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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • cuznverncuznvern Posts: 4
    Just got my truck back. Turns out it was the crank sensor. Cost $214 with tax.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 171
    The problem might also be harmonic vibration of the exhaust system at idle. I had the same problem with my 99 Explorer when it was new. There was a TSB and th dealer installed a kit that fixed the problem until the warranty ran out. My truck is now rattling at idle again. To test my hypothesis, start the truck and push on the exhaust pipe with your foot. If the vibration stops that is what it is. The exhaust system hangers have lost some their elastic power, have stretched and the rattle returned.
  • joe_88joe_88 Posts: 2
    thanks for the advice. I'll try and do the wd40 fix first. It's just amazing that i purchased this vehicle new and i'm running into these little problems (not to mention that i'm on my fourth repair from the dealership). the car isn't even at 15k yet. needless to say, i've become soured by this ford experience.
  • jackifljackifl Posts: 2
    Thanks for the responses, Shark and ED. The shudder is all gone now but I am taking it further. I've contacted Goodyear corporate with my tale of woe and concluded it with this comment:
    NO one except for the Goodyear service place has had this issue, apparently. And THEY think it is perfectly normal. Neither Ford corporate, my local Ford dealer or anyone on the Ford service forum sites have confirmed that this is a true scenario.
    I am concerned, even though the shudder has gone away. I want to be sure that no damage has been done to either my tires, my ball joints, my bushings or ANYTHING else in my front end! How can I have peace of mind about this? Can you, will you help me?

    At the very least, I want a different Goodyear shop to inspect my Explorer and make sure that has been no damage or should be no repercussions.
    Will keep you posted and thanks for the support!
  • Joe, I think the mechanic originally missed the problem probably because he did not run the engine with the belt off. If he would have done that, the problem would have been obvious to him, and he would have investigated the front crankshaft seal and repaired it. Remember, this is not a common problem. Also remember that you have not yet confirmed the problem, by taking the belt off and running the engine for no more than a minute. Please let us know what you find. My wifes 1997 has never squealed in 146,000 miles, and my 2000 sometimes squeals now at 124,000 miles. When I spray the WD40 on the crankshft seal, the squeal goes away, after a few weeks it comes back, not as loud as before, it never seems to hurt anything, runs fine, but embarrassing when driving down the street or stopped at a traffic light and people stare at you. For some reason the seal seems to dry and causes the squeal. I keep hoping it will begin to seep oil and lubricate itself and shut up. I bought a new seal a while back, in case I need to change it. It comes in a front timing cover gasket/seal set for about $15.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • My 16 year old son has his heart set on a Black Xplorer 4WD XLT with certain options. After searching for a few days, we found a suitably configured vehicle at a CarMax dealer out of state. It is a 2003 with 30K miles. We paid $150 to move the car here and we test drove the car yesterday. Well, things did not go well. Whenever we accelerated from a dead stop and turned the steering wheel either left or right, a rumbling noise and pull came from the rear axle. The CarMax service department checked the car and said that the rear differential was bad and that it needed to be replaced - a 7 hour job. They said that these went out all the time on Explorers. Of course, they assured us that the car would be 100% after their service. As you can imagine, Mom and Dad are thinking - uh-oh, we need to stay away from this car. Are we over-reacting or do we need to stay away from this car?
  • gasburner1gasburner1 Posts: 10
    I have been doing the tranny fluid change and new filter every 30 K miles, the last one about 8K ago, so I don't want to redo it again unless I have no choice, since it is not cheap. I have about 1 mo left on my Premium care extended warranty. I'll think I take it to the dealer. Problem is, without something "broken" I anticipate a response like "that's tyipcal or nothing out of spec". But I know for a fact that something has changed in the last few K miles. Any clue as to what I might direct the dealer to look for or at? Thanks!
  • My uncle had the same vehicle in the same color and he had no problems with it. He absolutley loved the car. If you are worried about safety, my uncle was involved with a head on crash, as someone ran a red light. The Explorer took hardly any damage. It has been the top selling suv in america for 15 years now. I just recently bought a 2006 Eddie Bauer Explorer (Black) and I love it. This is coming off a reliable car in a 2004 Honda Accord. I would reccomend the 2003 Ford Explorer based on what my uncle had to say about it, but I am not sure if you want to look at this particular vehicle, as it seems to have the rear axle problem. You should not have any trouble finding a 2003 Explorer in black, there are many of them out there.
  • Thanks for the response. FYI, the main options we want that are kind of hard to find are leather seats, but no sunroof (he's 6'4" and still growing).

