By on July 1, 2019

1994 Mazda Navajo in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - Paardensex

Mazda and Ford go way back when it comes to the badge-engineering game, what with all those Mazda-built Ford Couriers, Mazda-based Ford Escorts, Mazda-badged Ford Rangers, and so on. Since I love weird examples of badge engineering in the junkyard, I’m always on the lookout for the likes of a Saab-badged Chevy or Acura-badged Isuzu, and so I have been keeping my eyes open for a rare Mazda-ized Ford Explorer for quite a while. Most of them got crushed long ago, as the early Explorer has very little value today (due to its laughably small size and lack of luxury features, by 21st-century American-market suburban commuter-truck standards), but this ’94 just showed up in a Denver self-service yard. 

1994 Mazda Navajo in Colorado wrecking yard, tailgate badge - ©2019 Murilee Martin - Paardensex

During the first half of the 1990s, Americans thought the first-gen Explorer was the ideal replacement for stodgy sedans, wearisome wagons, and ho-hum hatchbacks. Mazda wanted in on some of those sales, and so the Navajo appeared for the 1991 model year and remained available through 1994.

1994 Mazda Navajo in Colorado wrecking yard, front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - Paardensex

The Navajo came in two-door configuration only, and the only differences between it and its two-door Explorer sibling were the grille and exterior trim.

1994 Mazda Navajo in Colorado wrecking yard, engine - ©2019 Murilee Martin - Paardensex

You could get any engine you wanted in your 1994 Explorer/Navajo, as long as it was the 4.0-liter Cologne pushrod V6. The Cologne goes way back in Ford history, first appearing in the 1965 Taunus and continuing in production into our current decade.

1994 Mazda Navajo in Colorado wrecking yard, speedometer- ©2019 Murilee Martin - Paardensex

Trucks tend to rack up fairly high mileage totals before being discarded, and this one came close to the magical 200,000-mile mark.

The parking stickers indicate that it spent some time living on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

1994 Mazda Navajo in Colorado wrecking yard, Ford seat cover - ©2019 Murilee Martin - Paardensex

If you want fitted seat covers for a Navajo, you’ll need to get ones made for Explorers.

1994 Mazda Navajo in Colorado wrecking yard, rust - ©2019 Murilee Martin - Paardensex

There’s enough rust to scare off potential buyers of cheap four-wheel-drive vehicles, of which there are many in Colorado. These days, there’s such a glut of bigger, her used SUVs that the bouncy, trucky, door-challenged Navajo doesn’t command much resale value.

Native American-approved (in the alternative reality portrayed by Mazda’s American marketers).

If you like these junkyard posts, you can reach all 1,650+ right here at the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand!


Recommended

69 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1994 Mazda Navajo LX...”


  • avatar
    Terry

    Pure trash. When my dealership got our 1st ones in, the next thing that happened was the crushing of the pinchwelds under the rocker panels as we attempted to raise these heavy pigs.
    Sludged engines were common, as were the complaints..”Ive had Mazdas for 15 years and NEVER had one leak oil on my garage floor, til this Navaho.”
    Funny how Ford gave the slow-selling Explorer Sport to Mazda, but kept the popular regular Explorer for itself.
    The best was when my customer bragged he was so proud of having a Japanese-made vehicle instead of ‘murican-made junk(HIS words, dont blame the messenger). I told him the his Navaho was made in the US by Ford Motor Company. He attempted to “correct me” til I asked him to open the driver’s door and look at the bottom of the VIN decal, which read..”Product of Ford Motor Company, USA.” Let’s just say he was then less than enthralled with his new “Mazda”.
    The Ford-built B-Series trucks werent any better, but most of those buyers were used to the “Ford Quality” and didnt seem to mind the problems these “Rangers”rangers had.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “I told him the his Navaho was made in the US by Ford Motor Company.”

      It always surprises me how little research people put into their 5-figure purchases.
      And, it still happens today. I guarantee there are people driving around their Envision that believe it was built in the USA and people will buy the Supra thinking it is 100% Toyota and people buy a FWD CUV thinking it has AWD or get a V6 Grand Cherokee to tow 7000 lbs.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I think you have too little faith.

