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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • ssmintonssminton Posts: 155
    The wiper on my '99 Mountaineer has never cleanly swept the window. Dealer has tried to fix it several times but still misses approx 30 degrees. How recently did Ford develop a new arm. My dealer says they have replaced arm but problem continues. Unfortunately every time they take the rear hatch apart, it rattles more so I have just learned to live with the problem. I have owned 2 previous explorers '92/'95 and never experienced this problem.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    I took mine apart and found that the brackets are too weak and bend over time. I tried to fix it myself but failed. I took it to the dealer to make an appointment and the service walked up to the wiper and bent the arm toward the window. Its been fine ever since. Made me feel a little stupid...
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    now why didn't I think of that? got a 30-degree "skip" in the middle where only half the blade is on the glass. I will take a couple fingers to my arm tomorrow and see bout that.
  • ssmintonssminton Posts: 155
    I and the dealer have bent the arm, with no success. In fact coverage is getting worse. I have owned three Explorer products, and although I have experienced recurring problems on each, this is not one of them. This is the only truck that has had this wiper issue. At this point... I try to ignore it. I have come to learn there are just some things you can't fix on Explorers, no matter how many times you try. We are all familiar with that quirky smile the service manager gives you when your regular maintenance list includes the rear wiper blade and accelerator stickiness items.

    After 10 years of Explorer products, its a love/hate relationship. Numerous times I have said to myself, "I will not by another Explorer product", I mean it this time. I can deal with the maintenance issues, for I have a wonderful dealer that goes out of their way to take care of me (actually the key learned here is buy a Mountaineer... Mercury/Lincoln dealer service is so much better) and an extended warranty (a must on any 4WD SUV). The final straw for me is the recent death of Explorer resale value.

    For years I have said if I could only get a Honda Accord in the shape of an Explorer? My prayers have been answered, with my Pilot arriving in early June. I think I will just deal with the rear wiper 'til then. Heck... I have not been able to see clearly out the back window for almost three years, why start now?
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    My parents had the new, redesigned arm installed on their '00 Mountaineer last week. Their rear wiper motor had failed. While they were replacing the motor, my dad told them the rear wiper didn't sweep the window completely. At that point they said they would install the redesigned arm under warranty as well. All fixed! Works great now.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    so I will inquire about the new arm next time I'm in for a oil change.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    The wiper problem is a known problem with all 1998 and later model Explorers. If you dont have the problem, you will. The only way to avoid it is either dont use the wiper at all or dont drive in the rain. The mounting bracket is made out of junk and the motor just wobbles as it turns. Just watch the base of the arm as the arm wipes the glass... it kind of bumps up and causes the arm to miss the secton of glass at the 1 o'clock position. I think they fixed the problem with the 2002 model, but I am not sure.

    Regarding trany flushes. A flush is different from just changing the fluid. A flush will run you about $200. It involves removing all the fluid and replacing the fluid in the torque converter as well.. and a new tranny filter. A flush will remove a lot of gunk and deposits from the seals. Just changing the fluid (costs about $40) is usually inadequate, unless you only want to use the vehicle for 36K miles or 3 years, whichever comes first.

    Regarding Radiator flushes, should do this every other year, before winter or before summer (the two most stressful seasons on your vehicle)... Regardless of mileage.

    Good luck
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    Well I guess I will consider the "bend" a temporary fix. Mazman is right, the internals are made of junk, built truly by the lowest bidder. Im sorry that you folks didnt have such luck with the bend.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    wasn't a total loss, smily1, I got a little more coverage out of the arm at 1-o'clock after bending a little. but that hula-bracket on the motor does make for a very dynamic system.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    Swschrad...You should try to get a job at Ford in their marketing division. Referring to the garbage they put into our $30,000 SUVs as "dynamic" is truly something I've never heard before.

    Way to go!!!

    PS...The Exploder goes in Thursday for the rattle...I think it is the door and the way it is secured to the B Post when closed, but strangely enough it does not make the sound when someone rides in the passenger's seat. Maybe a little pressure on the door from someone resting their arm on it causes it to sit a little more snug?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    Apple Computer is justly famous for describing in the glossary of the Red Book (original Apple II documentation)

    BUG: feature as described by our marketing department.

