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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair

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  • I feel your pain dude. The worst mistake I made concerning cars was to trade in my '97 XLT. The '99 that replaced it was a piece of trash. It was in the dealer for about 25 days of the 14 months I owned it. I don't know about the projected reliability of the new Explorers, but Ford's quality really seems to be hit or miss the past few years. My brother in law has a 2002 Expedition XLT (leather and all), and the thing has a creaking floorboard under the front seat passenger's feet. Maybe Ford needs to make some cutbacks in production and pay a little more attention to quality.
  • rysterryster Posts: 476
    Hi!

    My Explorer will jolt/bump sometimes as well. I have a '00 Explorer XLS with 4.0L OHV engine and the 5-speed automatic. It has only done it a handful of times in the 13 months I have owned the truck so I haven't bothered the dealer about it. My truck has spent 20+ days at the dealer in the last 13 months, so I feel your pain. I keep threatening to trade mine but I can't find anything I like significantly better to replace it with.

    If your lease is up in July, I would stick with it and just give it back to Ford at the end. Terminating a lease early can be rough unless there are some huge incentives to absorb the costs. Besides, winter time is here and the Explorer would really come in handy in any nasty weather :)
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Whats funny about the Bumping feeling is that it only happends a handful of times like ryster said. It did however just start doing this thing yesturday and I'm not sure is it's going to do it more often or if it's going to get worse. Thats what I'm worried about. All I seem to think while driving it is that it will buck/bump/something terrible and have the transmition fail. Before my 2000 Explorer I had a 1998 Expedition that was an excellent vehicle. To this day I kick myself for trading that in. I will just hope that it goes away and I wont try to worry about it. I also hope that having Bill Ford in the drivers seat will healp FORD quality. Everyone have a Happy New Year!
  • If I have read one post, I have read 20 extolling the virtues of these two model years. For some reason people seem to think these two years were the best years for Ford Explorers, I'm wondering why. I have to admit also, I haven't seen a lot of posts complaining about Explorer faults relative to these two model years. Anyone have an opinon about this?
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    I can't speak to the 96 and 97 models but I have a 95 with 73,000 miles on it. Other than routine maintenance, the only money I have had to put into it was for a new thermostat. I did have quite a few visits to the dealer under warranty, but fortunately I must have found all the bugs in time.

    Seems like a lot of the gripes come from the ohc engine, which was not available in 95 when I bought mine.
  • I had a Pontiac 6000 years ago that would occasionally act just like some of you are describing - I mean it would jolt so hard that I thought the tranny fell out. Turned out to be a bad ignition wire. The dealer replaced the offending wire and it never happened again. Just a thought.
  • brophbroph Posts: 85
    Thanks for all the info. Now just have to decide what to use.
  • jphdxljphdxl Posts: 32
    I've been lurking around this board for a few months now silently nodding each time I read about a problem I've had with mine. Then I read your post re: '96 / '97 being realtively good years. I can't speak for all 1997's, but my 1997 EB V8 with 50k miles in now on engine #3 (1st went due to broken piston, 2nd to misaligned drive shaft), radiator #2, and radio #3, just to name a few. If this is a good year, I'd hate to have one from a bad year!
    Jason
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Welcome to the Town Hall!

    Sorry to hear about your misfortune.

    tidester
    Host
    SUVs
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    I believe the reason that the 1996 model year seems to fare better qualitywise is because the Explorer had a refreshening in 1997. I think durring that refreshening they also fit in some cheepening. ZMAN3 also mentioned that his 95 is a good vehicle. Come to think of it, I don't remember hearing to many complaints about 95s. Maybe we can add that year to the "good years" list for Explorers ;-)
  • Sorry to hear about your problems. Have an AWD V-8 XLT that hasn't given me one minutes worth of problems other than I replaced the shocks about six months ago. One of the rears was leaking a little. I'm running synthetics in every thing, front and rear differentails, engine and transmission. I may do some over kill on maintenance, but I figure if this keeps it out of the shop, it will be worth it. I love the OHV 302 V-8, I think it is one of the best engines Ford ever produced. By looking at all the posts in here, I'm glad I don't have a V-6. That has been another observation I made from the number of comments made on this board. I can afford to pay for the extra gas usage, if I'm not having to address big $ engine and transmission problems.
  • Being that there is a lot of mention about it lately, I have some questions about shocks. How long do they usually last (time/mileage) for normal usage? What brand does Ford put in as stock (2000 model year)?

    The one thing I really can't stand about my Explorer is the way the rear end kicks out if you go around a bend that has uneven pavement. Would it be better to get a stiffer or softer shock to eliminate this problem. PS...I think the thing rides pretty stiff as it is.