        1. The Supra is an enthusiast car. It’s well out of the price range of a normal Toyota, so the overwhelming majority of people won’t do it by accident. They’ll specifically want a Supra, and they’ll realize it’s a BMW product with Toyota styling and tuning…and they’ll also know a bunch of other rote facts about the car.

        2. The V6 Grand Cherokee, which I own an example of, with the Max Tow Package, has a towing capacity as high as 6,200 lbs. That’s enough to accommodate most people’s towing needs, which might encompass a motorboat, a small cargo trailer, or a pair of jet-skis. Anyone purchasing a vehicle specifically for towing will do their research.

        3. I’m a bit dubious about the Envision. On one hand, cars are so global that what makes an American car is dubious, and plenty of foreign stuff (see Toyota in particular) is built in the US. On the other hand, pretty much every review about the Envision mentions that it’s Chinese-built. And the people who care about where a car is made will….do their research.

        4. Who on earth buys a crossover and doesn’t realize it’s not AWD? Unless the dealer does something deceitful, like put AWD badges on it, I can’t see that happening.

        While I’m sure the scenarios you outline do happen, they’re probably rarer than you’d think.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “they’re probably rarer than you’d think.”

          Maybe. But I’ve heard some real head shakers talking to family/friends and from evesdropping at service departments. It certainly isn’t the majority of purchases, but I don’t know if I’d call it an “outlier” either.
          #2 and #4 I’ve literally seen happen. On #2 they didn’t know the actual weight of their trailer and just figured it was fine (although it was a 4.7L JGC not a V6 one). And on #4 they thought *every* SUV/CUV was AWD (it was a used MKX).

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            The survey is old now (I believe it was for the original 1 series), but upwards of 80% of BMW customers believed their car was front wheel drive.

            I would absolutely believe that unthinking customers would buy a FWD CUV not realizing that they aren’t all AWD until later. This sort of thing is not helped by salespeople with no knowledge themselves, or by advertisements picturing a top tier AWD model next to a $299/month sale price for the cloth seat FWD version.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          “I think you have too little faith.”

          Nobody is buying an Envision because they did any research at all. They buy one because they went to the Buick dealer where they bought their Lucerne and their LeSabre before that, and this time they’re going to buy a CUV like Marge from their bridge club drives. They’ll get a Buick that has the nice high seats and easy to load hatchback that Marge’s Edge has, and then they’ll think they’re supporting the good people at Flint until someone snaps the little glass rod in their head.

          Salespeople have been lying about 4WD, AWD, FWD, RWD, and engine size since there have been options. I helped a friend of mine shop for a replacement CRV when she lost her first one. “My CRV was a V6.” This wasn’t a point of contention. Her 2011 CRV was a V6, and I had to find her one just as powerful and prestigious. She wasn’t flexible at all on replacing her fictional CRV with another one that doesn’t exist. The only solution was to tell her I found one. She has been driving it for almost three years and still loves it. This is a woman with a PHD in pharmacology. She is actually one of the smartest women I’ve met.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “4. Who on earth buys a crossover and doesn’t realize it’s not AWD? Unless the dealer does something deceitful, like put AWD badges on it, I can’t see that happening.”

          Always look for the rear pumpkin, never trust a badge

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Kyree you give people WAY too much credit. I’m solidly with ajla and jack4x and Todd on this one.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      I will never forget the debate I had with a buddy regarding his Saturn. He was somehow convinced that it was a European car.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “crushing of the pinchwelds under the rocker panels as we attempted to raise these heavy pigs.”

      Why are you lifting a BOF truck by the pinchwelds on the unibody?

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        “Why are you lifting a BOF truck by the pinchwelds on the unibody?”

        This…so much this. One would think a dealership could be bothered to read the manual and see where the lift points were.

