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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair

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  • i have a 91 ford explorer. ive replaced the transmission once already but yesterday my transmission started acting up it wouldnt shift gears it was always stuck on second shift now i added some trans fluid but nothing happend i also added some motor fluid but it still doesnt shift. what can be done? or do i just have to let it go?
  • I had a 91 and a 93 Explorers, plus now have a 97 V8 and 2000 V8. The 91's through 94's were all the same V6 engine and A4LD automatic transmission. You didn't say, but you must have a lot of miles on yours. I had to rebuild the automatic transmissions on both the 91 and 93, they are very flimsy transmissions, not tough at all, and very problematic. The problem you have is common when the interior starts to deteiorate, metal particles are coming from somewhere in the transmission, usually from thrust washers, and the metal particles are jamming the governor valve and other valves. If you were to clean it out, the problem will come back, because the contamination is throughout the tranmission and torque converter. It needs a total teardown and remanufacture and new torque converter. It will cost you a lot of money, probably up to $2000 to get it done right. It the vehicle worth spending that much money on it? I doubt it, unless you love it to death. Best bet may be to put in a good used transmission, but those are getting to hard to find now, being that they are getting old. If you decide that you want to spend the money on it and fix it, get a good guaranteed transmision, like one from Jasper, that guarantees it for 3 years and they do a good job.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • I was cleaning gunk off of the Throttle body using a throttle body cleaner. Unfortunately, I took the advice of my friend and left the car on as I was spraying it down. Well, now the engine won't excede 3000 rpm, sounds like it's missing at that rpm and has a higher idle than usual. I replaced the spark plugs but that didn't help. I tried unplugging the battery and some fuses to try and reset the computer but that didn't work either. The check engine light is not on and I don't know what to do next other than go get raped by a FORD dealer.
  • Does anybody know whether the 2002 Explorer came equipped with spring blocks???

    If so, why? :confuse:

    What is the benefit versus the penalty or negative effect if they are removed? Has anybody even noticed these??

    Does the spring blocking put the suspension in a different position (higher) and does this affect the shock damping rate, so that the small road bumps are accentuated? :mad:

    Really appreciate any input re: this. Had a '93 Explorer and did not have these on that car. The newer Explorer seems much stiffer/harder ride than the previous one, which is surprising. Wondering if these are aftermarket, or, factory installed?
  • You did not say what YEAR and what ENGINE you have. Taking it to the Ford Dealer is NOT the only other option. There are plenty of good shops around that can fix your vehicle.
  • This has been fixed by replacing the thermostat. My engine had be heating to only 177 and the spec is 183-210. It now heats at 198. The vent was 140 degrees, and is now a nice and toasty 165.

    Gauge goes to the middle and stays there. I'm out another $250, but I consider that not too bad of a price.
  • Note that I only trolled around in the forum for 15 min before posting this so some of the problems are posted yet I have not dig up the info yet.

    I recently acquired a 94 explorer with 137k miles on it. I have owned it for 3 weeks so far and I had no troubles till presently as in the past few days.

    1. Dieseling sound.
    I have noticed the sound when I first got it but it seems to be getting worse slowly. I am reading that is has something to do with the Timing belt tensioners but that seems to be with the newer v6 motor, but not with the older one that mine has. Also it was stated that it is the valves knocking that is causing the problem. Everyon9e says its not a problem as in it wont cause any damage and its just a annoyance.

    Response: None still researching problem.

    2. Rough idle/refuses to idle while cold.
    This is something that has popped up recently and is my main worry. When starting cold it starts fine after turning over once or twice as any normal car would. It would run fine for maby 2 sec then it will want to die if I don't press on the gas petal. Now when it warm up as in I drive it around a little the problem downgrades to it being a rough idle. When I stop at a red light it would slowly idle down under 1k rpm. At this time it is running normally until it seems to drop under .6k rpm. Then it starts to act up. It would act like its going to stall but it catches itself n does it over and over. it would do this once every second.

    Response:
    Replaced both O2 senc
    Replaced spark plugs
    Replaced spark plug wires

    After doing this the problem when the motor is warm is less but still is present. Currently I am looking for a Ford mechanic that can pull codes off of the motors electronics to get more information on the problem.

    3. High speed motor/trans grabbing.
    When driving over 45 mph and not pressing the gas petal, coasting it seems the clutch is grabbing a little. The rpms go down to .4k and I can feel the motor is being used to slow down the suv. Once the car drops below 45 mph the problem disappears.

    Response: None still researching problem.

    If anyone can point me to posts that have any information or anything it would me much appreciated. There is alot of things I could have done to try to fix these problems but I would like some feedback and general direction on what it could be before I start tossing money around.
  • You did not state what engine and transmission you have. There is only one engine that year, so you have the 4.0L V6 OHV engine and your transmission seems to be a manual shift by your 3rd question.

