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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    About a year and a half ago, after washing my wife's Explorer with a power washer, I had the same thing happen. Would lock and unlock many times for about 20 mins or so. After it stopped it didn't do it again. Needless to say I am a bit more careful with the power washer. I don't think you have anything to worry about.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Interesting Situation. I believe that the reason brakes rust is due to lack of use, not because of use. I have known some people to have to replace their brake rotors due to rusting because the vehicle sits outside and doesn't get used. If brakes become rusted and then used, and rusted and used over and over again, this will destroy the pad linings, and you will be looking at premature pad failure.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    "i get 18-19 mpg avg and around 22 on the highway at 65mph...if i drive 55 on the flats i get around 23-24..i get better mpg than my sisters 2003 explorer XLT V6..go figure"

    These figures are WAY TOO HIGH to be considered on any Explorer built after the 2001 model year. They are now different vehicles. My wife's '02 with the V6 is never more then 14 to 15 around town and never more than 20 mpg highway under 80 mph. Yes, it's true the V8 is only 1 to 2 mpg different. But consider the new model miles per gallon, not the older generation Explorer. BTW, my wife drives very conservatively.
  • ckeatorckeator Posts: 10

    Thanks for the reply. It hasn't happened again, and nosing around under the hood on Sunday I noticed multiple bundles of electrical connections on the firewall, on the passenger's side. Deep water, when splashed, would have no problem dousing all the connections. ;)
  • ajmtbmajmtbm Posts: 245
    i think that is normal. just like the air from the upper vents is always cooler than the floor vents. assuming you have the DEATC, it controls it automatically; make sure that when you put on vent or floor it comes out where you would expect it, that would indicate everything is probably OK.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 252
    I sat down and went over the past month's gas receipts and figured up the mileage on all of them. My best tank was 20.1, and the worst was 10.5, but that was only on 69 miles. The average was mostly 17-17.5. Kind of disappointing, but if it can do 20.1 once, it can do it again. Now I just gotta figure out how it got such good mileage out of that tank, haha.

    as of right now, the orange exploder is doing pretty well. I've been in NC just shy of 2 months now and making a 64 mile daily commute to work and back 6 days a week. My job finished up, so I'm headed back to VA tomorrow. I'm afraid once I get back up there, the curse will open back up and things will start happening again, but then again, maybe not. I'm still smelling antifreeze and can't find where it's coming from, but it hasn't leaked down any.

    I managed to get it good and stuck the other day in lots of mud and slick grass after 2 days of heavy rainfall. Luckily after waiting for an hour for a tow truck, I remembered a guy's phone number, who brought his Ford 4x4 tractor and pulled me right out. Cost me 2 bucks. Thats all he wanted. Tried to give him 5 and he wouldn't take it.

    Other than that, doing great. Let's hope it keeps it up!

  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    Wijoco & Ckeator you were right. Tires rotated and problem gone. I do rotate my tires every 5K, front to rear same side. Guess I will start to rotate the tires front right to left rear..... What I don't understand is why this happened. It is a characteristic of the Goodyear Wranglers? Is is a sign that I should consider replacing the tires that have been on the truck for 56K even though they have plenty of tread remaining? This is the first time this has happen to me in 47 years of driving. I did not escape with a simple tire rotation. The mechanic did find the lower ball joints showing signs of excess wear, one more that the other, so I had both replaced.

    Once again, thanks for the input!

  • nitromaxnitromax Posts: 641
    What I don't understand is why this happened. It is a characteristic of the Goodyear Wranglers? Is is a sign that I should consider replacing the tires that have been on the truck for 56K even though they have plenty of tread remaining? This is the first time this has happen to me in 47 years of driving. I did not escape with a simple tire rotation. The mechanic did find the lower ball joints showing signs of excess wear, one more that the other, so I had both replaced.

