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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • cheech2cheech2 Posts: 1
    During the past few months my 1993 exployer has developed a intermitent stalling problem occuring only during damp weather. My mechanic has changed the fuel pump and fuel filter in addition to a complete tuneup.The problem still occurs and I am at a loss as to what could be wrong.Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    damp weather, huh? how about the moisture is grounding out the ignition pulses to the spark plugs?

    get a shop rag soaked up in washer fluid, and gently pull it along all the plug wires, washing all the road snot and dust (and salt if you live in snow country) off the wires. once more to rinse 'em. use a fresh clean shop rag to wipe off the wires at the ignition coil assemblies, including the yellowish-clear plastic on top of those coils. get a socket wrench and give a little tug to the mounting bolts to make sure they're down. that ought to do you some good.

    how old are those wires? even Ford recommends replacement between 80,000 to 100,000 miles, and I changed my first set out at 25,000 due to a one-cylinder stumble at idle before I had a tow into nowhere land.

    there is also the possibility that there is a sensor that is not with it... that is, a little nutty or slow, and in damp weather in which the fuel/air mixture is changed, it can't get the engine in range. specifically, an 02 sensor is what I'm thinking of... they get "lazy" more often than they fail out, and it's around the time they start going away with your mileage.
  • bigaldsbigalds Posts: 47
    About the cracked heads, I had a 1991 Ford Explorer with the 4.0L OHV engine, which I bought in Sept 1998 with 120K. My wife and I drove it until Jan 2003 with 165K, we drove it 44,000 miles in 4 1/2 years, NO engine problems at all. It DID need a transmission.
    I am currently driving a 1993 Ford Explorer with the 4.0L OHV engine, which I bought in April 1999 with 112K. It now has 167K on it in, drove it 55k in 4 years with NO engine problems. Of course, I take exceptional care of them, and never let them run hot. I converted each vehicle to the new 134A refrigerant and added a new electric pusher fan in front of the radiator with a thermostatic control switch. Temp gauge never goes over 1/4. An engine that overheats never lasts very long. Keep it cool.

    About the Spark Plug wire and missing, Remove and check plugs. If worn replace with new, gap plug at .040", this will make your wires last MUCH longer. I do this with all my cars and I never have to replace the spark plug wires. The 2 explorers I mentioned above, have the same wires in them as when I bought them, and run perfectly. And the wires where not new in either of those vehicles. If your wires are already bad, replace them now. You can test them by lightly spraying them with water with engine idling, while in a darkened garage of at night. Careful not to get shocked. Look and listen for any changes in the engine rpm, engine smoothness or roughness or any visible sparks. Any of this would require the wires be replaced.
  • gregb5gregb5 Posts: 82
    I had a similar problem with mine. It would not engage any gear at idle. If you rev the engine slightly it may engage, but it will THUNK! so don't rev too much.
    Get it back to the dealer; yours is not the first to have the problem. I am surprised that a more recent build date would still have the problem. Mine was built in late May '01. Mine eventualy got a new transmission.
    Good luck!
  • jecoueyjecouey Posts: 4
    I have a new 2003 Ford Explorer NBX with less than 6,000 miles on it.

    About three weeks ago, I noticed what I call a lateral vibration at 60-65 mph that only gets worse the faster I go (the freeway speed is 75 mph here). I think it might be an engine problem in that the engine sounds a little "rough". The wheel weights are all there and there is no unusual wear on the tire treads.

    I have it into the dealer now, so we will see what they say today.

    These message board if very informative/interesting.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    Please let me know what the dealer has said about your car. I have an 02 XLT 4wd with 3200 miles on it, and I heard that 3 times in the past when was on the freeway going at 65-75... noise would be gone when I lifted my foot of the accelerator. Since it did not happen all the time, I did not bring it to the dealer. Thanks
  • heintz1heintz1 Posts: 52
    If the problem remains unsolved, consider having the tires road-force balanced. In fact, I'm now convinced that anytime I place new tires on my truck, I'll have them road-forced balanced at the time of installation, and I don't mind spending the extra money to have things done right.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    what makes road-force balancing different from spin balancing? are the tires under load?
  • jecoueyjecouey Posts: 4
    Well, the dealer said the vibration at 60-65 mph was caused by the wheels being unbalanced due to dried mud on the wheels. They took the mud out and rebalanced all wheels. The vibration did go away. We do live in an area where lots of the local roads are not paved with asphalt or gravel (i.e., northwest NM), so this is not as hokey as it sounds, and again, the vibration did go away.

