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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair

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  • No, air will not enter if you are careful, just be sure the brake fluid resivior is full, remove the old switch and quicly replace it with the new switch. Some fluid will leak out when you do this, so clean it up with denatured alcohol. You should not have to bleed the brakes. I never had a problem bleeding brakes on an explorer, I never used a special tool to bleed brakes, just a short piece of hose with a catch bottle on the end.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    don't always run your a/c in recirculate. You need to run in vent mode regularly to help keep the system clean.

    Mark.
  • Help! I've had my Explorer in to the shop 4 times in 8 weeks. 1999, SOHC, V6. Maintenance up to date. 71K miles
    1. 1st issue was a wire that shorted out the wiring harness. It died at an intersection. It was fixed and regular maintenance of Intake Cleaning and Oil Change was done.
    2. 2 weeks later, I'd get to an intersection (3-4 blocks after starting) and it wanted to quit / check engine came on once. I'd have to give it gas, but once I got going it was fine. The O2 sensor was replaced.
    3. Thermostat went bad. Replaced. Nice and warm again.
    3.5. Radio flickers. Did not take it in, but seems to be ok now that I turn in the interior light dial up. Thanks for that tip!
    4. Tried to start on Monday. Would crank but not get any gas. When I finally gave it a lot of gas it would rev, but the instant I back off the gas (I'm still in Park at this point) it quit. Did it twice, then had it towed.

    It's been at the mechanic now for 4 days and "it starts every time for us". ARGH. They are guessing it is a bad Air Intake Control Valve, but want to Explorer to act up so they can be 100% sure.

    Any thought of what else it might be? I'm ready to sell it. OR am I just having a string of bad luck?
  • Some of these issues might be related,
    #1 Shorted wiring harness. That could have a lot of effect on the rest of the vehicle, depending on what damage was caused and how it was fixed. How did the short occur? What caused it? Are they certain it is properly fixed and that nothing else was affected?
    #2 Engine tries to stall & check engine light, what was DTC number when they checked it? Always ask them to write down the codes for you, for future reference. This probably is not related to anything else, unless the wiring in the harness for this sensor was damaged.
    #3 Thermostat, they just happen to go bad sometimes, probably not related to anything else. The Best cure is to be sure to replace it with a quality Thermostat, no place to cheap out here.
    #3.5 Radio And Dash Light flickering is not uncommon. My 2000 XLT 5.0L V8 Automatic does it too. I move the knob all the way up, if they ever flicker, I wiggle the knob, it's not worth fooling with for me, unless it gets really bad.
    #4 No Start, this might relate back to the electric wiring problem. It could be quite a number of things. Did it throw a Code (illuminate the Check Engine Light)? It could be damaged wiring to the fuel injectors or to the computer, or to the fuel pump, or to the MAF, or most any computer input or output device, or a problem at the intake throttle body or the IAC (Intake Air Control Valve/Solenoid). The IAC is easy to clean or replace, it sits at the top of the throttle body, has a 2 wire connector. Otherwise this may take some diagnostics by a trained mechanic.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Your dealer has a scanner that will reveal the permanent code when plugged into the car. They will retrieve it for you for a nominal fee. Evidently, they aren't putting the sticker with the coded on it anywhere easily found anymore.
  • Hello Electricdesign; you helped me with my explorer dpfe sensor and I read you mentioned some experience with GM vehicles. Check this Safari van out.
    Subjective-This started with a rough idle when cold that smoothed out once hot. I sought online paid help and was advised to check out the coolant temp sensor, other educated advice was to check fuel pump pressure cold then hot. I was talked out of the fuel pressure idea since"fuel pump does not know hot from cold.(I have since found support that maybe it does...I'll get back to this)
    Objective- 265000 mile van...new EGR valve, clean IAC valve, new plugs wires, spark plugs, rotor, radiator.
    Temperature sensor checked out ala Haynes manual as OK electrically and coolant level is fine. The van seemed to idle less rough and took less time to smooth out after topping up a minimal amount of coolant.(Maybe my imagination?) It still did not seem "right" I keep re-visiting the fuel pump idea with my online advisor yet he never gave any response just directed me to "free parts store advise". Meanwhile van did not start not start, engine won't turn over...it tried for a second the first time yet failed after that. The fuel pump can be heard at the gas tank working. I pulled the starter and took it in and it worked on two benches. I was directed to a possible bad fusible link or some other wiring. I checked all wires from the battery to ground; to the starter and all are passing at least 12V even the one with the fusible link that connects to the generator/alternator. Initially with this little cheap battery alternator tester I got 5V when connecting the positive cable from the battery to the other two wires that connect to the started solenoid from the alternator. Since the alternator connects to ground it appears a circuit is being made here. I decided to double check with my UEI multimeter and it registered 12V at this point which I trust more. So it appears the wiring to the starter is OK? Why won't the van start?? Is the idle problem and the starting problem related or just coincedence. Can anyone shed some light because I am about to replace the starter and hook everything back up but I wanted to make sure I did not miss anything diagnostically

