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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • For what it's worth - a shot in the dark.

    I had a '94 Ranger with the problem you describe to a 'T'. Once it was so bad the tow truck was on its way and it finally started while waiting. The computer finally recorded a trouble code which led me to replace the fuel pump relay. This might be the relay they already repaced though as it receives signals from the c.p. sensor. Mine was intermittent as well. Frustrating! Essentially mine was getting the signal to the relay telling it the car was attempting to start but it wasn't sending voltage on to the fuel pump to introduce fuel into the system. It was starving itself of fuel. The Haynes manual gives a systematic way to test - "fuel pump/fuel pressure check" - the relay and other components. With an intermittent problem it's hard to know for sure. My $5-10 replacement of f.p. relay eliminated the problem.
  • My wife had a similar starting issue with 4.6L V-8 and I did some research. Found a lot of information on the IAC valve, if it doesn't start place your foot on the accelerator while starting. If this works it is most likely the IAC valve that needs to be replaced plus the IAC will not throw a check engine code if it doesn't work properly. I will send an a web address lated on how to check for proper IAC function.
  • Did you ever get anywhere with this? My 2005 is just over a yr and I have had the latch replaced twice. Just at 1 yr and over 15LK miles, it started popping open again randomly. Ford has been absolutely useless as they have not been able to duplicate it even when they had my vehicle for a few days. I do not want to deal with lawyers but I do not feel safe with kids and dog in the back. Please let me know if you got anywhere...
  • Yes, it is very strange that the Dealer can feel it, they can hear it, yet they don't know what it is, or even where it is coming from.
    I would think the best thing to do is drive it until it warms up and makes the noise, then have them put it up on the rack, and try to duplicate the problem while running it on the rack, then they could see and feel under the car and find out where it is coming from.
    If they can't fix it, it may be best to drive even further away to another dealer and have them check it. Maybe they can give you a loaner and you can leave it there until they figure out what the problem is, and get it fixed.
    That's about all I can say about that.
    E.D. ISF
  • My husband and I have a 1991 Explorer Eddie Bauer edition. Dozens of problems :sick: : poor gas milage, wierd engine sound, also I can hear rattles when pedaling accelerator. My husband says that there are some airtubes? around an engine that should be connected correctly, but instead they are in mess. Also I'd like to know what is the difference between new and cleaned sparkplugs? Please help me :confuse:
  • I had a 1991 Eddie Bauer, it was a great car, considering it was the First Explorer. Yours sounds like it needs a lot of work, it probably has a lot of miles. Sounds like a tune up and a good going over is what it needs first.
    Spark Plugs? New spark plugs are just that, New. Cleaned spark plugs are used spark plugs that have been cleaned up, NOT a recommended practice anymore. Spark plugs in a properly running engine can last up to 100,000 miles, but in a poorly running engine, the combustion is "dirty" and creates carbon deposits in the combustion chamber and on the spark plug. A dirty spark plug is a strong indication of an engine that needs attention. Don't clean the spark plugs, fix the engine. If you don't know about these things, it's best to take it to someone who does. First make sure that all hoses, wires, tubes are all properly in place. Do a basic tuneup new spark plugs, new spark plug wires, etc. While the spark plugs are out, do a cylinder compression test on each cylinder, and write down the maximum pressure developed by each cylinder. They should all be within 20% of each other. Low cylinders should be investigated for head gasket leaks, valve leaks, cylinder head cracks or leaks, or leaky piston rings. There should be no combustion gas going into the cooling system and no coolant going into any of the cylinders. There should be no steam or smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe. The cooling system should be clean, inside the radiator cap should be clean, and inside the coolant reservoir should be clean. The engine should run at normal operating temperature. There should be no vaccuum leaks and the engine should idle smoothly at 600 to 700 rpm. Check the large plastic air tube that runs from the air cleaner box to the engine intake throttle body for any leaks, cracks or holes, especially on the bottom, this is a known problem with these cars. Any cracks, leaks, or holes found in the large air tube should be taped and repaired, or replace the large air tube. The check engine light should be OFF, with no DTC's (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) stored in the computer.
    The Engine Oil Level should be at the proper level with the correct motor oil and the motor oil filter should be clean. The oil and the oil filter should be changed every 5,000 or sooner. The air filter should be clean, change it every 15,000 miles or sooner. The fuel filter should be changed every 30,000 miles or sooner. The automatic transmission fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles or sooner. The brake fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles. Check all belts and hose to be sure that they are in good shape. Replace any that are questionable, old or cracked.
    There, that's a start. Let us know how it runs after you get all this done.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • Hello I have a 1995 ford explorer 4x4
    it will not shift into first gear until i let up on the gas a little then it will shift and do fine. until i have to slow down really slow or stop and it does the same thing but after i let up on the gas a little it will shift and then it shifts on through. and the od light flashes and the 2wheel and 4 wheel lights will flash ,, can anyone tell me what the problem could be.
  • Thanx ED,
    I will try doing what you have advised, and if not ask someone who knows how to. As you can see from my rpofile, I live in Mongolia, and ther are no ford dealers here, and no place to have our car checked. Therefore it was a big help, and will let you know as soon as I'll have progress.
    Thanx again,
  • panzerpanzer Posts: 125
    Is it just me and my big feet, or has anyone else noted that it is rather easy to push both pedals when braking to a stop on the 2006 Explorer? I have the adjustable pedals and I use only my right foot to operate the pedals. This is the only car of the dozens that I've owned over 35 years that I have to make a concious effort to get my foot only on the brake. Obviously, if this is a design error and other people have the same issue, safety is a concern. If I'm just a klutz, then it's my problem.
  • I don't know why it should be such a problem to swap another factory deck with your stock deck? My dad is going to give me the factory 6-disc stereo he got for his '06 F250 work truck (for around $250 from Ford), and I intend to put it in my '05 Explorer. I assumed that it would just plug right in, although if it takes a little more work than that I can handle it.
    I am sure that Car Toys or some other stereo shop may have difficulties installing a deck into the factory spot since Ford uses such mammoth stock units and they would have to spend extra time on the install. A new wiring harness and customizing and Alpine or Kenwood to fit the vehicle would cost you a few extra bucks...
    But why in the heck would you not be able to swap stock for stock???
    I am starting to dread making the swap myself - if you find out more, please keep me posted!
  • I too am having this same problem except my 2wd/4wd lights do not flash. I am hoping that i dont have to get a new transmission. I have put transmission fluid in and I still am having the issue. Please help.
  • You and kyrose did not say what engine and transmission you have. That makes ALL the difference in the world. You probably have the 6 clyinder engine, which has the smaller more troublesome transmission behind it.
    I was going to say something about the Ford layoffs announced today due to sales being lower than expected, being due to the lack of quality than we have seen in these posts, such as the transmission problems, the engine problems, and the rear axle problems, but I won't.
  • I have a V6 and I have had the rear axle trouble to but the Ford dealer had to replace that because they damaged it.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    02 Explorer XLT

