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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • brophbroph Posts: 85
    I have a 96 with the light on & 102K on it. Had mechanic replace 2 sensors & it sill came on. I read that a loose gas cap will also make it click on. I think that it is pretty stupid for the check engine light to come on, you bring it to a dealer pay $75 for a diagnostic test, only to find out you didn't put the gas cap on tight enough. Anyway it will stay on until the engine starts to run rough. My $.02.
  • ace10ace10 Posts: 137
    any ideas on this new problem.

    vehicle-97 explorer xlt 4.0 ohv, 32K miles.

    problem- severe moaning sound coming from under the hood. usually constant after warm up. can be stopped by revving the motor in neutral. occurs at all speeds. the sounds is emanating from the air filter box. our explorer has the canister type filter. some of the 4.0 ohv's apparently have a rectangular filter. i opened the box and inspected the filter. it was really bad. replaced with new motorcraft factory filter. cleaned out the loose debris in the box and stuck my hand down the snorkel toward the headlight. nothing there. carefully closed the canister back up and went for a test drive. noise still present, maybe a little less volume. we are talking about a sound so loud that drivers in other cars notice at stoplights.

    any ideas??? this has been a VERY troublesome explorer and this is probably the most annoying problem. replaced tranny, front driveshafts door seals..... all before 27K miles.

  • I have a 1999 Explorer XLT 4x4 purchased last January at 12,000 miles. Has 20,000 miles now. On three occasions have experienced difficulty cranking vehicle. On two previous occasions was finally able to crank and drive vehicle. However today vehicle would only crank if it was in the neutral position and throttle was being pressed. Tried to drive it around the block and it died on me around seven times. Left me stranded after work in a downtown parking lot. Called dealer and was referred to roadside assistance. What a joke. After being on the phone 40 minutes with them they said they would send a tow truck within 2 hours if I would wait to give them my keys. The dealership was only 7 blocks away. No way I'm waiting downtown in a fairly large city after dark for a tow truck. Anyway, has anyone experienced this problem? Discontented with Explorer, service, dealership and the whole experience. Don't get me started on the Firestone tires!!
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    Thank the EPA for the strict guidelines on the fuel system. I must clarify that the gas cap was not the culprit in my case. It was the fact that there was scaring on the surface that made contact with the gas cap. This was repaired by using scotch bright to smooth the surface. If you try this yourself be sure not to allow any particles to fall into the filler spout. The recalebration of the computer system was to make it more sensitive to fuel system leaks by creating a vacume in the fuel tank and measuring its ability to hold it. If you have ford run a diagnostic, the system will show the specific problem and enable you to provide a fix yourself or by a preferred mechanic. Or you can buy your own ford code reader from most part stores (although I havnt had any experience with one).
  • I have had the same problem with my 98 Explorer 4x4 4.0 SOHC since new. When RPM's reach 2600 or above (even on light acceleration) the engine will ping loudly. It used to only happen for the first 15 minutes or until the vehicle was "warmed up". then it would go away and I would notice a power increase. Now it never goes away no matter how far I drive. The check engine light has never come on. Is there any way to change the engine timing or enhance it. Resetting the computer has no effect. I have tried different 93 octane gas and still no change. Has anyone experienced this and if so what is the fix?
  • you've got the exact same problem i have. put in a new filter and it did nt help. as i said the dealer techs have heard it. they also cleaned everything up and nothing worked. the service rep suggested i drive it with the air cleaner housing strap unlocked. some help. nice to know i'm not the only one. man, it does get loud though.
  • ace10ace10 Posts: 137
    i had read you rpost and didn't really recognize it to be the same problem, but i'm now sure that it is. the strap is such a pain the butt that i was tempted to leave it off anyway. that can't possibly be a good solution at all. it could allow some nasty stuff directly into the combustion chambers. on a related note, we had the wilderness at's replaced today with michelins. got them at ward's going-out-of-biz sale. $70 per tire. the manager at my local garage who mounted the tires said that he had come across the moaning before. he mentioned that it was, and i can't remember it exactly, the sensor directly upstream from the air filter. i suppose some sort of air flow sensor. he said that it was very gummed up and cleaning it only worked for a couple of days. he ended up replacng it in his case. he said that i was alot of trouble to get to it. i'm gonna take a look tomorrow if it's warm outside.

