down a hill, it will pick up 10 to 15 MPH in any gear, and the engine continues to idle. It does the same thing in second gear and in first gear. There is no engine braking at all in any gear with the OD on or off. The dealer has checked it and the transmission shop has checked it. Both say that the coast clutch is worn out or broken. Bottom line is it is no longer working. Everyone says that the transmission could continue to operate as is for a while, however parts can break off and plug hydrolic ports further downstream causing other problems.

The coast clutch is a plastic part, and is located inside of the transmission case. The transmission has to be removed from the vehicle and broken down completely to repair this problem. A complete rebuild is the only solution. Apparently, there are aftermarket parts made that replaces the plastic parts with stainless parts.

Since we live in the mountains, driving around here without a functioning coast clutch is a little scary. On flat land driving, it is not noticable.

There are no codes set in the ECM, and all other functions of the transmission are normal. The transmission shifts firm and at the appropriate shift points.

Basically Ford saved 50 cents when they built this thing, and it will cost me $2700.00 to rectify Ford's 50 cent savings.

Charles
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:44 AM
gcspray gcspray is offline
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We are going to get it fixed and keep it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:47 AM
blackestate blackestate is offline
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I have 187K on mine, and some misfire issues that are driving me crazy. I would buy another one in a minute.
I think somewhere something happened to the trans. I would even consider a junk yard trans. That is not a problem that you hear a lot of people having.
If you have the money, and plan on keeping it, go with the bullet proof if you tow. If not, I would just go with the regular reman.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:39 PM
98expeditionXLT 98expeditionXLT is offline
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I factory ordered my 98 Exp and it now has 139000 miles on it. I have used it just like my previous 4 x4 vehicles with the only exception that I have not used the Exp for plowing snow.

I think the Exp is an extremely well engineered product however the quality of the components is poor resulting in only a reasonably good vehicle. When everything is working it is a phenominal vehicle and I rather drive the Exp than my newer vehicles. Bottom line is if I could buy the exact same vehicle today even at an inflation adjusted price I probably would buy the exact same vehicle again over a 2013 Exp.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:15 AM
gcspray gcspray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackestate View Post
I have 187K on mine, and some misfire issues that are driving me crazy. I would buy another one in a minute.
I think somewhere something happened to the trans. I would even consider a junk yard trans. That is not a problem that you hear a lot of people having.
If you have the money, and plan on keeping it, go with the bullet proof if you tow. If not, I would just go with the regular reman.
For heavy towing I use my 02 F-350 7.3 PS, six speed stick, 4x4 CC Dually with 4:10 gears. No point in towing with an SUV when there is a perfectly good dually sitting in the garage. The only thing we tow with the Expy is a 17.6 bass boat, about 3500 lbs fully loaded. That is because we are towing the big boat with the F-350.

The only reason I am thinking about a HD reman trans is that we live in the mountains, and have a lot of steep roads to navagate. Monster Transmission uses a modified valve body in the transmission that can be shifted like a manual or driven like an automatic. I am planning on driving the thing until there is nothing left of it.

I usually have one deticated winter vehicle, and try to keep the others off of the road when the roads are salted for ice and snow. The body and chassis of the Expy is holding up well despite being used as a winter truck. Of course. every year it gets the undercarriage pressure washed, any rust is wire brushed or sanded off, and a fresh coating of rust inhibiting paint. So, we are planning on keeping the Expy for a while.

When I replace my Crown Victoria, I want to replace it with an F-150 Supercrew 4x4. I still want to keep the Expy for winter driving.

Charles
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:38 AM
gcspray gcspray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 98expeditionXLT View Post
I factory ordered my 98 Exp and it now has 139000 miles on it. I have used it just like my previous 4 x4 vehicles with the only exception that I have not used the Exp for plowing snow.

I think the Exp is an extremely well engineered product however the quality of the components is poor resulting in only a reasonably good vehicle. When everything is working it is a phenominal vehicle and I rather drive the Exp than my newer vehicles. Bottom line is if I could buy the exact same vehicle today even at an inflation adjusted price I probably would buy the exact same vehicle again over a 2013 Exp.
Good assessment!
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Old 02-08-2013, 06:51 PM
dr67 dr67 is offline
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We have had one since new in 2003. My wife drives the heck out of it. Its an Eddie Baur 4x4. It has 145k on it. so far I have replaced 3 coils, the spark plugs, and and 2 door jamb switches, and the gas cap. that is it in 10 years. I have never owned a vehicle that has been so little maintenance. I make fun of her the way she drives it too. The throttle pedal has 2 positions. on and off. But no complaints about the Expo. When the day comes to replace it, we will look at another Expo with a 5.4 again.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcspray View Post
We are going to get it fixed and keep it.
Why spend the money now if the intent is to replace when broke? Use your brakes where necessary and if/when the tranny breaks, replace it then. Sounds like you have a well taken care of Expy and fix it when necessary, mountains or not.
Mines at 305k and counting. I have been very happy with this vehicle but needs to be serviced regularly like any buggy.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by gcspray View Post
We are going to get it fixed and keep it.
good choice!

my 97 has 170-180K on her and is still going strong but I haven't owned her too long. Had to do plugs and COPs but that's it...knock on wood.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:26 AM
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my 98 Expy has to be one of the most trouble free trucks i've ever had!

i got it in 2010 with 63k miles

since then it has got, a set of brakes, spark plugs, alternator, rear axle seals. plus regular oil changes and lots of gas. all regular expected things in my opinion.

i now have 88k miles on it and i love getting behind the wheel every time!

every car/truck has its own problems, from my personal experience fords are built and hold up the best!
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:10 PM
sboychuck sboychuck is offline
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2003 Expedition...

I have owned mine since brand new, 10 years. It was a July 2002 build date. It is at 99K right now and just had to deal with the oil leak from the head gaskets. The heads were warped and at that point, I just opted for a Ford remanufactured engine. I love this SUV. It gets the family where we need to go. It is comfortable to drive and does great in the snow. It has had all the regular maintenance done, and then some. The cost of a new Expedition was about 55K out the door to replace what I have. This truck should run another 10 years. It has been very solid and the head gasket/oil leak issue was nothing I could have stopped. If you take care of your vehicle, it will take care of you. I see sooooo many big SUV's just abused by people and then they complain when they break. If yours is running strong and you maintain it, drive it. It is paid off! I could have drove a new one with a $500 a month car payment for five years, but I need to send my daughter to school. The choice was easy for me. Enjoy the ride...
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:41 PM
My2000Expy My2000Expy is offline
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Ive got 137k mi on mine. Done all the maintenance including fluid changes, cosmetics etc.
Repairs include:
Lower Ball joints at 135k mi
Alternator at 100k
Coil over conversion from air ride at 135k
Valve cover gaskets, intake gasket, throttle body cleaned 137k

Not bad for a 13 year old truck. I would like to have an Excursion.

And a 7.3L vs the 6.0L...just sayin
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