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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • Just an update -

    My gas mileage and power is back! I had to take my Explorer in for rear brakes and mentioned to the mechanic my problem. He gave my throttle body a good cleaning and that did the trick! It is great to have the issue resolved.

    Thanks to those that responded!
  • I have a high-mileage, nearly 300k; '94 Explorer I've owned since new. My son uses it as an urban comuter. It has been relatively troublefree but in the last 100k a problem arose with the motor losing power after having been driven 100 or so miles non-stop. It lugs badly but if you go to WOT the motor responds well and after the vehicle sets for a while it runs fine until driven an hour or two non-stop. The motor has good plugs and wires and the MAF sensor is clean. Any help would be appreciated!
  • carsarcarsar Posts: 1
    While driving home my door locks started making a noise as if they were closing and opening by themselves. The noise continued for sometime after the car was stopped. I am able to open the door manually. However, I am unable to open or close the door lock by pressing the open or close button on my 2001 Ford Explorer Sport. If you have any ideas as to what caused this or more importantly what part might be the culprit I look forward to hearing from you. Hopefully, its something easy like a relay. Let me know thanks. :confuse:
  • i have a 97 ford explorer, just bought, all the doors except for one were opened, and everything was working fine. then someone gets in my back drivers side door, shut it, it says door ajar. went around and checked all doors, all shut, but still says door ajar, and light stays on. could it be a door switch or sensor? sounds like it. where is it located, whats it look like?
  • jd8jd8 Posts: 1
    Hi, I ve now struggled with defective fuel and watertemp. gauges for quite while. They constantly show wrong engine temperature and empty tank.
    First i changed the water temp. sending unit. - nothing else happened with the gauge. I gave earth to the temp.sending unit cable. - The gauge showed max temp.(warm).
    I checked the contacktpoints for both of the gauges in the dashboard. They both have about 10volts.
    In the morning, when the car has been standing still for a long time, I can see that the pointers have moved about 0.5inches closer to warm/full. They both drop again when I turn the ignition on.
    when driving a steep hill, I can see that the temp gauge moves a few inches up to the normal range.

    What can cause these failures?
    All replys will be appreciated!
    - JD
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Westerville, OhioPosts: 383
    I have a 2004 Mountaineer. All of the sudden a few days ago the Message Center had "Check Fuel Cap" lit on it. I stopped and checked it, but it was fine. I thought maybe it could be the tank was very low. Went and filled up, but still got the message. Any ideas out there?
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Westerville, OhioPosts: 383
    I had a similar problem with a Company car which was a 2000 Taurus. At about 45,000 miles the locks would just start locking and unlocking as I was driving on the expressway. Never got it fixed because my company was changing to an auto allowance and getting rid of the Company Cars. I'd be curious what you find out about your ford.
  • boofboof Posts: 1
    We bought a 1997 Ford Explorer in Australia. We had to replace the belt tensioner after 8 months and no mechanic could explain the odd noise when the car was cold and we accelerated. We found out what it was when the timing chain went - now up for a new engine which can't be sourced here & has to come from the US - cost is $9000. NEVER again!
  • Perhaps the thermostat is bad and the gauge is actually working properly. Had that happen to me before. Thermostats are cheap enough and easy to change. I also had a fuel gauge problem after my '94 Explorer set for a couple of months. It now works sporadically. I believe the sending unit in the tank is bad. My son now drives the Explorer and he just fills up every 125 miles or so regardless of what the gauge reads. The gauges creeping up overnight and then dropping back when you turn the ignition on is common in these vehicles from my experience.
    Good luck!!
  • I have a 1992 Ford Explorer Sport and in the last 2 weeks the rear wiper and interior lights have come on with the switchs off. The wiper stopped on its own but I have had to pull the fuse to turn off the lights. Would appreciate any advice.
  • I have a 91 ford explorer eddy bauer edition and it seems that my starter won't disengage. i have replaced the starter twice and the selenoid on the firewall and the ignition and still the starter won't disengage and im pretty confused right now as of what else to do. both of the starters came new directly from ford and i figure i can't get 2 bad starters in a row so its got to be something else. any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.
  • You must determine that the electricity to the starter is actually going off, and that the solenoid is working properly. Use about a 6 to 8 foot length of insulated wire and a 12 volt test light. Connect one end of the wire to the battery cable terminal on the starter, and run the other end up above the engine, connected to one side of the test light. Connect the other side of the test light to a good ground. Be sure to route the wire carefully, so that it will not catch on anything like the fan or belts. Position the test light so that you can see it while cranking the engine. In normal operation, the test light should light when you turn the key to the start position, and go out when you release the key from the start position.
    If the test light stays on when you release the key, that means the solenoid is sticking on, causing the starter to continue to run, when it should not. In that case check the solenoid wiring and connections or replace the solenoid.
    If the test light goes off when you release the key from the start position, and the starter remains engaged, the problem is in the starter itself or the starter bendix, or the starter is not aligned correctly, causing it to bind. Be sure that the starter mounting opening is clear and clean before installing the starter, to be sure it seats nice and straight. Check the flywheel teeth to be sure they are not damaged. If you are very sure that the starter is installed straight and correctly, then replace the starter and or starter bendix. The 1991 to 1994 were all the same engine and starter. I replaced a starter on a 1993 Explorer on the side of the road, and it was very easy to do. It simply would not start after I filled up with gas at a gas station. I pushed it off to the side, checked it out, and walked a few blocks to the Auto Parts Store. After disconnecting the battery, undoing the wiring, just undo the 2 bolts and it drops out. As I remember, the installation was just the reverse, put the starter back in place, insert and tighten the 2 bolts, reconnect the wires and reconnect the battery.
  • I have a 1996 Explorer. 4.0L. I have a hard time starting it
    when it is first cranked-idle fluctuates up and down. Then runs good until you go to slow down and turn and then it just
    shuts off. We have replaced the fuel filter and the fuel pump.
  • where is the heater plenum? i have the same problem, and i need to fix it! thanks in advance.
  • First time poster, so not sure if this will get a response. I just started noticing problems with the transmission. From a stopped position, the transmission seems to be skipping a gear. RPMs go up too fast. I have 79,000 miles. Last year at 69,000 miles I had a local transmission shop change the fluid and replace the filter.

