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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • dodgekbaddodgekbad Posts: 56
    I am just double-checking the wires that I replaced on my '98 Explorer (V6 SOHC). Specifically, I am confused about the rear cylinder and the middle one, on the drivers side. Which wire positions from the coil go these 2 cylinders?
  • johel77johel77 Posts: 3
    All lights work fine. The click that I get is not that click when the starter is going bad. It's not the starter that's for sure. The theft light blinking is not normal because it starts when I turn the key and not the other way. It has something to do with the security sys. The bad thing is that when I bought the car and I didn't get any owner manuals or the keyless entry code, maybe that'd help or not.

  • Now you sound like mechanic! I'm hoping to avoid that route! :sick:
  • kwccorbkwccorb Posts: 5
    Thanks E.D. ISF,

    Actually my explorer has almost 180,000. Sounds like I should have the whole front-end reworked.

    I've tried to shoot some oil on the busings and such, but to no avail. I have done everything but listen with a stethescope, but I can't seem to hear exactly where the noise comes from.

    Again, thanks for the info.

  • Yes, it does sound like it could be the security system, can't help with that one, sounds like you may need to go to the dealer and have it checked. Maybe someone else can chime in on this one.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • That could be further indication that the ball joints are squeaking. The sound from them can travel through the metal and be hard to tell where it is coming from. I don't think you said, have you ever have the ball joints replaced, and if so, how long ago and how many miles on them now?
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • dodgekbaddodgekbad Posts: 56
    Why is it all the chasers are this size? I guess that happens when all the Auto parts stores are Pep Boys and Autozone, and I don't trust the 16 yr old working there. Do they come in SAE or will the 14mm work on my Explorer ('98 v6 sohc)?
  • Ask that 16 year old to bring one of those spark plugs that goes in your engine to the counter, so you can just compare and match up the threads, to be sure you know that the chaser is the right one. If he brings you the right spark plug, you might start to gain a little confidence in him.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • kwccorbkwccorb Posts: 5
    E.D., I have never had any work done on the front end. No replacement of anything. Sounds like it is definitely time. I'm wondering if it is worth the $1,200.00 I've been quoted to have it done. Is this a do it yourself project or would I be better to pay the $600 labor?


  • crtitonecrtitone Posts: 1
    I have a 95 Explorer with almost 200K on it. I have had some problems with the manual transmission but it is still running and I need to keep it going for a little while longer. I am having problems with the electric windows. Intermittently the computer rests itself. This has been happening since I got the truck with 50K. The 4WD lights will blink 6 times then do it again in 2 minutes. This used to happen once in a while but now it is most of the time. While it is in this mode, the windows will not work. I assume this is a computer problem. Is there a solution or do I need to replace the computer? If so, which computer and where is it?
  • $1,200.00 That's a lot of money, of course, that's a lot of miles too. I do not know if you are mechanical at all, but doing front end work is hard dirty work. I do my own cause I can't spend $1200 on a front end, that's probaby half of what the car is worth. I'm thinking parts are about $300 to $400 at the most. Roughly, Lower ball joints are $30 each, 2 required, upper ball joints with control arms are about $100 each, 2 required, and maybe sway bar links and several bushing and misc parts for about another $100 to $140. You need tools, pickle forks, ball joint separators, BIG HAMMERS, Jacks, Sturdy Stands, Air Tools help a lot, the BAll Joint Press Tool you can get loaned for free at many parts house for about a $100 deposit. When you're done with the Press, you can return it and get your deposit back, or you can let them keep the deposit and you keep the tool if you want. I kept the tool. That job would probably cost you about $400 and a long afternoon of Hard work if you do it yourself, or you can just pay the $1,200, But check around on prices, because I think you can get it done for less than that.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • dodgekbaddodgekbad Posts: 56
    OK, I just matched them up with my plug. The Chaser idea is close -- but no Cigar!

    I got the spark plug to sit deep in its hole -- but not all the way. Although it is a big improvement. The problem is the part of chaser that you screw-the-thing-down-with is too big and is getting caught on the engine and isn't allowing the thread part to go in deeper.

    Everyone is looking to gauge my eyes out on this repair job, and I can only find one person willing to helicoil it anyway.
  • dodgekbaddodgekbad Posts: 56
    It's not the chaser. I just went out and bought another smaller one (the nut part of it -- its still a 14mm pitch however). The fact is more torque is needed. I am nervous about just cranking the hell out of it to get it lower.

