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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • guestguest Posts: 770
    I have a 94 Explorer, and recently it has decided to change gear at 4000 rpm rather than the normal 1500 rpm. Can anyone tell me what the problem could be, as it's driving both me and the wife insane.

    Also at 60 - 70 mph there's a really bad vibration, and dies off at about 72 mph then tries to come back on at about 85. I've had all the wheels balanced, and it still vibrates and wobbles. Oh and at 50 mph there's a weird vibration that seems to come from the rear end of the truck..

    Can anyone give an insight into any of these noises..
  • nitromaxnitromax Posts: 641
    I have a 94 Explorer, and recently it has decided to change gear at 4000 rpm rather than the normal 1500 rpm. Can anyone tell me what the problem could be, as it's driving both me and the wife insane.

    You're saying that you put the tranny in gear and it won't drop in unless you bring the rpms up to 4000 rpm?
    If so, it sounds like the stall speed on the torque converter has changed. I don't know how that could happen either unless the fins inside the TC are wearing down or some have broken off. If that's the case, then that might explain the vibration you're getting also...since the spinning TC is no longer balanced....not sure about that one though.

    Another thought could be that the valve body needs to be cleaned/serviced/replaced. Being it such an old model, gunk could be building up inside the valvebody making things stick.

    Just my thoughts
  • The 94 (V6 right) still has a vacuum modulator and these can begin leaking. When it fills with fluid they can get sluggish because of a small orifice that is built in. Is the fluid level normal? Check the vacuum tree on the engine for signs of fluid. This is also the last year for the mechanical speed governor for the 1>2 shift and these can stick. Don't remove fluid from this without replacing with the the newer Microfelt filter. Any delay going into reverse?
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    If you park on an incline (nose down especially) it will cause your truck to either be hard to start, or unstartable if the gas is lower than 1/4 of a tank. Supposedly this has something to do with the fuel tank and where the fuel pump is located in it. I told my wife to try and keep her gas above a quarter tank for all of the reasons I mentioned above. We haven't had any trouble for some time with trying to start it using that method. Another way to solve the problem, is to just roll the vehicle down to more level ground, though because there isn't any boost for the brakes, the pedal is very hard to push-just a heads up in case you didn't know that.
  • Is there a treatment for the tranfercase (old about 129,000 miles) other than change the ATF

    (MERECON) ever so often.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 253
    Thanks for the tips jrc. About a year ago I read about not letting the gas drop below 1/4 of a tank, so now I treat the 1/4 line as E. When it hits it I fuel up. When I started doing that I also noticed better mileage, but it still only gets about 17 or 18. I had the transfer case fluid changed 3 months after I got it which also cured a thumping that occured during gear changes, and I had the transmission fluid and filter (and fuel filter too I think) changed at about 36k miles. It had 32k on it when I got it, and when they changed the fluid it had been changed at around 30k, but whoever did the work forgot to put some gasket back on. They also put a conditioner in the fluid at that time. Last winter, the thermostat went out so I replaced that myself, but I recycled the antifreeze that was already in it. Most of that is gone now due to the antifreeze leak, and has been replaced with fresh. I thought I had a power steering problem back in March, but it ended up just being where the filler cap had popped off due to back-pressure when the wheels were turned without the engine running when we put my new brake pads on.


    I haven't had the coolant leak problem any more, so who knows. I smelled antifreeze the other day, but couldn't find anything. I'll have them do a pressure test on it the next time I notice the resevoir low.


    I try to take care of my vehicles. I've had just about all the maintenance mentioned in this forum done to it at the appropriate times.


    I run Havoline and change it out every 5k. My dad doesn't seem too confident in the synthetic oils, and I guess that's spilled over to me as well, however I think I'd be more willing to try them than he is, but since it's had Havoline in it all this time, I'm not sure about changing it over suddenly.


    As for the ball joints, it's been over 2 weeks and still nothing from the garage in regards to Costguard covering my repair. If I find out that they won't do it, I may take your advice and get the joints with grease fittings, and have a different garage install them. My grandfather uses a different garage than the rest of us, and he gets all sorts of work done for really cheap. The guy's work is pretty good, grandpa is always satisfied, so I'm gonna try him, that is if Costguard doesn't cover the work. If they do, I'm gonna take them for all they will give me.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Glad to see you are so on top of maintenance! My Warranty Gold warranty is now no longer any good for many reasons. 1) Warranty Gold is no longer in business and 2) The truck is way out of the warranty's mileage coverage.


