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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair

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  • Hello. I need some advise please. I have a 95 explorer limited with a brake fluid leak at the cruise control switch located at the front of the master cylinder. The leak is around the threads. My quedtion is, if I can replace it myself or does it have to be done by the dealership? Oh yeah the car has anti-lock brakes. also how can I effectivly clean the brake fluid that has leaked and is starting to remove the paint from the brake power booster?
  • Yes, you can replace it yourself. It is called the Cruise Control Deactivation Switch, it threads into the front top of the master clyinder, and has a 2 wire electrical connector plugged into the top of it. These devices are known to leak. Replacing it is easy and straight forward. To clean brake fluid, use Denatured ALCOHOL.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • The radio does not 'put out' a signal, it recieves it. THe sound that it puts out is weak because it receives a weak signal. It sounds like you have something in your vehicle creating the interference. To try to locate it, use a small handheld am radio, like one of those old small jobs with the 9V battery, and turn on the AM radio and move it around the vehicle and under the hood, keep it away from the fan and belt or anything hot. The interference sound will get louder the closer it gets to the source. Sometimes the alternator can cause this. If so, the internal condeser may have failed, or you can add a condenser to the alternator output circuit. They sell them at auto parts stores and at Radio Shack. If you can't find anything that way, check for an antenna problem, check to be sure that the cable is plugged firmly into the radio and attached firmly at the antenna, and that the cable is not damage anywhere along it's length.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • biomanbioman Posts: 171
    I would get this done ASAP. The cruise control switch has been the source of fires when the engine is off. I am not sure that the 95's have this problem, but if your switch is leaking I would disconnect the electrical connector from the switch until the repair is made. One of the wires going to the switch is live with the ignition key out. When a diaphragm in the switch breaks brake fluid enters the switch and is ignited by arcing that might occur.

    The repair, as ED said, should be very simple to perform. Get it done soon. Also, check to see if Ford recalled the 95 Explorer for this problem.
  • My son is trying to replace the spark plugs in my 98 Explorer sport but is not sure of the gapping specifications. Can anybody help me figure this out. Thanks!
  • Specs call for .054" gap. I like to set mine a little tighter at about .045" so it doesn't stress the spark plug wires and the spark plug wires last longer.
  • bioman:
    He might not have the hot wire to the switch on a 1995 model. My 2000 had the hot wire, but my 1997 did not. I guess better safe than sorry though.
  • Thank you very much for your help.
  • I am now on my 4th Explorer, a 2005 with 22000 miles on it and just wanted to say that I have been extremely pleased with all of them and the support that Ford extends. My only concern with the current 2005 model is that on occasion I get a very musty order from the AC and then it goes away. Dealership gets rid of it but it returns approx 10000 miles later. Still, I am a very happy Explorer owner. I believe it is still the best value out there.
  • Thank you for answering. One more ?. Will air enter the brake system, because on my hanyes repair manual it says that bleeding brake systems on 96 and earlier explorer with anti-lock brakes requires a test adapter? This is a awesome site. :)
  • 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
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