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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • swn1swn1 Posts: 27
    It didn't take long for more of that FORD "special quality" to show through. When trying to track down on of the many rattles in my '99 XLT Explorer I happened to look at the inside of the rear bumper and saw a nice even coating of rust has already formed. When I asked the shop foreman about it he said that FORD has not painted the inside of bumpers for some time. When I asked him why my '91 Explorer doesn't have this same built in "quality" he didn't know but said I could look at any vehicle on the lot and will see the same thing. I also noticed when I popped the tailgate window, the supports and mounting brackets attached to the glass are so rusty and pitted it's a disgrace. Just thought I'd give you all something else to look for and see that most of the money we wasted on this junk went right into FORD's pocket. How else could they give their stockholders over a BILLION dollars last summer and employees an average $8,700 bonus this year.
  • tm32tm32 Posts: 2
    new to this forum and after reading all of the posting I have seen my problem mentioned but no fixes. I have a 95 explorer that has just lately started having a problem. When I try to start it, it turns over but will not start. I have taken it to the dealer and was told they didn't know what was wrong because it wouldn't do it for them. It started out only doing it every few weeks and then would start after waiting from 30 minutes to an hour. It has now got to the point where it is not starting every few times I try it and I am having to wait longer periods of time for it to decided to start. I was able to determine today that it is not getting a spark, so I don't think it is a problem with the fuel.
    It will be going back to the shop tomorrow and hopefully it will not start for them and we can figure out what the problem is. It is now a question of keeping the car or trading it in on something else if they can not find out what the problem is, it has left me stranded to many times.
    If anyone has any advice for me to take to the dealer I would greatly appreciate it.
    will be checking back on this forum or you may email me anytime at
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    I dont know if this will solve your problem with hard starting but I have a book in front of me that says hard starting or long crank times may be caused by the Idle air control valve sticking. It says this for 1996 explorers but it could also affect your 95. I have a 1996 explorer and have not had any problems but the drivers door power lock went out. I think ill just buy a new lock silnoid and fix it myself. Otherwise pleased with my explorer. Good luck with the starting problem.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Why not leave the vehicle overnight with the dealer and have them try to start it first thing the next morning.
    The symptoms you describe can also be caused by water freezing in the fuel line. It can also be caused by some solid matter clogging the hose. Have you tried a drygas product? What about flushing the tank?
  • tm32tm32 Posts: 2
    first, thanks for replying to my first message.
    Hopeful we have the problem fixed, I was able to duplicate the truck not starting for the dealer and he found the answer right away. It was the fuel pump relay switch. Replaced it so hopefully I will not be having anymore trouble.
  • Help please. Have 4.0 SOHC V6 Engine with 5 speed automatic transmission - 4 wheel drive. Noisy groan on acceleration since I can remember. Transmission was "rebuild" at 40,000 for burnt clutches. Now have whistling noise on acceleration from either transmission or engine. Vehicle has 50,000 miles with 25,000 left on Extended Warranty.
  • smdumontsmdumont Posts: 1
    I am in the market to buy my first SUV. For years the Ford Explorer has been rated one of the best values for your money. Consumer Reports has recommended Exporers for years, except for the 1999 model. It is on their "unreliable used cars" list. Does anyone know why? I'm not sure if I should shop for a '98 or 2000 model instead or maybe another SUV all together. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • sanandtonsanandton Posts: 342
    Explorer. It was as bad as my 97. If you can find a good 96 with low miles, I would go for it over any model 97- 2000.
  • ace10ace10 Posts: 137
    anything BEFORE the '97's. a happy explorer owner will most likely have an older one.

  • georgiamgeorgiam Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Explorer which has the "creaking" sound. I have complained continuously to my local dealer. They have great service and really take care of me, but they have never been able to fix the creaking sound. At first they didn't believe me until my salesman stood between the passenger and drive doors, put his hand on the roof rack a pushed the truck back and forth. It sounded like a wooden ship creaking on the high seas.
    I have 57,000 miles on my explorer and have made my last lease payment. I have always felt that the quality of the suspension on my Explorer was less than good. Too many noises and rubbing sounds when I would turn right or left.
    My dealer also replaced my transmission at 34,500 miles. I diagnosed the bad transmission myself in that the shifting pattern suddenly changed and would "clunk" in between gears. I have heard that the transmissions in 1998 Explorers have had alot of problems.
    I just leased a new Chevy 2002 Trailblazer. We'll see if Chevy has a better suspension.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    I have a 98 XLT V8 AWD with 41k and have had no major problems to speak of. I have taken it off road in the snow, sand and creeks. Never been stuck and I havnt experienced any suspension noise. No interior noise either. Overall I am very pleased with the preformence of the entire package. Although I drive it hard I am meticulous with the maintenance, even filling it with synthetic. I can say from experience that creaks in the suspension are typically caused by rubber bushings that are without lubrication. I rebuild a 68 firebird and encountered the same problem when I installed new bushings without a film of synthetic grease. This caused a loud groaning noise when moved. Penetrating synthetic lubricant directly on control arm and sway bar bushings may alleviate an annoying groan. I hope this can help anyone out there with the same symptoms as georgiam's 98.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Ford lost their Quality is Job 1 ad campaign and with it the quality control motivation. I am not saying that the explorer is junk, but just that very little is done to make sure that things are put together correctly before going out the door. There were some design problems, like the timing chain tensioners and gaskets on the SOHC engine, but most of the problems I see and read about here are related to poor build... even the Firestone problem shows that Ford is more concerned with cash than your safety...remember that they recalled the same defective tires in Saudi Arabia in 1999, a year before in the US.
  • I have a 97 XLT and have experienced ALL the "usual" problems and more. Fortunately I have a good and responsive dealer.

