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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • I did a search for "Ford radio" and came up with lots of hits. Evidently a lot of people switch to a more exotic radio and sell their old one there. Price is up to $150 for CD models. I bought a working exact replacement (tape no CD) for my 97 for $2 at a local flea market. Try local radio install places. They may have trade ins.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the Customer Satisfaction Program (aka it ain't a recall, but we don't trust the >= KILLER TIRES! tm =<) got me into Generals. on uneven road surfaces, there is a "knobbiness" I can feel and sometimes hear from the blockier tread.

    I always thought the >= KILLER TIRES!tm =< were rotten side-sliding stinkers, and they seemed to pack up and spin easier in snow. no complaints at all about the General 600s, they grab and hold. there is absolutely more tire noise on everything except the smoothest of roads due to the tread pattern.

    brake squeal is almost certainly another issue entirely, perhaps now that we're in the rainy season instead of the snow season, there is a little more rust on the discs. if they don't squeal like a racer patching out, it's probably normal brake operations. if there is squeal and shuddering on braking, that's probably a warped disc from improper tire mounting and heat; the only repair for that is a new brake disc, but that shows up nicely in a dial runout test.

    in short, you're not used to the new tires, they don't whistle in your own key, as I have said for years. I doubt you have serious problems, but if it doesn't feel right, maybe you can get a tire adjustment on somebody else's pulloffs at the dealer or at a local tire store.
  • I bought my 97 with Control Trac and it had these tires. I get a lot of road noise at around 30 MPH that sounds like wheel bearings. It's been doing this for 11K. I've driven several times 800 miles in a day with no over heating of the bearings. Differentials and transfer case oil and level looks fine. Inside edge wear on front tires like a toe in problem. Are these tires noisy?
  • rysterryster Posts: 564

    I had the same problems with my '00 Explorer's brakes as you have mentioned in your post. My truck had a seized caliper, warped rotors, and worn out brake pads (only 23,000 miles on my truck). The dealer replaced the caliper, turned the rotors, and replaced the pads at no charge. Three weeks and 1,200 miles later the rumbling/groaning noise and shaking returned. The dealer determined that the rotors were machined too thin and out of round. They gave me new rotors at no charge. All is well, no squeaking or groaning/rumbling.

    If you are getting a sound when turning the wheel, something is definitely dragging. You may want to have another shop or the dealer check out the brake system. Brakes are very important and $85 is worth it to have them looked at. It wouldn't hurt to ask the Ford dealer how long an inspection would take before you have them look.

    It only took my dealer one hour to replace my rotors (that included pulling the wheels, checking my old rotors, determining the problem, installing the new rotors, and road testing).

    I have had the Goodyear Wrangler RT/S tires on my Explorer since the day I purchased the truck new. They were okay when new, but now that they have almost 25,000 miles on them their traction has diminished greatly. They are also not very resistant to road debris. I have already had one repaired by a Goodyear dealer after it picked up 2 nails in the same tire. The sidewalls are also showing wear (the white letters get dirty very quickly and the sidewalls are not pure black any more; they are starting to turn orange/brown) I plan to replace them this winter with Uniroyal Laredo nailguard tires. I have heard good things about them. I may even consider doing it within the next couple of weeks as there is a rebate on a full set right now. That makes the tire very affordable!

    You shouldn't let something as easily repairable as brakes and tires prevent you from keeping a vehicle you otherwise have no issues with. Ultimately, new tires and brakes are cheaper than buying a new vehicle (that may ultimately have its own separate set of problems).
  • stubborn1stubborn1 Posts: 85
    Hi all,

    Just picked up my 98 stripped down Explorer with the old 4.0L V6 and of coarse the owner's manual is missing. I need to change the oil right away but I don't know what the proper grade of oil is. I am assuming that a 5W-30 is just fine, but I'm not sure.

    I heard a noise on the way home that is bothering me. With 4wd engaged, I hear an awful grinding/popping sound when I turn a corner at low speeds. Without 4wd engaged, I don't hear any noise cornering. Bad CV shaft maybe?

    Also, I can't get the rear door to lock or glass to unlatch. I try turning the key but I get a lot of resistance. I try to push down the lock and get the same resistance. Is there any trick to freeing up the mechanism?

    Thanks for the help.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    The Edmunds Maintenance Guide can tell you recommended intervals for stuff.

    If you want to buy an owner's manual, sometimes you can find them with a search or on eBay. Ditto service manuals.

    Otherwise I'm sure the folks in here can help with your questions. Congrats on the new ride.

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  • I down loaded my 97 manual in Adobe. I got it indirectly from the Ford site. Just remember it wasn't real obvious using the search feature. Your CV joints are active all the time so the problem is probably in the transfer case. Of course, applying a load could make them a lot louder. When I bought my 97 @100k normal driving was a little noisy. Drained the transfer case and the fluid was quite dirty and only 1/4 of the amount it should be. Rear seal on the case was leaking. A new seal, couple of fluid changes later and it is running clean now. No one ever checks the oil in the transfer cases and on this one the exterior was clean with no sign of an oil leak. Remember the 4WD clutch is in this oil bath.
  • dixaronedixarone Posts: 21
    Agree with opera_house_wk about the owners manual - I found mine on the Ford site as well in .pdf format. I seem to recall looking for it online from work recently and having a problem finding it again - I think they have redesigned their site, and it may not be there anymore.

