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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    You know, you probably just jinxed yourselves by stating that. Might have to wear garlic neckace for 7 days to reverse the bad carma...
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    Im not superstitious but,if you must, my necklace of luck is in the form of an extended warranty. Njdevilsrn, what year and other info is your explorer and how long have you had it?
  • I've had my '93 Explorier 4X4 since new. It currently has 136,000 miles on it. Only major
    repairs (if you want to call it that) was replace water pump at 89,000 and a new lower intake
    manifold gasket at 83,000. Only other repairs were normal fluids changes and wear and tear
    items (brakes, tires, shocks), The original tires lasted 83,000 miles. Transmission has only had
    fluid and filter changes every 20,000 miles. I'm sure that helps. At one time I was putting
    6 to 7 hundred miles per week on it. Never failed me. Never let me down. Maybe I'm just lucky.
    Plan on purchasing another when this one wears out.
  • I have owned 3 different Explorers over the past 4 years. The first was a 1997 Explorer XLT. For some reason, I replaced it in the Spring of 1999 with a 1999 XLT. At the age of 26, I can say that was the worst mistake of my young life. The 1997 was problem free, the '99 was anything but. I have listed the problems on here before (a quick list...3 sets of pinion seals, ball joint in left front end, horn, windshield, brake rotors, rear suspension link assembly, leaking rear hatch all within 14000 miles).

    After a lot of argument with Dayton Ford and the regional "customer service" rep, I got helped on a trade this summer. Unfortunately, I was not in the best financial situation at the time, and the dealer said I could only pick from what he had on the lot. I walked out onto the lot and had my eye on a blue 2000 XLS. Got in it to test drive, the thing was dead. So I now own a 2000 XLS - Red. Got it in July, had the serpentine belt and steering pump replaced (were bad from Day 1) and so far so good since. Also have replaced the stock radio with an Alpine system (head unit and 4 speakers) and replaced the tires with Michelin Cross Terrain tires. I highly recommend these tires, they are smooth, and traction in the snow and ice we had last weekend was no different than the Wilderness ATs.
  • mthodemthode Posts: 1
    My 1997 starting making that awful pinging sound. Since it is out of warranty I was going to take it into our regular mechanic to see what the problem could be. After doing a little reach I found this board and read that a lot other people were having the same problem. I called a Ford dealership close to our house and explained what I had found out. They claimed to have no knowledge of the problem. It didn't take their word for it so I called another dealer and they knew right away about the problem and said the timing chain tensioners had been recalled. I am happy to say I had the repair done at no cost to me. The check engine light is out.
  • i looking at purchasing a 97 xlt explorer
    and i wanted to know if anyone has had any
    problems major or small
  • ace10ace10 Posts: 137
    why don't you take the time to read the 458 posts prior to yours and decide if there are any problems with the exploder, errr.. explorer.

  • sanandtonsanandton Posts: 342
    Regarding the plan to purchase a 97 Explorer. I sold my 97 after only 1 year of ownership. Lets see the problem list included but was not limited to: Leaking windshield from factory, door seals didn't seal, broken rear wiper, excessive road and engine noise (even for an explorer), new drive shaft, vibrations around 60mph unfixable, and the last straw was it never got better than 14mpg with the SOHC V-6 (acceptable according to ford). Now the 98 I replaced it with would stall unexpectedly while pulling into oncoming traffic, had new drive shaft also, rack and pinion, rear wiper again, entire body vibrated due to drive train all before 36k miles. Needless to say it was traded before the warranty ended. I did have a 96 with the OHV engine and it was the best and tightest of the three. Even today if I get into a 96 model it feels tighter than a brand new 2000 XLS my neighbor now owns. Make sure you get a warranty, you will need it.
  • sjorensjoren Posts: 1
    Greetings All,
    Got my new Explorer last week and have a couple of questions. Material I received stated that tire pressure should be kept at 26. I recall reading somewhere that Ford recommended a tire pressure of 30. Anybody else hear that. Also stated was use of unleaded (duh) 87 octane. Now, my 92 Explorer had nothing but premium and I never had any engine issues after 110K when I traded it in on the new one. Comments?????

