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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • jajjjjjajjjj Posts: 1
    I also own a 1997 Explorer and have just started getting the knocking noise at 75,000 miles. Mine only does it when it is cold and goes away after it warms up. I have also taken it to my shop and they are unsure as well.
    This is my first problem with this vehicle and was thinking of buying another Explorer, until I read the problems that everyone is having with theirs.
  • I have a 99 Explorer, 5.0L V8 with 61K miles. I bought the truck new, and it has been a good vehicle; no major issues. Just recently I started noticing a strong ping/knock during hard acceleration on the highway, but I don't notice a significant loss of power. I've run several kinds of 87 octane gas, and it sounds the same. How does this compare with other's experience with similar engine/mileage?

    I know as an engine accumulates more miles, the octane requirements can go up. With the price of gas I'd hate to move up to a higher octane. According to the Owner's Manual, it shouldn't need a tune-up yet. Also since I'm from the New Orleans area, I'm kind of leery of the quality of work I may get right now. I'd also hate to get a tune-up, if it is characteristic of this engine. Any suggestions on tune-up cycle/items, other than what the owners manual specifies?
  • What engine, V6 or V8? Have you owned in since new. That's low miles for a 97.
  • That's low miles for a 99. You should not need a higher octane. It could be one of several issues. I assume all maintenance is kept up. The first thing I would check is the MAF (MASS AIR FLOW SENSOR). Be sure you keep a clean air filter. The MAF is in the AIR TUBE, in the air flow right after the Air Filter. It should have a screen that you should be able to see, carefully clean and vaccum the screen. The sensor works by measuring the resistance of a tiny heated wire in the airflow passage. Sometimes they can get dirty and make the MAF give erronious readings, which can make the engine ping. It needs to be checked and cleaned by someone who knows what they are doing. Careless cleaning of the wire could damage or break the tiny sensor wire.
  • I have the same truck, almost the same miles. I have exchanged messages with several people that have this problem - no one has a solution solution as of yet.

    I have tried:
    Cleaning MAF
    Higher grade of gas
    Cleaning Throttle body
    Replaced EGR valve - checked other EGR related parts
    Replaced intake gasket between air horn where EGR valve mounts and upper intake manifold (old one was cooked)
    Colder range of plugs (Autolite AP103)
    Seafoam in intake twice (an engine decarbonizer)
    Replaced coolant temp sensor

    These were the cheap / easy things to check. The truck runs much better, but It still pings in OD when the torque converter is locked up (1800 to 2600 rpm). I do not have an advanced scanner to do diagnostics on the MAF sensor or the O2 sensors, which I would try next.

    My gut feeling is that in many of the V8's the EGR flow is too low at low rpms or the timing is too far advanced since this happens in quite a few of these trucks. There may be a computer (PCM) update which addresses this, I have not checked with the dealer as of yet. You may want to check with the dealer and see if they have any ideas, but I don't think I would turn them loose - I think I would specifically ask about PCM updates for this issue given the items I have tried which haven't worked. They can chase lots of deadends trying to fix this....

    99's require plugs at 50k - yours have probably already been replaced? If not, a new set of plugs would be a good idea. Bosch plugs will make pinging worse if you have pinging issues. Autolites seem to work well.

    Lastly, if your engine uses oil between changes, it is probably getting sucked into the PCV valve. Oil in the intake causes bad pinging, you can rule this out by removing the PCV valve and plugging off the hose. Then see if your pinging gets better. This will not fix the pinging in OD at highway speeds.

