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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • HELP My 1998 Explorer will occasionally hesitate on acceleration. Any ideas?
  • sanandtonsanandton Posts: 342
    Had the same problem with my 98 explorer 4.0 SOHC. Had into the shop at least 6 times it was never fixed! Finally gave up and traded it in. Ours was a severe safety hazard as it would sometimes completely stall out leaving us in the path of oncoming traffic. Would happen about 2-3 times a month. Don't attempt any turns across traffic unless you think you have enough time to put the car in neutral restart and put back into drive and get the H#*# out of the way. It was a maneuver I became all to familiar with. Good luck.
  • Well it has now been 11 days since I brought my Explorer to be fixed. They finally gave me a Taurus last Tuesday to use - free of charge. I still had to rent an Explorer to bring my son to college as the Taurus was not big enough. I have no idea why it is taking so long to fix these tensioners. The service department claims it is over a $2000 job that we will only have to pay $295 for. I still think we should get it done for free as it is a known Explorer defect. Any Comments?
  • lmc5lmc5 Posts: 16
    Please read post #144 of 157. You should not have to pay one red cent for the tensioner problem. Ford has been aware of the problem for awhile. If you can't get any satisfaction from the service manager, escalate it to the GM. Keep escalating it until you get what you want. Ford will jerk you around if you let them. Believe me, I know from experience. I have been down this road too many times with Ford. Don't back down. Good Luck.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    More interesting news from Firestone and Ford.. and this time they got caught!
  • eggnogeggnog Posts: 5
    I just started reading these posts to find out if there is anything on my particular problem but now I feel compelled to write something because in 3 years, I haven't had a single thing go wrong with my explorer and I bought the first year of the 4.0 SOHC engine. Of course had the two recall repairs for two things I can't even remember what they are, i think related to electrical, done for free but that's about it.

    My first and only real problem: the "Check engine" light has suddenly come on which means apparently something is wrong with the emissions control system. Anybody experience this? I am going to have it looked at at a dealer since it may be covered under the emissions warranty which is 5 years I believe. But that is it in terms of problems.

    But while I am at the dealer, should I argue my case to have my timing belt tensioners replaced? Shouldn't something this serious have been the subject of a recall notice?

    San Jose, CA
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    The dealer will not replace or even work on your timing belt tensioners unless there is something wrong or they present a problem. That is the difference between a TSB and a recall.

    As a general rule, I try not to have Ford dealers touch the vehicle unless it is absolutely necessary... they might mess it up worse than it was before. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  • How many have had this problem? CD player overheats after one CD, sometimes after just a few tracks. I called the Dealer here in Boulder and he said that Ford is aware of this problem, but they haven't decided what to do about it. Well, I'm still waiting to hear. Has anyone heard?
  • fedup3fedup3 Posts: 1
    My explorer is currently in the shop with a dealer for the third time trying to get the diesel engine out of my v6 SOHC. I am fed up. I am planning to write anyone and everyone about the problem and demand compensation for my headache over this problem. I was also told that the rattling would not hurt the engine or cause the engine to fail early. My thing is that I am affraid when the time comes for me to sell my car noone will want it due to this rattle. I know I sure would not purchase it with this sound. I am also amazed that it takes 2 weeks to fix the problem. I never had my car in the shop that long when I owned a foreign car. Sorry I will not support the USA on this "buy American" crap. Now I am trying to get the front end aligned. I have a pulled to the left. It can not be the tires since I just had all 4 replaced. (Thanks Firestone) Any ideas on this one? Has anyone had this problem. Could the fact that one rotor does not spin a easy as the opposite one be causing my front end to pull to the left.(the side the rotar is harder to spin). Thanks for any info anyone may give. I am about ready to trade the car in but I do not know what to get instead.
  • sanandtonsanandton Posts: 342
    Some of you may remember me as the PREVIOUS owner of 3 different explorers. My last one was prone to unexpected stalls, usually when you needed the power the most (like making a left turn across traffic). Ford never did fix the thing and I ended up trading it at a loss. I have seen some sporadic post regarding the same problem from other explorer owners and some expedition owners.
    Well, finally some news surfaces regarding a stalling problem with fords. In todays paper, business section, Headline: "Ford may face huge recall over ignition devices". Seems a federal judge in California feels enough evidence exists to force a recall. Dangerous stalls have occurred as a result of this defect. He even goes as far as accusing Ford of deceiving safety investigators and consumers. Not sure about the investigators, but I sure wasn't happy with my vehicles. Anyway the article does indicate the recall will affect cars built from 1983-1995. Mine were all newer than this, but at least those ford owners out there with this problem know about a possible fix. Most ford owners have to be knowledgeable about their own cars and problems. It didn't seem that my local 3 dealerships had a clue!
  • swn1swn1 Posts: 27
    Is that dealer giving you a free lube with that bill? You need to contact Ford and see why you're being ripped off for this. The cost should be under $200. They made up that $2,000 figure unless that includes the service manager's vacation. You need to find a new service department and quick. I've been fortunate to actually find one and instantly became the shop foreman's best friend,so to speak. He's the one that can make or break you. I found as long as you treat them like a human being you will get a lot further and be treated the same way back plus.
  • sf6sf6 Posts: 11
    I visited the dealer yesterday and tried to purchase a new remote access control (the hand held unit that fits on your key chain) for my explorer. I currently have only one, which works fine, but I wanted to purchase a second as a backup. The dealer has the same remote factory unit that I current have, but cannot get it to "talk" to the explorer. The dealer said I might need to replace the receiver in the explorer to get it working. If the one I have now is working, this does not seem logical. Help, has anyone run into this, and have a solution?
  • I have a 98 ford explorer with the SOHC V6 and
    I'm having problems with a leaky manifold gasket.
    My mechanic has stated that this seems to be a common problem and that there might be a recall. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, did you contact ford and what was their response? Thanks
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    SF6: Get a new dealer. That guy does not know how to program the unit or wants to hook you for a new sending unit.

