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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair

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  • Hi,
    I'm not sure how much this will cost you to fix. I had the very same problem with this engine. There is a ford recall list somewhere on the net. My boyfriend found it. Any how, there is a defect in the 400 SOHC engines and it makes this ticking noise, when cold and seems to stop when the engine warms up. I didn't get mine fixed for a year, it doesn't effect the performance of the engine. The sound eventually never stoped. There is a kit to fix this problem. You can find it by searching for ford recalls. They never did a recall for this problem, but the problem is listed and the kit is being sold, with instructions.
    Good luck
  • Help!
    I have a 98 ford explorer sport and just this afternoon, when I tried to open my door to get out, my door would not open. The driverside lock would not unlock. Not by using the handle or the remote. I had to exit through the passenger door.
    The lock and door was working just fine, no warning glitches that something was wrong. The remote locks and unlocks all the other doors,but I can't unlock it using the key pad either. Just the strangest thing. I had an issue with the locks some while back and it affected all the locks. That turned out to be a fuse that neededto be replaced. I have no clue what this is.
    Any clues?
  • I was involved in an accident July 26, 2003. My Explorer was hit on the passenger side right in the middle of the vehicle at about 45mph. I had it repaired, which was estimated at $8,000 by my insurance company. The damages were as follows: Replace rt. quarter panel, tire and rim, frame repair, repair drive line, exhaust/muffler, rocker ,panel, leaf spring, rt inner floor sidemember, shock absorber, rear axel and susp. housing, repair body floor plan, rt. door shell/panel, replace rt. side mirror, door lock/handle, thrust angel alignment, 4 wheel alignment, etc. Repairs were completed on 08/04/03. On 09/30/03 I took the vehicle back to the shop again, as the rear hatch door came open while driving, the hatch door window didn't latch correctly, paint was chipping where the body work was done, and there was a loud "humming" noise coming from the rear-end when I would reach 55mph or higher. I was told that the rear axel required "fluid" and that they did another 4-wheel alignment. On 03/08/04 I took the vehicle back to the shop AGAIN, as the "humming" noise coming from the rear end was getting worse. I was told that a tech had to correct a frame problem. On 04/06/04 I took the vehicle back and demanded that they further investigate the loud noise I was hearing at higher speeds. They then replaced the rear axel assembly for the second time. I got my vehicle back on 05/14/054. I was told that they replaced the rear axel again, vehicle was re-aligned, as more frame work was done, supposedly because they were having a hard time gettin the axel to fit. Almost 2 years since the accident, the vehicle still isn't right. The loud "humming" noise and vibration is back, the rear driver side tire/wheel "wobbles/shakes" now, the rear passenger side tire is totally bald and leans inward a bit. Also, recently, while restoring the carpet, I noticed a long crack down along the passenger side floor running from the rear quarter panel along the floor of the passenger door. I have contacted a frame &body shop here in Tucson, and was advised to get it in for a second opinion as it sounded to them like the axel is bent due to being forced in, and possibly the frame of the vehicle is bent. I would love to hear comments from anyone. I am so frustrated..my explorer was perfect before the accident. I will say though, I will never own another ford ANYTHING, the rest of my life!!!
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,596
    I will say though, I will never own another ford ANYTHING, the rest of my life!!!

    So you are blaming Ford for your accident? That's pretty low. Truthfully your truck should have probably been totalled. You need to go after your insurance company and the body shop, NOT Ford.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    IMHO, sometimes a vehicle can't be fixed, period. I would not go thru two years of total frustration. Put a new tire on it, and trade it for what ever you can get for it. The market is soft for SUVs right now. It's a great time to acquire a new one. JUST GET RID OF IT!!! It's not the vehicles fault-it's either your fault or the other guy's fault--depending on who the insurance company pinned the blame on!
  • jetsc17jetsc17 Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Explor Sport 2wd. I have been having problems with the transmission leaking. It has been leaking between where the trans mounts to the motor. The first time I saw the leak it was oil. I took it to the dealer and after 2 weeks they finally got the torque converter changed. Now (about 3 months) it is leakinbg in the same place but it trans fluid. I was wondering if anybody else has had this problem.
  • nitromaxnitromax Posts: 641
    So you are blaming Ford for your accident? That's pretty low. Truthfully your truck should have probably been totalled. You need to go after your insurance company and the body shop, NOT Ford.

