Jay Maynard's 1992 Ford Explorer

And now, pardon me while I rant...

The truck you see above is a 1992 Ford Explorer. It wasn't mine for a minute longer than it took me to be able to afford to buy something to replace it. It's a 2-door sport model, with a 5-speed manual transmission.

The transmission disintegrated at 65,000 miles. The input shaft broke in half and spewed metal throughout the rest of the transmission in the middle of nowhere. I had it towed to a Ford dealer for repairs. By the time I was done, the total bill was over $1700.

But wait, there's more! Just over 4,000 miles later, the transmission failed again. This time, a gear on the countershaft broke several teeth. I was in town at the time, and so I took it back to the selling dealer for repairs, pointing to the 12-month/12,000-mile warranty I was assured would cover the transmission if it should fail again.

Surprise! They refused to cover the repairs, since the part that failed wasn't replaced during the initial repair. Not only that, they also told me the countershaft I needed wasn't available anywhere, and was on "national backorder" - and I'd have to wait until one was manufactured, and they didn't know when that would be. To make a long fiasco short, I wound up having it repaired by a reputable transmission shop who found the necessary part at the next Ford dealer up the freeway.

Needless to say, this is the last Ford product I, or anyone where I have a say, will ever purchase... It was replaced in April 1996 by a Toyota RAV4.

Fan mail

I got the following fan mail, which I've edited only to remove some headers, from an anonymous admirer...note the unreplyable return address:
Message-Id: <313E8146.496F@mail.auburn.edu>
Date: Thu, 07 Mar 1996 00:25:10 -0600
From: Building Science Student <?@mail.auburn.edu>
Organization: Auburn University Department of Building Science
To: jmaynard@admin5.hsc.uth.tmc.edu
Subject: your web page
X-Url: http://k5zc.hsc.uth.tmc.edu/explorer.htm

piss off jay
who are you to judge the quality of a ford product.
if you think you can design a better one, let's see you try.
Well, my anonymous friend, all I can say is this:

I am one of the judges of quality that Ford needs to worry about the most: the customer. If Ford fails the customer test, they won't be around very long. I'm not a mechanical engineer, but then I don't feel I need to be to know that manual transmissions shouldn't self-destruct in 65,000 miles - and certainly not a second time 4,000 miles later! Further, repair warranties should be honored, not ignored.

In short, I know enough about the quality of this vehicle to know that I'm not going to purchase another Ford. If something costs me $3400 in premature repairs, I consider that a lesson learned the hard way.

More fan mail

I've since gotten several emails from people with '91-'94 Explorers with problems, ranging from transmissions to air conditioners to one poor person with a cylinder manufactured out of round - and that was "discovered" at 36,200 miles, so they're getting screwed by Ford, too.

The only conclusion I can reach is that the Explorer is a vehicle to stay away from.

Jay Maynard, jmaynard@conmicro.cx

Last modified 15 April 1997