    Has anyone noticed that their Explorers squat even with the lightest load?

    It isn't a real problem except that oncoming drivers are blinded by my headlinghts and it looks funny.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    I've owned a 1997 XLT, 1999 XLT, and 2000 XLS. They all sagged in the rear with even the lightest of loads. I'm talking like a 20 pound box of dog biscuits is enough to make it look different while sitting on the street. I always try to load stuff as close to the back seat as possible.

    PS...I'm gonna stay in this room and talk about the Explorers built on an actual truck platform. The people in the 2002 Explorer room didn't take kindly to my comment that the 2002 looks like a minivan on Steroids. Hint, hint...park a Windstar and a 2002 Explorer side by side. Look at the slope of the rear ends on each. They also called our "old" trucks inferior. All I know is my rear window hasn't shattered for no reason as of late, and my truck has not yet exploded due to a fuel tank rupture.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    There are a couple of things that you can do that are not too expensive.

    1- adjust your headlights so they aim lower... see a haynes manual for how to do that.

    2- Next time you are at your mechanic, ask him to lower the setting on the front torsion bars, which will level the truck and make the rear end come up.

    3- replace the crap ford shocks with something better.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    I saw that insensitive remark that that guy posted on the 2002 discussion, and I thought about replying, but it would probably start a war or something, he does not seem too bright... so I let it go and ignored him...

    Yes, I agree that the 2002 Explorer is more a car than an offroad vehicle, but Ford realized that most of these vehicles are being used in minivan type applications, and do not need offroad capability, hence the less aggressive tires and the independent suspension.... but I was surprized how they cheapened the interior (wouldnt creature comforts be more important to that type of buyer) and one of the best things about my 2000 is the rear view mirror!

    The 2001 is not an inferior vehicle to the 2002, just different, and you probably paid a lot less for it than a comparably equipped 2002 would be (and you don't have to be a test dummy for Ford) ... The 2002 is a different vehicle, with a accent towards a different type of consumer than say, a Jeep or Land Rover buyer.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    That was well said. I too read the same post on the 2002 and agree that they are two different vehicles with unique applications. Those who are more interested in road manners can opt for the 2002 and those interested in more off road capabilities can opt for an older. I must say that I am very happy with my 98 V8 AWD and have no intentions of trading it for a 2002. No one persons' opinion should be expressed in such an aggressive way as to berate another for their own preference.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    Anybody know anything about a 2000 Explorer with the OHV engine losing its coolant?

    Last night at the gas station I noticed there wasn't a drop of engine coolant in the reservoir. I decided to let it sit overnight to assess the situation. After sitting all night I looked and same thing. I popped the radiator cap, and as far down as I could see (with the help of a flashlight) there was no coolant to be seen. Some of the coils were bone dry.

    I can only think of 3 reasons for this...
    1) There is a leak I don't know of
    2) It's burning it or doing something else that it goes away without a noticeable leak.
    3) There was never enough in there to begin with.

    The thing has been to the dealer for maintenance 3 times (just turned 10000 miles), I'd be surprised nobody would notice it wasn't filled properly (or maybe I wouldn't be). Any thoughts?
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Your analysis is pretty thorough. But don't be surprized if the dealer drones did not notice the coolant level is down, unless they are asked to look at it...

    When the engine is cool, there should be coolant in the reservior...when the engine warms up, the thermostat opens and allows coolant to enter and the reservior fluid level drops. Now.. do you notice anything different on your temp gauge?

    There is a test to see if radiator fluid is in the oil... the dealer can do it... if there is.. the engine is trashed .. because there is water where the oil is and you will have rust in there soon.. Check your dipstick for rust particles... There is a gasket that may have been compromised and allowed the fluid to pass into the lower engine...

