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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • My sister hit the garage with her 96 explorer. The glass fell out of the right side mirror and broke. She asked a dealer about replacing the glass and they told her the whole unit has to be replaced for $300+. I looked at what is left in the mirror housing and can see a black plastic bracket that looks like was attachment point. That part looks broken off. When the tilt control is activated on the dash, white threaded holes rotate - looks like threaded rods attached to the glass would provide the movement in and out. My sister lost all the loose parts. She can't afford the dealer fix. She could just tape a stick-on mirror on the housing. I offered to look into a better fix but can't find any info. I can get a replacement unit for about $100 but do not know what to take apart to do the replacement. Someone said I would have to take the dash apart to feed the controls through. Does anyone have instructions or hints on how I can do this easily?
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Two ideas:
    1. Buy a whole replacement mirror from a salvage yard and buy a technical service manual for the 96 Explorer. That should show you how to do it. I thinkthe book is $20 at the dealer. The Haynes book does not really go into the mirror assembly.

    2. Buy a single mirror at Autozone or other auto parts store. It should be the type with mounting tape on its back, so you can just stick it on the remaining part of the mirror. Should be at most $25.
  • rysterryster Posts: 471
    Well, the dealer installed the parts today...window run and upper door moulding. Total for parts was ~$100; labor was ~$120. waited 2-1/2 hours for the truck, got it back, drove 1/2 mile and the noise is still there (even though they road tested and said it was gone).

    Going to go to the Sears hardware store on the way home and try to get the star socket mazman referred to and see if the door latch posts are loose. It certainly couldn't hurt.

  • I have a question about the theft/panic alarm on my 2000 Explorer. I remember on my 2 previous Explorers that if you reached through an open window to unlock a door (manually or hitting the power switch) and then opened a door, the horn would start to honk. I did this the other day in my truck, and nothing happened. Anyone know if this is how it is set up or am I just remembering wrong about it?

    PS...Good luck to Ryster on the door rattle...I can't stand rattles in a car.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Some advice if you are going to work on the latch posts.

    1. Mark the current position with a marker or paint. "Liquid Paper" works fine as well. Mark both the vertical and horizontal. That way, you can always find the exact position where the bolt was before you started.

    2. You may get some benefit from loosening the bolt and moving it (it can move about 1/4" in all directions) either inboard or outboard a bit. Too far in,and the door will not latch properly. Too far out, and the latch will engage, but the door will not be snug enough against the rubber mouldings so that it will rattle. Then tighten, and test if the door closes correctly. It took me several trial and error passes before I got it to a position where the door locked easily and the noise was gone. You don't need to move the post a lot to get a remarkable improvement.

    3. My family has this problem, and maybe others do as well. Don't slam the doors! I think that continuously slamming the doors knocked the latch posts out of alignment. That's why, even though the driver's door gets the most use, the problem was on the passeger doors, which get slammed (abused) the most.

    Good luck.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    My alarm, dealer installed, will activate whether I open the door from the inside or outside. What I found does disengage the alarm (other than the key FOB) is the driver door keypad.

    It may not be a problem with the alarm or the install. It may just be the way the system works.
    I know that I would not be crazy about it if I could deactivate the alarm by snaking a coat hanger thru the door moulding to the door's unlatch mechanism and unlocking the doors and deactivating the alarm.

    That's probably why alarms are useless to everyone except for the insurance company discount. Starter and fuel pump cutoff switches are the way to go.
  • Thanks for the ideas on side mirror.
  • rysterryster Posts: 471
    Hi mazman1,

    Thanks for the info on the door posts. I checked mine and they are seated very tightly; no looseness.

    What did your door rattle sound like? Mine is like a loud popping noise and the driving conditions which set it off can vary. I may get no noise on rough or coarse pavement, but hitting a slight dip on fresh pavement or rippled pavement may set it off. It is a very sharp pop. Is this the noise you were hearing?

    I am still not convinced there isn't something loose inside the door (like the power window motor; or the actual mounting of the door latch inside the door.)