    Will I have to replace the transmission? Should I take it back to the local shop or to a Ford Dealership? Could this be a warranty issue? (I did get Ford pay for the replacement of the intake manifold gaskets and chain tentioners after I called the regional customer service number. had 64,000 miles, but they found some sort of extended warranty coverage). If their is no chance Ford will pay to fix the transmission, should I take it back to the local shop. I assume it would cost a lot less.
  • First time poster, so not sure if this will get a response or how fast. I just started noticing problems with the transmission. From a stopped position, the transmission seems to be skipping a gear. RPMs go up too fast. I have 79,000 miles. Last year at 69,000 miles I had a local transmission shop change the fluid and replace the filter. Will I have to replace the transmission? Should I take it back to the local shop or to a Ford Dealership? Could this be a warranty issue? (I did get Ford to pay for the replacement of the intake manifold gaskets and chain tentioners after I called the regional customer service number. I had 64,000 miles, but they found some sort of extended warranty coverage). If there is no chance Ford will pay to fix the transmission, should I take it back to the local shop? I assume it would cost a lot less.
  • Hi,

    Drove to Las Vegas from Los Angeles Super Bowl Weekend and about an hour into the trip It felt like my right tires were about to come off of the pavement and that the backend was coming around towards the left as if a strong wind gust was hitting the passenger side door. Thought my car was about to roll over - this happened for the rest of the 3 hour trip some places worst then others- made for one heck of a scary ride. The problem didn't seem to happen while I was driving around Vegas but 15 minutes into the trip back to LA it started again - bad enough for me to turn around and find the first mechanic. The Suspension, Shocks, Brakes, Axles all checked out fine and when he test drove it he didn't feel anything out of the ordinary but he only took on surface streets not the highway. He commented about my back tires (Hancook DynaPro AS P235/75R15 which I had bought two weeks prior) Being made with a softer rubber then the fronts and thought it might be that the tires were heating up and could cause menuverability problems. Has anyone else had this kind of problem? Consumer reports gave this tire a really good rating though I am wondering if they sold me the right tire for this year. Any info would be greatly appreciated ASAP - Stuck in Vegas trying to decide weather to gamble on two new tires or play it safe - call in to work on Monday and take it to the Ford Dealership before I get on the road again.
  • capriracercapriracer Somewhere in the USPosts: 804
    I wonder if what you experienced is caused by grooves in the road interacting negatively with the tires. All the facts seem to fit.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Those groves near stateline ( on the Nevada side)will cause this on that new stretch of highway. They really put some groves in the new concrete because of flash flooding there. I felt it like you did.
  • Hello. I have a 2003 Explorer XLT. In the last year, the car alarm has repeatedly gone off after unlocking it w/the remote, or has 'armed' itself even though it was not locked in the first place (such as on the driveway while washing the car). Reaching for the door handle has begun to feel like a game of Russian Roulette - my nerves are shot and the dealer tells me the vehicle is supposed to do this! The 'door ajar' light has recently opted to stay on for most of the day - at times turning off. Add the recent but infrequent knocking inside the front console, and I'm wondering if I should trade this truck in. It has 60000 miles on it.
    Thanks for any advice. My dealership hasn't been helpful. :confuse:
  • my 2000 ford explorer just had a torque solenoid lock-up switch fixed and it just went out on me again what should i do?
  • rayz1rayz1 Posts: 2
    I have a '96 explorer xlt 4 disc brakes. I have a pull to the right on braking. It does it about 50% of the time. I pulled left caliper and made sure all was proper. I applied antiseize on the pins and the problem was still there. I then replaced both calipers with all new equipment(Pins, SS slide etc and I still have the same pull. I am at a loss at what to do next. Car has 156k miles on it I purchased it new and have flushed the brake fluid every couple of years since new. There is significantly more brake dust on the right wheel
  • Could be a problem with the brake hose on the right side. They sometimes collapse, or partially collapse; internally and don't allow the caliper to retract. It might also be a good time to check the rear brakes, too.
  • ajmtbmajmtbm Posts: 245
    door ajar light on a common problem in 02 models. perhaps the same in 03.

