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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • brophbroph Posts: 85
    If the code is a PO420 which really doesn't say any exact component, your O2 sensors might need to be replaced. My mechanic changed 3 of 4 on mine & with the help of HESS gas it turned my check engine light off.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    It sounds like the dealership doesn't want to pay for a warranty item. My advice is to find anotherf Ford dealership to deal with. This one obviously does not want your business.

    If it will make you feel better, write a letter to the owner of the dealership with copies to the regional and district managers detailing your experience with the service department. A check engine light is pretty easy to diagnose and fix.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    there are only three issues in that...

    SHOULD - meaning some folks couldn't find their backside with either hand and spotting them four fingers placement by a trained medical professional.

    DIAGNOSE - this involves recognition of something after looking at the car.

    FIX - this involves action.

    the EASY part is putting it on the back lot all day, and writing NTF on the report when you didn't get to it because there were lots of takers for replacement of parts obviously broken in half.
  • rlumachirlumachi Posts: 4
    i own a 98 explorer xlt awd with v8 & tow package and i CANNOT eek out much more
    than 15mpg. i drive 75% hiway, 25% city, i do NOT have a lead foot,
    and i calculate mileage every time i fill up the old fashioned way
    (trip odometer, gallons til full & calculator). this seems dismally
    BAD but would like some other opinions. is this a problem with my
    vehicle or are others out there getting similar numbers??
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    I have a 1996 V8 Explorer with 138k miles on it. 15 mpg isn't that bad. I normally average about 16-17 mpg with the same highway to city ratio. I've noticed that the really short trips (less then 5 miles first thing in the morning) bring down the gas mileage more then you think. The truck is probably averaging 9 or 10 mpg rather then the 14 shown on the sticker.

    How many miles do you have on your Explorer? When was the last tuneup? I mean full tuneup not just replacing the spark plugs. Do you carry any unnecessary weight? In the truck,not personally. What type of tires do you have on the Explorer?
  • davb1davb1 Posts: 10
    Requested my Ford dealer to change the lube in the rear differential of my '97,4x4, 3.73 limited slip axle (59,000 miles). They drop the cover, clean it out, refill with synthetic fluid but do NOT add 4 oz of friction modifier. This additive is called for in my owners manual and the Haynes (sp) manual. Tech insisted that Ford updated their specs and the friction modifier is now used for original factory fill and if the rear diff is rebuilt. They wrote on my invoice that it was not added and is not needed.

    Any experiences/comments to share? Thank you.
  • heintz1heintz1 Posts: 52
    I don't know the answer to your question, but I wonder if this "friction modifier" might be a "PTFE" or "Teflon" resin type of material? ["Slick 50" products are one example of this sort of Teflon resin, which could be added to engine oil (only after proper break-in), and I believe there were formulations for transmissions as well.] If anyone can shed more light on these questions, please do so!

    Also, I think it's a good idea to change the tranny fluids every 30,000 miles.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    consider the limited slip system... you supply power up to a certain level, but when a wheel suddenly breaks free, you want the other wheel to take power. that implies that you want to build some uneven friction in the system.

    before computer-controlled braking systems that actually apply braking pulses on the wheel running free, you had to have some friction in the lubrication itself (!). the friction modifier added to the diffs does this... as do the fibers in Dexron ATF. it basically gets in the way just enough so the U-spring and effectively-clutch in back of the loaded gear start that gear turning, and it takes some power and keeps you going.

    I just had my transfer case and diffs lubed in my 2000 exploder AWD, and the dealer certainly did charge me for the 4-ounce tubes of friction modifier, as they ARE SUPPOSED TO if there is a complete fluid refill in the diffs. if you had a little gear lube added, you don't need more genius dust added.

