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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Just for you, we'll make it 3 posts! :-)

  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    You can get more specific info in a Haynes repair manual, but here is what I do:

    Oil = every 3-4 months, or 3,500- 4,000 miles
    Coolant = Flush every 2 years or 24,000 miles
    Tranny = Change fluid and filter (std dealer svc does not change the filter) every 12,000 miles
    Hoses = every 4 years, whether they need it or not
    Serpentine belt = Change every 2 years.
    Plugs = every 30,000 miles
    Plug wires = every 4 years, whether they need it or not
    Fuel Filter = Every 2 years or 24,000 miles
    Lube door hinges and locks every spring and fall.
    Inspect brake pads every 3 months. Replace every 20,000 miles or as needed.
    Tires = Inspect tires every 3 months and replace at 5 yr or 50,000 miles. Check air pressure every month.
    Add Chevron Techron to the gas every spring.
    Add drygas (gas line antifreeze) every snowfall or ski trip.

    Hope this helps.
  • The dealer I get my ride serviced at was telling me that Ford has no set guideline for having a transmission serviced. That's a good line to have when it comes down to someone not properly maintaining their vehicle therefore shortening its life.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    I think the Explorer owners manual has a maintenance schedule.. I personally thought it was ridiculous... but if i recall correctly, it did call for Tranny service at 36K. This is the same manual that calls for oil changes every 7,500 miles.

    Good luck.
  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    I've got a question for you. I am looking to be educated.

    I have a 95 Explorer 4WD. About a year ago I had a "fluttering" sound in the front end that I thought was a wheel bearing. I took it to the dealership and the tech knew immediately what it was. They lubed the "front driveshaft double carden seal". Sound gone. Now a year later it is back and I need to take it back in to get it lubricated again.

    What is a double carden seal? I am technically literate, but I don't know where this seal is and what function it performs. Is this no big deal and something that just needs to be lubed occasionally, or is it something I should keep my eye on? I have considered dumping the vehicle before it starts costing me money. Is this a sign of potential future problems?

    Thanks in advance.
  • It is a seal that prevents transfer case lubricant from leaking from the joint between the double cardan driveshaft and the transfer case. You can read more about the double cardan joint, etc. at

    If you want to see what your Explorer's Double Cardan driveshaft look like, check out the Haynes Repair Manual for the Ford Explorer.

  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    Thanks for the link. I have a general understanding now. What I can't gather from the link is whether or not the need to lube this is telling me anything about future repairs to the transfer case. Do you know if this just requires periodic lubing?
  • According to the Haynes Manual you should lubricate the driveshaft yolk every 30K. If you had it done last year and the original problem is back, this might mean that you have to increase the frequency of lubrication, the easy solution, or you might have a developing problem with the transfer case driveshaft or universal joint. How many miles are on the odometer? In any event, direct observation of the components is the best way to diagnose the problem. We could infer any one of dozens of causes, but until one looks, it is impossible to tell. You should bring the truck in to a good mechanic and get it checked. I Hope it is something simple and inexpensive.

    Good luck
  • swn1swn1 Posts: 27
    My inlaws have a '98 Mountaineer V8 and I understand the Ford Explorer V8's have the same problem. Seems a quart of oil disappears every 1000 miles. Dealer says this is normal that Ford specs call for this although he had nothing to back it up. Anyone know anything? Where does it go? I would imagine the converter must be pretty gunkie by now.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    I think they are giving you that extra 'lube'.. any vehicle that loses 3 quarts between oil changes has a big problem.

    Get another opinion.

    The V8 is the same engine in the Crown Vic.. and there are a lot of those out there... I am sure that if all of them lost a quart of oil every 1K miles, then cop cars and taxis would be littered all over the place.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    I own a 98 explorer with the V8. I change the oil every 5k miles. I loose maybe 1/4 of a quart during these intervals. I agree with mazman. There has to be something wrong.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I have the 5.0 V8 in a 2000 explorer, and have never had to add between oil changes on 3000 mile intervals. I have never seen the oil level more than a half quart below full, either, in almost 20,000 miles. that swn1-relative's engine was either not broken in per manual (which is actually rather generous), or it's leaking internally or externally. for that matter, the only engine I've ever had that used oil like that was before I traded my 1990 Ranger 2.3L-four, with a leaky rear seal that darned near sprayed bystanders.
  • I have a 99 XLT that is just over 2 yrs. old. I have a couple minor things I've noticed and was wondering if anybody was in the same boat. I also wanted to prvide some general impressions after two years of ownership.