    Question #1 - Dieseling could be a problem depending on how loud and how often and under what conditions. Does it occur during hard accelleration? Does it occur at any other times and how loud?

    A dirty MAF SENSOR is a common cause of pinging. If you Google this, you will find a site that describes how to clean and repair it. The MAF is in the AIR TUBE near the air cleaner, and has a multiwire electrical connector. There is a small cover with 4 screws. Remove the 4 screws, carefully remove the cover, the tiny sensor wire inside is fragile so be careful with it, do not touch it, spray it with some throttle body cleaner or electrical contact cleaner, let it dry and put it back together.

    You have not given much history, do you know anything about the service history of this vehicle? Be sure that every 30K that you change the fuel filter. I suggest you use a bottle fuel system cleaner in your gas tank, every once in a while, at least at every service, or every other tank of gas at the most.

    Question #2 - For the rough idle, remove the Air Intake tube, carefully inspect it for any cracks or air leaks, repair any you find. While the Air Tube is off, clean the intake Throttle Body with some Throttle Body cleaner. Remove the IAC (Idle Air Control) and clean it with the Throttle Body cleaner. It is mounted to the top of the Throttle Body with 2 small bolts and has a 2 wire electrical plug. Be sure the air cleaner is clean and clean the MAF as noted in #1 above.

    Question #3 - It sounds like you have a manual transmission, and it sounds like the clutch needs to be adjusted.

    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • It has a automatic transmission. I am not sure if there was more then 1 kind they used.


    The dieseling happens under hard acceleration and also when cruising. When it is idle it doe snot do it at all. It is not very loud but it is very noticeable.

    I honestly do not no much about it because I do not know the preivis owner. So I am guessing alot when it come son what was done with it. I threw in some fuel system cleaner 2 days ago and it seemed to have little affect on the problems.

    I will do what you posted above and I will post if it changes anything or not. Thank you for the info ^^
  • My 1994 Explorer will not go into 4 wheel drive even though the light is on! The left front wheel makes a ratcheting noise in this position but never shifts all the way in any suggestions on where to look?
  • The answer I gave you to clean the MAF sensor is exactly what you need to do. I was correct in assuming the problem was "Pinging", not "Dieseling" as you stated, that is why I asked if it happened under hard acceleration, and you said it did. Cleaning the MAF and Throttle Body and the IAC should help considerably.

    Since you have an Automatic transmission, your problems and potential expenses have multiplied greatly. You have the A4LD Automatic Transmission, which is a LIGHT DUTY tranmission, they are very problematic and very expensive to fix. The two Main things to do is to keep it serviced EVERY year by FLUSHING THE TRANSMISSION FLUID AND CHANGING THE TRANSMISSION FILTER EVERY YEAR, and to drive it very easy, like if it is very fragile and could break any second, because that is exactly the way it is. If the tranmssion breaks down, where are not any good used left around anymore, best bet is a good REMANUFACTURED transmission from a reputable nationwide remanufacturer like JASPER, they do excellent work and guaranttee it for 3 years. A Remanufactured Tranmission will run about $2000 plus installation cost. But for now, service that transmission well and baby it along.
    Change your fuel filter now, and then at the regular standard service intervals 30K, 60K, 90K, 120K, 150K, 180K, 210K, 240K, 270K, 300k and so on.
    Lets us know how it does.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • Mine too! Thinking about getting rid of the exploder and getting a Lexus or Toyota. Atleast they back up their products!!! Wonder why ford is about to go broke???? Bad design!!!! Ford should pay 100 percent! ford has some kind of assistance program where I PAY $100 and they cover the rest. So they know its a problem, but won't recall it. AND what if I do get it fixed????? Will they back up the repair and replacement part??? Complain and complain! carcomplaints .com is one place. BBB is another. Any other ideas? I'm also looking to join a class action suit too! Sounds dumb, but I'll sell off my 3 Fords over $100!!!! Congrasts to Lexus, Toyota, and Audi.... if I gotta pay the $100!!!
  • After fixing a faulty thermostat and replacing the battery, the radio now seems to flicker from time to time. Radio/CD works fine, but the display is sketchy. Is this a bulb? A fuse? It doesn't happen all the time. It seems to do it more when the lights are on.

