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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • swn1swn1 Posts: 27
    Is that dealer giving you a free lube with that bill? You need to contact Ford and see why you're being ripped off for this. The cost should be under $200. They made up that $2,000 figure unless that includes the service manager's vacation. You need to find a new service department and quick. I've been fortunate to actually find one and instantly became the shop foreman's best friend,so to speak. He's the one that can make or break you. I found as long as you treat them like a human being you will get a lot further and be treated the same way back plus.
  • sf6sf6 Posts: 11
    I visited the dealer yesterday and tried to purchase a new remote access control (the hand held unit that fits on your key chain) for my explorer. I currently have only one, which works fine, but I wanted to purchase a second as a backup. The dealer has the same remote factory unit that I current have, but cannot get it to "talk" to the explorer. The dealer said I might need to replace the receiver in the explorer to get it working. If the one I have now is working, this does not seem logical. Help, has anyone run into this, and have a solution?
  • I have a 98 ford explorer with the SOHC V6 and
    I'm having problems with a leaky manifold gasket.
    My mechanic has stated that this seems to be a common problem and that there might be a recall. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, did you contact ford and what was their response? Thanks
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    SF6: Get a new dealer. That guy does not know how to program the unit or wants to hook you for a new sending unit.

    Check the website for TSB's and recall info on your vehicle.

    Good luck.
  • It is now 2 weeks that the Ford dealer has had my 97 Explorer XLT. It is a good thing they gave me the Taurus so I would have something to drive. I can't imagine why it is taking so long to fix this diesel sound - maybe it isn't just a tensioner problem. This is unbelievable. I just want it back fixed and I don't want to have to pay for it. I am going to show my service manager who is actually very nice all these comments.
  • New to this board... I own a 94 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4 with 104K miles on it. Recently I have encountered two problems. Needs some suggestions. You can email comments to

    1. Brake lights. Recently my brake lights went out twice. The first time, replacing all the tail lights worked. Now, pfft. Still no brake lights even though the tail lights, signal lights and reverse lights all work. Fuses checkout ok. I suspect it could be a sensor from my brake pedals? (Or, gulp, worse?)

    2. ABS. The light comes on occasionally. It will go off if I turn off the ignition and restart. Dealers say there is no problem! Also, in slow speed/tight turns (e.g., into a parking space), what feels like the ABS pulsating can be felt. It's unnverving but controllable. Any ideas?

    Aside from these issues and the usual frequent brake/rotor services, the 94 Explorer XLT runs great. I am the original owner. Thanks.
  • I just got off the phone with my Ford Dealer Service Manager. My Explorer has been there for 2 weeks. Now they are saying it is not a tensioner problem but I need a whole new engine. They are waiting for the engine to come in. The cost would be about $5000 but out of Good Will it will only cost me between $200 and $300. I don't think I should have to pay anything as it seems to be a defect in this SOHC engine. The car is out of warranty at 57,000 miles, but should an engine be broken at this mileage? Please advice me.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Cant really answer your question without finding out what failed on the engine. Did the block crack? You said it was running when you brought it to the dealer, right?
  • I am a regular on this board. I posed this repsonse a couple of months ago. I am reposting it with some updates that I have recently learned of. If anyone has any questions regarding their Explorer, email me a I have an excellent dealer that always finds the fixes for these things. Here is what I posted a couple of months ago:

    "I own a 98 Explorer XLT SOHC V-6 2WD Loaded
    including leather and moonroof. It is pretty
    obvious to me that the overwhelming problem is not
    the vehicle, it is the service departments that
    most of you have. There are some flaws in design of
    this vehicle. I have done a lot of research on
    these problems and a lot of this info comes form my
    service writer, the best I have dealt with.

    91-current Explorers use a 4.0 OHV (overhead
    valve) V-6. It was the sole V-6 engine until 97
    when the SOHC (single overhead cam) version
    arrived. They are the same engine only the SOHC
    uses different heads. They are based on the old 2.9
    V-6 used in the Ford Ranger from 86-92. They are
    built in Cologne, Germany and are a very good
    design. Both engines are still offered, the OHV is
    on low-line XLS, XL models from 97-current. XLT and
    above gets the SOHC or the 5.0 V-8 (96-current).
    Problems with the OHV are most commonly dieseling
    sounds. Most of the time this is due to "piston
    slap". The pistons slap on the insides of the
    piston skirts. It can be caused by a simple
    manufacturing defect in a wrist pin/connecting rod
    of very little tolerance. Piston slap is very rare
    and engine failure due to it is extremely rare. It
    normally will not damage the engine any more than
    everyday use. It is more annoying than anything.
    Overall this is an extrememly reliable engine and
    is good for more than 200K of service or more
    without incident. Early models also had EGR
    problems if equipped with an EGR valve.

