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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • kegjegkegjeg Posts: 4
    Hi, When i shut off my 03 explorer, the radio is supposed to keep playing and the electric windows will continue to work until you open a door. This has worked until last week. Now when I turn it off, the reminder to remove your keys starts dinging until you remove them. I can not leave the keys in the ignition because it will ding indefinitely. Any ideas/

  • ptruckleptruckle Posts: 4
    hi iam a new member and in the uk ,and i need some serious help or advice on my transmission problems,when driving i get some serious clunking and thumping and the car feels like the suspension has has seized and when i accelerate there is some serious noise all on the left side ,hold on it gets worse sometimes when i stop for fuel or go visit someone i start the car and it drives perfect and will continue so untill i stop. ther is no noise and it drives like new,start of again and the clunking and banging starts again,i have looked at all the obvious ,bearings ,driveshafts,prop,mountings ect and all are perfect and no play anywhere,this leads me to think that it is a electrical problem,i say this as how can i drive 300 miles with everything just perfect cruise control on and cruising at a steady 90 then pull in for gas and as i pull away there is some serious noise and a eneven ride this could continue for days then out of the blue everything is back to normal,i have cleaned as many contacts as i can find ,the car is a 98 4.00ltr v6 four door,can someone please help me? :sick:
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    02 4x4 V8
    rear end leaking again after several fixes. each time i would hear the whine first and then would see the leak. each time after the dealer has replaced the seals (which the service advisor said was the problem) the noise would dismiss along with the leaking problem. however, is it really the seal that's causing the whine and leak? now here is something interesting... i can recall that everytime after i loaded the truck up with something (1st time i helped a friend move, 2nd time i loaded 45 bags of wood barks with 15 bags each trip, and the 3rd time i loaded the truck with 10 bags of potting soil), the rear end would start leaking. my question is... am i stressing the rear end axle by doing so? i certainly thought the truck could handle a MUCH heavier load than that! :confuse:
    anyway, just got the car back from the dealer, and i sure hope that if this is going to happen again, let's please be within 12k miles so the dealer will have to fix it again for free under the 12k mil warranty on new parts! :P
  • alman08: Yes, you can pull a heavy load with that Explorer. The combination of the V8, Transmission and rear Axle is supposed to be very strong. I have a 1997 XLT and a 2000 XLT, both with You did not mention WHERE the leak was coming from, but since it was whinning and then leaking in each case, I would assume the two are directly related, likely the pinion seal was where the leak was at. The only other points of leakage would be the rear cover or the axle seals. If there is a problem with the pinion bearings and they develop play, this will cause the pinion gear to misalign with the ring gear and make the whinning sound. The play in the pinion bearings will allow the pinion gear shaft to wobble, which causes the pinion seal to fail and leak. The whole thing is simple to fix correctly, but must be done by a pro. I've built several of these rear axles, but I can't get into the nut and bolts of it here. When those rear axles are properly set up and properly lubed, they should give well over 200,000 miles of reliable troublefree service. The secret to them doing that is being SETUP correctly, and LUBED correctly. You are having failures because the rear axle has not been set up correctly. The proper SYNTHETHIC lubricant must be used, and be sure the rear axle is full up to the fill hole. Unfortunately, you are having to deal with the dealer, so you will have to stress again to them that you need it fixed correctly, and that you might devulge some information that you have heard, like the pinion bearings are real critical to the operation of the real axle and the seal.
    I have posted about this subject before, try searching for the posts below:
    #1251 99 Explorer Rear Ends by bigalds on 03/02/2002 can't remember which forum.
    #2151 Comments on Ball Joints & Rear Axles to all by electricdesign on 12/31/2004 on the Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer forum
    (those where some of my previous screen names)
    Good Luck
  • exploded99exploded99 Posts: 67
    There are many post here about bad differentials on the newer Ex's. They are having problems with them. I would load the car up and see if it fails again.

    My guess is that since you have heard the whine several times your pinion gear and ring gear are now highly suspect (bad). The pinion gear is supported by a bearing - I think that bearing is worn / damaged, and is causing the seal faillures. Stressing the rear pinion bearing ( which is what you are doing when you put a lot of weight in the vehicle) apparently causes enough movement to damage the seal.

