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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • I think we could give it a try and see how people respond to it.
  • It is really good to see the new name. Thank to a higher authority, almost all of the problems are not perpetual, just frequent. The new name may increase the Explorer's resale value.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    owners' club for exploders is a good idea, too. you have my vote (and we don't hang chads around these parts)
  • Would appreciate some suggestions...

    Have an '02 XLT on lease (my second - 1st was a '99) with 35K miles so still under warranty. Was going to purchase this one at end of lease.

    Have brought in faithfully every 3-4K miles for oil changes/tire rotation and have complained every time regarding mildew-y odor from A/C when initially starting that lasts about 5 miles or so. Dealer replaced unit around 12K and retrofitted a fan that comes on for a period of time after car is off (as recommended by Ford engineering to them)- still had the problem. Eventually started occurring when vent or heat turned on as well and odor now is even stronger. Ford engineers (via Ford rep) is telling me the resolution is to run it on all times, while I keep saying that's not a fix for the problem. Dealer noted that others have come in with the same problem as well. Any ideas on the problem or how to deal with them effectively on this? Second is the tranny - has been at the dealer over 2 weeks for noise. Was advised they found shavings when they opened it up so they are replacing the front pump & torque converter. I won't pretend I know anything about trannys but I have asked around & some have suggested that it may have been a bearing that caused the shavings to begin with. Combined with the HVAC experience, am feeling as though they are "band-aiding" the tranny so I get past the warranty..(as nasty as that sounds on my part). Have not purchased the extended warranty & don't want to since I just want to be rid of this particular vehicle but lease doesn't end for quite awhile. What to do at this point? H-e-l-p!!
  • I can't help with the transmission, but the A/C problem can be made better. Your problem is caused by mold in the blower unit. It can be cleaned. I saw a product used on one of the TV car shows that claims to kill the stuff. Sorry, I can't remember the name, but somebody should be able to help. They then recommend that you turn off the compressor but run the fan for a mile or so before shutting off the car to avoid any moisture from laying in there.
    Good luck!
  • I have a new 2003 Ford Explorer XLT with the base radio. Does anyone know if the radio is supposed to stay on after the truck has been turned off? I guess it may be the feature that allows some power to the windows/radio for a limited time, etc after you cut the engine off.
    However, I couldn't find anything in the operation book and I want to make sure this is supposed to happen. (I had a Mustang that didn't cut power like it should have and ended up killing my battery).

  • I too own a 2003 Explorer XLT and also have owned several Ford products in the recent years. That feauture its called accesory delay and it lets you use any electrical equipment after you turn of the car or remove the key. You can use the radio, windows etc. until one of the front doors is opened. My Explorer haves 20k miles and I used the delay very frequently, and I havent encountered any problems with the battery. If you look on the engine bay you can see the Explorer haves a kind of oversized battery so it can deal with the auto headlamps that stay on for 30 sec after you turn off the car, and for other features such as accesory delay.
    Anyway you can use the radio and electrical for up to 7 min. after that it will shut off.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    I know my 97 Limited has it and it stays on for 10 minutes after I shut it off. However, last night when I got home, I shut the truck off and the radio stayed on.......its never done that before. It shut off after I removed the key from the ignition......was just strange, like I said its never done that before.

    Ah the joys of owning a 6 year old Ford......hate to say it, but our 9 year old Chevy has less quirks.
  • Has anyone changed the lights on the back of the instrument panel on their 98 exlporer or mountaineers? is it difficult? My tach doesnt iluminate. thanks
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Sounds like a sticking radio relay. My 97 Taurus has done that a few times in very cold weather. I'ts never been a permanent problem, though. How are all the other problems coming along, by the way?
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Hmmmm, that explains the radio thing, didn't do it this morning, weird.

    As for the other stuff, haven't had the time or $$$ to have the dealer look at it and see if it is indeed a bad cat causing the smell.

    Other than that its got an exhaust leak which is getting worse......again, haven't had the $$$ to get it fixed.