    has problem with passenger door ajar light twice - replaced switch both times. 3rd time, obviously NOT the switch, they replaced/checked the wiring and has been since since.

    if that is the only problem you have at 60k I dont believe that warrants trading it in.

    as for the alarm - the manual is not very clear when and how it arms. perhaps ford could tell you how and it may help you here.
  • Ok - so maybe I spoke to soon. After a couple of tanks my mileage has dropped again. I can't figure out what is going on. It seems as if as long as something is cleaned, whether it be fuel injection cleaner or the throttle body cleaned, the mileage is back and then after a few tanks it gets gunked up again. So am I crazy in thinking that something is "dirtying" up things. If so, what could that be?

    Any thoughts?
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    I am going to have to replace the rear brake pads and one of the two rear discs on my 99 Explorer XLT 4WD. Is it accepted practice to replace one disc or does one have to replace the discs in pairs? I would much rather replace the badly scored disc than have it machined.
  • You don't have to replace the disks in pairs, but they should both have the same characteristics. If you have a stock rotor on the good side, then use a stock rotor on the replacement side, don't mix and match stock, slotted, drilled, etc.
    If you have a badly scored disk, it is best to replace it, as there is not likely enough "meat" on it to be able to get a clean turn, and it may have been heated and warped.
    What kind of pads are you planning on using? Stock or aftermarket?
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172

    Thanks for the quick reply! I will make sure that I get a stock replacement disc. I am going to purchase Raybestos QS ceramic pads. I already have them on the front. I'm kind of disappointed in myself for missing a check of the rear brakes pads the last time I rotated my tires. I will consider the cost of the new disc as "tuition" for future maintenance procedures. One never stops learning.

  • Regarding brake pads, for the benefit of the readers, the brake pad thickness should always be checked every time the tires are rotated. The tires are off then anyway, so it is easy to do it then. It should be recorded on the Service Checklist Sheet. At last take a look and them and note that the pad linings are not worn out. The lining is considered worn out when the lining material is worn down to the same thickness as the backing plate. Is is best to record the actual thickness of each pad lining, using a simple tool like a tire thread depth guage. This can helpful, as you can review the previous Service Checklists and determine the history of the brake pad and tire wear, calculate rate of wear, and estimate expected life. This would help you to plan when you need your next brake job.
    I buy my brake pads on the internet and keep them in stock in the garage, ready for when I need them.
  • jodar96jodar96 Posts: 396
    I have a 2003 Explorer XLT sport with 53K miles. It appears that everytime I take it to my local Ford dealer, it costs me more than it should.

    I supposedly had a bad idle selenoid. They charged $85 for diagnostic and selenoid replacement, $44 for the part itself, and a whopping $150 for computer reprogramming.

    To all you Ford experts and technicians, can you tell me if reprogramming was necessary? The piece bolts onto some manifold and has electrical plug. Why does the computer need reprogarmming?? The bill was some $309. I had a 1992 BMW 325i two years ago, and the idle selonoid went bad. It cost $28 to diagnose what was wrong and cost $95 for part and labor to replace it. There was NO computer programming.

    Are these guys at this Ford dealership CREATING work to jack up the bill? Is there anyting in Ford technician manual that says to reprogram the computer?

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