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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair

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  • My alternator is supposedly making noise. The service manager told me so when I replaced a fuel line at the dealer. Although in my book it says something about cam chain noise and a 7 yr warranty. Any thoughts? I made an appt for monday at another ford dealer, but it's tough to tell who's honest.

    Nick
  • " Screaming alternator by dodgekbad Dec 14, 2005 (2:05 pm)
    My alternator is supposedly making noise. The service manager told me so when I replaced a fuel line at the dealer. Although in my book it says something about cam chain noise and a 7 yr warranty. Any thoughts? I made an appt for monday at another ford dealer, but it's tough to tell who's honest. "

    dodgekbad, The title of your post is "screaming" alternator, but in your messege it is "supposedly" making noise, so is the noise loud or soft? Do you hear it while driving? If the manager had to tell you it was making noise, maybe you didn't notice it until he mentioned it. Is it a whinning kind of noise? You should be able to tell where the noise is coming from yourself if you listen carefully from several different positions. Be very Careful to stay clear of the fan and belt!
  • Research your states' Lemon Law! I have a 2004 Explorer - I believe they have the same transmissions and engines. VA Lemon Law says 3 repairs on the same problem it is a LEMON and Ford must either repurchase the car or replace the car - go for it. Ford is buying mine back - AT PURCHASE PRICE!

    Ebeyers, did you use an attorney or arbitration?:lemon:
    Reg. Frank R.
  • Thanks for the reply.

    I can't tell where the noise is coming from. Sounds like it could be from the alternator - if I knew where that was - it would help. On the back of my owners book - it says something about a cam chain making noise for that year. Btw, it is a v6 sohc. I figured that might be the source of the noise too. The noise is really noticeable when I have he hood up and the truck is at idle. I can here it faintly while driving and at stop lights however. It is a whine noise too.
  • I have a 98 explorer 4.0 sohc with 72,000 miles, I started noticing it was running low on antifreeze every two weeks,to the point the heat only works when you revs the engine,so happens that the antifreeze is filing up the resevior.I changed the cap and nothing happend.There is no problem with overheating.Could it be the thermostat or do I have bigger problems? :sick:
  • You may be able to locate the noise by using a length of small rubber hose, hold one end to your ear, then slowly prod around the alternator and engine with the other end of the hose. Listen for where the noise gets loudest. This is also a good way to locate vacuum leaks. Be SURE to be very careful to NOT get your fingers, hands, or the hose caught in the engine fan or belt!
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,618
    just thought you would like to know the guy who bought your last explorer is over on BON complaining that the plactic panel on the rear hatch cracked (somewhat common for the early models). :)
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,144
    You mean the one that was in the long term fleet here? (found it - very small world indeed).

    "Based on our pleasant and virtually trouble-free ownership experience, we knew this was a vehicle we would feel comfortable selling to a private individual once our year-long test was complete"

    Long-Term Test: 2002 Ford Explorer XLT

    3 years and 60k; I suppose a few things break now and then. Too bad though.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • Just an update to my question...the hesitation seems to be gone. It must have been the really cold weather and low gas tank level that was causing it. Now that it has warmed up here a little, the problem is gone.

    I am still wondering if I have to replace the wires and cap, along with the spark plugs however. The wires look new too. I've had the car since March of this year with 88k on it. It now has 99k. It's a '98, v6 sohc
  • No, You don't have to replace the wires if they are in good shape. You can't always tell by looking at them, but if they run ok, then they are good for now. When wires get weak, they cause misses and hesitation. You can make your wires last longer by reducing the spark plug gap to .040" to .045". This reduces the voltage on the wires and reduces stress on the insulation, which is what causes them to break down and go bad.
    I've had 4 Explorers, 91, 93, 97 and 00, driven to very high milage (over 150,000) and I never replaced spark plug wires on any of them. And I reduced the spark plug gaps in all of them.
    I did have a Mercury Grand Marquis with a 4.6L V8 for a while before I had the 93 Explorer, and it needed wires at about 60,000 miles, the gaps had worn and increased to about .070". That's when I found out the big spark plug gaps burned the wires out faster. New wires for that thing were a hundred bucks, so I said 'never again' and reduced the gaps from .054" to .040", and it ran fine and no problems after that.
  • ajmtbmajmtbm Posts: 245
    anyone have a reccomendation on windshield wipers? are the silicone better than the old style rubber?
  • Hello, I have a loud wine coming from the front of my 1999 V8 explorer. The mechanic who changed my auto transmission fluid said it was the alternator bearings. Since it was almost 6 years old with 111000 miles I replaced the alternator. The noise is still there. It sounds like a transmission or power steering unit low on fluid but both are full. I tried the hose trick but still can't isolate the sound. Any help is greatly appreciated/
  • Assuming a 97 has it in the same place as my 96. On the driver's side, in the cargo area, there's a small panel that you can remove (I think the jack is in there). You'll see a small square box wth wires running to it, you'll need a flashlight to see the sticker with the code on it, usually 5 digits.

