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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    The culprit is mostly likely your oil pressure sender unit (located on the block), getting clogged with oil sludge (no big deal). They are cheap, and not to hard to replace. Oil pumps, rarely fail-very rarely. Goodluck!

    On my issue with the fluctuating headlights (DRLS) I went to the dealer today, and the service manager printed me off a copy of where the module ($65 to replace) was. Went home and disconnected it. Simple as that! Thanks again Swschrad for your imput. Take care buddy.
  • jokawajokawa Posts: 5
    To jrc346.
    Since posting, I have checked price of sender unit. $20.96 at Ford; $10.95 at NAPA. I'ld be a fool not to try that first.Will change sender unit after coming back from FLA. Thanks for the tip
  • idntnvuidntnvu Posts: 251
    Okay guys, I have yet another problem plaguing the orange '99 xls. On my last tank of gas, 87 octane regular from Citgo, I got 12 miles per gallon. That included a little 'round town driving, but mostly interstate, 65-75 mph driving. It usually gets anywhere from 17-21. I've also noticed a slight loss in power. Any suggestions? I should also note that I filled up the first and this past time from the same gas station. It was along my trip route, and was $1.589 versus $1.639 here at home.
  • You probably have a V6 with the 5R55E transmission. These are known to blow out the valve body gaskets. The low/reverse servo as the name implies is used in first and reverse. The cover on the servo also blows out. This most likely is the result of loose bolts that seem to be a real problem with this model transmission. Ford will fix this for about $800 installing a rebuilt valve body (doesn't anyone know how to fix things anymore) or you can do it yourself for about $50.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    fords have a cruel trick. it LOOKS like an oil gauge. but there is a pull-up resistor in the dash. the oil pressure sender is only an on/off switch, somewhere between 6 and 8 PSI it closes, and voila! -- you have oil pressure halfway on the gauge.

    not sure, but on my 90 ranger, I think it was a 1-1/16 inch deep 6 or 12 point socket that I used to change that bugger out. the sender on the 5 liter V8s is right next to the oil pan lip and allegedly blocked by suspension stuff, so when mine turned out to be sticky from the factory, warranty paid for hoisting the engine until they could get to the oil sender.

    the ford part even has the sealer putty applied to the threads. I have had oil senders go awry on many vehicles, never hesitate to replace one if you suspect leaks in that area or the oil pressure seems "iffy" on a car.
  • mikem1mikem1 Posts: 12
    I've had my '04' 4x4 XLS for about amonth now and have been happy with it, save two items , fuel mileage and 1-2 shift in the auto tranny.

    Admitteedly the engine is green, 1100 miles but my highway mileage is disappointed-- around 16. I traded a '98' XLT withthe same drivetrain and got 19-20 mpg consistantly. What should i expect on the highway when this is broken in?

    1-2 tranny shift: with light throttle, the 1-2 and 2-3 shift seems to hesitate. Not terrible, but noticable; something the '98' did not do. Anybody else have this occur?

    BTW, this SUV is great improvement over the 98; the ride and interior are greatly improved.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    How often should you change your tranmission fluid& filter? Maintenence manual says every 30K.

    Also, how often do you change the fuel filter on your Explorer?

    I bought a used 2001 XLT AWD V8 Explorer.

    Currently have a 5-speed manual Toyota Paseo which has the original tranny fluid for it's entire life and the fuel filter which isn't a filter but valve and not recommended to need changing. Thanks

  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Transmission fluid, and filter should be changed in all previous generation Explorers every 30,000 miles. The fuel filter should be done at the same time (@ 30,000). To prevent damage and clogging of the fuel injectors, most modern day fuel systems include a paper media filter to catch debris and need to be changed, because they will clog and cause numerous problems. Such as decreased fuel efficiency, rough engine operation, hesitation, and most commonly, fuel pump failure.

    Another handy tip for those interested, is not to ever fill up your vehicle while you see a tanker at the gas station filling the large underground tanks. While these trucks are filling these tanks, all kinds of sediment gets stirred up inside, and can end up in your gas tank. Also to extend the life of your fuel pump, don't let the gas level go below 1/4 of a tank, as the gas is used to keep the fuel pump cool.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    not only do you keep the fuel pump from overheating, you keep running. the pre-2002 explorers have tank anti-slosh baffles that curiously can hold fuel away from the pump inlet. if you make a left turn from a stop, and don't do it like granny with her arthritis kicking up, a quarter-tank level or less will cause you to stall out.

    had a coworker ready to trade because of this, convinced her truck was going south fast. I set her straight on this issue, and she was happy with it for the next 40,000.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    jrc346 & swschrad,

        Thank you for the replies. I will get both of those change at my next oil change.