    If I decide to play around with the latch post some more, how close to the "cradle" on the black bracket should the post be? I Have noticed that the latch post on my driver's door is noticeably farther outside the black bracket "cradle" area than the other doors. It seems hard to believe that there is such a minute tolerance on these posts to cause the door to rattle, but I am ready to try anything!

    Also, which Torx socket did you purchase? The hardware store had several. (T50, T51, etc.) Was it 3/8 size?

  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    I believe the socket was either a T47 or a T50. And it was a 3/8 inch drive size. I have a lot of sockets that came in a set. But that's what I remember.

    Regarding the noise sound, It was a definite rattle. It was caused by the post being loose and the door was able to latch to it without completely sealing around the rubber seals of the door frame. What rattled was the lock mechanisms and the door itself, since it was able to move within the reach of the lock post.

    Before changing any post settings, mark the original locations, both horizontally and vertically, so that you can return the post to that setting later. You may want to experiment with loosening the post on the rattling door, move it inboard a little bit, and tighten.. to see if that helps reduce the noise. The door should be "snugger" against the rubber mouldings. You mayhave to find a good setting thruu trial and error. Too far out and the door will rattle. Too far in and you will not be able to close the door easily.

    I would also check the hinges. Is something loose there? Try top test if the door is loose on the hinge, or the hinge has a lot of play up and down (it should not have any). If the door is misaligned, there may be a problem with one or more of the door hinges.

    Good luck
  • rysterryster Posts: 471
    I have lost all desire to continually trouble shoot and attempt to fix noises and other issues with this Explorer of mine. 11 months of ownership and 14,500 miles have worn on me to the point where I despise this vehicle. The dealer doesn't seem to know how to fix problems that the truck shouldn't even have in the first place.

    Tomorrow I am going to get up in the morning and do some serious car shopping. Dealer inventories are high and interest rates are low; it's now or never. I anticipate having to roll over approx. $1K into the new car to offset some serious depreciation, bit at 0-2.9% it is easier to swallow than at 6-7%.

    Thanks to all who have provided advice and recommendations about solving the Explorer issues. Have a great weekend!
  • rysterryster Posts: 471
    Okay, I know the above post indicated my surrender...but as I got about a block from home I decided to drive while holding the driver's door open. The noise is still there! It was not the driver's door at seems the popping noise is coming from the frame itself. This is certainly not a good sign. All of the mouldings are secure, and the running boards have been tightened. All I know is the noise was NOT there when the truck was new. It showed up around 5 or so months ago. Wonder what it is? Why didn't the dealer think to listen for the noise with the door open?!

    Well, if I can't work a trade on something tomorrow then I guess I will just keep searching for the source of the noise.
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    This may not help, but I had a similar noise in my Outback. I could have swore it was coming from the dash area. Took it to the dealer and after a little bit of effort they determined that it was something dealing with the strut mount. It was a piece of metal flexing and popping. Maybe yours is something similar (yeah I know it doesn't have struts, but it does have shocks). It could also maybe be a bad weld somewhere. Good luck
  • rysterryster Posts: 471
    Hi...the dealer gets the truck AGAIN on Friday 11/2 for their third attempt at fixing the noise...I test drove a new '02 Saturn L200 this afternoon and am much better off with the Explorer...the Saturn rattled and creaked excessively with only 250 miles on the car (it was a demo). My Explorer is much more solid...I'll let you know how things go. Thanks!!
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    unless you count the dealers' service department ;)

    I periodically had a rattle that sounded like it came from just in front of the firewall as I drove... dealer hinked around with the power distribution box mounts and called it good. wrong. I finally found it when I was putting screen over the radiator to keep the bigger bugs from plugging the fins... left front brace screw to the vinyl cover on the 2000 exploder limited's bumper. screw was crossthreaded in its keeper nut, so I had to use two tools to get that one tight.

    now I have another rattle 1 year later, I think it's a similar fastener someplace around the centerline of the covered step on the left side. it's gonna be good warm weather tomorrow, so I'll get a blanket out and start torqueing penny-a-pound body bolts.