    The ball joints most likely would have caused the problem. I'm assuming your mechanic gave the truck an alignment after the replacement? If not, get it done.
  • expxltexpxlt Posts: 2
    Help please! My 98 Exlporer XLT V6 4WD has been making a loud "clunking" noise periodically when in reverse. Seems like something "dropped" or shifted in the front end, then grinding or rubbing feel on the front tires, especially driver's side. Put in drive and after a few minutes all seems ok again. After this happens, 4WD Hi & 4WD Lo dash lights blink on & off intermittently. Approximately 1mo ago, when problem started, took to mechanic, complete brake job (front & rear), replace left rear axle seal (mechanic said a leak in the rear differential) and oil change. Couple of weeks later problem happened again, back to mechanic. Mechanic re-did brake job (?) and lubed everything. Problem happened again, back to mechanic, finally happened when mechanic had it - replaced the rack and pinion, still happening. Back to mechanic, he's stumped, flushed fluids (at no charge), still happening. Any suggestions? Thanks. :confuse:
  • ckeatorckeator Posts: 10

    As for the tires, sometimes it's not the mileage, it's the age. How old were the tires---once they hit 5 years old, the sidewalls tend to get weak, and then all bets are off as to what is happening with the structural integrity.

    My brother only had 10K on his last set, but had them for 6 years. The sidewall basically dry-rotted on the rims, with 40K of tread left... :(
  • ckeatorckeator Posts: 10

    Please do not take this badly, but first, go get yourself another mechanic. This is a driveline problem---as indicated by the flashing dash lights AND your description.

    It could be anything from a driveshaft union, to a severely damaged transfer differential. The grinding feel could be a stuck gear within the transfer case, or worse yet, signs that your transmission is on the way to the grave.

    How many miles on your exploder, has it been regularly maintained, and what repairs have you had completed on this vehicle?
  • merc2002merc2002 Posts: 17
    then unless my fuel guage is faulty then my 390 mile road trip i took and filled up with 18 gallons of gas afterwards with(according to the info center)because of the "low fuel light" ,must never have 97 ford taurus gl with the 3.0 V6 got 290miles on a 1/2 tank of gas back and forth from yankee candle in Massachusetts to Amsterdam ny(almost 40 mpg)....and my 93 dakota sport automatic 2wd w/ tonneau cover w/ 3.9 V6 got 25mpg from Amsterdam to Lake dont come back and flame me just because you can not believe those numbers...the only thing i can contribute these #'s 2 is the fact i run 92 octane on all the vehicles and have replaced every vehicles fluids with synthetics and additives form ZMAX or DURALUBE(replaced every 6k miles),REDLINE and have always tried to run MOBIL 1 or CASTROL SYNTEC(replaced at 3k) and change my fuel filter religiously around 25k,add injector cleaner every 2000 miles, run platinum plugs and 8mm-9mm plug wires(except the merc)since the 1st days of owning all the vehicles and keep my tires pressures to maximum allowed....i've got 195K on the dakota and 160k on the taurus and never had a engine problem once(knock on wood) :) brakes, shocks, cooling..thats a whole different deal :cry:
  • merc2002merc2002 Posts: 17
    if you haven't already, go see a ford dealer and have them fix it..even though it may cost more this what they fix day in and day out........if i can't fix it, it now goes to a dealer but i demand all my parts back if they get replaced(thats my right )so i know i didn't get ripped off...they have no problem with that so far..good luck me it sounds like the 4wd drive system or tranny needs to looked at not the brakes also i think i think i read somewhere here in forum the 4wd center is giving off codes when its blinking..anyone know for sure???good luck
  • merc2002merc2002 Posts: 17
    this isnt a explorer problem its a ford 97 still will not lock and it leaves its interior light on when it rains or i go through a car wash...i popped out the light and i deal with the door open light...was told its a solenoid in my door but when it gets warm and dry outside(opposed to humid) it locks my doors when i drive and the warning light goes i never had it replaced
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172

    Thanks for the reply. I had the tires, Goodyear Wrangler RT/S, installed on 10/26/00 as a result of the Firestone recall. That means they've been on the truck for 4 years and a little over 5 months. I will monitor them very closely and probably replace them before the fall 2005.


  • expxltexpxlt Posts: 2

    Thanks for your reply, we feared that it might be indicating a transmission problem. Bought the vehicle in '01 w/ 65K miles in very good shape w/all maintenance records. Just turned over 99K and have kept up maintenance, no major repairs since we've had it.

