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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair

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  • Try checking your multifunction switch, pull back and forth on the stalk, and wiggle it around, see if it blinks or comes back on. The headlights work through the multifunction switch and are problematic. The good thing is that they are relatively cheap and easy to replace.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • Can anyone recommend some sites that sell aftermarket accessories for a 2005 Explorer? I'm looking for running boards, tail light covers, etc. thanks!
  • I have a 2004 Explorer 4.0L with 41,000 miles on it, and a few days ago the 'Overdrive on/off light' started flashing. I took it to my Ford dealer yesterday (June 1) and they said the transmission needs $3,900 worth of repairs but that they will do it for $495, 'cause I am a 'loyal customer' and 'Oh, by the way, would you like to trade it in for a new car'?
    What's going on here? I know that Ford has transmission issues with Explorers, but why the relatively cheap bill? Is it likely that Ford (as opposed to the dealer)is picking up the bill?
    :sick: :confuse:
  • dorkygrindorkygrin Posts: 2
    Has anybody did a DIY replacement of a leaking rack? I have a rebuilt rack but not sure I have all the tools necessary to swap them. Any detailed instructions available on the web?

    Thanks
  • whattodo2whattodo2 Posts: 18
    As a recently widowed mom of two little ones I'm looking for a reliable, all weather safe, budget-sense vehicle with the following specs - fit two carseats, big lab dog, big wheels and tent w/ accessories, possibly fit lawnmower (or tow behind), bikes, etc. - did I mention on a tight budget?

    Anyway, I've basically narrowed my search to Jeep or Explorer, and currently am looking at a 1994 JGC with recently rebuilt transmission, 166K, new tires, new front brake pads, engine work done to replace valve seals (?), one owner salesman, "test driven" all last winter by a friend who recommends it but needs to sell it (already owns 7 vehicles). Only "quirk" known is back driver side window doesn't work - not the motor. Asking $3,000 more or less....Is this a good deal???

    In comparison, looking at a 1997 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer, maintenance records available, 106K, $5,500 OBO. No other details known.

    Either one seems to give the flexibility for cargo room and road safety (we hope to go on road trips - no real off road but camping, parks, etc), but the cost vs the mileage and age - -
    Does anyone have any opinions from owning both of these vehicles? Any years to avoid? Any specific questions to ask?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,206
    You can appraise them here while waiting for reliability and usability comments. Used Caravans are cheap too.

    Steve, Host

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

  • crystaljcrystalj Posts: 1
    Hi,I have a 91 ford explorer...when I accelerate it feels like its running out of gas.it will get up to like 30 then it looses acceleration.I had the fuel filter changed and it ran good that day but the next day it was running like crap again!I also had the cadilac converter checked and its not pluged....any suggestions on what it could be?
  • allisonmiallisonmi Posts: 5
    I've had my 2002 Explorer for three years and up until a month ago, have absolutely loved it. But then it started sounding like a jet was taking off and had the right rear wheel bearing replaced. That took care of the problem. It currently has a little over 70,000 miles on it.

    Soon after, I noticed that if I turned from a stopped position, there was major grinding in the tires, like it was trying to get traction not a grinding on metal, which was especially noticeable if I was on gravel. It's not as noticeable when going through road curves at more than 30 mph. I've had the tires checked, the differential checked, and the universal joint looked at - all came back fine. Now they've changed out the power steering fluid and added an additive, but so far, it's still there. It's coming from both the front and back, but more noticeable in the front because of the turning tires. Please help - my mechanic is at a loss. :sick:
  • Remove the plastic air tube between the air cleaner box and the throttle body, and check it for any holes or cracks in the bottom of it. If you find any, wrap it with duct tape, put it back on and see if runs any better. If that fixes it, you need a new air tube.

    E.D. ISF
  • Tell us more about this, exactly what explorer do you have, V6 or V8 engine, Automatic or Manual Transmission, 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive? Describe the sound a little more and what it is like and how the sound changes on different road surfaces.

