Project Car SOTU 2016: 2002 Ford Excursion

If you want to call me an idiot for buying this vehicle I won’t blame you, but I’m secretly hoping to be validated about five years from now. Daisy still loves it for a new reason every day: great A/C, tons of interior room, a half-dozen always-on 12V outlets, and an infinitum of little storage bins for stuff. Did I mention it appears to have about $2500 worth of Banks exhaust plus tuner stuff on it? That said, we’ve got both minor and potentially-not-so-minor issues to work through in the short term.

First of all, the check engine light’s on for the #7 glow plug. I know this because my lovely wife purchased a $100 scan tool in the middle of a Friday afternoon filled with packing and running errands for a camping trip. Luckily, one of eight glow plugs malfunctioning won’t hurt anything right away.
Leaking oil from somewhere up high on the engine. Maybe the driver’s side valve cover, maybe the turbo, maybe…dunno what else.
It doesn’t seem to be making as much boost as it should: low single digits most of the time, maybe 10psi if I step on it and an absolute max in the high teens. I’m a little concerned the oil leak and low boost are a turbo that’s run its course.
The front end needs ball joints, wheel bearings, a steering box and/or an alignment: mid-to-high three digits worth of parts.
Atop that, we’ve got a number of minor annoyances:

  • The stereo’s mounted poorly such that poking the touch screen too hard pushes it into the dash
  • It’s in dire need of an interior detail job; a film of muck covers the aging plastic everywhere
  • The driver’s seat track has a little looseness to it. Maybe a loose bolt somewhere…?
  • The A/C seems to default to maximum fan force regardless of setting.
  • There’s a clunk from somewhere in the front end when bouncing around a corner: sway bar link/bushing? Track bar bushing? Shackles? Hard to tell.
  • It’ll need tires some time next year
  • With 3.73:1 gears at 35″ tires, the speedometer’s about 10% slow.
  • Those same gears might be a little tall for the tires we’re running. At some point in the future we’ll drop in 4.10s and an air locker or two.

At this point I’m spotting things here and there, but particularly as applied to a Powerstroke, I know what I don’t now. Because of that, I’ll probably just take it to a local high-end diesel shop to get a once-over. Given a prioritized to-do list, I can do all the nuts-and-bolts stuff myself, but right now I lack the experience to get a diagnosis right right away.
But did I mention Daisy loves it?

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  1. engineerd Avatar

    Happy wife happy life. I’m glad you’re enjoying the behemoth.

  2. Alff Avatar

    Daisy is cool. After a tense afternoon with my pickup in a tight parking garage during the first month of ownership, my wife has refused to drive anything larger than a minivan for 14 years. Not sure there’s much farm girl left in her.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      I know you have seen it before, but for general educational purposes (both in point and in how we have struggled to overcome sexism for decades), I’ll repost this:

      Wheel attachment, suspension and alignment is the #1 topic on all SUVs tech inspection reports around here. Is this stuff dimensioned accordingly inthe supersized version?

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        Tech inspection? Tim is in California…

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          I know – just saying it’s a very common issue with heavy vehicles. And seeing this one has been modified in the area that is the #1 trouble zone in my neck of the woods, I wonder if everything looks to be dimensioned accordingly.

  3. jeepjeff Avatar

    I’m betting you made a good purchase. It seems like you went into it with the right plan. So, i’m hoping you get validation over the next 5 years.