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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    Sorry to hear about your transmission. Hope Ford's reconditioned transmissions are better than their reconditioned motors (3). Thank God for extended warranty's. Anyone buying a $30,000+ vehicle without it is taking a huge risk. I would still be driving my leaking anti-freeze guzzler 2000 Explorer XLS 4.0ohv if it weren't for the warranty. Good Luck.
  • dohc32vdohc32v Posts: 60
    >>>>>"I shopped around the web and the dealer I bought the car from (not the one I service through because it is over 40 minutes from home) looks like the best deal."<<<<<<

    I never cease to be amazed at some peoples naivety. Of course the Ford Dealer you are working with about your vehicle problems isn't going to be your best friend. Of course he knows you drove 40 minutes past his Dealership, probably to save a couple hundred bucks, to buy a vehicle from his competitor. Now not only did you shun him on a vehicle sale, but you are getting ready to screw him again on an extended warrenty sale. Then you are going to go back to this Dealer, close to your home, for your warranty work? You must appreciate being mistreated and appreciate mistreating others. Open your eyes and think about what you are doing. Just a friendly tip from someone who knows the business.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    Just because you prefer to be rude I will explain my situation. The Ford dealer I bought my truck from used to be about 20 minutes from my house. I have since moved, and it is now about a 40 minute commute. The dealer I get my truck serviced at is a Lincoln Mercury dealer. A) Any Ford or Lincoln Mercury dealer can work on any Ford or Lincoln/Mercury product. B) This L/M dealer is literally 1.1 miles from my home. C) It is kind of hard to buy a Ford Explorer from a Lincoln/Mercury dealer.
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    Your comments in post 1262 are quite interesting. The service department of any dealership is where money is made (a dealership could not survive solely on new car sales). A good service department will do exemplary work and treat customers with total respect and honesty, with the hopes that when a non-warranty repair (brakes, alignments, etc.) need to be done the customer will return to them and pay for the work. Oil/fluid changes are rather low margin services used to build a solid relationship with the customer. It is the larger jobs that generate the profit.

    It shouldn't matter to a dealer where the vehicle was purchased initially. What matters is becoming the service department of choice for any customer and developing a long standing, profitable relationship that benefits the customer and the dealer. It is sad to think (and know) this is not the prevailing attitude in the industry.

    I'm with njdevilsrn. If I had the choice of a L/M dealer 1 mile away or the original selling dealer 40 minutes away, I'm going with the L/M dealer. Besides, L/M dealers have a much better overall reputation than strictly Ford dealerships. I have seen this first hand. My parents have a Mountaineer they get serviced at a L/M dealer other than the one from whom they purchased. The dealer always gets them in when they need an appointment and even washes the vehicle when they are done. The dealer I use for my Explorer, which is the dealer I purchased the truck from, usually has a 2-3 week wait for any kind of appointment and then returns my truck to me dirtier than when I took it in (oil smudges, carpet stains, etc.)

    Hmmm...maybe I'll switch to the dealership my parents use...
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    did you know? that our or if you have one 2000 explorer was on consumer reports list of cars and trucks to avoid? well to be honest i will be broke this summer i will double my pymts starting in august and get out in dec this yr. man i have to replace a bulb in the back plus everytime im driving i hear a squeak in the rear cabin. i dont know what it is but anyway i cant wait till december.
  • rb123rb123 Posts: 51
    For someone who claims to know a lot about the business you seem to know very little. Any ford dealer should be happy to service a vehicle warrenty or not they are still making money. As far as customer service this is what brings people back to buy a vehicle in the future and also for future service work. I would not think this would have to be explained to someone who knows about the business. Customer service is very important if you want to stay in business. I will say there are very few dealers that I have come across that have what I would consider good customer service and the couple that did have good service were not ford dealers.
  • dohc32vdohc32v Posts: 60
    >>>>>"I will say there are very few dealers that I have come across that have what I would consider good customer service and the couple that did have good service were not ford dealers."<<<< (rb quote)

    >>>>>"What matters is becoming the service department of choice for any customer and developing a long standing, profitable relationship that benefits the customer and the dealer. It is sad to think (and know) this is not the prevailing attitude in the industry." <<<<<(ryster quote)

    I rest my case. Good luck.
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    Actually, the statement you quoted me on goes against your theory that the original selling dealer is the only one that cares about servicing your vehicle. You then went so far as to call buying from one dealer to get a good price and using a closer dealer for service a form of "mistreatment". If automakers use this as an excuse to have below par service then maybe it is time for all automakers to switch to the Saturn business model. Everyone would pay the same price for the vehicle, no one would feel as though they were taken advantage of, and the focus truly would turn more to after-the-sale service.

