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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • HELP!!! I've got a 97 Ford Explorer Sport, with 109,000 miles on it. Its been a great truck and this is the first time its ever acted up on me. A month ago, it wouldn't start all the time. Since then, I've replaced the fuel pump, fuel filter, and it didn't fix the problem. Sometimes it starts, sometimes it doesn't. Replaced the coil pack, and spark plugs, still the same. Finally replaced the fuel relay switch, still it won't start occasionally. I thought the tune up did the trick, but a few weeks later the same problem occurred. Any thoughts on what would be wrong? I've heard it could be the security system? Thanks for any help!
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I doubt it's the security system. If that were active, it would lock out your starter. Is that what's happening? Or does it crank, just won't start up? If so, it's not your security system. But I've no idea what else it could be, you've changed everything.
  • I think the driveshaft would be the thing to check. Mine started this at 75, and over the course of the next several years the shaking and rumbling started at lower speeds, down to 45-50. I also checked my bearings, ball joints, and all checked out fine by my mechanic. Its easy \to check to see if your front driveshaft is loose is to crawl under it, find the driveshaft (I think we have the same design, its close to the drivers side) and see if you can spin it a little by hand. Mine would spin about an eighth of a turn by hand, then it would CLINK when the metal caught it. I had a loose joint that was causing this trouble. When I put the used driveshaft I got out of a junkyard in, I could NOT spin the driveshaft at all by hand. So do this check. Be careful about getting the part from the junkyard. The place I went to had 3 on hand, one was clearly loose already. If your mechanical, its an easy repair, took me a few hours to do in cooler weather and I took my time. Hope this hellps, let me know if you have any questions!
  • The starter engages and the engine turns over. But no starting. I was checking fuses, and the maxi fuse in the electical box under the hood shares the anti-theft circuit with the fuel pump circuit (so I can't just power down the anti-theft and bypass it). Are we sure that the starter wouldn't engage? Or does the security system shut down just the fuel pump (since they are wired together)? I've no idea either. The only other thing I can think of is that the ignition switch in the steering column is out of alignment????
  • Well, seems like you have fuel and spark covered

    Change out your idle air control valve on top of the throttle body. Its a very common problem on Ex's. 50 bucks or so at the parts store.

    Its an electrical solenoid that move a small piston back and forth to regulate the air to the engine at idle. Sometimes when they get old they stick. No air, no start. Next time, the solenoid does not stick, and you start ok.

    If the no start condition occurs after that, then you are into more advanced issues, like the key not being recognized, etc.
  • You might go to an a/c shop and have them put an aftermarket clutch on it to get rid of the noise if it really bothers you. JUst cause Ford can't fix it does not mean it cannot be fixed.

    Or you could be a real pain in the a?? to your dealer and work on them for awhile to put it in for free.
  • fordexp1fordexp1 Posts: 14
    First off, my V6 gets about 12- 14mpg in the city and my business partner has the V8 version and gets at least 12-14 if not 15 in the city. Now on long trips the V6 will get slightly higher, but the best mpg I have received has been 18.6 mpg and his V8 has gotten similar mpg on the road.

    This is comparing two almost identical Explorers. The only difference is that I did not get the trailer tow package(which should give me better gas mileage because I have a higher rear end, 3.55). The V8 has the 3.73 rear end for towing.

    I chose the Eddie Baurer because the car looked good with the tan on Dark Stone. Plus the few extras you get with E.B. make it well worth it. I have enjoyed my explorer but wish I had gotten the V8 engine instead.
  • The first thing to state is what engine and transmission you have, since all Explorers are not created equal. I assume that you have the SOHC 4.0L 6 cyl and the transmission that matches that engine. Your post and others like that, are the reason I buy only V8 Explorers, The V8 engine is much better and stronger and so is the transmission. I've got a 1997 XLT with V8, now over 145,000 miles, (wifes vehicle) original engine and transmission, with NO trouble out of it, AND it runs perfectly and reliably like a new vehicle. AND DITTO on my 2000 XLT with V8, now over 114,000 miles, original engine and transmission, with NO trouble out of it, AND it runs perfectly and reliably like a new vehicle. I fully expect both of these vehicles to run way past 200,000 trouble free miles, no major problems. I can take the small problems like the multifunction switch, cruise control buttons, or EGR valve.
    Back to your problem, I'm not that familiar with that particular tranny, but I might be able to steer you in the right direction. Does the speedometer pickup sensor and plastic gear mount in a hole in an extension housing on the back of the transmission or in a hole in the transfer case? I ask that because the transmission output shaft sticks into the transfer case. The internal gears that I have see have been metal, and they engage the plastic speed sensor gear. Is the guy that replaced the transfer case the same guy that replaced the transmission? I would not go for this "the transfer case warranty doesn't cover plastic" stuff.
    About your 70 mph jolts, sounds like the torque converter lock up clutch is going in and out. When it engages, you should be able to see the Tach barely drop about 200 rpm. You can test it by driving steady at 60 or 70, watch the Tach with one eye (keep one eye on the road), lightly touch the brake with your left foot, while maintaining a steady throttle with your right foot. You should see the rpm rise a tiny amount as the torque converter clutch unlocks. Then as you maintain a steady throttle, you should see a slight rpm drop again, as the torque converter clutch engages again. Watch the Tach when you detect these random jolts and see if you can recognize the rpm change during the jolts. Other than that, take it back to the tranny guy to have him check it out.
    For more information and free advice from experienced mechanics who work on these every day, do a search on Google for "automotive repair forum".
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • srosesrose Posts: 1
    This is my first time using this site, so I am still figuring it out. I haven't had much experience with message boards, so I could use some help.