    As far as oil goes, 5W-30 is recommended by Ford. However, I recently had an oil change and other minor maintenance done at a local garage. When I picked up my vehicle (a '97 Explorer - same engine as you), I noticed after I drove away they had put in 10W-30. I figured no biggie. Now, this is anything but scientific, but it seems like it's driving a bit smoother with the heavier weight oil. I don't really know.
  • stubborn1stubborn1 Posts: 85
    I went to the ford website and did a search for owner's manuals. They redirect you to They have owner's manuals in PDF format going back to 99 which is close enough to 98 for me.

    Now if I can just get the rear door lock unstuck so I can lock it......
  • Ever since I've owned this '99' Explorer the ping that comes off the motor at idle or acceleration has baffled me and the "service department" at Ford. So this AM I now read that this may be a faulty cylinder! I have 52,000 on the XLT and and a drive train extended warranty. Does anyone have advice on getting the Service manager to own up to getting the problem fixed?
  • Look for a wiring harness just behind the engine block and look to see if the gray OCTANE SHORTING plug is in place. I would also check the vacuum line to the fuel pressure regulator. This causes a boost in gas pressure when you accelerate.
  • rysterryster Posts: 564
    My '00 Explorer with the 4.0L OHV V6 makes a clacking sound at idle very much like a diesel engine. Hasn't caused a great deal of concern for me. It is probably just the sound of the overhead valves doing their thing. Which V6 do you have in your '99? The OHV or the SOHC?
  • luckynjcluckynjc Posts: 3
    Does anyone else hear a whistling sound from the passenger side of their vehicle when travelling over 45 MPH? I have a 2000 Explorer XLT with a plastic bug shield in front of the hood.

    I've applied strips of foam insulation (home window type) to almost every part of both passenger doors and am really getting bugged that I can't get rid of the noise.

    It's been there forever, but now that I'm on the freeway more and more, it's becoming real annoying.

    The dealer said maybe it's from the bug shield or the large mirrors (regular factory installed). I haven't gotten back to him yet to ask why it's not on both sides of the vehicle then, since each door has the same mirror and bug shield.

    Does anyone have suggestions as to what I can look at to quiet this condition?

    I realize this is minor compared to engine and tire problems, but if there's a solution, I'd like to hear about it. Thanks.
  • dixaronedixarone Posts: 21
    My Explorer had a wind noise coming from one of the back windows. It turned out that a piece of plastic stripping was not removed when it was installed at the factory. Weird thing was, I bought used! Mind you, it was coming from the back, so it wasn't super noticeable.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171 also has the manuals in paper for your purchasing pleasure.

    as for clackety-bangs from 4 liter OHV engines, you have a problem, friend. that engine is notorious for broken camshaft limiters, as the original design was all nylon, the running change #1 of nylon with steel framing was no better... and it took going back to all-steel limiters and a not-necessarily-loudly-announced recall to get the issue fixed. get thee to a dealer shop pronto and get those fixed, Ford should eat the bill.

    squillions of posts on Edmunds about this.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    swschrad...I think you meant the SOHC. The OHV is a pushrod motor with a traditional cam location. His problem seems more sensor related. Sounds like the timing is way off...just my guess.
  • swn1swn1 Posts: 27
    I noticed a couple of postings about Goodyear Tire problems. See my posting #1363 about my experience with tread separation on this junk they gave us to replace the Firestones. I'm not saying the problems others are having are tread separations but you should all be aware of it. Goodyear wants nothing to do with it or does Ford. I would urge anyone having this file a complaint with NHSTA,Ford and Goodyear. You can find documented incidents by searching for "Goodyear Tread Separations". At the minimum I would have a Goodyear dealer inspect the tires and if they find nothing document this to you in writing.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    The grinding you are hearing when you engage 4wd and turn the corner is your wheels binding. Not a good thing. And it is normal for this to happen. You are not suppose to engage the 4wd on the pavement, except in slippery conditions (ice, snow, etc.). When you engage the 4wd, you are locking the front wheels together. Meaning they spin at the same rate. When you go around a corner or curve, the inside wheel needs to spin at a higher rate then the outside wheel. In 4wd mode, this can only happen if the road surface allows the wheel to slip. So my advice to you is, only use the 4wd on ice, snow, and off road (maybe heavy rain..I mean a down pour).

    You can use either 5W-30 or 10W-30. I would go with 10W-30.
  • Thanks for the replies! I'll check the web for FMC recalls on this. I hope one of you is right. The motor I have is a V6-245 4.0L OHV in my '99' Explorer. When I get the problem fixed I promise to post it so the 'air' is cleared.
  • Found a complete listing of all Service Bulletins/General Recalls/Safety Recalls for the 4.0 OHV we are discussing. Even the window whistle is listed! Nice to think all these problems are not my imagination, as the service dept. would like me to think.
    For your vehicles over-all health assessment go to: Follow the links and be sure to click on your Windows Menu Bar: View>Text Sizing>Smaller to get the page to print properly.
  • rysterryster Posts: 564

    Looked at the alldata site, and noticed there is an engine service bulletin for knocking during acceleration, but nothing related to a diesel/clacking sound at idle. My 4.0L OHV doesn't knock during acceleration.

