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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • :sick: To answer your question: YES, THIS VEHICLE IS AN ABSOLUTE LEMON, :lemon: GET RID OF IT ASAP! If it is out of warranty, it is a money pit from hell. We just had to replace the transmission in our 02' Explorer at 87,000 miles!!! Luckily we purchased the extended warranty that covered the FREQUENT problems we had up to 60k miles. After spending $3100 out of pocket on the tranny, we have decided to keep the vehicle for most of the 3yr, 36k mile warranty, And PRAY NOTHING ELSE MAJOR HAPPENS. We will PROMPTLY be trading this vehicle at 35,900 miles or 2yrs 11 months! :lemon: :lemon: :lemon:
  • What is the fuel gauge doing? Is it not registering when you fill up? I had this problem on my 2005. It could be carbon build up on the float or the sending unit.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,444
    i have the trans service done every 30k on my '02.
    at this point i just hit 60k. despite the sealed for life mumbo jumbo, it seems to shift better after the fluid change and get softer over time. just my experience.
  • Be sure you have good strong spark to each spark plug. Use a spark tester, move it to the end of each wire to be sure spark is strong.
    Check vaccuum lines for any leaks, a leak big enough to keep it from starting would have to be a large leak.
    Check fuel pressure, use a pressure gauge that connects to the pressure test port schrader fitting in the fuel rail at the top of the engine. A bad pressure regulator can cause this.
    Check engine compression, if low, engine timing could be off.
  • Check fuel pressure, use a pressure gauge that connects to the pressure test port schrader fitting on the fuel rail at the top of the engine. A bad pressure regulator can cause this.
  • It’s not registering at all.. after fill up it stays on E… I don’t know if this tells you anything, I had the front end up on ramps last night and the gauge showed ¼ a tank.
  • Since it indicated 1/4 Tank, the electrical parts must be working, it sounds like the problem is with the float or sending unit in the tank. I had a 1991 that did the same thing, it has a brass float that had leaked, filled with gas, and sank. I was able to buy another float, it is a separate piece that clips onto the end of the wire arm. The fuel tank is not too hard to drop, just be sure it's almost empty first, and buy the special tools to separate the fuel line connectors (available at any auto suppy store for cheap).
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • My was doing the same exact thing. It was a carbon build. I took my Explorer to the Ford dealership and they put an additive in my tank, then I filled it up. Have to use the full tank before refilling. Worked for me. If that does not work, it could be the float or the sending unit. Hope this helps.
  • Check the small wire at the solenoid with a test light to see if it is getting power when the key is turned to the start position. If it does get power, then solenoid is not working and needs to be replaced. If there is no power on the small wire to the solenoid when the key is turned to the start position, the circuit from the key switch has a problem, it might just be a blown fuse or loose wire. I would highly recommend to repair the circuit from the key switch, instead of trying to wire around it.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • All of those codes refer to the transmission, so I would check all the wiring connections and connectors first.
  • I have a 98 Ford Explorer that I just bought and it is driving me nuts because it is showing the signs of a bad alternator but the alternator seems good.
    I can start the car, (sometimes) take the positive cable off the battery and the car stays running. This used to be a test to see if the alternator was good, is it still? This morning the car started fine then as I was driving on the highway the electrical gauge dropped down all the way. I got to work and left the car running. I checked the positive cable and the wires going to that and nothing. I got back in the car and turned on the AC and the electrical gauge went up to normal. Does this sound like a short of some type? Any help would be great. Oh, I also changed the battery and the fusable link and that has not solved it. Thanks Chris
  • It sounds like you have the opposite of a short circuit, which is an open circuit, a loose connection, that is why your voltage guage on the dash drops down, it is losing power. It can be tricky to trace, but you need to find where the loose connection is, when it goes out, try to see what else does not have power, it may guide you to where the problem is, could be a bad connection at or near the fuse box.
    Note: It is not good to take the battery lead loose with the engine running because of todays electronic alternators and electronic modules throughout the car, they get fried easily from voltage fluctuations. Test Battery/System Voltage with a volt meter across the battery, and check alternator amps output with an inductance ammeter held next to the wire from the alternator.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • RE: the fuel line disconnect tools - the plastic ones didn't perform well. The metal type went into the connection further and did the job.

    Depressurize your fuel system first - easiest way is to disconnect the fuel inertia switch under the dash (passenger side) and turn the key cranking the engine until it starves itself for gas and quits.