    I agree. That Explorer should have been totaled. If the frame damage happened in the front end or the back end then it should be salvage-able, but frame damage between the wheels is a nightmare waiting to happen.
    ...welcome to your nightmare....

    do as chuck1 said, get what you can for it and count your blessings that you weren't hurt in the accident.
  • ejgabeejgabe Posts: 9
    I have a 1998 Explorer XLT 4WD (auto) with 90,000 miles. There is a front-end rattling/clunking/clinking noise ONLY when the weather is hot (above 70 degrees). Very loud and noticeable at lower speeds. I can feel it a little bit in the steering wheel and on the gas petal. As my wife puts it, everything feels "loose" on the front end. This is the 2nd year in a row that I having this issue. Believe it not, I do not have this problem at all when the temps are below around 70. I live in Colorado and do not have an issue all winter long. Now the temps are heating up, this problem started right up again. I have twice brought it in to the dealer and they have not corrected the issue. I still have the original shocks and struts. Could that be the issue? Any suggestions?? Thanks in advance!
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    It sounds like some bushings may be marginal. Forget the dealer, ask around for a good front-end shop. When you hear it-depending on temperature- sounds more rubber related (i.e.bushings) than anything made of steel/metal. Also, if there is rack and pinon steering, I would check "the rack" as well. Good luck!
  • scorpyscorpy Posts: 2
    Hi all

    I have tried searching this forum for an answer to my problem but came up empty so hopefully one of you can help point me in the right direction.

    I have a 1998 Mercury Mountaineer with 112k miles on the clock. Everything was fine with it until I had the tires rotated a couple of weeks ago. (It should be noted that on the previous rotation I replaced the front tires so I had a new set on the front and an old set on the back).

    Straight after having the tires rotated I noticed that if I took the car about 65mph the steering wheel kept feeling very light as though I didnt have contact with the road (best way I can describe it is it felt like I had hit black ice). If I dropped below 65 mph the problem went away. The next day driving to work (50 miles away) it just got steadily worse and I ended up taking it into a tire place there. They told me that the tires that had previously been on the front were cupping and that it was probably due to the shocks.

    I then had them swap the tires back (silly me thinking this would reverse the problem) and limped home doing between 45-50mph. The next day I took it to another company and asked them to check the shocks (also described the problem). They were unable to find anything wrong but when they road tested it did discover what they called squirrelling or squirling but couldnt offer me a solution. In desperation (and fear for mine and others lives) I had them replace all the shocks and tires.

    On the drive home I did manage to get the car upto 70mph with no evidence of the problem however while its a lot better now I'm still noticing this 'lightness' in the steering wheel at about 30-40 mph.

    The last time I had a problem like this was many years ago and replacing the shocks fixed it. Any ideas, help, guidance would be much appreciated!
  • exploded99exploded99 Posts: 67
    I am driving a 99 that got hit hard in the rear and had frame damage, maybe I can explain some things.....

    To fix frame damage, your car is put on a frame straightening machine. Measurements are taken at various points on the frame, and then the body shop "pulls" the frame back into straight / square alignment. Ford provides correct measurements for your frame - all body shops have access to these measurements. A good frame machine will get your frame to within in 1/8 of an inch (or less) of the factory measurments. At that point your car can be correctly repaired and aligned. You must do a 4 wheel alignment check after an accident with frame damage.

    Your car was not correctly straightened. First, go to a high quality body shop. Have them check the frame measurements. Get a complete copy of the measurements, and have them put in writing what your problems are. You are most likely "doglegging" which basically means your rear tires are not following straight behind your front tires due to the bent frame. This is what is causing your rear axle problems.

    Take a copy of the report back to the shop that did the original repairs. This will show them that you are specifically aware of what repairs were done incorrectly. This makes you a little more B.S. proof. Don't accept any excuses, there are none. Any good body shop can straighten your car correctly. Also, make sure you show them the crack.

    If life were fair, they would agree to redo the repairs. Since that will cost them time/money, I am not optimistic.

    Now to the non car stuff:

    When you have a wreck, YOU are responsible for which body shop is chosen for repairs, not your insurance company. YOU are responsible for for accepting the car back after the repairs have been made, not your insurance company. Your insurance company only reimburses you for the cost of the repairs. Still true even if the check from the ins. company was made out to the body shop. Read all the repair paperwork and ins. co. paperwork, you'll see language to that effect somewhere. Your ins. co. may agree to help, or they may not.

