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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • cuznverncuznvern Posts: 4
    Just got my truck back. Turns out it was the crank sensor. Cost $214 with tax.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    The problem might also be harmonic vibration of the exhaust system at idle. I had the same problem with my 99 Explorer when it was new. There was a TSB and th dealer installed a kit that fixed the problem until the warranty ran out. My truck is now rattling at idle again. To test my hypothesis, start the truck and push on the exhaust pipe with your foot. If the vibration stops that is what it is. The exhaust system hangers have lost some their elastic power, have stretched and the rattle returned.
  • joe_88joe_88 Posts: 2
    thanks for the advice. I'll try and do the wd40 fix first. It's just amazing that i purchased this vehicle new and i'm running into these little problems (not to mention that i'm on my fourth repair from the dealership). the car isn't even at 15k yet. needless to say, i've become soured by this ford experience.
  • jackifljackifl Posts: 2
    Thanks for the responses, Shark and ED. The shudder is all gone now but I am taking it further. I've contacted Goodyear corporate with my tale of woe and concluded it with this comment:
    NO one except for the Goodyear service place has had this issue, apparently. And THEY think it is perfectly normal. Neither Ford corporate, my local Ford dealer or anyone on the Ford service forum sites have confirmed that this is a true scenario.
    I am concerned, even though the shudder has gone away. I want to be sure that no damage has been done to either my tires, my ball joints, my bushings or ANYTHING else in my front end! How can I have peace of mind about this? Can you, will you help me?

    At the very least, I want a different Goodyear shop to inspect my Explorer and make sure that has been no damage or should be no repercussions.
    Will keep you posted and thanks for the support!
  • Joe, I think the mechanic originally missed the problem probably because he did not run the engine with the belt off. If he would have done that, the problem would have been obvious to him, and he would have investigated the front crankshaft seal and repaired it. Remember, this is not a common problem. Also remember that you have not yet confirmed the problem, by taking the belt off and running the engine for no more than a minute. Please let us know what you find. My wifes 1997 has never squealed in 146,000 miles, and my 2000 sometimes squeals now at 124,000 miles. When I spray the WD40 on the crankshft seal, the squeal goes away, after a few weeks it comes back, not as loud as before, it never seems to hurt anything, runs fine, but embarrassing when driving down the street or stopped at a traffic light and people stare at you. For some reason the seal seems to dry and causes the squeal. I keep hoping it will begin to seep oil and lubricate itself and shut up. I bought a new seal a while back, in case I need to change it. It comes in a front timing cover gasket/seal set for about $15.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • My 16 year old son has his heart set on a Black Xplorer 4WD XLT with certain options. After searching for a few days, we found a suitably configured vehicle at a CarMax dealer out of state. It is a 2003 with 30K miles. We paid $150 to move the car here and we test drove the car yesterday. Well, things did not go well. Whenever we accelerated from a dead stop and turned the steering wheel either left or right, a rumbling noise and pull came from the rear axle. The CarMax service department checked the car and said that the rear differential was bad and that it needed to be replaced - a 7 hour job. They said that these went out all the time on Explorers. Of course, they assured us that the car would be 100% after their service. As you can imagine, Mom and Dad are thinking - uh-oh, we need to stay away from this car. Are we over-reacting or do we need to stay away from this car?
  • gasburner1gasburner1 Posts: 10
    I have been doing the tranny fluid change and new filter every 30 K miles, the last one about 8K ago, so I don't want to redo it again unless I have no choice, since it is not cheap. I have about 1 mo left on my Premium care extended warranty. I'll think I take it to the dealer. Problem is, without something "broken" I anticipate a response like "that's tyipcal or nothing out of spec". But I know for a fact that something has changed in the last few K miles. Any clue as to what I might direct the dealer to look for or at? Thanks!
  • My uncle had the same vehicle in the same color and he had no problems with it. He absolutley loved the car. If you are worried about safety, my uncle was involved with a head on crash, as someone ran a red light. The Explorer took hardly any damage. It has been the top selling suv in america for 15 years now. I just recently bought a 2006 Eddie Bauer Explorer (Black) and I love it. This is coming off a reliable car in a 2004 Honda Accord. I would reccomend the 2003 Ford Explorer based on what my uncle had to say about it, but I am not sure if you want to look at this particular vehicle, as it seems to have the rear axle problem. You should not have any trouble finding a 2003 Explorer in black, there are many of them out there.
  • Thanks for the response. FYI, the main options we want that are kind of hard to find are leather seats, but no sunroof (he's 6'4" and still growing).