    Is it a good idea to bring it in? or just crank it? What about driving it like that? I only started it for a couple of minutes and the idle seems smooth.
  • The problem is a little deeper than just the threads. Even though the spark plug threads may be almost all the way in the threads in the head and sealing, the body of the spark plug is not seated against the head. This may work for a short time, but the problem is heat transfer, there is a LOT of heat generated at the tip of the spark plug that travels into the body of the spark plug, and the plug needs to be firmly seated against the head for the heat to transfer from the spark plug body to the head. Without this heat transfer, the spark plug will overheat and burn up, possibly doing further damage. The chaser is not meant to be a tap, it is just meant to clean out the threads without a lot of pressure. The threads need to be examined very closely with a light and a magnifier to see what is stopping the chaser. It could possible be that some metal from the first spark plug is broken off and wedged in the threads. You need a 14mm TAP to use to try to rethread the spark plug threads in the head. This is just about a job for a machine shop, unless you are really good and patient. The TAP is made stronger and made more for cutting new threads into the metal. You would need to carefully screw it in with a tap wrench (room could be an issue), and cut into the hard part of the spark plug hole threads a very little at a time , then back the TAP out a little to clean the threads, keep screwing it in and backing it out a little at a time until the tap is all the way through the threads, and hopefully the threads will be fine. Be sure to use a little NEVERSEIZE on the spark plug threads, and do not overtighten the spark plug.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • dodgekbaddodgekbad Posts: 56
    I took it to a shop. They say I am very lucky and charged me only $44 to use a chaser to get the plug lower, and that their repair should hold up. Although it could be the angle or my imagination -- I checked the job when I got home -- and it looks like a couple threads are still sticking out. I guess it beats the $2000 estimate for removing the cylinder head I got from many others; although those estimates were just over the phone. But then again this guy has a rep for failing everyone for State Inspection -- so if the repair didn't really pass muster, I don't thnk he would be shy about saying so and telling me "take it to an engine shop."

    I think I am hanging up the tools.
  • Sounds like you came out pretty good, considering it could have been a lot more expensive than $44.
    Hope it holds up ok,
    E.D. ISF
  • cam1994cam1994 Posts: 1
    We have got the same problem going on right now. We replaced the Mass Air Flow Sensor, fuel pump, throttle position sensor, air idle control valve and that hasn't helped. We would appreciate any help that you might be able to offer. Our is a 1994 Ford Explorer 4x4. Do you think it could need a new computer? This is the only other thing that we can think of. Is it running rough? Spitting out smoke?
  • I am absolutely furious with Ford motor company. I have had a problem with my steering wheel column on my BRAND NEW 2006 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer V6. I brought the car into the dealership to be serviced and they replaced the steering shaft. They verified that there was a clunking noise coming from the steering shaft and did order a new steering shaft to replace it. Well only about a week later the problem has come up again. I think it is ridiculous. The car was purchased on July 3rd so it is under warranty still (I believe 90 days) Can this car be considered a lemon? What will Ford do for me, new Explorer? I wouldnt mind getting my money back and bringing my money to another car company. Any help on this issue will be greatly appreciated as I am furious over the matter.
  • dodgekbaddodgekbad Posts: 56
    Why are you angry? I assume because your car is new? Maybe the tech made a mistake and misdiagnosed the problem. It would be another thing if they refuse to fix it free. Give them another chance. What options do you have anyway?

    If you were going to buy a BMW or Porshe SUV -- you would have probably bought one instead of Ford. If you are going to buy American again, you will probably face the same reliabilitiy issue at GM or Jeep or Mercedes now that they're in the US. You could have bought a Pilot or Xterra and probably avoided a reliability issue. You will not get to return this car.

