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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • Dear Christian, it must be something with the 1999 models (sarcasm). I too, was an owner of a 1999 Exploder. I traded a 1997 XLT for that, figuring I was getting married and based on my good experience witht the '97, this vehicle would be 2 years newer. Well, at the age of 26, I would easily say that was the worst decision I ever made. The truck was in the shop 15 times in 14 months for repairs (3 trips in addition for maintenance). You name it, this truck had the problem. Ball joints, defective windshield, broken horn, warped rotors on front brakes, broken suspension assemblies, there were more problems, but I think the trauma of it all has been blocked by my brain.

    The kicker which made me dump the truck was that the steering would make a clunk and the truck would veer off course. After two trips to the dealer in a week, their being unable to "duplicate the problem", a near fistfight with the sales manager, and a threat of a lawsuit should a mechanical failure lead to a crash, this truck was replaced with a 2000 Explorer XLS for trade plus $3500 (as loaded as an XLS can be). I can say I only miss the extra power on occasion (only has the OHV engine) and the CD changer. Other than that, good luck getting something out of Ford, they are a real pain to deal with after they have your hard-earned money.

    NOW, my story...Drove from Central NJ to Albany this past weekend, averaging 70-75mph. No blowouts on my Firestone Wilderness ATs (made in Canada), no rollovers.

    PS...Anyone see the story on NBC network news last week where they blew out tires on an Explorer at 50 and 70 mph? Without over-reaction by the driver, the truck coasted to a stop without any incidents. So much for the imminent rollover theory. I think the warning sticker should read..."HIGHER ROLLOVER RISK IF DRIVEN BY OVER-REACTIVE, INEXPERIENCED DRIVERS WHO DRIVE THEIR 2 AND A HALF TON SUV LIKE IT IS A MAZDA MIATA"
  • seacrowseacrow Posts: 22
    I have posted here a few times about my 98 Explorer XLT and the problems I have had with it. I have always had excellent and very responsive service from the dealer. They have fixed all of the problems every time. However, at 35,500 miles, I was following my wife home and noticed that the brake lights were not working. I gave the car a good once over the next day and took note of any problems for the next trip to the dealer. My list included: broken front door handle trim (3rd time), passengers side window goes up crooked (3rd time), brake lights inoperative without stomping the brake pedal to the floor as hard as possible (1st time), anti theft light flickering eradically (1st time), auto lock not working as a result of brake lights (1st time), loud rear suspension groan over slight bumps (3rd time), and the timing chain tensioner noise seems to be reappearing though not as bad (2nd time). My dealer has always been able to fix the problems for sometimes months before reappearing. Except of course the new problems. My wife and I argued about the extended warranty, I thought we did not need one and she thinks we do. She may be right. I took it in on the 23rd of Oct. I told my once excellent service writer about the problems I noticed. He looked at me cross-eyed. I got pissed off and said fix it or I will begin arbitration. He said I have no grounds for arbitration. I said ok but I do have grounds to have a few giant lemons airbrushed down the sides of this car. It got ugly for a few minutes. He apologized for being in a bad mood and said he would do whatever he could to help. I haven't heard from them for over a week now. This is the longest it has taken to fix anything on this car. I am gonna call Ford about this. I own a 99 F-150 and a 2000 Econoline that have been excellent. I would be happy with a free or discounted extended warranty.

    A few months ago all was well. How quickly things can change.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Sorry to hear about that man.. sounds like somebody put a curse on you.

    BTW, the taillight problem is an easy fix. The module is an electrical switch which is open when the brake is in the rest position and closed when you push the pedal off the rest area. Its an easy fix to replace the module.

    I would only get the extended warr. if you plan to keep the truck for 5 or more yrs. Otherwise, I'd put the money in the stock market.