    Problems with the SOHC are stalling, vibrations
    while turning and knocking sounds on startup or
    hard acceleration. Stalling can be due to a bad
    program in the ECC (engine control computer) or a
    warped intake manifold/bad intake gasket. It can
    also be caused by fuel with high alcohol content or
    a loose gas cap. The ECC can be reflashed with an
    updated program, the intake is usually solved with
    a new gasket and sometimes a new intake manifold.
    The manifold leak causes a vacuum leak in the
    cylinders causing it to stall. Try different brands
    of gas and always tighten the gas cap. Especially
    the twist and click type. Vibrations while turning
    are caused by the power steering hose/exhaust
    vibrating under steering pump load on the engine.
    There is an update for the hoses and an exhaust
    bracket that makes those noises completely
    disappear and makes the steering smooth as silk.
    The knocking noise is the timing chain tensioners,
    specifically the tensioners. The original design
    had the tensioners mounted to the engine block with
    nylon anchors. They would break and cause the
    timing chain to rattle against the timing covers.
    After several redesigns, they have finally made
    them steel and should solve the problem without
    further incident. This noise usually starts around
    20K and worsens. It normally will not cause any
    engine damage but is not good for the engine
    either. I've had all three of these problems with
    my 98 and all three are fixed for good. It is
    smooth as silk.

    Other problems are phantom wipers, premature
    transmission failure, premature rotor warpage, rear
    wiper failure and rear suspension noises.

    Phanotm wipers is caused by a defective
    multi-function switch. Some corrode and some were
    bad from the supplier. It makes the wipers activate
    themselves when turning the signals on or making
    turns. It has been updated and should not cause any
    more problems once replaced. 97 and newer
    Explorers have speed dependent intermittent wipers.
    The faster you drive the faster the intermittent
    wipers wipe (the shorter the intervals). This is a
    conveniece and can be turned off (see owners
    manual) don't confuse it with phantom wipers.

    Premature transmission failure is most often a
    result of lack of maintenance. The tranny should be
    serviced every 15-30K miles depending on towing,
    driving habits, etc. I think the owners manual is
    far to lax on freqency of this service. I think it
    says 50K. I do mine every 15K, I tow a lot and do a
    lot of city driving.

    REar wiper failure is a lot of times due to the
    rear wiper getting stuck in it's holder on the
    hatch. Try turning it on and freeing it by hand (be
    careful). I've done this a couple of times and it
    has never failed since. The holder is a little
    tight and needs to be loosened up. It helps to use
    it more often too.

    Rotor warpage is present on almost all newer
    vehicles and is mostly due to driving habits. The
    brakes get hot and something as simple as driving
    through a mud puddle or a car wash quick cools the
    rotors and they will warp. The tires and suspension
    on Explorers help amplify the problem. Just living
    with it seems to be the best. Mine are slightly
    warped on both my F-150 and my Explorer and it
    comes and goes with weather and brake usage. Don't
    ride the brakes, brake hard, and do your best not
    to get hot brakes too wet. Also, air wrenches can
    warp rotors too. Always request hand torquing of
    lug nuts whe you have service performed.

    There is an update on the rear suspension bushings
    that will solve the bed spring sound some of you

    that's about all I know about the Explorer. when I
    get time I will dig out my invoices and post part
    numbers and any others TSB numbers I have. I do not
    work for a dealer but I am lucky enough to have a
    good service department. Ford has designed many
    updates to parts and worked to correct some of
    these problems. I think that many of you aren't
    hearing of them for some reason. My Explorer has
    had almost every problem I mentioned except for the
    tranny problem. All of this was fixed in one trip
    and four days sooner than projected. Ford sells
    almost half a million of these a year. Most folks I
    know haven't had any problems with Explorers but
    for as many as they build there are bound to be
    some problems (many times supplier problems not
    Ford). Sometimes it's common sense problems (rotor
    warpage) that folks aren't aware of. I love mine. I
    drive the hell out of it and the great service
    department has made the problems seem minor. I hope
    this info helps. Take it to the dealer with you. I
    will post part/TSB numbers ASAP. Good luck."

