Large SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,300 – $6,000*

1997 Ford Expedition

1998 Ford Expedition

1997 Ford Expedition

1997 Ford Expedition interior

1997 Ford Expedition

  • Acceleration (5.4-liter)
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Trailer-towing capability
  • Visibility
  • Entry/exit (4WD)
  • Fuel economy

Competitively priced when new, the impressive Expedition has also been a popular model on the used-vehicle market. All told, it’s a good alternative to GM’s SUVs–more modern and refined, and well worth a close look. In fact, Expedition ranks as a trend-setter.


Based on the F-150 pickup truck, Expedition gave Ford a serious challenge in the full-size sport-utility market. Available with either 2- or 4-wheel drive, Expedition was available only with 4-doors and was about five inches longer than a Chevy Tahoe or GMC Yukon. Seating for six was standard in the SLT model. An optional 3-place third seat gave Expedition seating for nine. The second-row bench seat folded flush to the floor, in a simple one-step process. Front captain’s chairs went into the top-of-the-line Eddie Bauer edition, for 5-passenger seating. Leather upholstery was standard in the Eddie Bauer, which could also have the optional third seat. The standard suspension used coil springs at all four corners. Rear air springs and front air shock absorbers were optional on 4×4 models. Rear air springs were optional on 4×2 Expeditions. A 215-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 engine was standard. Optional: a 230-horsepower, 5.4-liter V8. Both engines drove a 4-speed automatic transmission. Dual airbags, antilock brakes, and height-adjustable shoulder belts for outboard front and second-row seats were standard. Control Trac in 4-wheel-drive models had four drive settings: 2WD, automatic 4WD; 4WD High (for slippery conditions); and 4WD Low (for heavy-duty off-roading).

Yearly Updates

1998 Expedition
New body colors were offered this year, and de-powered airbags were installed. Lincoln launched a posh and costly Navigator for 1998, based on the Expedition.
1999 Expedition
Both engines gained substantial amounts of horsepower in 1999, and a new grille was installed on Expeditions. The XLT gained a standard 6-way power driver’s seat. Adjustable accelerator and brake pedals could now be installed for an extra $120.
2000 Expedition
Several new options became available, including second-row bucket seats, front side airbags, and a Reverse Sensing System. Power adjustable gas and brake pedals were now standard rather than optional, the front console was widened, and available outside mirrors with integrated turn-signal indicators were modified to include heated glass.
2001 Expedition
No significant changes were made.
2002 Expedition
For ’02, the rear entertainment system became available on the XLT as well as the Eddie Bauer.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Expedition buyers have had a choice of two engines: a 4.6-liter V8 that made 215 horsepower, or a 5.4-liter V8 that developed 230 horsepower. The engines got a boost to 240 and 260 horsepower, respectively, for 1999. A 4-speed automatic has been the only transmission available.

ohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.6/281
Engine HP 215-240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 290-293
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



ohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.4/330
Engine HP 230-260
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 325-345
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



Road Test

On the road Expedition does not seem as large as the rival Tahoe and Yukon, partly because Expedition’s deep side and rear windows–and sloping hood–provide good visibility to all directions. Not really agile, but easy enough to drive for a vehicle of this size, it corners with moderate body lean so long as speeds are modest. With 2WD, the ride is stable, well-controlled and relatively soft–less trucklike than some rival SUVs. Most bumps are easily absorbed, and the Expedition delivers an impressively solid feel. Ride quality is a little stiffer and more jiggly in a 4WD model, but not jarring.

Any model with the 5.4-liter V8 will accelerate smartly from a standstill, passing quickly and safely at highway speeds. A 2WD version with the smaller engine performs nearly as well off-the-line, but passing power falls short of snappy. The additional weight of 4WD puts a noticeable burden on the 4.6-liter V8. Both engines are smooth and fairly quiet, but the 5.4-liter V8 is the better choice for towing. As for economy, a 2WD Eddie Bauer edition got only 14.3 mpg in a mix of urban commuting and highway cruising. A 4WD Expedition with the 5.4-liter engine managed a measly 12 mpg.

