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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • I recently got rid of my 1994 Explorer that was literally falling apart. I had the trans rebuilt at 80k by a local trans shop that has been in business for years. At 123K the trans was leaking from a seal located just in front of the pan. The owner of the trans shop told me at the time when the trans. failed that they take the trans apart and wash all the "hardware" and replace all the "software". After reading some posts here I notice some techs saying this is not the way to do it. This is ancient history for me but for the future I was wondering what some of the pro. mechanics think of the work offered by local garages and trans. shops vs. dealer service.
  • Nowadays, the trans are much more Complicated and Sensitive. Each one has it's own particular weaknesses. Generally, they need to have many more hard parts replaced than they used to (Torque Converters, pumps, drums, clutches, shafts, solenoids, valve bodies, thrust washers, etc). They ALL have to have Soft Parts replaced (gaskets, seals, etc). For advice on specific trans, go to a mechanics website, search for auto mechanics forums, etc.
  • I just purchased a 1998 Explorer Limited with automatic climate control, the problem is at all temperature settings it blows hot air...sometimes set on 60 degrees it will get a little cooler, also on max a/c it does not get as cold as it should....maybe blending heat and a/c?? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • I have a 2000 ford explorer. The door ajar light stays on preventing the auto door locks from working & keeping the interior lights lit even while car is shut off. I think the problem is in the back hatch but have no idea where the switch is or how to get to it. Thanks in advance.
  • Hello I have an explorer xlt sport 2 door. I have been having some vibrations when I accelerate and at time even when I slow down. Once I get out of that speed which is low (20) and then I speed up and from 40 to 70 it vibrates bad. If there is something I can do to get this fixed please let me know. It is driving me crazy please anyone that has this problem let me know I have taken it every dealer i know so i can get it fixed but they tell me nothing wrong with it. Is it possible that it is just the way they ride? I don't know that is why i am asking for help It is a 2003
  • That is plain nuts. Explorers should ride smooth. I've had 4 Explorers, and they all rode/ride very smooth. I Don't see how the dealers can say there is nothing wrong. You need to determine if the vibration is in the motor or transmission, or in the drivetrain or tires. Do you feel vibrations when in neutral and rev it up? Do you feel vibrations in the steering wheel or brake pedal? Try to isolated under what conditions the vibrations occur. How about the tires? What kind? Are they recently balance and rotated? You can try balancing and/or rotating the tires to see if that has any effect.
  • I have a 1994 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition. My son has been driving it but recently I got it back from him. I had a reason to try the 4 wheel drive today and the front end will not lock in. When you push the dash button the light comes on and says it is in 4 x 4 but the front end does not assist. It does not appear to work in either high or low range. I am looking for a place to start trying to figure out the problem. Does anybody have any idea of what to look for or where to test anything to get me started. Really don't want to have to take it to an expensive shop if it might be something simple.
  • I have this problem with my 96 XLT sometimes. I have discovered that it is the glass hatch and it has something to do with the latch. I sprayed the glass window hatch mechanism with a good amount of WD-40 and it hasn't happened since. I think this is a Ford issue because I have a co-worker who's Expedition did the exact same thing. Good luck.
  • This is a common problem for 95-98 Explorers. Unfortunately, the solution is not simple. We had this problem last week. The solution is to replace the "heater box" which contains the hot/cold air mixing control door. Cost is $700-$900 at a dealer. They have to take the dash aopart to get to this unit. The actuiator is replaced, too. When done, you have nice comfortable Explorer again.
  • Thanks for answering my question, one more question if you dont mind. I am pretty mechanically inclined and do a lot of my own repairs, is this something that has to be done at a dealership because of special tools or something else or is this something that a person could do at home himself? And is this heater box repairable or have to be replaced? Thanks again.
  • Yes I have had the tires changed around and balanced. The vibration is in the gas & brake pedals and in the steering wheel. I have tried and my friends have tried and we just cannot narrow it down. I kept asking for a general diagnostic but no one will do it. I like my vehicle even though it is rough but i am getting used to that. but to give you an idea how bad it does vibrate is that it tickles my feet after i drive a period of time. I just want to get it fixed thats all. lol not asking for much
  • If I understand your post, vibrations are worst when accelerating and decelerating, but never really go away at speed.

    U Joints have that characteristic when going bad. They will vibrate badly when accelerating or decelerating, then smooth out at steady speed - the vibration may or may not entirely go away.

