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Received: with LISTAR (v0.128a; list small-list); Mon, 14 Feb 2000 22:41:21 -0500 (EST)
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 22:41:21 -0500 (EST)
From: Ford Truck Enthusiasts List Server>
To: small-list digest users>
Subject: small-list Digest V2000 #6
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small-list Digest Mon, 14 Feb 2000 Volume: 2000 Issue: 006

In This Issue:
Tri Color Tail Lights
"Yank" Fords in Europe
"Should I recommend..."
Fuel economy problems (was Re: small-list Digest V2000 #5


Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 03:01:32 EST
Subject: Tri Color Tail Lights

>>I I have noticed that many Ford cars and trucks used to have tri-color
>> tail lights, which I think they are helpful, especially when the hazard
>>lights and the turn signals are on.

Of course they are saving 2 light bulbs and 2 light bulb sockets per car. I
agree that the tricolor is much better. Looks like they are also cheapening
up on the front parking lights on the explorer. I love the 3 bulb setup on
my 97. Looks like the 2001's are gonna go back to the 1 bulb type. What a


Subject: "Yank" Fords in Europe
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 09:33:05 +0100

Bill, it's not the way you think.
In the past ten years, Ford Europe has started to sell US Fords officially
through their dealer network after having done some modifications on the
brakes and suspension and partly by installing their own Euro engines. The
Probe has been on the market for a long time, the "new" Explorer (not the
old one sharing the Aerostar's platform) is selling pretty well. Some car
rental agencies have it in stock. The Windstar is also being sold but is not
too popular. Ford has announced to officially sell the Ranger starting with
this model year. I doubt that the Ford shops lack training or service
documentation on the vehicles they are supposed to work on. Actually, lots
of people in the US drive German cars and I think the Mercedes or Audi
mechanics are as well trained and informed as their German counterparts.
My local smalltown Ford dealer is very helpful and has already done some
repairs on my Aerostar. Parts can be obtained through a large regional
dealership and no-one has a problem with my import. I've had different
experiences with GM and Chrysler dealers. They were extremely unfriendly and
partly refused to sell me parts since I had not bought the cars from them.
Although I don't like the European Fords I'd get a "Yank" designed Ford
anytime again.

Tom Ucen
1993 Aerostar
Munich, Germany

Von: William Hickey []
Gesendet am: Samstag, 12. Februar 2000 22:50
Betreff: [small-list] Re: Reliabilty of Ford

> >Ford failed on all counts to satisfy even the most basic rudiments of
> >customer service.
I do remember your posts concerning problems with Ford in the UK. I was
always curious why you even considered purchasing a 'Yank' designed Explorer

over there. I assume that Ford doesn't invest much money into their service

organization over there. How often do you see an Explorer or Ranger on the
road ? I have been told that there a few, but our trucks and SUVs are
certainly not big sellers over there. I would not lay the blame on
'LandRover' or another British manufacturer if I puchased a 'Brit' designed
truck over here in the USA and had problems with the 'Yank' dealer
organization. If I lived over there, I would not buy a Ford vehicle that
was primarily marketed over here for the same reason why I wouldn't purchase

a British designed truck over here ...... lack of service facilities and
questionable training of the service organization by the parent



Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 01:45:48 -0800
Subject: "Should I recommend..."

Hey, y'all,

Thanks for the lively and informed feedback about whether I should
recommend a Ranger for my friend Paul. I especially appreciated the
"life experience." I didn't appreciate the jingoism: hey, guys, can we
stop using the word "Jap?" I have a Japanese-American friend and I
really like him.

I've always wanted to "buy American." I believe in supporting our
businesses, and especially supporting our fellow Americans who tighten
the bolts and dip our Fords in paint. It has sometimes been difficult to
do this, because often it seems that companies overseas are often more
savvy about selling us a truly desirable product: our automakers have
never seemed to have gotten it (well, maybe Saturn).

The examples I gave of absurd ownership costs and stupid engineering are
very real. This is the truth, whether or not we like it. I gave Ford
examples, because that's what I own, and that's what I asked you to say
good things about (and many of you did, convincingly). A couple of you
also pointed out that lousy Ford cars aren't the same as good Ford
trucks. For brevity, I didn't mention my two Hondas with blown head
gaskets (Honda was famous for this) and screws falling out, and the
legendary cracked exhaust manifold of my Toyota Corona's B-10 engine. I
didn't mention my friend Gary's $1,000 loose bolt behind his Saab
engine, or the $250 cost to replace the rear fuel filter, located atop
his Voyager's gas tank.
Anyway, some of you gave me some very good reasons to own Rangers, and
just about convinced me to buy one myself!