    But our Explorer still runs a little rough, especially when idling. The dealer said Ford was aware this is a problem on a lot of 2003 Explorers, but has not, and probably will not, do anything about it. I was reading the NM lemon laws yesterday before I went to pick up our Explorer, and when talking to the dealer, I noticed they were very cafeful in their wording to me how this rough idling issue did not affect operation and performance.

    To the person who wrote about roughness when accelerating, maybe a higher grade of gasoline would help. I am not an expert, but you might give it a try for a tank or two. I used to have a Subaru that ran rough when I tried to accelerate aggressively (e.g., it almost knocked), but that went away when I used a higher octane (especially more demanding situations like mountain driving).
  • heintz1heintz1 Posts: 52
    I'm not mechanically inclined, but as I understand it, road-force balancing involves a rather expensive road-force balancing machine which essentially places a properly inflated tire under a weight and road-force load similar to actual road conditions as it spins on the machine. Now, no tire or rim is perfectly round (think about rolling an egg end-over-end), and I seem to recall that what a road-force balancer and a well trained technician can accomplish is a fairly accurate detection of high and low spots on a mounted tire/rim, which I believe are at least partly identified by pressure spikes and dips as the wheel spins under a road-force load or pressure. The technician then marks the HIGH spots on a given tire, as well as any LOW spots on its rim, and the tire is then remounted on its rim in such a way that the high spot on the tire is now centered directly over the most closely matching low spot on the rim, with the end result being that each wheel is thus effectively made more "round" and smoother riding overall, compared to more simple and less sophisticated tire balancing methods. My dealer charges ~$65.00 for road-force balancing of all four tires, which is not bad when you consider that the machine allegedly costs about $10,000.00 (plus technician training), and this is why many dealerships and shops don't offer this service. Thus, even if your vehicle rides smoothly, chances are that it will ride even better if the tires are road-force balanced, and if you do have difficult-to-solve vibrations at higher speeds, road-force balancing should be considered. One downside is that if a tire needs to be remounted at a later time, then it's road-force balancing should probably be repeated.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    at least they don't have to weigh the lug nuts ;)
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    would any of you if given the chance which will happen.take a gm auto over a ford would you do it and would learn from your experience not to deal with ford again. i did it i would like to see who would do it.i started with chevy im Back so let me know thanks.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,245
    My niece has an Explorer about 2001 with a broken lip on the plastic filler tube. Can't this be replaced by disconnecting the two rubber connectors about 12 inches down and lifting out the filler. The dealers said they wanted to drop the fuel tank and lots of money to replace it.
    The part is about $120...
    The radio won't turn off. The volume works from the steering wheel controls. Is this a known problem?

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,245
    Is there a source for discount Ford parts like the fuel filler tube on the
    Explorer. $120 seems really high. I know there's a GM discount source
    mentioned onthe Bonneville group.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    to the count of two since 1990. I had a good buick bought new in 1976, and a fun but maintenance-needing buick way used in 1971 from the 1961 model year. had a couple good used early 60s mopars in the early 70s, too. did my homework on each vehicle, including the CR dot-races on what failed and how often, and asking around how things held up. except for the 61 skylark, which was a good car but I hadn't learned that other folks sell when the car needs a lot of work.

    I could have gotten wallet-eating maintenance hogs each time if I picked the wrong drivetrains, options, or models on my lists. I think more than whether Detroilet is an evil empire bent on torturing people, letting others test the newest changes and finding out what doesn't work is the way to pin the blame on the lame dogs out there.