    passenger side front window regulator (according to the dealer) has failed and they wanted $462 parts and labor for it. does it sound too high? I did some research and found out the regulators go for about $85 to $160. Let's say if the dealer ordered the most expensive one, does it mean they're charging me almost 4 hours of labor?? is there any way i can search what is the standard labor time to do the job? i thought it should take no more than 2 hours.
  • Nothing at the Dealer is cheap. I suggest that you get some quotes from independent auto repair shops or body shops.
    E.D. ISF
  • 02 Explorer XLT - V6 4.2L Engine

    First post, hopefully someone can help me figure this problem out. Thanks ahead of time for all those that post!

    I've had several recent problems with my '02 Explorer. Items below are in order of fixed problems.

    1.) Thermostat problem (replaced)
    2.) Thermostat housing broke (unreplaceable gasket broke)- I replaced the whole unit and gaskets.
    3.) Soon after, my water pump blew out. Replaced!
    4.) A month later, I went to start the car and white smoke continually blew out the back!

    I feared the worst but thankfully there's absolutely no water in the oil and vice versa. The coolant tank seems to be a little yellow maybe and smells a little like exhaust? And the exhaust obviously smells like its burning coolant.

    So I just want to confirm my suspicions, does this mean my intake manifold may be cracked or is it just the gasket?

