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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • It sounds to me like it could possibly be the timing chain tensioner or cradle. It is made out of plastic and over time becomes very hard and brittle and breaks. The rattling comes from the chain being so loose and flopping around on the broken cradle or guide. Ford came out with a "new design" cradle or guide which is suppose to last longer. It is a very common problem for the 4.0 liter, I believe Ford issued a service bulletin addressing this issue.
  • When you go to fill the gas tank with gas do you hear a vacuum when you take the gas cap off? There is a check valve in gas caps that are suppose to vent at 1/2 to 1 psi.
    If the check valve gets stuck it won't vent properly and vapor or vacuum lock could occur causing your car to not get proper fuel pressure. Changing the gas cap is a lot cheaper than replacing the fuel pump.
  • I have the same problem with my 2005 XLT. I have just 4000 miles on it. The dealer said the same thing... to use Chevron gas for 3 cycles and it should resolve. Bunch of crap!! It's been 5 gas cycles and still the same thing. I'm gonna take it back to the dealer next week. Have they resolved the problem with your car? Is there any other information that you can give me regarding the repair or lack of? Much appreciated.
  • If you are in 2 wheel and you are sure your hubs are disengaged, then the front axle is disengaged, and should not be spinning. That should eliminate the axle assembly itself as a source of the noise.

    So, if you still have the roar, and it is coming from the front wheel area, it is probably your front hub assembly, which includes the front wheel bearings. They are pricey - I think 225.00 or so a side.
  • The problem you describe is NOT a sulphur problem. I've had the sulfur problem, and what it does is make the fuel sender stick, not drop. The gauge will get stuck for a while at full or at some point, then it may suddenly drop to the correct level, depending on the severity of the sulphur content. It will never drop down very low and then come back up. You gauge sounds like it goes "dead" intrmittently, which is most likely an intermittent electrical problem.
    Good Luck
  • Is it difficult to replace the front wheel bearings on a 2000 mercury mountaineer? Do I need any specialty tools to do this? Dealer wants way too much to do it!!!!
  • Hello
    Wondering if anyone has had any problems while being in 4 wheel high and making a left or right turn.It seems to be slipping in and out of gear while making turns.,,like a jumping motion.The sharper the turn the worse it gets. The service manager said that was normal!!!!! Bringing it in for service tommorrow to get it checked out. Let you know what the outcome is.

  • I wanted to ask if the same would hold true for a 1993 Mercury Topaz. I have verified charging system and new battery has been tested ok. I have verified no lights on and the battery goes dead in about 1 1/2 weeks after a full battery charge. I want to note this car is driven only 4 miles a day. Last note I have had an airbag light flashing while car is running since I have owned it about 1 year now. Battery trouble just recent maybe 4 months. Becoming a real pain. Can you help?

  • Not particularly hard - you will have to remove the brake caliper and rotor. Then remove the hub nut, and the hub comes off.

    You need synthetic bearing grease - Mobil 1 is easy to find, and the nut needs lots of torque.

    Ford only sells a hub assembly, not bearings separately, they are about 225 to 250 per side. So the parts aren't cheap. Check online - you may find some better prices. Rockauto possibly.

    You may want to get a repair manual for your vehicle and read up on the instructions if you are a little rusty on your auto repair skills.
  • Yes, it flashes when the tranny thinks it has a problem.

    If you are not having any problems shifting up thru the gears, down thru the gears, overdrive works ok, everything seems smooth and normal, then have the pan dropped, and put in a new filter and fresh fluid. Fluid should be changed every 3 yrs or 36,000 miles. I would NOT suggest doing the fluid flush where they do not remove the pan and put in a new filter.

    I am assuming here that the shop has not found a trouble code when they checked your tranny for problems. If you have not had the codes checked, you should do so. The tranny will normally set a code when it starts flashing the o/d light indicating what the problem is.
  • Changed the EGR solonoid and checked the valve. The valve was good. Truck ran great and I thought that was that. The next time I started it........Same thing. I Think I have figured it out now though for sure. Cam positioning sensor. The mount was broken and the exposed wires were shorting out Intermittantly. I pulled it out and bench tested it and it shows to be bad. I soldered the wires back together and the resistance values are within specs but the other test says it is bad. Set the volt meter to AC, then connect to the terminals, ( My sensor has 3 terminals and the book acts as if there are only 2 but, I tried different combinations) and pass a metal object near the sensor and it should pulse voltage. Well it doesn't. A new Cam Positioning sensor for this model is $300.00
  • my '96 is awesome. had camaro, impala, cutlass, accord, astro, escort, chrysler, tempo, caprice. this machine is the machine. but, however, i have a problem at idle. the beast shakes until i turn on the climate control. loose belt?
  • "I wanted to ask if the same would hold true for a 1993 Mercury Topaz. I have verified charging system and new battery has been tested ok. I have verified no lights on and the battery goes dead in about 1 1/2 weeks after a full battery charge. I want to note this car is driven only 4 miles a day. Last note I have had an airbag light flashing while car is running since I have owned it about 1 year now. Battery trouble just recent maybe 4 months. Becoming a real pain. Can you help?"