    If that is the case, the ring and pinion gears will be wearing incorrectly and you will get early rear differential failure.

    I would be talking to the service manager at this point. Multiple seal failures is not normal, and you need to let them know you are aware that these differentials are having problems. Certainly, if it occurs again, I would not accept only the seal being repaired. That is just the symptom, not the problem. Multiple rear seal failures would be enough reason for a service manager to approve more extensive work.

    Next time, I would insist on a differential rebuild.
  • exploded99exploded99 Posts: 67
    Actually, your description sounds to me like a bad motor mount.. Clunking and thumping are typical descriptions of what happens when you shift into gear and your motor mounts are bad.

    Also, "suspension seizing" - I think you are feeling the engine move.

    Have a mechanic check your motor (and transmission) mounts. You must do more than a visual check to be sure they are good.
  • rt2rt2 Posts: 1
    04 Mountaineer - big clunk at crusing speed at 70mphJust this afternoon cruising my 04 Mountaineer v6 (24k miles) at around 70mph and all of the sudden there was a big clunk coming from I believe the transmission. It felt like as if it was trying to change gear as it did give it a little jerk. This is the first time this happens and I can not seem to duplicate it. Due to the popular reverse delay\clunking problem that has been going around with the 02-04 explorer, I had recently taken it to the dealer to have them replace the solenloid.

    However, the incident this afternoon led me to believe there is apparently still something isn't right about this transmission. This really worries me....
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    thanks guys, i will mention that to the service mgr again since right now i don't see any leak but i still am hearing some whining especially when driving between 35-40mph.
    electricdesign, it seem to be leaking from the middle of the rear diff, but then the dealer said it was the left seal, then the right seal, then the left seal again...
  • jeffb66jeffb66 Posts: 1
    I look forward to hearing what progress other people make with this a/c chirping noise. I bought my 2005 Explorer XLT just a couple of weeks ago and the chirping started practically immediately. I'll be mentioning this to my dealer when I take the truck back to the shop for another warranty repair in a week or so. With less than 400 miles on the vehicle a sensor inside the gas tank developed a "hiccup" (service manager's terminology, not mine) and must be replaced. Of course it's going to take a couple of weeks for the part to come in. Now the gas gauge works part of the time and the "Service Engine Soon" light is on constantly.

    Another "odd noise" I have noticed is a whine that comes and goes when accelerating from low speeds. It's there mostly when I start moving from a dead stop and I gradually accelerate until I reach a higher speed and then it goes away. It almost sounds related to the transmission. Sometimes it's louder than other times. I would be interested in hearing if anyone else has noticed this noise.
  • I too have had trouble (actually replaced!) my hub & bearings on my '02 Mountaineer! No, they are not cheap by any means. A mechanic friend said that he could actually make a living on just Explorers & Mountaineers hub & bearing replacements! What gives?! Not sure why they don't recall them - all that I have been hearing are stories with similar problems. Actually took mine in this morning for more work!!!
  • Hope everything went well with your vehicle appointment Cartrouble1. Other then the Hub and Bearings I love this truck, going to see if the local bearing shop can find similar or better bearings for me. My truck only has 85,000km or 53,000 miles, Hub and Bearings should last alot longer then that. To bad they did not make a way to grease them every now and again. But the manufacturers would rather you buy new then maintain what you have, it is all about the money. :mad: :(
  • ptruckleptruckle Posts: 4
    thanks for the reply will do as you say but i have quite a bit of mechanic know but no nothing of the american explorer i have checked all the mounts visuale and with leverage but everything seems fine, as i drove the car to work on monday there was no sign of any problem with the car but when i whent to come home i had only done a few yards and there was the clunking and uneven ride again , do you think that it it is worthwhile to go and have the car put on one of those elec testers at a ford dealer,as they only deal with the ranger over here i am a bit sceptical about their equipment to get a true reading
    thanks again for your assistance,
  • You have mention two problems that you will probably be returning to the dealer for often. We have a 2004 NBX Explorer with the V8 and have experienced these problems several times. The problem with the air conditioner is the clutch mechanism. Ford is aware of the problem and is working on it. Their fix for it right now is to readjust the clearance to 2.5 mm. This is a temporary fix, ours was adjusted and the problem is returning in less than 5000 miles. Ford is looking for a long term fix to the problem. Several owners have complained about the noise.