    If I recall correctly, I had to call the warranty company myself, and they told me what to do. Get the work done, pay in full, and then I had to send them a copy of the work order from the dealership. They then sent me a check covering 50% of the cost.


    On synthetic oil:

    The reason I use it, is because it does take longer to break down. While in many cases conventional oil does just fine, many times up 7,500 miles, I just can't let my cars go that long without thinking in my head that I am running my vehicles on anything short of black coffee, so for me it is just for peace of mind (darn mind costs me an extra 20 bucks an oil change :-0) This way, I have more time to find time to do oil changes.


    The power steering flush that I did, was probably not the best. There is still some residual fluid in there that turned the new stuff a darker color (the new stuff is practically clear) and made it smell burnt again, but I figure I at least added some life to the fluid. I will most likely do it again in the summer. The reason I did it was because of how bad the fluid was, and because I hear more whining Ford and GM power steering pumps than I care to. Plus, I think that rack and pinion steering set ups are more sensitive to bad fluid than reciprocating ball, but that is just a personal opinion, there may be no fact backing that up.


    I hope that your truck problems clear up.

    Enjoy your weekend!


  • Hi all,

    I recently posted about my rattley 94 Explorer that vibrates like one of those machines they use to in construction. Anyway my wife just called to say the oil warning light came on again, now this did this about 2 months ago. When she checked it the indicator was at the add more oil level.


    Now considering the truck has 193,000 miles on it, and I know it's not burning oil, is there any other reason why I should be losing oil like I am.. I checked under the sump, and there was residual amounts of oil around the sump plug. Are Explorer's prone to sump plugs leaking ?


    And as the transmission still hasn't improved, due to it revving at 3k rpm before going onto 2nd gear. Are there any vacuum hoses that could be the cause of the 1st to 2nd gear change problem ? Any help will be appreciated..
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    How do you know it's not burning oil? My 94 Explorer with 140,000 doesn't leak a drop of oil anywhere, but uses quite a bit of oil, so I know it's burning it. Why shouldn't yours at 193,000?
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 253
    Okay, as some of you know, I'm a school bus driver. I went to pick up the bus I'm driving next week from the lot tonight, and it wouldn't start. I was going to bring it home and let it run a while (and start it up tomorrow and do the same) so it wouldn't be so hard to start on Monday morning. It's about 35 degrees here, and when I got to the bus, it wouldn't start. I grabbed my trusty jumper cables and hooked it up to the bus (which is a '99 Freightliner) and as soon as the connection was made, the lights inside my explorer grew very dim, and when I looked at the battery guage, it was all the way down on L. It turned over slowly but started fine. I kept trying to start the bus but only got clicking. I smelled something burning, so I ran out to check, and my jumper cables were melting. I took them off immediately, and they were very hot. The explorer was running fine, and I turned it off and back on without any problems. BUT, could this have caused any problems that I can't see? I've done this before with other vehicles and didn't have any problems, but the melting jumper cables can't be a good sign. You can call me stupid, but I honestly didn't think anything could go wrong.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    You're right - it's not good. Your bus has a short, or a long, or something in between called a huge power drain that will likely take out your alternator soon, don't blame the Explorer for that one. You may also experience other electrical problems down the road.