    Many Thanks
  • ace10ace10 Posts: 137
    your explorer should have a new sticker on the door jamb showing the new, recommnded tire pressure of 30 psi front and back. ford sent out replacement stickers to owners and certainly should be putting them on new ones. you should have gotten one already as a current owner. Good Job Ford!!!

    as for octane rating... your truck is designed to run on the manufacturer's recommended fuel. now, coming from ford, i realize that doesn't mean much, but unless the engine has high compression (which yours doesn't) it shouldn't need high octane fuel. put it this way, (and this should scare anyone who uses too high a grade of fuel for any car) over those 110K miles of (luckily) trouble free motoring, you spent $1,500 to $2,000 on unnecessary fuel costs! that difference would have more than made up the bath that explorer owners are taking on resale values currently.

    just my thoughts,
  • I have a '91 Explorer, and have read all of the preceding notes in this forum. I have mixed feelings about the vehicle, as it has served me well for years, but not without some expense. I bought it used when it was a year old, with 21K on it, and now it has 219K, so just to be running that long is pretty good.
    But, I have: replaced the transmission once, at 88K; replaced the radiator and water pump; replaced the rotors many times; had several electrical problems that were never truly resolved; had two blown head gaskets and cracked heads replaced; the antilock and parking brake warning lights on the dash are constantly on, due to locking up my brakes one time 4 years ago; replaced my Firestones.
    I have noticed that Ford does not have their act together too well on parts. There are parts I have gone to buy that were not even listed, and then were found under different part numbers and descriptions. Their employees at dealerships are not very good.
    However, I love the roominess of the vehicle, and the punch of my V-6. At this point, it is worth nothing to anyone but me and I plan to drive it into the ground, but overall I would say that my next vehicle will be a 4Runner, as I like their durability.
    Does anyone know of a quick fix for the antilock/parking brake light problem?
  • brophbroph Posts: 85
    I read the earlier posts about changing the shocks on Explorers. I have a '96 XLT I/ 103K on it & I think desperately needs shocks. I bought it in set of last year, it has air shocks in the back. I read in the manual that this might have an air control ride system? This is my first Explorer & am pretty happy so far. I'm planning on changing the fronts, should I also consider change the rears? I' be never changed rear shocks before, are they difficult? Any feedback would be great. Thanks.

  • Hi,
    I'm lookin at a 91 Explorer and thinking of buying it. It's in excellent shape- inside and out and completely rust free. The problem is it has 140,000 miles on it and they do not know if it has the original eng and tranny in it. It's at a used car lot- bought at a auction in PA. Could anyone here tell me realistically how many miles the Explorers eng. and tranny usually last? I know nothing about Fords- never owned one. We've had Blazers and Jimmys the last few years, but their engines have become so poor, that I'm looking at others now. I would love a Pathfinder, but they are hard to find used and in the low thousands!
    I've checked Consumer Reports and am aware of it's pluses and minuses.They are very accurate regarding the paint, rusting and durability. The 91 is in mint condition externally. Well I'd appreciate any imput. My Email is
    Thanks, Lori
  • We have a 94 XLT version of the explorer. Its a manual transmission with 4WD. Lately we have been having trouble with the 4WD transferring from two wheel to four wheel without the thing making major loud howling noises. Friends have said that the transfer case is gone. Anyone out there that has this problem please advise. With over 100,000 miles we are not willing to dish out mega bucks to fix it. Its been a good car otherwise so maybe this is just par for the course considering the mileage. Any input would be appreciated. Our email address is Thanks!
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Stay away.. you have been warned.....
  • Purchased my '93 XLT new and have been a very pleased customer. Normal wear & tear except for a fuel pump @95K. Tires lasted me 'til 82K. Currently at 109K and with the soon to be additional third child, I'm looking for a third seat SUV. RECOMMENDATIONS PLEASE!! Presently all American SUV manufacturers being considered. Namely, Expedition, Tahoe, Durango, Yukon and of course the '02 Explorer. No towing required just some extra inside space and the third seat (more car pooling lately too). Both Excursion and Suburban models are too big as I'd like to get double digit MPGs!!

