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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    To those that have the wistle on start up...Are you sure that it isnt the cooling fan. i find that i get a howling sound for alittle while but it goes away pretty fast (within 5 min of start up). I am happy with my 2000 Explorer XLT and i hope that the rest of you enjoy yours too!
  • fxgofxgo Posts: 1
    chicoreyes wrote:

    "I have to pump the brakes several times to stop."

    I have not had this problem, but I'm pretty sure
    you're not suppose to pump anti-lock brakes.
  • bought my new 96 at gleason golf mill ford. after 3 years of hassles with their service dept i took my explorer to park ridge lincoln/mercury. they now do all the stuff i can't. they seem to be quicker and more honest, also made some repairs on good faith. they had done work on a 91 merc i had and was very satisfied. most merc dealers will be happy to work on your explorer.
  • I am looking at a 1999 & 1998 Ford Explore Eddie Bauer SUV fully loaded. I would like to here some good, bad, and ugly responses. The 1999 was leased and only has 19K in miles. The 1998 was leased and has 43K in miles.
    I have looked at Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds for pricing info but sometimes that isn't enough. Any other suggestions.
  • swn1swn1 Posts: 27
    BUY A TOYOTA!!!!!!! Take some time and go back and read the postings to this topic and you will see what most of us are saying.
  • Take it from someone who has owned 3 explorers. Don't do it! The vintage year in my experience for an explorer was 1996.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    As a current ExploHORROR owner, I would say the only reason that you would want to buy an Explorer, is if the following apply:

    1. You are deaf. (the noises and squeaks and rattles will drive you nuts), or
    2. You are nuts.
    3. Your other car is a tow truck.
    4. You are going to drive it until it goes off warranty and then just throw it away or donate it to some charity.

    But Seriously, its not a great idea to BUY a SUV off lease. Chances are, they were driven hard and were not maintained well. Explorers especially need a lot of TLC to keep them on the road and I doubt that most leasees change the radiator fluid, Tranny fluid, re-pack the 4x4 wheel cylinders.. etc. I have a friend who has yet to change the oil on his leased Lexus 4x4.. and it's 18 months old!

    As far as SUV's go, I would get a new one, either buy or leased... and the best brands to go with are (in my prefernce order) Toyota, Honda, Acura, Mercedes, Isuzo, Nissan, Mitsubishi. Note that GM Ford and Chrysler were not mentioned!

    Good luck in whatever you choose.
  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    hundreds of thousands of Explorer's are sold each year, it has consistently been the #1 seller. If they were as bad as some of the people who post here claim, the sales would go into the toilet.
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    I have to agree with Tincup47, sales have been very good on Explorers and on Mountaineers with the volume they produce some will be lemons as in all product lines of cars and trucks and SUV's its not just Ford, its many other automakers, I bought a Mountaineer 4 mos ago and i'm happy with my purchase, of course at first i heard squeaks and some rattles though i had them taken care of at the dealership, I had a door that sounded like all the parts were lose inside which was a dealer fix since then I haven't heard any rattles or squeaks, also some people forget that these are trucks they aren't Lincoln town cars or Caddys, and some people never take care of them and they expect them to last forever without doing regular maintanence. im sure theres some happy Ford SUV owners out there or they wouldn't be as many on the road.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    I own a 98 XLT V8 AWD with 36k. Have had no major problems with it besides the usual squeaks and rattles. I have had some of the noises fixed by the dealership and some I fixed myself, but they can be fixed! I agree with mazman1 in the sense that you dont want to buy a lease. I would even go so far as to say dont buy a used especially off of the lot! Most Explorers are fine mechanically and the people that I know that own Explorers love them and hold on to them. I just have a hard time thinking that someone is trying to dump their problems on to someone else when you are buying used. Depending on the area and use of the SUV I would say that Toyota 4 runners are a good bet. I looked at all the SUV's and chose the Explorer based on several factors:
    1 Comfort. You can have a great vehicle but hate it because its uncomfortable.
    2 reliability. The V8 302 engine has been around and I can say I can trust it (note all the problem posts on the SOHC V6). Try to stay away from new stuff.
    3 cargo space. Lots of room especially compared to a 4runner.
    4 Cost of parts. Domestic parts and labor is much cheaper than forein.
    I have been very happy with mine. My Explorer use consists of mostly in town driving but take it off road several times a year: soft sand, deep snow and through creeks. I have yet to get stuck. Even had to help a Toy 4x4 get unstuck. Good luck in your hunting.
  • sadatxsadatx Posts: 70
    Please for the love of god, don't buy an explorer. I bought my EB about a month ago with 22,880 miles. A week later, I needed a remanufactured engine and it hasn't been the same since. Even though the engine is getting smoother and smoother daily (I guess I haven't broke it in yet), I still wouldn't recommend it. I got a pretty good deal on mine. I think the kbb value is roughly between 18-20K. I don't know where you live(I live in Chicago) but I paid $22k for mine. I bought a fully loaded Blue & Tan 1998 EB 4x4 in mint condition. Previously owned by an executive. I regret my purchase everyday. I'm currently trying to trade out of mine. If you decide to purchase it anyway, I really hope you have better luck than me. Good Luck!!
  • hjw1hjw1 Posts: 17
    Our 1997 Explorer Sport with the ohv engine has a howl that seems to be coming from what I think is the mass airflow sensor. The sound is coming from the plastic housing that is just downstream from the air filter. I've taken the thing apart and could not determine the source of the sound. I was wondering if any town hall readers have experienced this problem and may know the solution. Thanks.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    I think the howl may mean that the air is restricted at some point in the tube. The tube and sensor are very easy to take apart, also check that the filter box inlet (it's in the front of the box) is clear of leaves. I'd also see if your truck makes that howl sound with the tube disassembled and the maf sensor out of the way... it might be something else...
    Other than that, I have no other ideas.
    Good luck.
  • I bought a new '98 Ford Explorer 2 years ago. A
    little more than 2 weeks ago, I broke down on the
    highway on the way to work. I had my explorer
    into my neighborhood Ford Dealer. I have moved
    since my original purchase.