  • My wife and I are seriously considering buying a nice '99 Explorer Sport that we found today. It has 32K miles on it and is clean and in what seems to be very good condition.

    I have skimmed through the majority of these posts and I cannot say that I am happy, but considering the number of Explorers on the road, something must "halfway" decent about them.
    I am not the best with cars and sometimes get taken advantage of by garages when they work of my car(s). What, if any, major, foreseeable problems should I expect with my potential new truck? I am not sure if the tires need replacing, I'll have to check that Monday, but I am curious if any repetitive problems have been found with the model I am looking at.


  • Krey, I have the same problem with a vibration at idle while in drive on my 99 Mountaineer w/4.0SOHC. This is also a problem on my friends 2000 Eddie Bauer. I've been to 2 dealers who say the same thing "they all do it and it can't be fixed". The only thing they do is take the pebbles out of the heat shields on muffler to quit the rattle, but don't do anything for the vibration itself. It is very annoying and had I known, I never would have bought one of these vehicles. Anyone considering buying one of these w/4.0SOHC should listen/feel for this noise/vibration as it is inherant in the design of the engine and doesn't have a fix.
  • While not mechanically inclined, I have been the proud (?) owner of 3 Explorers over the past 3 years. Here are some pearls I have to share from my experience...

    1) The SOHC engine is trash. While more powerful than the now obsolete OHV engine, it is certainly more troublesome. From a driver's point of view, it is a noisy engine, at times the groaning and vibration are enough to make you crank the stereo so you don't have to listen to it. Mechanically, it's problems are well documented. From the timing belt tensioners to emission problems, there are many.

    2) The ride leaves a lot to be desired. Whether it is body roll or the washboard sensation of braking on uneven pavement, the combination of the Firestone tires and the truck's suspension make for a rough ride. In an attempt at peace of mind, and to smooth out the ride on my current vehicle, I replaced the tires with Michelin Cross Terrain tires, a combination tread on the tires of all-season and all-terrain. These tires have only been on the market for 3 months, but the reviews on them are excellent. They offer better road traction, smoother quieter ride, and better fuel economy than the Wilderness tires. They will be the OEM tires on the 2002 re-designed Explorer. From what I've experienced with them so far, it is like night and day.
  • debozodebozo Posts: 1
    I had a '91 Explorer - the 4.0 engine cracked at 53k miles. Had to be replaced - out of warranty of course. My neighbor had a '94 Ranger with the same engine - same problem at about 60k miles. Are these V-6s still a problem or have they stopped cracking and blowing gaskets? Also is the V-8 a better engine? Thanks for any info.
  • lks3lks3 Posts: 3
    I offer my humble opinion as I have had a '96 with 84K miles on it and now have a 2000 with 45 K Miles on it (yes,45K on a 2000!). Although we are not talking about the same year, both of mine have been sports. On the '96, I had problems where my FWD light would come on and flash and not go off. If I pulled over and turned the car off, it would stop. Dealer was mystified and offered to tear apart x-fer case for $1,000 and let me know. Forget it! I also had that strange loud humming noise in cold weather people talk about. For a while, I thought it was a plane as I work near an airport.

    Now for the 2000. Same humming sound in cold weather. 4WD works fine on this one! Had two recalls (Wipers would come on spontaneously and now they have to put a governor on so it won't go over 110 MPH...Not that I planned on it!). It is comfortable to drive, but if the rear seats are down, you can't put the front seats back as far as possible. At 5'10" I find this a bit annoying. I'm also on my third armrest. They are cantilevered and chintzy and snap off. I don't know if the '99 is like this, but beware of that. If you lean too far onto it, you may have a problem.

