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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • This rumbling sound,does it just last about a second or two at the most?
  • You need to hold it straight and turn it to the right. The threads might have crossed, check them close.
  • I came back from a 5 hour trip to PA and my heat stopped working. The blower is working, but no heat comes from it. I had a flush and fill done, still no heat. Help!
  • What Engine? How many miles?

    Check for hot water flow through the heater core. With the heater turned on, feel the heater hoses where they enter the fire wall. Are they hot or cold? If not hot, there is not hot water flow. Check the hot water valve to see if it is working. Yours may by operated by a small vacuum line, it could be loose, fell off, leaking or broken. Some heater valves work by a cable. If you can get the heater valve to open, the hot coolant should flow through the heater core. If you know the heater valve is open, you might have a clog in the heater core. Then take the Heater valve off the hoses and check to be sure it's open, blow water from a hose through it. Take the heater hoses off there they go through the fiewall to the heater core, and try to blow water through the heater core with a water hose, in both directions. If everything is open, it should work when connected back and coolant filled properly and heater turned on, unless for some reason the coolant is not coming out of the engine or their is some kind of coolant air bubble or air lock. Bleed all air out of the cooling system.
    Good Luck
    E.D. ISF
  • I have a 2000 Explorer XLT with power mirrors. Switch won't move mirrors to the right or up on both the left and right mirror, so it sounds like the switch to me, but before I replace it, I wanted to see if anyone else has seen this problem and fixed it. I removed the switch and tried to troubleshoot, but without a schematic, I don't know how to has 8 contacts, one which is not used and another which has a double connection.
  • This is a common problem, the power mirror switch goes bad. I had to replace them on 3 of my Explorers. Chances are very good that if you replace the Power Mirror Switch, that it will work again. They were about $30 to $35 last time I bought one.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • My 02-Mountaineer has 120k miles and my O/D light started flashing rapidly like about 6 months ago and since then I've had my transmission oil serviced and just this week my spark pluggs changed but the light is still flshing rapidly non-stop. It starts flashing rapidly like 4 minutes after I start my car and everything seems normal when I drive it.
  • The flashing OD light means there is a problem in the transmission. You need to get it scanned, get the codes read to see where the problem is.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • smokey75smokey75 Posts: 434
    2002 Explorer. The 4WD & 4WD Low lights flash 3 times about every 5 minutes or so. It may be doing it more often when it is cold. 4WD & 4WD Low still engage. Any ideas? Thanks...
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I think that message is trying to tell you that there is a fault in the shift motor or in one of the engagement hub mechanisms in one of the front wheels. You should have it checked, although permanent damage won't result most likely. At this point, your shift motor is about due to go on your rig. It's about a $400 repair.
  • It's a 6 cylinder but it's not a 4x4. The O/D light flashes non-stop very rapidly after the vehicle has been turned on and it stays on until vehicle has been turned off. I had a diagnostic done and they think it could be the "Solenoid sensor"? We'll see...
  • point3point3 Posts: 2
  • point3point3 Posts: 2
  • This is the way it is on my 1997 Explorer, V8. The 1998 is probably the same.
    It is near the brake pedal switch. The turn signal flasher plugs into a 5 pin connector.
  • In the owner's manual it states that when the OD light flashes rapidly it could be a transmission problem and to have it checked right away to avoid severe repair. The OD has to do with your Over Drive, so how would that be a Solenoid problem? I have the same problem with my Explorer. It only happens when I'm trying to accelerate too fast and it causes the gears to not shift properly. In researching the problem I found that my vehicle has a sealed transmission system, I can't even pull a dip stick out to check and see if I have enough transmission fluid. I have to take it into a service shop. Just thought I'd let you know that.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The OD has to do with your Over Drive, so how would that be a Solenoid problem?