    The second problem with the whine in the axles or transmission. We have experienced the same problem. So fare we had the whole rear end replace, then just the internal gears and pinion. We still have the problem and our vehicle is on its way to the shop this week. We have had the local dealership check the problem on several occasions other than when they actually replaced parts. Basically, if the fan switch is set to 3 and the problem can be heard then they will rebuild it.

    We are also now experiencing the problem in the front axle. During the last warranty repair of the rear axle we had them check the front. They did nothing at the time. Now the problem is much worse and can be heard over the fan being set to 4 and the radio playing. Good luck, there is a problem here and I don't think Ford has a fix for either problem above.
  • ajmtbmajmtbm Posts: 245
    02 exp LTD. when on "Miles to E" in message center, often (more than you would think) i see "Computing Fuel" is the vehicle actually doing anything. i will say that compare=ring the miles to E with the gas taken, it is actually quite close.
  • exploded99exploded99 Posts: 67
    Well, sorry. I interpreted your post as meaning your pinion seal was failing repeatedly. If your axle seals are failing, thats a little different.

    But pinion and axle seal leaks would be coming from different spots under the truck........

    Anyway, clever of you to notice that when you loaded the vehicle up the leaks resulted.

    Perhaps electric design could share with us just what parts are failing on these diffs.I for one am quite curious to know, and someone who has worked on several would have a good idea.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    :P i think you got my post confused with someone else's lol... anyway, you gave me a good suggestion too. maybe the dealer was just trying to do "patch up" work by replacing the seals instead of really looking into why the seals failed so quickly, and i will have to talk to the service mgr to see if they can really look into why that occurred. thanks :shades:
  • exploded99exploded99 Posts: 67
    Well, this is a little difficult. So I will just ask you some questions to see if the noise can be narrowed down somewhat.

    1. Does the clunk happen when you shift from park to drive, or only after you start to move the vehicle in drive? Motor mounts usually clunk when you do the shift.

    2. Same question, but when shifting from park to reverse.

    3. Any apparent transmission shift problems going up through the gears, or when downshifting? Would you say gear shifts are related to the noise or not?

    4. Your transmission will in most cases cause the overdrive light on the dash to flash when it is having problems . Does this light flash or has the check engine light come on?

    5. What type of four wheel drive do you have? Is it control trac ( that's the name here)? Are you driving in 4wd AUTO when this happens? If so, I am suspecting possibly a transfer case problem.

    In 4wd HIGH the transfer case locks in the front axle. BUT, you never want to drive on dry pavement this way, as the front axle spins a little faster than the rear axle. This causes axle windup in the front axle, which will usually be relieved by wheel hopping in turns (suspension seize?). If you don't turn much, it can be relieved by clutch slippage in the transfer case, or more damaging ways

    In 4wd AUTO, the engagement / disengagement of the front axle by the transfer case is supposed to happen automatically - no input from you. The General Electronic Control module sends electric pulses to the transfer case to engage the transfer case clutch packs as necessary. There are speed sensors on the front and rear driveshafts it uses to decide how much front axle engagement is necessary. It can engage from 10% up to 100% lock if I recall correctly. Could be a malfunction here (sensor, clutch packs) is forcing you into100% four wheel and then you have the problem, which mught very well cause your clunking. An electrical or sensor issue should cause your 4wd lights to flash indicating a malfunction, but a clutch pack problem may not.

    You don't have a 2wd position I don't think. If you do, switch to it during the problem

    6. Do you have the air ride suspension?

    7. What speeds has the clunking happened at?

    Ford in the U.S.uses a "new generation STAR tester" to read codes and diagnose electrical / operational problems. You should ask the dealer if they have this tester to hook up to your vehicle. If not, call FORD customer service and see if they can find you a dealer that does. Also, quiz the service manager at the Ford dealership and ask if he has a really good four wheel drive guy.