    since you had a full refill and the dealer didn't put it in, they screwed up. you will have performance problems equivalent to not having a limited-slip differential with the genius dust not added. guaran-damn-teed.
  • esbesbesbesb Posts: 5
    anyone else had problems with the rear doors or their explorer not opening from the inside? and no, the child lock is not switched on...I read a comment from another post, and that person said he oiled the mechanism...could you do this with the door panel on? is it just the latch on the door that needs to be oiled?
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    I believe that your problem lies in either the rod that connects the interior door handle to the lock mechanism or the child lock mechanism. If the door opens from the outside, the lock mechanism is working. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Removing the door panel is no big deal. I recently did that to replace the door lock actuator for the electric door locks. Two screws near the interior door handle and a spackle knife or a screwdriver along the perimeter of the door panel to pry off the door panel and you're in. If you need help, go to the ALLDATA DIY's Online Database of Automotive Repair site at "". The best $25.00 investment you can make if you like to do your own repairs.
  • esbesbesbesb Posts: 5
    I guess I just need to vent about this whole Ford Exploder...opps I mean Explorer thing. It is really unbelievable how many problems one can can encounter. I have rebuilt the transmission at least twice and I think I am going to have to do it again. Not to mention that people still can't get out of the back seat of my car. The idler pulley, the belt mounter, I just got two (very Expensive) tires, cracks in the arm rest consul, the lock switch on the drivers side doesn't work, and the leather seat seams are coming apart. oh yeah, the recliner lever on the drivers seat pulled off and somehow the cruise control button cover came off and NO ONE can get it back on. well, how did it come off if it can't go back on???!! AHHH-I can't even keep it running well long enough to sell it. God, please help all Explorer owners-let us keep our sanity and drive our SUV's without an anxiety attacks.
  • To: Esbesb;

    Try taking a look at the Chevrolet Blazer/Trailblazer message boards to see how they feel about their trucks...I owned a 99 Blazer LT for just 3 years before DUMPING it off to buy a 2002 Explorer. You can't imagine how terrible this SUV was from everything from the tires on up to the roof rack. No kidding, I replaced oil cooler lines, fuel sending units, on board computers, door latches, pinion seals, intake manifold gaskets, ball joints, you name it. This in only 45,000 miles. Please do not consider the GM product.
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    I have to chime in here to express my feelings about the Blazer/Jimmy. Like "bbieraugel" I owned a 95 Jimmy (almost identical to the 99). It was the worst POS I had ever purchased. I'll never forget what a looker the truck was. It was the truck of the year in 95!! But, the way it looked was a smoke screen for the quality control that GM used in production. I often look at the Blazer/Jimmy Problems discussion to see if things have changed since I sold my Jimmy in November of 1999. That's when I purchased my 99 Explorer XLT. I posted a message outlining the problems I had with my Jimmy on the Blazer/Jimmy Problems BB. The Explorer is not perfect, but it is a gem compared to the Blazer/Jimmy. Stay away from this set of twins!!
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Woah 2 transmissions! Would you mind giving us some more information about your Explorer? Like the engine you have, how many miles, and the year? You have my deepest sympathies. I have had cars with redundant problems before and they are nothing but a pain in your back side. What is your transmission doing to cause you to think it is in need of repair? Have you changed the fluid recently? I know changing the fluid and filter can make some small transmission problems vanish. The Idler pulley is a strange thing to have go bad, but I have heard of these pooping out from time to time. I also remember having to replace a door lock actuator in the drivers side door of my 96 Explorer. I did it myself (to save on labor costs), and the part cost me around $60. You are the first lucky (unlucky?) person I have heard to have an arm rest crack. I am sure a local salvage yard may have one. At least it couldn't hurt to check;-) The same thing for the recliner lever (if its broken). I don't think that there is much you can do with the seats, but if they're old then they may just be stretched out. Maybe someone else here can help you out with the cruise button? I didn't even know they came off haha ;-) Keep us posted, and I hope that things get better with the truck.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    if you put ANY pressure downward on those things, they are going to break... the salvage yards are out of them according to some posters last year or so.

    I remind passengers getting in routinely, reach up and use the grab handles, those arm rests will break and dump you on the sidewalk if you lean on them.

    if there was some metal to back them up it wouldn't be so bad, but they're not designed to carry a load larger than about 10 pounds, and that distributed across the rest, not in one spot.
  • kjpkkjpk Posts: 8
    I don't get the "woes" thing.
    There are folks out here with 160k miles complaining about doing some maintenance!
    There is NO statistical evidence here that these vehicles are not designed and built well.

    Since we are just telling stories here, I'll give you mine:
    I own '98 XLT great vehicle. Never failed. Been to the shop only for scheduled maintenance and Ford's recalls (if Ford wants to replace something that is functioning just fine, with a part they say is better at their expense, then that's OK with me).