    I was just commenting that any dealer, whether it be the original dealer or not, should understand the advantage (and profit potential) of being the place of choice for service for any customer of the brand.

    rb123 is correct about customer service. Sadly, there are very few dealers that have good customer service. They try to tell you they do, but the first time you need assistance they look the other way.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    For an additional 2 cents, I am actually much happier with the Lincoln/Mercury dealer where I have my truck serviced. It is a "smaller" dealer, the showroom only holds 3 cars, and they might have 50 new cars on the lot at any time. The service writer and Assistant Service Manager I have been dealing with there have been great. I actually had a conversation with the writer today, and he genuinely seemed sympathetic toward my situation. Loosely quoting him after I told him how I felt Ford Motor Company's Customer Assistance was horrible, he said "And they wonder why our satisfaction surveys are in the toilet." On the other hand, the Ford dealer I have bought all my trucks from (a very large volume dealer)takes forever to give you an appointment, and views the "late night drop" as a license to not look at your truck until late in the day. Many times I got burned by the fact that they did not start looking at my truck until 2 or 3pm, then could not solve it by the end of the day, resulting in a 2 day visit for something after they let is sit there more than half the day without looking at it.

    PS...I wound up having to leave my truck there today even though the appointment is not until Monday because the OD Light started flashing last night and the thing was slamming in all gears. By Monday, I hope this ordeal will be over.
  • agarianagarian Posts: 3
  • gregb5gregb5 Posts: 82
    No. The door is different.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    Got my Explorer back with the replaced tranny earlier this week. So far all is well. I guess only time will tell. Just in case, I'm still actively shopping for an extended warranty.
  • catch22catch22 Posts: 5
    AC seems to be weak from day one. Now it is completely gone. I am wondering if this is just an isolated case. Anyone else experienced the same problem? Thanks in advance.
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    njdevilsrn - Great news on the tranny! Were you able to get a loaner while they worked on your Explorer?

    catch22 - my '00 Explorer has had lousy A/C since day one as well. It's barely adequate on really hot days (90+). It hasn't died completely...yet.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    No, they didn't give me a loaner. But it only took them one day to do the job. I had to take it back the next day because of a loud ticking sound. Of course I was expecting the worst, but it turns out that it was a piece of loose trim that wasn't secured properly after it was moved to do the job.

    I was impressed, though, by the fact that the service writer called to ask how my truck was a few days after the job. Not one of those "Give us a good review" calls, but actually to ask about the truck.

    PS...I still am bitter, though, that Ford would not authorize a dealer to get me a rental when such a major component failed at 21000 miles.
  • bigaldsbigalds Posts: 47
    I have been reading many posts here for over a year, and I am just SO AMAZED that you guys seem to put up with all this crap that you do! I would NEVER pay out that kind of money that you do for these Explorers and get such sad performance and service! I could put part of the blame on Ford and the Dealers, but I'd have to put part of it on you guys for putting up with it. Myself, I could never stand the hassle, so I buy a 5 or 6 year vehicle with 100K miles and take care of it myself. Your big problem is depending on someone else to take care of your problems, and I found out many years ago that's NOT the way to go! Everyone can't be a mechanic, but should try to be at least as knowledgeable as possible, and not afraid to get their hands dirty. In the back of your car, keep some hand cleaner, roll of paper towels & rags, flashlight, jumper cables, and a tool box chocked full of tools.

