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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair

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  • My alternator is supposedly making noise. The service manager told me so when I replaced a fuel line at the dealer. Although in my book it says something about cam chain noise and a 7 yr warranty. Any thoughts? I made an appt for monday at another ford dealer, but it's tough to tell who's honest.

    Nick
  • " Screaming alternator by dodgekbad Dec 14, 2005 (2:05 pm)
    My alternator is supposedly making noise. The service manager told me so when I replaced a fuel line at the dealer. Although in my book it says something about cam chain noise and a 7 yr warranty. Any thoughts? I made an appt for monday at another ford dealer, but it's tough to tell who's honest. "

    dodgekbad, The title of your post is "screaming" alternator, but in your messege it is "supposedly" making noise, so is the noise loud or soft? Do you hear it while driving? If the manager had to tell you it was making noise, maybe you didn't notice it until he mentioned it. Is it a whinning kind of noise? You should be able to tell where the noise is coming from yourself if you listen carefully from several different positions. Be very Careful to stay clear of the fan and belt!
  • Research your states' Lemon Law! I have a 2004 Explorer - I believe they have the same transmissions and engines. VA Lemon Law says 3 repairs on the same problem it is a LEMON and Ford must either repurchase the car or replace the car - go for it. Ford is buying mine back - AT PURCHASE PRICE!

    Ebeyers, did you use an attorney or arbitration?:lemon:
    Reg. Frank R.
  • Thanks for the reply.

    I can't tell where the noise is coming from. Sounds like it could be from the alternator - if I knew where that was - it would help. On the back of my owners book - it says something about a cam chain making noise for that year. Btw, it is a v6 sohc. I figured that might be the source of the noise too. The noise is really noticeable when I have he hood up and the truck is at idle. I can here it faintly while driving and at stop lights however. It is a whine noise too.
  • I have a 98 explorer 4.0 sohc with 72,000 miles, I started noticing it was running low on antifreeze every two weeks,to the point the heat only works when you revs the engine,so happens that the antifreeze is filing up the resevior.I changed the cap and nothing happend.There is no problem with overheating.Could it be the thermostat or do I have bigger problems? :sick:
  • You may be able to locate the noise by using a length of small rubber hose, hold one end to your ear, then slowly prod around the alternator and engine with the other end of the hose. Listen for where the noise gets loudest. This is also a good way to locate vacuum leaks. Be SURE to be very careful to NOT get your fingers, hands, or the hose caught in the engine fan or belt!
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,613
    just thought you would like to know the guy who bought your last explorer is over on BON complaining that the plactic panel on the rear hatch cracked (somewhat common for the early models). :)
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,936
    You mean the one that was in the long term fleet here? (found it - very small world indeed).

    "Based on our pleasant and virtually trouble-free ownership experience, we knew this was a vehicle we would feel comfortable selling to a private individual once our year-long test was complete"

    Long-Term Test: 2002 Ford Explorer XLT

    3 years and 60k; I suppose a few things break now and then. Too bad though.

    Steve, Host

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

  • Just an update to my question...the hesitation seems to be gone. It must have been the really cold weather and low gas tank level that was causing it. Now that it has warmed up here a little, the problem is gone.