    Thanks.
  • Well it was 32,000 miles for mine and I used KYB heavy duty shocks as a replacement. I think they were about $70 a shock. Replaced them at the time of Firestone tire replacement, as one of the rears was leaking a little fluid. I suspect shock replacement depends upon vehicle usage (like heavy loads & trailering) also the type of roads you drive on (smooth or pot holed).

    No idea as to who Ford uses as a OEM supplier for shocks.

    Never had the rearend kick out on me in my Explorer, but I have AWD which may account for this. I also drive my Explorer very conservatively, especially around corners and bends in the road. A Cobra it is not ~ LOL.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    I have a question for you. I have a 98 XLT V8 AWD with full synthetic in the crank case. I have considered synthetic in the trany on the next service. According to my owners manual the rear differential comes factory with full synthetic gear oil. I dont know about the front.

    Ok. Here is the question. What mpg do you average on highway, city and overall mixed? I get about 17.5mpg on pure freeway and about 13mpg pure city with 13.5 to 14 mixed. This is even with a drop in K@N and a 3.73 rear. If you fair much better than I then please let me know whats different. If the full synthetics work in those other areas then I am sold on it. (poor mpg or not I love that 302)
  • >>>>>Ok. Here is the question. What mpg do you average on highway, city and overall mixed? I get about 17.5mpg on pure freeway and about 13mpg pure city with 13.5 to 14 mixed. This is even with a drop in K@N and a 3.73 rear. If you fair much better than I then please let me know whats different. If the full synthetics work in those other areas then I am sold on it. (poor mpg or not I love that 302) <<<<<

    Bingo, we are both running about the same mileage. I also run a K & N drop in air filter. I will note however, I keep my Explorer out of overdrive around town. A good mechanic friend of mine told me that is what chews up a transmission, constantly shifting into and out of overdrive between lights. So most of my in town driving is done without the benifit of the taller gear. As soon as I hit the freeway, I let the final drive gear kick in. (I also have a 3.73 Rear end, trailer towing package.)
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    Thanks for the feedback. I also have tried to disengage the overdrive in town but have a hard time making it into a habit.
  • Hi- I have a 99 XLT with the 302. I have maintained it extremely well with oil changes, tranny fluid changes, air filter, etc. About 2 months ago I noticed a pinging from the engine at higher RPM's. I use sonoco gas 87 octane. usually only occurs after truck is completly warmed up. seems like it comes and goes. tried fuel system cleaner, helped a little. So. My question is should I go higher octane gas even though manual says use 87? will this harm or help? Anyone else experence this? it has 47,500 miles on it. Thanks, Jim
  • >>>>>So. My question is should I go higher octane gas even though manual says use 87? <<<<<

    I would suspect a timing problem may be present. Your computer gets a lot of source input data from engine and exhaust sensors to adjust the timing for clean burn under various engine load conditions. It may be one of the sensors is sending slightly erroneous data to your computer in the higher rev range. Has your check engine light ever flashed on? Another source could be spark plug wires starting to break down or presenting high resistance and finally a possible vacumn leak somewhere in the intake system. I trust you take the vehicle out on the highway and blow it out at high speed now and again, so the engine isn't all coked up with carbon. ( You might want to try another can of stronger fuel injector cleaner, for good measure. Also I trust you have changed fuel filters, since you bought the vehicle.) As a quick check on your gasoline source, if you only buy gas at one location, I would try a differnent station for the next fill up, just to be sure you are not encountering contaminated fuel. You have a rather unique problem, that requires patience and the checking of various items. I wouldn't just go to a higher octane fuel and ignore the problem. Good luck and let us know what you find.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    To add to dohc32v's comment..
    1. Chevron techron fuel system cleaner every 6,000 miles. Get the big bottle and drive the tank to less than 1/4.
    2. You may want to pull the plugs to see if there is anything gumming up the spark plugs. FYI: the manifold gasket upgrade that Ford is now pushing in the M00012 warranty extension fixes a problem where the #3 plug gets gummed up. While you are there, check the wires for burn marks. Some of my wires were actually touching the engine.. a sure way to ruin them.
    3. Check air filter
    4. Check o2 sensor.