    As far as "who knew"? Your owners manual advises against jumping your vehicle for this reason. You can blow every microprocessor in your car doing this. We tend to go ahead and do it anyway and most of the time we're ok, but in the event we hook up backwards, or hook onto a bad electrical circuit in the other car, we can really blow the other car up. I'd wish you good luck, but you don't have that kind of luck, it seems..... Sorry :)
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 253
    Lol, yeah, if it wasn't for bad luck I'd have none at all. When I went to pick up my parents from their christmas dinner tonight, I spoke with one of our mechanics, and he informed me that another driver was going to take that bus on a trip today, got it to the fuel pump and it wouldn't start after that. They sent him on with another bus, and he jumped this one off and parked it. He said the alternators were bad to go out on the Freightliners, so he thinks thats what it is. I don't think it did any damage to the Explorer, but I'll have to wait and see I guess. Yay for me, now I get to drive one of the clunker spares on Monday. Eh, as long as the kids get to school they don't care. I just hope they give me one that actually has a clutch in it.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    nvbanker is a smart fella, and he is correct that your Explorer is probably ok. He is also correct about the short on your bus. When your truck was having that much electricity drawn from it, was a clear indicator. I had a 1996 Chevrolet step van for work. Thing had a 6.2L GM diesel in it. Truck was trash unfortunately, I had so many problems with it. Honestly it was amazing how a vehicle void of so many creature comforts and other assorted luxury items was such a huge piece of junk. Anyway, I had to jump it numerous times without any trouble, so I don't blame you for trying. I burnt up a set of cables trying to jump a 1978 Ford full size cargo van. After that failed attempt to start it, I donated it to charity, haha.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 253
    I won't let this get too far off-topic, but in our experience, the GM 6.2 diesel is crap. we have 3 van-based buses, 2 '93 Chevy's and 1 '96 GMC (did have 2, but after a new transmission and new engine in one of them, it decided it wanted a face lift too, it was totaled). The two '93s are still running, but the remaining '96 had a new transmission put in last year, and right now it's getting a new engine. When it was still on the road, it would break down at least twice a month, usually in a sharp curve in the middle of the road with no where to pull off. Fun stuff.


    Do you think the life of the battery may be shortened by this incident?
  • Responding to your intermittent starting problems. I have 2 Explorers, a 1997 EB V8 All Wheel drive and a 1998 EB V6. You might want to have the IAC valve changed. Called the Valve Assembly-Idle Air Control $129.29 Part #F67Z-9F715 BB and a new gasket put on for $1.51. If your car is hard starting and sometimes chugs along this could be your problem. You will need to have a Ford Dealer check this for you as they hook your car up to a computer to diagnose this. This can only be performed at your Ford dealer. I have run both cars down near or below E without any problems. To my knowledge i have never changed the fuel filters on either car and they run just fine. Only the IAC valve on both. Hope this helps
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337

    Very hard to say what may have happened to your battery, though probably nothing if your truck starts ok. You may want to stick a charger on it for a couple of hours just in case it took a big hit on the battery's charge. The only other thing that may have been damaged, is the alternator. Both the battery and alternator can be checked for free at Autozone. A good alternator runs at around 14 volts while running, and a good battery holds somewhere between 11 and 12 volts.

    As for GM 6.2L and 6.5L Turbos, pure trash, though with stronger emphasis on the 6.2L. The step van had an Allison transmission in it, which was also bad. UGH! There is a fleet of about 6, 96 step vans, and all but the mine had the Allison transmission go out, mine just shifted very roughly.



    You may have a point with the IAC valve. Seems like you posting about that brought back memories from the past when people were writing in here about "hard to start" and "poor idle" conditions.

    Both of the Explorers that I am talking about (2000's) will both not starting when backed up a hill, and have less than a quarter of a tank of gas. I always have to roll to the bottom of my driveway to start the trucks. It hasn't happened in a while because the gas always stays above 3/4 or a tank. When I suggested to keep the gas level above 3/4 it was for the reasons mentioned. Cooling, keeps debris out of the pre-filter (and fuel line filter), and solves the no start condition some have when on an incline.

    I don't claim that these are facts, just friendly suggestions that were passed on to me from various people I have talked to. They seem to make sense, but it's anyones guess. I do believe that it is a part of regular maintenance to change your fuel filters. When they build up crud and sediments in them over time, it causes a strain on your fuel pump, and will also decrease your gas mileage. Think of it as when you are blowing air through a straw. Bend the straw and it becomes much harder to push the air through. This strain causes heat, and will eventually get the best of your fuel pump.
  • I park my 97 facing down on a steep driveway and if I'm below 1/4 tank before I pull in, then there can be trouble. I've "run out of gas" there just trying to warm it up for a couple minutes. The tank is lengthwise and it is just simple physics.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    "The tank is lengthwise and it is just simple physics."


    Very true, but for some reason my 1999 Expedition does not seem to be as sensitive to this issue. However, like the rest of my vehicles, the gas in that rarely gets below a quarter tank.
  • Did you ever find out what was causing this problem?
  • Thanks for your reply. You are right about the regular maintance. Maintaince schedules get very expensive. I have the oil & filter changed every 3000 miles for both cars & tires rotated,change the air filter around 12,000. I let the dealership do the major transmittion filter change when asked. The fuel filter i do monitor and haven't had any problems with gas mileage or performance either 97 or 98. My 97 is garaged. The 98 i believe has had a fuel filter change or two. Right now the 98 is approaching 100,000 miles while my 97 is approaching 60,000. For the most part i am pleased with both cars. Is the fuel tank different in my Explorers than the 2000?
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    "Is the fuel tank different in my Explorers than the 2000?"