    I was immediately told I was not eligible for a
    loaner since I did not purchase from them. This
    cost me $800+ to rent a car for 17 days. The
    also told me they were having trouble finding the
    transfer case. I was finally told my best option
    was a rebuilt case. The total cost $1,511.94 + rental.

    I was constantly reminded about how I should have
    purchased the extended warranty. This truck has
    never been taken off the road. I also maintain it
    regularly. Why should I expect this type of
    A manufacturer should stand up for its product.
    Dealer have been set up as independents to make
    communication impossible.

    A new development today 12/5/00. The truck lasted 40 miles and broke down again. This time Ford sent a tow truck. The saga continues I come..(no I don't work for any car
    manufacturer or dealer)
  • mozeemozee Posts: 12
    I know of no one who bought an Explorer,not leased it,bought it,and had a positive experience owning it,all had problems,mostly after warranty expired.How's that for Ford tough?These things are starting to clog up the used car lots already,all the trade in's and lease returns,you'll be ale to get a clean 97 for 5K real soon.Not that anyone would want one,with fuel costs as high as they are,and our roads so rough,Y would U want to bounce around in the Explorer.
  • I those two trucks were as big as the Explorer
    I would consider the Nissan first. then a Toyota.
    The last time I shut the door on a Toyota it felt like it weighed about 20 lbs. I didn't feel it would ever protect me as well. In a perfect world a vehicle shouldn't need alot of service. I'm hoping the 2002 Explorer will have alot of the major issues taken care of. I'll be watching closely before my next purchase. Maybe by then another manuf. will come up with a redesign.
  • Ford seems to think 36K is a reasonable mileage to expect a car/truck to last. The only credible explanation is their real profit center is repairs.

    Toyota, I'm coming back
  • isomanisoman Posts: 11
    I have a 94 explorer with the 4.0 v-6 engine. It runs fine but when cold weather comes it starts to knock under load. I've tried various brands and octanes of gas but this does seem to help. On a warm day and all summer this doesn't happen. I've also tried running cleaner thru it to clean the injectors and intake valves but this didn't help either. Has anyone else had this problem and if so what did you do to correct it? Would appreciate any ideas back on what I can do about this.
  • Funny you mention 36K miles is a reasonable mileage to expect a truck to last. I had a '96 Explorer and after 36K miles rolled around it started to cost me. Brakes and electrical mostly. I was replacing braked every 6-7K miles and there was always something electronic not working. I just leased a '01 EB Expedition. I like Fords, the EB was the best SUV that I found. Well, the best I liked. The new Acura MDX is sweet but the dealers had a 4 month wait. So, in 3 years and when the Ford turns 36K miles, Ford can have the damn thing back. It's not that I'm unhappy with the EB but I will expect problems down the road.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    I had a '94 explorer with the same problem. You could be driving on the highway at 55, and then start to go up a hill, and it would knock when you applied the gas pedal.
    My mechanic and I checked the vacuum and the hoses. The conculsion that we came to was that there were deposits in the upper cylinders and valves that were putting too much air in the engine. This is what i did:
    1. When the knock sound starts, back off on the gas pedal.
    2. Dont change your air filter as often.. it may sound wierd, but it actually cuts down on the airflow into the engine and stops the knock.
    3. make sure you are using the right oil 5w30 or 10W30. In the winter, I ran with some more 5w than 10w.
    4. Use 93 or 94 octane gas. Also use a good (3M) fuel injector and deposit remover in the gas tank every month.
    5. Consider having the upper engine deposits professionaly cleaned.. it might cost $300.

