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Ford Explorer Brake Problems

pollittpollitt Member Posts: 1
My 1997 Explorer exhibits sluggish braking for the fist couple of stops when cold. The truck has new Motorcraft pads on all 4 wheels. Zero fluid leaks, good rotors, what could the problem be.


  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    Is it hard to push the pedal down when it's cold? It could be your vacuum booster is getting old and brittle, and may need replacing.
  • chriss676chriss676 Member Posts: 1
    I replaced my front brakes on a 2000 Ford Explorer XLT including rotors. Now when I come to a stop the brake pedal feels like its grinding or vibrating. I took it all apart and checked to see if there was something loose but nothing found. Did I miss something or is there a trick to correcting this problem?
  • zevorukozevoruko Member Posts: 9
    Just for info, I have a 2001 Exp Sport with only 40 000 miles and I had to change all pads and rectify discs with a mechanic.

    What is amazing is that they detected the brake booster was also i bad shape and I had to change it... maybe you should look into that as a problem.

    Did you change the fluid and clean the brake lines?

    Good luck
  • natrbrazellnatrbrazell Member Posts: 1
    About 6 months ago I replaced my rear rotors and pads (front and rear) on my 2000 Ford Explorer XLT as I was hearing some brake squealing. Firestone wanted a lot more money than what I was willing to pay to do the brakes both front and rear. Now my rear brakes are beginning to squeal again, especially when backing out of my driveway. Any idea's on what may still be causing squealing? Emergency Brake?
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    When you replaced the rear rotors and pads, what had been causing the squealing in the first place? Brake pads were worn down to metal to metal? One side or both sides? What was the condition of the parking brake shoes?
  • nicolasenicolase Member Posts: 2

  • yuvalsinyuvalsin Member Posts: 1
    I have Explorer model 2006, which is very soft and easy to drive. Exept for the brakes which need a heavy foot. My mechanic found no problem with the brakes.
    Is it a known problem with Explorers?
  • wgmjiwgmji Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem ,only when this is happening my wheel is being pulled slightly to the right.I have had 2 brake inspections in the pass week and no one could find anything might just be the cold weather,that is what i'll tell myself until I get a definitive answer.
  • analysisoranalysisor Member Posts: 3
    I was backing into a parking lot today and as my 07 Explorer got closer and closer to the vehicle right next to us, I pushed the brake, nothing happened, and I tried harder again and still nothing. My mind immediately switched to the other pedal and my Explorer drove right into the other vehicle. My friends and family in the vehicle all felt weird that the vehicle did not stop. But as I tested the brake after the accident, the brake was totally normal to me. :mad: :confuse:

    Anyone had any similar experience? I am so frustrated now, I will take this vehicle to a brake- check tomorrow.
  • dwightsdwights Member Posts: 1
    How do you adjust the emergency brake on a 2004 Explorer?
  • ibusemibusem Member Posts: 5
    Last year purchased 2003 Ford explorer, dealer replaced rear brakes prior to accepting vehicle. I have never been able to use the parking brake and would like to know is this an adjustment that possibly was made incorrectly and that I could take care of myself.
  • ibusemibusem Member Posts: 5
    Have you every gotten an answer to your question about the parking brake or is this a waste of time as I have the same problem
  • ibusemibusem Member Posts: 5
    I purchased a ford explorer Dealer adjuster brakes have no parking brake would like to know how to adjust parking brake
  • ibusemibusem Member Posts: 5
    I still did not get a answer to my question on how to adjust a parking brake on a 2003 Explorer xlt THANK YOU. ibusem1
  • bennyj2bennyj2 Member Posts: 2
    Same problem on my 2003. Replaced front and rear rotors, pads and parking brake shoes. All preninum parts, ceramic pads. Rear shoes started squeeking after 6 months. Upon examination I found cracks in front pads and sharp edges on rear pads. Replaced with less expensive pads, same breaking response but no squeek. Also be cautious. On my 2002 and 2003 Explorer, parking brake shoes become delaminated. Shoe comes apart from base.
  • jriehldenverjriehldenver Member Posts: 1
    Had accident with 2002 explorer.Skid mark on dry pavement was 8.4 feet.Question is how fast was the explorer going ?
  • diamonds1diamonds1 Member Posts: 7
    rear rotar seems to be rusted on my 1996 ford explorer any suggestions how to remove it, already removed caliper ect
  • chris4973chris4973 Member Posts: 2
    Had same problem with my brothers explorer due to rust also. spray wd-40 around all studs outer side and inner. let stand for about 15 minutes and then use a small block of wood and a good size hammer/handheld 4lb sledgehammer and tap from the backside of the rotor towards you moving the wood around the rotor about 2 inches at a time and it should start walking off the studs. if you have a new rotor and dont intent on getting the old one resurfaced then dont worry about the wood block, just give it a few hard blows and it will walk right off. good luck and hope this helped.
  • jkarpovitchjkarpovitch Member Posts: 1
  • bigcufanbigcufan Member Posts: 1
    The brake pedal on my 2003 Ford Explorer makes a really loud squeak each time the pedal is depressed and released?
  • sportracdadsportracdad Member Posts: 1
    When I press the brake pedal, it often has a popping sound or kind of like a rubber gasket somewhere that needs some type of spray applied to make it stop making a noise but I don't know how to get to where the noise is coming from. Has anyone else noticed this problem on a 2001 Sport Trac?
  • sufferin1sufferin1 Member Posts: 1
    07 Explorer (lease). 20k on it. Frt. brakes pulse. My question is; the frt. rotors, do they pop right off after I remove caliper or do I need to disassemble hub assy as well? :confuse:
  • mikeesvamikeesva Member Posts: 1
    I just experience an brake line failure. Right rear. 75K miles on the vehicle. It wasn't a line rupture. No signs of overpressurization (bulges). The tube broke at the joint where the tubing meets the connecting tab to the brake cylinder. I don't remember hitting any chuck hole. ( I'm thinking the rubber tubing is for wheel travel)

    Has anybody experience similar problem or there might be a service bulletin on this?
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Member Posts: 619
    I just rented an Explorer for a week from Hertz, and I'm concerned about the brake performance. The brake pedal is firm, but the braking distances and required pedal pressure are much greater than I'm used to. (My daily driver is a Lexus RX350) Is this normal?
  • tjbell5tjbell5 Member Posts: 1
    My 2002 ford explorer sport trac abs brakes pulsate below 5 mph everytime I stop. Any ideas?
  • julmarojulmaro Member Posts: 1
    That is caused by a dry rubber boot around the brake shaft. It is located in the firewall and under the steering wheel. An occasional spray of silicone or w40 will cure it.
  • swburbguyswburbguy Member Posts: 3
    I installed new brakes rotors and pads on the front brakes. I get chattering as i turn one way in reverse at a certain point ? what could be the problem? any ideas
  • 1snoopy1snoopy Member Posts: 1
    Dont ever go to Firestone repair for anything ever, unless u like getting hosed, hard.
  • aufchecaraufchecar Member Posts: 1
    i cannot solve this problem, just come to official service and dealer to repair and solve this probelm...