    All in all, though, neither was really a bad car. I am extremely cautious in rain as both of mine have hydroplaned easily. I notice that it is when the engine shifts gears. I assume that the added burst of power to the drive wheels does this. I am not a wild driver, either. A friend with the same car who lives two states away experiences the same thing. It's worse in the 2000 than the '96. I'm waiting to see what the 2002 redesign is like before making any decisions.
  • brophbroph Posts: 85
    Thanks, they way this light comes on it probably would be in my best to buy one. I have to bring mine in for a recall on the sway control bars, & should have them diagnose it. I don't know, this thing just runs great I might just leave it alone. My personal feeling is in the catalytic converter. $$$$$$ I appreciate the input.
  • A friend put Edelbrock struts on his Suburban and its rides great. He did it to avoid body roll, nose dive, and general sloppiness in handling. He also did it to help in emergency maneuvering. Anyone heard of new struts as a way to reduce rollover risk?
  • like i said, good to know i,m not alone with that noise. that was a dumb response from the dealer. i've been inclined to think it's the MAF sensor all along. i change filters often so i don't know how they get gummed up. Can they be cleaned with some CARB CLEANER or some similar product or would this damage the sensor??? ALso on my 96 the 4wd lite on dash would flash and the case would not always shift to LOW. dealer said theres a small electric motor that makes transfer case shift to auto and low. he banged on motor with hammer for a temp fix until new motor came in. replaced under ext warranty so i dont know cost works ok now. as for TIRES. michelins ok but even before recall i replaced 235-75-15 goodyears with a DUNLOP 255-70-15 Touring LT . Called plus 0 sizing, hiway type M/S tread, wider stance. improved drivability and ride dramatically. more stable in turns. very good wet handling and stopping, quieter , smoother and even a tad better gas mileage. over 24 in of snow in chicago this yr and no trouble at all
  • I've heard from a reliable source that Ford has extended the warranty on 97 Explode engines to 75K because of all the problems with them. Can anyone confirm this? I had to have my engine replaced at 56,000 because of the timing chain pensioner failing and causing engine damage.
  • ace10ace10 Posts: 137
    for the 4dr exploder with 235/75 15's would probably be 245/70 15, i think by going up 20mm on the width you may have done a 0 plus plus. just kidding! we got the michelin ltx m/s, i saw no reason to get the a/t's as the truck is painfully incapable for offroad anyway. 2 days in, and i think the michelins are much quieter and feel a bit more stable on turns. i'm looking forward to much beeter gas mileage with the highway tread over the stupid/useless a/t tread.

    i didn't get a chance to look at the mass air flow sensor. i don't have a shop manual... it must not be a flapper kind. hard to picture what's going on up there. anyone know the cost of a new sensor???? it look to have a harness plugged into it, so it must be at least $100 to $150.

  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Ford has extended a portion of the warranty for only selected parts. The Parts covered under the additonal warranty are:
    Timing Chain Tensioners
    Lower manifold gasket

    The warranty covers vehicles up to 72,000 or 6 years.
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    Has anyone gone to an arbitration hearing on a new vehicle? I am in the process of filling out an arbitration request form for my 2000 Explorer. In the past 13 months I have had hose clamps replaced, a complete engine replacement, and the replacement engine has been torn apart and new head gaskets have been installed. I sent a final repair attempt request to Ford two weeks ago and they have made no attempt to contact me. The dealership has broken communication with me by claiming they had referred me to a regional Ford representative, but that was a month ago and to date no attempt has been made. The engine's trash, the oil pan is full of water and anti-freeze. Any suggestions from prior lemon seekers on what I should expect from an arbitration hearing? I think I have been more than patient long enough.

  • Here is what I have learned from dealing with problem vehicles with Ford.

    -Be sure you have obtained the lemon law which pertains to your state.

    -Be sure you follow this to the "letter of the law" - i.e. wording of your letter, sending it directly to Dearborn, MI; sending it certified mail.

    -In NJ where I live, I remember there was a stipulation to the law which automatically proclaimed you the winner of your case provided you had written and mailed the letter according to the law's provisions and the manufacturer had not contacted you/made a repair attempt within a certain amount of time.

    -Be open to possibilities. In my case (problems not as severe as yours sound), Ford offered me a high trade in value and a low price on a trade in (I got my new truck for $3700 including tax/title). The downside to this was perhaps I could have fought it more and won, and would not have had to spend anything. The upside was I could have fought and lost, and they might have taken their offer off the table. Instead I had a new vehicle and was rid of "my problem child" rather cheaply.