    Anyway, our problem wih our 98 Ford Explorer is that the turn signals have stopped working on all steering wheel postitions except if it is set at the very highest spot (does this make sense?). Anyway, it has progressively stopped in every other position and soon will in this one I am sure. We have already tried the flasher and that is not the problem. Then in addition, the driver's side lock is sticking. All the other locks come up, but sometimes the driver's side stays down and I have to do the auto locks several times to get out. Isn't this so bizzarre? My husband and I are SO NOT mechanics, by far no car (or car sales) experts, and we are currently pretty broke. There is no way we can afford a huge bill right now. We would just trade it in, but we are afraid that this will hurt the value.
    Any advise??????????? :lemon:
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Hi, srose!

    Welcome aboard! You don't have to "reply to a message" to create a new message. Instead, simply fill in the Message form at the bottom of this page and fill in a Title just above it.

    I'm sure others will be able to answer your questions directly but it would seem to me that the repairs shouldn't be all that expensive. I suspect that the lock problem is just a worn linkage clip (an inexpensive nylon part) which is easily replaced. Your turn signal problem also sounds like a worn part but requires a bit more effort to replace.

    Good luck!

    tidester, host
  • srose, for the door lock. My 97 started doing this a year ago, I simply doused the door latches on the back edge of the door, that goes from the floor to the roof with WD 40. Keep a rag with you, it will run down the door edge a little, and now it works great. Havn't had troubles since. Maybe it just needs to be lubricated! Can't hurt by trying, and its cheap!
  • wifemmwifemm Posts: 16
    My wife's 02 mountaineer had the same problem for a while, it would act up once every so often and wouldn't start, or it takes multple tries to start. The dealer reflashed computer etc but the problem does not go away. They finally called Ford and was told to replace Idle Air control valve, it's been good for over 8 months now.
  • I purchased a 2005 ford explorer about 3 weeks ago. The vehicle now has 824 miles on it and the fuel gauge has stopped working, with the message - service engine soon - lit up.

    I called the dealership about this problem, and was told the part is on back order. I am leaving for vacation early friday morning, and will be driving 4 states away. The dealership refuses to give me a rental car, stating that the vehicle has a digital reading for how much fuel is left. Is this safe???

    Any response would be appreciated. I'm travelling with three children, and this problem is worrying me...
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    if you have a V8, i would suggest filling the tank every 250 miles or so
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    just read the article in edmund titled "ford turnaround plan derailed..."

    anyway, aside from the health cost issue that it's facing, in my opinion, a good turnaround plan for ford is to build cars that won't fall apart so easily and start selling domestic cars at domestic price.

    let's take the explorer as an example. it's a well designed SUV. it looks good and it drives good (ok, that's only my personal opinion of course). but fact is, it falls apart so easily.

    and then the price... a fully loaded f-150 (ford's bread and butter) would cost so much more than a toyota thundra and a nissian titan (ok ok... they're also built here in the states, but still, japanese owned companies). shouldn't you think there should be an incentive in buying a domestic car in term of price (talking about base price excluding all the gimmicks on rebates and that sort)?
  • hart55hart55 Posts: 1
    Recently I started having problems with my 93 Ford Explorer. After running for awhile and then turning engine off the car won't start unless it cools down for an hour or so. Jumping doesn't start it. After tapping the casing of the starter under the car - it starts right up. Had a starter put in Nov 93 and another one June 2005. The problem is occuring again. Had the battery and alternater checked. They are fine.

    Has anyone had this problem and found a way to fix it?

