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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I thought that there was some kind of law that vehicle manufacturers have to make replacement parts available for 10 years

    I've never found a cite to that law posted here over the years I've been reading posts at Edmunds. What people have said is that the manufacturer has to keep parts around so that they can handle any claims made under warranty.

    It's surprising to me how often odd little parts for low volume off-brand cars turn up for sale on the internet though.
  • bn3757bn3757 Posts: 6
    I don't know about the laws on replacement parts either - may look into that. This is the 2nd time we've had this occur in 15 mos, and 1st time it broke as my husband was backing out of a parking space into traffic. I've also read posts where it happened to folks while they were in traffic, so it definitely could be a safety issue. I'm concerned about used parts because the current part #5L2Z-3C529A is different from the part # they installed last year (4L2Z-3C529-DA)- it's obviously a design defect, so we decided to wait for the newer part.
  • I have been given the run around by Ford corporate, the dealership, and my extended warranty company today. The delearship says that the part is on back order until 11/12 but I can pay $86 extra dollars to get on the rush list as the supplier is going to release 800 of the part on 10/15. Total cost to repair is $940. Dealer will most likely not have car ready until mid to late November so the total cost of this issue sky rockets. Factor in a $250 weekly rental car and you are looking at as much as $3000 cost between the repair and rental car. That is crazy. Ford puts a car out on the streets and does not have replacement parts for months. How can they get away with this? Corporate says there is nothing they can do and hangs up the phone. Extended warranty says it will not cover 'broken off' parts from the steering column. This whole problem is caused by a defective part and the costs incurred are absolutely outrageous. Ford is the armpit of corporate america. I am pissed beyond belief. Class action lawsuit sounds like a good next step. I filed a complaint on NHTSA but that will lead to nothing.
  • Hi jfenglishnc, paul7281 here. Yes you can shift the gears, by hand. With a screw driver remove the plastic collar around the steering column, you will see a piece of cast metal where the gear shift lever bar broke off of the steering column. The back end of that piece of cast metal, you will find a piece of metal with 3-corners, the upper corner bolted to the steering column case, the lower corner has the shift cable linkage, that runs down the steering column to the transmission. By hand at the lower corner by the shift cable linkage, if you push forward it will shift into park, you can remove your key. If you pull back it will shift into gear and you can drive it.. I do not recommened driving it, but you can move it.. Paul.
  • Hi Beth, paul7281 here. Not just a faulty part. All the faulty engineering, the way Ford engineered the steering column so that a 20.00 piece of cast metal, will cost you 1200.00 to replace it, and Fords Policy of selling warranty and extended warranty that covers the steering column but not this one piece. Not Ford Motor Company, or your local ford dealer was ever going to stand behind it!! Ok, you had your steering column replaced over a year ago (Feb '06). I was under the extended warranty, I had over 3-months to go. I was told by my local ford dealer, this part is not covered.. If not for Rosemary and this (Part number 4L2Z-3C529-DA) my 2002 ford explorer would not be on the road to day. "Thank You Rosemary"... Paul.
  • bn3757bn3757 Posts: 6
    hijfenglishnc - bn3757 here. I agree completely and am just as frustrated as you. Appreciate your filing with NHTSA. Like you said it may lead to nothing, but I plan to follow up with letters and data to several organizations and the more registered complaints, the better. May be an exercise in futility, but at least I will have tried instead of dropping it like I did last year. Will let you know if I get a response.
  • bn3757bn3757 Posts: 6
    Hi Paul, bn3757 here. I agree w/ you 100%. One question - was the new part you installed #4L2Z-3C529-DA? If so, that is the part we had installed last February that broke. I was told that part #5L2Z-3C529-A superceded #4L2Z-3C529-DA. Have you seen any Technical Service Bulletins that cover this issue? I've found a few that mention problems shifting and/or the shifter sticking in park, but nothing specific to this problem (not that I expected to find anything...)
