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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • bigaldsbigalds Posts: 47
    Take it to another place to get the tire balance checked. Tell them your problem, and ask them to take the tires off WITHOUT pulling the wheel weights off, and put it on their balancing machine to see how the existing balance is on each tire. They may be balanced ok, and the vibration may be coming from somewhere else. Have them rebalance the tires if they are not in balance. Also check the drive shaft for any signs of out of balance or bending. Has this been happening for long, or did this happen when these tires where put on or when the tires where rebalanced? How many miles on the tires? Also check tires for out of round condition or any irregularities. I've had Michelin and Wrangers before, and they ran very smooth.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    As a follow-up, all work is completed on my Explorer (serpentine belt, steering rack, new tires) and it drives like a new vehicle. Not quite but marked improvement. With 133k miles, you come to expect these types of things.

    I have been driving on the new tires only 4 days (Dayton Timberline L/T) but so far, much better then the Wrangler RT/S at 33% of the price. Not too bad. Paid $68 per tire, out the door. As I put more miles on the vehicle, I can give you more info on the tires.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    It could very vell be the tires, Louis. As part of replacing the steering rack they do an alignment check. The mechanic noticed I had a "wobble" (if you took your hands off the steerign wheel, it would move side to side on it's own) in the steering wheel around 35 mph. I had Wrangler RT/S with about 55k-60k miles on them and the tread was right at the legal limit. Once I changed tires, the "wobble" went away.

    I was not impressed with the Wrangler RT/S. It rode smooth and quiet but the grip was poor esp. in slick conditions like snow, mud and rain. Also they were subject to cupping. I had to replace two tires at 40k miles (cupping began around 35k) because the noise was too much.

    Good luck with the tires.
  • mmadden1mmadden1 Posts: 17
    Had my '98' XLT in fo the 60K servicing and I got a call from the service dept. saying that the ball joints were bad and that they were going to be replaced under warranty--I've got an extended one.

    I was more than a bit suprised: no excessive tire wear, no loose steering, no vibration. The steering feels exactly as it did 4 years ago when I bought it. Most of the miles are on interstates, on very good roads and no off-roading.
    Is this typical for the that year of explorer?
    thanks for any help.
    BTW, due to suggestions on this board, I opted fo the extended waranty; I just wish I went 100K instead of 75K.
  • polifacepoliface Posts: 2
    The leather portion of my front seats are cracking. The cracks are visible on the outside part of the seat area on both front seats. Does anyone have a solution for this problem?
  • jsackjsack Posts: 1
    had to replace lower ball joints at 40,600 miles, dealer said they fail at 30,000 miles sometimes.
    ford will not chip in on my $400 repair bill.
    this explorer is driven all highway miles.
    told them it is not driven like the "built ford tough" commercials.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    have 2002 xlt... have same problem with mine and i have used the leather conditioning stuff. i spoke with the body shop mgr before about this problem, and he said when it breaks for good, bring it back (within warranty period of course, i assume). right now, it's only showing deep creases.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the seat foundation (padding, springs, etc.) are not real good on the extreme edges of these buckets, hence the leather takes more abuse as you slide in and out. I have some light cracking on mine. it will not break before the B2B warranty is up.

    looks like item #2 on my all-time pains-in-butt list with the truck (#1 is the low rear view mirror requires bobbing and weaving to see who's going to T-bone you on the right as you pull away from a stop sign.)

    neither one is a show-stopper, not nearly enough to rail and devise plots about. cars break, stuff happens and then you die, but not always.
  • stubborn1stubborn1 Posts: 85
    I understand that Ford has had problems with heads cracking on their 4.0 OHV engine. Can anyone tell me what years where the most common for this to happen?

    I recently took my 98 Explorer in to replace a leaking head gasket. I asked that they send the heads out to a shop and check them out. Both heads were cracked. My mechanic is getting aftermarket castings which are supposed to be thicker where the crack occurred. I'm just curious if anyone else has had the same problem with a similar year vehicle.
  • theasliptheaslip Posts: 4
    Only 150 miles on the 1-week old Explorer. I have had one problem occur twice. When I put the car in park (after driving), let it idle for a few minutes (wife runs in the store or something), press the brake, move the shift lever to reverse (or any other gear) nothing happens. I have to move the lever back to park and play with it a few times in order to make anything happen. Has anyone had this happen before, or have any idea what my causing it? Thanks!!!
  • cheech2cheech2 Posts: 1
    During the past few months my 1993 exployer has developed a intermitent stalling problem occuring only during damp weather. My mechanic has changed the fuel pump and fuel filter in addition to a complete tuneup.The problem still occurs and I am at a loss as to what could be wrong.Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    damp weather, huh? how about the moisture is grounding out the ignition pulses to the spark plugs?

    get a shop rag soaked up in washer fluid, and gently pull it along all the plug wires, washing all the road snot and dust (and salt if you live in snow country) off the wires. once more to rinse 'em. use a fresh clean shop rag to wipe off the wires at the ignition coil assemblies, including the yellowish-clear plastic on top of those coils. get a socket wrench and give a little tug to the mounting bolts to make sure they're down. that ought to do you some good.

    how old are those wires? even Ford recommends replacement between 80,000 to 100,000 miles, and I changed my first set out at 25,000 due to a one-cylinder stumble at idle before I had a tow into nowhere land.