    Look under driveshafts or drivelines in your yellow pages. You can take it in and have your driveshafts checked for balance and bad u-joints / constant velocity joints.

    If the driveshafts check out, then you have c/v joints in your front axles and rear axles. You will need to check the axle shafts. Newer exploders have had some problems with rear axles with the new independent rear suspension.

    To possibly get a clue, drive the sploder at the speed that the vibration is worst. Have a friend pace you in the next lane and have him watch for vibrations at each tire - if he can see one vibrating up/down, you have probably found your bad axleshaft, given that you have rebalanced the tires already.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,666
    Is it also possible that a motor mount or tranny mount is broken, allowing the engine or tranny to cause the drivetrain to vibrate thru the steering column...hey, could the steering column mounting bolts be loose from the steering box???...something that would make the st wheel vibrate, and don't the pedals either hang from or are stabilized by, the steering column???
  • Does anyone know the real reason FoMoCo relocated the transmission selector lever from from the steering column to the console? Could it have anything to do with the all the shifting problems with the 2004-2005 model year transmissions? Or, was it less expensive to manufacture? To me it looks like a beer tap lever behind a bar in a saloon.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    uhhh, I have some problems with this description.

    limited-slip axles, often known by the GM trademark Posi-Trak, do NOT lock up, they are conventional differentials. the difference is that there is a preload spring in a posi. with a regular axle, it is possible for one wheel to get on slippery conditions, and it will spin off all the engine power while the wheel on good traction will get none. the preload spring of the posi puts some apparent traction on both wheels, so power will not be blown away on the slipping wheel, but some will also get to the other wheel.

    AWD systems have limited-slip axles front and rear, and the LS effect is part of the power distribution system.

    a standard 4x4 system utilizes locked differentials, in which yes indeed, both wheels turn lockstep to each other on the same axle. and 4x4 outer wheels WILL HOP when enough energy builds up from holding the tire back when the physics of turning a larger circle with the same turns clearly dictate that the tire has to move faster. this can cause control issues at moderate to highway speeds.

    if ford is allowing slip through the hub clutches, it's protecting the tire and protecting the drive system as well.

    but that is not the same thing as posi, not at all. they are entirely separate systems.
  • I had a the same problem with my 94 XLT which has since been retired. The mechanic at the transmission shop told me that there is a motor on the back of the transfer case and that was most likely the problem. I think it was actually a solenoid and not a motor but I never fixed it. I remember looking under the car to see it and thought about disconnecting it and checking it out with a voltmeter to see if I was getting any power there. I never got to trouble-shooting it but I think that would be a good place to start.
  • I want to thank you all for giving me some ideas to check out you have been great.

    Thank You
    Will keep you all updated and again thanks.
  • My '03 Ford Explorer has had the engine stop and I have been told that the timing chain broke and has busted a piston and thus has locked up the engine. Can anyone give me any history or input on this? It sounds like the dealership is going to try to make it not covered on my extended service contract. Thanks!
  • I am pretty confident you will be covered. The only way they could deny coverage would be if you did not do your oil changes per the manual. Then lack of proper maintenance could be used to deny your claim, but that would be a stretch. Having an oil analysis done is an accepted practice to prove that the failure was or was not not oil related. An oil analysis tests the condition of the oil.

    You had a covered part break, which is not your fault. When a covered part breaks, it is a covered claim. The other engine damage done as a consequence of the broken timing chain is "reasonably forseeable" - it will happen to just about every engine like yours that has a broken timing chain. There was nothing YOU could have done to prevent it.

    A good tactic to use if they do attempt to deny the claim is to obtain an explanation in writing why the claim is being denied and specifically what paragraph of the contract allows them to deny the claim.

    But I doubt you will have a problem in the end.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    The problem goes back to the 97-99 Explorers with the SOHC engine. The timing chain tensioners, made out of plastic, were breaking and causing the problem you encountered. Ford put out a service bulletin, M012 I believe, and extended the warranty to 7 years 70K miles for the SOHC engines in the 97-99's. They replaced the plastic tensioners with metal tensioners and the dealers had a field day replacing them, some times more than once, on the affected engines. I had it done, twice, to my 99 Explorer in 2000. At 74K things are still OK. Although I worry about the occasional knocking I hear when the engine is cold.

    Your 03 should be covered under the warranty as long as you have maintenance records. So it looks like you are going to get a new engine. The 2000-2005's should not have had this problem, but I guess it might still be an issue. There are four tensioners on the SOHC engines.
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