    That is what I am wondering. The 1996 Explorer I sold 3 years ago didn't have the start problem on a hill, but it did burn up a fuel pump at around 90,000mi, so that is why I am cautious.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    Thank you for all you posts. I wasn't able to post on Friday due to Edmund's talk forums being down for maintenence. My '01 Explorer V8 AWD seems to be starting ok for the moment. But if I have another episode of hard starter problem, I'm going to look into the IAC valve change. Thanks to all.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Has GM EVER made a good diesel?
  • I could get an extended warranty BUTTTTTTTTTT
    I don't think this vehicle will make it to the end of the original warranty.
    The first break down occurred with 57 miles on the odometer.
    The second major breakdown occurred at 8,7000 and it involves many components that will continue to fail in chain.

    Time to say :lemon:

    Gonna get a new vehicle of some sort, just don't know which one yet.
  • 2004(April) Explorer XLT V8, 5000 miles on the clock. I noticed a slight clonk on putting into reverse & sometimes into drive. I did not receive a recall notice, but made an appointment for the truck with my NY dealer, Thursday 9 .0 am.

    By Thursday eve, they said they had just finished diagnostics??? Friday came, did not have time to finish it. No truck for Sat/Sunday. Monday I called, eventually ready at 4 .0pm. 5 days, understood it is a 90 minute job. Drove the truck home, about 3 miles. Not convinced it is any better. Though I did read somewhere the onboard computer/software will have to "Reset/find itself". Hope so. Will let you all know.

    (4L2Z-7G391-AA BDY ASY-Trans) Flu Trans auto (Fluid).

    Ps. I had 2 Brand New Jeeps GCL's before this, they both had clunky/clonky tranny's. Thought I was getting away from that.

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Not to my knowledge.....
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Please do let me know, I have the Mountaineer with 7500 miles, and the same clunk. But frankly, it doesn't bother me, never has, and I've not tried to get it fixed. Clunk, schmunk, I figure. But, if you're successful, I may let them take a crack at it next service. If not, I'll let it clunk. It's not much of an issue to me, and the truck runs like a champ.
  • nitromaxnitromax Posts: 641
    I had the same thing on my 94 Ranger and my 97 Exploder.

    When putting it in gear, whether it be reverse or drive, the tranny would clunk.


    From what I have read and heard about it, it is a normal sound for the Ford tranny. It never got any worse and it was never curable.


    I looked into it when I first had it happen for fear that it was a universal joint loosening up....which has the same sound, but it turned out to be nothing.
  • Hopefully, will put a few miles on the beast this weekend. That should allow the electronic side of the tranny, to adjust itself.

    Re, your comment about the little clunk/schmunk, not bothering you so far, I was the same “Hardly noticeable”. It was a slight clunk on engaging gear only. Though once running at say 50 mph, if I put my foot down, it did not seem to immediately respond.

    This explorer runs 10 x's better then either Jeep I had, especially in the transmission dept.

    Thanks guys for responding. I will report the results soon

    Reg. for the holidays
  • I've got a 97 Explorer XLT, V8 5.0L, Automatic 4R70W, and it has NEVER clunked, it just drops into gear smooth as silk, either Drive or Reverse. I bought the 97 in 2002, and I rebuilt the 3.73 Limited Slip rear axle, put in new Carrier and Pinion Bearings. I set ring gear backlash to .008" and Pinion Preload to about 6 to 10 Inch Pounds, filled with Mobil One Synthetic Gear Lube and Limited Slip Additive. If the Clunk you hear is big and bothersome, I would look into it. If is is fairly minor, it probably won't hurt a thing, until the day it gets louder. Sounds like you could have one of several issues. Check Idle Speed, it should be about 700. Check for Play in driveshaft and U-Joints. Check for Play in Rear Axle, Play in pinion rotation should be about 1/8 turn or less. There should be absolutely NO PLAY sidways on the Pinion. Check Transmission Line Pressure for excessive pressure.

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