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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • I've still got ORIGINAL ball joints on all 3 of my Explorers, a 1991 2wd with 160,000 miles, a 1993 2wd with 165,000 miles, and a 1997 2wd with 105,000.
  • tljamtljam Posts: 3
    I went to Sears yesterday and thay have the new Monroe Reflex shocks for SUV's available for $55 each including instalation and lifetime warranty. I am thinking of trying them. Has anyone else had any experiences with the Monroe Sensatrac or the Reflex?
  • I'm having vibration problems around 60mph+ in my 97 4dr EB explorer.. I've had the tired balanced 3 different times (all 3 places saying the previous one didn't balance the tires right). Finially, the last place, firestone, told me that they cannot fix the shaking/vibration because all 4 of my rims are bent. now i dont consider myself a perfect driver but i know that i haven't done anything to bend the rims. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem and how to fix it? Thought about getting the front end aligned but was told it didn't need it... thanks
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    a whang in the edge of a steel rim may be fixable with a little water pump pliers work. if it's something like the rim is "popped" inward on its center section, like you slid broadside to a curb in a skid or something, that's not fixable.

    if they are cast wheels and all four have developed nonsense over the years, they could also be developing stress cracks.

    I would definitely get another opinion on the rims, and if they are really evil, be shed of them. junkyard rims from rollovers or rust-outs might be a good replacement, particularly if they have a "we got lots... if you got a bad one, we'll replace it" warranty policy.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    heard you can only damage rims from driving through potholes if they're aluminum with very low profile tires. i'd be interesting to see if those rims were really cracked or bent and like to know the reason. can you please keep us updated, msbehavn? thanks
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    the usual drill up here... winter, tire pressure was just a titch low, hit a shell hole and bent the rim. didn't cause any leakage, bent back with a channellock at a tire shop, not a problem.

    we don't have potholes up here in an active winter, we have shell holes. another reason I got a SUV, you don't have to leave town to go stumpjumping.
  • davb1davb1 Posts: 10
    The back door of my '97 (4 door) XLT will not open from the inside. Child proof locking feature is off...and is functioning. I think my overzealous son may have overstressed the latch handle. How difficult will it be, and what is involved to take the panel off and have a look see? I am hoping there is a cable that is stretched or a lever bent. TIA
  • I too have a 97 4dr which the door will not open from the inside. After taking it apart and looking at the handle assembly, its all made of plastic and one of the teeth on it had broken making the handle pull just like it was locked. This part is only like $10 from ford. the whole door panel pops off after a few screws and then the handle can be removed. overall, i'd say its a pretty simple job. and on my "bent rims" i have noticed that one of the rims has a whang on the outer edge of it. hopefully it wont get worse and i can just continue to live with it, or get the guts to try to 'unbend' it. other than that, with a 120k, its been an awesome truck. thanks swschrad & alman08 for the input! -Wes
  • My 97 that I bought used had that problem and besides replacing the handles, had to squirt tons of lubricant into door latch mech. Evidently the lube was washed out at car washes. Gently working the inside handle about 30 times got it to work again.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    just have to remember to shoot some medium silicone or white lithium grease into that door lock assembly on the frame periodically.