Having been in the (electronics) repair business, I became increasingly
angered by the progressive advance of products that were engineered with
obstructions, and made with overstressed, overpriced parts, causing
repair and ownership costs to skyrocket. Products designed this way are
disgusting. I can't help thinking that the executives of the
manufacturing companies think of us with contempt. When working in
electronics, it seemed clear that Sony led the pack in this kind of
design, simultaneously advertising their "quality." But, let's face it,
this is exactly the kind of design that I find in my Ford Aerostar.

But now, I'm wondering if I should trade my Aerostar in on some kind of
Ford SUV.
It goes like this. I have a like-hate relationship with my Aerostar. I
like driving it. I like the fact that I can get into it without having
to twist: I have had back problems. So I also like the rear seats that
make a bed, and the flat floor: both of these allow me to stretch out in
6 feet of flat space and rest my back while away from home.

Here's what else I like about the Aerostar:
Decent handling for a truck.
Rear air conditioner (yeah, I know, it's gonna break).
Adequate power in the 3.0 for most conditions.
Lots of 'em around, and hopefully in the junkyards, too.
The endless fascinating variations in paint jobs and the body tweaks of
the commercial versions (look closely).
The "check oil" light that almost makes up for the illegible dipstick.
That nice, high sitting position with a great view of the road.

Here's more of what I don't like about the Aerostar:
Too-small wheels (ouch).
Constant unpredictable road-wander (but, with rack/pinion steering?!).
Severely obstructed access to all mechanicals (very serious &
Need for expensive special tools to do virtually everything.
Dipsticks that are virtually unreadable, often giving false levels.
Undersized oil filler tube (forget topping-up with a quart of Mobil or
Castrol synthetic oil while out-&-about).
Anti-ergonomic seat geometry.
Lack of hidden compartment storage.
M. Mouse spare tire.
Puny, overstressed switches.
Frightening obstructed vision to the rear quarters.
Famous self-destructing head gaskets in the 3.0 ($2,300 repair for an
Aerostar where I live, guys).
The front floor that rolls down so that your mayonaise splats into the
street (yech!).
Decorative worthless bumpers.
(I'll stop here).

So, the question: can I get what I want in an Explorer (or other Ford
SUV?). I mean, what I need is 6 flat feet in which to stretch out behind
the front seats. I also want something with a decently-long hood, so
that people can get at the engine and the other mechanicals. How's the
handling, ride smoothness? Seats? Reliability? Repairability? Safety
Etc.? Auto transmission? I can do fine with a 2WD version.

A final note about Consumer Reports.
I've always disliked their recommendations for hi-fi equipment (whacko).
Better for cars, but you have to know how to interpret what they say. It
is important to understand where those charts come from. These are
repair frequency tables, with the data coming directly from Consumer
Reports subscribers (and nowhere else). If a reader has to have the
battery terminals cleaned every month, this will count as twelve
electrical repairs. If everyone with a Yugo Uzi needs their battery
terminals cleaned like this, the Yugo Uzi will be shown with a black dot
for the electrical system (lousy). On the other hand, if a Toyota
Corolla's entire electrical system goes out at once: alternator,
starter, wiring harness to the rear defroster, all the dashlights blown,
all with a repair bill of $950, this will count as one repair incident,
and the car will be shown with an electrical red dot (excellent).
I think that you and I are more savvy than this.
By the way, Consumer Reports did say in recent years that Toyota makes
one car that they really dislike.

To end this long post, please give me your thoughts on a more-sensible
Ford vehicle that I can stretch out in the back of.




Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 22:42:53 EST
Subject: Fuel economy problems (was Re: small-list Digest V2000 #5

Recently, I've noticed a slight dip in my '89 Bronco II's fuel economy. A
few months ago, I could expect 20-21 mpg in mixed driving--with a few
stoplights in town, but pretty much open highway driving the rest of my 20
mile commute to work. Now I'm lucky to reach 19 mpg. Btw, my B-2's got 4WD,
rebuilt tranny at 145K, with about 185K on the engine.

First of all, I live in Colorado Springs, where ethanol is added to gas from
1 Nov - 28 Feb. Could this be a culprit? Other possibilities are: incorrect
installation of the two vacuum lines from the air filter housing (where is
each one supposed to go?), need new distro cap and rotor (last replaced at
138K), need to repack bearings, need more fuel efficient tires, etc. I had a
tune up and new plugs put in about 3000 miles ago, but it didn't seem to help

Any advice on where to start would be appreciated.

Truck on,


End of small-list Digest V2000 #6
Ford Truck Enthusiasts Small Chassic Truck Mailing List
Covering the Ranger, Bronco II, Exploer and Aerostar

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