    The other day I noticed that the black paint on the metal part of the roof rack was peeling off. It seems like it starts off in the track and works its way outward where it is visible. Anyone else notice this?

    Another item I noticed is that the driver's side folding rear seat feels loose if you sit in it and push down on the floor with your feet. I'm really never in the back so I don't know if it was like that since day one or if my 60 lb. 5-year old was too much for it. I tried tightening the floor bolts but they were not the problem. It seems like it is in the folding mechanism, and I see nothing that I can tighten. Anybody have any input?

    When closing the glass liftgate about 1/4 the time it makes a loud pop just before it reaches the closed position. I've looked all over and can't seem to find the cause, but the bolts are showing rust. The noise is just not consistent. (nope not the wire to the defroster)

    As far as door rattles, don't get me started. I've got mine in the passenger door. I've brought mine to the dealer 5 times already and they have been unable to fix it. On mine its not the door latch post but something internal to the door mechanism (I know I've tried adjusting the post). The best that the dealer's done is stop the rattle for a few weeks; then it comes back. The bad part is each time it take it in, the truck comes back worse then it went in with scratches in the paint and plastic and the door liner not tightly attached. I think I'll give another dealer (maybe a Lincoln/Mercury dealer) one more shot at fixing it before my warranty expires. Another thing about the front doors is if you pull the inside door handles more that half way to open the door, when you let them return back to normal they make a Pop noise. It doesn't seem like it affects the latch operation, but it is just something you hate to hear and don't know how it will affect the latch in the long run. By the way the dealer couldn't solve this noise either. But of course changed some parts and charged Ford for it.

    Overall the truck has run well; no problems with the V8. At first I'd be about 1/2 quart down when time for an oil change, but as it ages it seems like it might be buring less oil per change interval, maybe 1/4 quart. In my assessment the weak parts of the truck might be: 1) the suspension which is starting to make some noise when turning over bumps and 2) the hoor and hatch hardware. The strong suits include: 1) the engine, great pickup on the highway, tows my boat with ease and 2) the breaks, good stopping power, but very loud and grabby right before stoping. I also find that the 16" tires improve the ride and handling. BTW - I changed the Deathstones for Michelin LTX M/S and think the handling and wet road traction improved, but haven't noticed any reductin in traction pulling a trailer out of the water. Can't tell you about snow because it just don't snow in south Louisiana.

    Mazman I've seen you've posted some good ideas, do you have any of these same issues? How about anybody else?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    sounds about right, except I don't have any door noises in my 2000 limited. there have been posts in the past about the seat frame having some sour rivets in it... I have a little click there, but the seat is motored up almost to the top, and it is intermittent and has not gotten worse in the two years. that engine dates to the 1970s and is solid indeed. I always seem to get (or hear) suspension squeaks that respond nicely to a little heavy spray grease or heavy silicone in the bushings, and that includes GMs as well as Fords. no sign of paint problems on the roof rack, either.
  • swn1swn1 Posts: 27
    I have a '99 XLT and had my roof rack replaced for the exact same thing you are seeing. Don't let them talk you out of it, of course by the sounds of your dealer you may end up with a couple of extra holes in the roof. I'm lucky to have a great dealer but they can only do so much. I'd rather have a lousy dealer and good vehicle but you can't win them all. I have many squeaks, rattles, pops and the like and have given up on fixing them. Keep a check on your differental seals. My front one went and learned this is not uncommon.

    Thanks to everyone for the comments on the oil usage for my in-laws Mountaineer. I am waiting to hear from Ford for the specs that show this and why it "uses" so much but I think the prize patrol will show up first.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    A lot of the noises that you hear from the doors or hatches either opening or closing can be relieved by proper lubrication of the parts. Any decent mechanic should be able to do that.

    The roof rack is made of painted aluminum. The rust usually makes the black paint fall off first, then you get a white powder. The quick solution is to get the rack replaced while it is under warranty.

    As far as the door rattles, apart from the pathetic dealer service departments, there are many parts insde the door that can come loose. The problem with the door on my 2000 was that the door lock post was too far out, so that the mechanism closed around it before the door was properly sealed in the opening, making the whole thing rattle. I would have another mechanic look at it and maybe speak with the dealer's shop foreman... to show your concern for the problem and that you want this to be resolved. Also, you may want to bring up the other "collateral" damage to your vehicle.

