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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    or, maybe not. either it's a wiring short in the looming coming out the door, or the controller module is nuts, or a door sensor is chattering. spray the pinlocks down their little moving shafts with WD40 as a first step in diagnosing this.
  • stubborn1stubborn1 Posts: 85
    ... I would miss all those strange looks I get when trying to unlock my door in a parking lot when my hands are full and the vehicle keeps locking me out :)

    I had thought about going to the junkyard and trying to find a replacement lock module after I traced down the wiring. Just one more thing to my summer project list.
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    Since it is springtime I decided to give my 99 XLT 4WD 46K a quick undercarriage inspection. I found a small tear in the left upper ball joint boot. Little if anything seems to have leaked out of the joint. I repaired the tear with cyanoacrylic cement and silicone sealer. The truck is running fine. Checked out the left front wheel and there is no radial or axial play in the ball joints. Will I get "typical" ball joint failure symptoms if indeed the ball joint is failing? Has the clock started ticking on replacing the upper control arm? Is the replacement of the upper arm as easy as it looks?

    Thanks, in advance, for the input.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    if you got it before dirt and water got in (screw the grease, most of it is there to prevent contamination,) you're OK for a good while.

    if not, dragging sounds, squeaks, and knocks on turns will soon appear.
  • pnice2003pnice2003 Posts: 5
    well im back from the lincoln dealer after having it serviced, they said it was low on tranny fluid. i told them how do you think it got that way cause theres a leak, i saw the stains in my driveway. they said they couldnt find a leak.Then i asked them, why wasnt the tranny fluid topped off when the car was prepped for delivery? it should have been they said. poor excuse. So long story short, the tranny is still slipping from 1st to 2nd gear. Maybe ill try a different dealer who isnt in a rush to get their loaner car back. location long island,ny
  • heintz1heintz1 Posts: 52
    You'll find "transfer case" leak issues in the recent postings at the Explorer/MTNR board here at Edmonds. Your transfer case may not be what's leaking, but you should probably take a look at these postings.
  • alman08alman08 Posts: 282
    hmmmm... and these transmissions do not come with dipsticks. I wonder now how many others are having the same problem.
  • javnerjavner Posts: 23
    Hopefully you guys can offer some insight...

    Yesterday my wife started our Explorer and it proceeded to fill the garage with gray smoke. The vehicle was cold (off for a few hours). It continued to do it for a few minutes until she turned it off. We had it towed to the dealer in case it was something major. When they put it on the truck it smoked a little (blue smoke) and didn't smell very good.

    Got a call from the dealer telling me they think it was because the oil hasn't been changed for 7000 miles. They put new plugs in and are changing the oil. The vehicle was going in this week regardless for the 15k service (16,500). I know it's late but we have been busy.

    I have a really hard time beleiving that this problem is caused by old oil that looked pretty clean to me on the dipstick last weekend when I checked the level. Also I am surprised that Ford's diagnostic equipment can not provide any better information. Other than very slight hesitation when starting lately it has been running fine with no decrease in mileage. Sounds to me like this dealer is looking for a quick fix that will cause me to go back again for this problem.

    Any thoughts? Thanks!
  • heintz1heintz1 Posts: 52
    Is your engine a V6 or V8? Any chance your head gasket might be leaking coolant into the engine? Did the blue smoke smell "bittersweet", kinda like partially burned coolant? (For what it's worth, my 2002 V8 XLT's engine has always run smooth-as-silk, without any hesitation, abnormal exhaust, etc.) Also, it could be that engine oil is somehow getting into the cylinders, creating thick, blue, "burnt rubber" smelling exhaust smoke.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    What you described does not sound like an "old oil" problem to me? How long has it been between oil changes (timewise)? 7000 miles is a little long but my 96 Explorer calls for 5000 miles between oil changes for highway. So 7000 miles is not too much of a stretch.

    i tend to agree with heintz. I would check your coolant level and keep an eye on that for the next several months. Also check the receipt carefully when you get the car back to see what else they may have done.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I would be on the phone asking if they have checked for head gasket issues, and be sure they put the code for that test on the work order. if you have a document that says "check for broken X" and X later turns up broken after a bunch of "trouble not founds" you have a nice way to get Ford to 'fess up and fix it for you free.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,852
    My wife's taurus used to have a similar problem on occasion (maybe 3 times in 5 years). If you started the car, ran it for a short time, then turned it off, it would have a hard time starting, and when it did, it would emit a large amount of very smelly smoke. An example I remember was when I washed the car, then pulled it into the garage and turned it off. The next morning we had a smoking episode. The AAA guy said fords seemed most prone to this. I hope your issue isn't any more serious than this.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • My transfer case rear shaft seal has been leaking since I bought it over a year ago. Been meaning to do it. I even bought an $8 seal eight months ago. Just kept topping off the fluid. Finally decided to do it since I will be going on a long vacation. Drive shaft removes with 12mm 12 point socket and the shaft flange takes a 30 mm or 1 3/16 socket. There is an O ring under the washer. Mine came out in one piece but you better be prepared if it doesn't. Seal surface needed just a little fine grit paper polishing in oil. With the shaft seal removed, I could see the pink speedometer gear. Looked that up on the chart and it was a 19 tooth. The speedometer has always read 7-10 mph fast. Never bothered me that much but my better half is math challenged. Went to the dealer and got a red 21 tooth C4O-17271-A gear, $7.63. 70 mph X 19/21 = 63 mph. Remove the VSS on the transfer case and it just snaps in with a clip. I had wondered how they change the number of teeth on the same diameter, they sure get thin. Guess the last owner must have had some monster tires. These gears go from 16 to 21 so you can adjust for different axle and tire sizes.
  • javnerjavner Posts: 23
    Thanks for your replies!