    Good luck
  • ace10ace10 Posts: 137
    1997=very bad year

    ace
  • autonutsautonuts Posts: 138
    Anyone have any opinions (GOOD/BAD), about this engine? I read somewhere else on Edmunds that this version of the 4.0L engine is troublesome. I just went to an auto show over the holidays and really liked the 2002 Explorer but wouldn't want it if I would assume a bunch of reliability problems.
  • I will check out some of these items and get back to you. I have not changed the plugs or wires yet. I have been contemplating that. Also last time I added fuel sys. Treatment it did reduce pinging but It seems only temporary. I saw on another board about spark knock. It said changing plugs could help maybe I will try it. Any other suggestions will help. I will be away until the 6th but I will check back. Thanks
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    what you saw MIGHT have said that if the plugs are looking glazed, go to a cooler plug... and if they are packed with wet oily carbon crud, go to a hotter plug. if you have unusual operating conditions most of the time on your vehicle, or unusual wear, this might be worth trying, as putting in more sets of the same plug will get them just as messed up as before.

    if your plugs look normally worn, a little residue and maybe some erosion of the electrodes, no physical damage, then it ain't plugs.

    the computer controls on engines swing conditions around so much trying to optimize things that can be way out of balance that there should be no reason to change from the standard heat range any more, frankly... I'd be really surprised if there were multiple plug options on modern engines, other than maybe a "little bit warmer" plug for engines wearing out and getting oil fouling.

    plugs aren't villains or magicians, they are indicators of what is happening inside the cylinder. wires are much more likely to be part of the problem, they are easily damaged and will cause occasional skips or pings long before they get bad enough to generate weak or no spark much of the time.

    there have been a number of posts that carbon on the heads or the pistons themselves forms a hot spot to trigger pre-ignition, and more commonly on some engines than others (like primarily import high-efficiency engines.) IF that's your car, try some additional Techron treatments (like 2 or 3 in a row, max, any additional without improvement is wasting money and postponing the real fix.)
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    I have always believed in going from the simple to the complex. In this case before you get involved in replacement and repairs have you considered:

    A) Sunoco markets an 86 octane fuel in some areas. If your station happened to get a mix of 86 & 87 octane this may be an issue.

    B)Sometimes the ECU may "lose" some of its settings. By simply removing the ground cable off of the battery, waiting two or three minutes then reconnecting the cable this will force the ECU the "relearn" all of the engine settings. If you started with a new brand of gasoline and let the engine "learn" the new settings, based on the new environment, this might resolve the issue of the engine knock. It is a long shot, based upon the symptoms that have been presented, but since it will cost you nothing it might be worth a try.

    Happy New Year everybody!!
  • dohc32vdohc32v Posts: 60
    >>>>>>B)Sometimes the ECU may "lose" some of its settings. By simply removing the ground cable off of the battery, waiting two or three minutes then reconnecting the cable this will force the ECU the "relearn" all of the engine settings. If you started with a new brand of gasoline and let the engine "learn" the new settings, based on the new environment, this might resolve the issue of the engine knock. It is a long shot, based upon the symptoms that have been presented, but since it will cost you nothing it might be worth a try. <<<<<

    Occasionally my engine check light comes on in my Mustang Cobra (I have done a lot of Intake, Exhaust and computer chip mods to the car) and that is exactly what I do, to get things back into focus. Once you reconnect the battery, you need to let the engine just idle for about three minutes, until all the sensors have reported in and the proper operating parameters have been re-established.
  • dohc32vdohc32v Posts: 60
    >>>>removing the ground cable off of the battery<<<<

    I pop the positive terminal on the battery, as a lot of these sensor devices can seek ground through other parallel paths.
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    Good point dohc32v! We do want to make sure those electrons have no place to go. Pulling the positive terminal will guarantee that no battery power is getting to any component.
  • I purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer XLS on Dec 8 and am already having problems with it. I was just curious to see if anyone else has experienced the same thing. When I got in it this afternoon it would not start. It is turning over and after several minutes of trying it finally would start if you gave it ALOT of gas. Also as a warning to other potential buyers, check out your warranty. I am being told that I cannot get a rental car unless there is 8 "physical" working hours or repairs. Today is Friday, dealer can't take car until Monday, so I cannot get a "loaner". Can anyone help me?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    my dealer provides rentals for gas cost only with about a 1-2 week wait on just about any scheduled service on cars that were bought there... I was still getting them after 8 years on my 1990 pickup as well.

    that's one of the things you use to compare dealers... and the guy who you can screw the last $150 off "invoice" from is usually not the dealer who has these intangibles after the sale.
  • rysterryster Posts: 476
    In a recent telephone conversation with Ford Customer Service (they followed up with me about a survey I filled out), they indicated that Ford owners are entitled to a loaner when taking a car in for service. In fact, they said if there was ever an issue of NOT being able to get a loaner to give them a call back and they would see to it a loaner was made available. My dealer recently gave me the use of a loaner for 17 days while they fixed my '00 Explorer. No charge, I only paid for gas. Call the Ford Customer Service 1-800# and see if they can assist with getting you a loaner when you take your Explorer in for warranty work. It may require a slight wait for an available car (I had to bring my Explorer back three weeks after the appointment was made) but it is worth it to get everything resolved.
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