    Good luck.
  • My 99 XLT has given me pretty good service. My roof rack is scratched from use, but I do not have a paint peeling problem. As other have suggested, get the dealer to replace it before the warrenty runs out. Regarding the noise you get when you open & close the glass liftgate, try some WD 40 at the ball & Socket joints of the support cylinders. If the cylinders are not bent or out of alignment, this should do the job. I had this problem and the WD 40 provided an effective cure. What probably happens is that the cylinder support is binding in the ball mounted on the liftgate and/or the glass. The clicking noise is what you hear when the ball finally begins to move when enough energy is applied. After you apply the WD 40 make sure you wipe off any excess spray from the liftgate and the glass. Yes, the Explorer has problems, but compared to the Blazer/Jimmy it is a masterpiece. I know I had a 95 Jimmy, Truck of the Year, and I could write volumes about sloppy workmanship, poor design, cheap parts, etc.
  • I know I read in one of the boards a few weeks ago some questions about waxes. Just to let you know, I recently switched from Meguiar's Gold Class to 3M Cleaner Wax. What a difference! The 3M product removed all the swirl marks off my truck, it looks new! I will let you all know how it holds up in terms of durability, but the shine is amazing.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Yes, the 3M product is far superior to Meguiars. Actually, I think saliva is better than Meguiars. In 20 years of car ownership, I have used turtlewax, raindance, Meguiars, zipwax, Gliptone, and I prefer the Mother's 3 step with an added 4th step of the 3M glaze. It adds a great smooth finish with no swirls, and although it is a lot to apply, it lasts the entire summer.

  • Hi guys, been looking at the past posts, especially from mazman and ryster regarding the noises coming from their vehicles. My '97 Explorer developed a popping noise coming from the front passenger dash corner/front passenger door area.

    The strange part about this noise (and it is a very definite popping or clucking sound) is that it only occurs when the vehicle has been warmed by the sun. I haven't heard anything in the past few weeks since the weather has turned, and prior to that, I would never hear anything on my drive to work in the morning, only on the way home after the vehicle had sat in the sun all or part of the day.

    To my way of thinking, this is strange, as parts should generally expand as they are heated, decreasing the likelihood of rattles and pops, no?

    From the outside of the vehicle, I can press down on the corner of the plastic tray enclosing the wiper fluid sprays, and sometimes get the noise to happen. This tray looks to be slightly misaligned, but I had the dealer take it off and check the seating of the windshield, and they indicated all was good.

    If I open the passenger door all the way, with a slight jarring movement at the end of it's extension, I can also sometimes get the sound to happen.

    It really sounds like it's coming from the dash when you're inside the vehicle though.

    Any bright ideas from past posters would be helpful, although it seems as though I probably won't be hearing this (very irritating) noise again until Spring...

  • Anyone having a problem with the information panel on the EB stereo? I have a 98 EB and have a problem with the information lights on the stereo head (track #, radio station, etc) fading in and out. It's and intermitant problem and sometimes they don't come on at all.