    If the OD light is a trouble indicator for your transmission, to give you early warning before you end up stranded by the road - what difference does it make that it says OD instead of "Your solenoid is failing"? Take the advice, get it checked, and it's not fluid level - it's an internal failure or program failure.
  • nvbanker is right, the OD light is an indicator to let you know that something is wrong in the transmission. You have to get the get the diagnostic codes read from the computer to see where the problem lies. It could possibly be a number of different things.
    Sbccruz2005 does not seem to know much about transmissions, not knowing the relationship of the Over Drive shift to the Solenoid. For your information, all the shifts in modern automatic transmissions are controlled by electric solenoids. The computer sends a signal to each solenoid to control each shift. There is a solenoid for every shift, the 1-2 solenoid, the 2-3 solenoid, the 3-4 solenoid, and the Torque Converter Lockup solenoid. Over Drive is 4th gear, so the 3-4 solenoid controls the shift into Over Drive. If the solenoid malfunctions, the shift will malfunction. Or if the hydraulic valves or circuits malfunction the shift will malfunction.
    This is coming from a guy who has sucessfully rebuilt many automatic transmissions. I have worked as a mechanic for a Chrysler Dealer, an Amc Dealer, a Chevrolet Dealer and Ammco Transmissions. I have retired from that work now.
    So bottom line is to heed the warning of the flashing OD light, it is doing it's job by telling you that something is wrong. Only be reading the computer codes can you know what the problem is. Any reputable transmission shop or dealer can read the codes and give you a diagnosis and an estimate.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • I took it to get a diagnostic and it came up with 3 codes: the solenoid, the PCM or it could be the wiring. Well I ordered the solenoid had that put on and the light still came on so now we know it is in the wiring so that's next to check.

  • I have a '92 Explorer, 300k+ miles (no kidding). Pulling a trailer, engine overheated. Added water, got it back home. Added more water only to see steady leak coming out of an area on passenger side of engine below valve cover. No water in oil. Some steam coming out exhaust, hard to tell (I live outside Houston, it's cold and humid) Any way to tell if it's a cracked head, blown gasket or cracked engine block without tearing into it? If so, what's the ballpark cost for do-it-myself repairs? Also, anybody ever tried this stuff called Steel Seal? Just saw it advertised on the internet $45 a qt. for repairing cracked heads, etc. "Money back guarantee" but I'm skeptical. Any assistance appreciated.
  • If it is leaking like you say, especially steam out the exhaust, it will need to come apart anyway to fix it. You might try some of that Cooling System sealer called Bars Leak Pelletized Sealer. I used it before with good results for 2 months. It is not a permanent fix, but it can get you by for a while until you can get ready to pull the head. That sealer you describe sounds a lot like that stuff they sell in a tube called JB Weld, costs about $4 or $5. I don't think it will be able to seal the leak if the coolant is leaking into the combustion chamber and out the exhaust. You would have to clean the area of the leak very well, then you might try the sealant. The worst it could do is not work. If it doesn't work, then it's time to pull the head.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • Thanks for the confirmation reply, I was afraid of that. I do recall others using the Bars Leak Sealer years ago with good results too. Thanks again.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    02 explorer xlt v8
    has anyone changed spark plugs on his 02 to 05 v8 explorers yet? mine has 100400 miles on it, wanted to have the plugs changed but dealer quoting $450. the plugs are coiled over...
  • How hard is it and what do you have to do to replace burnt out dash lights in a 97 explorer.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Not 100% sure on the Explorer, but on most modern cars, your dash lights are diodes integrated into your circuit board, and can't be replaced. You just by the circuit board and put the whole thing in. $250 is usually the cost for the board. I'd drive with a flashlight taped to my steering wheel pointed at the dash before I'd tackle the change out.....but that's just me... :shades:
  • You have to remove the instrument cluster. It has replaceable light bulbs on the back side.
  • daryll44daryll44 Posts: 307
    My wife and I noticed that our 2003 Mountaineer V8 seems to have gotten very loud. It's hard to tell what's going on, if anything....perhaps it's just getting was purchased in September 2002 and now has 68,000 miles on it.