    Best of luck. Don't let Ford get away with anything. I would not drive it off their lot or pay for anything until everything has been addressed. (Leaving closes the R.O.#)
  • I think I've seen earlier posts on this but my rear wiper on my '98' XLT is frozen again doing nothing. I've picked it up moved it around, lubed the track it sits on --nothing. Is this common problem?
    Stalling; sitting at a light waiting to turn left against traffic, start my turn, get into the other lane, it stumbles and almost dies. Had problems in this past like this with GM products but this is a first for this XLT. Any opinions/suggested would be appreciated.
  • My 98 XLT 4x4 SOHC had the stalling problem exactly as you describe. At times it would even stall out, requiring a quick shift to "N" and restart to get out of harms way. The knuckleheads at ford never did fix it. Had it up to 36k miles and two years. Dumped it at a loss. Good luck.
  • sadatxsadatx Posts: 70
    Hi everyone,

    I just bought a 98 4wd EB explorer last week. Just yesterday, I heard a knocking noise coming from the engine(i think). Now when I drive the car, the knocking noise is always there. Man, I just bought the car a week ago with 23k miles. Any idea what this might be? I hope it's not serious. i still have the balance of the factory warranty. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks a lot.
  • sadatxsadatx Posts: 70
    Hi again,

    Would anyone know if I cancel the purchase of an extended warranty? I bought the extended warranty today. I really want to cancel it because i still have the manuf. warranty for another six months. I might purchase it then. Please help!!
  • weslwesl Posts: 53
    I realize that the temptation to "not pay for anything" is great when dealing with an unreliable car, but still continue to make the payments. Why do you want to ruin your credit and have a lemon of a car to boot? Later, Wes.
  • mazman, I plan on keeping the Explorer as long as possible. I would like to wear out a car instead of trading every three years or so. We really like the Explorer even with the hiccups. I think the brake light failure really got me going. Cars have had brake lights for at least 75 years. It's one system that should be perfected.

    mikenoh, the stalling problem in 98s is the cavitation of the fuel pump inside the tank. There is a TSB with a new fuel pump design that fixes it for good. My rear wiper froze a few times when I first bought mine. I moved it around a few times and it has not done it again in over a year. You may have a bad switch.

    Got the Explorer back on Halloween. My threat must have worked. they fixed everything. The service writer said they checked for every service message and made sure it was done. They ordered all new door handle trim and realigned the door handles so the trim should not break again. The brake light switch failed and caused the anti-theft light and auto lock to fail. The brake light switch failure was the first real problem with this car. All other problems were a direct result of hurried design. Everything is fixed and I have Michelins now. I am gonna buy an extended warranty and soldier on.
  • swn1swn1 Posts: 27
    I have written about my '99 XLT here many times. The most recent was the engine knock on the first start of the day. The so called latest and greatest tensioners were installed prior to this to get rid if the diesel sound which they did, so far. The shop foreman had no answers for the knock so he called Ford Engineering(an oxymoron is there ever was one) who told him it might be the lash adjusters on the OHC as they had a few other similar complaints. The parts are in and scheduled to be replaced the 15th, will let you all know. Also, has anyone tried to order the front contoured mudflaps for what must be 99 out of 100 combinations for XLT's: 4 Door with running boards, without wheel lip mouldings. I have been trying for a year and it seems no part number exists although the part does. I've tried two different dealerships who come up with the same result, empty. Ford Customer Dis-service called me about my numerous complaints with this junker and she had no answer for the flaps other than to say to keep working with the dealer. She apologized for taking longer than the 3 days they promise for e-mail responses but, in her words, they have been up to their necks in e-mails. Wonder why. Of course their only purpose is to try and take the fire out of the bellies of us dissatisfied owners in hopes it will stop with them. I as much told her that and that I know there is nothing she can do for me and I don't like to dance. I also told her I was aware that once my vehicle hit 36,000 miles in another 6,000, Ford will tell me to kiss off and pay the bills. She didn't have much too say other than Ford wants to restore my confidence in them so I said show me. Anyone who is not registered on the owner sight at should do so and use the e-mail to register complaints. You may not get anywhere but at least let them know why you won't buy their junk anymore. They hate when you mention Toyota is a far superior product and worth an extra $10,000 for the quality Ford sells but Toyota has.
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    Seems like you have had a lot of problems with your explorer, though you mentioned you have Michelin tires now? how do you like them? and do they give a smooth quiet ride?
  • bought new in 96, overall, could have been better experience. i drove it for two years marvelling at how cool the temp gauge read, even while towing and also wondered why i got below average mileage. read an auto q and a in newspaper that mentioned notorious bad ford thermostats, motor never gets to peak operating temps thus low mileage. ford has service bulletin but u never know unless ask. had it replaced, of course $50 deductible so i broke even, temp went up and so did mileage. TIRES-check this out--I replaced my goodyear wranglers at 60k with wider 255x70x15 dunlop touring all season. more conventional tread, much softer ride, much better handling and even a modest increase in mpg. all in all like roominess for 6-2 height and hauled lots of heavy stuff. but, 3 radios, front axle, egr valve and a couple of 0-2 sensors, center brake lite and more annoying little stuff makes it hard to buy u s a again. the wifes 93 acura legend with 85k still as tight as new; runs like a top with very few problems
  • All of the problems with the Explorer have all been pretty low on the importance scale. Until the failed brake lights. We have never been stranded in it anyway. The Michelin tires are 200% better than the Headstone's I had. The recall was a frustrating process but once the Michelins were on I was glad to have them. Mine are X Radial LTs. I bought them at Sams for 86.99 ea. They are six ply truck tires but you would never know it. Smooth ride, quiet, and better handling. The LTX-MSs would have been a little smoother but not worth the extra 25 bucks over the X Radial LTs. I bought a 2000 Econoline van that came with LTX MSs. I think I am a Michelin customer for life.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Anybody else have a seatbelt failure? My 2000 sport had a seatbelt buckle break last weekend.
  • When is the Ford Expire; Ford Expiration; Ford Escape Ex-convict edition and the much awaited Ford Exploder going to be available at the dealerships? I am glad that the Ford Escort Service has been replaced by Ford No Focus. Its still a Ford. When is the commercial for the Ford Exploder with the "Tragedy" song from the BeeGees going to be aired? Mercedes already has the "Staying Alive" currently airing on TV. What about reviving the successful ad "Have we killed enough lately?" Or Fordgot "Quality is JOB1" or maybe "Recall is JOB1". A few more suggestions, "Built Ford Cheap"; what about "Ford Guaranteed to be Recalled". I am sure your executives are very busy thinking of other repulsive ways of building inferior products at inflated prices. I know you won't be looking at tires to cut costs, at least for the time being. Please feel free using any of the slogans I have suggested, after all it has been a long time since I have heard of truth in advertising especially from the Ford Recall Motor Company.