    I am still wondering if I have to replace the wires and cap, along with the spark plugs however. The wires look new too. I've had the car since March of this year with 88k on it. It now has 99k. It's a '98, v6 sohc
  • No, You don't have to replace the wires if they are in good shape. You can't always tell by looking at them, but if they run ok, then they are good for now. When wires get weak, they cause misses and hesitation. You can make your wires last longer by reducing the spark plug gap to .040" to .045". This reduces the voltage on the wires and reduces stress on the insulation, which is what causes them to break down and go bad.
    I've had 4 Explorers, 91, 93, 97 and 00, driven to very high milage (over 150,000) and I never replaced spark plug wires on any of them. And I reduced the spark plug gaps in all of them.
    I did have a Mercury Grand Marquis with a 4.6L V8 for a while before I had the 93 Explorer, and it needed wires at about 60,000 miles, the gaps had worn and increased to about .070". That's when I found out the big spark plug gaps burned the wires out faster. New wires for that thing were a hundred bucks, so I said 'never again' and reduced the gaps from .054" to .040", and it ran fine and no problems after that.
  • ajmtbmajmtbm Posts: 245
    anyone have a reccomendation on windshield wipers? are the silicone better than the old style rubber?
  • Hello, I have a loud wine coming from the front of my 1999 V8 explorer. The mechanic who changed my auto transmission fluid said it was the alternator bearings. Since it was almost 6 years old with 111000 miles I replaced the alternator. The noise is still there. It sounds like a transmission or power steering unit low on fluid but both are full. I tried the hose trick but still can't isolate the sound. Any help is greatly appreciated/
  • Assuming a 97 has it in the same place as my 96. On the driver's side, in the cargo area, there's a small panel that you can remove (I think the jack is in there). You'll see a small square box wth wires running to it, you'll need a flashlight to see the sticker with the code on it, usually 5 digits.

    matt
  • That goes to show that you can't always believe what your mechanic says, it's always best to get a second opinion. How loud is the sound? Is it noticable with the hood down or while driving? Was it still as loud after the alternator change?
    Actually, those alternators hold up quite well, I never had to replace an alternator on any of my Explorers, the 91 and 93 XLT's went up to over 160,000 miles, the 97 is at about 143,000 and the 2000 is at about 113,000, with no alternator problems.
    The sound will behave differently according to what it is. The alternator whine will change in pitch or loudness if the electrical load on it is changed significantly, such as turning on or off the headlights or AC. The power steering sound will change as you turn the steering wheel from side to side. Sound can also come from any of the rotating parts that the belt turns, the AC Clutch bearing, any idler pulley bearing, belt tensioner pully bearing, water pump, fan clutch, etc.
    If you can't seem to isolate it, then it's best to take it to a good shop.
  • I filled my Explorer up and the gauge did not register, it is still stuck on 1/4 tank. I have been getting gas at the same station for all 4 of my vehicles for 2 years. Never a problem.
  • moeharrimoeharri Posts: 108
    We had the same problem on our 2003 XLT--when you tell Ford of the problem, you can probably expect a run-a-round. We spent 3 months trying to get it fixed, with them telling us to switch gas stations (yeah, that almost worked). Anyway, they ended up replacing the sending unit (in the gas tank?) and the whole instrument cluster (odometer, speedometer, etc). So far no problems, but it has only been about 8 months and I am crossing my fingers for this winter.
  • Thanks for your help. The sound is loud enough to easily hear with the hood closed and at low speed driving. Turning the steering wheel doesn't effect it, but engine rmp does. CHanging the alternator didn't change it at all. I'm guessing its one of the pullies or maybe the water pump. There's not much room to work in the area of the pullies, any suggestions on the best way to replace the pullies? Can the bearings just be replaced? John
  • I would be very suspicious of one of the idlers that keep tension on the serpentine belt or the belt, itself. Even a belt that looks good can be glazed on the back side and make quite a racket. If you remove the belt, and spin the idler pulley with your hands, you might notice that it has a gritty sound/feel to it - not good. You may also notice some play as you wiggle the idler pulley - not good either.
    If the belt looks good or has been replaced, you could sand the backside lightly with some sandpaper to knock off any glaze. Belts and idlers are pretty cheap at most auto parts stores.
  • I just bought a used 1999 ford explorer sport 2 door SUV 4 wheel drive. When I drive at 25mph~30mph, a loud grinding noise from the front wheel came out. No matter I start from a stop light or decelarate from highway, the noise will come out. This is my first SUV and 4X4, anyone here can give me hint what is the problem and around what money do I need put in to repair it. Thanks in advance.
  • If it's a grinding noise without much squeaking, it's usually the wheel bearings. I think u have to buy the whole unit (bearings AND housing), not just the bearings, and that could run as much as $200 for parts alone. If you are able to replace only the bearings, they are only $5-20. Fortunately this is not a complicated procedure and I'm sure you could find a guide on how to do it fairly easy.
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