  • msmullermsmuller Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Explorer that makes a Binding/Dragging sound in the front wheels only when turning, either moving forward or in reverse. This could be comming from one wheel or both, can't pinpoint.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Failing front CV joint, not all that unusual.
  • tx0141tx0141 Member Posts: 1
    I just bought this Explorer, 2009, a month ago, with 29K miles. Several times, I have experienced, at low speed, pushing the brake & nothing happening. On two occasions, came very close to hitting the car I was parking next to. Ironically, had it in the dealership yesterday, they couldn't find anything, then it happened again after I left.
    I push the brake, nothing happens, car continues to move, then feels like the brake takes hold. Very scary.
    Anyone else having this problem?
  • gardenlady1gardenlady1 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2006 Ford Explorer with a very similar problem. I've had it to the dealer on two occasions, but am still having the same problems. They did put new rear brakes on and it did improve, but have had two episodes since the new brakes. Yes it is very scary. I came much to close to hitting a car in the rear on one occasion. No one seems to know what to do for this problem. Previously I owned a 2004 Explorer, but never had any problems with it. Would trade it in if I could afford to.
  • sandy1027sandy1027 Member Posts: 1
    I purchased my 2009 ford explorer eddie bauer edition May 20, 2009. Had first break failure on 8/24/10 - dealer changed "booster". Second failure on 9/3/10 - dealer said there was a bad production of "boosters" so they replaced again. The breaks have now failed a third time on 5/16/11. Ford engineer cannot find anything wrong. There is something wrong that Ford is hiding and we will be the victims just like Toyota customers went through a few years ago. What happens if we hurt someone during a failure? We could end up in prison because no one can duplicate the problem and it would be our word against the Ford giant. This is beyond scary, it's a crime waiting to happen. I'm on my way to an attorney.
  • hpurdyhpurdy Member Posts: 2
    We live in Colorado mountains. We're having severe brake problems. On a downward slope, gravel or snow, the brakes grind and vibrate, and do not stop. So, we have 2 options, depress brakes and do not stop or let foot up from brake and do not stop. Not a good scenario when the road is a hair pin turn, drops off 500 - 1000 feet , you want to stop. Took the vehicle into our ford dealer in canon city, colorado, and they took it for a test run and couldn't duplicate it. I think they should take it on Shelf Road and see how serious they'd be during their trouble shooting. It sounds like others have similar problems. What is the deep secret or solution? Buy a Nissan instead?
  • hpurdyhpurdy Member Posts: 2
    I agree with garden lady. This is beyond scary. I will need to make a decision before winter, and it will not be another ford if they don't step up to the plate.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    edited August 2011
    What you describe is SOP, Standard Operating Procedure, for modern day ABS, Anti-lock Brakiing Systems. ABS wil often sacrifice braking ability in favor of allowing the driver to maintain directional control. That can be very frustrating in certain circumstances, like the one you describe, but ABS, overall, definitely improves safety.

    My '92 Jeep acted the very same way, ABS continued to remain active right down to virtually zero, "creep", speed, NEVER letting the Jeep come to a full and final stop.

    I am a BIG fan of a new design that would disable ABS unless the vehicle direction of travel deviates, according to VSC, from the desired one.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    edited August 2011
    Back in my days in MT, long before ABS, I often made judicious use of the rear implemented e-brake in situations such as you describe.
  • mrgeagle1mrgeagle1 Member Posts: 2
    In the evening on October 17, 2011, I attempted to pull my 2011 Ford Explorer into a parking space in Sunnyvale, California. I was driving between 5-10 mph at the time. As I depressed the brake pedal to come to a complete stop, the car failed to stop. Instead, it rolled into a closed business that was being remodeled. The car came to a stop at the glass front doors to the business and did not penetrate the business. The good news is that no one was hurt in the accident. Additionally, the front airbags never deployed given the low speed I was traveling. The car has about 7,500 miles on it. Much to my surprise, the Ford dealership it was towed to was unable to find any problem with the brakes. In fact, according to the dealership, the brakes appear to work fine now. I have been driving for over 37 years and know the difference between a gas pedal and a brake pedal. I clearly recall pressing the brake peddle in my failed attempt to get the car to stop. I also recall the brake peddle going to the floor and looking down to verify that my foot was indeed on the brake pedal. If I had hit the gas pedal by mistake, the car would have penetrated the business and not been stopped by its glass front doors.

    I discovered your web post regarding similar brake failure on your Ford Explorer. 2 questions for you:

    1) Have you had any other brake failures, other than those listed in your post?

    2) Did you ever find out what caused the brake failure and what if any repairs were made to the SUV'S braking system?