  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    Just had my stereo display black out on me last week on my 98 XLT. The next day I drove it to the dealership and within 50ft of parking the display came back on. Rather annoyed I complained anyway. The service advisor told me that its a known problem and they just send the entire stereo in for replacement or repair. Three days later and a $50 deductible from my extended warranty I received my stereo in good working order.
  • We recently had a local dealership order the model we want and are looking forward to receiving it. Can anyone give us their thoughts on this model if they have one. Thanks.
  • A dear friend and neighbor of ours just bought a black, 1996 Ford Explorer. She was not given the code for the keyless entry. If someone could please tell me where the little black box is, the one that operates the keyless entry, the one that has the sticker with the codes on it, we would appreciate it greatly. I know about this method of securing the codes because I have purchased a couple of other Ford vehicles and have been in the same situation.
    02 Discovery
  • I have a 99 Eddie Bauer with the V8 and about 68K miles. We recently began experiencing difficulty when starting the vehicle. The engine will turn over, but will not idle. It is not a consistent problem, so I initially thought the fuel line might be clogged. After having all filters replaced and the fuel-injector cleaned, it is only getting worse. Oddly enough, my parents own a 2000 Windstar which began having similar problems. After calling a tow truck today to haul it to the local Ford dealer, the driver informed them that theirs was the 19th Ford that he has towed recently with the same problem. Talk about serendipity! Additionally, I have read on this site that other owners have experienced the radio blacking out. Ours went out a few weeks ago, and after checking the fuses, I still have not been able to pinpoint the problem. To top things off, we went to the dealer today to look at a 2002 Explorer and they offered us a stellar $11,700 for ours. Keep in mind that this is a loaded 99 EB w/V8. With a resale value like that, what is the incentive to purchase another Ford?! Any thoughts on the idling problem or my other rants would be greatly appreciated.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    smells like almost certainly a sensor (crank position?) or the computer box. being intermittent, I would take apart all the inline cable connectors, clean 'em up, and put a little dielectric grease on the contacts and gasket before putting them back together.
  • I had the same EXACT problem, except with me it was with my 00 XLT , 6 Cyl SOHC. I ended up selling the POS (took a beating like you might). Never diagnosed what the problem was, but i only had 40k miles. I wasn;t about to pay any dealer one red cent to fix this. Besides this, I had the ball joint seal lubed about 5 times because of a wretched squealing since 5k, rear wiper never worked after 5k miles, and of course the Firestone tire debacle and 2 other recalls for different things. The Explorer to me was truly an Exploder. If you can afford it, sit yourself in a another vehicle not a Ford.
  • I've gone back through this discussion and have not found any comments on broken heater blend- doors. This is rather unusual as I saw several posts on Google about this and the dealer said that this problem is showing up a lot more often.

    Anyway, on with the story. I have a 97 4x4 XLT with the 4.0 SOHC with 55,000 miles. A few weeks ago it finally became cold enough outside to turn the heater on for the first time of the year... and not a hint of warm air came out the vents. Not even slightly warm.

    First I thought the thermostat might have failed, but the temp gauge was reporting that the engine temperature was in the normal range. I took it to the Ford dealer who was so busy he couldn't look at it for several days. I asked if he could recommend anyone who might be able to look at it that day and he said, "Sure, the Lincoln-Mercury dealer down the street can probably look at it right now."

    Off I went to the Lincoln dealer, and sure enough they had were able to get it in right away. The service writer called me at work about an hour later and said that he had some bad news. He said the plastic heater blend door had cracked and although the part required to fix it was only $150.00, it required the complete removal of the dash and with the labor it would cost $1,000.00!!!

    They said that they had seen a couple of Mountaineers with this problem in the last year. I told them NOT to fix it, (I can buy a hell of a nice down parka for less than a grand) and that I would pick it up after I got off work.

    All this after the cam-chain tensioner problem I went through, the tire fiasco, and the fact that my vehicle has fallen about SIX GRAND in value over the last year. I was livid. I decided that I would tear the dash apart myself over Thanksgiving week and see if I could fix it.

    Then about an hour later the Lincoln service writer called me back and told me that they had some kind of program called the "non warranty assistance program". He told me that while Ford was not covering this problem under a warranty extension (like the cam-chain tensioner problem) he had judged that my problem could be covered by this "new" program. He added that I would be responsible for a co-pay (or a kind of deductable) of $150.00. "Would I be interested?", he asked.

    Of course I'm interested. $1,000.00 or $150.00. SIGN ME UP!!! I even told him to change the tranny fluid, the oil, and some other maintenence items. Yaaa hoooooo!!! After 20 years of Hondas I swore that the Exploder would be the last time I wandered from the big "H", but now since Ford sent me a check to pay for my Michelins and stepped up to the plate on this blend door, I might (emphasis on "might") consider another Ford.
    (Or a Lincoln-Mercury... good thing my Ford dealer was so busy that day. They're complete jerks and would have never taken the time to use this program). Anyway... picked it up two days later...paid my $150.00 co-pay... heater works like a champ... and I'm happy again. For now.

    Hope this helps anyone with a similar problem.
  • Thanks Steve for the post about the legal letter I received. And regarding the tire maker themselves. After owning a Explorer in CT with "THE" deathstone's on it and visible tread separation, we just bought our second Suburban and they come standard with Firestone Wilderness LE's. They are the WORST performing tires, set aside the fact that we had the separation on them on our old Explorer here in the Northeast. We wanted no part of their products. I live in Northwest CT and needed a better tire. With this Suburban purchase we refused the Firestone tires as part of the deal and switched them out for Michellin's. There is a huge difference in how the car corners, handles, and it will do so much better in the snow. Very happy not to have Firestones.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059

    $1,000?? Man, talk about woes!

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