    matt
  • That goes to show that you can't always believe what your mechanic says, it's always best to get a second opinion. How loud is the sound? Is it noticable with the hood down or while driving? Was it still as loud after the alternator change?
    Actually, those alternators hold up quite well, I never had to replace an alternator on any of my Explorers, the 91 and 93 XLT's went up to over 160,000 miles, the 97 is at about 143,000 and the 2000 is at about 113,000, with no alternator problems.
    The sound will behave differently according to what it is. The alternator whine will change in pitch or loudness if the electrical load on it is changed significantly, such as turning on or off the headlights or AC. The power steering sound will change as you turn the steering wheel from side to side. Sound can also come from any of the rotating parts that the belt turns, the AC Clutch bearing, any idler pulley bearing, belt tensioner pully bearing, water pump, fan clutch, etc.
    If you can't seem to isolate it, then it's best to take it to a good shop.
  • I filled my Explorer up and the gauge did not register, it is still stuck on 1/4 tank. I have been getting gas at the same station for all 4 of my vehicles for 2 years. Never a problem.
  • moeharrimoeharri Posts: 108
    We had the same problem on our 2003 XLT--when you tell Ford of the problem, you can probably expect a run-a-round. We spent 3 months trying to get it fixed, with them telling us to switch gas stations (yeah, that almost worked). Anyway, they ended up replacing the sending unit (in the gas tank?) and the whole instrument cluster (odometer, speedometer, etc). So far no problems, but it has only been about 8 months and I am crossing my fingers for this winter.
  • Thanks for your help. The sound is loud enough to easily hear with the hood closed and at low speed driving. Turning the steering wheel doesn't effect it, but engine rmp does. CHanging the alternator didn't change it at all. I'm guessing its one of the pullies or maybe the water pump. There's not much room to work in the area of the pullies, any suggestions on the best way to replace the pullies? Can the bearings just be replaced? John
  • I would be very suspicious of one of the idlers that keep tension on the serpentine belt or the belt, itself. Even a belt that looks good can be glazed on the back side and make quite a racket. If you remove the belt, and spin the idler pulley with your hands, you might notice that it has a gritty sound/feel to it - not good. You may also notice some play as you wiggle the idler pulley - not good either.
    If the belt looks good or has been replaced, you could sand the backside lightly with some sandpaper to knock off any glaze. Belts and idlers are pretty cheap at most auto parts stores.
  • I just bought a used 1999 ford explorer sport 2 door SUV 4 wheel drive. When I drive at 25mph~30mph, a loud grinding noise from the front wheel came out. No matter I start from a stop light or decelarate from highway, the noise will come out. This is my first SUV and 4X4, anyone here can give me hint what is the problem and around what money do I need put in to repair it. Thanks in advance.
  • If it's a grinding noise without much squeaking, it's usually the wheel bearings. I think u have to buy the whole unit (bearings AND housing), not just the bearings, and that could run as much as $200 for parts alone. If you are able to replace only the bearings, they are only $5-20. Fortunately this is not a complicated procedure and I'm sure you could find a guide on how to do it fairly easy.
  • pjd4pjd4 Posts: 1
    WHEN THE EXPLORER WAS BROUGHT NEW THEIR WAS A CARD WITH THE KEYLESS ENTRY CODE ON IT. THAT WAS PART OF THE OWNER MANUAL ( LITTLE BLUE BOOK). READ THE SECTION IN THE OWNER MANUAL MAYBE THE OWNER WROTE THE CODE IN THERE. THE OWNER ALSO SAY THE CODE IS ON THE COMPUTER MODULE. ONCE YOU HAVE THE OEM CODE YOU CAN REPROGRAM IT TO YOUR OWN 5 DIGIT CODE. THE OWNER MANUAL WILL TAKE YOU THRU THE PROCEDURE.
    OR TAKE YOUR VIN NUMBER TO YOUR LOCAL FORD DEALER AND BUY THE CODE. I HAVE A MAILING TAG ON MY KEYS : FORD BOX 546 LATHRUP VILLAGE MI 48076 SENT THEM A LETTER.
    I THIS HELPS
  • I own a 99 Ford Explorer XLT Suv 4WD, V-6 4.0 Liter. Currently on 88k. Power windows. I have encountered problems in the past with the driver side window not mechanical rolling down.Finally rolled down and never went back up. Had the motor replaced with new ford part from ford dealership repair shop. Within two months, same problem occurred. Yet will only roll a tiny bit down and at angle. Since on warranty, brought back to repair shop. Waited one complete day to learn it's not the motor this time that has gone bad, but the regulator within the door that is causing the window from rolling down completely. Was informed that it's bent and am unable to unbent the bar( regulator) nor switch from different door to defy cost.
    This being said, my question which I would like to put out here is this: Besides the huge money outlay I would occur, is there a way I could install this regulator myself? Is it true that I could not obtain the regulator from a different window in my car? Or is there a possible chance that it can be rebent into correct postion again without replacing? I did question this at repair shop, and was told I would not have access to blueprints of car only available to mechanics. Or do you think since i am a female... I received misinformation?
    Thank You reading... welcome ideas
  • The window regulator was probably the problem from the begining (binding or damaged). They are different on each door because left and right are different, and the front and back are different. If it is messed up, it's best to replace it with a new one, the question is how did it get messed up in the first place? They should last a very long time (10 to 12 years if the mechanisim and the channels are kept lubricated). They are an enormous pain to replace, it is best to let a pro do it. A body shop would probably be cheaper than the dealer, call around, get quotes.
    To maintain your window regulators, always spray the mechanisim with WD40 and with spray white grease when you have the inside door cover removed. AND at EACH normal oil change/service spray WD40 in all the channels that the glass slides up and down in, so that the glass always moves easily and smoothly. Also lube all the door hinges the same way at each service.
    Good Luck,
    E.D in Sunny Florida
  • i have a 93 ford explorer. it didnt come with a owners manual and my fuel guage doesnt work. i wanted to know what size gas tank do i have and whats the estimated mileage per gallon, so i can caculate how much gas i have
  • Thanks for the info. I wondered myself, how & why this failed but on first repair this was not noted. I have stared at this door at times with a screwdriver in hand, pondering if I attempt this, to repair regulator, I might be opening pandora's box.So instead I posted here. What's the con vs. pro to used regulator vs new? Beside price?
  • Hi: all,
    I just bought a used 1999 Explorer sport 2door. The owner manual is missed. I wonder why my keyless entry can not lock the backdoor and it seems the key can not turn after inserted into the backdoor lock as I want to lock the door by key.
    Another question: I read some forum and know how to code my personl code on driver door lock. But it seemed to me both my personl code and manufactural code will work at same time. I wonder if I can erase the manufacture code and only make my personal code work to open the door. It is safer and make me more comfortable to keep my stuff inside the truck.
    Thank you for any hint. Merry chrismas!!
  • Hi all -