    Thank-you in advance for any assistance you can offer.
  • fordphobiafordphobia Member Posts: 1
    I had to do a panic stop in my '07 Explorer ad the brake peddle went soft. I felt like I was on ice. The Explorer would not stop and I hit the car in front of me. There was no damage to the vehicles but the driver of the other car received a jolt and went to the hospital. Now I have a claim on my insurance record. I took the Explorer to a garage and had the brakes serviced. They found nothing wrong with the brakes that would cause it to not work properly. I have tested the brakes myself, doing panic stop applications. The Explorer peddle feels mushy, it goes to the floor, the vehicle rolls on and eventually stops. I think the ABS is screwed up. The brakes do not pulse, like the ABS does, but 'feel' is similar :mad: .
  • mrgeagle1mrgeagle1 Member Posts: 2
    I would suggest that you file an online complaint with the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA) and advise them of the problem you encountered. I did, even though Ford found no problem with my brakes and I also got stuck with an "at fault" accident, despite the brake failure.
    The more of us who post the problem with NTHSA the sooner Ford will be forced to find the problem and come up with a fix.
  • genec3genec3 Member Posts: 1
    I also have a 2011 Ford Explorer and experienced brake failure, luckily I was pulling into my driveway and had the same experience as you described. The vehicle was taken to the dealershp where I purchsed it, they checked the black box and it told them that there was no failure. I contacted Ford and after almost four months they decided that it was not their problem even though they never checked the brakes and we have pictures showing where only the right front brake grabbed pulling the vehicle to the right and into the house. Seems Ford is not worried about public safety. Its a shame because I have been a Ford customer for over twenty-five years and have purchased over 30 of their vehicles and I guess this will be my last. I will be contacting the NHTSA next. I'm sure they would want to know about this before it becomes an epidemic.
  • mccleanmcclean Member Posts: 1
    We drive a 2006 Explorer Limited with 140,000 kms on the clock. Recently we had the same problem with the brake pedal going right to the floor for a second or two before the brakes engaged. Alternatively the brake pedal sometimes felt like the power assisted braking had failed and the pedal wouldn't budge, only to go soft a moment later as above. Most of the time this happened reversing out of the garage or rolling into parking bays. usually at low speewed. Only once or twice at speeds over 40kmh. We brought it to our mechanic who could find no fault. We brought it to a Ford dealership who initially wanted to change either the master cylinder ($650) or the ABS module ($2,500). I printed off the commentary on this forum and showed it to them. They ran some more tests and found some airlocks in the pedal assembly?? They now claim it is operating perfectly and have road tested it at low speed and high speed. We are collecting the vehicle this evening and if it's fixed I will post a complete description of what they did. The cost was $165.
  • lookinupinatllookinupinatl Member Posts: 1
    Our 17-year-old experienced the exact problem that has been described here. She was not going very fast, having just turned out of her school. She tried to stop when traffic stopped, but even though she stomped on the brake she said the peddle went to the floor and the car didn't stop. She rear-ended the car, totalled her vehicle (94 Ford Explorer), and caused the truck in front of her to hit the car in front of them. The tow truck driver agreed that the brakes did not feel right. How can we get this problem some national attention? There could have been very serious injuries if she had been going faster!
  • bamasmknmombamasmknmom Member Posts: 2
    I have had brake issues for well over a year now. My brake pedal occasionally goes to the floor and the brakes fail. When this happens, I have to quickly lift my foot off the brake pedal and slam my foot back down. They then start to work again. This first began in October 2010. I took the truck to the dealership, paid them $850 to fix the brakes. All they did was replace the Master Cylinder. The brakes worked for about a week and the problem happened again. I took the Explorer back to the dealership, they determined they put a bad Master Cylinder in, so they replaced it again at no charge. Again, I drove it for about a week when it happened again Again, I took it back to the dealership. They couldn't find anything wrong with it and sent me home with it. This went on for about 6 months and six more visits. At one point they even told me I was crazy and nothing was wrong with my brakes! Finally on the last visit, they said that yep they felt what I was complaining about and replaced the Master Cylinder yet again! The car actually drove fine this time for a couple of months. This all happened in Jacksonville, FL. In June of 2011 I moved to Mobile, AL. I parked the car and just now started driving it again. Well, guess what! It's all happeneing again! I called the dealership inm Jacksonville and they said that the Master Cylinder was 10 days out of warranty! TEN DAYS! OK, I am so not thinking that my problem is the Master Cylinder now, it HAS to be something else, what are the odds that they put 3 bad Master Cylinders in! I have plenty of fluid, no leaks. The ABS light is on, the AdvanceTrac is off. Those two lights are the same lights that were on when I first took it to the dealership and they said Master Cylinder. My question is, has anyone else had this issue? Brake Booster maybe? ABS system maybe? I don't have the money at this time to just go replacing parts if that's not what the problem is...
  • gearhead_8gearhead_8 Member Posts: 4
    I was experiencing an unusual high frequency squeak at any speed that went away when I applied brakes. The issue was random, but happened more often than not and more so when the weather was hotter. At the time my ford touch was not active at all, so I brought to the dealer to have them look at the brakes and sync. The sync module was ordered, and then they told me they lubed up the sliders for the brakes. Brake problem came back again within the next day. When I brought the vehicle back in I again brought up the brake problem. The dealer called back and informed me that I had cracked rear pads and the rotors were glazed, so they needed to be turned as well, at a $200+ tag. I complained, and the service guy on the phone said nothing they could do because brakes are considered a wear item. Fine, I'll do it myself...after filling out the online survey that automatically came to my email from Ford with less than stellar marks about my experience, the manager of the dealership called and agreed to fix the issue. I am not a brake abuser by any means, I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem? I did pull the wheel and caliper off and inspected the pads myself... both inside and outsides on at least the driver rear were cracked right though the middle, with very little wear. I didn't bother checking the other side. The caliper was very very tight as well. I wonder if the root cause is a caliper problem and if the issue will come back at some point down the line....