    Yes, I'll try. The procedure that I outlined is generic in nature and would apply to almost any modern automotive electrical charging system.
    The first step is to verify the actual battery voltage across the battery terminals with an accurate volt meter or volt-ohm-meter (VOM) or Digital-volt-ohm-meter (DVOM). Check to be sure that the battery voltage is normal with engine off, 12.7 volts or higher up to 13 volts. With engine running,and all accessories on (A/C on Max cool, Lights, Wipers, Brake Lights), the volts should read over 13 volts, this varies from car to car, because they all have different electric loads and different alternators. Most cars with strong alternators will read 14 volts or slightly higher.

    If your alternator is charging the battery well, then your problem falls in one of two realms, either the battery is bad and discharges itself, or something in the electrical system is draining the battery.
    The FIRST step is to check and test the existing battery and electrical system. How old is the battery? Make sure battery is fully charged, then check the voltage across the battery with engine off, with engine at idle, with engine at fast idle, then repeat these three tests with LOAD on the battery (headlights on, A/C on, wipers on). The voltage should not drop to an abnormally low value. If it does, LOAD TEST the Battery. Charging Voltage at fast idle should be around 14 volts, 13 volts under heavy load. If charging voltage is low, check and repair charging system.
    If the Battery checks OK, and the Charging System checks OK and all your Wiring Connections are clean, tight and OK, and the battery still dies after it sit for a few days, then TEST for an EXCESSIVE PARASITIC DRAW on the battery. I have pasted the procedure below:
    It is hard to gauge an old battery, sometimes new ones can quit on you too, and sometimes abuptly. They can fail in several ways:
    1. Slowly run down until all the power is drained from them, like an alternator failure, or headlights or a light bulb or other load left on when the car is parked for a period of time.
    2. Suddenly lose power due to an internal fault inside the battery, short circuit, open circuit or an electrolyte leak.
    Check, clean and tighten all cables, clamps and connections. Start engine (jump if needed), place voltmeter across battery terminals, volts should read 12.7 volts or higher at idle, 13 to 14.5 volts at fast idle. 15 volts or more is too high. Check the battery after FULLY CHARGING with a battery charger, to be sure it is charged as much as it will hold. Testing a battery with a low charge will fail even a perfectly good battery. Use a LOAD TEST to test the battery, follow instuctions on the LOAD TESTER. In general, the load is placed across the battery and increased until the battery volts fall to 9 1/2V, Read Amps at the same time. Keep the battery on the load test the shortest amount of time possible, as the load tester can get very hot or overheat. A good 12 volt car battery should be able to maintain an AMPERAGE OUTPUT of MORE THAN ONE HALF OF it's COLD CRANKING AMPS RATING without dropping below 9 1/2 VOLTS. If it drops to 1/4 of it's cold cranking amps rating while under load at 9 1/2 volts, it is weak, and should be replaced.
    Next, if the battery test is ok, then you need to find what is draining your battery by checking "PARASITIC CURRENT DRAW" from your battery. Your car has electronic MODULES that draw current when they are first connected. After they "settle down", in about 2 to 5 minutes, the parasitic current drain on you battery should be down to about 25 ma (milliamps) (.025 Amp). Do the following test procedure, and if you find your draw is too high, pull fuses one at a time to see if you can isolate the source of the excessive current draw.PARASITIC CURRENT DRAW TEST:Start with a fully charged Battery. Turn everything in the car OFF, close the door, remove the light bulb from under the hood so that nothing you know of is on. Remove the negative cable. Place a 5 amp fuse & a 1 ohm/10watt resistor in series with the negative cable, then wait a few minutes to allow the modules to settle down, then proceed. Connect a Digital Volt/Ohm Meter across the resistor and do a simple voltage drop test. Results = for example, a .022v draw = a 22mA draw. When you have minimal computers/radios/etc a maximum of 25mA is optimal. If you have multiple computers/cell phones/alarms/etc expect a higher number to be normal, though the cell phones/alarms should be OFF for this test. Over 25ma should be investigated and Over 50ma should be corrected. Check manufacturers specs to be sure of what it should be for your vehicle.That ought to get you going for now.
    Good Luck,
  • Check the recall (campaign) #00M12. There is a recall for this problem. The warranty has been extended to 6years or 72000 miles.
  • ajmtbmajmtbm Posts: 245
    02 explorer. when the weather gets colder and it rains, the top half of the drivers side wiper only does an adequate job of cleaning the water. very "streaky", and hard to see. only on the top half; bottom half is fine. has reported to the dealer a couple years back and he replaced the wiper; seemed to help but not much. seems to me to be a problem with the arm itself (tension on windshield, perhaps). I will buy new wiper, but i am afraid they wont help. any thoughts?
  • The wiper is most likely at fault. Put on new wiper blades, treat the windshield AND the blade with some Rain X. Observe the blade to make sure it is making full contact through it's full sweep. That should fix it. You should treat the blades with Rain X at least once a month. Some guys use some sort of wax or polish on the blades, and that seems to work too.
  • Had same problem last winter with my 98 XLT! A good friend of mine is a Ford mechanic for 20 years and also says the same thing that it is normal! He explains that when in 4x4 mode the front axle is a posi-trac front-end, which means both wheels will turn the same amount of rotations. When in a hard left hand turn the right wheel has to travel twice as far as the left wheel does. What Ford has done in this situation is allowed the gearing in the front end to skip or jump out of gear to allow the wheels to still turn the same amount of revolutions. He tells me that if this did not happen we would be tearing the front ends out of the trucks all the time. I know it sounds terrible but it seems to work! Hope this helps!