  • I have a problem!!! Between 30 and 40km/hour my truck grinds, clunks, and sounds awful. It only does this after running for 20 minutes, and is fine if I can get to 50km/hr. To me it sounds like the gears aren't meshing????? The sounds all come from the rear, louder on the left. Anyone know what this is? The truck is a '97 Explorer sport, V6.
  • Check the axle bearings and rear axle.
  • Thanks for the info, got a repair manual today. Going to tear it up
  • I have 2002 Explorer that has the paint coming off of the side rail on the roof rack. Can anyone provide instructions on how to remove the rack so it can be replaced or repainted?
  • Hoping someone can help, I'm seeing some similar posts but nothing quite matching mine. 98 Explorer XLT 4WD, 4.0L V6 SOHC, 84K miles. Have had intermittent starting problem for the last 3 summers (in FL) - when outside temp and/or engine temp are hot, sometimes will not start - typically occurs after short stop after driving (like refueling). Cranks fine but won't fire. Wait, try again, wait, try again, eventually it goes.
    Sometimes after starting, the Theft light continues to flash for a few minutes. Sometimes the airbag light also flashes for a few minutes.
    Took it to the "auto electrician", all they could suggest was to use a different key, maybe the antitheft chip was broken.
    Took it to the local Ford dealer three times. First time they repaired a wire to the crankshaft position sensor. Next time they replaced a relay (no, I don't know which one - black cube with 4-5 terminals, I don't have it any more). Last time (today) - they suggest replacing the main electrical junction box and main harness, for about $4K. I told them I needed to think about that a while.
    Tinkering buddy at work thinks it's not electrical at all but vapor lock (can that even happen with an injected engine?), suggests replacing the thermostat with a cooler running one.
    I'm open to suggestions at this point.
  • You've taken this car to several professional places to have it checked, they had had a hands-on look at it, and yet they still don't know whats wrong with it. It sounds like a complex issue, especially since you mention that the Theft light continues to flash for a few minutes and sometimes the airbag light also flashes for a few minutes. It sounds like the dealer is just taking a shot in the dark by wanting to replace the wiring harness. They should be able to isolate which circuits and which wires are the problem. Before replacing the harness, I would suggest testing all the external computer sensors to be sure that they are giving the correct input into the engine. The computer only knows what the sensors tell it, and if a sensor is telling it wrong information, the computer will make bad decisions. They can do the "Wiggle Test" on all the wiring, and they can do "Freeze Frame Captures" on the computer memory if they can catch it in the act of malfuntioning. It may be worthwhile to invest $400 in an electronic auto diagnostic tool that connects to your Laptop Computer and to your cars diagnostic plug, and you can do those things Yourself. It is on

    Even if the problem is some form of vapor lock, DO NOT change the thermostat to a cooler one. Use ONLY the correct temperature rated thermostat in your engine, because the engine must warm up to the proper temperature before the computer will operate correctly. The engine starts and runs for about 2 minutes with the computer in "OPEN LOOP MODE" until the engine is warm enough, then the computer goes into "CLOSED LOOP MODE".
    I would treat fuel pressure as a big suspect on this one. You need to check fuel pressure when it is acting up. The fuel pressure port is on the fuel rail near the top of the engine. It has a Shrader Valve with a cap, sort of like a valve stem on a tire. They have a fuel pressure gauge made for this that has a hose and the valve adaper on one end, just screw it onto the fuel pressure port and read the pressure. Remember, Safey First. Watch out of any fuel leaks and fire hazard. Check the pressure when the car is running normally, and then again when it is acting up, and compare the pressures. I'm not sure what the normal pressure should be, I think somewhere between 30 and 60 pounds.
    If the problem turns out not to be in the fuel system, then the ignition system is the next thing to suspect.
    Also check for any vaccuum leaks, the Idle Air Solenoid, ect.
    Let us know what you find.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • ELECTRICDESIGN: The axel and bearing have all been checked by Ford. Not it. And they don't know what's going on either. They can feel it, they can hear it, and short of dismanteling everything underneath, they are no help. I was told that because this is speed related, it isn't axel or bearing problems. Also, because it takes 20 minutes for everything to warm up, and the clunks to occure, they are now suggesting a sensor. ?? I live in a small rural community, where the nearest Ford dealer is over 3 hours away. If I could at least get the problem figured out, I'd have no problem doing back to town and have it fixed. Right now this is costing me time and money, of which I have neither. Got any more guesses???? Any help would be appreciated!
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