        And the only issue I’ve ever heard of with the 4.0 in these was that it had a great ability to turn copious amounts of fuel into noise without much forward motivation. They were durable, but the 4.3 one could get in the GM equivelants was a better all around motor.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          At least the OHV isn’t a rube-goldberg freakshow like the updated SOHC variant Cologne, which, granted made great power (word goes that Ford underrated them so it wouldn’t step on the toes of the optional 5.0L in Explorers at the time). Yes I think the Chevy 4.3L made greater power at greater efficiency, and is itself fantastically durable, but is let down by a finicky fuel delivery system and the usual leaking intake gasket problem.

          If I ever need another cheap old Ford Ranger, I’d love to find a stick shift 4.0L (OHV).

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I am partial to the 2.9, but while mine never had issue I know many of them suffered from cylinder head issues. Still with a 5 speed I think it had a better ballance between efficiency and power (140hp IIRC). the extra 20 that the 4.0 had seemed to come at a steep fuel cost. Still, My 4.0 was in a 4 door explortr while the 2.9s were in Bronco II’s so it may have just been a weight thing.

        • 0 avatar
          teddyc73

          “This…so much this.” What does that even mean?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Why are you lifting a BOF truck by the pinchwelds on the unibody?

        Because they wanted to sound reaaaaaaallllly smart on the Internets and thought this would make a good story while ranting about how people don’t do their homework. You know, like Mazda mechanics, who lifted a BOF SUV from the pinchwelds. ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        Terry

        11st of all, I never myself crushed one. But I saw many that did. Many of the import shops at the time had racks that didnt work well lifting by the frame.
        The pre-’86 B-Series trucks were hazardous raising by the frames on the racks we had. These racks were later replaced with more modern racks, but in ’94 we worked with what we had.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          That sounds like an equipment or process issue though. Not really the fault of the vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Yeah, a bizarre thing to complain about and to blame it on the weight of the truck as the cause… reinforces my impressions of who works in the service centers at dealerships, to be honest.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “reinforces my impressions of who works in the service centers at dealerships, to be honest.”

            This is one of my biggest worries about buying a Supra. Are the people in the Toyota service center going to apply the proper Black Forest fairy dust to keep the BMW parts healthy for 60k miles?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            @ajla, based on the issues they had performing the recall work on the Subaru motor in the FR-S, I’m dubious.

    • 0 avatar
      namesakeone

      A friend criticized my purchase of a (first-gen) Mazda 6, because it wasn’t American-made like the Chevrolet Aveo he was considering.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      why weren’t you lifting them from the frame?

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Looks like this did some time as a dinghy behind a Class A, judging by the hookup for a tow bar on the front.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Nope that is a mount for a snow plow, Western is a snow plow mfg. https://www.westernplows.com/

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        That makes the 171K miles even more remarkable. Snow plow duty is feckin’ hard on a vehicle, devastatingly hard.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          That TTB front end was a blessing in that application IMO. No way an S-10 Blazer’s front end would have held up as well with that much extra weight and force applied.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Well the plows for mounting on an Explorer are what Western calls their Suburanite line, intended for home owner, not commercial use. So in theory it could have just cleared a private drive a few times a year.

          However you will occasionally see a combination like this in commercial application such as on a college campus, where it might be used to clear sidewalks and other areas the bigger trucks can’t get or are just a pain to deal with.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    I had a friend with one of these in 5MT. That’s really all I got.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Yikes….I am thankful that I didn’t have to meddle in such an uninspiring and decrepit generation of vehicles. While I did have to ride in them, I’ll gladly leave them to occupy their allotted Wikipedia entry and try not to disturb them.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I rather like these, overlooked in the past by offroaders, but as XJ and 4Runner prices continue to climb these “second fiddle” SUVs are starting to acquire a second-wind of interest in the offroading community. These had Ford’s TTB front end which is really a pretty nice setup for offroading, rear leaf spring setup is fairly easy to lift as well. Throw in a short wheelbase of the 2 door, sturdy torquey OHV Cologne six with a stick, not a bad little rig!

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      All sorts of motor swaps have been done on these as well if you need more HP and as you said, the TTB has alot of travel for offroading. I think they have the 8.8 rear as well. I think these are pretty good bang for the buck there…pretty much the same running gear as the Bronco II/Ranger and people like those offroad (Bronco II prices have been climbing as well).