    Without the tester, you may have to shop for a good four wheel drive mechanic and take him for a ride. I think some of the Land Rovers have similar systems.

    Hope that gave you an idea or two!
  • alman08:
    There is some confusion as to where the leak is. Has the leak been in different places each time, or the same place each time? The dealer says left side, then right? I would check the paperwork and ask exactly where and what the problem was each time. If leaking at the FRONT seal, which is in the center, where the driveshaft connects to the differential, then the cause is most likely loose or worn PINION GEAR SHAFT BEARINGS, which causes the seal to wear and leak. There are TWO pinion gear shaft bearings, one in the FRONT right behind the seal, and one in the REAR near the PINION GEAR itself. They are about 5 inches apart. The PINION GEAR and the PINION GEAR SHAFT are all one piece, it is simply the gear with the shaft sticking out the front of it. A bearing is at each end of the shaft, to hold the Pinion Gear rock steady. If the front seal has been leaking repeatedly, then BOTH PINION GEAR SHAFT BEARINGS should be replaced. They may be short cutting and replacing only the FRONT PINION GEAR SHAFT BEARING and the PINION SEAL, leaving the REAR PINION SHAFT BEARING untouched. The problem will reappear if the REAR BEARING is bad and loosens up, allowing play in the PINION GEAR SHAFT. The PINION GEAR SHAFT must be held absolutely rock steady to maintain it's critical alignment with the RING GEAR. The Pinion Gear Shaft is installed TIGHT in the bearings by carefully tightening the Pinion Shaft Nut to compress the bearings a small amount, to a preload setting of about 6 to 8 inch/pounds. There is NO allowable play in the Pinion Gear Shaft. If you grab the driveshaft at the rear universal joint, right in front of the rear differential, and push hard side to side, there should be NO play at all, NO sound it all, not even the slightest click. If there is play, then the pinion bearings are bad. If the Pinion Bearings need to be replaced, the differential must be dismantled, both axles removed, the carrier and ring gear removed, Pinion Gear with Bearings removed and the housing cleaned. Then everything needs to be carefully checked, parts replaced and then the differential must be properly SET UP. If the gears are ok, a new REAR PINION BEARING is pressed onto the PINION GEAR SHAFT, the PINION GEAR SHAFT is installed, new FRONT PINION BEARING and CRUSH SLEEVE is installed from the front. Then with special tools, the PINION GEAR depth mush be checked and set. It is set by changing the PINION GEAR THRUST WASHER, available in different thicknesses, usually about .025" works ok. Once the PINION GEAR depth and BEARINGS are all correctly set, PINION GEAR SHAFT preload set, then the CARRIER with the RING GEAR is carefully inspected. It has large CARRIER BEARINGS on each end that support it. The axles pass through the CARRIER BEARINGS. If the Pinion Bearings were replaced, it is a safe bet that the Carrier Bearings need to be replaced also. Once the Carrier is checked to be ok and all bearings and spider and axle gears and clutch pack are checked to be ok, it is installed back into the housing, and the PINION GEAR to CARRIER GEAR BACKLASH is checked. It should be in the range of .006" to .010", with .008 being ideal. If the backlash is too tight or too loose, then the carrier will need to be adjusted with new shims, until the backlash is correct. Then the Carrier Bearing Caps are torqued down. Then the axles and axle bearings are checked, axle shaft seals are checked, replace any that are loose or leaking, then both axles are installed. Once everything is tightened down, it is checked again, then the rear cover sealed and installed. The the rear differential is filled up to the fill hole with the proper synthetic lubricant, and friction modifier if the differential is the limited slip type. Then final road test, and it's done, hopefully for many, many miles.
    If the leak is only at the sides (at the wheels), you may only need axle bearing(s) and seal(s). The differential does not need to be totally dismanteled, but the rear wheels and brakes need to come off, and differential cover removed to release the
    axles. Then of course replace parts, replace axles, reseal and replace cover, and fill to fill hole with proper synthetic lubricant and friction modifier if the differential is the limited slip type.
    If they can't repair it correctly, I would insist that they replace the differential.
    I hope it helps.
    Let us know how it goes.
  • marshuffmarshuff Posts: 3
    I have 1998 Explorer Limited, 5.0V-8. The check engine light came on and I have found the EGR tube (from the manifold to the EGR valve) is cracked. Also the Number 1 &2 O2 sensor monitor is bad. Does anyone know where to get the Tube and/or the O2 sensor monitor? Can they only be gotten from Ford? My local dealer is know for Overpricing by a huge amount if you want to do the work yourself.
  • badshiftbadshift Posts: 4
    somebody has to know whats up with message #3854 i cant find any help.please please help!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    You may want to try Got a Quick, Technical Question?. Good luck!