    I detested the company Ford and GM products both that our TV stations bought in the 1970s. evil wobbling showboats with no a/c and the knobs in the wrong place, it didn't matter what their mechanical condition was, I got sick driving those roadhogs. I drove things that I liked in that period, too.

    mookie, no way I would have taken the engine and tranny you got in your bad-news exploder, I had already found out about their reputation. I just really think that good information and avoiding creepy crud, more than evil plots across the line at a car company, made the difference for me.
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    The last time I filled up my 99 4WD XLT SOHC the fuel gauge was reading between 1/2 and 3/4 of a tank and the trip odometer read 137 miles. I was expecting to fill the tank with 7-8 gallons of gas. To my amazement the truck took 14.7 gallons. There was a problem with the gas pump in that the fuel was trickling into the tank very, very slowly. When I reported this apparent discrepancy to the customer service desk I was given a refund for 7 gallons of gas. This was a very nice gesture on the part of BJ's. The issue I can't explain is that since I filled the tank my Explorer has gone over 100 miles and the fuel gauge has finally begun to move off of the full mark. I know the capacity of the fuel tank is 20.8 gallons. I know that I had between 11-13 gallons of fuel when I filled the tank. I know (???) that the fuel tank can't hold 24-27 gallons of fuel. I know that the folks at BJ's told me they were having trouble with some of their pumps and that's why they refunded me the money for 7 gallons of fuel. What I don't understand is what is really happening? Is is possible for the fuel tank to hold more than the advertised 20.8 gallons? Could it be that the fuel pump's slow delivery of fuel into my gas tank enabled me to "squeeze" more gasoline into the tank and the filler neck? The fuel gauge seems to be functioning normally now. Of course I will be monitoring the fuel gauge's behavior very carefully for the next few days. I would appreciate any explanations before I crawl under my Explorer with an ohmmeter.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    There was a similar problem discussed over in the Expedition topic. Here's a link (there's 4 or 5 separate messages talking about the issue):

    pepper52 "Ford Expedition" Sep 13, 2000 4:09pm

    Steve, Host
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    bioman3: My 1996 Explorer V8 does th eexact ssame thing. It is very accurate when full and when near empty which I consider the most important time I need to know how much gas I have. You are going to be disappointed if yu expect that when your tank says 3/4 full you have exactly 15.6 gallons left. You could have 16 gallons or you could have as low as 12 gallons. i've had times when I knew there was a half a tank of gas but it read 1/4 because I was parked pointing downhill. When it finally leveled off, it registered about 3/8 full. But again, the gauge is very accurate when I approach empty. The fuel gauge light comes on at 3.5 gallons ( I know with that much gas I am safe for up to 50 miles) left and the needle is always just a hair above empty. That is when I start to search for gasoline.

    I know others have had this "problem". In my 7 years I have owned the vehicle, it has not let me run out of gas. If I were you, I would drive it below 1/4 tank and get a sense of when you need gas
    based on your driving habits (city vs. highway) and total mileage for that tank of gas (trip odometer). This way you are not relying on the fuel gauge (really should call it a guide).
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    ..for the input regarding my Explorers fuel "guide". Seems like the Explorers share some characteristics with Expeditions. Life has returned to normal. When I filled up this afternoon the expected happened. Unless I am doing highway driving I usually fuel-up at about 235 miles no matter what the fuel gauge (guide) says. Don't ask me why I picked 235 miles, guess it is in my comfort zone.

  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Actually that might be good for more reasons than one. Many people forget or don't know that keeping the gas level above a quarter of a tank can help prolong the life of the fuel pump. This is so, because the gas keeps the fuel pump cool. When the fuel is low the pump can get warm, reducing its life.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    possibly the expedition as well... it's because of the baffle position in the tank. a sharp left turn on less than a quarter of a tank and it can stall dead away. that one has been on this board for a year or two. just don't fall below a third of the tank and it won't happen to you.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Steve and Tidester-
     There seems to something a litte strange about hondafreaks postings. The link doesn't show any of the cars he claims to have (Trailblazer, Explorer, Escape etc.) and all of his messages for each of those cars is the same.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Sorry Jrc346, my cable modem conked out for a couple of hours and I couldn't delete the spam. Apologies.