    To be more specific on my question, is there a known systemic problem with the rear axle and/or differential on some 2003 Explorers? If the problem occurs is it serviceable or does it typically reoccur? The guys at CarMax said this happens all the time and that it is 100% correctable. However, since they are not exactly impartial, I wanted to check with the knowledgeable users of Edmunds.
  • If you dont mind me asking, where are you located and where did you find this 2003 explorer. I am from the NYC area and there are a ton of 2003's around here.
  • rockyprockyp Posts: 6
    Thanks for the help. The engine is a 4.0L SOHC V6 engine with a 5R55e transmission. I keep up all of my maintenance (got 80K out of the Wranglers) and being at 100K I just had the transmission fluid and the differential changed. The Ford dealership is telling me that the transmission is not going into secopnd gear and that they can replace the valve in the gear for $875, but at 100K they recommended doing an entire rebuild for $2950. I am going to get a second opinion (AAMCO etc.) if I can drive it off of the lot. Any advice would be appreciated.


  • We are in Middle Tennessee. We wanted a low mileage 2003 Black XLT with leather and no sunroof (i.e., which ruled out Eddie Bauer's). After looking for a few days, the best macth we could find was at a CarMax in Chicago. $150 and two days later we had the car ...unfortunately it has this rear axle/differential problem.
  • I can't do anything else for you, it sounds like it's about gone. Unfortunately those tranny don't last a long time, probably at the end of it's rope. Check around to get the best price for the best service, get quotes from reputable shops.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • puzzleddad, You are right, as far as the rear axle is concerned, it IS a LEMON. They have constant problems with these rear axles since they came out with the new design in 2002. They are correctable, because you can always take it out and replace it, but it's going to cost you a lot of money in the long run. It would be about $2000 to replace the rear axle assembly, if it is repairable, maybe half that, but that is money that you shouldn't even have to be spending. I own a 1997 V8 and a 2001 V8, both wonderful vehicles, but I will NOT own an Explorer newer than 2001, because of all the expensive problems they have, bad rear axles, bad transmissions, and if you have the 6 cylinder engine, trouble with those too (timing chains). Please go to the top of the page and use the SEARCH BUTTON to look for topics such as rear axles, transmissions, timing chains, etc, it will enlighten you greatly. It's your money, but I would stay away from that Explorer. At least start off with one that has no problems to begin with, then at least your son can enjoy it for a while, but set repair money aside for the future, you will need it. If you really want to get it, the BEST thing to do is get a good maintenance agreement contract on it that will cover all the major repairs, you will need it.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • Oh I understand...I am not sure if all Eddie Bauer's have sunroofs, mine was $850 add on option. It might be standard on the 2003 model. I can look around at places for the model you are looking for...maybe something will come up?
  • Does anyone know the measurements of the Trailor Hitch on the back of 2006 Eddie Bauer Explorer...cant measure as car is in shop?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,452
    what measurement are you looking for? tow bar size?
    towing package is 2 inches, standard is 1.25 i think.
    for that, the year doesn't matter. i have an '02.
    if you need height or anything else, i have to wait for my kid to bring it back. i'll hear the stereo before i see it.
  • Did you understand the difference between the fluid and filter CHANGE verses the fluid FLUSH and filter? AT the dealer, the normal service is to Change or Drain the fluid, but the problem with that is some of the old fluid remains in the transmission. The FLUSH actually drains the fluid AND runs clean fluid through the transmission to FLUSH out any remaining old fluid. The FLUSH is much better than the drain and refill. You mentioned it was expensive, but I do mine myself, it cost $10 for the filter and 20 Quarts of MERCON V at about $3.50 per quart, Tax $5.60, so it costs me about $90 to do it myself, and well worth it. I can't say that it will cure your problem, but it IS very good preventive maintenance. Your hard 1-2 shift could also be caused by the control circuits, computer, wiring, solenoids, sticking accumulor piston, etc. If the dealer can't find any codes or any obvious problem that may cause this, try an additive before you go tearing into the transmission or valve body. I only recommend one additive to use, the only one that I have found that actually works, it's called LUCAS Transmission Stop Leak, in a 24 oz white plastic bottle, about $9. It can be found in most Auto Parts Stores. If you don't see it, go to their website, just Google Lucas to find it. Pour a bottle of that in (allow an hour for it to drain in, use a long neck funnel) and give it a week to see if it makes much difference. I can't promise, but chances are good that it will help.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. In Sunny Florida
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,985
    Seems like flushes too often result in a tranny failure, especially if they weren't part of a regular maintenance schedule. Coincidence?

    Here's one recent thread about it:

    steve_, "Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute: Problems & Solutions" #3411, 30 Jun 2006 9:09 pm
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