    And if you figure it out, please post the answer here!
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    I believe that 97 was the first year of the SOHC V6. If that is the case and you Explorer has the SOHC engine you might be looking at the timing chain tensioner issue that was addressed by Ford about three or four years ago. If the engine noise, when cold, is getting very loud you may have a major issue here. You have to get the timing chain tensioners checked out and replaced before the entire engine is destroyed if they fail completely.
  • Idles erratic but, goose the throttle? Crisp. Idles clean and .... goose the throttle it falls on its face! I've replaced the: MAF, TPS, ECT, Thermostat, Oil, IA?? filters , fuel pump and filter, ignition module, plugs, wiresWhichever sensor. Now, I know it seems foolish to throw somewhere in the neighborhood of $800.00 at an erratic idle which progressed to dying out at lights, which has finally progressed to won't run for crap!! I've pulled codes like thorns from my a$$! They keep changing. Here are a couple of the latest THINGS and RESULTS. (Or lack thereof) Replaced both battery cables. No bueno! Fuel pressure regulator, Engine coolant temp sensor , and temp sender thingy. Thermostat and upper hose. Oil and filter. Code 157 Maf below Min. voltage in KOEO continuous memory. Runs same. Like a duck. Don't trust a garage although I probably would have spent the same by now. I used to build BigBlock hotrods now race Motorcycles. Pretty handy with a wrench. The codes keep changing. KOER...214 412,538, 553, 556, I haven't seen it this go around but, 998 Hard Fault??? Somebody Hep me!! Please!! :mad: :cry: :confuse: :sick:
  • chuck1chuck1 Posts: 1,405
    I can't help you with this. You know more than I do and have replaced everything I would have. My only point is that if you can't diagnose it, you can't fix it. You are throwing good money after bad. In this situation, I believe one has to take a step back and ask the question, "Am I better off buying something with far fewer miles on it?" There are some real bargains out there in used Explorers that range between $15,000.00 and $18,000.00.
    My estimate is yours has between 120,000 and 150,000 miles on it. I think at 150,000 you are approaching the end of it's "useful life".

  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    I have recommended checking the EGR valve on this forum so many times I feel as if I should buy stock in the companies that manufacture these components. As someone on this page told me a while ago, a faulty EGR valve will not show up as a fault on the ODB II fault codes. A bad or sticking EGR valve will cause an erratic idle and/or stalling. You have invested so much time and money and have not resolved the problem. You could try cleaning the EGR valve by removing it from the engine, spraying the moving valve stem with some WD 40. Check that the diaphragm is functioning normally and replacing it on the engine. Also, check the vacuum line going to the EGR valve to make sure you are still getting a vacuum to the valve. If the valve diaphragm is good and the valve stem moves when vacuum is applied then you know that the valve is working OK. If this fixes the problem eureka!! If it didn't it did not cost you anything except for 45 minutes to an hour of your time.

    Good luck.
  • I purchased a 2005 Explorer XLT 4.0 in April of this year. Excellent vehicle with one annoying glitch. When you fill up the tank the gauge registers as full, and then will frequently drop below empty on an intermittent basis until I use up about a quarter of a tank. Thereafter the gauge is fine. Dealer replaced the sender and that did not work. Dealer checked with Ford and was advised that the problem is excess sulfur in the gas being used (I use only regular Mobil), and to try putting in Chevron Techron for three tankfuls. I did so and the problem has not been solved. Has anyone encountered this problem, and what was the solution? I am sure mine is not the only Explorer with this glitch. Thanks.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Try rebooting the car. Take off the battery cable for 2 minutes, then reconnect. It fixed my 04 fuel guage.... good luck. ;)
  • moeharrimoeharri Posts: 108
    Get ready for a long ride, no pun intended. It took 4 trips and several months (around 5?) for Ford to finally fix our 03 XLT. We took it in earlier this year when we had the same problem as you did. They told us the same thing, try different gas (which I KNEW was a run-a-round--what BS). Anyway, 2 or 3 weeks later, same problem. So, we took it in again, and then they said they'd order a sending unit and gauge cluster. About 1 month later, they called and said the parts were in. When we went back to pick up the Explorer, we were told they ordered the wrong parts (gauge cluster was ordered KM instead of miles). So, another month of waiting and another trip to the dealer. Well, it's getting to winter here in WI, and I'm almost certain that the same thing is going to happen again this winter.