    does sound like the door actuator inside is a weak spot, I'll remember the description when/if I run into the issue. last unopenable door I worked on was a 65 dodge.
  • I have found the spray white lithium grease to be extremely useful for lubricating friction points on door, body and chassis parts. It lubricates well and won't wash off or wear off as easily as penetrating oil sprays or silicone sprays. Anytime you open the inside of a door, be sure to check, tighten & adjust all window and door hardware, and lubricate all moving parts with a good heavy spray of white lithium grease. It is also good to use for lubricating many other friction points without opening things up, for instance, roll down the windows and spray the white lithium grease in all the window glass channels at least twice a year, especially good to make electric windows last a long time. Also spray it in the door latch mechanisums, hinges, body springs. Rubber body & suspension bushings should be left dry, as that is the way they were designed to operate, unless they get old and start to squeak, then lube them to quiet them in the final part of their life, but usually will need replacing soon.
    All in all, the White Lithium Spray Grease is one of the best all around body and chassis lubricants that you can use. Be sure to keep a can in the garage and one in the trunk.
    Key openings & cylinder locks should only be lubricated with spray penetrating oil and powdered graphite, as the thickness of the white grease would have a tendency to gum them up.
    Have a nice day
    Big Al in Sunny Florida
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I have jammed up door locks with a good phfffft of powdered graphite. be very light and gentle with it, takes a lot of lock anti-freeze (alcohol with a touch of silicone) to flush the extra graphite away.
  • Not long after I bought my 2002 Explorer last year, I took it back to the "Blue Oval" dealer for its first oil change, "lube job", etc. Well, the young technician who worked on my new truck, he really lubed the hell out of it. I received back my truck with various "lubricants" that had been slopped-on, and were found dripping down from the door hinges, rear hatch hinges, etc., not long after I had spent two days detailing my truck with Zaino Bros. products. What was even worse, this technician had sprayed some type of lubricant into and onto the window glass channels and window weather strippings, and the result was that my windows became fouled with all of this lubricant crap. When I first cleaned it off of the windows, they predictably became recontaminated and re-fouled every time I put a window down and then raised it again! So, I pitched a major fit with the dealer, who soon had to disassemble and clean the windows, as well as replace the window strippings on the two front doors.
  • Friend's 1999 XL AWD, 105K. When starting up from a dead stop, it feels like it's not in 1st gear... it's slow. This usually happens after the car is warmed up around town and OVERDRIVE ON/OFF light is flashing on and off. Sometimes it will happen between and and 3rd as well.
    Could this be a "governor" or a computer problem or a sensor?
    Any ideas?
  • There have been a number of problems reported on the 5R55E due to valve body gaskets that are blown out. When I changed the filter on my 97, I checked the bolts on the valve body and they were all loose and I re torqued them. I'm just buying a spare transmission now that I am going to rebuild with a bad valve body gasket. Should cost about $300 to be fixed. There are TB's on this problem though I can't quote them. If you don't do it yourself, this is the one time I recommend going to a dealer so you get the latest upgrade.
  • Referring to my prvious post #1683 and the two posts following, in using the lubricants I described, I intended that they be applied carefully and in moderation, not "gooped on". You can overdo anything, which can create an even worse problem. Lubricants should be used with common sense, which may not be as common as we thought!
  • I've heard from several people that the stereo display disappearing is a problem on the Ford Explorer and Merc Mountaineer. I have a 98 Exp Sport. I tried to get dealer to fix the display, no go.

    When I found out it was a common problem, I called Ford Customer Service today to ask them to handle what I believe is a defective part they put in these cars. They said it was not currently a known issue (to them), and so would not do anything to help me at this time.

    If any of you have had this problem, I recommend calling Ford at 800-241-3673, and filing a report. I was told if they see a number of similar types of reports they may issue a service bulletin and handle repair.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    Yes its common and yes they know about it. Talk to a different rep. Dont take no for an answer. I had mine go and they knew exactly what to do and expressed that it was very common. I have an extended warranty so it was no problem. Dont know how they will react with yours...
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I had mine dim way down once, bought a set of radio pullers, and it suddenly started working great again... not an issue for 8 months. as an old solder and wire guy, I'd kinda like to know what in tarnation is really failing here. maybe there's a way to work around it so you don't get ripped $189 or so for the radio swap-out.
  • I have 2 problems with my 99 Explorer(V6, SOHC, 55K miles) on start up in the cold weather (below 30-40 degrees). They only happen when the car has been sitting in the cold for over 8-10 hours.