In the cavernous, well-designed interior, space is ample for front and middle rows, which have reclining seatbacks. Front shoulder room is expansive, and three adults can ride in back in genuine comfort. A nearly flat floor means no one has to straddle a hump. The optional third seat is more for children than adults, however. Behind the third seat (if so equipped), the cargo area amounts to little more than a foot-long trench. Without that seat, cargo space is long and wide. Entry/exit is easy on 2WD models, with wide doorways and a moderate step up to the interior. 4WD versions sit much higher off the ground, so you have to hoist yourself up with the aid of an inside grab handle.


Model Tested: 2001 Ford Expedition XLT 2WD, 4.6-liter V8

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 3
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 3
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 9
Room/Comfort Rear - 9
Cargo Room - 9


Value - 5

Total: 60


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
119.1 204.6 78.6 76.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
118.3 26.0 5n1
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 39.8 40.9 38.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Expedition 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 78
Injury 62
Theft 179

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: If water gets into the transfer case, the mode switch can be shorted out making it impossible to select a different range. (1997)
Automatic transmission
Description: Transmission fluid can leak from the transmission into the transfer case. The low transmission fluid level causes shifting and engagement problems. (1997)
Climate control
Description: Cold air may come out of the heater vents at the floor due to a door in the duct not sealing properly. (1997)
Cold-starting problems
Description: Throttle sticks due to icing in cold weather requiring a service kit for the PCV system. (1997-02)
Dashboard lights
Description: Water in the spark plug wells may cause the ignition spark to jump to ground causing a misfire and illuminating the check engine light. (1997)
Engine misfire
Description: The engine may run rough or idle roughly if condensation from the air conditioning drips onto the oxygen sensor. (1997-98)
Heater core
Description: Installing a restrictor in the heater inlet hose may repair heater cores leaks. (1997-2002)
Audio system
Description: Electrical noise caused by the electric fuel pump in the tank can cause a buzzing noise when the AM band of the radio is selected. (1997-98)
Description: The front leather seats may wear out quickly because the foam sticks to the leather. New seat covers should be installed. (1997-98)
Transmission problems
Description: Torque converter dust plug may fall out. Replacement should be retained with RTV sealant. (1997-2002)

Recall History

Description: Rear-axle track-bar bracket can separate from frame due to missing welds or inadequate weld penetration; axle can move laterally until tires contact frame or wheelhouse.
Description: It is possible that the intermediate steering shaft yoke may break, causing a loss of steering control. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.
Description: Bolts that attach trailer-hitch assembly to frame could lose their clamp load; hitch could then separate from vehicle.
Description: Cruise-control deactivation switch may overheat, smoke, or burn.
1997-03 Excursion with turbodiesel 7.3-liter V8 engines
Description: The camshaft position sensor may function intermittently, causing the engine to stall. Dealers will inspect the sensor and replace it with an improved camshaft position sensor.
Description: Main battery cable could short circuit, causing loss of electrical supply, or fire.
Description: Due to insufficient clamp load, lug nuts could loosen and studs could fatigue and fail, creating potential for wheel to separate.
Description: Certain off-lease vehicles, Canadian in origin but sold in the U.S., have daytime running lights that do not meet U.S. specifications.
Description: Fuel-line assemblies on some vehicles may have been damaged by supplier during manufacture, and could leak.
Description: Retainer clip that holds master cylinder pushrod to brake-pedal arm may be missing or partially installed, causing increased stopping distances.
Description: Contact area between wheel and hug can deform, resulting in loss of lug nut torque that can cause vibration or separation of wheel/tire from vehicle.
1999 w/4WD and 17-inch chrome steel wheels
Description: Due to insufficient wheel contact area with hub, loss of lug nut torque can cause vibration or separation of wheel.
Description: Cruise-control deactivation switch on some vehicles may overheat, smoke, or burn; fires have occurred while vehicle was parked with ignition off.
Description: Some of the owner’s manuals for these vehicles are missing instructions for properly attaching a child restraint system.
Description: A switch located in the plastic cover of the wiper-motor gear case could malfunction and overheat, potentially resulting in loss of wiper function or fire.
Description: Driver- and/or front passenger-outboard seatbelt buckle may not fully latch. In the event of a crash, the restraint system may not provide adequate occupant protection.
2002 w/2WD
Description: Certification labels incorrectly state rear tire pressure.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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