    I still have to figure out how to get the cupholder tray out of the console and get some vinyl or PVC foam between it and the rest of the console, there is an occasional squeak.

    no other untoward noises in my vehicle, just these. the console didn't make any noise until its first -20 days of last winter.

    moral: plastic stinks, big slabs of welded steel hold up better. imagine how PO'ed I would be if I'd gotten some little sardine can of a car :(
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    Sounds like you are up against a very frustrating problem. Sometimes you have to think "outside the box". Have you considered having someone drive your Explorer while you hunt about the left side of the truck with a stethoscope? This is a great tool for locating the specific site of a noise. It works very well on engines- valve lifters, water pump bearing noise, etc. There is no reason why it can't help you locate the noise that is keeping you from enjoying your Explorer.

  • rysterryster Posts: 471

    This is a great idea! Thanks! Now I will have to search for a stethoscope. Maybe I can find an adequate toy stethoscope at Toys R Us or something. Real ones can run $80+ from what I understand and it really shouldn't be my responsibility to devote hours of my time and money when Ford should pay for it all under warranty. However, sometimes you have to literally hold the dealer's hand to get stuff done correctly ("check part A", "tighten part B", etc.)

    Let me run this by all of you - I notice that the roof rack rail (not the side bar) on the driver's side does not fit as snugly/flush as the passenger side. Do you think this could cause a popping noise? When I push on it, it clunks against the roof. Seems like a longshot, I know. I am contemplating going home tonight, unscrewing it, and attempting to remount it. It looks as though it uses standard Philips head screws. What do you guys think?

    Otherwise on Friday I will take it in and tell them to check the door latch post to make sure it is properly adjusted; make sure the latch itself is properly secured, check to make sure the door lock solenoid is clipped on securely, check to make sure the power window motor is mounted securely, etc.

    Thanks to all for your helpful suggestions! I do like the truck. I truly desire to keep it; just need that noise eliminated!!!

    I'll keep you posted on any and all developments :)
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    Pursue the roof rack. It sounds like a good source for the noise. If that does not work, then the stethoscope might help. Stethoscopes are not as expensive as you think. Medical supply companies stock and sell them. An inexpensive one might cost about $10.00. IF you want to spend a bit more you can purchase an inexpensive sphygmomanometer kit (blood pressure kit)that will include a stethoscope. In addition to checking you truck you can then monitor your blood pressure (your Explorer sounds like it is casuing your BP to go up). I have found that when you go back to the dealer and "suggest" a solution to a problem, because you identified the source, your chances of resolving the problem will increase exponentially. Remember, you first have to diagnose the problem before it can be repaired. If you have done the diagnosis, let Ford make the repair while the truck is still under warrenty.

    God Luck!!

  • brekkebrekke Posts: 304
    Does anyone know if any of the parts for a 91 Navajo can be used for a 91 Explorer? I assumed they were interchangeable, I was told by an unreliable source (my SO) that they probably aren't.
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    As a former Ford Parts person, I can assure you that the mechanical parts are identical. The only differences are in some body and interior trim parts. One thing to keep in mind if purchasing Mazda parts at a Ford dealer is that you will run into problems with warranty if something goes wrong. Ford requires a VIN number for all warranty parts and will not accept a Mazda VIN as valid. This is due to the fact that although they are under the same corporate umbrella, they are in reality 2 different companies as far as sales and support functions go.
  • rysterryster Posts: 471
    ...for the door popping noise.

    The dealer is starting to remember me and my truck. I guess that is what happens when you are there every 14 days or so ;)

    In any event, they are going to do more troubleshooting to see if they can properly diagnose and repair the noise. They admitted these noises are hard to find and push come to shove they could keep the Explorer for "a few days" and give me a car to use if that is what it takes. They are genuinely interested in getting it fixed, so I am pleased with them for that. They are probably anxious to get it fixed so I leave them alone :)

    I'll let you know what transpires from today's appointment.
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