    To the guys with the tranny problems, it's sad cause I know that is above even most advanced home mechanics to repair or rebuild. I've built trannys for years, but don't like to have to work on my own. You best defense there is to make the right selection when you buy. DON'T BUY a car with a known weak transmission! DO your RESEARCH right here on Edmunds and you will know what to buy, and just as important, what NOT to buy. You next best defense is to service it WELL and often as needed. A Ford Explorer transmission needs to be flushed of all fluid, pull pan, new filter and pan gasket, and fill with new fluid, EVERY YEAR! No shortcuts here! That's why I have a 1993 Explorer with 154,000 miles on it, orginal tranny never been out, it gets the full service every year, and I know it's done right cause I do it myself. I wish everyone could do their own work theirselves, it might put those Dealers back it line. But as long as the Dealers have a long line of suckers coming back for more of their bad high priced service, they are going to keep dishing it out. I know cause I used to work at a Dealer. No Any More, not for a LONG time!

    To the guys with the Air Condition problems, there should never have been a problem with your system cooling in the first place, that thing is designed to blow out ice cold air! I've worked on A/C for years, and any that I repair will freeze you out! I've done a lot of conversions of R12 to R134A too, all Ice Cold. If it's not cooling well, you need to really bark at whoever is responsible to fix it. Don't just say that it's not cooling well and never has, that's just lame. They will jump on you and take advantage of you! Get some knowlege! Get some basic tools like an A/C thermometer that you stick it the dash vents and MEASURE your VENT TEMPS. Tell them what your vents temps are at different driving conditions and times of day and under differnet ambient temperaures. Demand Vent Temps that are down in the LOW to MID 40's while driving! Maybe higher 40's while idling at a standstill in hot weather! You can open the hood and feel the temperature of the refrigerant lines (that will tell you a lot). Careful with the compressor discharge line, because it should be about 200 degrees and will burn you. Liquid line out the condenser should be warm at about 125 to 135 degrees. At the orifice tube, line should be warm up to it, and cold (in the 30's) just past it (where it goes into the evaporator). The outlet pipe should be in the upper 40's, outlet of the accumulator should be sightly higher in the upper 40's or lower 50's. Suction line should be cold all the way back to the compressor suction port(Lower 50's). Get yourself an infrared thermometer to check all this with (less than $100.00) you'll be glad you did, cause you will find so many uses for it, like measuring the temps of your radiator inlet and outlet tanks to find out how much temp drop you have across it (which tells you how well it's working 10 degrees ok, 20 much better, 30 super). You can also take the infrared thermometer with you when you go out to eat and check the temperature of your food, is your soup hot enough? How cold is that drink?

    I wish I could help all you guys, but you have to try to fend for yourself, I'll be glad to help anyway that I can. Your best defense is a good offense and good working knowledge. I've got 3 Explorers and all run perfectly.

    Good Luck,
    Big AL
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    I see your point, but am rather put off by the statement that we, as consumers, are partly to blame because we "put up with it". Knowledge, research, all that stuff is fine. But, as with most other things in life, we rely on professionals to handle the major things we cannot fix ourselves. Some are good, but most are bad. Would a home mechanic have had the ability to re-align my Explorer's bad b-pillar and body seams (which failed at 13,000 miles because the truck was built wrong)? Most likely not. Would the average home mechanic have had the equipment and tools to properly replace a tranny (that failed prematurely at 20,000 miles)? No.Who's to say that when you buy a used Explorer it hasn't had the tranny replaced already or has not been properly maintained? You take just as much risk when buying a used car as when you get a new one these days. You are in the fortunate position of being able to tend to most of your own repairs. Most of us are not in that position and can only do oil changes, coolant changes and other easy maintenance items.The whole problem could be resolved if service departments treated people with the respect they deserve instead of as naive, unsuspecting lemmings (which we most certainly are not).I will have my tranny serviced every 30K miles per my owner's manual. Once a year is overly excessive.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    You said in your profile:

    "It's a job keeping up with all the new technology. I'll stop by here & lend a hand whenever I can."

    So that post above was "Lending a hand"? I am sorry but your post sounds a little condesending. A lot of people buy new cars so they dont have to deal with getting thier hands dirty or with having major repairs or reliability issues. People here do research...thats what this place is for! DUH!!! Thats why these people are here. If someone did make a mistake or needs help we dont need anyone saying things like:

    "I am just SO AMAZED that you guys seem to put up with all this crap that you do! I would NEVER pay out that kind of money that you do for these Explorers and get such sad performance and service. I could put part of the blame on Ford and the Dealers, but I'd have to put part of it on you guys for putting up with it."