    tidester, host
  • tickedoff2tickedoff2 Posts: 11
    nvbanker, I have been in contact with FoMoCo since your last post, I am satisfied it is they and not the dealer who will not authorize any further attempts to correct the violent random operation of the transmission. The dealer's position is that he is quite willing to keep working on it but Ford needs to tell him what to do to fix it, and of course reimburse the dealer for his efforts. The dealer has suggested I try another dealer, I will do this but am confident they will not do warranty work on this problem-FoMoCo has it noted in their Customer Relations Computer that their engineer has declared the transmission normal, therefore no warranty work by any dealer. Judging from your screen name: I suspect you know that he who controls the money controls just about everything in these situations. I am requesting that the Dispute Resolution Board takes a look at this, as well as the NHTSA/ODI. Thank you for the responses, I will post any noteworthy information that may come my way. The only way those of us who are getting the runaround from Ford Motor Company to get any satisfaction is spread the word and take the time and money necessary to give this issue a lot of notoriety and cause pressure from various agencies


  • ptruckleptruckle Posts: 4
    what a great guy thanks very much for your time to reply,i will answer you as best as i can.
    there is no clunk when i use the gear shift in any of the gears there is no noise from the gears at all they are as smooth as silk.
    when in cruise control and the engine needs more power and the auto cruise control works as it should its then the clunking and rough ride comes into its own you have to hold on to the wheel because the steering goes all over the place and is very very light,i then have to touch the break pedal to cut out the cruise control and slow the car down the noise stops and the car is normal again,untill i accellerate away again but very gently the noise reappears but no where as bad obviousley less torque is being applied,once it got so bad i stopped the car on the moterway and i kicked the left hand wheel,in temper got back in the car and believe it or not the car drove perfect for the next 100 miles or so using heavey accelleration and the cruise control it drives like a dream and very fast when everything works .so that brings me back to my first thoughts that as it is intermittent i believe strongly that it is an electrical problem.
    there has been no warning lights on and the overdrive light has never flashed ,the overdrive works as it should as quite often i use it as breaking on inclines.
    i am driving in four wheel drive auto at all times ,but saying that i have had no problems in engaging high or low and all work as they should
    i do not have a two wheel drive position
    the suspension i am not to sure i have an isolation switch which must be turned of when jacking up the car or in suspended tow.
    i strongly like your idea about the sensor clutch pack problem,also i have tried to locate the speed sensors because it actually feels like the drive shaft is trying to engage but cannot.
    as to speeds when you move of steady there is very minor noise and clunking but as you speed up the clunking gets louder if you accellerate hard it is very bad,but i must point out when everything is ok you can accellerate as fast as you like and as hard as you like and she flies and i mean flies so responsive and quick its
    a dream to drive,
    lastly i was in france a week ago i got of the ferry and the noise and clunking was still there i settled down at 70mph for 100miles just a gentle drive and hardley any noise ,when i applied the gas peddle to go up hill the clunking gets worse but with control you can live with it,any how i had to slow down for the paeage (toll booth) as i approached the booth i just touched the kerb with my left wheel,i stopped payed the man and you guessed it the knockes and rough ride had completly gone i could cruise at a ton for the next 150 miles no problems with cruise control on and when that engine kicks in for more power she flies and there is not an inkling that there is nothing wrong,pulled in for gas and yes it was back just the same as it was when i got of the ferry. it has to be electricalo!!!!!
    thanks again pete. :cry:
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    it's leaking from the same spot everytime, which was in the middle between the 2 rear wheels. according to the paperworks, the first time they replaced both left and right seals. then the 2nd time, the service advisor verbally over the phone said to me they had to replace the entire real axle, but not sure if they really did (and it's my fault that i didn't pay attn to what was written on paper because i got too excited about the new real axle thinking it would solve the problem). the 3rd time, they replaced the left seal. i'm not sure if all the seals were the same, but the part number was.