    What's strange is that the problem happens randomly, not everytime I put in reverse and seems okay after a few minutes when it does happen (expept for blinking dash lights). Guess we need to decide whether to throw more $ at repair or start looking for a new vehicle. Do you think it's safe for in-town driving (10-15 miles a day)?

    Thanks again,
  • magicdeamagicdea Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Ford Explorer, and is the book it says to push the buttons 3 and 5 on the radio at the same time to get the rear seat controls to work.. I have tried that many times but I have n gotten no luck... Please Help Me!! :confuse: :cry:
  • ckeatorckeator Posts: 10

    Sometimes it's not the amount of driving, it's the type. If you routinely "run your vehicle" around town, primarily stop-n-go driving, this puts considerable stress on the drivetrain components. If it's going to go, it's going to go...

    On another note, you said your mechanic changed all the fluids. From your records, did the transmission and transfer case get fully serviced at 60,000, which would include filter change and fresh fluid?

    I ask, because sometimes changing the transmission filter with fresh fluid cures these little hiccups. And if you have been doing a lot of "city-type" driving, your transmission service should be done every 30,000 miles, not every 60k.

    One other option, as mentioned by merc, is to take it to a dealer. However, before I bring any of my cars to the dealer, I always call and describe the problem to a service technician/manager. In your case, this is more than appropriate, because it is an intermittent problem. The description may be the only symptom they have, because the actual problem doesn't present while at the shop. Call your area dealerships until you find a service department that is willing to talk with you over the phone. This accomplishes 3 things: 1) it will give you an honest and accurate idea of what the problem may be (it could be as simple as a $50 sensor), and 2) even if they can't pinpoint their diagnosis, a good service manager should be able to give you a best/worst synopsis of downtime/cost, and 3) it will at least give you a great dealership option to go to for the service. I've found that if a dealership is unable to give any diagnosis over the phone, then I go elsewhere...

    I grew up with mechanics/repairmen for brothers/father, but I'm in my mid-30s and a graduate assistant, so I still do all of my own repairs (youth + fundsalow + still stupid :P ). However, I've found 3 good dealerships to do work on my last 3 brand cars, so if I have a job I can't do because of the time or work space (somethings are just easier and safer with a hydraulic lift, period) I have a viable option.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    Nobody is flaming you. The point of my post was that you have an older Explorer, and one cannot expect these miles-per-gallon numbers you are getting. The average person is not using all the additives that you are. My second point is as follows: I have a 2005 Ford Taurus with the 3.0 Vulcan. I am in sales and drive an average of 150 to 200 miles A DAY. I have never achieved more than 26 on ALL HIGHWAY DRIVING. So your numbers are truly the exception. Be proud of the numbers, don't take it negatively!
  • greapergreaper Posts: 6
    Could still use some help with my earlier message (#3488). Seems to be getting worse. Notice it starting to happen a little bit further up the RPMs now.
  • "My 1998 5.0 2wd with 125,000 miles has been running great until a few days ago. As I put a light load on the engine, it hesitates. It usually happens while going up a slight hill or light acceleration aroung 15-20 rpm. It doesn't seem like the engine is missing so thought it might be the torque converter or trans."

    Greaper, What is your maintenance history, is all your maintenance up to date? Have you put in new spark plugs and spark plug wires? Bad spark plug wires can cause slight missing and hesitation. I seriously doubt that the transmission or torque converter would cause this.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. :)
  • greapergreaper Posts: 6
    plugs and wires recently changed but will double check. It idles great and was fine until just today at higher RPMs or while accelerating.
  • greapergreaper Posts: 6
    just changed front bearings, rotors, and pads. did it exactly as shown in manual and now about every third time the brake pedal goes in about 1/2 inch just before comming to a complete stop.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    If I understand your message correctly, and the description of your problem (interior lights staying on), then I agree that the door switch ( for the lighting )is sticking. All it needs is lubercation, but it isn't easy to get to. Some people have had success with spraying a non-electric conducting spray grease or oil in their door latch mechanism with success. On my Expedition, I took the door panel off, removed the switch, and lubercated it with some dielectric grease. Hasn't been a problem in over a year.