    there is also the possibility that there is a sensor that is not with it... that is, a little nutty or slow, and in damp weather in which the fuel/air mixture is changed, it can't get the engine in range. specifically, an 02 sensor is what I'm thinking of... they get "lazy" more often than they fail out, and it's around the time they start going away with your mileage.
  • bigaldsbigalds Posts: 47
    About the cracked heads, I had a 1991 Ford Explorer with the 4.0L OHV engine, which I bought in Sept 1998 with 120K. My wife and I drove it until Jan 2003 with 165K, we drove it 44,000 miles in 4 1/2 years, NO engine problems at all. It DID need a transmission.
    I am currently driving a 1993 Ford Explorer with the 4.0L OHV engine, which I bought in April 1999 with 112K. It now has 167K on it in, drove it 55k in 4 years with NO engine problems. Of course, I take exceptional care of them, and never let them run hot. I converted each vehicle to the new 134A refrigerant and added a new electric pusher fan in front of the radiator with a thermostatic control switch. Temp gauge never goes over 1/4. An engine that overheats never lasts very long. Keep it cool.

    About the Spark Plug wire and missing, Remove and check plugs. If worn replace with new, gap plug at .040", this will make your wires last MUCH longer. I do this with all my cars and I never have to replace the spark plug wires. The 2 explorers I mentioned above, have the same wires in them as when I bought them, and run perfectly. And the wires where not new in either of those vehicles. If your wires are already bad, replace them now. You can test them by lightly spraying them with water with engine idling, while in a darkened garage of at night. Careful not to get shocked. Look and listen for any changes in the engine rpm, engine smoothness or roughness or any visible sparks. Any of this would require the wires be replaced.
  • gregb5gregb5 Posts: 82
    I had a similar problem with mine. It would not engage any gear at idle. If you rev the engine slightly it may engage, but it will THUNK! so don't rev too much.
    Get it back to the dealer; yours is not the first to have the problem. I am surprised that a more recent build date would still have the problem. Mine was built in late May '01. Mine eventualy got a new transmission.
    Good luck!
  • jecoueyjecouey Posts: 4
    I have a new 2003 Ford Explorer NBX with less than 6,000 miles on it.

    About three weeks ago, I noticed what I call a lateral vibration at 60-65 mph that only gets worse the faster I go (the freeway speed is 75 mph here). I think it might be an engine problem in that the engine sounds a little "rough". The wheel weights are all there and there is no unusual wear on the tire treads.

    I have it into the dealer now, so we will see what they say today.

    These message board if very informative/interesting.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    Please let me know what the dealer has said about your car. I have an 02 XLT 4wd with 3200 miles on it, and I heard that 3 times in the past when was on the freeway going at 65-75... noise would be gone when I lifted my foot of the accelerator. Since it did not happen all the time, I did not bring it to the dealer. Thanks
  • heintz1heintz1 Posts: 52
    If the problem remains unsolved, consider having the tires road-force balanced. In fact, I'm now convinced that anytime I place new tires on my truck, I'll have them road-forced balanced at the time of installation, and I don't mind spending the extra money to have things done right.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    what makes road-force balancing different from spin balancing? are the tires under load?
  • jecoueyjecouey Posts: 4
    Well, the dealer said the vibration at 60-65 mph was caused by the wheels being unbalanced due to dried mud on the wheels. They took the mud out and rebalanced all wheels. The vibration did go away. We do live in an area where lots of the local roads are not paved with asphalt or gravel (i.e., northwest NM), so this is not as hokey as it sounds, and again, the vibration did go away.

    But our Explorer still runs a little rough, especially when idling. The dealer said Ford was aware this is a problem on a lot of 2003 Explorers, but has not, and probably will not, do anything about it. I was reading the NM lemon laws yesterday before I went to pick up our Explorer, and when talking to the dealer, I noticed they were very cafeful in their wording to me how this rough idling issue did not affect operation and performance.

    To the person who wrote about roughness when accelerating, maybe a higher grade of gasoline would help. I am not an expert, but you might give it a try for a tank or two. I used to have a Subaru that ran rough when I tried to accelerate aggressively (e.g., it almost knocked), but that went away when I used a higher octane (especially more demanding situations like mountain driving).
  • heintz1heintz1 Posts: 52
    I'm not mechanically inclined, but as I understand it, road-force balancing involves a rather expensive road-force balancing machine which essentially places a properly inflated tire under a weight and road-force load similar to actual road conditions as it spins on the machine. Now, no tire or rim is perfectly round (think about rolling an egg end-over-end), and I seem to recall that what a road-force balancer and a well trained technician can accomplish is a fairly accurate detection of high and low spots on a mounted tire/rim, which I believe are at least partly identified by pressure spikes and dips as the wheel spins under a road-force load or pressure. The technician then marks the HIGH spots on a given tire, as well as any LOW spots on its rim, and the tire is then remounted on its rim in such a way that the high spot on the tire is now centered directly over the most closely matching low spot on the rim, with the end result being that each wheel is thus effectively made more "round" and smoother riding overall, compared to more simple and less sophisticated tire balancing methods. My dealer charges ~$65.00 for road-force balancing of all four tires, which is not bad when you consider that the machine allegedly costs about $10,000.00 (plus technician training), and this is why many dealerships and shops don't offer this service. Thus, even if your vehicle rides smoothly, chances are that it will ride even better if the tires are road-force balanced, and if you do have difficult-to-solve vibrations at higher speeds, road-force balancing should be considered. One downside is that if a tire needs to be remounted at a later time, then it's road-force balancing should probably be repeated.
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