    We bought this vehicle new in Sept '03 and in Sept '06 our Explorer will be out of warranty, and I'm quite certain that there is no way we will keep it much past that--due to high gas prices, many, many problems (gas gauge, power window motor, engine stuttering/hesitation, ABS sensor that took 4 days to fix, finicky remote fobs, etc, etc, etc) with the Explorer (many either fixed and/or ignored by the dealer). Off to Toyota we go for all of our new vehicle purchases (bought an '05 Camry this year, it is phenomenal as is the dealer!)
  • Thanks; I will give it a try ...
  • Thanks for sharing your experience ... I suspect Ford does not want to acknowledge this problem.
  • sandyjsandyj Posts: 1
    We bought a 2002 Ford Exporer Sept 2005. Several weeks ago, the engine started knocking. We had it sent into the dealership. Dealership says the valve in bent and the rocker arm in broken. Car has 52,000 miles on it and has had regularly scheduled maintenance. Dealership is trying to sell us a after market warranty to cover the power train for the cost of the repair. Anyone else have this problem? This does not sound like something that should break on this young of a well kept vehicle. Help!
  • chuck1959chuck1959 Posts: 654
    I have a 1995 Explorer Eddie Bauer with 170,000 miles in execellent shape. I been having a problem that comes and goes. The battery seems to go dead for no reason. When I jump it, it starts right away. My mechanic has looked at it many many times he has checked ever conection there is.. I can go for weeks and weeks with no problem, than all of a sudden it does it again for awhile then goes away. Does anyone else have this problem?
  • I need to replace the A/C switch.
    How do I remove the surrounding blind without braking it since there are no srews ?
  • Your answer is in messege #4501. The only difference is that you have an intermittent parrasitic current draw, which makes it a lot harder to find. I would check for parrasitic current draw on different occasions to try to catch it in the act.
  • We had the same problem with 2005 Explorer purchased this Sept. Took it back to dealer and they replaced the sending unit - so far all has been fine. A local mechanic thought the problem might be related to the cold temp of the gas as it always happens right after a fill-up and not only to Ford vehicles. Maybe you can get another sending unit installed. (the dealer we bought from had 3 new explorers with same problem this year).
    Good luck!!
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Obviously, it shouldn't, but you really have no idea how the truck was maintained prior to your ownership, I'll bet. Do you have the 6 or the 8 engine?

    The warranty sounds like an excellent way out of the problem to me.......
  • bigdkbigdk Posts: 1
    My daughter has a 2003 Explorer XLT. It started making a loud ticking/clanking noise on Thursday. It died when at a stop light coming home from work. Had a mechanic check it, he stated that the engine is shot. She called the dealer and they won't touch it. They said they did not bring it to them for oil changes so they have no responsibility for it. All other warranty work was done by the dealer. The car only has 48,000 miles on it. It is well taken care of. Anyone know what we can do? :mad: :mad:
  • dgoulddgould Posts: 2
    Hi: I am new to the forum in hopes that someone has the same problem or knows what this could be. I have a 1997 ford explorer that has major creeking noises when I drive. It sounds like my truck is going to fall apart. It happens all the time, hitting bumps, turning the steering wheel or just plain driving. Pep Boys said it's just what happens when the vehicle gets older and there's nothing they can do. There has to be something because the noise is driving me crazy. It has 97K miles and I'm not quite ready to give it up. Can anyone help?
  • coloroncoloron Posts: 14
    I have a 97 Moutaineer AWD that I bought new. It has 78500 miles on it and has been a great vehicle with little or no trouble. However recently I've been hearing a low "moaning" sound from under the vehicle when driving slowly through the parking garage at my work. It maybe happening at al speeds and I just can't hear it. It doesn't seem to be related to the engine or tranny since it does it just coasting down the ramps. It seems much louder when it's colder outside.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar or have a clue where to look for the source? So far, it doesn't seem to effect the way it drives but it's making me nervous that it could be something that spells big $$$. I'm planning to trade it next spring so I really don't want to put a bunch of $$$'s in it.

  • Ford Explorer radio display dead ?

    If your radio LCD display is dead, and you don't want to spend $400-$600 for a new OEM radio, nor do you want to spend $275 on a used one from the junkyard, I recommend you save yourself some money and headache by buying a working, used one on eBay.