    and it beats trying to sneak stuff in here that would make a chief petty officer blush with embarassment ;)
  • ssmintonssminton Posts: 155
    Does anyone notice that the infamous driver's door creak tends to come and go? Some weeks it drives me nuts in stop and go traffic and then it can be silent for periods? This is one issue I have never brought to the dealer's attention, but if their is a "fix" out there, I would love to know what it is?
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    You are right on with that rattle coming and going. Mine was largely quiet for the past week or so, but reappeared on Tuesday. I had to cancel my appointment for them to look at my door tomorrow, I have way too much to do to be without my truck for a day just to have a rattle looked at. I will have it looked at next month when it goes for 24000 mile service.
  • ssmintonssminton Posts: 155
    The good news on the door rattle is that you will live through it. I am normally very sensitive to rattles, but after 75K miles in 2 years, it really has not bothered me much. I seem to be more annoyed by the noise my winter chains box makes as it floats around the cargo space in the winter. Also, after all the driving I have done, the rattle isn't any worse than it was on day 1.
  • dfwhalldfwhall Posts: 11
    3rd explorer V8. '96, '97 Mountaineer and a '99Limited. The Limited has been JUNK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. 3 fuel pumps, 1 throttle body, 1 wiper switch, 1 rear wiper motor, differential rebuilt, 2 new track bars and 6 months of electrical problems that rendered the windows and sunroof inop but did not blow fuses! Now it has developed a habit of shutting off when it wants to! No problems Found !? I fixed the drivers door creak myself. Removed the 3 screws(1 at a time) and squirted Loctite silicone sealer in the holes and then reinserted each screw. Took care of 90% of the creak. Rear wiper coverage was never fixed by the dealer. I bought a new arm, installed it myself and bent it to work. Now it covers the entire rear window.I am now selling this thing and will not buy another Ford!
  • dfwhalldfwhall Posts: 11
    I'm new to this chat stuff and it sure is intersting to read everyone elses probs with good ol' Ford. RE: door panel noises. I removed each door panel, replaced the black fasteners that attach the panel to the door and put a wad of Loctite silicone sealant (magic stuff, works for all kinds of things!)on the "barbs" of the fasteners before inserting back into holes of door. Once the silicone is dry (24hrs), door panels are quieter than when they were new!
  • ssmintonssminton Posts: 155
    As an owner of a '99 Mountaineer and the previous owner of '92 and '95 Explorer's, I feel your pain. I, too, am in the market for a replacement. Have you considered the new Honda Pilot? Vehicle interest not too high yet as general advertising has not yet begun. I put my name on a list back in March and expect to get a vehicle by early June. Sticker will be comparable to Explorer, maybe even a bit less. Just something to consider. Trust me I know the "Explorer" bug is tough to get rid of because the trucks have generally been better than their competition in the past. Now that there are better options in the marketplace, it is time to move forward. Purposefully, I did not even test drive the 2002, even though Edmunds ranked it #1 on their 2002 SUV ratings. The truck is fine unless you plan to drive it over 50K miles or want to sell it for decent value. Good luck with the new vehicle.
  • I just had the metal rivet break that's in the plastic gromit just below the latch. Electric lock wouldn't work on the drivers door. Couldn't get the rivet out without removing the swing bracket and getting the solenoid back into the bracket is next to impossible in the confined space. Now the protective boot is all torn up. Working on doors is just the biggest pain. No wonder they get $400 to work on what should be simple jobs!
  • jscatenajscatena Posts: 61
    I have a 2002 Eddie Baure and seem to be haring air noise around the inside of the back doors. Any ideas where this wind noise is coming from? Any previous complaints>
  • They recently started this service nation wide. My 97 Explorer has a P0442 small evaporative leak. It has happened twice in the last 4 weeks. Now, don't everyone tell me it's a loose gas cap. Passed emissions testing a couple months ago with high pressures on tank and cap. Anyone with a similar experience. Big leak would be easier to find.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104

    I had the same code come up a while back. The gas cap was not loose but marred. A brillo pad to smooth out the lip and a new cap took care of the leak. It seems that when you pump gas that it is very easy to ding the filler lip causing small leaks. If all else fails just go around the car and tighten every stinking fuel line connection you can find. That should take care of it.
  • jackkajackka Posts: 25
    Can anyone give me a long term owner's report on the 4.0 SOHC V6. I'm interested in your observations on reliability and maintenance.

  • 4dunes4dunes Posts: 12
    I have a '97 Explorer, 4.0 SOHC 6cyl.-89K currently.
    Love all the bells and whistles. Seems like I can not give it away. Trade-in on internet ranges from $8,900 to $10,700(checking 3 sites). The best I have been offered is $7,200.
    Figures with all the creaks and roars.
    Purchased w/ 46K two years old-maybe my mistake?
    1. Rear glass never opened. Back door locks defective-even with child locks off, passengers get stuck and have to wait for assistance to get out.
    2. Tire recall. Blew that one-had one to fall apart PRIOR to the recall. Ended up replacing all at my expense.
    3.Upper and lower intake gaskets replaced at 57K.
    Later showed up on a recall.
    4.Camshaft chain pretensioner. Done on recall at 80K though had problems for quite awhile prior to discovering source. Took in at 76K and was told it checked ok.
    5. Transmission. Currently "roaring" though transmission shop is not sure that transmission is causing it, as it makes noise while vehicle is sitting still. Slipping in 2nd. Estimate for transmission repair-$260-$1,200, they don't know for sure until they get the transmission out.
    6.Suspension-every little dent in the road the vehicle dips and rolls, creaks, moans, and complains.
    7.A/C- Have just spent $180 to have accumulator replaced. Problem still not fixed.
    8.Throttle body plate-recall.
    9.Hearing an "air noise". Could be vacuum? Compression? Idling roughly, and don't know about this yet, could be something, could be nothing. First things first. Don't know where to start.