  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    " but fact is, it falls apart so easily"

    Please state some facts from a credible source.
  • Sounds like bad Starters, but need to check a little further. What kind of Starters are you putting on? You need New or Quality Rebuilt. Did they TEST the starter when you took them back? Did they test good or bad? What comment did they make about why the replacement starter failed? Make sure the starter is seated properly and is not binding. Describe this No Start situation a little better. By NO START, do you mean the starter and engine do not turn? Does it click or make any sound at all? Turn your dome light on, does it dim when you try to crank the engine? How much? Connect a test light between the starter battery terminal and the starter case and see if it lights up when someone tries to start the engine, during one of the No Start periods. How bright does it light up, full brightness or dim? If you have power, but you are not sure if you have enough voltage at the starter, check the voltage with a voltmeter between the starter battery terminal and the case, when trying to crank the engine. Volts should never be less than 9 1/2 volts when the starter is cranking, usually it will be higher if battery and cable are good, between 10 and 11 volts.
    Let us know what you find.
    Good Luck
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Try this. You, or someone, should disconned the battery cable (negative, preferably) for a couple of minutes, and then reconnect it. This has the effect of "rebooting" the car's electronics. Fixed my Mountaineer right up, the fuel guage has worked perfect and the message center is now correct. I'll bet it will fix yours too. It was probably just a power surge that put a bug in the brain.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    such as tranny problems and axle problems, cracked rear window component... just look at the TSB
  • Sounds like a coolent leak into the cylinder. Cracked or warped head, or bad spot in the gasket. Fixable!
  • axsomaxsom Posts: 11
    I have just recently experienced a problem w/ my ABS. Light doesn't stay on after start up, only after using the brakes when going forward the first time. I check the manual - it states to have them serviced. Of course, the warranty ran out 7-3-05. I read someplace about asking the dealer for coverage when it is close to the end of the warranty as in this case, but I can't remember what the term is for this coverage. Does anyone know what it is called?

    Also, what was the cost for any of you having the ABS "services"? :confuse:
  • Thanx for the response.

    I took the explorer to the dealership this morning so they could run a diagnostics test on it. After that test, I was told I was getting a rental car, and would not have my explorer back for about three weeks! The instrument cluster is bad (?) and the vehicle can't (shouldn't?) be driven. There are three explorers in line in front of mine waiting for the same part. The oil change required indicator won't stop going off, the service engine soon indicator is on, and the ABS brakes light is on. Along with the issue of the fuel gauge working, then not working intermittently.

    I thought they tested all this before they put these vehicles on the road... what a major disappointment. I drove a dodge durango for four years before this vehicle, and didn't have this many problems.
  • I have an '01 Explorer XLT that it seems, over time, has developed sticky door latches. All four doors require an exra "tug" on the handle to open the door.

    Also, the drivers door lock stick, and doesn't want to pop up - it takes multiple clicks on the key fob, while alternating on lifting the door handle.

    Any ideas?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    It's called an AWA - After
    Warranty Adjustment.

    The cost of servicing the ABS, depends upon what turns out to be malfunctioning.
  • jchasejchase Posts: 2
    I have a 94 ex that occationally stalls. It usually restarts in two or three minutes but today it took 15. anybody have suggestions?I have replaced the icm fuel filter and the fuel pump is two years old. the truck has 150000 miles. :confuse:
  • I purchased my 2005 Explorer in April and I have 2500 miles now and my fuel gauge stopped working about a month ago. The dealer I took mine to said it was okay to continue to drive it.... maybe I should get a second opinion. The part of course is on backorder and the dealer states they waiting on 20 of them. I contacted Ford headquarters asking why there hasn't been a recall issued and they claim to have no knowledge of such a problem, that my complaint was the first they had heard of it.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Recalls are rarely issued if there isn't an imminent safety issue involved.

    Have you tried rebooting the truck? Disconnecting the battery, and then reconnecting it after a minute or two? That fixed my fuel guage, and haven't had any trouble since.
  • l2jl2j Posts: 2
    just within the past week my 1996 Ford Explorer XLT started acting strange. I leave the windows down when the car is in the garage and when I backed out of the garage and tried to roll them up nothing happened and didnt work with the switches on any of the other doors either. So I shut the car completely off and turned it back on and they worked again. Didnt think much of it until it happened again but this time I noticed while driving down the road that the lights in the console for the 4Wheel drive kept changing between 4wheel drive and 2wheel drive. I did replace the door lock mechanism for locking/unlocking the driverside door with the button or remote. But I was very careful and believe something else is going on. I am an Audi Tech and have been a Mechanic since 1974 but dont know how the American cars work exactly (mechanically yes, but wiring and computers no). And noone in my area seems to want to give me any advice they just basically snub me. Any help?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    While you're waiting for a reply here you may want to post your question to Electronic Gremlins: Electrical Problems That Are Driving You Crazy.

    Good luck!

    tidester, host
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