    Steve, Host
  • howdy

    Ever since new if I started my exp. and drove about a Quarter of a mile to store shut off for only a few minutes came back out to start engine. would load up when re starting. Also when the temp. gauge is just at the warm up area between cold and warm the engine idles very rough but when past that area it idles better. Once the engine died. I took to a dealer and they could not find any problems.I have 20k now.THe timing chain tenshiner has been changed 2 times. The second time was by mistake Ford did not check to see it had been done already and replaced without asking me.The power steering has a RRRR when cold like something is grinding. Can anybody tell me if they have experienced any of these problems. also idles rough all the time!! took in 4 times to dealer they said no codes present but i know what i know and it idles rough 24/7/52.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    and sniff the tailpipe. it could be a coil, it could be the crank position sensor adjustment, it could be 02 sensors, and monitoring the 02 while driving would show that problem, it could be wires and plugs, it could be a vacuum leak, it could be fuel pressure, it could be engine temp sensor, it could be this and it could be that. it has to be diagnosed before it can be fixed. pinheads should put this car on the scope and find the problem.

    talk to the service manager. they can open the manuals (yes, really, they can! I saw it done once!) and see how to shoot the sensors with a voltmeter. there is a fix if they want to fix it. if not, go elsewhere and stay elsewhere.

    the power steering is likely a bum pump... flush the fluid as well when that gets replaced.
  • scottjyscottjy Posts: 6
    I need some help with my 2002 Explorer. At about 30 - 40 mph and 1,000 - 1,400 rpm, the engine appears to skip (the dealer called it skipping after their test drive). It's like driving a 5 speed at 30 mph in 5th gear...almost a bucking. I took it to the dealer who promptly changed the transmission. When I left the dealer, the condition was better, but still there. After a few hundred miles, the condition was just as bad as it was before the new tranny. So, I wrote a nice letter to Ford and the dealer complaining. I was told to bring the car back in. This time, the dealer said the tranny felt like it was going from 3rd to 5th...missing 4th. They told me that a computer controls the shifting and there is nothing that can be done about it. They couldn't answer me when I asked why they replaced the first tranny.

    Does anyone else have this problem and/or know of a fix?
  • i just noticed a leak in my driveway coming from the transmission area where my explorer was parked. the previous couple of days ive noticed a bucking going from 1st to 2nd. i had it towed w/ roadside assistance, got a lincoln ls as a loaner car. i just hope they dont put a bandaid on it, i dont want to have a re-occurring problem w/ this. it only has 14,ooo miles. if they have to change the transmission, this is an embarrassment. maybe i should of bought a toyota. ill let you know what happens.
  • 1998 explorer -Has anyone had a problem with electric door locks cycling on there own. I shut the front door and the door lock/ unlock system started cycling constantly. Only way to stop was to hold the lock button down for about 6 seconds
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    Hey guys, I had that happened to me before... and my car only has less than 3700 miles on it. When it happened, it was around 3000 miles. Anyway, what I did was to turn off the engine and restart the car, and the problem seem to be gone. Maybe it had reset the computer. And I haven't experienced it again (knock on wood). I remember when it happened, I had the O/D off. I wonder if that was the problem.
    Scottjy, for that dealer to tell you that's a computer controlled problem and there's nothing they can do about it, that's all BS. Take it to another dealer or something. Better yet, take it to the Lincoln dealers... for some strange reason, it seems like you get better service from them. Good luck.
  • stubborn1stubborn1 Posts: 85
    ... on my 98 Explorer.

    I have power locks but no keyless entry. When I unlock the vehicle, occasionally the locks will relock immediately after I turn the key. I have to have both hands free in order to turn the key and open the door handle. After I open the door, the locks stop going haywire.

    I don't have any info to help fix the problem. It has been one of those small problems I have learned to live with.
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