    I'd like to get a little info before I dive in. Right before it started blowing smoke it seemed to be idling higher than usual....can anyone give me a little direction?
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    E.D., thanks for the reply...
    as for me, it's too late and I will learn my lesson on this one. and i should have thought of taking it to the body shop first.
  • Unfortunately, your engine situation does not sound good. Going back to your previous history of replacing cooling system components, thermostat, housing, water pump, it seems to indicate that you had an overheating problem. Overheating is a major engine problem that causes leaking head gaskets and cracked cylinder heads, and it sounds like overheating led to your problem. Even though you don't actually see coolant in you oil, or oil in the coolant, there may still be a leak present. The white smoke from your exhaust is almost certain proof of this. The dealer or any auto shop has a tester that they can put in place of the radiator cap and test for any combustion gases present in the cooling system, or other test, and they can determine for sure if you have the problem. It certainly does sound like you do have the problem, from what you have said. If you do have Coolant entering the combustion chambers and going out the exaust, it will have to be fixed soon. It may need a head gasket replacement (most likely), or it may need a new cylinder head, or the it may have a cracked engine block and need a new engine (not as likely).
    Let us know how it turns out.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • So it doesn't sound like the intake manifold? The reason I came to this assumption is because everywhere I read on the internet, the explorer (02's and a few other years) were susceptable to the intake manifold cracking or the gaskets leaking. Plus, when changing out the thermostat housing a bunch of fluid poured over the engine and when I first restarted the car several puffs of white smoke came out. I thought this might be due to some fluid leaking into the intake manifold and got me thinking...

    My car never overheated, and never had such indication during the replacement of each of the parts. I pretty much eyeballed the parts and saw that they needed replacing due to their soon to be failure.

    So is white smoke the only indicator for head gaskets or could it be something else? My dad's car blew white smoke like crazy out the rear one time while on the interstate and he found out that his thermostat was completely stuck and needed replacing. After that, it was fixed so could it be something else?

    The car is at my house here and I really don't want to drive it to a shop, so I'll need to get a tester from a parts store it looks like?

    Thanks again!
  • White smoke could mean other things too, like heavy amounts to oil or transmission fluid in the exhaust, but you specifically said the exhaust smells like coolant, so we diagnose in that direction. It could possibly be the manifold or gasket leaking, if it leaks coolant into the intake and lets coolant into the engine combustion chambers. If you spilled coolant over or into the engine while working on it, that coolant would be expelled from the engine as soon as it was started and it would quite making the white smoke quickly, but you said it makes white smoke out the exhaust continuously. That would indicate that it is continuously burning coolant, if the exhaust smells like coolant. The testing tool I was refering to is too expensive for you to buy just to use it one time. It is only worthwhile to a shop that uses it often.
    Let's proceed with some diagnostics. If your engine is burning coolant, then the coolant level must go down, you should be noticing the coolant level in the reservoir and or radiator going down. But if it's so bad that you can't drive the vehicle around, and the exhaust definitely has a strong smell of coolant, it is a very safe bet that coolant is getting into the engine combustion chamber. If you want to do further diagnostics before tearing into it, you will need more specialized tools. One easier way to test it is to pressurize each cylinder one at a time with air pressure, you need an air compressor, air hose and an adaptor to connect the air hose to the spark plug hole. Take the radiator cap OFF. You must bring the piston of the clyinder you wish to test to EXACTLY Top Dead Center of the compression stroke and pressurize the cylinder with at least 100 pounds of air pressure. Every thing must be clear of the engine, in case it spins. Once the cylinder is pressurized you will be able to see if any air escapes from the radiator cap opening, bubbles at the radiator cap or air leakage anywhere else. It is normal that a small amount of air leaks past the piston rings, which you will hear in the crankcase at the oil filler hole. Do that to each cylinder to see if you can find any leak between the combustion chambers and the cooling system. If you want to start tearing into it, you can start with removing the intake manifold to search for the leak, then proceed to removing the heads to check the head gaskets and the heads.
    Let us know what you find.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • Thanks for the info, that's definitely what I was looking for.

    Now I checked at the local autoshop and they said an entire gasket set (to do everything down to both head gaskets) would cost $226. I thought that was pretty reasonable for the set of gaskets as I'm sure labor would be astronomical. Any possible tips on a cheaper price?

    Now, I've torn a DeLorean down to the bare frame and rebuilt it back to original condition but I've yet to do a head gasket set on any newer vehicles. Therefore, I need to know whether I should do it myself or not. I've torn apart plenty of engines to fix many things, just not head gaskets. To me, cars are really easy to work on, I really only need a good manual with all the torque specs to get around. Any help on where I could find such information for the 02' explorer XLT 4x4 with a v6 4.2L engine?

    I really want to do it myself as it's what I always do, but I don't want to be stupid obviously. I figure I'll start at the intake manifold and inspect and work my way down. I really have nothing to lose but my time if I have the correct information (torque Specs) from a manual.