    The tires are Michelin MS LTX and have about half the tread left (maybe even less). Could it be the worn tires that got louder? I looked for exhaust leaks but could find none on a casual inspection. Any ideas would be appreciated.
  • Getting old in itself does not make the vehicle louder. An old vehicle can run, drive and sound like a new one, if properly cared for. Does it sound louder when rolling down the road, compared to when the vehicle is stopped.? Does the sound change with road speed? If so, it could be the tires. Do the tires ride smooth? Have the tires been balanced lately? Has the front end alignment been checked lately? A good thing to keep in the glove compartment is a tire tread depth guage, available at any auto parts store for about $4 or $5. Keep it next to your tire pressure gauge. You can use it to measure how much Tread is left on the tire, measured in 32nds of an inch. When you measure at several points around the tire and also on the inside and outside portions of the tread, you can see how evenly or unevenly the tire is wearing, If you compare one tires measurements against another, you can see how evenly or unevenly they compare to each other. What kind of sound do you hear, kind of a light roaring, groaning, whistling, or rumbling? Rolling noise can also come from the drivetrain, wheel bearings, ect.
    Does it sound louder when stopped with the engine running? Does the sound change with engine speed? Have someone stand beside the vehicle in Park and "Blip" the gas peddel once in a while, and see if the person outside can hear any exhaust sounds as they walk around the vehicle. Exhaust sounds can be deceiving, they can sound like a roar if a big leak, but small leaks can sound like small discharges, whooses or even clicking type noises.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • I have the same half lit dashboard problem on my 1995 Explorer XL I'm sure one or 2 bulbs are burnt out but I don't know how to get the dashboard apart.
  • For a 1997 Ford Explorer, a 1995 may be similar:
    It is a pain to do this. Lots of screws amd lots of plastic to carefully and patiently bend and remove.

    1. Remove the lower plastic panel under the steering wheel, it has 2 screws from underneath on each side, and 2 screws to remove on the hood release. Once the screws are out on the bottom, grab the panel at the top corners and pull it straight back towards the rear of the vehicle. It will come off, but notice it has 2 "prong" fasteners, one on each side. Take a good look an them to see how they come apart and go back together, because you will see more of these. Set the lower plastic cover and screws aside.

    2. The plastic cover that surounds the radio and air condtioner control comes loose next, It has 2 screws that are located below the radio, they screw upwards. Remove the 2 screws and then pull the cover along with the radio and a/c control out from the dash a bit. Carefully try to move it out from the dash as far as you can without unpluging anything, maybe an inch or two. You will need all the slack that you can get.

    3. The plastic cover above the steering wheel comes off next. It surrounds the instrument cluster. It has 2 screws at the bottom, and 3 screws right above the instrument cluster, that screw upward. Remove all the screws, and pull the panel outward, pulling at the top corners, as each top corner has a "Prong" fastener that pulls out of the dash support. This part takes a lot of patience and "fanagling" to get it out. If you have a tilting steering wheel, you will have to angle it down. You will have to lower the gearshift lever down. The Panel will have the headlight switch and the dash dimmer module with wiring on the left side that will REMAIN connected. You must try to carefully wiggle the cover out to clear the dash and raise the right side up and rotate it to the left side.

    4. Once the panel is out and swung to the left side, and safely hanging by the headlight switch wires, you will see 4 screws that hold the instrument cluster in, two on each side, top and bottom. Remove the 4 screws and carefully pull the instrument cluster part way out. It has 3 electrical plug connectors on the back that are very hard to reach. They must be unpluged if you need to remove the instument cluster. You may not have to completely remove the Instrument Cluster, as I was able to reach behind mine and change a light bulb, leaving the electric plugs untouched. The light bulbs are special made to screw onto the printed circuit board, they twist and turn to come out, and go back in the same way. Be careful to not damage the printed circuit board. Once the bulbs are replaced, be sure to turn on the dash lights and test them to be sure that they work, before fastening the Instrument Cluster back in place.

    5. Once the panel lights are working ok, put everything back together in reverse order of dissassembly and test them again.

    For the moderator, I have never seen any pictures in these messeges. Is there a way to post pictures in these messeges or to attach them some way? It would make explaining things a lot easier.

    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • Wow. Thanks E.D. I'm not sure I want to tackle that. This is what I found on WikiAnswers:
    Q. How do you replace the lights in the dash of 1991 through 2001 Ford Explorer all models?
    Remove the screws from the top of the instrument panel. Set the parking brake and pull the shift lever down to improve access. Rotate the instrument panel to gain access to the back. The black bulb holders house the panel lights, the tan bulb holders house the sensor lights. Reach behind and grip the back of one of the holders. Twist it counter clockwise and pull outwards. Burned out bulbs will have a black coating. Replace with an identical bulb (194).

    I didn't think it could be that easy. What are they talking about?
    Thanks again,
    Jim from Sunny and COLD Colorado
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