    Neighbor owns '92 200k miles. Says they would do a Ford Explorer commercial if asked.

    Co-worker # 1 '91 200K miles. Retired to use as ranch vehicle. Still works hard every day

    Co-worker # 2 '92 130k miles. Says everything works fine but the kids are bored with it. Kids want a new Honda or Toyota (what do kids know).

    Co-worker # 3 '96 130k miles. Everyday vehicle for family. Says it's a great vehicle

    Co-worker # 4 '97 80K miles. Not one failure. Very well maintained.

    None of us have been contacted by Consumer Reports or JD Powers. How does that work?

    Remember, Ford has built and sold over 800,000 of these vehicles each year for the last 10 or 11 years. The fact that there are a few folks out here repeating over and over how they don't like their vehicle is a testimony to just how good they are! Only these few bad ones out of millions! Look at the statistics--the Explorer outsells most other SUVs 3 or 4 to 1! So, if there are a few more complaints out here, than others, just remember how many more of them are out on the road.
  • kjpkkjpk Posts: 8
    Reasons for transmission failures:

    1. Auto Transmission should be serviced every 30k miles! This is absolutely vital, and as important as regular engine oil changes!

    30K mile service should include:
    A. Transmission service: clean and flush, replace fluid with Ford specified synthetic trans fluid.
    B. Fuel filter
    C. Radiator flush and fill
    Why fuel filter? Because as the filter gets dirty, it forces the fuel pump in the gas tank to work extra hard and possibly burn out.

    2. Turn the overdrive OFF! Do not use your overdrive for city driving, around town, short trips, trailer towing, or going downhill at less than 50mph. DO use your overdrive ONLY on the open road or highway!!! Turn off when approaching a steep hill in anticipation, and leave off until you have topped the hill. The transmission cannot see that you are climbing a hill, it only responds to the pressure on the gas pedal.

    For example, recommended way:
    See steep hill ahead, at base of hill, turn off overdrive, transmission downshifts, engine revs to 3k rpm, very comfortable for engine and trans. Maintain speed, leave off until at top, turn back on, transmission upshifts. 2 shifts total.

    Other way: Approach hill, vehicle lugs, step on gas, automatic hard downshift, vehicle accelerates, runs up on slower traffic. Let off gas, Transmission upshifts, slow car gets out of the way, step on gas, transmission downshifts, vehicle accelerates, ease off gas vehicle upshifts. Crest of hill is steep, one more downshift (hard one) over the top, upshift.
    6 total shifts!!!!

    Believe it or not, you will get better gas mileage the first way! It is much better for an engine and transmission to rev a little, than lug.

    Do you realize how many shifts you will save over the course of the life of a vehicle. Your transmission can and will last with a little service, and thoughtful driving.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    starting in mid-90s exploders... A4 tranny and 4-by issues, 4.0 German engine cam blocks that broke and made the car sound like a bad diesel engine, some rust, rear wipers, those sorts of things. not to mention a lot of posts about the => KILLER TIRES! tm <=.

    and radios that went blank, almost forgot that one.

    I haven't had issue one with my 2000 xlt except a squeaky seat, and that's probably because I have it ramped up almost all the way.
  • kjpkkjpk Posts: 8
    Nothing a little spray lithium grease won't fix...Just have to find that bugger!
    Tire fiasco:
    I have replaced the original Freestone's with Cooper Discover. Did you know that Cooper is the only American owned major tire company? It is a fact. Anyhow, I like them so much, I replaced the tires on our other vehicle with Cooper's as well. (Found out later that Cooper is a big client of the company I work for, so it turned out to be the right thing to do). The bottom line here, is: There are so many of these vehicles on the road that are performing just fine, and long term reliability is as good as any vehicle out there.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    cooper has been called the largest US independent tire company in many a publication, however, and they contract-build a lot of tires for a lot of outfits, as it turns out I have seen reference information published within the past couple years for some companies you would not suspect.

    they have had a few spates of "tires can fail" in CR recall pages like most other outfits, because radials are still not trivial to make. I sorta laughed at the recall notices, because it was quantities like 87 and 378 tires, meaning one mold was having issues. we all know the drill these days on how to minimize the risk, after the => KILLER TIRES! tm <= fiasco.
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