    Well I am back to trying to get this van to start. All wiring to starter checked out and engine is starting, belts are turning, fan is turning but the "engine won't rotate" as this appears to be the symptom. I tested and replaced ignition coil. Turn on key and hear the fuel pump working but can't test pressure(not running) except when car is off no gas spits out of the relief valve but when the pump is energized(key on) gas spits out so it appears the pump is working just can't tell how well. The engine now makes a puttering ("plop..plop") sound. Someone said I didn't have enough gas fumes so I filled the tank up and the plop got very loud and smoke came out of the engine compartment. AAt this point I don't want to have it towed in...I need to start this van. Any help is appreciated?
  • I have traced best I know how and cannot find the reason for the Top middle tailgate stop light to keep flickering when the ignition is off. Thank goodness it appears to be an array of LED's as it does not seem to drain the battery overnight, but I am afraid of a short somewhere that may cause a fire. Any Suggestions?
  • I can help you with this, but there is some information to sort out first.
    First, give us all the information on this vehicle, Year, Make, Model, Engine, Transmission, miles, etc. There is no discussion forum for the Pontiac Safari or Grand Safari, so I suppose we can pursue it here unless Steve or Tidester wants to start another forum on it, or move it to another forum.
    I am not familiar with this particular vehicle, but I can supply a lot of good general information that may help.
    I'm not sure about the rough idle yet, let's try to make some headway on the "No Start" condition first. I need to picture just exactly what it is doing now, as there appeared to be some conflicting information, You said "van did not start not start, engine won't turn over", then you said "engine is starting, belts are turning, fan is turning but the "engine won't rotate" as this appears to be the symptom", and "I tested and replaced ignition coil". You also said You removed the starter and it worked on two test benches, so the starter must work OK?
    My questions are: When you turn the key to start, does the engine turn over normally? If that is true, does the engine not start when it is cranking and turning normally? If that is true then I would look the the no start causes as being the fuel or electrical systems or possibly even a valve train problem, as this engine has HIGH MILES.
    Is the engine in good general condition, good compression in all cylinders, and valve timing is good? Check valve timing, chains/belts, and compression. Check the fuel pressure with a fuel pressure gauge with ignition on, engine off, don't know how much it should be be would guess at least 30 to maybe 60, check the specs on your vehicle. If you have good fuel pressure, check to be sure you have good ignition to all spark plugs. If ignition seems ok, go back to fuel system, remove fuel filter, check for any contamination and put on new filter. If you find comtamination, there may be trash, dirt or water in the gas tank that may need to be cleaned out. Put some fuel system cleaner in the gas tank at least every oil change or more often to keep the fuel injectors clean.
    Check that all out that I've mentioned and respond back to us, and we'll go from there.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • What YEAR, MODEL, ENGINE? The Center Mounted light should be Brake Light only. When it flickers, do the other brake lights flicker also, or only the High one?

    I'll have to review the electrical diagrams later tonight.

    E.D. ISF
  • Thanks for the info. Here's some response back.

    #1. Shorted Wiring Harness. I was driving down the road and noticed the RPMs went from their normal 2 1/2 to 3 1/2. I stopped at a stop sign and when I wanted to go forward and gave it gas, it immediately stopped and all the lights went on. It would restart no problem, but would quit as soon as it got gas. They said it was caused from normal wear and tear. I'm assuming they checked everything else out.
    #2. Engine stalls. The check engine light never came on. As soon as I felt it wanting to quit, I'd give it gas. I'll ask them going forward what the DTC code is.
    #3. Thermostat. No updates here.
    #3.5. Radio flicker. No updates here.
    #4. No start. It does sound like this is related to the 1st problem. It did not give the check engine light and without the code they can't properly diagnose it.

    At this point, do I stay with the mechanic that has had it for 1 week or do I make the sacrifice and take it to the dealer? Does the dealer have better computers?

