Ford Expl Shop Manuals Question

I have a very low mileage 96 Expl that I plan to keep awhile....and repair myself when needed (it ain't been in the shop in the 1 years I have owned it!) I often see the "real McCoy" genuine factory shop manuals on ebay for the '97 Expl/Mtneer....but never a set for a '96 :o( Question: Do you think there is enuff difference between the 96 and 97 to "worry about", so to speak? I'm strongly tempted to just go ahead and bid on the set of '97 manuals.
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Year to year, there's usually not much difference. If the '96 and '97 vehicles look significantly different, it's possible it was redesigned then. If you're going to be repairing it yourself, I'd hope your skills would be good enough to realize what's different and adjust accordingly.
One way to be a little more certain is to get a Chilton's (or just borrow a copy) and see if there's differences listed there.
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I wouldn't buy an oil filter that I wasn't sure was for the vehicle I was working on. If they were nearly the same, why wouldn't it be a 96-97 manual.
Considering the cost of having a vehicle worked on and the consequences of screwing things up, the choice is clear in my mind. For instance 96 was the first year for OBDII. in cars. A huge change. Can't say what year it was for truck/SUV.
Be better to ask in a Ford truck group.
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*snip*
I wouldn't put it past book publishers to sell a '96, '97, '98, '99, '00 manual for every little minor change in the vehicle. Books for their utility value would try to point out major differences, books for their reference and educational value would try to make minor differences into major differences.
Maybe I'm a little jaded because of the educational book "market."
Puckdropper
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According to Wiki, one of the engines changed for 1997, so depending on which engine you have, that newer manual may not apply to your '96 Explorer.
Factory manuals are the best and are what dealership technicians use. The Haynes and Chilton manuals are not nearly as good.
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Replaced a head gasket on an friends S-10 using a Haynes manual. Spent quite a bit of time and money getting a couple of large crow foot sockets to remove a pollution pipe it said needed to come off. When I put it back together realized it could have stayed attached. You get what you pay for. Still have the sockets but haven't used since.
Didn't have a big problem like that with the Chilton manual for G Am but it covered so many makes, models and years you could wear off fingerprint ridges trying to find info, eventually. Occasionally it's just not there. Finally tossed it and got a GM manual from Helm. Lesson learned.
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