      Get a manual though…The automatics on these are weak and they can fail in a manner that makes them difficult to repair (something about damage to the case) or drop a c4 in if you are off-road mainly. Ford bolted the c5 (c4 with a lockup torque converter) behind the 2.9 cologne so with that bellhousing it bolts right to the motor.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    For all the hate, bet that BMW behind it didn’t run as many miles.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    A friend criticized my purchase of a (first-gen) Mazda 6, because it wasn’t American-made like the Chevrolet Aveo he was considering.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    “During the first half of the 1990s, Americans thought the first-gen Explorer was the ideal replacement for stodgy sedans, wearisome wagons, and ho-hum hatchbacks.”

    You forgot mundane minivans.

  • avatar
    madanthony

    I wish they still sold 2 door, body on frame SUV’s.

    #StateYourUnpopularOpinion

  • avatar
    Terry

    avatar
    gtem
    July 1st, 2019 at 1:33 pm
    Yeah, a bizarre thing to complain about and to blame it on the weight of the truck as the cause… reinforces my impressions of who works in the service centers at dealerships, to be honest.

    It wasnt a complaint other than I witnessed the crushed pinchwelds more than once.
    Compared to Mazda’s other offerings at the time the build quality was poor, the parts situation was less than optimal, and techline support was likewise poor. Mazda was in the dark–they didnt build it, didnt engineer it, just sold it.
    As for your opinion of dealership personel, well….some of us took pride on our work and were professionals. Just like in all occupations.
    Your opinion is just that..YOUR opinion. Nothing more.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Pure trash. When my dealership got our 1st ones in, the next thing that happened was the crushing of the pinchwelds under the rocker panels as we attempted to raise these heavy pigs.”

      Don’t try to walk it back now, you made it very clear you thought it was a quality issue. Now you’re saying “oh that was the other technicians” where initially it was “when WE tried to raise these heavy pigs.”

      Get your story straight man, sounds like typical dealer service writer/tech talk to me!

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      They were Ford Rangers underneath. People generally were fond of that truck and they were regarded as long lived. Crude by todays standards but perfectly acceptable back then.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ya…Mazda quality…because the Mazda rotary engines are the pinnacle of efficiency, reliability, and serviceability.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    There are a couple of them still running around here on the Navajo Nation and I always wondered if the original owners bought them as a little “wink wink nudge nudge” way of nodding to the local culture.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    It was hard to buy a bad small SUV in the early 90s. There was the XJ Cherokee, the 1st-gen Explorer/Navajo, the square S-Blazer, the 4Runner, and the Pathfinder, and everybody I knew that had any of these trucks got a long service life out of them and got rid of them when the rust got too bad.

    Or traded them in during Cash for Clunkers. What do you do with a good-running, rusty as hell 1993 Explorer with 200K miles on it?
    https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2009/08/cash-for-clunkers-top-10-most-popular-new-cars-and-trade-ins/index.htm

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    All this talk about how good or bad this “Mazda” was. It was no better or worse then a 2-door Explorer of the same era. My first “Escape” was a V6 Mazda Tribute, 100% Ford mechanically. Mazdas didn’t have their own personalities or issues. They’re Fords

  • avatar
    Terry

    “Pure trash. When my dealership got our 1st ones in, the next thing that happened was the crushing of the pinchwelds under the rocker panels as we attempted to raise these heavy pigs.”

    Don’t try to walk it back now, you made it very clear you thought it was a quality issue. Now you’re saying “oh that was the other technicians” where initially it was “when WE tried to raise these heavy pigs.”

    Get your story straight man, sounds like typical dealer service writer/tech talk to me!

    Yeah, my story is straight. I reported what I saw.I said WE because I was part of a department, the shop foreman infact. And I was in constant communication with Mazda Techine most of the way with these vehicles.
    Just so you now, youre not all you think you are by any means. I saw that in our “discussion” concerning CX-5 interior room.
    But if it makes you feel important, carry on. Use what works for you.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      You are implying with your story that the vehicle is bad somehow because parts bent when your service department lifted them improperly. I worked at a Ford/Lincoln/Mercury dealership while these were being sold and I saw no such damage and I am reasonably sure that anyone lifting an Explorer by the Pinch Weld would have been shown the door.