    1) The car stalls out unless I give it gas. If I don't give a few pushes to the accelerator, it will initially start up, but then cut in and out before finally stalling. Before stalling, there is a clicking/rumbling from under the hood and the battery level fluctuates.

    2) The oil pressure gauge does not register until the car warms up. It stays stuck below the low indicator and then spikes up once the car has been idling for 1-2 minutes. I had this problem last winter but the dealership could not replicate. I am leaving it there overnight next week, so hopefully they can diagnose it this time.

    I have always gotten the car going after a few minutes...but it's a pain in the neck and I just hope I am not damaging the engine. Again, these problems never happen in warm weather or when I restart the car within 0-8 hours of previously using it.

    Any ideas on what the source of these problems could be? I am going to the dealership next week, but I'd like to be armed with some information. Thanks.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    sounds like new skins on my old 4-banger 90 ranger.

    1) lazy 02 sensor, change it. also have the temp sensor checked, it could aid and abet the criminal 02 sensor in its crimes.

    2) bad oil pressure sender, if you can get to it, it's an $8-10 part that is easy to remove with something like a 1-1/8 inch deep socket, 6 or 12 point... I forget the exact size. don't need to use a cheater bar on this, you just want to pull it in until it's solid, something like 20-25 foot-pounds. lean too hard on the wrench, you can break it off.
  • 96 Explorer Sport with Control Trac. We were getting a popping noise in 4wd high while backing up. Now when you turn the 4wd knob on the dash to 4wd high or 4wd low we have no 4x4. Any ideas?
  • Now there is no noise but it works, well almost. I did get the 4wd not to engage once. I kept trying to get it to mess up again and it wouldnt. Something lose? Elec connection maybe?
  • brophbroph Posts: 85
    My 96 XLT (115K) has oil in the antifreeze. Has anyone had to replace their head gasket? I'm trying to get a fix on how much it will cost. I'm going to a private garage on friday for this to be done. Is $800 about ballpark? Thanks for any help.
  • Hi!
    I have a 2001 Explorer which I purchased new. It currently has about 6,000 miles on it. It seems that sometimes when I lock the vehicle, that the rear hatch "pops open" on it's own. Not fully, just unlocked. I am thinking that it is the pressure when I shut the doors. Has anyone else experienced this? The problem is of course that the interior lights stay on, and the vehicle is not fully locked. So now I either have to wait for the interior lights to go out, or walk to the back and check the glass hatch. Any ideas?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I would suspect either a wiring issue, or a problem in the locking module. my money is on a locking module issue, that should be a warranty swap out.
  • mstanmstan Posts: 15
    I had the same problem on my 94 Explorer. Did the same thing - balancing, alignments, rotating - could not find a thing! Finally, I replaced all (4) tires and the vibration went away. The old tires (FYI they were Firestone's Firestone replacement tire) were not worn out, but were just junk! It may cost a few bucks, but it worked for me.
  • Regarding your problem #1. Your situation sounds simlar to mine. Mine was the Idle Air Control Valve going bad. I was told they tend to go bad when the weather gets cold. The valve tends to get stuck from the carbon build up. It took all of five minutes for me to replace at a dealer cost of about $67 for the part. One place wanted $325 to replace it. So you'll save a bundle if you do the job yourself. Or another possibility is to see if you can clean the carbon build up on it with a solvent like carb cleaner. That is what I would have done if I had taken the time to remove and inspect the old one before buying the replacement.

    Good luck
  • jpc47jpc47 Posts: 62
    $800 sounds about right. Lots of labor involved, and they send the heads out for a check and possible remachining.
  • I have a '00 Explorer XLT 45000 miles. In the past few months it has started making a fan like noise when the engine is idle. At first I thought it was the AC but then it started making it without the AC being on. I noticed the temp gauge wasn't working so I had that fixed, the problem is still there. The mechanics cant find anything wrong. The problem is getting worse and if you sit idle long enough it eventually cuts off. Any ideas?
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