    Here are the updates:
    The rear suspension noises are fixed with a new rear sway bar assembly. It is an updated version so it should be a TSB in Fords Oasis computer.

    The stalling problem reappeared on my Explorer. The official fix is the fuel pump assembly experiencing cavitation on turns (it sucks air for a second) losing fuel pressure, hence, the stall. There is a new fuel pump assembly that solves the problem. Mine goes in next week for this and I will update how it performs.

    Again, if you have any questions please email me a I may be able to find out some info from my excellent dealer for you if it is not listed above. I feel Explorers are excellent vehicles and that many of you are getting the bone from some of the not-so-great dealers. Good Luck!
  • Yes, an engine should last longer than that and most do. If your explorer is out of warranty and the dealership is willing to replace the engine, consider yourself lucky. I am under the impression that Ford occasionally reimburses its service departments for work on out-of-warranty vehicles. It's unusual. By the way, what is the $200-$300 for? Also, are they still letting you drive a Taurus?
  • The $200-$300 is my share of the Good Will Ford is doing for me with the Service Department. They claim the job will cost $5000 and I will get a 12mo. warranty on the new engine. No, the engine block was not cracked as I drove it into the dealer with full expectations of getting it back that day at 5pm. Yes, I am still driving the loaner Taurus. They claim they are waiting for an engine to come in. I actually have no idea what was wrong with the engine. I just feel that I shouldn't have to pay anything as the engine must have had a defect to go at 57,000 miles.
  • Why are the Explorers the only vehicles rolling over with the defective Firestone tires? I have had a blowout at over 100 MPH in a 55 Studebaker and it did not roll. I think the problem is the Explorer design. I hate the one I drive at work. If I don't get to the vehicles first and snag a Suburban, I get stuck with the Explorer. I refuse to drive it over 45 MPH. Even then it is not a safe handling vehicle. It is just like the Bronco II. It should be pulled off the market. More people have died in them than the infamous Corvair that made Ralph Nader a household name.
  • swn1swn1 Posts: 27
    My main question is how did you get a '55 Studebaker to go 100 mph? It's unfortunate the number of accidents that have occurred related to the Firestone tire failure. I would just wonder of all the failures, what percentage of driver error can be associated with the failures such as proper tire maintenance, not replacing tires that are beyond their useful life, driving at safe speeds, etc. I travel the PA Turnpike everyday and although I don't see the shoulders littered with rolled over SUV's or separated Firestone tires, it amazes me how people drive these vehicles. Owning an '91 and '99 XLT I realize any offroad/highway tire is not designed to sustain highway speeds I observe in excess of 75-80 mph and are not designed with handling in mind at these speeds yet people drive them like they are in a 'Vette. I have driven my brother in law's 'Vette many times and do not think I would have the same performance and handling results with Wilderness AT's on it as the Goodyear Eagle "Z" rated tires. Like my Driver Ed teacher used to say, "It's not the nut that holds the wheel on that causes problems but the nut that holds onto the wheel." ( I mean no disrespect to those injured or killed in any accident)
  • I've got a '98' XLT; had a '97'. Have put over 50K (nearly all highway miles)on both vehicles,total, and have never in been in what I'd consider a situation where the cars handling capabilities ( or lack thereof) have put me in a dangerous situation. My other car is a '99' boxster which I autocross on a regular basis, so I'm used to driving a car that will handle predictably.

