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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair

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Comments

  • idntnvuidntnvu Posts: 251
    Ahhhh, the notorious signal stalk. I have noticed that when just driving down the road that the wipers will turn on by themselves...hopefully this will correct that. I plan to take the explorer to the dealer next week for the recalls. So far it's Jumper Harness, Multifuction Switch, Cruise Control, and Seat. Any others that I should know about?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Well, my Oldsmobile used to do this same thing, and it was the idle position solenoid working, not working, working, not working, which the Olds was notorious for doing. I've not heard of a Ford doing this, but it could. That would be my guess. But it may not do it again, or it may.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The wipers coming on voluntarily was a switch malfunction that a TSB was out on a while ago. If you don't fix it, you could have a fire, although I don't know of anybody who has. I guess if you start the car, you could have a fire, anything's possible, but I'd check with the dealer on that. It should have been repaired by now.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Posts: 251
    Yeah, thats what I thought myself. I knew I hadn't heard about that being a recall or TSB recently, but I think this explorer had been on the market a while before I wound up with it. It was leased through Ford Motor Credit, and then sold at auction to the dealership from which I bought it. Not sure how long that actually took, but the website says, according to the VIN, that it hasn't been repaired on this particular vehicle. I will get it repaired ASAP. What other recalls/TSBs have been put out affecting '99 Explorers in the past? Just want to know what all could have been a problem.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I think that's about it. Maybe a seat bolt recall or cruise control cable.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    but basically I think there was a seat belt thing, and if you have the 4.0L dual-cam engine, the internal ford replacement policy for getting the nylon camshaft limiters out and putting steel ones in.
  • ogbonnaogbonna Posts: 25
    I have changed: Spark plugs and wire, Pvc, Fuel cap used fuel injection cleaner, used a higher arctain........Any suggestions
  • Wondering if anyone can advise me as to whether I should get a 04 Pilot or Explorer (4WD V8). I've always liked Fords and I think they stand behind there vehicles better than Honda, but its a lot of money for either and I just don't want to make a mistake.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Howdy, a few questions:
    -does it miss at idle, high-speed, cruise, and/or acceleration
    -does the idle "lope" up and down in park
    -is the problem worse when the vehicle is cool or fully warmed up