    To be more specific on my question, is there a known systemic problem with the rear axle and/or differential on some 2003 Explorers? If the problem occurs is it serviceable or does it typically reoccur? The guys at CarMax said this happens all the time and that it is 100% correctable. However, since they are not exactly impartial, I wanted to check with the knowledgeable users of Edmunds.
  • If you dont mind me asking, where are you located and where did you find this 2003 explorer. I am from the NYC area and there are a ton of 2003's around here.
  • rockyprockyp Posts: 6
    Thanks for the help. The engine is a 4.0L SOHC V6 engine with a 5R55e transmission. I keep up all of my maintenance (got 80K out of the Wranglers) and being at 100K I just had the transmission fluid and the differential changed. The Ford dealership is telling me that the transmission is not going into secopnd gear and that they can replace the valve in the gear for $875, but at 100K they recommended doing an entire rebuild for $2950. I am going to get a second opinion (AAMCO etc.) if I can drive it off of the lot. Any advice would be appreciated.


  • We are in Middle Tennessee. We wanted a low mileage 2003 Black XLT with leather and no sunroof (i.e., which ruled out Eddie Bauer's). After looking for a few days, the best macth we could find was at a CarMax in Chicago. $150 and two days later we had the car ...unfortunately it has this rear axle/differential problem.
  • I can't do anything else for you, it sounds like it's about gone. Unfortunately those tranny don't last a long time, probably at the end of it's rope. Check around to get the best price for the best service, get quotes from reputable shops.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • puzzleddad, You are right, as far as the rear axle is concerned, it IS a LEMON. They have constant problems with these rear axles since they came out with the new design in 2002. They are correctable, because you can always take it out and replace it, but it's going to cost you a lot of money in the long run. It would be about $2000 to replace the rear axle assembly, if it is repairable, maybe half that, but that is money that you shouldn't even have to be spending. I own a 1997 V8 and a 2001 V8, both wonderful vehicles, but I will NOT own an Explorer newer than 2001, because of all the expensive problems they have, bad rear axles, bad transmissions, and if you have the 6 cylinder engine, trouble with those too (timing chains). Please go to the top of the page and use the SEARCH BUTTON to look for topics such as rear axles, transmissions, timing chains, etc, it will enlighten you greatly. It's your money, but I would stay away from that Explorer. At least start off with one that has no problems to begin with, then at least your son can enjoy it for a while, but set repair money aside for the future, you will need it. If you really want to get it, the BEST thing to do is get a good maintenance agreement contract on it that will cover all the major repairs, you will need it.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • Oh I understand...I am not sure if all Eddie Bauer's have sunroofs, mine was $850 add on option. It might be standard on the 2003 model. I can look around at places for the model you are looking for...maybe something will come up?
  • Does anyone know the measurements of the Trailor Hitch on the back of 2006 Eddie Bauer Explorer...cant measure as car is in shop?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,858
    what measurement are you looking for? tow bar size?
    towing package is 2 inches, standard is 1.25 i think.
    for that, the year doesn't matter. i have an '02.
    if you need height or anything else, i have to wait for my kid to bring it back. i'll hear the stereo before i see it.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • Did you understand the difference between the fluid and filter CHANGE verses the fluid FLUSH and filter? AT the dealer, the normal service is to Change or Drain the fluid, but the problem with that is some of the old fluid remains in the transmission. The FLUSH actually drains the fluid AND runs clean fluid through the transmission to FLUSH out any remaining old fluid. The FLUSH is much better than the drain and refill. You mentioned it was expensive, but I do mine myself, it cost $10 for the filter and 20 Quarts of MERCON V at about $3.50 per quart, Tax $5.60, so it costs me about $90 to do it myself, and well worth it. I can't say that it will cure your problem, but it IS very good preventive maintenance. Your hard 1-2 shift could also be caused by the control circuits, computer, wiring, solenoids, sticking accumulor piston, etc. If the dealer can't find any codes or any obvious problem that may cause this, try an additive before you go tearing into the transmission or valve body. I only recommend one additive to use, the only one that I have found that actually works, it's called LUCAS Transmission Stop Leak, in a 24 oz white plastic bottle, about $9. It can be found in most Auto Parts Stores. If you don't see it, go to their website, just Google Lucas to find it. Pour a bottle of that in (allow an hour for it to drain in, use a long neck funnel) and give it a week to see if it makes much difference. I can't promise, but chances are good that it will help.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. In Sunny Florida
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Seems like flushes too often result in a tranny failure, especially if they weren't part of a regular maintenance schedule. Coincidence?