    Will the mileage be 5 city, 8 highway for the Ford Expiration? I really like to pollute the environment and I know your company makes some of the best polluting vehicles regardless of what your marketing/PR people say. Will I need several trips to the dealer because of sticking cruise control; steering wheel and rear axle coming off? I think Hyundai never had those type of excitement. I really have an enormous amount of time visiting bad dealers. I definitely enjoy the lies and deceit they try to pull. That is why I choose Ford products for my transportation needs when I have a great need for life disruptions.
  • sadatxsadatx Posts: 70
    Can someone please adivise me. Here's my situation:

    Bought a 1998 4WD EB Explorer with 22k miles on it last week. 6 days later, a knocking noise is coming from the engine when I start the vehicle and when I accelerate. From reading posts, it seems like it the timing belt tensioners. I've notified the service dept about this but they say it's not the problem. They can't seem to find the problem. They are telling me that they will replace the engine with a new one.

    Should I go with the new engine? Will this depreciate the value of the car b/c of the new engine? The car only has 22k miles. How will I know if the engine is new or used? I wish I could return the car.

    Any input would be GREATLY appreciated.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Why don't you just return the piece of junk and get another. Why complicate your life with something that will never be corrected. Ford service usually makes more problems than they fix, and they usually do a shoddy job of it. If you only had it for 1 week, there are laws protecting the consumer against this. New York has these type of laws... your state probably does too.

    Good luck.
  • sadatxsadatx Posts: 70
    Hi Mazman1,

    I would love to return the car, but when I told them that I want to return it, they said that was impossible because it was a 'done deal.' Today will be the 11th day I've owned the car. It's been at the service dept since Saturday(4 days ago). How should I pursue this legally. Or is it to late to pursue legal action? This is my first car purchase. Thanks for all your help.
  • Find out if your car will qualify under your state lemon laws. Most lemon laws require you to have the dealer have four repair attempts, then make sure you have every single visit and I mean every single visit have paperwork written up by the dealer service advisor. Mazman1 is right, Ford usually makes more problems than they fix. You have to be tenacious in fighting this, because Ford and their dealers will always come up with something to argue against your claim.
  • sadatxsadatx Posts: 70
    Thanks a million. But when you say four repair attempts, would this be for the same problem or 4 different problems. I appreciate your help.
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