    Thanks. :P
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    Thanks for the info, ED. I think the GMC Safari & Chevy Astro group is probably the best place to continue this discussion if there is a need to do so.

    tidester, host
  • I'll try to help, but you got some of the questions and answers switched around....

    On #1, you originally said "1st issue was a wire that shorted out the wiring harness. It died at an intersection. It was fixed and regular maintenance of Intake Cleaning and Oil Change was done.",
    then I said and asked "That could have a lot of effect on the rest of the vehicle, depending on what damage was caused and how it was fixed. How did the short occur? What caused it? Are they certain it is properly fixed and that nothing else was affected?"
    You never did answer those questions, so I can't determine the possible impact of the wiring problem on you current stalling problem.

    On #2, you orginally said "2 weeks later, I'd get to an intersection (3-4 blocks after starting) and it wanted to quit / check engine came on once. I'd have to give it gas, but once I got going it was fine. The O2 sensor was replaced." Then you said "Engine stalls. The check engine light never came on."
    So which is it? Did the Check Engine light come on or not? If it did, it set a Code (DTC). If it does not come on, then it most likely does NOT set a code.

    On #4, The No Start answer I gave you DOES relate back to #1. The IAC and Intake problems could cause the stalling, but it could be a lot of other things too, that is why I said "this might relate back to the electric wiring problem (Exactly what WAS the electric wiring prolem?). It could be quite a number of things. Did it throw a Code (illuminate the Check Engine Light)? It could be damaged wiring to the fuel injectors or to the computer, or to the fuel pump, or to the MAF, or most any computer input or output device, or a problem at the intake throttle body or the IAC (Intake Air Control Valve/Solenoid). The IAC is easy to clean or replace, it sits at the top of the throttle body, has a 2 wire connector. Otherwise this may take some diagnostics by a trained mechanic."
    Yeah, it sounds to me like you need a good mechanic. If the one your seeing can't fix it, take it somewhere else.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • OK, let's try this again. I did goof up a bit. Sorry

    #1. I have no idea how the short occurred or what caused. I'm assuming they fixed it as my Explorer was working fine the entire next week.

    #2. Yes, a check engine light flickered once. However, as I was able to drive it around numerous times after that, the mechanic said the codes get cleared off after a while and a DTC was no longer available.

    #4. On the No Start, the check engine did NOT come on, so no code. Again, as I don't know the specific of what caused the wiring harness issue I'm not sure how much help you can provide.

    On the "get a new mechanic" issue. How long do you wait before you take it some place else? It's been over 1 week. Is it common for a diagnosis to take this long?

    thanks.
  • On #4 I think you answered your own Question, you said "Help! I've had my Explorer in to the shop 4 times in 8 weeks", I think after all that, it's time to look elsewhere.

    On the rest of it, I assume the vehicle at present has the stalling problem. WIll it run at all? Then stall out when you give it the gas? It goes back to all the issues that I stated in my previous posts. You'll have to find a good hands on medchanic, look for a shop that is busy and fairly neat, has good modern equipment. I think that's about all I can do here.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • 2003 Ford Explorer 6cyl, 4WD, 60,000 miles. As soon as I reach the speed of 50mph, the engine? noise increases in volume. The car is not running hot or sluggish. I took it to the dealership about a month ago and they couldn't find anything wrong. The volume decreases slightly at speeds above 60mph. I have Michelin tires and the tread looks good. I find myself fearing something major will happen and I'll be left stranded on the road which you don't want to happen on the DC beltway!! Any ideas what could be wrong? Am I just imaging this??
  • I'll just give my experience - others might have a more definitive answer. When this has occured for me in Explorers and other cars its typically a balancing problem on a tire or two - I see the ? mark after engine so I am wondering if it is more road noise than engine noise. I figure this especially b/c you say it is in that 10 mph speed range - not unusual that this would happen. Sometimes a weight used to balance a tire will fall off or get knocked off when parking next to a curb. That might be the first place to start. The place that sold you the tires will usually check this for free. Do you get any vibration in the steering wheel between 50 & 60 m.p.h. that you don't in other speed ranges?

    After that it could be alignment or rear differential noise although the r.d. noise is usually in a wider speed range and can be heard coming from the rear of the vehicle. Usually if it is the r.d. it will go away momentarily when you let off of the accelerator.

    Once (and this would be very rare) I didn't get a lug nut on tight enough after doing brakes or seat the tire properly on the hub. I was getting noise from the tires but didn't realize what was happening. The wheel/lug nut was loosening, tire wobbling and it sheered off a lug bolt in the process.