    Keep in mind, Ford will try pretty much anything to not have the truck labeled a "lemon". If the vehicle is termed a lemon by law (in NJ), they must replace it, and then the vehicle gets the word lemon attached to its history. A double loss for Ford, as they give a car away for free, and have a documented problem vehicle on their hands.

    Be patient and good luck (sorry for the length of the post)

    PS...Will be driving around in the snow/ice/slush this weekend in a Ford Escort as the Explorer is in the body shop courtesy of a rear end crash. Should be fun!!!
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    You should really be talking with an attorney, since the amount of money in question is substantial and you have got to know that Ford has its attorneys working on 1,000's of these every year!
  • hi all, I purchased a 94 ford exp. in 1996 with 28k on it. since then I've put in two trannies, a fuel pump, two ignitions coils, two different ABS boards, a rear windshield wiper motor, and an all new brake system (the original had rust damage.) most was covered by an extended warranty but it seems excessive to me, my previous cars were a toyo and vw with only a starter and clutch replaced collectively in over 200k miles. the point is: I can relate to all the woes mentioned here. at 85k I need to decide soon if I should buy a replacement or simply stick with my ford in hopes that I don't have a 3000$ engine problem. Question: what is your most reliable vehicle that you wouldn't hesitate to buy again?
  • jdu25jdu25 Posts: 1
    Hi all, I'm currently looking at buying a 98 explorer XLT with the V8. I've been reading the troubles people have been having with the V6/SOHC. I was just wondering if anyone has any input on the V8 engine, are people finding the same problems with all the ford explorer engines?
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    The 5.0 V8 is a better performing engine than the SOHC V6, with approx the same HP. I think it is a version of the V8 that they put in the Crown Victoria and the Mustang. The biggest difference is the failure rate of the V8 is significantly less than the V6. Its a tight fit in the explorer, but you probably guessed that. The tranny is a light duty tranny that they put in the Crown Victoria...

    The V8 is a gas guzzler though. Be prepared for mpg numbers in the low teens.
  • I purchased my Explorer XLT new in 1998. Immediately after purchase the transmission dumped its fluid out. The dealer repaired it and the following day it did it again. They finally repaired it correctly. Now with 70,000 miles on it the front axle seals started a high pitch squeal from 0-30 mph. There was a TSB concerning this problem so apparently I am not the only one having trouble. I had this repaired and while they were changing the seals they noticed that both front and rear differential seals were leaking. (I have never owned a car that had a differential leak) now I have paid for two to be replaced. Another problem is that if you park with the engine downhill with 1/4 tank of gas or less it will not start. You first have to get it level.(there is a TSB concerning this problem also) I emailed Ford concerning these problems and they were very sorry that I was having problems but could only offer directions to a dealer and emotional support as the car was out of warranty. Today I received a letter from ford stating that they had extended the warranty for the timing chain and lower intake gasket to 72,000 miles. Mine has 73,000 I wonder if I can make it to the Isuzu dealer to trade it on a Trooper before it breaks?
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Part of the regular 4x4 maintenance is to have the hub seals and wheel cylinders repacked at 48,000 miles....check the service schedule.

    The gastank issue is a known bug in the fuel pump design since 1991. Even the owners manual says not to let the tank go below 1/4 full...because the engine may not start in the nose down position.
  • How do I know if my timing chain tensioner is going bad?
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    It doesnt "go bad".. it either works, or it breaks off and the chain rattles in place, creating a loud diesel noise in the engine and a slight loss in accelleration.

    Be advised that the V6 SOHC has 4 (!!!) timing chains that can have problems in this regard.
  • I guess everyone got tired of ranting about the Firestone and cam tensioner issues.

    Ah, I am a content Explorer owner (so far with this one, that is.)
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    I am also a very content explorer owner. I have had no major problems with my XLT V8 AWD with 38k. I have taken the thing into soft sand and deep snow and have never been stuck. Did have to help a Toy 4x4 at one time on a snowy trail. I have had problems with idiots at Ford Dealerships though.
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