    I'm inclined to give Ford the edge and haven't ride in the '02 Explorer yet. Looking forward to it. Must admit however, that Tahoe AS test drive was certainly nice last weekend. Let's hear it folks............
  • Recently purchased new -- 2000 Explorer Eddie Bauer AWD. She has only 4,000 miles on her and we noticed small spots of fluid on driveway after she had been sitting for a few hours. Took her to Ford dealership and mechanic says she has to have the Vent Assembly for the Differential replaced. HELP!! I've only owned her for THREE months! How serious is this and is it a sign of bad things to come or am I just being paranoid?
  • After a year of driving a '99 extended cab C***y pickup, I would recommend against the Yukon or Tahoe. (This is a company truck, so thankfully I don't own it!!) While I am getting used to it, and don't mind it as much as I did at first, I still think GM did a half-a**ed job of suspension and frame engineering. We have many of these trucks in our fleet, and have had lots of complaints of front-end vibration, among others. I think it rides poorly, although improved with new Edelbrock shocks, and the brakes are giving problems at 38K miles. Another common problem is called "launch shudder", which is a driveline vibration caused by the rear axle wrapping up enough on acceleration (moderate) to put the pinion angle out of phase with the u-joint on the rear of the transmission. New rear springs helped somewhat, but with a load, it is definitely still there. Poor engineering, as previously stated. Buy an Expedition!
  • I, too, was apprehensive about the Explorer after reading these posts. But after researching consumer reports (one of the few U.S. cars recommended) and speaking with a few satisfied co-workers, I took the plunge and bought a '97 Explorer XLT with 32,000 miles from I also paid $1500 for a 6year/72K mile bumper-to-bumper extended warranty (you can buy these from the dealer or on the net).

    After 6 months, I'm very satisfied and would highly recommend the vehicle to prospective purchasers, though you would be CRAZY not to get an extended warranty after reading about all the engine rebuilds, etc. Think of it as pre-paid insurance.

    Also, you should know that all SUVs get very bad gas mileage, much worse than most cars, so consider getting a new Escape if your drive a lot and don't need the power.

    With that in mind, I do note the following problems:

    (1) possible coolant leak (see prior posting re: extension of warranty on gasket);
    (2) non-functional A/C (probably needs freon);
    (3) cold stall after initial a.m. start -- but only under 30 degrees in the mountains (also discussed above - possibly fuel pump related or frozen gas line);
    (4) poor city gas mileage (thermostat replacement?).

    I will report back on these problems after visiting the dealer.
  • scootyscooty Posts: 10
    I would like to know the part # of the new upgraded chain tensioner kit.I heard it was posted on this site but I cannot find it.
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    Does anyone know if the sway bar recall was just on certain Explorer/Mountaineer models? i have a 97 and appears it wasn't under this recall though i had to get my sway bars replaced.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    It wasnt the sway bar that was defective, it was the bushings.. and that was on 1998 and some 1999 models, where Ford lost their enthusiasm to build quality... two very bad years for Ford Explorers and Mountaineers.
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    my mistake, thanks for the correction Mazman, I thought it was the sway bar, now that i look a bit closer to my reciept it was just the nuts and bolts/bushings that were replaced, im just glad to be rid of the clunking sound.
  • Hey Gang!

    I have a 2000 Ford Explorer Limited V-8 AWD completely loaded to the gills and I have been experiencing a few weird problems that I wanted to post on this board.

    First: My rear windshield wiper will intermittently not work (especially when there is heavy rain). Sometimes when it's raining hard and I start the vehicle and attempt to engage the rear wiper, it doesn't work! I can push the knob in and hear the wiper washer fluid motor running, but the wiper will stay in place. I have had the dealer check this out twice but to no avail, they couldn't duplicate the problem. Sometimes after I shut off the vehicle and restart it, the wiper will work, but not all of the time. Has anyone else experienced this problem?

    Second: I have the 3-in-1 stereo unit (CD in dash, cassette and radio) with the changer as well and after about 2 hours of continuous play on the in dash CD, you can actually smell the CD burning (or some other internal mechanism) and eventually the unit will kick out the CD and the display will read, "CD TOO HOT." I am on my second radio concerning this problem. Ford replaced the first unit with a new one that still has the same problem? This usually happens whenever I am making a long road trip (like this past weekend)? The smell kind of resembles the smell that you get when you are ironing your clothing? The CD is VERY hot to the touch whenever this occurs as well!