    An ignition miss will be more noticeable under acceleration or at heavy/part throttle. An airflow problem (too much air from a vaccuum leak or too little from restricted throttle body passages) will be more noticeable at idle. Reason being, a small amount of air is required to idle an engine. Any excess or shortage of air mass will cause idle problems. But less voltage is required to ignite the small amount of fuel at idle, so ignition trouble is less noticeable. With the throttle open, more voltage is required to ignite the increased fuel charge, so a deficiency in available spark will feel like a sharp repetitive bucking or jerking. But an airflow irregularity will be less noticeable because so much more air is being introduced anyway. A fuel pressure problem can only be diagnosed with a pressure tester. Look for the obvious stuff first like leaking vacuum lines or cruddy throttle body plates.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    starting anywhere from 50K to 60K miles, drivers have been muttering about idle problems on these boards that clean up after the EGR valve is cleaned or replaced. I never had issues with my 4-banger in the ranger, but my V6 buick did, and I had to replace the EGR at about 70,000 in that. if it's full of carbon when you take out the two bolts and look underneath, it's time.
  • Have a 1997 XLT with the 4wd high and low lights blinking on the dash. Been told I have a code 1781 stored. Any ideas where to find the problem. Doesn't appear the vehicle is in 4wd, but those lights won't stop flashing.
  • o4buyero4buyer Posts: 4
    I am purchasing a new SUV within a few days. I have narowed my choices to the Explorer or the Jeep. I have read about questionable reliability concerning both makes. Any suggestions? Please let me know how your late model Explorers are running.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    I posted over in the Explorer/Mountaineer forum and was referred here. I am seriously considering purchasing an Explorer(2002/03 model) in the near future and would like to hear from owners of these vehicles and problems which they have had. I've scanned through some of the posts and alot of the problems I've seen were related to the previous generation model(which I am not considering). Anyway, I did remember seeing some posts about rear window glass suddenly shattering and was wondering if there was a reason for and/or did Ford revise the design or issue a recall. I test drove 2 Explorers(both new 03 models) this weekend and was very impressed. For an SUV, it felt very stable in turns and had a very smooth ride. Anyway, I was just curious what(if any) recurring problems were showing up on 02-03 Explorers and anything I should look for if buying one used. Thanks in advance.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Well, if I had to choose between Ford and Chrysler for reliability, I would almost always choose Ford. But I don't think you'll see a huge difference in qualtiy between either one. That's the fun thing about buying a car: you never know what problems you'll have until you buy it! You could have a freak failure that is totally uncomon for that model. I think the best guarantee of happiness for a new car is to have a good relationship with a competent dealership who fixes your problems the first time without a big hassle.
    As far as used Explorer advice, I've always been a proponent of not buying a first-year of a new model, so maybe be wary of the 2001s. I know at least a few problems with the new models have included differential failure (listen for excessive rear-end whine or drone on the highway) and 5-speed automatic failure (be sensitive to inconsistent shifts that clunk, hesitate or vibrate). Ford is also having some balancing problems with their truck wheels and rear-end gear right now, so be sensitive to vibrations at different speeds. And of course some electrical problems here and there. Just be sure to take your time and test every electrical accessory, plus give the truck a thorough city and highway road test and I thin kyou'll be happy. The new Explorers are much better vehicles over the old ones.
  • bcmtbbcmtb Posts: 8
    This is my first Ford and so far I have loved it. I own an 02 eddie Bauer. It has 45,000 miles and I too am having problems with it idling.Over the past couple of days, the car would start but then would die immediately. Then it got to where it wouldn't start at all. Of course it is the weekend,and I am basically stuck till in the morning if it will start. From what I have read it sounds like the EKG valve might be the problem. Is this an easy thing to fix?
  • kheintz1kheintz1 Posts: 213
    Depending on how long you plan to own the vehicle, seriously consider buying a Ford extended warranty. I paid ~$1250.00 for the 100,000 mile Ford extended warranty on my 2002 XLT (I'm the original owner) and it has so far paid for itself at least FOUR times over. In fact, as I write this, my truck is sitting in a Ford dealer's service shop for ongoing transmission troubles, and it has spent most of this summer shopped, while I'm driving a loaner car from the dealer. Meanwhile, I continue to send in my monthly $515.00 truck payments. Once my truck exceeded 36,000 miles, the transmission problems set in soon thereafter, big time. Hmmmm... Thank God for that extended warranty.
  • I was watching a recent Motorweek program and they did a small piece on the long term test of the Expedition (this one was an '03 with 37,000 miles). The announncer mentioned the same "whining from the rear end" as has been discussed in this forum. The gentleman also said it was the rear differential, and Ford was aware of the problem. For those that have discussed this subject here, if Ford is aware of the problem, are they replacing the rear differential when you bring it in, or is the service dept. stringing you along? I am considering buying an Explorer in the next few weeks (still looking at Nissan and Toyotas), and I know the Explorer is spotty in terms of reliability (definately buying the Premium 5/60,000 extended warranty $845 approx.).
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I've had (still have) 1 Explorer, and have had 3 (still have one) Mountaineers. I would classify them all as superb, and none of them have cost me a dime in repairs, really. The Explorer has 115,000 miles. Needs front end work, but runs very very well. I'm very satisfied, and like the way the Explorer feels and handles best.
  • bcmtbbcmtb Posts: 8
    I too purchased the 100,000 mile warranty.I just hate the fact that I have only owned the car for 4 months and this is the 4th time that I will have to have had it in the shop. Everything has been fairly minor, but you pay a hefty amount for the car and you expect to drive it.
  • oldsman01oldsman01 Posts: 1,203
    Feel free to keep the advice coming. It's a little distrubing to hear some of these posts, but if you want to read about a nightmare go on over to the Oldsmobile Intrigue forum and read some of my posts over the last 2 years. I've had mine for 25 months now and in that time, I'd say it has spent a cummulative total of 45+ days in the shop. And then there have been times that I'be had to drive the car with the problem while waiting on parts to come in. It's as if the parts(simple things like a P/S hose or steering gear) come from Iraq or Afghanistan it takes so long for them to come in. If I do the Explorer(or any new car) it will likely be for 3 or 4 years(average 15K annually) so I may consider an extended warranty. As for choosing between Ford and Chrysler on reliability, thats a no brainer. I briefly considered the Jeep Grand Cherokee until I read the forum which was dedicated to JGC problems and it was deja-vu all over again as people were experiencing the same type of crap I have with my Intrigue. That crap not being the problems themself, but dealers inability to fix them on the first, second, and even third try! I had ranked GM ahead of Ford in terms of quality(and both ions ahead of Mopar) but other than Cadillac(they do seem to be serious about it) I'm starting to think Ford is more serious about quality than GM.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    AHA! I know what your problem is...you bought somebody else's problems! ;) Seriously, the previous owner probably neglegted to repair a lot of those little things that broke in the first 45,000 miles and now you're stuck with fixing them. That idle problem was the last straw with the previous owner, and he gave up and said "That's it, I'm trading this thing back in to the dealer." In my experience, most low-mileage vehicles are traded or sold because of some type of problem that has frustrated the owner to the point of giving up. Stick with it though, run through that first wave of trouble, and I bet it ends up being a good truck for a while afterwards. Good luck, and let everybody know what the bad idle fix is.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    As great as the Edmund's forums are, they're not statistically credible. In other words, I wouldn't let what you read in any forum (including my posts!) make your final purchase decision. For example, go to the Camry/Accord forums and you'll see a TON of posts in the "Problems" section. Then look at Lincoln Continental or Buick "problems" posts. You'll see far fewer. Are Lincoln and Buick more reliable? Nope. It's just that Accord and Camry owners are much younger and tend to be more internet savvy than the older folks. I would only use sources that deal with large statistical samples, like CR and JD Power, and other 'net polling places, to form my opinions on reliability. After that, it just comes down to what vehicle you like better!
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,153
    Buick has been getting good ratings from JD Power lately, and I don't think the over-50 crowd (like me) is necessarily net illiterate.