    Here's one recent thread about it:

    steve_, "Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute: Problems & Solutions" #3411, 30 Jun 2006 9:09 pm
  • gasburner1gasburner1 Posts: 10
    Yes I understand what you ment by trans flush. In fact of the three dealers in my area, two only do the flush. The last trans fluid change I had done was using the "flush" method. The problem is the dealers just want to do the flush only, and leave the same filter in place, and it is a big "extra" to get the filter changed. I'm sure changing the trans fluid myself would be cheaper, but I certainly don't have the time to do it. Thanks for the info. I'll see what the dealer comes back with after he looks it over.
  • I should perhaps clarify exactly what a CORRECT transmission flush is, as there seems to be a lot of misconceptions about it, and people are offering to do it in different ways.

    1. If the transmission is flushed correctly it will not harm the transmission. I have personally done transmission flushes on many mid to high milage vehicles, both domestic and foreign and NEVER had any problem.

    2. NO solvent or foreign fluid or chemical should be used to flush the transmission, only new fluid as specified by the manufacturer is added to the transmission.

    3. Flushing the transmission without changing the filter is not recommended. Some transmissions have a screen instead of a filter, and the manufacturer recommends not changing it, such as a 2002 Nissan Altima. In such cases, you can leave the pan and screen in place, drain the transmission fluid by removing the drain plug, replace drain plug, then flush and fill the transmission. If your vehicle does NOT have a FILLER TUBE and DIPSTICK, it is recommended for a shop to do this proceedure, to be sure the correct amount of fluid is replaced in your vehicle. For vehicles that have filters and no drain plug on the transmission pan, the transmission pan should be dropped, fluid drained, new filter installed, transmission pan and gasket replaced, then fluid is added, flushed, then topped off. Normally about 6 to 8 quarts of fluid is run through the transmission to flush the old fluid out of the transmission. The color of the fluid is observed as the fluid exits the transmission, usually through a clear hose so that the color may be observed. The fluid is dark at first, and then turns a clear brighter red as the old fluid is purged out and the new fluid flows through the transmission torque converter, pump, valve body, and various hydraulic passages, accumulators, clutches and lubrication passages. The gear selector is moved to the various positions during the flushing process to insure that the fluid is flushed through all the transmission components and passages.