    But it is entirely possible that there was not enough fluid in there to begin with. Have the oil test done soon.

    Good luck and pls let me know how it turns out.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    If you have an '02 model anyway.

    Ford recalls new S/UVs

    Vans, SUVs and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    What if a dealership cannot duplicate the creaking or groaning sounds from the front suspension? even after the ball joints and sway bars and arms have been checked? the sounds have disappeared from my truck however could it be from something besides the suspension?
  • enforcerenforcer Posts: 40
    I have the same problem on my '97 Explorer. Most days the coolant level is fine, but occasionally it will just disappear, especially after 250 miles trips. I haven't noticed a leak so I guess that you just have to check your coolant every time you fill the tank.

    Funny, my two BMWs never needed additional coolant. I guess that's just Ford's quality engine work.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    I'd just turn the radio up louder and try to forget about it.... it can drive you nuts otherwise...
  • I just bot a 01Exploere Eddie Bauer 4x2. Out of door for $31000 (8% sales tax and approx 2% registation fee) w/ Eddie Bauer standard equipment + alarm. cheap or expensive? Overall in my opion, External looking great, internal design is less than good. point of view on windshield isn't that good, rear view minor too big coz the auto lamp switch built under it. Leather seat in not that comfortable as I expected. However, internal design need to be inprove. power is strong enough. Another good thing is Interest rate only 1.9% for 4 yrs. for financing. so far my rating for this car is average+
  • gkl1gkl1 Posts: 1
    '96 ford explorer...

    42k miles tranny gone
    50k powersteering pump
    50k squeeling noise (continues)
    tires of course
    These are just a few of the problems with my explorer. Now Because Ford Floods the markets with these vehicles everyone is trying to get rid of them below market value. Thus I must bite the bullet to get out of it. I guess FORD (Found on the road dead) was pretty true after all.
  • ace10ace10 Posts: 137
    ditching your exploder on the used market. we're trying to get rid of our low miles '97. firestone and ford really screwed us nicely. a $29K explorer with 35K miles shouldn't be worth $13K +/-.

    that SUCKS!!!!!

  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    Doesn't set the values of used vehicles, so I find it a bit of a stretch to blame them. Factors for low values for used SUV's right now are the market is being flooded with off-lease vehicles and demand is low to due high fuel prices. The overall sales for Mid and Full size new SUVs are down 10/12% also.
  • ace10ace10 Posts: 137
    that f.o.r.d sells inferior pieces of junk and passes them off as "quality is job one"???? give me a break. they had a much of a hand in this tire fiasco as firestone. we are the ones who are paying the price now. not ford!!! they have a new model to offer, and i can't tell everyone how happy i am to see a MAJOR FLUB in the launch of the new exploder. nothing like a shower of glass to say "WE CARE ABOUT YOUR SAFETY"!!!!!

    i don't care about new vehicles sales figures. i have an exploder already. it's has been nothing but trouble and continues to be. ford placed inferior mechanicals on an inferior platform. my import suv will run circles around my exploder any day of the week, in ALL aspects. that is ford's fault, and now it is my problem.

    oh, and by the way, i'm getting a "funny" feeling about with transmission again. oh well, i guess it's been 8K miles since the last one was put in at 27K miles. it's probably because i don't service it, right??? WRONG, it's because ford makes a BAD product. plain and simple. number one seeling SUV. who cares. and those of you who will talk about how many satisfied owners ther are out there.... puh-lease. there's more p.o.'ed ones at than ones that have anything good to say about it.

    f.o.r.d., i sincerely hope that you choke on excess inventory of the new explorer.

  • tincup47tincup47 Posts: 1,508
    That people with problems are 10 times more likely to complain than satisfied customers are likely to compliment. If Ford was truly passing off junk vehicles they would not have the highest customer loyalty of all manufacturers. Domestic vehicles have a history of lower resale and have had this problem for at least 10 years. If resale was a concern of yours, you should have taken that into account when you researched your purchase. New sales are an indicator of a soft market for a particular vehicle class, if the manufacturers are rebating new vehicles it will lower used car rates also.
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    Ace, there actually are Happy Explorer owners out there maybe you haven't seen the Happy Explorer Owners forum, i'm one of them myself I have a 97 and I haven't had any major problems just a few fixes here and there I had taken care of at the dealership, and in my opinion that goes for any make and model, you just have to find a good mechanic/dealership. as far as trade in value, is this the first time you've ever traded in a used truck? seems to me that the value starts dropping as soon as you drive them off the dealership lot, its not fair just to blame Ford Explorers, I guess it all goes back to if the Explorers were so bad why are they so popular and why are there so many of them out on the road?
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