  • Hi Beth, paul7281 here. I was told by the Ford Parts Dealer at Hilltop Ford in San Pablo, Calif. That this part #5L2Z-3C529-A, was ford's upgrade to the 05' Ford Explorer, Ford installed in the latter part of 2005 replacing part #4L2Z-3C529-DA, Ford installed in Ford's Explorer from 2000 up to the early part of 2005?. No I've not seen any technical service bulletins, and so far I have not had any problems shifting or sticking in park. But it's Engineered By Ford? With assembly jobs out sourced to Mexico and China, and Ford says it’s Built Ford Tough! Will that gives me a lot of confidence. “Ha Ha” Paul.
  • Hi Beth, paul7281 here. I just received an E-Mail from Rosemary, that read. Hay Paul, in your reply to Bath, on Oct. 03, 2007 you used the Wrong Part Number (#4L2Z-3C529-DA) instead of (#5L2Z-3C529-A)... Well - she is right. I did use the wrong part number... Paul.
  • I am going to replace a Valve body in a 98 explorer 4x4 with a six cylinder, I have done this once before a few years ago but i dont quit remember how it was, Does any one know of a good website that i can view pictures or diagraghms or anything at all that might be helpful?
    Please Help my email is
  • Hey i have the identical problem with my explorer. I was just wondering what it was that happened to your car. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
  • Ford Explorer XLT and have now experienced the same problem with the shifter. This broke off this week while my disabled spouse was parking. Foruntately, it happened where she could control the vehicle. It was stuck in reverse and could not shut engine off nor do much. She finally after some signifincant stress was able to get vehicle shut off, but could not remove key. It turns out like others FOrd changed the design and denies that there is a problem. The dealers in our area stated that Ford recognized the problem and stopped making the spare part and now must buy a replacement steering column. However, Ford dealers do not have nor can they get the new column to fix the vehicle in less than weeks. Guess what no vehicle. I called Ford and they deny that there is a problem and will do nothing about it. In fact the Ford representative indicated it was our problem. Had this happened while driving or in an area where people were in danger, it was possible that injuries could have occurred and guess what per FORD we would have been responsible for any inury cases or damages, NOT THEIR PROBLEM. I am going to file a complaint with the State Attorney General and consumer fraud as well as I have told people I work with DO NOT buy a Ford product because Ford does not take care of its customers. I told the Ford representative we have been a Ford family for over 50 years, includes parents and this will be the last FORD we get. Ford stated no big deal.- I would encourage anyone else who has this problem to file formal complaints so maybe Ford will do something about it before somebody gets hurt. In the meantime, we are stuck without a car until we can find the part. AMEN
  • i have a 1998 ford explorer.. and the power windows wont work on any of the windows.. is that a fuse or a relay or something like that.. i dont have the manual but went online and checked the fuse that said windows.. but it was ok any suggestions thanks
  • power windows dont work on all the windows is it a bad relay or a fuse.. nothing works...
  • You will need to troubleshoot the circuit, checking for the presence of power thoughout the circuits, to see where you are loosing the power. You will need some electrical expertise if you get into checking the wiring, and a good wiring diagram will help.
    I have a 1997 drawing, it shows power coming from a 30 amp maxie fuse, then it goes through a black/white wire to the Accessory Delay Relay, then it goes through a light blue/black wire to the main control switch. I would trouble shoot and trace the power in the circuit with a 12v test light. Wiring diagrams are available online from some automotive subscription services.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. ISF
  • I'm never buying another Ford. I used to be a staunch "Buy American"
    consumer. As American car companies market share continued to plummet, I
    continued to feel that it is my patriotic duty to buy American.