    The only official recalls I have received for my particular truck are the seat belts, the revised tire inflation door sticker, and the actual tires (which didn't affect me as my truck came new with Goodyear Wranglers).

    The NHTSA site is also a good place to look for recalls and TSB's, although the alldata site is easier and faster to navigate.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    My 2000 XLS also makes the same sound at an idle. It was making it a while ago, and while I did not bring it to the dealer for that specific complaint (I had them look at it for poor mileage) they said it was running "to specs". I'm sure that after almost 2 years (24000+ miles)of it making the same sound that if there was some ill effect to the sound we would have seen it.

    PS...Had an oil change, tire rotation, coolant service, fuel filter change, and air filter change done today. Does $210 bucks sound expensive to anyone else or is it just me?

    Other issues they worked on (warranty) were a passenger door rattle (they said something was loose) and rear wiper not wiping the middle of the glass (I think they just adjusted the arm).
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    $210 sounds a little high if it was done by an independant shop but not for a dealer.
  • dtobiasdtobias Posts: 5
    Update on my Exploder.

    Thank you to GREGB882 for his comments on the extended warranty. I'm purchasing the Ford Premium, but am still working out the pricing with the dealer.

    In my last post I mentioned the recurring transmission vibration during heavy acceleration. They've replaced the trans last year and re-indexed the drive shaft earlier this year, but it still vibrates. Its in the shop again for a laundry list of other problems. The fix for the vibration is a new drive shaft. Turns out, Ford issued a 'note' on this model/year Explorer regarding replacing the drive shaft. Hopefully that fixes it, but I have a question: If the drive shaft was out of balance, wouldn't that have caused some amount of damage to the transmission that might show up later? I am at 35,750 miles, but since the trans was replaced around 18,000 miles, I still have time.

    I started having a high pitched squeal from the front end above 20 mph, fortunately it happened again while they had it, I think they said it was the bearing seals, and had them replaced on the front end.

    As for the door squeak, they are still road testing it trying to find it and the clunk that happens on the front end occassionaly, has been elusive for them.

    Oh yeah and the power seat jammed last week, 250 miles before the warranty was out, whew.

    On the tire discussion: the Goodyear's were available right away, but after doing some research I decided I wanted the Michelin X-terrains. Since I was having the transmission replaced, the service manager did me a favor and searched high and low for a set and put them on for me. Needless to say, the Michelins are great.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    I have a 98 V8 AWD with 53k. Just today the ac went out...taking it to the dealership tomorrow and will update for anyone interested.

    I still enjoy my exploder. My advise to anyone buying a new or newer car or truck GET AN EXTENDED WARRANTY! Its paid for itself.
  • dtobiasdtobias Posts: 5
    Does anyone know how a dealership sets the price for the Ford Extended Warranties? I contacted the dealer who has been fixing my Explorer since day one, I reminded him how much work this thing has needed under the factory warranty, and now I feel I HAVE to purchase the extended just because of the vehicle's history. He said they would give me a deal and knocked $100 bucks off of the list price (Ford website has it for $1255).

    So on a whim I called a different dealer in the area, didn't explain my situation, just asked for a price quote, they quoted me the same price??? So does the dealer set the price, or was I quoted the going rate? If that is the going rate, then my dealer is yanking my chain about the 'deal'.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    Yes the dealer set the prices, similar to the prices of the cars.

    smily1: How does the extended warranty pay for itself? The reason I am asking is you probably paid between $1250-$1500 for the warranty when you purchased the vehicle. How much was the A/C work? If the total work is equal to the cost of the warranty then you broke even. But still the insurance company that underwrites the warranty had 3 years to invest your money. But this is another argument.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    dtobias: There are many different warranties and vary in prices. All prices are negotiable. Things to look for are Things the warranty will and will not cover and the deductible. I got the Ford ESP with free car rental and a 50 deductible covering everything but shocks and tires for 1300.

    dtownfb: I have had other warranty repairs and have kept track of the approximate cost of repairs. Those approximate figures exceed the warranty cost. Im not anal enough to calculate the investment income from the 18 months that Ford has had my money. Based on Fords investment, given my situation, they have probably lost money.

    AC work is not done yet so I dont know the cost of repair. I may know today. My father-in-law is a ford tech at the dealership and is the one assigned to my truck so I will get all the details posted.
  • gregb5gregb5 Posts: 82
    Do an internet search of "Ford ESP" or something similar and you will find multiple dealers who discount the warrnaties over the internet. They are selling the same product as your dealer and there are good discounts available.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    It came down to a faulty hose and a bad switch. In short a 450 bill if I was to fork it. Just need to get the parts in now.
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