Recommendation for '97 Explorer 5.0L

Not open for further replies.
Sep 17, 2003
Guys&Gals, I've been reading this site for two days and love all of the information I've seen. The wealth of knowledge here is really great. I am in the process of picking up a '97 Explorer AWD with the 5.0L v8 and would love to hear some thoughts on the oil I should select for both the engine and transmission. Ford now recommends 5w20 (previously 5w30). The vehicle has 96K miles and has had its oil changed regularly (every 3-4K miles) at a local "Jiffy Lube" type of place. A few things: a) Do I have too many miles to move to a full synthetic? I've heard leaks are possible, etc. b) If so, which do you like? I currently run Mobil 1 5w30 on my '02 SVT Focus and it has, seemingly, done well. c) If not, which dyno oils show the best results? I've seen a lot of praise for Pennzoil and Chevron Supreme on this site. d) What are your feelings toward "High Mileage" oils? e) What weight should I run? I live in Michigan and 5-10 degreesF is common in the winter with 85-90 degreesF common in the summer. f) Lastly, is any MERCON ATF fluid fine or are some better than others? Synthetic? Thanks in advance, everyone! -Matt [ September 18, 2003, 03:36 PM: Message edited by: TippsTheFoo ]
I had a 93 cougar with 5.0 engine, bought it new drove it till it had 180,000 miles. I lived in MI. later WI. I used dino 10w30 year round. I changed to oil often every 2500 to 3500 miles. but I did lots long trip driving at the time, but some short trip city driving too. you may want use 5w-30 if do short trip driving alot in winter. [ September 18, 2003, 05:11 PM: Message edited by: MillerMan ]
Matt, 1st... [Welcome!] Now to your questions: a) It depends. This is kind of like the question to your doctor, "Can I start trainging for a marathon." Depends on what kind of shape you are in already. If your Explorer does not consume oil excessively now, you should be able to run a synthetic without problem. I would do an Auto RX treatment first (not absolutely required but a good idea) and then start using the synthetic. I have used synthetics in multiple makes of foreign and domestic vehicles, some at very high mileage for the first use and have NEVER had a problem. Is my experience unusual?...maybe, but you don't have to accept that if you go synthetic you'll probably have leaks. b) The 5W30 M1 is an excellent choice. With your temps, 10W30 M1 is a good choice too. c) My favorite dinos are Pennzoil and Formula Shell (if you can find it) but I have heard MANY good things about Chevron Supreme. I'm iffy on Catrol GTX, though more for it than "agin" it. d) HM oils are better than blends (I'd stick with Pennzoil and supposedly Chevron is coming out with a HM line), but if you like synthetics stick with them. e) See b) f) I'll leave the ATF question to someone who knows the subject better than I do. Hope this is helpful.
Thanks, guys. I appreciate the help. The Explorer was my parents car (they just bought a new one so I'm flying out to Oregon to pick this one up and drive it back) and they've taken great care of it. I'd assume - but will check shortly - that it does not have a consumption problem. I'm a little leery moving to a full synthetic at high mileage (the "myth", I guess) but may give it a go. If so, should I: a) change oil to 5w30 Chevron Supreme or Pennzoil dino - and trans fluid to any MERCON ATF b) drive the 2000 miles back to Michigan c) add AutoRX and drive another ~1000 miles d) change oil, again to the 5w30 dino, and run for ~3000 miles e) move to full synthetic (Mobil1 or Amsoil?) ??? Hopefully it'll be OK as the car will have ~105-110K on it before actually moving TO the synth. Which full synthetic does everyone recommend? Mobil1, Amsoil, other? -Matt [Smile]
I have a 5.0 AWD Explorer or should I say the wife does. 2000 Eddie Bauer. Has 110,000 miles already. I change with Mobil 1 at approximately 6,000 mile intervals and it does great. No noticeable consumption at all. Re: the transmission if you have a 4R70W which I assume you do definitely change the fluid and filter. There is a drain plug on the torque convertor as well so make sure you drain it. Use a Mercon V tranny fluid. Full change should be 14 or so quarts. Ford changed the specs on the 4R70W to Mercon V to reduce and transmission shudder problems some have faced. While you have the pan off install a tranny drain plug kit as Ford recommends a 30,000 mile interval on the transmission. I would not recommend a flush as many with high mileage Fords (me included) have run into trouble with transmissions after haveing them flushed if the fluid had not been changed regularly. If it has been changed regularly it should not need the flush. I lost a 4R70w in my Mark VIII shortly after a tranny flush. Sorry to ramble and good luck...ST
For the oil, drive it home, do an auto-rx treatment, then switch to M1 0w40. This is not a modular motor, so it's gonna like a thicker oil especially since it has close to 100k on it. Plus you can run this oil year round with great start up circulation. As for the transmission, the idea of a flush being bad for an older tranny or one that hasn't had the fluid changed I'm not sure about. I did a tranny flush at 120k on my Grand Cherokee (it has the 46RH tranny that's the same as the Rams) and it's been fine. It's due for another service here in about 5k miles. It might just be a Ford thing with flushes, but I think a flush service would be the best thing for your tranny as long as it doesn't leak from a bad sea. BTW, I also ran M1 0w40 on my Jeep at 133k, and didn't have a single leak. It cleaned out the motor some too as well. This was before the 2 auto-rx treatments I'm doing right now. Jason
Would anyone recommend using full synthetic in the tranny at this stage of the game (100K+)?
I think I'll refill the tranny, but not with synthetic at this time, my main issue revolves around the engine oil at the moment. Which oil will give me the best shot at an additional 100K+ miles? Mobile-1 and Amsoil prices are fine, I have no issue with it IF it'll honestly give my engine a better chance to last longer than anything else. But, will a quality dino or blend give me just as good of a shot? The engine, as stated earlier, has never seen full synth. before. As of right now I'm leaning toward giving Amsoil or Mobil-1 5w30 a shot at my business, but what about a quality blend like Schaffers or straight dino like Chevron Supreme? I know I'm asking a lot of Q's - the help is appreciated!
Just my $.02 woth re: the tranny flush in the Ford. When they backflush the tranny they cannot force the small particles which get loosened up backwards through the filter so particles which are now loose are on the transmission side of the filter instead of the pan side of the filter if you follow. Now the filter will not have a chance to catch these particles before going through all the small valves etc. in your transmission. Check some of the Ford forums and you will read other stories of bad experiences with this. But it is your decision. As far as the oil goes the 302 or 5.0 is not a picky little engine. Dang near bullet proof with a reasonable amount of care. Any quality oil and filter and a decent oil change interval will give you lots more service. You may try to stay with what has been used previously since it seems at 100,000 miles you seem to believe it is in reasonably good condition. Run it a couple of changes using the same oil and have an analysis run on the used oil. Expect a timing chain replacement in the next 50,000 miles and probably just routine maintenance after that until 200,000. The 5.0 is probably one of the best if not the best all around engines Ford ever built. My last one was in a 93 F-150 and went well past 200,000 miles and was still running strong. My wife has one in her 2000 Explorer with well past 100,000 miles now. Of course they practiced on the same basic engine for nearly 40 years. (By the way the only tranny flush I ever had done was again on my Mark VIII which had no problems up til I had the flush done. I was trying to be nice to it. Failure was 3 days and 60 miles later. coincidence????) Again good luck..........Seldon [ September 23, 2003, 09:53 PM: Message edited by: seldont ]
Not open for further replies.