    For $20, there is a website called,, that will sell you instructions to repair your radio but the process is a haphazzard (no rhyme or reason), time-consuming repair process. There is also a good chance that you will be out $40 - $50 cash before you realize that the "FIX" is not going to work for you and you should have bought the one on eBay for $125. Here's why.

    In general, the repair process advocated (and sold) blames the dead display on the manufacturing process of the power circuit board for the radio.

    So, to fix your radio, you are to get a soldering iron (and soldering stuff) and re-solder essentially everything on the power board. Again, the assumption is that it's the board that's bad and not the components on it (capacitors, resisters, ect.)

    What you don't see until after you've coughed up the $20 bucks is the site's claim that the "FIX" you just bought only works 95% of the time. And then...LO AND BEHOLD!'ve just won the lottery! your radio happens to be one of the 5% for which the website has no idea what's the fix!!

    The fine print on the website says that it may take you 2-3 repair attempts before the fix will work. Meaning: up tp 4-6 hours wasted only to find out the fix doesn't work for you. (1-2 hours to pull the damned radio out, open it up, resolder the board, put it back in.)

    And then...for an additional $89 bucks, the website owner will sell you a working board in exchange for your "non-working" board.

    So, if your time and frustration are worth more than $10 an hour, I recommend you just by a working, used radio on eBay.

    Cost of the "FIX" $20.00
    Cost of soldering iron 10.00
    Cost of solder 4.00
    Cost of solder braid 4.00
    Your time ($10/hr) 60.00
    Gas to buy this stuff 6.00.

    TOTAL $104.00 (quantifiable amount)
    Frustration $XXX.00 (you figure that out)

    Frank Lee
  • I have the same problem on the Explorer but I am assuming it's caused by the worn, out-of-balance tires.

    Had the same problem on my 2001 F-150 until I bought new tires. With the new tires, the "moaning" or hum was slightly noticeable. Took the truck back and had the place re-balanced the tires--no more hum (moaning).

    Since I still have more than 50% of tread left on the Explorer, I'm figuring to pay $40 (plus tax) to have them balanced at Sam's Club.
  • coloroncoloron Posts: 14
    Good thought. My tires are older (about 35K miles) and haven't been balanced for some time.

    The sound is most noticable at very low speeds, less than 10 MPH, so I'd never have thought about balancing as an issue. Of course I'm not a mechanic so what do I know?!

    Thanks for the suggestion.
  • If you put the front end on jackstands and raise/lower each wheel with a floor jack you will be able to hear the creaking if the control arm bushings rubbers are the problem. I bought new bushings but delayed about 2 months and the problem went away so I took the bushings back to PEP boys and never did replace them. You could always spray some lubricant on them and wait for it to work it's way in. What to use . . .Hmm . something that does not harm rubber . .silicone spray . .
  • My 2004 Explorer Sport Trak changes radio channels like it has a mind of it's own. It is the standard radio/single cd setup. I'll be driving along listening to music and in the middle of a tune it will switch to weather channel or news or some other thing. It happens on any station in any area of the country. Ford says they cannot duplicate it and never heard of the problem. I think the phase lock loop circuit in the radio is the problem but they think there is no problem so they won't replace it. Any suggestions?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the fix works if you know what you're doing. if you get a blowtorch and a bunch of bar solder, it isn't going to work. done it, it worked.

    I must say that I also had some dicey solder connections on the display board, as well, to fix. and that I replaced the filter capacitor for that function, the 100 uF unit, on the power board, because I was there and crummy capacitors are a long-standing issue back to tube days.

    it was worth $20 to me to know which boards to get after. I also raised the diodes and power resistors, touched up every SMT connection, and the radio has been solid.

    if somebody says you fix low oil pressure in a worn-out engine by replacing the bearings, and you don't know how to do it, then surely, you will mess the job up big time.

    if you're that glowery about self-repair, then send your boards in to the guy with, I think it is $120, and let him fix it or eat it. best price elsewhere I saw on Da ISH for refurbing the radio is $225.
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