Ford Explorer III U152 32002 - 2005
Model: Explorer (1990 - ...)
Wikipedia (Explorer): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Explorer
The 4-door Explorer and companion Mercury Mountaineer were redesigned entirely in 2002, losing all design similarity with the Rangerwhile gaining a similar appearance to the Ford Expedition (the third generation Explorer is even often confused with the second generation Expedition, having rounded wheel sockets and "larger" back lights along with a more rounded appearance overall) and the still in production, second generation inspired Explorer Sport Trac. Engines were either the 210 hp (157 kW) SOHC 4.0L V6 with 254 ft·lbf (344 N·m) of torque or a 239 hp (178 kW) 4.6 L V8, with the 203 hp (151 kW) 4.0 L still available on the Explorer Sport. A third-row seat became available for the first time, bringing total passenger capacity to seven. Both manual and automatic transmissions and all-wheel drive were available (with 2002 being the last year of being able to order a 4-door and manual transmission). Trim lines were the base Sport Value, Sport Choice, XLS, Sport Premium, XLT, Eddie Bauer, and top Limited. AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control were standard for 2005 but an option from 2002 and on.
Beginning with the 2002 model year, Ford installed a fully independent rear suspension in the Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer (but not in the 2-door Explorer Sport). This replaced the non-independent ("live-axle") rear suspension used in previous model year Explorers. In the fully independent rear suspension each rear wheel connects to the rear differential via a half-shaft drive axle. The benefits of a fully independent rear suspension for ride comfort, handling, and vehicle stability have been known for many years, and many rear- or 4-wheel-drive vehicles (cars and SUVs) use this type of suspension; for example, the Hummer H1, and the Mercedes-Benz ML SUV. Ford installed the independent rear suspension in the Explorer beginning with the 2002 model year because of the well-publicized vehicle rollovers and resulting fatalities that occurred with previous-edition Ford Explorers. All of the Explorers involved in the rollovers had non-independent rear suspensions, and many of the vehicles had tires which Ford judged to be defective (see below).
All three SUVs use code U6 (for rear-wheel drive), U7 (for four-wheel drive), and U8 (for all-wheel drive) in the 5th, 6th, and 7th positions of the VIN.
When the Explorer was redesigned for 2002, the Explorer Sport continued unchanged for 1 more year. Due to the decline of 2-door SUVs, the 2-door Explorer Sport was discontinued in 2003.
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