    I actually tried that once at a Ford dealer when they sold me a Taurus with bent rotors, that wouldn't drive straight. They refused to fix it after they said they would after the test drive.
  • You are correct, I just got caught up because it is a brand new car. I love the car otherwise, it is beautiful, drives nicely. I can t complain, but this pesky steering wheel problem should be on they will be able to fix.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    sorry about your experience and I can certainly understand your frustration. after all, it's a brand new car. anyway, check with the lemon law in your state. over here in CA, it's 3 attempts to fix the same problem and if it's still not resolved, then it's a :lemon:
    good luck
  • As I recall, they were in the $80.00 per tire range, ordered online from and installed by Wal-Mart. I just returned from a long interstate trip and was very happy with the highway performance.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,861
    make sure you get documentation for each attempt to correct the problem.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • Thanks mynewalias,
    I will look further into the Goodyear Raggatta 2's, for $80 sounds good. I paid that much for the Dunlop Radial Rovers I put on my wifes car and they turned out to be junk. The Dunlops one at a time separated and failed, between 20,000 and 30,000 miles. I put some used Goodyear Wranglers on her car for the time being, I plan to buy her a new full set soon, so I will certainly consider the Goodyear Raggatta 2's and the Goodyear Cross Terains.
  • porschajpporschajp Posts: 1
    Yes!!!!! I am having the same problem,I notice the noise only when my A/C has been running for a while, if i cut the A/c off it stops.I have a 2005 Ford Explorer Limited V8 with Advanced Trac. Have you found out any thing new about the noise?
  • Well I have good news to report. It seems that the steering wheel clunking noise and vibartion has gone away. Maybe this is normal for the car in the first thousand miles? I have not owned a truck like suv before so it might be that I am not completley use to the truck yet. Hope the noise wont come back anymore, love my new explorer!
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Also try Dayton Timberline. I had them on my 1996 Explorer. Much better than OEM Wrangler RT/S. If I remember right, it was about $65 installed per tire. this was 4 years ago.
  • aehallaehall Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 explore Sport, SOHC 4.0, 97,000 Miles. About a month ago I had to have the battery cables replaces due to corrosion, and then the starter. This weekend i was doing some maintenance, and found more corrosion on the cables, I tried to remove it with water and baking soda. Unfortunately,i went to start the car about 5 hours later and it wouldn't start. At first it tried to turn over and then just completely shut down like the battery wasn't putting out juice. I let i rest for a minute then turned the key to start it. The alarm started going off and then quickly died. I also tried to jump it and that didn't work either. I know very little about cars so have no idea what is wrong and don't want to get hosed at the shop. The battery seems to work fine, not sure if it is the starter, a wire went bad again due to the corrosion or i messed it up with the baking soda and water trick, or maybe the alarm needs to be disabled. If you have any idea please let me know what is up! Thanks

  • That was a good try at giving us information, we just need a little more information to narrow things down a bit.
    First, we need to know if the battery has power, so try a few things and tell us how they do. Turn on your headlights. Do they shine normally? If they do, then the battery has power and the power is getting through some of the wiring. If lights are dim or weak, it indicates a weak battery. Next, Turn on the dome light, and you will use it as a battery voltage guage. Watch the dome light, it should stay about the same brightness when you turn on your headlights, AC, step on the brake, etc. Only a tiny flicker would be acceptable. It should NOT go dim. Now with the dome light on, try to start the car, Does the dome lite dim? How much? If the dome light does NOT dim at all, then there is a resistance or open circuit in the starter circuit, could be in the connections, wires or starter, has to be traced out. If the dome light goes VERY DIM or OUT, AND the battery checked good before, that may mean that the starter has a problem of binding or shorting, causing it to draw to much current from the battery OR there is not enough power in the battery to power the starter, therefore the voltage drops too low. It is normal for the dome light to dim SLIGHTLY when starting the car.
    If you have access to a voltmeter, connect it across the battery posts, and do the above tests. I said connect to the POSTS, NOT the TERMINALS, because there could be some resistance between the battery post and the battery terminal. If the battery is fully charged, it should hold 12.5 to 12.7 volts with no load. As load is applied, the voltage normally drops a small amount. The voltage should not drop below 9.5 volts when cranking the engine. If it does, the battery is weak. If the volts only drops a little, like to maybe about 11 to 12 volts when cranking, and the starter is very slow, then there is resistance in the starter circuit, in the connections, wiring or in the starter itself. A check for voltage drop would have to be made along the circuit.
    If the engine starts, the alternator should charge the battery with about 13.5 to 14.3 volts. With a weak battery, the charging voltage may start with less voltage and then slowly build up to 13.5 to 14.3 volts.
    Let us know what you find. Good Luck.
    E.D. ISF
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