    The spooky ghost that haunted my wife's Explorer for 20 minutes or so, just kept unlocking and relocking the doors repeatedly. Sometimes it would lock, lock, lock and then unlock, vice-a-versa or any combination of lock and unlock that you can imagine. This however, happened about a year and half ago after a thorough cleaning.
  • ekaiekai Posts: 1
    My 2002 has had repeated failures of the drive shaft seal at the differential, repeated failures of inner & outer boots and CV joints--all on the right hand side. No matter how many 2 & 4 wheel alignments I have the tires suffer from constant cupping--3 sets in 105,000-getting ready for my 4th set of tires. ABS & speed sensor failures too--2x's. 4 brake light switch (at the pedal) failures. Ford came out with a new brake light switch in Jan 05.

    Other problems: intermittent air bag light, paint oxidation on the exterior plastic panels. Ignition switch worn out at 70,000 miles--had to have the wafer tumblers replaced. Phantom/ ghost sifting of the transmission.

    A friend of mine has on '02 Explorer (also mfg in Dec 01 like mine) that has gone thru 4 rear ends!

    Anyone else have these problems with this first year production of the new generation Exploder?

    In short, my car is a lemon.
  • rwigginsrwiggins Posts: 1
    did you notice any unusual noises from behind the engine
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Based on my expereince 2 Explorers and Wrangler tires, it is a characterristic of the tires. When it is time to replace them you can find about a dozen tires that are cheaper and better quality than the Goodyear Wrangler series.
  • nomore2nomore2 Posts: 1
    Purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer XLS with 24K miles on it (I was told by the dealer it was a program vehicle). I did not op-in for the extended warranty because this has been my 4th Ford vehicle in 10 years and have not had any MAJOR issues. Not this TIME! At 47.7K miles the transmission completely failed. My wife drives this vehicle and has never towed anything. The symptoms were a short pause (3-4 seconds) before transmission would go into forward gear. The vehicle was maintained by the dealership and had all the recalls currently completed. Never a word or worry about checking anything other than fluid levels. When the transmission lost Reverse completely I took it to the dealer. I was informed that both 3rd and 4th were also gone and the transmission could not be rebuilt and to buy a new transmission (to get a new warranty!). I had a discussion with Ford Customer care and they told me they would not help at all. I even agreed to pay for labor if they would pay for the transmission (because I thought it should of lasted a bit longer than 47.7K!!). They said forget it... and so I said forget Ford. This transmission is also showing up on the National Transportation Safety web site and I encourage anyone with a Transmission problem with this vehicle to register a complaint with them.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    Thanks dtownfb.

    I'm leaning towards General or Michelin as replacements for the Wranglers. Of course price and how long I plan to keep a 99 Exploder will probably play roles in which tires I eventually purchase. Although the truck has been ok, I don't have the same sense of confidence as I have in my Honda Accord or any of the other Japanese cars I have owned over the years. Although the Exploder was cheaper to purchase and had more features than the 4Runner I doubt that I would have had to replace the ball joints on a 4Runner with 67K on the odometer.
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    "This transmission is also showing up on the National Transportation Safety web site and I encourage anyone with a Transmission problem with this vehicle to register a complaint with them."

    I personally checked the NTHS website for the 2004 model year and looked under "powertrain-automatic transmission". THERE WERE ONLY 76 COMPLAINTS!! When you look at the HUGH number of Explorers that Fords sells, this is a small number by any stretch of the imagination. I am sorry you had trouble and ran in to a major expense. However, people have a tendency to not remember that "Program Vehicle" means "EX-RENTAL VEHICLE". Enough said? I have purchased many "program vehicles" and not had problems. However, to buy an Explorer (I own an '02 as well!) especially an "off rental" and not purchased an extended warranty is a real gamble, when you look at the history of the transmission solenoid and the rear end. I purchased mine new-but purchased a Ford extended warranty on-line when my vehicle reached 35,000 miles. And BTW, I currently have 39,000 miles on it and the only problem I have had is the transmission solenoid replaced under warranty. Good luck with your vehicle.
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