    I am new to this board and have been trying to find an answer to my issue with no luck.

    I have an 01 XLT with 75,000mi. I have noticed a drop in gas mileage and slight loss in power. I used to always get at least 300-325 a tank and it dropped to 270-290. My fuel filter was changed last summer. I was advised to put the Chevron fuel injector and intake valve cleaner in it. The stuff worked great! My mileage was back up and my slight power loss was gone. Now that I have re-filled my tank, I am back to the poor mileage and slight loss in power. I have also noticed that while sitting at a stop light it idles at about 600rpm and I believe it used to idle at 900-1000rpm. I have not noticed any other problems with it and it seems to run great.

    Any help or advice I could get would be great. I am hesitant to take it to a repair shop with at least an idea of what my problem may be as I think I have been taken advantage of in the past. Being a single mom around the holidays, I have to watch my money closely.
  • I own a Ford Explorer XLT 2002. About a month ago it would occasionaly start kicking in the auto 4x4 when I backed up and made a sharp turn (like when you pull out of a parking spot). The 4x4 indicator would blink on and off on the console. To get it out of 4x4 I had to hit the 4x4 button and then the auto button. It would take about 30 seconds of driving and then the light would turn off. This is happening frequently now and it's getting kind of annoying. Anyone have any ideas of what this could be?
  • I would start with some simple maintenance. Your plugs are supposed to be 100k plugs, but they don't always last that long. So I would install a new set of plugs.

    Next, clean your mass air flow sensor. These get dirty over time and are known to cause performance and mileage issues. You can google this and find instructions. It does take a special socket to remove the screws holding it in - which can be found at most parts stores. Use a good throttle body cleaner and a couple of q tips. Not difficult.

    Replace your air filter if you have not done so for a long time.

    I'm guessing that these things will get your performance back, and should fix your mileage problem.
  • Ok thanks. How do you reach the plugs on the '98 v6 sohc? The one in the rear of the engine, on the passenger's side, looks especially tough. On that model, it looks like you have to remove whatever the big thing is to the right of the engine, to even reach that rear plug. Are you supposed to use a special drive set?
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