    Good luck!

    *You might search this forum for "tire balance" and you'll get some other notes. Of those I would start with 5112, 5113 & 5050.
  • Thanks for the reply. This is a GMC SAfari V6 with 260000 1995 with Auto tranny. I have posted info on the Safari site and responses ran out as to what to try.
    When the key is turned the van makes a sound of the engine trying to start . I can see the belts turning and this has been described to me as "starting" but the engine will not "catch and fire up". This appears to be cranking but not turning normally.
    Yes the starter worked on two benches and I as well had it refurbished and replaced the solenoid.
    I can do the fuel compression check. I thought the engine had to be running for that so I will get my hands on a test unit and check it.
    The van has new distributer and rotor and I replaced the plugs and wires but will check the "spark". I replaced the ignition coil because the resistence was not to specification per Haynes.
    I replaced the fuel filter yet have not dropped the tank to clean it out. I would hate to think how I got "trash" in my tank. The van has been vandalized previously and there have been some mischief going on in the neighborhood.
    The engine was running very well prior to the "rough idle situation...we had driven the van to Disneyworld in May. Actually while I was working on the rough idle I applied some fuel system cleaner and the next day or two is when it stopped starting...hmm? Any suggestions?How do I check the valve timing?
  • I will go the GMC Safari Forum and continue this dialog over there, see you there!
    E.D. ISF
  • I have checked the electrical wiring diagrams and found that the High Mounted Stoplamp and both left and right stoplamps are all wired directly together. The power comes from the Brake Pedal Switch through a #511 Light Green Wire, then goes to a connection #S212. From connection S212, 3 wires leave that connection, one goes to the multifunction switch, another goes to the High Mounted Stoplamp, and the last wire goes to connection #S300, which has 2 wires leaving it, one to the left stoplamp and one to the right stoplamp. So all 3 stoplamp assemblies are SOLIDLY wired together, according to the wiring digram, so I have no explaination why the high mounted light would flicker and the left and right stoplamps not flicker. I would suggest that you the adjust the Brake Pedal switch to be sure that the brake lights do not activate when the car is parked. The ignition switch does not have anything to do with it, because the brake lights will work with the key on or off. The wire that feeds the Brake Pedal Switch is always on.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • Thanks for your reply. The tires are the original set that came with the car. The ? after engine is as you implied, hard to differentiate between engine noise and road noise. The car has, as best as I could describe, a "stiffer" feel when driving at speeds above 50mph. Would the balancing problem cause this as well?
  • You said "I took it to the dealership about a month ago and they couldn't find anything wrong."

    What were they looking for and what did they check? Did they check the tires and balance?

    E.D. ISF
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    I haven't checked my Explorer to know whether they are LED's, but it could be that the voltage on that wire isn't a full 12volts. Could be less if whatever is feeding it, has a resistance to it, which would drop some voltage before feeding that wire which the three lights are attached to. If the tailgate light is LED's, they could come on with a lower voltage and the regular brake light bulbs don't really light up because they draw more current. I agree w/ED ISF, that most likely place to look is a defective brake light switch. This assumes of course that someone hasn't spliced into the brake light wiring for some trailer lighting or some other device. If there was modification to the wiring, I'd check there first.
  • my 4 wheel drive wont engage either, if and when please let me know, what the problem might be. taryn4@carspace.com
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Ur shift motor is probably bad, or stuck. It's possible it's electrical with the switch, but normally, that's not the case.
  • As I was driving down the road the over drive light came on flashing anyone know what it means. could not turn it off...
  • This happened to me and I ignored it. It would come and go and I didn't sense any obvious problems with the trany when the light came on.

    If you have not done any routine maintenance on the trany or ever had it looked at I would heed its warning. I can't say the two are related but not long after the light came on, my transmission went out - stranded on the freeway - the whole bit. 1 tow and $3000 later I have a new transmission. '99 4.0 xlt 4wd

    Others on this forum can probably give some better advice - just my experience.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    That's your "transmission is in distress" warning light. Get it in NOW, or you'll face what exploder did.
  • thank you kindly for the info. i will go ahead and check it out (shift motor) and let you know what i find out.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    If it is indeed the shift motor, that should be about a $400 part, plus labor, just so you know what to expect.
  • I have a 94 explorer and i have replaced the clutch and presure plates but i dont know which trany i have mitsubishi or mazda they call for different fluids and of course i didnt pay attn, when i drained the fluid. how do i tell which one i have?
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