  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    You betcha! Glad I could be of some help :-D
  • idntnvuidntnvu Posts: 251
    Could this also be the reason I'm getting such sucky mileage? I usually go until the idiot light comes on, and the needle is on the E. When I fill up, it usually takes 20-21 gallons. Once upon a time, not long after I got the vehicle, I got over 400 miles out of a tank. Now I'm lucky if I even get to 300.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Very well could be, but a fuel line pressure test should be done first. Throughing parts at a vehicle is an expensive stab in the dark. Running your truck so low on gas is defiently a no-no, because not only does your fuel pump warm up, but it also starts to suck up any sediments in the bottom of your gas tank. There is a pre-filter attached to your fuel pump that will catch most of these sediments, however, the build-up will further restrict flow and will make your fuel pump even warmer (which will ultimately cause failure). It sounds like before, with getting 400 miles to a tank, you were about right on. Thats identical to what my wifes Explorer gets.

    On another note, I was actually thinking about your situation with the power steering top coming off while I was flushing the Explorers PS fluid this past weekend (very dirty at 62,000). I remember a friend having the same thing happen, though only once. Reason it happend, was because the PS fluid reservoir was over-filled a litte bit. So maybe that was all?

    Anyway, take your truck down to your trusted Mechanics and have them do a fuel line pressure test. That will tell you if everything is working well with that, if that is what you suspect. It isn't a bad idea to change your fuel filter while your at it:] Goodluck, keep us up to date if time permits ;-)
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,591
    Horrible mileage, I'm about ready to turn my Explorer into a Focus. Not really, but it sounds good.

    I'm getting about 16.5 mpg hwy, my 97 V8/AWD Explorer would easily get 19-20 mpg hwy. Heck, our Ram V10 gets 13.2 mpg hwy. I'm none too thrilled with my 2004 Explorer V6/4WD.

    Maybe it will get better as the miles increase, sitting at 9,850 miles right now.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Uh oh, we aren't loosing you are we? Hehe. The better mileage my wife gets can probably be attributable to a few things. First, the winter formulation of gas in Michigan takes a decent bite out of its gas mileage (21.5 summer 18.6 winter). She also drives like grandma at speeds of about 65Mph on the expressway, and the Explorer also has the (3.75:1?) rear axle. I only use fully synthetic oil in it, which actually seems to work really well (+1 MPG). Lastly, the new generation Explorer's weigh more than the previous ones, which cuts down on mileage and performance. Any luck with the winter tire issue? Take Care :)

    BTW: It's a 2000 Limited 4X4 4.0L SOHC V6.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Posts: 251
    Yeah, the mechanics determined the issue with the power steering was cause by turning the wheels with the engine off. They said they had several do the same thing when they had to push the car in or out of the garage due to a problem that prevented them from starting it. Doing so would cause the cap to pop off and fluid to spew everywhere. Since that happened, it took a few days for the steering to get back to normal but no problems with the steering since. Brakes are doing great too, put Bendix Titanium on. Plenty of stopping power now. I was also told that by putting the flowmaster muffler on, it may compromise my mileage, due to a back pressure issue? That make any sense? if it does I guess I'll just have to live with it until gas hits 3.00 a gallon, then I'll have to take it back and have the old one put back on haha.

    By the way, what is involved in doing the fuel line pressure test, and how much does it run?
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,591
    I'm just a little irritated at my Explorer, does it really *have* to drink sooo much gas??

    Had the winter tires taken off today, tire shop said they look fine except the rears have some wear in the middle.....I didn't have the rotated at all, so its my bad. Put the OEM tires back on the truck, sure does handle a lot better.

    Checked the gas mileage today.....a dismal 16.5 mpg hwy....our V10 did 13.2 yesterday, same road.

    Then again, my truck has a 3.73 rear axle ratio and our V10 has a 3.55, I'm sure that makes up some of the difference.

    Ah well, gotta pay to play I guess, I do adore my Explorer. Will turn 10k miles this week.....I bought it January 6, 2004. YEOWCH......I drive too much.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    I'm coming from a '94 Toyota Paseo 5-spd w/ 221K+ miles which is dying. Last year I bought an '01 Explorer XLT V8 AWD. I know that an explorer isn't going to be as cheap in maintenence cost, gas,etc. as an ecno car. But is it reasonable to expect to get an Explorer to 150K miles without too much mechanical troulbe (aside from routine maintenence)?

  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the 6-bangers have had a little issue with camshaft blocks, and the series-4 transmissions bolted to them are a little light for towing, but overall explorers of the 99/00/01 vintage seem to be pretty solid vehicles. I've only got 55K on mine, V8 and AWD, but nothing major at all. have had to do front brakes, a battery, and changed out the fan belt for a gates to get rid of moist-weather squeal,but that's about it. that's all normal maintenance stuff

    the backup safety detector is currently out of combat, and has me a little confused, but that's something I can live without easily if I can't puzzle the pig out. have not put the scanner on the port yet to see if the thing set a code, that's next when I get a chance.
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