    Thanks.
  • I have the same thing happen on my '99 - flickering display on the radio. For me I have found it has something to do with the instrument panel dimmer - the dial to the left of the steering wheel. Turn it all the way up and the interior lights stay on. Turn it all the way down and the interior lights don't come on when opening the door. Anywhere in between and I get the flickering - EXCEPT - all the way up just prior to flipping it to interior light always on. Let me know if that helps - I'm curious. I have just used that as the work around but I should probably replace the switch some day or at the least use an electrical contact cleaner to see if that solves it.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,724
    i paid the money. i think you should do the same. the grass isn't always greener on the other side. maybe lexus owners feel comfortable complaining to me because i drive a ford? :confuse:
  • No one has really been specific about where it is in specifically the 2003 sport
  • You may be on to something... I almost always have my dimmer all the way up, but my brother was driving it and moved it down. I've moved it back up all the way and - knock on wood - no flickering. I'll keep watching it and let you know if something changes. Thanks!!
  • Ok, while trying to merge into traffic I step on the gas pedal and .... NOTHING! Takes some 10-20 seconds for the car to take off, I mean a guy could get killed like that. In addition the car corners like water bed. Been complaining to the dealer about that for about 2 years, got various answers - my fave is this one from one of the Ford mechs 'oh, it's the new drive-by-wire system, they all do that'
    I finally got fed up when the backup warning system died without any warning, ABS light went on intermittently, and the Tire pressure monitor kept telling me the air is low every time the outside temp dipped below 55. All of this happend once before on the same car and was fixed about 6 months prior. Ah well, what did you expect from a $40K car?
    Part 2:
    So they fix it. Replaced the fuse, fixed the short, reprogrammed the transmission. Acceleration is greatly improved, handling is fantastic! (for a truck, that is), corners like a midsize car - perfect. It just feels much tighter, it's actually fun to drive now!
    So the question is - does reprogramming the tranny change the handling/cornering/damping characteristics?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,815
    If you keep track of your mileage, please give us a report in the Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer: MPG-Real World Numbers discussion. Potential owners want to know the real scoop. Thanks!

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

  • Is their any knowledge about the 96' Ford Explorer electrical system that would explain the pathetically weak AM signal that the factory original radio puts out? There is tremendous interference that makes it impossible to listen to, unless you are very, very close to the radio tower. My Toyota Camry can pick up a clear AM signal from distances five times as far out. Why is this such a problem with the Ford brand radio? Is it an antenna, or other wiring problem? Thanks in advance for any input to my question. :)
  • Hello. I need some advise please. I have a 95 explorer limited with a brake fluid leak at the cruise control switch located at the front of the master cylinder. The leak is around the threads. My quedtion is, if I can replace it myself or does it have to be done by the dealership? Oh yeah the car has anti-lock brakes. also how can I effectivly clean the brake fluid that has leaked and is starting to remove the paint from the brake power booster?
  • Yes, you can replace it yourself. It is called the Cruise Control Deactivation Switch, it threads into the front top of the master clyinder, and has a 2 wire electrical connector plugged into the top of it. These devices are known to leak. Replacing it is easy and straight forward. To clean brake fluid, use Denatured ALCOHOL.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • The radio does not 'put out' a signal, it recieves it. THe sound that it puts out is weak because it receives a weak signal. It sounds like you have something in your vehicle creating the interference. To try to locate it, use a small handheld am radio, like one of those old small jobs with the 9V battery, and turn on the AM radio and move it around the vehicle and under the hood, keep it away from the fan and belt or anything hot. The interference sound will get louder the closer it gets to the source. Sometimes the alternator can cause this. If so, the internal condeser may have failed, or you can add a condenser to the alternator output circuit. They sell them at auto parts stores and at Radio Shack. If you can't find anything that way, check for an antenna problem, check to be sure that the cable is plugged firmly into the radio and attached firmly at the antenna, and that the cable is not damage anywhere along it's length.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    I would get this done ASAP. The cruise control switch has been the source of fires when the engine is off. I am not sure that the 95's have this problem, but if your switch is leaking I would disconnect the electrical connector from the switch until the repair is made. One of the wires going to the switch is live with the ignition key out. When a diaphragm in the switch breaks brake fluid enters the switch and is ignited by arcing that might occur.

    The repair, as ED said, should be very simple to perform. Get it done soon. Also, check to see if Ford recalled the 95 Explorer for this problem.
  • My son is trying to replace the spark plugs in my 98 Explorer sport but is not sure of the gapping specifications. Can anybody help me figure this out. Thanks!
  • Specs call for .054" gap. I like to set mine a little tighter at about .045" so it doesn't stress the spark plug wires and the spark plug wires last longer.
  • bioman:
    He might not have the hot wire to the switch on a 1995 model. My 2000 had the hot wire, but my 1997 did not. I guess better safe than sorry though.
  • Thank you very much for your help.
  • I am now on my 4th Explorer, a 2005 with 22000 miles on it and just wanted to say that I have been extremely pleased with all of them and the support that Ford extends. My only concern with the current 2005 model is that on occasion I get a very musty order from the AC and then it goes away. Dealership gets rid of it but it returns approx 10000 miles later. Still, I am a very happy Explorer owner. I believe it is still the best value out there.
  • Thank you for answering. One more ?. Will air enter the brake system, because on my hanyes repair manual it says that bleeding brake systems on 96 and earlier explorer with anti-lock brakes requires a test adapter? This is a awesome site. :)
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