    It is the V6, and up until this eposide the truck has run great. Much better than our 2000 with the underpowered V6, that's for sure.

    I agree with all of you...don't think it is an old oil issue either...even though that is what the service department sent me away with. Unfortunately they didn't look to hard either. About the only thing they did was change the plugs to see if they were fouled and charged Ford for new oil. What burns me is that they charged me for an oil change as part of the 15k service too, but that's another story.

    Thank you for the suggestions regarding it being related to head gasket. I will keep a close eye on the coolant. Guess we'll have to wait and see if it happens again. Also, as always I'll keep an eye on oil consumption to see if I'm loosing it somewhere. It's running smoothly now, so we'll wait and see.

    Something else: has anyone noticed that Ford Service Techs can't check tire presure...even after the issues with Firestone etc. Drives me crazy when I pay someone to rotate tires and then to discover my fronts are at 35psi and the rears are at 30psi! Easier to take care of it myself than go back to the dealer, but hard is it?

  • brophbroph Posts: 85
    I have a '96 w/ 117k & my o/d light started flashing. It only happens when it has been driven for awhile. Tried with the o/d off after about 12 miles it started flashing again. I had maint done on it in dec, my radiator broke at the trans cooler. All kinds of mixed fluids what a mess, thought I blew a head gasket. My question is are there sensors that could cause this to happen? or could it be the tranny is shot. I noticed that it also downshifts & shifts from 1st to 2nd with a clunk. I checked the fluid & it is clean with no burnt smell. I plan to bring it to a transmission place to get it checked out, hopefully not to expensive. I hope to get another year out of it. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Uh-oh. That sounds bad. When your trans cooler lines broke and you got trans fluid in your radiator, you probably got coolant in your transmission too. Which is really, really bad. Just like when a head gasket blows and coolant gets in the engine oil and wipes the bearings, the exact same thing happens in a transmission. If I were you, I would be headed back to your original mechanic and asking him why he didn't flush and refill the transmission, if he didn't. Any guy who has done more than a few lawnmower oil changes should know to do this. The current analysis may be a transmission rebuild, but before that, you may want to try flushing the transmission thoroughly and refilling with a quality synthetic fluid. You just might be lucky enough to have caught it before destroying the transmission. It's less than a $100 gamble, and it could save you close to $2,000 if it works.
  • brophbroph Posts: 85
    Yeah the fluid was corrupted, they flushed the tranny with 43 qts. of fluid to get it clean, also had a 2 week follow up & according to them everything checked out fine. The radiator went right in front of my house (vehicle was warming up) & it wasn't driven at all, so very little damage according to them. I trust these mechanics, friend of my uncles' not that that has anything to do with it. I brought a lot of business with this vehicle over the last 3 years.
    Hopefully it won't be as drastic as a rebuid. Thanks.
  • ive had my 2002 explorer back to the dealer 3 times so far for a "check engine" light. the first time they reset the computer and the next day the light was back on. i brought it back and they attributed it to the cold weather - LOL. so i went thru the winter with the lite on. now they tell me its the gas ive been using - its causing a fuel vapor problem. i should switch to a 91 octane even though the manual says 87. and i should change brands of gas. the service tech tells me that after i run 3 or 4 tank fulls of 91 octane thru the problem "should" be corrected. i have almost 16,000 miles now - 4 tank fulls later ill be close to 18,000 miles - the limit for the lemon law. sound like a "ford plan" to anyone???
  • heintz1heintz1 Posts: 52
    Every 3000 miles (i.e., with each oil change) I treat my 2002 V8 XLT's fuel with Chevron Techron, and I believe this is very beneficial.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    I think your dealer is feeding you a fine line of crapola. Computers in cars today can compensate for differences in fuels, altitudes, driving conditions etc. If it is possible, find another dealer. One that cares enough to do some in depth diagnosis. Keep in mind, that when the check engine light is on, there is a code being stored that may very well indicate what the problem is. Another option for you is to make a visit to a Autozone parts store. There, they will come out to your car and read the code that is setting off your check engine light and tell you what part is bad. Sorry you Explorer isn't well, but I think with this and the help from the other fine people that post here, we can help you figure this problem out.
  • brophbroph Posts: 85
    If the code is a PO420 which really doesn't say any exact component, your O2 sensors might need to be replaced. My mechanic changed 3 of 4 on mine & with the help of HESS gas it turned my check engine light off.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    It sounds like the dealership doesn't want to pay for a warranty item. My advice is to find anotherf Ford dealership to deal with. This one obviously does not want your business.