    Additionally, when I was making my return trip on Saturday, I loaded up the CD changer to use instead of the in dash unit. Well, after about 2 hours down the road, I decided to put a single CD in the in dash play and guess what? The display read, "CD TOO HOT?" I couldn't quite figure that one out because I started the car on a cold Michigan morning and started driving back to Ohio using the CD Changer.. not using the in dash unit, so WHY would it show that the CD was still too hot when there wasn't anything in there?

    I didn't drive the truck at all yesterday (Sunday) and today while driving it in to work, I noticed that the single CD would play the CD's again?

    I hope that you guys can help me.. I like my Explorer a lot, but these two non-traceable problems are really beginning to bug me. HELP!

  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Both are known problems with the explorer.

    The wiper problem has something to do with the GEM module... The computer that controls the interior lights works off the same system and that is probably malfunctioning as well.. and you thought that the lights were controlled by a simple pressure switch in the doors???... no.. Ford has complicated it too much.

    The CD problem has less to do with the head unit as it has to do with the heater ducts in the dash. If you run cool air thru the system, it will cool down the CD and should work fine.... you know it is a known problem when the radio is even programmed to say "CD too hot".... There is probably a piece of insulation that is missing (and probably was missed at the fectory) behind the head unit allowing the heat (which rises) to enter the radio's space and heats it up.

    Good luck.
  • Bought '93 Explorer new and now have 90,000 miles without any serious problems. After reading some of these post I feel very fortunate. My worst problem has been replacing front brake pads every 20,000 miles. We are in rather hilly country though. I change oil & filter every 3,000 miles and change transmission fluid every couple of years. I take better than average care of my vehicles and usually get good service from them.
    I had a radio problem that cost about $100 and just recently replaced part of the exhaust system.
    Otherwise it has performed very well.
  • 96 explorer, 72k, 4.0 V6. either at idle or speed, an occasional very loud groan or hum, almost like a harmonic distortion, coming from air cleaner housing(cone type filter). will stop if i 'goose' the accelerator at speed or at idle when i open the air cleaner housing strap. changed filter, housing from fender intake to throttle body disassembled by dealer, cleaned, no obstructions. dealer diagnostic showed no problem with MAF. most often in below freezing weather. dealer heard noise, no clue. i posted this last month, looking for new ideas. any help with this will restore my sanity, thanks
  • and on another topic that i read here....why would there be so much difference in the quality of model years that are practically the same design?? same sheet metal, interior etc. i've noticed that my 96 is still very tight, no rattles, steering still firm, than in the 97-99 s i've been in. i'm glad i got lucky with this one but what gives with all these complaints of later models that are coming apart??
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    The difference is quality control and motivation of the workers to get product out without being able to / or caring to tighten all the screws. If the shop is under pressure to build more trucks, some are gonna go by the line without every screw being tighened... and checked.

    Also, it is not exactly a true statement that the 96 and 99 are identical trucks. The 96 has metal bumpers for starters. The 99 has plastic. The 96 uses more mechanical systems than the 99, which uses a lot of computer controlled systems. I owned a '94 Explorer and that truck was built better than my 2000 quality wise, as well as the engineering design of the 2000, I feel "cheapened" the older truck.. Sure there are some nice new amenities like the auto dimming mirror (Discontinued for 2001), rear air vents, and the CD player, but basically the truck was purchased for utility... I think that the Ford engineers took the older truck , and said, what can we TAKE OUT of it to make it COST us less.... for example .. the use of velcro instead of screws... The use of plastic over metal... the use of two screws instead of 4... the use of plastic snaps instead of screws altogether...

    Ford is not the only manufacturer to do this, they all do this to some extent...
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    Its to bad that the quality went down hill, especially for the people who want to get into newer explorers, i have a 97 and i haven't had big problems just minor things the dealer fixed, i wasn't to happy when i asked the dealer how much would it be for a CD player installed, he said $300 bucks. Is ford really this overpriced on their CD players?
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