COAL: 2005 Ford Expedition – Heavy Hauler

For a while we went with the disposable minivan concept for my wife’s vehicle by owning back to back cheap Dodge Caravans. This worked fine for a while but then she had the need to have some kid’s car seats installed in her vehicle. Unfortunately the older minivans were not new enough to be equipped with the safer and easier to use Latch system. As a side story my wife has always wanted a giant SUV, probably not this exact one but rather something along the lines of a Cadillac Escalade. This one sort of fell in her lap as a trade for work arrangement so it is the one she got.


This Expedition had a neat pearl paint that does not really photograph well but looked quite sharp. Or did when the SUV was new. As you can see from the hood the paint did not adhere well to all surfaces. Both the aluminum hood and hatch had serious adhesion paint issues. It sort of fell off in chunks so there must have been an issue with the formulation or preparation. I found out later there was a TSB for this which I am not sure if it extended to Canada but probably not to us as later owners.

“Some vehicles may exhibit a bubbling or blistering under the paint on the aluminum body parts. This is due to iron contamination of the aluminum panel. . . . Ford’s Scientific Research Laboratory has performed a number of tests on vehicle body parts returned for corrosion related concerns. Testing has revealed that the aluminum corrosion was caused by iron particles working their way into the aluminum body part, prior to it being painted.” – TSB 04-25-1

The bumper on our example was cracked as well which meant while it was not the prettiest thing ever it was more affordable to acquire.

The engine was a 5.4L V8 that luckily was new enough not to suffer from the spark plug ejection issue that the earlier ones did. A previous owner had put an aftermarket air filter on it. The V8 engine was somewhat powerful but drank fuel at an amazing rate. It sort of oozed along and did not like to be rushed. I think around 12 MPG was the very best we ever got out of it under ideal conditions. The memory is getting a little foggy now but 9 MPG might have been the worst which is not that much of a spread but it was quite the change in consumption from the little Mazda.

The interior was in rather nice condition however. Seats were on the slippery side. Behind the wheel piloting this behemoth was predictably a little ponderous in tight quarters but as long as you did not rush it the Expedition gave a smooth ride. The cracked windshield is an Alberta default as we use a large amount of gravel on the roads in winter. Leads to less body rust but lots of cracked windows.

It came with the third row which came in useful for my wife in her job.

The big SUV was reasonably reliable during its stay with us. I had to replace the alternator and battery when one died and killed the other. The alternator was reasonably easy to replace with its top and center location (you can see the shiny new part under the intake pipe).

While the Ford was massive overkill in this regard we used it several times to tow our tent trailer.

After a while we sold the Expedition as the fuel consumption was shocking. To be fair we knew that going in. It proved to be a bit of a tough sell as resale values on the Ford were much lower than the GM equivalents. They have a mixed reliability record and tend to rust badly  in the rockers under the running boards. Eventually I sold it a buyer who travelled from an hour away so I was painfully honest with him in regards to the flaking paint and a few small leaks. To avoid any disappointment I send him piles of photographs highlighting any flaws that contributed to the cheap listed price. When he took possession he seemed happy to have it but he must have had a bad case of buyer’s regret as I kept getting threatening texts and emails for a couple months after. He wanted me to reimburse him for a full paint job (which would have been more money than what I sold the whole SUV for). He even threatened to send his lawyer after me. Knowing he had no leg to stand on as it was all disclosed plus the vehicle was sold as is I called his bluff and I never heard from him again. Oh well. This one had filled a void for when needed but probably will not feature on my top vehicle list anytime soon. On to newer and only slightly more fuel efficient vehicles for the wife.

My whole COAL series so far