    Other minor irritations: automatic headlights have a mind of their own-regardless of day or night. Rear door handle no longer operates.
    Heat/ac controls now making noises when changing selection. Lumber support in driver's seat will not stay inflated.

    A note on transmission. I had the vehicle checked out by a Ford Dealership prior to purchase from another source. Checked okay, but transmission fluid was dirty. I immediately had replaced, and again at 84K. That was 38K apart. Don't know if that is often enough? Have only used the 4WD on hard surface roads, perhaps twice a year in incliment weather.
  • jackkajackka Posts: 25
    Thanks for a really comprehensive response.

    My interest is in the engine because I'm considering buying a Ranger with the 4.0 SOHC.

    I can't find a Ranger owner with a long term report because they only began using that engine in 2001.

    Your observations will help. Thanks again.
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    have a 2000 explorer xls made in st louis when im at a stop i hear a loud vibration inside the cabin or the truck what could that be. also my abs light came on and went out should i be concerned? when i start it up of course all the lights come on but when i start the engine the abs comes on and goes out is that normal? 8-03 is the date when im done with this thing plus is fords lincoln or mercury division good in terms of reliablity? thanks. ps its a 4.0 sohc carbon maker very bad engine nothings good about it
  • 4dunes4dunes Posts: 12
    As you are mainly interested in this engine-try the following posts- for the most part, they are really scaring me.

    382, 386, 404, 415, 417, 423, 426, 430, 431, 437, 440.

    I am sure there are more posts in regards to the SOHC, but at this point I pretty much got the message.

    Good Luck,

  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    on engine start, all the panel lights should come on and then go out, including ABS. if the ABS light comes on at any other time, there is a code set in the braking system computer. if it flashes once and doesn't signal again, it might just be a cruddy wiring connection to a wheel sensor someplace, and opening the connector to the harness, squirting in some dielectric grease, and reconnecting them ought to take care of that issue. if not, it needs diagnosis.

    as for the noise at idle... 4.0 SOHC has had a long history of crappy cam locating and tensioning blocks in the head, because the original design of the engine used nylon parts that couldn't stand the gaff. Ford has done a recall on those heads. if the noise you have sounds like a diesel engine or a whacking sound, get thee to a dealer and check it out.

    there are also lots of other issues that could be generating cabin noise... I have had a little exhaust leak come and go header-to-Y-pipe. if the exhause system has ever had any parts put in it, that is the first place I would look, something mounted with wrong clearance and banging on something.

    there have been a lot of screams about Ford issues on these boards, chiefly the 4.0 SOHC, matching trannies that lost overdrive (some expensive internal parts, some grease gooping up a sensor), and rattles in or near doors.

    I've got a 2000 Limited AWD V8 that has had a rotten oil pressure sender replaced due to a bad parts run, one rattle that keeps turning up in body cladding bolts being misthreaded and jammed here and there in the front left side, a turn/flasher switch replaced... thank goodness, a Ford replacement of >= KILLER TIRES! tm <=... and no other issues at all, solid and serious.
  • jackkajackka Posts: 25
    I checked those posts as you suggested.

    Thanks a lot. That's better than finding out the hard way.
  • I bought a 97 and my rear doors also wouldn't open from the inside. Previous owner tried so hard that he broke both inside door handle assemblies, the little plastic gear. I put new handles in and gently worked the inside handles as I oiled the latch mechanism for 20 minutes. Then everything started working fine. I think pressure washing causes this to easily freeze up. The design just doesn't have a real positive feel to it. The link easily bends if it encounters any restriction.
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    1st im out warranty with the exhaust so ford wont do nothing except the catalytic. 2nd you said something about the engine cam recalled the sound im taliking about is just a um vibrating sound deafeaning at times and not some times. as for the abs all lights come on. when i start the engine the abs comes on and goes out should i get it checked out? side note this is a leased truck so if only for safety issues what should i do it goes back to ford in 03 august thanks. ps my warranty is from warranty gold so i guess thats it
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