    Forums and surveys can all offer some good stuff. Even those with questionable methodology, like Consumer Reports.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    It's just that Accord and Camry owners are much younger and tend to be more internet savvy than the older folks.

    It's demographics! The people who buy one class of vehicle simply refuse to admit they made a mistake and those who buy another class are whiners ;-)!

    tidester, host
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    Thanks Swschrad! Cleaning the EGR valve gave my Explorer that old zip again(not that it had that much to start). The idle is back to normal and the truck seems to have better pep. Question, why didn't a problem with the EGR valve trigger a DTC? I guess Fords are still not Hondas or Toyotas. These cars seem to be able to take a lot more abuse than American designed cars. If Ford says that a particular service should be performed at 100K, do it at 50 before you run into trouble.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Golly, I'm not knocking Edmunds, Buick, or folks over 50. Buick makes some of the best cars in the US, and consistently scores higher than most other US makes in quality rankings. And I didn't suggest that anyone over 50 is "net illiterate," but honestly don't you think youngsters in their 20's and 30's spend more time on the internet than the average Buick Park Avenue driver? Of course forums offer some good stuff, and Edmund's is the best on the net. But my point was to discourage anyone from making a purchase decision based only on posts in the problems forum. Say, for example, two or three people in a row post about catastrophic transmission failure in their new Explorers and plead with everyone not to buy one. That might freak out a potential buyer like oldsman, and make him lean towards the Jeep. But that would only be a few vehicles out of what, a few hundred thousand Explorers sold yearly? I'm just reminding folks that Edmund's is a forum, and not a poll. CR and JD Power reports utilize a much larger sample size.
    I read something once in a book on the US auto industry that revealed a lot of Honda and Toyota owners who, when experiencing car problems, assumed the root of the problems to be their own fault and developed a sense of guilt. Whereas American car owners were more prone to blame the manufacturer. The difference was simply the initial perception of the owner that the Japanese car was better than the American, so the owner just couldn't accept that his Japanes model was at fault. And to a degree I think Japanese cars are a bit overvalued in the secondary market. The best value in the world is a clean 3-5 year old American sedan.
  • The Control Arm Bushing IS NOT a common problem on Explorers.The only way they get to be a problem is by not taking care of them, meaning not lubing them at each oil change. ALL bushings under the vehicle, front and rear, should be sprayed and soaked with WD-40 first, then sprayed with spray white grease. You did not state wether upper or lower control bushing. The more common problem is the ball joints, usually around 100K miles, lower ones wear out first, the upper may last a little longer. My 1997 Explorer has 138K miles, all original bushings and all are tight and very quiet. The original lower ball joints lasted for 136K miles, just replaced them last month. My 2000 Explorer has 101K miles, all original bushings and all are tight and very quiet. Lube ALL your bushings!
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,153
    Nice come back :-)

    You know the old saw - foreign car owners go to the dealer for maintenance, domestic owners go in for repairs.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Was the EGR sticking open due to carbon at the pintle tip? If so, then you might want to monitor your fuel economy and oil consumption. Running rich and excessive oil usage can both pass too much carbon through the exhaust, which will foul up the EGR. If your truck had 150,000 miles I wouldn't worry but 50,000 is pretty low for a plugged EGR.
    As far as the codes, is your EGR valve electronially operated or monitored? If you have a Haynes manual, you should have a list of all possible error codes for the EGR and their corresponding interpretation.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    it has to get really, really bad along with something else to cause enough carbon loading to finally trigger some sensor someplace. there is no "thick gunk" sensor that can be installed in the exhaust manifold. so this is something that has to be diagnosed by age and likelihood.

    vacuum idle issues might one day be diagnosed by a vacuum sensor, there are a few that are priced under $100 now quantity one, and that appear to have enough range to be installed and checked against the computer's estimate of what vacuum SHOULD be. but having left the brake booster hose off a few months ago accidentally, I can tell you that a big vacuum leak is something you should instantly be able to guess from the gawd-awful idle at 1600 rpms.
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