    That said, you have a right to have the repairs done correctly. That is what you paid for. If the body shop will not correct the repairs, you can call the state ins commisioner and see if they can help. Provide them with a copy of the report on your frame, pictures of the cracks, and hit the safety issue hard. Some states are better than others: good ones can put a body shop out of business for putting a dangerous car back on the road.

    If all else fails, it's lawyer time. You would probably sue to recover the entire cost of repairs done because the vehicle is pretty much worthless with a bent frame - but thatis just a guess.

    Kind of a long winded reply, hope it was clear enough!
  • exploded99exploded99 Posts: 67
    Many tire shops will misdiagnose front tire cupping on exploders/ mounties and blame shocks.

    I bet your tire cupping is on the inside of each tire?

    Hit the alignment shop, have the front end parts and alignment checked. If your toe in has changed and you have toe-out, this can cause a wander or light feeling in the steering, and will wear the inside of the front tires.

    If you are toe out, have them check the ride height of your front end. A lot of shops do not do this prior to doing the alignment. If this is below spec you need to solve that problem prior to aligning it.. Typical problems causing ride height issues are bad bushings in the control arms and bad torsion bar tension adjusting bolts.

    Oh, by the way, have you had new ball joints yet? I had to do them long before 112k.
  • edg1941edg1941 Posts: 1
    This is my 4th Explorer and engine misses badly while driving only and not at idle. There is 53K on auto which I purchased new. I suspect the EGR valve from which I disconnected the vacuum line, blocked it, and took it for a drive. The engine continues to miss with no dash warnings. The miss seems to disappear after 45 MPH. Any ideas?
  • maxdrawmaxdraw Posts: 21
    How weird! This exact thing happened to me today. I too have a '98 explorer sport and I had to exit through the passenger side. Have you gotten this fixed yet? I plan on taking mine in as soon as I can, but would be very interested in what caused your door problem. It seems like a broken part in the door handle mechanism, but I don't know for sure.
  • gdr64gdr64 Posts: 1
    Does your '02 Explorer suddenly show an Empty Fuel Tank, and "Check Gage" red light comes on while you are driving. Also, do u have to chg the fuse for your blinker? Can't remember ever having to change a fuse for blinkers on my Toyota Camry before...I have almost 50,000 miles on my Explorer. I have Ext Warranty, but Ford Dealership in Buena Park wants me to pay if they don't find source of electrical problems; so what'd I buy the Ext Warranty for?
  • ryorkeryorke Posts: 2
    I just purchased a 2000 Explorer XLS 4x4 on an impulse buy and realized that there is very little leg room for a 6 foot guy in the drivers seat. I've searched the forums to see if anyone ever did any modifications to move the seat back any further (and also talked to a couple of local mechanics), with no luck. I was just wondering if anyone else experienced the same problem and found a solution other than selling the vehicle. Would appreciate any contructive help. Thanks...
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    Try moving the back support one or two notches back from vertical. This may help a bit.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    Has any one else heard the news report that Ford is recommending that you replace the tires on your car after 6 years no matter how much tread remains? Memories of 2000 and Firestones!!!
  • ryorkeryorke Posts: 2
    Thanks, that does help some. Today, I'm going to remove the seat and see if it can be positioned a little further back on the rails. If yes, then I have to figure out how to remove the collapseable backseat headrests so I can put the back seats flat.
  • This is nothing new. Rubber just naturally deteriorates from the long term effects of sun, heat and the ozone in the air. The effect is usually called dry rot, and is common to tires that don't get much use, or tires that stay parked for long periods, such as trailer tires. As they get several years old, they need to be replaced due to cracks and deterioration. The actual amount of time will vary, depending on the conditions the tires are subjected to, but six year old tires sound pretty old to me.
    E.D.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    I'm thinking about the full size spare that we might have. I've never used mine and I guess should be concerned about driving on it, if necessary, for any great distances. Is the dry rot you talk about a physical or chemical change in the rubber due to environmental factors or is it a condition brought on by a microbe? Does the dry rot affect the surface of the tire only? Now I will Google this topic and try to find out more.