  • i have a 1998 explorer with idle problems have changed the control valve but no change need help cannot drive the car because it keeps stalling
  • How easy is it to bolt on the factory style running boards to an '05 XLT? I'm not too impressed with the aftermarket boards, so am planning to just get the parts from Ford. Anything to worry about during installation before I drop $700 on the set??

    Thanks to any who answer........
  • I recently got rid of my 1994 Explorer that was literally falling apart. I had the trans rebuilt at 80k by a local trans shop that has been in business for years. At 123K the trans was leaking from a seal located just in front of the pan. The owner of the trans shop told me at the time when the trans. failed that they take the trans apart and wash all the "hardware" and replace all the "software". After reading some posts here I notice some techs saying this is not the way to do it. This is ancient history for me but for the future I was wondering what some of the pro. mechanics think of the work offered by local garages and trans. shops vs. dealer service.
  • Nowadays, the trans are much more Complicated and Sensitive. Each one has it's own particular weaknesses. Generally, they need to have many more hard parts replaced than they used to (Torque Converters, pumps, drums, clutches, shafts, solenoids, valve bodies, thrust washers, etc). They ALL have to have Soft Parts replaced (gaskets, seals, etc). For advice on specific trans, go to a mechanics website, search for auto mechanics forums, etc.
  • I just purchased a 1998 Explorer Limited with automatic climate control, the problem is at all temperature settings it blows hot air...sometimes set on 60 degrees it will get a little cooler, also on max a/c it does not get as cold as it should....maybe blending heat and a/c?? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • I have a 2000 ford explorer. The door ajar light stays on preventing the auto door locks from working & keeping the interior lights lit even while car is shut off. I think the problem is in the back hatch but have no idea where the switch is or how to get to it. Thanks in advance.
  • Hello I have an explorer xlt sport 2 door. I have been having some vibrations when I accelerate and at time even when I slow down. Once I get out of that speed which is low (20) and then I speed up and from 40 to 70 it vibrates bad. If there is something I can do to get this fixed please let me know. It is driving me crazy please anyone that has this problem let me know I have taken it every dealer i know so i can get it fixed but they tell me nothing wrong with it. Is it possible that it is just the way they ride? I don't know that is why i am asking for help It is a 2003
  • That is plain nuts. Explorers should ride smooth. I've had 4 Explorers, and they all rode/ride very smooth. I Don't see how the dealers can say there is nothing wrong. You need to determine if the vibration is in the motor or transmission, or in the drivetrain or tires. Do you feel vibrations when in neutral and rev it up? Do you feel vibrations in the steering wheel or brake pedal? Try to isolated under what conditions the vibrations occur. How about the tires? What kind? Are they recently balance and rotated? You can try balancing and/or rotating the tires to see if that has any effect.
  • I have a 1994 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition. My son has been driving it but recently I got it back from him. I had a reason to try the 4 wheel drive today and the front end will not lock in. When you push the dash button the light comes on and says it is in 4 x 4 but the front end does not assist. It does not appear to work in either high or low range. I am looking for a place to start trying to figure out the problem. Does anybody have any idea of what to look for or where to test anything to get me started. Really don't want to have to take it to an expensive shop if it might be something simple.
  • I have this problem with my 96 XLT sometimes. I have discovered that it is the glass hatch and it has something to do with the latch. I sprayed the glass window hatch mechanism with a good amount of WD-40 and it hasn't happened since. I think this is a Ford issue because I have a co-worker who's Expedition did the exact same thing. Good luck.
  • This is a common problem for 95-98 Explorers. Unfortunately, the solution is not simple. We had this problem last week. The solution is to replace the "heater box" which contains the hot/cold air mixing control door. Cost is $700-$900 at a dealer. They have to take the dash aopart to get to this unit. The actuiator is replaced, too. When done, you have nice comfortable Explorer again.
  • Thanks for answering my question, one more question if you dont mind. I am pretty mechanically inclined and do a lot of my own repairs, is this something that has to be done at a dealership because of special tools or something else or is this something that a person could do at home himself? And is this heater box repairable or have to be replaced? Thanks again.
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