    Having said all that, I believe tha handling characteristics of the Wilderness AT may have contributed to at least some of the acccidents. I say that because I 've just recently gotten rid of the ones on my '98' and put of Michelin LTX's. What a difference--it feels like a different vehicle;much better handling and steering response. The AT's felt tippy at highway speeds when turning--as if there just wasn't enough rubber on the road.
    I agree with your comments about all-terrain tires in general being driven at highway speeds and wonder why Ford would have put these type of tires on the vehicle when most will never be taken off road.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Here is an article that appeared in the Friday
    Sept 8 issue of the NY Times about the Ford-Firestone Tire fiasco. Decide for yourself if Ford and Firestone are hiding anything from us!
  • masonmimasonmi Posts: 148
    I have a 97 Mountaineer and i've read just about every post on the forum about the problems and defects of the Ford Explorer, I decided on the Mountaineer because i hadn't heard any problems with this SUV, although the Explorer is very popular I didn't want to take any chances and get a bad one.
  • The 1955 Studebaker V8 was more than capable of 100+ mph. I was also young and foolish in 1961. All I could afford was recap tires. I can't count how many times the tread came off of those cheapo tires. That particular time was memorable because I was trying to keep up with the trucks on highway 99 coming down the Grapevine Hill into Bakersfield California, when the tire blew out. I just hung on and pulled to the side of the road. I believe the top heavy design of the Explorer and Bronco II that preceded it, are not designed for highway speeds at all. A car should not roll over every time you have a blowout. Tires even the Wilderness are far better than the best tires in the 50s and 60s. Blowouts were a regular occurrence when I was a teenager. I wouldn't think of driving that "Stude" at even 70 today, though I miss it.
  • alexpalexp Posts: 70
    Next time you sit in the Ford (or any car for that matter, with the exception of SOME European/Japanese higher end models) think that you are surrounded by several thousands parts that were purchased basing on the price alone. Think that Ford is posting profits every month, while requesting an additional cost cuts from their suppliers (as high as 25% in the next 3 years), while raising prices for their product and providing further raises for their already overpayed employees that have less and less todo (due to the preassembled components), loosing quality and dependebaility at the same time.
    Why other makes have tire blowouts but they don't roll? Are there design flows that we will be told about in the few years? Firestone had tire problems, but even Highway safety is tracking them to the batches that were produced during the strike at Decator. But that production was used on the certain model year (part of it) what about the other years? Is is the blown tire that causes roll, or the vehicle design causes tire to blow? Chicken or the egg?
  • This is my first posting so I hope I did this right, and in the right place. I recently purchased a 1996 Explorer Limited including power seats and memory seat settings. The seat memory doesn't work, it flashes like its working but no response. I also noticed that when trying to adjust the driver seat forward or backward, it indexes, meaning it moves about 1 inch then stops each time you hold the button.
    Has anyone else had this problem or better yet, can someone tell me if this is a major fix?
  • 1: Manual hubs are nice because they're simple and reliable. They require a little forethought on whether you are going to need 4WD in an upcoming situation or not. With manual hubs, it IS ok to lock them at the wheels but keep the transfer case in 2WD...then all you have to do is shift with the lever (or button!) Extended (> 200 miles) driving is dry weather is not recommended, and having the front hubs locked will start to hurt your gas milage. My 89 BroncoII w/manual hubs...148000 miles...worked every time I needed it, without having to worry about an electrical problem getting me stuck!
    As far as the ABS brake fluid was low, and I added some fluid...light doesn't come on any more.
  • I'm considering purchasing a 98 V6 with the SOHC engine. I've read about the tenisioner problems. This vehicle has 29K miles and runs very smooth and quiet. Would I be better off to look for a V6 with out the SOHC engine to avoid the timing belt problems or does it also apply to all the V6 engines? If at 29K miles, is it likely to occur in the future?
  • I hope I am not to late aetheridge. Do your self a
    favor. Don't buy any ford product used or new.
    I've made my +$31K mistake last August by
    purchasing a left over 99 loaded XLT which has the
    SOHC V6. The Truck had problems from day 1, engine
    oil leak (ford replaced the engine with a new one)
    suspension noise, recalls, terrible service from
    both the dealership and from ford motor company.
    fords customer services is the worst I've ever
    experienced. Now I have the SOHC V6 timing chain
    noise and have already gone through the latest tsb, which was suppose to repair the problem, (it did not). ford wants to replace the engine again I
    refused and decided to get a lawyer instead and
    take legal action. After my experience with the
    ford motor company you couldn't give a ford for
    free it just not worth the aggravation. ford gives
    the words P.O.S. a whole new meaning.
  • I have a 1993 Explorer Sport with a 103,500 miles on it. The 4 wheel drive will no longer engage and I don't understand why. Deeming I used it a couple of months ago. Any help would be appreciated into this. Thanks!
  • ct11ct11 Posts: 3
    Our 97 Eddie Bauer Explorer seems to need a new engine at 38,000 miles. The engine is building up sludge inside itself, and the tensioner is unable to do its job. We bought the vehicle in Feb 00, with 32,000 miles and have regularly changed the oil and maintained the vehicle. The vehicle had been a Ford Rep vehicle previous to our buying. You would think they would maintain the vehicles?