    Check the website for TSB's and recall info on your vehicle.

    Good luck.
  • It is now 2 weeks that the Ford dealer has had my 97 Explorer XLT. It is a good thing they gave me the Taurus so I would have something to drive. I can't imagine why it is taking so long to fix this diesel sound - maybe it isn't just a tensioner problem. This is unbelievable. I just want it back fixed and I don't want to have to pay for it. I am going to show my service manager who is actually very nice all these comments.
  • New to this board... I own a 94 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4 with 104K miles on it. Recently I have encountered two problems. Needs some suggestions. You can email comments to

    1. Brake lights. Recently my brake lights went out twice. The first time, replacing all the tail lights worked. Now, pfft. Still no brake lights even though the tail lights, signal lights and reverse lights all work. Fuses checkout ok. I suspect it could be a sensor from my brake pedals? (Or, gulp, worse?)

    2. ABS. The light comes on occasionally. It will go off if I turn off the ignition and restart. Dealers say there is no problem! Also, in slow speed/tight turns (e.g., into a parking space), what feels like the ABS pulsating can be felt. It's unnverving but controllable. Any ideas?

    Aside from these issues and the usual frequent brake/rotor services, the 94 Explorer XLT runs great. I am the original owner. Thanks.
  • I just got off the phone with my Ford Dealer Service Manager. My Explorer has been there for 2 weeks. Now they are saying it is not a tensioner problem but I need a whole new engine. They are waiting for the engine to come in. The cost would be about $5000 but out of Good Will it will only cost me between $200 and $300. I don't think I should have to pay anything as it seems to be a defect in this SOHC engine. The car is out of warranty at 57,000 miles, but should an engine be broken at this mileage? Please advice me.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Cant really answer your question without finding out what failed on the engine. Did the block crack? You said it was running when you brought it to the dealer, right?
  • I am a regular on this board. I posed this repsonse a couple of months ago. I am reposting it with some updates that I have recently learned of. If anyone has any questions regarding their Explorer, email me a I have an excellent dealer that always finds the fixes for these things. Here is what I posted a couple of months ago:

    "I own a 98 Explorer XLT SOHC V-6 2WD Loaded
    including leather and moonroof. It is pretty
    obvious to me that the overwhelming problem is not
    the vehicle, it is the service departments that
    most of you have. There are some flaws in design of
    this vehicle. I have done a lot of research on
    these problems and a lot of this info comes form my
    service writer, the best I have dealt with.

    91-current Explorers use a 4.0 OHV (overhead
    valve) V-6. It was the sole V-6 engine until 97
    when the SOHC (single overhead cam) version
    arrived. They are the same engine only the SOHC
    uses different heads. They are based on the old 2.9
    V-6 used in the Ford Ranger from 86-92. They are
    built in Cologne, Germany and are a very good
    design. Both engines are still offered, the OHV is
    on low-line XLS, XL models from 97-current. XLT and
    above gets the SOHC or the 5.0 V-8 (96-current).
    Problems with the OHV are most commonly dieseling
    sounds. Most of the time this is due to "piston
    slap". The pistons slap on the insides of the
    piston skirts. It can be caused by a simple
    manufacturing defect in a wrist pin/connecting rod
    of very little tolerance. Piston slap is very rare
    and engine failure due to it is extremely rare. It
    normally will not damage the engine any more than
    everyday use. It is more annoying than anything.
    Overall this is an extrememly reliable engine and
    is good for more than 200K of service or more
    without incident. Early models also had EGR
    problems if equipped with an EGR valve.