    4. A special Flushing Machine is not required to flush the transmission, but may be used. The transmission has a pump inside of it that will pump the fluid through the transmission and out of the transmission. This is usually done by disconnecting the transmission fluid line from the transmission fluid cooler, located in front of the radiator, and connecting a clear hose from the cooler line to a large drain pan. This is particularly easy to reach on an explorer, as the lines pass under the radiator. The engine is run for short periods of time, and new fluid is added to the filler tube as the old fluid is pumped out into the drain pan. An assistant starts and stops the engine, and moves the gear selector during the flushing operation. For safety, the emergency brake is applied, foot brake applied, wheels chocked, and it is better to have the drive wheels off the ground. Once Transmission fluid flushes clean and clear, stop engine, reconnect transmission cooler lines, fill with fluid, start engine, move selector lever, top off fuid level to correct level on the dipstick.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • txcars56txcars56 Posts: 1
    I have a '93 Explorer Sport 4.0 v6 with 184,000 miles. The engine has run great till now. Starts and runs fine, but increasingly over the past few weeks will "cut out" for a split second and then continue running fine. This morning it stalled (the very first time it has done this) at a light, but I restarted and resumed driving. It feels like it's ignition and not fuel related, but I don't want to jump to conclusions. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  • realbillrealbill Posts: 4
    There, that's better.
    Now give us more information about your vehicle and this noise. I assume it is a Ford Explorer, What year? What Engine? Tell us more what it sounds like? When is it louder? When is it softer? Softer at Idle? Louder when you give it the gas? How about at road speed? Describe the sound, moaning, whistling, rattling, clanking, clicking, grinding, roaring, etc. How does the sound change and when does it change? Be as descriptive and colorful as you can. We got the LOUD part already.
  • Sorry about the caps. Yes its a Ford Explorer,1997, 4.0 engine. the noise sounds whooooo. This begins when the car heats up and continues at road speeds from stop to 60 mphs. gets softer sometimes at giving car gas. The car sometimes looses some power at going up a hill , this problem has just started. This happins with air off or on. I had a sensor replaced and they had to take off dash board to do it and now air only works on max. same with heater just paid 250 dollars and this all started shortly after that. like I said I have been told air problem along with intake system I'm afraid they see female and know I know nothing. (Which I don't ) Please help asap. Thanks, Kay
  • You or a friend will have to get their hands dirty to find the problem or take it to a mechanic you can trust. It sounds like the sound may come from the engine air intake system. Feel for vibrations on the air cleaner box, on the air intake tube, and on the engine at the throttle body. Try unsnapping the cover off the air cleaner box and lifting the cover up some, see if you hear the sound coming out of the tube going to the engine. If you do, I would pull the air intake tube off and investigate it, check the mass air flow sensor at the air cleaner end and check the throttle body(the part at the engine where the tube connects onto). If you don't hear the sound coming from the engine air intake, you will have to listen carefully elsewhere and try to find the source of the sound. I don't know what else to say without being there.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • johel77johel77 Posts: 3
    I just changed the battery on my Explorer 98. Now I can't start it. All I get is a click and the Theft light blinks on the dash. I don't have the owners manual nor the code. Please help
  • Is this a NEW battery you put in? Are the connections good and tight. Are you sure that the battery is charged? What happens when you turn on your headlights? Are they as bright as normal? Leave headlights on, watch your dome light, turn on the key and turn on the AC and wipers, does the dome light dim? How about when you try to start the engine, do the headlights or dome light dim?
    How fast does the Theft light blink? I think about once every 10 seconds or so is normal.
  • To Steve and Tidester and Mr Shiftright.
    I firmly stand by my post #5207. The best thing you can do for a transmission is give it a PROPER flush every 30K. I outlined a PROPER flush in my post, but I think that many of the flushes that these people get are done improperly. If you can't trust the people working on your car, you have to watch every move they make. If you can't be sure that they are doing it right, take it somewhere else. Take Post #5207 with you and show it to them, if they won't do it like that, then go somewhere else that will. They should make that Post #5207 a Sticky on here. If they do it right, then you won't have any trouble with your transmission, due to the flush. Please don't confuse a good flush with a bad transmission! If a tranny has a problem or is junk, it will still be junk after you flush it. Flushing is not magic, it won't fix anything, it's just good preventative maintenance. Remember, there are TWO important things in general to make an automatic transmission last, #1 Keep it COOL, and #2 Keep it CLEAN!
    All transmissions are NOT created equal, and some won't last long because they are poorly designed. The Automatic Transmission in the 6 cylinder Explorer is poorly designed, as is the Automatic Transmission in the Ford Escape. The Ford automatic transmission with the good reliability ratings are the ones that have been around for a while and have been race proven, like the AOD, and then the AODE, and now the A470RW. The A4R70W is the same as the AODE except it has the Wide Ratio Gears, hence the W.
    I worked at a Chevrolet Dealer in the 1970's, also worked at a Chrysler Dealer in the 70's, doing everything including engines and automatic transmissions. I retired from that work, but built some GM, FORD, and Mopar trannys on 80's and 90's models of my own, and don't plan on doing any more.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. In Sunny Florida
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