  • The best "manual" is the online manual at
    The subscription is about $24 a year and all the information you need is in there, and all up to date. You must buy a separate subscription for each vehicle. This would be your best bet for information. You can look up what you want and print out the pages, you don't have to worry about getting them greasy, because you can always print more.
    $226 for an Upper Gasket set? I haven't bought one in a long time, but it still sounds steep to me. I would call around for that one.
    One thing to check for is to be sure that all the gasket mating surfaces are smooth and FLAT. Get a big long flat file, a nice straight one, and carefully file across the flat gasket surfaces on the intake manifold and on the heads where the intakes bolt on and on the surfaces that bear on the cylinder block, look for any high spots. Also run the file over the flat surface of the cylinder block.
    If you find the manifolds or head warped, best to take it to a machine shop. And while the heads are down there, have them check the manifolds and heads for any cracks. They have special equipment for that. They can find cracks that you can't see.

    Here is a link to an interesting forum about the Ford 4.2 engine and the coolant leaks into the engine. It seems that there have been a lot of other people having the same problems and often the coolant leaks into the cylinder and hydro locks the engine, causing the engine to throw a rod. It' best you fix your coolant leak before you have a major problem like that!

    Check it out.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • Are you sure that your engine is a 4.2L V6 in a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT? I was checking on gasket set prices, and nobody lists an Explorer with that engine in it. They said the 4.2L engine is in the F150. The V6 Explorer has the 4.0L SOHC V6 Engine. Please check to be sure what engine you have, because that will make all the difference in parts and gaskets.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • Yah, sorry it is the 4.0L engine, I got a bit confused in the chaos. That website should help out tons! Thank

    I think JC Whitney had the same price for the gasket set but it's for every gasket down to the head gaskets including the head gaskets. Hopefully this week I'll be able to start tackling this project.
  • My 96 xlt 4.0l pulled a po136 and a po420 for the downstream O2 sensor malfuncion and a catalyst operating below effic. respectively. I replaced the sensor and it gives a reading of o. I am still pulling the 420 code. Is the reading on the sensor acceptable? I assume that the only way to cure the 420 is a new cat?
  • What are you using to take the O2 sensor readings? What were the readings on the O2 sensor before you took it off? Is it a heated O2 sensor? How many wires go to the sensor? The normal readings for the front O2 sensor is for the voltage to swing back and forth between 0 and 1 volt. The O2 sensor behind the cat should swing very little, stay fairly steady around .5 to .7 volt. The steady rear sensor means the cat is working. If the cat is bad, the rear sensor voltage will swing like the front sensor. Your reading of 0 makes no sense, it means there is NO voltage present. Look for bad connections, broken wires, blown fuse, ect. Use a good scanner to read and to observe the O2 sensor readings.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • A friend of mine had a scanner. It is the sensor after the cat...which made me think that the cat wasn't necessarily bad. It has 4 wires. Where would the fuse be located? I checked the fuse panel in the cabin and the distribution box under the hood.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,564
    I'd recommend buying all gaskets from the dealer if it costs more.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • If the O2 sensor has 4 wires, then it is a Heated O2 sensor. It should have power on the 2 heater circuit wires, and the 2 wires for the O2 sensor will develop the signal voltage from the thermocouple within. The computer reads this signal voltage, which displays on the scanner. You should be sure the heater circuit is energized, I think it is 12 volts battery voltage. You will need a wiring diagram to trace out the circuits. You can go to to get the information for your car, they have everything you need, wiring diagrams, pin outs and all, for $24 for a one year subscription.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • We have been experiencing on both 98 Explorers with power locks an inability to unlock the drivers door either with the remote, the door code or the inside switch or handle. We had been either pulling on the inside handle or hitting the switch multiple times. After visiting a couple of dealers and reading this forum and I decided to replace the power door lock actuator on one of the vehicles. All sources said that this could be the cause of the rod not coming up to unlock the drivers door. It took three hours (it should take only about 1 hour if the door latch and window bracket are removed to allow the actuator to swing out...I finally got the nerve to do it this way after I got tired of not having enough room. I had been advised that it could be done without removing these parts)
    This has not fixed the problem. Disappointed to say the least yet as I try to figure this out I notice how flimsy the outside door latch feels on both car compared to the passenger side. There is not much if any tension. One of the service advisors indicated that we should fix the actuator before the "spring" went out. I wish that had been stressed initially because I feel its actually the latch mechanism which needs replacing. (Although in both the Haynes and Chi;ton manuals there is not a spring indicated in the illustrations) Has anyone had any experience like this because so far I am out $200 for the actautors, $60 for the heavy duty riveter and about several hours tracking down the riveter plus what I'll have to spend to buy the latches or other expenses. By the way the actuator seems OK since I put a battery on it and it pistons better than the one I took off. Next time I'll check the circuit first
    Any and all advise at this point would be appreciated
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