    We are waiting on word from the dealership as to what Ford is going to do or help out with since the vehicle is now out of warranty. Any words of wisdom on how we can overcome such an adverse situation would be appreciated.
  • Dear ct11, it does not matter what ford does to your engine either replace it with a rebuilt or replace it with a new one, or if ford starts to sacrifice lams to cut their livers out to read to determine what the engine problem is. The timing chain problem will come back again and again and again. Just do a search on SOHV V6 in each ford topic which exist in Edmund's town hall and you will find that the only way to solve the problem permanently is to get rid of the vehicle. Some poor souls had 3 engines replaced only to get the same problem again Sorry for the s**t news. As I stated in a previous response. ford gives the words P.O.S. a whole new meaning.
  • Well it has now been 4 weeks and I still don't have my Ford Explorer 1997 XLT. They finally told me last Friday that the engine was in and I would have it the next week. On Wednesday they told me they would have it on Friday. Today they told me it still isn't fixed. When my husband said that he thought we shouldn't have to pay anything for this job as it was a Ford defect. They said that if they told Ford all the gunk that was in my engine they would probably not pay for it and we would have to pay the $5000. They were insinuating that we never changed the oil which is not true as we are regular at changing oil and we bought the car new. So we still have their rental of a Ford Taurus but would really like our Explorer back. I hope you have better luck, ct11, at getting it fixed. Let me know how you make out as maybe together we can get this done for free. I am going to show them all these write ups and tell them about the TSB's.
  • ct11ct11 Posts: 3
    Has your dealership told you why the engine is building up gunk/sludge? I ask, and they seem to have no idea other than maybe the oil was not changed. Since we bought ours as a used vehicle we don't know how it was maintained. If you have regularly maintained the vehicele and have the service records, they no reason to insinuate that it has not been maintained. I believe FORD knows it is happening just are not sure why or don't want to admit why!
  • Hello all,

    I'm new to this site but have spent all afternoon reading posts on various boards.

    I am in the market for a new SUV, in Southern California, and I want to get some preliminary info before I go in for test drives & negotiations. Besides the mid-range Explorer and Montero Sport 4WD trims, I'm also going to be looking at the 4Runner (although it's almost certainly more expensive than I'm looking too spend) and the Honda Passport (although I'm not too excited by the whole Isuzu / Honda situation).
    I will mostly be driving city, but plan to do some off-roading and I do go camping and stuff. I am a little concerned with some of the transmissions stories here and just want to get some additional information.

    Have any of you had experience comparing the Montero Sport 4WD to the Explorer? Have advice on specific things to look for / test out on the test drives? What are the worst problems facing the Explorer (besides the transmission)?. For anyone that lives in the LA area, were there any problems with maintenance or service or customer service at any of the dealerships?

    Any advice would be helpful. Thanks! (I also posted to the Mitsubishi board to get some additional feedback).

    My Background: My sister has a 95 Explorer base model (XS?) which I have driven a lot and I used to have a 1990 Mitsu Gallant. Neither vehicle has had any service problems to date. With the Explorer, I've never been off-roading, but I did notice that the ride got kinda bumpy simply driving on an unpaved street, but I still like it a lot (she has the leather seats, fender flares and side steps). One thing I did like a lot was the AC in the Ford.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Heck the website for info on crashworthiness... on all vehicles you are considering. You might be surprised... especially about the Montero.

    Also lokk at Motor Trend Magazine (I think they also have Truck Trend Magazine, which critiques all of the 4x4's.

    I'd also hold off a purchase to see what else shakes out of this Firestone (Deathstone) fiasco.
  • eagle63eagle63 Posts: 599
    ..."I found a '97 Explorer XLT V-6 SHOC, fully loaded w/16,000 miles and the asking price is $18,000.I was about to make the deal until reading these comments on Edmunds.Com and glad to have read the comments before making the deal. I guess I'll be purchasing another Toyota ... the Explorer is too good to be true."

    Don't give up on the Explorer yet. It's easy to read posts from forums like this and be terrified of the vehicle. remember, there are hundreds of thousands of happy Explorer owners out there that don't have the kind of mechanical problems you read about in these forums. as with anything, people with negative opinions are the most vocal. I have a '97 XLT with the SOHC v-6 and have had virutally zero problems. just keep everything in perspective! -eagle
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