    That kind of stuff is totally uncalled for especially when someone is having trouble with their car and you just add insult to injury. We dont need an "I told you so" either. If your post was not intended to sound like it sounds to RYSTER and I then I apologize. You just might want to choose your words more wisely.
  • bigaldsbigalds Posts: 47
    I didn't intend to put anyone down but the dealers who cause you the grief with all these service problems. I just feel your pain and frustration seeing these same posts with the same problems over and over again, for so long. I have them all printed out in a 3 inch binder notebook, and it's full! If you have a problem, you just have to work it out as best as you can for now. If you have a vehicle with problems, I am hoping that next time you buy a vehicle that you can make a better choice.
    Last month I bought a 97 Explorer with 100K miles. I knew that I didn't want the under powered pushrod V6 4.0 L engine, and for sure not the SOHC V6 4.0 L engine that has all the timing tensioner problems. I knew I didn't want a weak transmission that they put with the V6 engines, so I bought one with the V8 5.0 L engine, that comes with the 4R70W Transmission. It is a strong combination that has high reliability, that I expect to last for another 100K miles with very little problems. As I was shopping for the vehicle, it was amazing to hear how the used car salesmen with try to push off junk to people, make even bad stuff sound good. I would ask the salesman, "what kind of engine is that?" when I knew it was a SOHC, and they will reply saying "that's the high powered V6". Then I told him what it really was, with the 3 timing chains and all the timing chain tensioner problems, the engine should have never been built that way. Sure FORD has fixed them, but who want all the hassle of having 3 engines put in your vehicle in 50K miles, with the car in the shop for more time that you drive it?
    All I am saying is, I hope people reading these posts will understand how important it is to be properly informed, to be able to make better decisions when buying in the future. Concerning your present problems, I give people advice on mechanical problems and repairs, but his board is not orientated towards those technical aspects. If you have a technical problem concerning engine, transmission, air conditioning, or whatever, try going to
    and myself and many others are there to assist you. You don't have to be a mechanic, often you can get guidance on how to handle or approach a problem. If you are not exactly sure what the problem is, they can help you sort it out.

    Have a Nice Day
    Big AL
  • Being right doesn't mean you have to tell others about it. I could never take the pressure of buying a new car and having to deal with the service department. Bad service is nothing new, 25 years ago I used to do electronic service. People would bring me electronics that they just paid to have repaired and still didn't work. They would rather pay someone else than bring it back. Some people were so happy when I fixed some things they gave me tip money. Even really aggressive people I know give up at at car dealerships. I buy at auctions where everything is just your tough luck. I just bought a 97 XLT 4WD control-trac w/105K for $5,200. Grill and headlight were cracked and 4WD didn't work. It did come with a new battery, great tires, brand new (I mean just installed) rotors and brakes, and a brand new shift motor assembly. Poor guy didn't figure out you had to disconnect the battery to reset the 4WD computer. Anyway $300 later I have a perfect car. Drive it a year and the transmission falls out, who cares at this price. I also have a 92 Explorer, bought at auction, w/220K that I have to put another transmission in after driving it for 7 years. History on that: 2 transmissions, 3 water pumps, radiator, brake master, 2 calipers, leaking head - solved for 5 years with aluminum flakes, power steering pump, a number of lifetime brake pads, and a radio that stopped playing FM. Seems like just normal stuff except for the transmissions.
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    My '00 Explorer has the 4.0L OHV V6. I find it much more enjoyable to drive than my parent's '00 Mountaineer with the 4.0L SOHC V6. Engine power and responsiveness is not all that different, which is not surprising considering the similar torque ratings. Ford used the 4.0L OHV engine for a number of years before offering the SOHC engine. It is more than adequate for people who do not do a lot of towing and simply want a good, reliable runabout.

    The 5.0L V8 is a good engine, but it has a tendency to leak oil (weak seals). As stated previously, there is no such thing as a sure thing. Research does lessen one's chance of ending up with a problematic vehicle, but all in all the Ford Explorer in any version is a reliable vehicle.