    If it will make you feel better, write a letter to the owner of the dealership with copies to the regional and district managers detailing your experience with the service department. A check engine light is pretty easy to diagnose and fix.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    there are only three issues in that...

    SHOULD - meaning some folks couldn't find their backside with either hand and spotting them four fingers placement by a trained medical professional.

    DIAGNOSE - this involves recognition of something after looking at the car.

    FIX - this involves action.

    the EASY part is putting it on the back lot all day, and writing NTF on the report when you didn't get to it because there were lots of takers for replacement of parts obviously broken in half.
  • rlumachirlumachi Posts: 4
    i own a 98 explorer xlt awd with v8 & tow package and i CANNOT eek out much more
    than 15mpg. i drive 75% hiway, 25% city, i do NOT have a lead foot,
    and i calculate mileage every time i fill up the old fashioned way
    (trip odometer, gallons til full & calculator). this seems dismally
    BAD but would like some other opinions. is this a problem with my
    vehicle or are others out there getting similar numbers??
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I have a 1996 V8 Explorer with 138k miles on it. 15 mpg isn't that bad. I normally average about 16-17 mpg with the same highway to city ratio. I've noticed that the really short trips (less then 5 miles first thing in the morning) bring down the gas mileage more then you think. The truck is probably averaging 9 or 10 mpg rather then the 14 shown on the sticker.

    How many miles do you have on your Explorer? When was the last tuneup? I mean full tuneup not just replacing the spark plugs. Do you carry any unnecessary weight? In the truck,not personally. What type of tires do you have on the Explorer?
  • davb1davb1 Posts: 10
    Requested my Ford dealer to change the lube in the rear differential of my '97,4x4, 3.73 limited slip axle (59,000 miles). They drop the cover, clean it out, refill with synthetic fluid but do NOT add 4 oz of friction modifier. This additive is called for in my owners manual and the Haynes (sp) manual. Tech insisted that Ford updated their specs and the friction modifier is now used for original factory fill and if the rear diff is rebuilt. They wrote on my invoice that it was not added and is not needed.

    Any experiences/comments to share? Thank you.
  • heintz1heintz1 Posts: 52
    I don't know the answer to your question, but I wonder if this "friction modifier" might be a "PTFE" or "Teflon" resin type of material? ["Slick 50" products are one example of this sort of Teflon resin, which could be added to engine oil (only after proper break-in), and I believe there were formulations for transmissions as well.] If anyone can shed more light on these questions, please do so!

    Also, I think it's a good idea to change the tranny fluids every 30,000 miles.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    consider the limited slip system... you supply power up to a certain level, but when a wheel suddenly breaks free, you want the other wheel to take power. that implies that you want to build some uneven friction in the system.

    before computer-controlled braking systems that actually apply braking pulses on the wheel running free, you had to have some friction in the lubrication itself (!). the friction modifier added to the diffs does this... as do the fibers in Dexron ATF. it basically gets in the way just enough so the U-spring and effectively-clutch in back of the loaded gear start that gear turning, and it takes some power and keeps you going.

    I just had my transfer case and diffs lubed in my 2000 exploder AWD, and the dealer certainly did charge me for the 4-ounce tubes of friction modifier, as they ARE SUPPOSED TO if there is a complete fluid refill in the diffs. if you had a little gear lube added, you don't need more genius dust added.

    since you had a full refill and the dealer didn't put it in, they screwed up. you will have performance problems equivalent to not having a limited-slip differential with the genius dust not added. guaran-damn-teed.
  • esbesbesbesb Posts: 5
    anyone else had problems with the rear doors or their explorer not opening from the inside? and no, the child lock is not switched on...I read a comment from another post, and that person said he oiled the mechanism...could you do this with the door panel on? is it just the latch on the door that needs to be oiled?
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    I believe that your problem lies in either the rod that connects the interior door handle to the lock mechanism or the child lock mechanism. If the door opens from the outside, the lock mechanism is working. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Removing the door panel is no big deal. I recently did that to replace the door lock actuator for the electric door locks. Two screws near the interior door handle and a spackle knife or a screwdriver along the perimeter of the door panel to pry off the door panel and you're in. If you need help, go to the ALLDATA DIY's Online Database of Automotive Repair site at "". The best $25.00 investment you can make if you like to do your own repairs.
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