    Here is what's written on the work orders ( :blush: i don't have the first one in front of me so it will be for the 2nd time and 3rd time):

    J# 47F0Z09 Diff Fluid Leak :sick:
    - customer states differential fluid leaking
    - rt side axle was grooved and causing seal to leak
    - axle 4K138 - racked vehicle and verified leak
    - cleaned area and added dye
    - road tested and then repacked vehicle, checked with blk light
    - found leak at rt side axle seal
    - removed rt side axle assem and inspected - found axle grooved
    - replaced axle and seal on the right side
    - reassembled and road tested again (ok)
    3L1Z-4A109-AA (KIT SE RR AX H)
    1L2Z-4K138-CB (SHIFT & JT ASY)

    J# 47F0Z01 Axle Concern :sick:
    -customer states rear end differential leaking fluid ck and advise
    -check for leak at rear diff concern
    -verified fluid at left axle area
    -possible seal concern
    -remove left rear axle and remove seal and install new axle seal
    -reinstall axle and top off fluid in diff
    -rd test
    -no leak seen
    3L1Z-4A109-AA (KIT - SHAFT RE)
    10081 (PARTS CLEANER)

    hmmmmmm... come to think about it, they did not even disassemble the axle to check for the problem this very last time and instead they just replaced the seal :confuse:
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    :confuse: i have NEVER seen and drops coming from neither the right nor left rear wheels... it's always been in the middle
    also, they have never mentioned what kind of fluid they used after each fix. the first time it leaked, the fluid was kind of a light greyish color (i supposed that's the synthetic) and the second time and 3rd time it's kind of a brownish color.
  • exploded99exploded99 Posts: 67
    Well, since you have an intermittent problem, try this:

    Put the truck in 4wd HIGH and drive it a ways on dry pavement. Normally you would not do this, but lets see if it produces the same noises and syptoms as 4wd AUTO

    in 4wd HIGH you will lock the transfer case clutch pack, and be in 100% four wheel drive. Your front axle will have to get rid of the "windup" in the front axle, and my guess is that you will have the same issues.

    Remember to go back to 4wd auto when you are done.
  • exploded99exploded99 Posts: 67
    Hey, thanks for all that. I was curious as to just what was going wrong with these diffs.

    Do you think the pinion bearings are underdesigned for the application? I can't believe these are all being set up wrong at the factory. Have they gone to tougher bearings?
  • shan4shan4 Posts: 1
    I have never had an accident with this 2000 Explorer. I live on dirt roads but this is a SUV. The hinges on my rear door have given out. The whole door has to be replaced. I had taken it to the dealer last year to have it looked into under my 75,000 mile warranty. They suggested having the whole door replaced but they couldn't do anything about it. I took it back at the end of this June to have the door replaced. In contacting customer relations at Ford they said, sorry can't help you for you aren't under the 31,000 mile warranty. My dealer says, can't help you, not under warranty. The zone rep won't return calls to the repair guy and he can't give out the zone rep's number. Has anyone else had a problem with the hinges or do I just have a real lemon?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,859
    alman... mine is in right now for both sides leaking. i'll post the results when i get it back, supposedly tomorrow.
    funny thing you should mention carrying something fairly heavy in the cargo area. i was flying on the highway over the weekend and felt the suspension hit the bump stops. not too hard, but i felt it. noticed the leak last night.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • I think most of us here have automatic transmissions. It sounds like you have a clutch problem, it sounds like it is not engaging at all. No doubt, you will have to pull the tranny out and check out the clutch and the tranny.
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