      And if your service department lacked the means to service the vehicles Mazda was selling this reinforces my stereotypes that while Mazda cars may be nice, the Dealership experience is typically right up there with 80’s Chrysler only the Mazda dealer is likely in a worse area of town.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      And when you damaged your customer’s vehicles by lifting them improperly, did you repair them or just send them on out the door? I loved my last Miatas, but they were one of the few modern cars I have owned that rusted. Not the standard Mazda strut tower stuff, but the rear quarters where the convertible drained. Both of them. For crying out loud some of the crappiest convertibles (and T Top) cars I’ve owned (Fox Body Mustangs lest you think I am a Ford Homer here…good cheap fast cars but lousy with the roof molested) managed to not rust.

      • 0 avatar
        Terry

        Art, any body damage that occurred during servicing was immediately reported to the service advisor, who ed the customer. Our body shop department also was advised, and they filled out a repair order. The work was done to the customer’s satisfaction and paid for by the service department.
        My main driver prior to my ’19 CX-5 was a ’05 Mazda Tribute V6 AWD. 9 years with it, and loved it. But the tinworm affected the rear quarter panels at the inside corners of the rear wheel wells, so, sadly, it left.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Yes, the CX5 has marginal rear legroom for things like rear facing child seats and adults over 5’10” with anyone over 5’7″ using the front seats.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Weren’t these 2-door Navajos and Explorers some of the most rollover prone vehicles on the road? I thought these fell under the curse of the short wheelbase, high body = high center of gravity rollover risk and that bad publicity helped do them in.
    An old friend of mine had a 2-door Explorer and I never felt like it was the most stable thing on the road…that and that V6 drank fuel through a straw meant for a Big Gulp! You could watch the gas gauge fall.
    But I have to admit, for the time, they did look good and had a bit of style back when the BOF SUVs all had some uniqueness to them and all didn’t look like the melted blobs infesting the roads today.

  • avatar
    Guitar man

    – Mazda-built Ford Couriers, Mazda-based Ford Escorts, Mazda-badged Ford Rangers,

    The Escort is a Mazda 323 with a Ford badge, the Courier a Mazda pick up with a Ford badge. All Ford did was choose the trim colours.

  • avatar
    MWolf

    I had a ’94 Explorer XLT. They could be had with a lot of pretty cool options for the time that rivaled luxury cars. No, not kidding. My XLT had leather, auto headlights, keyless entry, power seats with inflatable lumbar and bolsters, and power everything. Other available goodies mine didn’t have was premium audio with a JBL subwoofer and a sunroof. They could be had fully loaded or absolutely spartan to the point of having no rear defroster.

    I’m not saying they were great, as the A4LD transmission was a bad transmission to begin with and a horrid choice for the Explorer, and the 4.0 had issues with cracked heads and spark knock. But it could be had with the sort of options that luxury cars of the era boasted. It’s just that the rest of it was prone to rusty failure. If it had good maintenance and wasn’t driven hard, maybe okay. But that doesn’t happen 3 owners down the line with someone snuffing out Marlboros in the cupholder because the ashtray’s full.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • ToddAtlasF1: The first generation Escape was Mazda 626 based. The engines were Ford, but the rest of the mechanicals...
  • Lie2me: I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to do that
  • Lie2me: A Pontiac Torrent? That’s the only Pontiac SUV thingy I can remember, or was it the dreaded…....
  • Arthur Dailey: As per the article all Ford GT’s are built in the Multimatic facility in Markham Ontario. Which...
  • Jeff Weimer: Because they don’t also build the biggest selling nameplate in the world for decades. Sheesh.

New Car Research

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
http://etalon.com.ua

Buy GHRP-6 online in Canada

bigcircus.com.ua
Terms of Use
Copyright
Privacy Policy