    E.D. ISF
  • bmr0330bmr0330 Posts: 2
    I have a '99 Ford Explorer XLT. When I turn on the AC it will only come out through the top defroster vent onto the front windshield. This just recently started. Any ideas on what I can look at? Thanks. Brian
  • 4 weeks ago I bought a '93 Explorer through a private deal. it's 4x4, v6 and has 275k kilos on it. I paid 1500.00. It runs very well most of the time, though twice now it has seemed to overheat on me. The 1st time I can understand, I had just come off the highway and had driven roughly 200 kilos in 25+ degree weather. I entered the city and as soon as I slowed enough to stall, it stalled. I let it cool off for a couple hours and it started and drove normally. The last time it happened thoguh I had only been driving for maybe 20-25 mins and it happened again. It was quite hot out however (30ish celcius). What I'm wondering is if there is anything I can do about this. Fluids are topped and checked regularly and I by no means "bag drive" it. My cousin mentioned a "summer thermostat" might help, but not being too familiar with vehicle maintenance myself, I don't really knwo how I'd do that. My grandfather also mentioned it could be a problem with the vaccuum system. So any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  • Give us more information. You made no mention of the temperature gauge reading, other than it "seemed to overheat". We need to work with facts here. how was the temperature gauge reading? The gauge might be off anyway, so you need to confirm what the temperature actually is and what is going on in your cooling system. You can check the temperature with an infared thermometer, be very careful to stay clear of the fan and belt. Check temp of each tank, the outlet tank should be at least 10 degrees cooler than the inlet tank, 20 degree differrence would be much better. Check to be sure the fan is pulling plenty of air thru the radiator, make sure the front of the radiator and ac condenser is clean and not cloogged up with bugs or dirt. When COLD, remove the cap and see if the system is clean. It should have clean green coolant in it. If not, take it to a radiator shop and have it flushed and they can check the radiator, thermostat and hoses. Are there any leaks in the system? Does the coolant stay full, or do you have to add some once in a while, or more often. If fluid disappears with no external leak, it might have an internal coolant leak.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • allisonmiallisonmi Posts: 5
    It's a V8, automatic with 4 wheel drive. As I mentioned, the grinding isn't a metal grinding, it's more of the tires digging in trying to get traction sound. It's most noticeable when I'm stopped and turn the steering wheel either way and start to go and the tires are digging in. It's very noticeable if I'm on gravel. If I'm going straight down the road, you don't notice anything at all. If I'm going around a curve at 35 mph or more you don't hear it either. It's only heard when you're in a stopped position and start to go into a turn. Any ideas or thoughts?
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    You should have your vehicle checked for proper tire alignment.
  • Sorry, I forgot to mention that the Temp guage isn't working. It hasn't moved since I bought it. I don't have access to an infrared thermometer that I know of, are they expensive? I wonder if I could ask to borrow one for a couple minutes from a garage? I'll ask around when business hours resume this coming week. If in the event the outlet tank is not 10 degrees cooler?

    I will however make sure the rad is blown out when I get to work on Monday and have access to a compressor. As far as leaks are concerned, I haven't had to top up the coolant yet and I've been checking it daily since the truck died the first time.

    Thanks for your response, here's hoping.
    Loui C.
  • "I don't have access to an infrared thermometer that I know of, are they expensive?"
    It depends on if you think $100 is expensive. I have seen them advertised online for less than $100. Do a search for "tools" and for "infrared thermometer" and you will find a lot of good stuff. The brand I have is a Raychem, with a laser beam pointer, I've had it for about 5 years, since they first came out cheap enough to afford. I bought it for the AC work, but found it is vastly useful in many ways, AC, Cooling Systems, even use it it to check the temp of your coffee or soup! Everybody should have one of these.

    "I will however make sure the rad is blown out when I get to work on Monday and have access to a compressor."
    Please don't "Blow Out" your radiator with an air compressor, unless you are planning to buy a new radiator. The radiator can't take any more pressure than 16 to 20 pounds, any more than that and it will "Blow Out" for sure. What I said was have it FLUSHED OUT by a professional Radiator Shop, they have the proper equipment to do it right and do it safely. They backflush it with a cleaning chemical that removes the scale from the entire cooling system. They pressure test for leaks at the same time.

    The easiest and best thing to do first is to be sure you have plenty of air flow through the radiator, check the fan, belt, front of AC Condenser and front of radiator to be sure they are clean, and check the temperatures with a infrared thermometer if you can get one.
    Good Luck
    E.D. ISF
  • allisonmiallisonmi Posts: 5
    I will try that. But wouldn't it vibrate while driving? I'm not feeling any vibration.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    No not necessarily. A tire will vibrate, only when it is out of balance. What will happen with a bad alignment though, is that it will be scraping off your tire tread prematurely, which will then cause it to go out of balance. THEN, you will feel vibration, usually around 55-65 mph.

    A number of tire shops will check your alignment for free, but I'd assume that it will need alignment.
  • 4x4jon4x4jon Posts: 1
    Hi there from Sunny (YAY!) UK !

    I have recently purchased a 1998 Ford Explorer 4 litre 67,000 miles on the clock....
    It has suddenly developed a problem with the internal heater in that you can turn the dial from cold to hot and only really really hot air comes through the vents not variation in temperature at all - just HOT. Air con works perfectly and there's no indication of the engine temperature getting above normal.

    Any idea guys ? always willing to have a go at these jobs prior to paying big bucks to the Ford dealer so any help appreciated in advance !

    Cheers guys, and brilliant info on this forum - really chuffed to find it :shades: :)

    Jon
  • allisonmiallisonmi Posts: 5
    I will look into it. I have a warranty on my tires, so there wouldn't be a cost for it. :) That would be great if that's all that it is.
  • dodgekbaddodgekbad Posts: 56
    Hello!