    I have also had a middle row passenger side seat issue where the seat would not lock down after the seat had been lifted...this vehicle was one of the first made as I leased in Feb 2011.
  • shar11shar11 Member Posts: 2
    Hi all....I'm at a total loss. I have a 2000 Sport under 75000 miles. Really babied. This year I suddenly have this off and on issue I'm reading about here of breaking, feels mushy and pedal goes to floor almost. So far I do stop, but trying to keep distance between me what is in front of me. We have taken it in three times, breaks, pads, drums...everything is "perfect" so they tried taking the anti lock hook up off thinking a part of that may be the problem. Within two days it did it again. I notice if I go way down with pedal, then quickly rehit the break it tightens up and gets better. So today it's in again as I demanded a pedal check/inspection. They say nothing wrong...

    I have been lucky, it does it maybe once a day on the average but of course I'm driving around always worried about it. I also see on this forum the accidents that have happened to others. I am new here, just starting to read everyone's we have any idea at all what this problem is???? I can't seem to get any help with this and not in market for new car yet. Thanks for listening.
    Shar11 :confuse:
  • shar11shar11 Member Posts: 2
    Thank you so much for posting all this...I'm bringing up alot of your issues to my mechanic right now as my Sport is back in the shop again. They disconnected the antilock breaks thinking some part of that may be involved but has made no difference so I'm having them rehook it today and they still aren't finding any issue with the pedal they say.....but you brought up some great ideas to get checked. I really want to know what you had done as the $165 is the affordable zone in my life right now. Please don't forget us and post that totaly description you promised. Guess we have to help each other. Shar11
  • 04mtneerguy04mtneerguy Member Posts: 1
    For a while now, my mountaineer has been pulsating when breaking. No noise or vibration in the pedal. Entire truck pulsates in relation to speed and is more notice able at lower speeds. I have recently changed all four rotors and pads. I bled the brake lines twice. Issue still exists but does not seem to be worsening. I also have a bit of a spongy feeling in the brake pedal when the truck is running but plenty of pressure when the engine is off. Not sure if that is a part of the problem but thought is throw it in there. Any help will be greatly appretiated. Thanks.
  • toby32toby32 Member Posts: 1
    It's amazing to hear of the same issues I have with the brakes. I have a 2004 Sporttrac with very little brake pedal and a left rear brake sometimes locking up. The dealership was no help at all. I've had two brake jobs done, and both times, the brakes worked fine up until a month or so later. It seems worse on very hot days. I believe the rear brakes are not engaging. The pedal will practically go to the floor before coming to a stop. I've heard of brake line expansion with the rubber brake hoses. You can push as hard as you want on the pedal, but the brake line expands and the truck barely stops. I also heard there could be a brake line junction for the rear brakes that could be malfunctioning. Lastly, the brake fluid could over heat. Other issues are irregular tire wear and inoperative cruse controls. The tire issue ended up being the Goodyear Wrangler tires. After the dealership replaced the tires with, you guessed it, Goodyear tires, I had the same issue after 2500 miles. I switched to Michelin and problem solved. Don't ask me why, but the Goodyear tire just didn't work. The cruse control issue was the cruse control switch on the master cylinder which I had to replace after the dealership wanted $500 do do everything but replace the switch. The switch has a plunger and when the brakes are applied, the plunger is pushed and deactivates the Cruse control. Hmmm.. Pushing the brake pedal to the floor applying a lot of pressure could have caused the plunger to jam. One issue creates another. I'm interested to hear any feed back regarding the brakes. I'm going to find a good mechanic, other than the dealership, to see what works.
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