    Good luck. I sold the car.. so I dont have the problem now..
  • Just reading through all of these comments and wanted to mention that I have a 97 Explorer XLT that I bought new. I travel extensively for work and in three years have racked up 174,000 brutal miles on it. The only thing I've ever had to fix on it was an oxygen sensor. I'm religious about the maintainence, maybe that's the secret. My wife's 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee, on the other hand, is sitting in the shop with 49,000 miles and a blown transmission. And we just got it back from having the third set of new rotors put on. I think this is more luck than anything else...
  • isomanisoman Posts: 11
    I appreciate the feedback but have tried everything you mentioned. I even had my ford garage pull the enigne and check the bearings(while it was still under warranty.) They said everything in the engine looked good. While they had the engine apart they cleaned out all the carbon. I have been looking at ford manuals and notice that there is a sensor in the air input line that senses the air temp coming into the engine Its called the intake air temp sensor(IAT) and senses the intake temp and sends a signal to the PCM to fine tune fuel metering. I am wondering if this may be the problem because like I said on a cold day it knocks and on warm days it doesn't, no matter what grade fuel I have in it.
  • I had the same problem with fuel knock.The dealer told me not to use nothing but 87 octane fuel as this engine was designed to use only 87 octane.They advised to buy fuel from a name brand station that sold a lot of fuel.They told me they was a difference between winter and summer grades of fuel. By the way I have a 94 Explorer which I like and if I was buying a new truck today it would be an EXPLORER or an EXPEDITION.
  • I have read many posts about bad electrical systems problems in the exporer. I do not see this as a reason to diss the vehicle as cheap or not made with quality. I have a 99 explorer limited with no problems. I also have a 98 BMW 740il which after the bells and whistles were thrown on that invoice, the $ tag was nearing $80,000. The BMW had electrical glitches/problems. they are one the best of cars manufactured. Be assured I did not pay 80K for the car. I am but the humble 2nd owner.
    Explorer sales figures are undeniable. I can't diss the Toyota 4Runner because I have seen them commonly go 250k miles with little problems. I think despite this, they are still a might over priced. The limiteds look pretty sharp though. I doubt I'd ever buy one though.
    Cars and trucks in all classes and price ranges are going to have problems from time to time. The more 'creature comforts' that are added, the more likely they are to flaw.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    I had a '94 Explorer and now have a 2000 Explorer. The 94 was built much better and had much fewer quality work related problems than the 2000. Some simple stuff that was so easy was made complicated. Case in point, the mechanism that turns on (and off) the interior lights when a door is opened is no longer controlled by a mechanical switch, but a computer sensor.. which malfunctions. They made some stuff so complicated that it is absurd.

    Take good care of that 94, and you will be much better off than buying a new one.
  • ace10ace10 Posts: 137
    for many, many years the explorer was the only legitimate choice for a domestic SUV. i don't think that transmissions failures, enigine problems and tire questions qualify as "creature comforts". we are talking about MAJOR problems. And please don't think that just because there only a few hundred problems noted on this board, that it can't be widespread, since there have been millions produced. Millions of exploder owners don't read this board, probably more like thousands. Let's talk about a ratio of hundred to thousands, not hundred to millions. Explorers are poorly designed, from the front end not holding an alignment due to a pathetic design, to widespread transmission failures, to questionable overall stability. THIS IS NOT A GOOD VEHICLE.

  • I have just filed to go to arbitration on this problem: As soon as it gets cold, my truck won't start--it cranks, but won't turn over. I've had 2 idiotic dealerships working on this. Neither could diagnose or fix--my truck has been towed in 5 times since I bought it.

    a-Anyone else having this problem?
    b-Anyone have experience in going to arbitration w/ ford? Do you get totally screwed?

    I am but a lowly female who was thinking of safety and AWD when purchasing this vehicle.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  • tlatstlats Posts: 1
    I own a '93 Ford Explorer. The door hinges on the driver's door are shot. The dealer said it is a common problem and they can fix for $400. Today I shut the door and the handle on the inside trim panel remained in my hand. I called salvage yards for the trim panel and they are all out due to other people experiencing the same problem. I called Ford and they said I was past the warranty period-no really??? Anyway, it seems like a defect/design flaw to me if it is such a common problem, but Ford wants nothing to do with it. I would not buy another one based upon this experience. Has anyone had a similar situation with the hinges and how did you fix it?
  • My wife and I have been leaseing a '96 Eddie Bauer Eplorer equiped w/AWD & V-8 since May 1998. This vehicle was fresh fromm a 2-year lease stint and millage stood @ 24k. Although not perfect, this vehicle with 59k has proven depedable, roomy, and well built.

    We have replaced an O2 sensor, the EGR valve (Ford bugaboo)and had a stuck HVAC door. Otherwise it still has its original tires, brakes, battery, belts, wiipers, and bulbs. The paint quality is much better than on other Fords we have owned, and still looks awesome (black & Gold) and am prouid to drive this vehicle.

    Although the ride is stiff, the hadling is very tight (huge anti-rollbar) and has good steering (rack and pinion). To me it feels like a big Mustang; stiff and fun. When Ford revised the Explorer in 1995, they threw out the twin I-beam, and resirculating ball steering system and went torsen bar upper and lower control arms and enclosed the front half of the frame. The result of which is stiff and steady with excellent alignment and tire wear charictoristics.

    Although I like Fords (especially modified Mustangs), I currently drive a '94 BMW 530i. This car has proven to a be fine car, but the Explorer has a certain "do all" ability that really makes a stronger impression for pride in ownership.

    I think millions of people have had similar experinces we have had. And would (and will) continue to buy these vehicals. Running cost are not bad, and the room, power, comfort and yes dependability of Explorers are very good.

    Explorers are Excellent SUV's
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