    Problems with the SOHC are stalling, vibrations
    while turning and knocking sounds on startup or
    hard acceleration. Stalling can be due to a bad
    program in the ECC (engine control computer) or a
    warped intake manifold/bad intake gasket. It can
    also be caused by fuel with high alcohol content or
    a loose gas cap. The ECC can be reflashed with an
    updated program, the intake is usually solved with
    a new gasket and sometimes a new intake manifold.
    The manifold leak causes a vacuum leak in the
    cylinders causing it to stall. Try different brands
    of gas and always tighten the gas cap. Especially
    the twist and click type. Vibrations while turning
    are caused by the power steering hose/exhaust
    vibrating under steering pump load on the engine.
    There is an update for the hoses and an exhaust
    bracket that makes those noises completely
    disappear and makes the steering smooth as silk.
    The knocking noise is the timing chain tensioners,
    specifically the tensioners. The original design
    had the tensioners mounted to the engine block with
    nylon anchors. They would break and cause the
    timing chain to rattle against the timing covers.
    After several redesigns, they have finally made
    them steel and should solve the problem without
    further incident. This noise usually starts around
    20K and worsens. It normally will not cause any
    engine damage but is not good for the engine
    either. I've had all three of these problems with
    my 98 and all three are fixed for good. It is
    smooth as silk.

    Other problems are phantom wipers, premature
    transmission failure, premature rotor warpage, rear
    wiper failure and rear suspension noises.

    Phanotm wipers is caused by a defective
    multi-function switch. Some corrode and some were
    bad from the supplier. It makes the wipers activate
    themselves when turning the signals on or making
    turns. It has been updated and should not cause any
    more problems once replaced. 97 and newer
    Explorers have speed dependent intermittent wipers.
    The faster you drive the faster the intermittent
    wipers wipe (the shorter the intervals). This is a
    conveniece and can be turned off (see owners
    manual) don't confuse it with phantom wipers.

    Premature transmission failure is most often a
    result of lack of maintenance. The tranny should be
    serviced every 15-30K miles depending on towing,
    driving habits, etc. I think the owners manual is
    far to lax on freqency of this service. I think it
    says 50K. I do mine every 15K, I tow a lot and do a
    lot of city driving.

    REar wiper failure is a lot of times due to the
    rear wiper getting stuck in it's holder on the
    hatch. Try turning it on and freeing it by hand (be
    careful). I've done this a couple of times and it
    has never failed since. The holder is a little
    tight and needs to be loosened up. It helps to use
    it more often too.

    Rotor warpage is present on almost all newer
    vehicles and is mostly due to driving habits. The
    brakes get hot and something as simple as driving
    through a mud puddle or a car wash quick cools the
    rotors and they will warp. The tires and suspension
    on Explorers help amplify the problem. Just living
    with it seems to be the best. Mine are slightly
    warped on both my F-150 and my Explorer and it
    comes and goes with weather and brake usage. Don't
    ride the brakes, brake hard, and do your best not
    to get hot brakes too wet. Also, air wrenches can
    warp rotors too. Always request hand torquing of
    lug nuts whe you have service performed.

    There is an update on the rear suspension bushings
    that will solve the bed spring sound some of you

    that's about all I know about the Explorer. when I
    get time I will dig out my invoices and post part
    numbers and any others TSB numbers I have. I do not
    work for a dealer but I am lucky enough to have a
    good service department. Ford has designed many
    updates to parts and worked to correct some of
    these problems. I think that many of you aren't
    hearing of them for some reason. My Explorer has
    had almost every problem I mentioned except for the
    tranny problem. All of this was fixed in one trip
    and four days sooner than projected. Ford sells
    almost half a million of these a year. Most folks I
    know haven't had any problems with Explorers but
    for as many as they build there are bound to be
    some problems (many times supplier problems not
    Ford). Sometimes it's common sense problems (rotor
    warpage) that folks aren't aware of. I love mine. I
    drive the hell out of it and the great service
    department has made the problems seem minor. I hope
    this info helps. Take it to the dealer with you. I
    will post part/TSB numbers ASAP. Good luck."

    Here are the updates:
    The rear suspension noises are fixed with a new rear sway bar assembly. It is an updated version so it should be a TSB in Fords Oasis computer.

    The stalling problem reappeared on my Explorer. The official fix is the fuel pump assembly experiencing cavitation on turns (it sucks air for a second) losing fuel pressure, hence, the stall. There is a new fuel pump assembly that solves the problem. Mine goes in next week for this and I will update how it performs.

    Again, if you have any questions please email me a I may be able to find out some info from my excellent dealer for you if it is not listed above. I feel Explorers are excellent vehicles and that many of you are getting the bone from some of the not-so-great dealers. Good Luck!
  • Yes, an engine should last longer than that and most do. If your explorer is out of warranty and the dealership is willing to replace the engine, consider yourself lucky. I am under the impression that Ford occasionally reimburses its service departments for work on out-of-warranty vehicles. It's unusual. By the way, what is the $200-$300 for? Also, are they still letting you drive a Taurus?
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