    Ultimately, though, life is too short to start analyzing the individual components of each vehicle to determine the combinations that will lead to the worst and/or best chances for reliability. It is more important to get what you want and what best meets your needs. Buy what you like, not what someone else tells you you should like. If it breaks along the way, like most vehicles will, get it fixed and press on. After a few years it can be traded in for something else.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    geez, opera house, "normal" to me is a couple tuneups, several brake jobs, maybe a radiator, for sure a few sets of hoses, zillions of filters and oil changes, PVC valve or two, and a set or two of tires in 120k or 140k. there's usually one R P A on any car, my last one was an oil pump job because of a screwy oil pan design that eroded the pan gaskets, which plugged the pump. but sounds like that 92 with 220K was bought from Jed Clampett, and you had to take the concrete blocks it was sitting on when you hauled it off.
  • I just can't get a water pump from Auto .... that will last more than 16 months. When I bought it at 90K, the overdrive planetary gear was bad. Had a back yard garage rebuild it for $760, a very cheap price. Should have paid a little more and had the torque converter replaced at the time. Lockup converter went out about 14 months later. Figured I'd wait till something else happened. I kept going for over 100k. The one problem I forgot was the fuel pressure regulator. Engine would loose power on high speed right turns. Anyone with strange engine problems should replace that fuel pressure regulator. Both cars are beautiful . Had the hood and roof repainted on the 92, typical Ford paint peal problem. Rebuilding the transmission will be my summer project.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I will file that one away in the cobwebs and senior moments for future reference, lots of posts among various car owners about "dies making a turn" on cars that don't have warped floats to hang in the carb any more.

    as for the water pumps, sounds like maybe the shop's source is suspect, like using little tick-tick hammers in the middle of the bearing race to seat the front bearings.
  • These are brand new water pumps from a national retail chain. Every one tells me they have the same experience with other chains. How come I can get 120K on a factory water pump and after market pumps last 40K. This isn't rocket science and the belt alignment/tension is not a problem. They keep giving me free replacements.

    I would recommend that when a fuel pump is replaced that the regulator is too. I had 150K on the vehicle and do a lot of traveling away from home. It was warm and sunny so I decided to replace the fuel pump even though the vehicle was running fine. I figured why wait till I'm 500 miles away from home and it is snowing. After replacing the pump, the car began to stall occasionally at stop lights. When I cut open the regulator, I found it had worn a flat spot on the seat. The higher flow rate of the new pump caused the valve to open wider and cause it to hang up on this seat bevel.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    are those rebuilt water pumps? I would sure expect that sort of behavior from rebuilts. the other possibility is that when the long nose of Ford is not hanging over their shoulder, the manufacturers go cheap-out and slack the inspections, don't balance as closely, etc. you KNOW that Ford is not making their pumps, it's lowest bidder vs delivery time vs warranty returns that determines who gets the job in parts land, and it's a tough dollar making OEM parts now. the automakers are squeezing every nickel so hard the buffalo (whines) when they hand 'em to the parts companies.
  • Taiwan or Japan, maker seems to change each time. I am amazed at some rebuild prices. With the lockup converter out, the car was like a soap box derby racer going down hill. I went through front brakes like crazy. Love those lifetime warranties. After a 12 mile trip down Mt. Greylock, MA, I smoked the calipers. The rubber boot just disintegrated. Bought rebuilt ones for $12 each. After shipping the new part, return shipping on the old, and retail profit, What does the rebuilder get? $5-$6 Makes you think about whose hands your putting your life in. Much like people who have sneakers that cost more than the tires they are driving around on at 75 mph.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    as in "confidence job." no wonder the production is out where annual wages are about what we pay for dog food over here. it all depends on which island is above water this month, and those are the critical life safety parts we and those around us depend on.

    but then, if I had an opinion, I might sound off ;)
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    CAn anyone recommend replacement tires for my Explorer? Tired of the Goodyear RT/S that strt to cup after 20,000 miles. Any recommendations?
  • lariat10lariat10 Posts: 22
    Last night after stopping at a light the o/d light on the instrument panel started to flash and the trans would not shift into overdrive. Has any one else had this happen to them and if so was it a major repair. My explorer has about 65k way to early for a major transmission repair bill I hope.
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