    Well, I finally woke up and realized that everyone else is right, and that I
    was naive.

    Last week the O/D light came on in my Ford Explorer. I drove it right home
    and got the manual out to see what the problem was. "Transmission problem"
    was what the manual indicated, as well as several websites I reviewed.

    I didn't worry at first, since I figured this would be covered under
    warranty. My Explorer is just under 5 years old and just under 60K miles.
    Surely there would at least be a 60K power train warranty. No one would buy
    a vehicle if they knew the transmission would only last 59K miles.

    Well, the dealer told me a new transmission was needed (5th and 2nd gears
    were worn down), that it would cost $3500, and that it is not covered by
    warranty. And to add insult to injury he charged me $90 to tell me the
    transmission was bad (something I obviously knew) - isn't this similar to

    I then asked him what trade in value I could get (not that I really would
    buy another poor quality Ford, but I wanted to explore all options). $5500
    is the most they could give. I laughed - since I had taken very good care of
    the vehicle. It told me that they didn't want the vehicle either - so much
    for them really standing behind their product. They know the quality is

    Obviously I was quite irritated. I asked what caused this. None of the
    possibilities applied since I took good care of the vehicle and had it
    serviced according to the maintenance manual. In fact, the dealer (Cover
    Ford in Austin) did the 30K checkup. I spent $1K on that (and probably got
    ripped off).

    I took it to a transmission specialist and had it fixed for under $2500. He
    informed me that he sees a lot of issues like this with Explorers - probably
    a poor design and poor quality. Also, judging by various websites there are
    indeed lots of complains like this.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Ford knew of the poor design - since the warranty
    that came with the vehicle was only 3 yr/36K even for powertrain. If Ford
    had good quality, why couldn't they step up to the plate and offer 60K or
    even 100K power train warranty. They must have known the poor quality. In my
    mind, this is deceptive practice - and I kick myself for not recognizing
    this as a red flag.

    Well, for the 2008 Explorer I see Ford is offering 60K powertrain warranty.
    So they must have made some improvements (which further underscores their
    recognition of the poor quality in earlier years). But it's still a far cry
    from 100K that some vehicles come with. You also have to wonder what other
    quality issues are lurking.

    I think the choice is now clear to me. In the future I will be considering
    something like a Honda Pilot. Ford deserves the trend of lower market share.
    Consumers are very wise, and the quality the provide is reflected in their
    declining sales and marketshare.

    Please don't make the same mistake I made. The foreign competition provides
    much better quality and customer service.
  • Well said, ginamillar.

    I too used to be a staunch "buy american" advocate. I've owned 4 Explorers in a row (1990, 1993, 1997, 2000). But seeing how the market has changed so much through the 1990's and 2000's, my next buy will definitely not be an American brand. I'll probably be looking at a Honda Element or Toyota Highlander very soon.
  • I need help. I own a 1997 Ford Explorer and it has been sitting idle for the past 3 or 4 months as I have not been able to use it. My battery must have completly lost its charge because I have to constantly jump start it. I will jumpstart it and then an hour later when I try to start it again, it wont start. As soon as I noticed this problem, I noticed another. My daytime running lights were working fine, but as soon as I switched to my night lights, the headlamps would shut off. This is a new problem as they worked before I let the vehicle sit. I was wondering if maybe the lights problem might be connected to my battery problem, because the lights did turn on briefly the othey day when I jumped it. But they shut off after about ten minutes. I checked all my fuses, so that is not the problem. I was wondering if anyone has any advice on what my problem might be, and how I might be able to fix it. Thanks
  • gyatesgyates Posts: 55
    For what it is worth, my daughter's Tracer did the same thing. I got a master control switch (the driver's door switch) from a junker and solved the problem. I figured if all the fuses and relays were good, and all the windows quit at the same time, it was probably the main switch.
  • I would assume that you know that the Battery is good and is being charged by the alternator correctly. Does your battery gauge read normal when the engine is running with the lights and accessories on? If battery and charging is OK, then that means something is draining the battery.
    Do you mean that when you turn your "Night Lights" on, your headlights go off? If you turn the headlights on by themselves, do they work OK?
    Does anything stay on when you turn of the lights and remove the keys?
    If you battery is being drained, and you can't easily find what the cause is, you may need to do a "parasitic battery drain test". There should be no more than 25 milliamps of current being drained from the battery when everything is off. That is .025 amp, a tiny amount of current. .050 amp could drain the battery over night. If you need info on how do do this I can post it here.
    Good Luck
    E.D. ISF
  • Nothing stays on when the keys are taken out and everything is turned off. The only problem I am having is pretty much the fact that the headlamps will not turn on when I switch them on inside the car. I know for a fact that the bulbs are not burnt out, as they were working for a couple minutes. I would like some info on how to do that battery test. That would be awesome if you could post that on here. I was also wondering, when you put water in your battery does it absolutely have to be distilled water? I read in the owners manual but I could not really figure it out.
  • Have just under 400 miles on my 2008 Explorer with the V8. When the car is in park and idling it makes a "popping" noise roughly every 18 seconds. It is audible inside the car with all the windows closed and very audible when the hood is open. Is this just some pump or something that wakes up every 18 seconds no matter what or does this sound like an issue with the engine?
  • OK, here is the general procedure for the parasitic current draw test, this will apply to any car that uses a 12 volt lead acid battery system.
    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", usually 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. If your Parasitic Current Draw is still high after pulling all fuses, try disconnecting the Alternator, and other electrical equipment until the source of the excessive current draw is found.
    Start with a fully charged Battery. Turn everything in the car OFF, close the door, remove the light bulb from under the hood, glove compartment, trunk, etc, 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 30ma should be investigated and over 50ma should be corrected. Check manufacturers specs to be sure of what it should be for your particular vehicle.
    For your headlight problem, you will need a wiring diagram to figure that out.
    About the distilled water, yes, you should always add only distilled water to the battery. This also applies to the radiator, if you premix the antifreeze with water, use only distilled water. I always keep at least 6 gallons of distilled water in my garage.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. In Sunny Florida">
  • I am guessing that it is most likely the Air Conditioning clutch making the sound. This sound may be normal, as sometimes they can be heard in the car. Most people don't notice it because they have the radio on. Open the hood and see if you can tell where the sound is coming from. Your car is way too new to be asking here, take it to the dealer and have it checked, it just may need to be tightened down to quiet it down. They are not really adjustable, but it may be loose.
    Good Luck,
    E,D. ISF
  • kanjikanji Posts: 1
    I heard a noise coming from left rear wheel nothing major just some squeaking. I brought it in to have looked at, and was told I needed new emergency brakes pads plus rotor... I just had new brakes with rotors done 7k miles ago.