    I have the V6 sohc engine with 106k miles. It look like it's leaking from the rubber gasket on this black box looking thing that has a big hose running from top of it, to what looks like the reserve tank. It also has a big hose running from below the black box thing to what appears to be the radiator. The black box thing is underneath the black plastic shield guard that says 4.0l. Is this the thermostat housing?

    I put stop leak in the coolant when I first bought the car, in the radiator and then in the reserve tank like a fool. I shortly drained the radiator coolant, but left the reserve tank stop-leak-junk in there. The coolant is the reserve was brown in color for a year. It finally used this stuff up in the reserve, and I've been adding coolant and smelling coolant ever since. thanks
  • First thing to do is fix the leaks, and it sounds like you know where one of them is. If the gasket is leaking, replace it. If you're not mechanically inclined, you will have to take it to take to a shop to have it leak tested and repaired. The brown coolant in the reserve tank could have been flushed out by sticking a garden hose in it and running the water until it was clear, then siphon most of the water back out with the hose, then pouring some new coolant into the reserve tank. All the coolant in the entire system needs to be clean and fresh. The system will need to be flushed, because the system needs to be clean and leak free. The gasket repair is likey minor, and the system needs to be looked at as a whole, as it can easily spring another leak somewhere else. That's why you need to have the leak test done, to find any other weak spots that are about to leak. This type of maintenance is normal and to be expected on a high mileage vehicle, you have to expect and budget for repairs. Just for general information, I've never had a car yet that went over 150,000 miles without needing a new radiator, hoses, belt, maybe a fan clutch. Same thing goes for the air conditioning system, they all take parts, labor and money to go the long haul, 150K to 200K miles. Same as tires, I figure on getting a new set about every 3 years. Brakes about every 3 years. I have 2000 XLT V8 with 115K miles, and I currently budget $80/mo or $960/yr for parts, I do all the labor. My wife drives a 97 XLT V8 with 150K miles, and I budget the same for it. They both look and run like Brand New. And as a bonus, I've accumulated over $10K of tools over my lifetime.
    Note: One good thing about the Explorers that I have had, not one of them ever needed a water pump, the first two went over 165K miles, and now I'm on the second two Explorers. The Chevys that I owned before always needed a water pump, usually about every 60 to 70K miles.
    Good luck with your repairs.
    E.D. ISF
  • dodgekbaddodgekbad Posts: 56
    What about using Prestone Stop Leak? What do I have to lose at this point?

    The first time I used it, was a year ago but I shortly drained the coolant afterwards and put in new -- but like I said just in the radiator not the reserve. Getting to the leak is going to be tough, you have to remove all kinds of stuff.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    you are out of warranty and it sounds like the service manager is just charging you for labor or for parts. Either way, a good deal based on what I have heard. I would take them up on their offer since Ford is under no obligation to pay for the repair. Even if later Ford does issue a recall down the road, you should be able to get reimbursed for this repair. it sounds like a good will offer.
  • I'm trying to buy a retractable cargo cover for an '05 Explorer. Ford wants about $150 to buy it. I've searched online but have not found any sites that sell them. Does anyone know of any sites that would sell this item?
  • You can use the Stop Leak if you want, but it is really only a temporary repair, not permanent. I recommend to stay away from Stop Leaks, because they can clog the radiator in the long run. They are however, very good for temporary repairs, especially emergency repairs. I always keep a container of Aluma Seal in the glove box of each vehicle that I own, just in case. But if you use the Stop Leak, I recommend that you eventually get it repaired properly an flushed out. If money is tight, or the repair job is tough to do, the Stop Leak could get you by for a while, just don't be surprised if it leaks again later on, or overheats.
    It's just up to you. I give you the best advice I can, but it's your car and your money.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • I don't use those things, the retractable covers for both of my Explorers are out in the garage. Seems like you could find those at e-bay or maybe a flea market, or yard sale, or junk yard, or one of those local flyers that people put all kinds of items up for sale. You could post a wanted ad in one of those flyers. I have a gray one and a tan one, I'd be glad to sell you either one for a hundred bucks!
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • sidoggsidogg Posts: 1
    just recently drove my 2000 Explorer from Denver to Las Vegas(about 800 miles). When I got there I noticed a knocking in my transmission. It knocks when at idle and becomes more rapid and louder as I accelerate. any suggestions for a do-it-yourself solution before I pay out the ying-yang at the dealership.. thanks a lot!!
  • bvautinbvautin Posts: 1
    I had the same problem (2002 V8 Limited) and it started when the car was new. After rebuilding the transmission, doing a solenoid service (7 solenoids I think), replacing a rubber seal etc), the problem persisted. Finally last summer, I got them to replace the transmission under my extended warranty and the problem was finally corrected (at 58,000 miles). It was like pulling teeth.
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