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FishinAK

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Hello-
My soon to be 16 year old son is looking for his first truck.
A 2005 ST popped up for sale, here in our small Alaska town.
I drive a 250 and used to drive a Ranger. But somehow never learned/heard much about Sport Tracs.
Can you tell me what’s the quick and dirty reputation for these. I (he) dont really need another project. But, it looks like a nice rig.
2005 120k miles, auto. $6k obo
Only issues no Cruise control, no auto mirrors, and windshield washer intermittently doesn’t work.

Opinions, every used rig is a gamble. But is a 17 yo Sport trac a BIG gamble?

Th for all opinions!
 

DILLARD000

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The 2001~2005 = Gen1 Ford SportTrac has three primary NotoriousFailureItems\NFIs:
~ TimingGuide failure due to worn out OilPressurized TimingTensioners; these should be changed every 75k~100kMiles; if not Cam TimingGuides+Chains will fail & likely require pulling\replacing engine.
~ JunkPlastic ThermoStatHousing; can be remedied\replaced with a much better Aluminum version.
~ 5r55e Auto Trans; must be serviced every 33kMiles (ATF+Filter change & Bands adjusted)
There are several other known weaknesses & remedies, but these are at the top of the list.
 

FishinAK

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The 2001~2005 = Gen1 Ford SportTrac has three primary NotoriousFailureItems\NFIs:
~ TimingGuide failure due to worn out OilPressurized TimingTensioners; these should be changed every 75k~100kMiles; if not Cam TimingGuides+Chains will fail & likely require pulling\replacing engine.
~ JunkPlastic ThermoStatHousing; can be remedied\replaced with a much better Aluminum version.
~ 5r55e Auto Trans; must be serviced every 33kMiles (ATF+Filter change & Bands adjusted)
There are several other known weaknesses & remedies, but these are at the top of the list.
Thanks for the reply.
So if the timing tensioners have not been replaced and the trans serviced regularly should I completely avoid this rig? Or if I take care of these potential issues?
 

DILLARD000

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...So if the timing tensioners have not been replaced and the trans serviced regularly should I completely avoid this rig?
...Or if I take care of these potential issues?
120kMiles is on lower side for a +17yo vehicle, so good.
Listen closely to cold starting & running engine for failed rattling TimingGuides; if so walk away.
Only way to really inspect TimingGuides, is to pull ValveCovers & OilPan to look for broken pieces.
Test drive it accelerating hard to ~70mph; if transmission hesitates\slips, 2nd\3rd Gear especially, walk away.
If those check ok & Fluids+Filters have been maintained & no significant rust; may be a reasonable bet.
Renew all fluids+filters (Brake, Diffs, TCase, Trans, Engin, Coolant...) as soon as possible after purchase.
Replace TimingTensioners with new OEMs, replace TStatHousing with Aluminum; Radiator likely is needed also.
Assume suspension+bearings+shocks+brakes & all belts+hoses need replacing.
Have an emergency funding plan for replacing Trans, Engin,..
Cruise, mirrors, washer can be fixed.
As you said, used rigs are a gamble; I'd add new rigs are also gambles, maybe\not less risky.
Hopefully your son is NOT like most teenage drivers & wrecks their first car in short order.
Good luck!
 
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FishinAK

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120kMiles is on lower side for a +17yo vehicle, so good.
Listen closely to cold starting & running engine for failed rattling TimingGuides; if so walk away.
Only way to really inspect TimingGuides, is to pull ValveCovers & OilPan to look for broken pieces.
Test drive it accelerating hard to ~70mph; if transmission hesitates\slips, 2nd\3rd Gear especially, walk away.
If those check ok & Fluids+Filters have been maintained & no significant rust; may be a reasonable bet.
Renew all fluids+filters (Brake, Diffs, TCase, Trans, Engin, Coolant...) as soon as possible after purchase.
Replace TimingTensioners with new OEMs, replace TStatHousing with Aluminum; Radiator likely is needed also.
Assume suspension+shocks+brakes & all belts+hoses need replacing.
Have an emergency funding plan for replacing Trans, Engin,..
Cruise, mirrors, washer can be fixed.
As you said, used rigs are a gamble; I'd add new rigs are also gambles, maybe\not less risky.
Hopefully your son is NOT like most teenage drivers & wrecks their first car in short order.
Good luck!
Thanks so much buddy. We check it out tomorrow. I’ll let ya know how it goes.
I’m decently competent shade tree mechanic. How big a job is it to replace the timing tensioners?
 

DILLARD000

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Thanks so much buddy. We check it out tomorrow. I’ll let ya know how it goes.
I’m decently competent shade tree mechanic. How big a job is it to replace the timing tensioners?
Forgot to mention; best to take an OBD2 Reader along on your TestDrive;
scan for TroubleCodes before+after the drive, read live data during your drive.
Changing the Left+Rght OilPressurized TimingTensioners is a 2~3hr job.
Recommending Ford Tensioners, second choice would be Cloyes or Melling;
avoid cheap Asian versions from Ebay\Amazon, they're known to fail after a few months\weeks.
Convenient to swap JunkPlastic ThermoStatHousing to an Aluminum version while changing Left Tensioner.
$200~$300 in parts+tools for doing all 3 parts above; probably more to get them shipped to AK.
Relatively easy job; be patient with the ackward mounting\access of ThermoStatHousing & connections.

More info on my wiki:
 

FishinAK

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Right on. Thank you Dillard!

We checked out the ST this weekend and my son fell in love. He bought it.

Hopefully, it’s a gamble that will work out for him.🤞 I’m hoping to do the preventative maintenance you mentioned.
I’m sure I’ll be hitting you up w questions. Thank you again!
 
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