    Also the Price they gave was close to 600....

    Can anyone clear this up for a non mechanic?
  • I would take it back to whoever did the brake work 7K ago, and have them make it right. They apparantly did something wrong on the left side. Did you have the right side looked at also, and how did it look?
    It sounds like it may be a case of faulty workmanship. The rear parking brakes are usually seldom used and really don't usually incure any wear, unless someone drives around with his parking brake applied, or if something is causing them to stick or not release properly. Take it back to the first guy and have him explain why the new brakes that HE put on 7K ago are tore up, and ask him to make it right.
  • What was the wrong? I have a 1998 AWD Eddie Bauer Explorer. I get the vibration after I coast then hit the accerlator. It feels like I running over rubbling strips briefly. It's tough to recreate it on purpose, but i narrowed it down to driving over 45 and the severe vibration occurs over 60. I havent taken it to the dealer for repair yet.

  • How many miles on it now? What engine and what transmission? Do you keep up on all scheduled maintenance? When is the last time that you have the transmission fluid flushed and changed?
    It sounds like you may have a hydraulic clutch chatter when changing gears, try to see if you can tell when it does it. It may be the 4th gear clutch or the Torque Converter Lock Up Clutch. If it is not too bad, flushing and changing the transmission fluid will make probably it go away. You need to be sure you do the transmision flushes and changes every 30,000 by the book. 30K, 60K, 90K, 120K, 150K, 180K, 210K, etc.
    I change my trans fluid every 30k, and about 10K before I'm due for the next flush, I sometimes notice a slight clutch chatter when my torque converter lock up clutch engages. After I do the flush, it is always smooth and quite again. I've got a 2000 XLT 5.0L V8 Auto 148K miles.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • I have 130K. It is the V8 Auto w/overdrive. Yes, I alway take it to the Ford dealer for schedule maintenace. I think they flushed/changed the transmission fluid at 100K.

  • I have a 92 Explorer XLT in which I just mostly replaced the radiator today. I say mostly because the lower transmission cooler line threads won't bite in the connector like they're supposed to. I can't get both hands into the space, and I can't get at it from any other angle. Has anyone else had this problem? How can I get this done?
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