    There are many people who don't drive their vehicles that many miles per year who could have tires that have lots of tread left who might be in jeopardy if what is being said is correct.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,259
    Some say six, some say eight years. Heat seems to be a big factor too. There was a good thread about tire aging last year:

    capriracer, "Tires, tires, tires" #4131, 4 Sep 2004 7:55 am

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    RVers have known this for years. Their trailer/motor home sits more than accumulate miles, so the tires dry rot. This is nothing to do with Ford, it's what we call in the industrial sector "best practices!".
  • My driver side door will not unlock and now the door handle won't open. I haven't seen any posts to answer this yet. I would like to fix this myself if anyone has any experience doing this themselves.
  • 2buck2buck Posts: 1
    I have a '93 Explorer and I can not get to the electrical connector so I can disconnect the oxygen sensor from the wiring harness. My hand is too big to get to the connector. Is there a trick so I can get the connector up from the backside of the engine? It appears to be mounted on a bracket. I cannot figure how to get it off of this mounting bracket. :mad: I tried to use a screw driver but it will barely get down to this assembly. Help!
  • I can't tell you anything very specific, but if you are handy with a few tools, you can look inside the door to check all the linkages and door mechanisims. First, run the glass all the way up so it will be out of the way, then take the inside door panel off. This is usually held in place by 2 or 3 screws in the door handle area, then the rest of the panel is held to the door by plastic push-in anchors all around the perimeter of the panel. Slip a thin screwdriver or wedge under a edge on the panel to get a plastic push-in anchor to pull out, then work your way around the edge of the panel pulling the plastic anchors out. Once loose, you will have to wiggle and raise the panel a bit to get it to unhook from the top of the door. Work slow and careful, as there will be wires connected from the door to the panel, for the door switches, mirror switch, and light. Once the panel is loose, you can loosen the door switch assembly by prying up on one end, then very carefully twisting and turning it just so careully, and it will pass through the door panel and be free of the panel. Once you get the wires loose, set the panel out of the way. The inside of the door will be covered with plastic stuck to the door with a gooey adhesive, carefully put off the plastic, trying not to damage it, as you will need to put it back on later. Once the plastic is off, or partially off, you will see openings in the door. Put a worklight inside the door so you can see inside, you may need mirrors to be able to see aound in there. Some places are difficult to see. Operate the door handles and latches and watch the motions of the linkages and components so see what is going on. It is a good idea to carefully lube the mechanisims and window channel guides with some WD40 and some spray white grease. Careful to not make a mess. You might be able to see the problem and fix it, or it may not be evident. Doors can be a real pain to work on. The door motors are usually pretty easy. If you can't figure out what the problem is, them button it back up and take it to a repair shop. I good body shop should be able to help.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. :)
  • I had a 91 and a 93 Explorer and this was a common problem on the early 91 to 94 Explorers. They did not think to leave any slack in the cable or any room to allow you be able to reach it. I think I was able to reach mine on the passenger side by pulling the wheel off and reaching through the wheel well over the frame, and working my hand up beside the air conditioner evaporator box. Very very difficult to reach.
    This was one of the things I didn't like about the early Explorers. The thing I hated the most was the weak automatic transmissions. They should have had their heads examined, to be dumb enough to put a light duty transmission in a truck. The A4LD automatic transmission is a modified German/French C3 transmission, lighter than what is used in the Mustang. The Explorer should have had nothing less than a AOD or AODE tranmission from the start.
    Good Luck,
    E.D.
  • maxdrawmaxdraw Posts: 21
    I just had my dealer fix this for me. The problem was a broken door latch and the part cost $36.90. Labor was $142 (Yikes!), but I didn't have time to deal with it myself and I needed to have it fixed asap because it was too dangerous to keep driving around without being able to get out in an emergency. I hope this helps.
  • beckyrbeckyr Posts: 1
    Hi, I need help! I bought a 2002 explorer 3 months ago (without the extended warranty, of course) from a fairly large dealership. My O/D light began flashing and the Ford dealership I took it to said it is the Solenoid Pack 5R55W. Not the dealership I purchased it from, they are now out of business! Should they have known there was a problem? Is there anything I can do? What exactly is going on with the transmission? When the light comes on, there is no slipping, no noticeable problem. Can I safely drive it short distances until I can get it repaired? Thanks for the help!
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,259
    While waiting for responses, try a Search This Discussion on Solenoid for posts like this one:

    renna, "Ford Explorer: Problems & Solutions" #3439, 24 Mar 2005 11:25 pm

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

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