    Its a pretty good truck.......for a Ford that is.
  • ana5ana5 Posts: 1
    has anyone had any problems with rusting of sidestep bars on their 2001 ford explorer sport.
  • I have a 95 Limited and the 2nd row speakers get this loud obnoxious static sound occasionally. It has done this since day one. I brought into the dealership and they can find nothing wrong. The only way to stop it is to shut off the radio. It sometimes will go away then. Any ideas?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    either in the speaker or in the cable. substitute another speaker, and if the static goes away, make the replacement permanent. with car speakers, if sound is getting there, I generally suspect the speaker is warped or damaged.

    if you replace it, make sure the water shield in the door that covers the speaker isn't munged up... replace with heavy plastic sheeting if it is... or the new one will be useless after a few rains or washes, too.

    if subbing a speaker doesn't do it, clean up the connectors, tighten them a little with a pliers before pushing back on the terminals, and see if that helps. if not, there is probably a connector hosed at the back of the radio, and those are a lot tougher to chase and fix.

    if you are getting noise with the radio OFF, it ain't speaker electrical issues, it's almost certainly a loose bolt on the speaker or in the door.... or... a dropped fastener rattling around in a channel near the speaker area. maybe even a dropped pen or some change in there. there just isn't room enough for a pop can or bottle in a door or rear quarter trim panel any more.
  • I have a 2001 Explorer XLT and I have replace my brake pads 3 time and have only had it for a year. I have replaced my rotars once and they need to be done again. Is there a major proplem with their brakes. I am about ready to scream.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I've had to do mine at 23,000, and about ready for it again in a few thousand miles (at 45,000 now.) that seems typical from comments here. it's better than average on new production... most cars have pretend rotors made from beer can ends, and they need replacement sometimes if you have to bang the brakes to avoid hitting a dog or something. my truck has the towing package, and I still look smooth with only minor grooving of the rotor surface on those oversized jobs.
  • Hi, I am new here because I am looking for others with problems with the Explorer. From day one, I have had problems with the advance trac, alarm, "brain failure", external heat sensor, radio/cd player, mildew smell in A/C, etc. Of most concern is that my 50 day old car skids down my concrete driveway when I back up. I live on a moderate hill. My car also cannot be backed up the driveway. It simply skids. No other car I have owned has done this. Ford upgraded the tires and replaced the front brake calipers in a guess as to the cause. That failing to solve the problem, they say it is simply gravity and my driveway with a heavy car as the problem. I disagree. Could it be an electronic stability control failure? Does anyone have any experience with this? Thanks.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    That must be one heck of a grade you have there with your driveway if an AWD vehicle can't make it without slipping. How steep IS it?

    tidester, host
  • The Ford Engineer says the grade is 18%...but, I am sure he measured at a tiny portion that I do not use. I am looking for an impartial engineer to give me an accurate grade, but, I am guessing it is not more than 7%, if that. Word in the Ford service bay is that my driveway is not that steep (which is true). Both the service and sales managers stand behind me, but, are unable to move Ford to return my money. My Jeep Grand Cherokee, my neighbors Ford Explorer, and my friend's Expedition have no problems going up or down the driveway.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I am looking for an impartial engineer to give me an accurate grade...

    Actually, you can measure it yourself. All it takes is a glass of water, a magic marker, a ruler and calculator. If you'd like to try that drop me an email and I'll be happy to give you the step by step procedure.

    tidester, host
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    You know, I've never put a set of brakes on any of my Explorers (4 of them) inside of 36,000 miles, so I'm amazed at your problem, and can only explain it by your driving habits, or a serious malfunction in the release valve of your hydraulic system. But your dealer should be able to detect that. It's definitely NOT normal for this car.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Good for you! And, BTW, grants you permission to turn off your CAPS LOCK! ;-)

    tidester, host
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Well, somewhere between 36,000 and 163,000 miles, is probably where you need to replace brake pads, I guess.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    "Both the service and sales managers stand behind me, but, are unable to move Ford to return my money."

    Can you explain that? Are you saying you're trying to get a refund on the car?
  • wijoco...yes, I am trying to get a refund on the car. The car was brand new 56 days ago and has spent 19 days in the shop for multiple problems, some of which have been corrected. They cannot find the cause for the skidding in reverse or the locking wheels which occurred in the they feel it must be my driveway. Thank goodness I don't live in San Francisco...although I would like to drive there, but, no longer have confidence in the safety of this car.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I basically bragged my 2K up so much the guy in the cube across from me traded in his 95 on one out of an executive program lease. got several 96 owners on the floor with no issues, and one 99 owner happy as a clam, although the early half of this thread seems to mutter constantly about the 95s and 99s for build and tranny issues, particularly when coupled with the "hot" 4-liter engine that had too much plastic in the top of the heads. 1996 and 2000 have been acclaimed excellent overall in the top half or so of this thread by many owners.

    the engine issues were fixed for good in 2000.

    as with any car, your experience may vary. short story is, you maintain an exploder well, it doesn't mistreat you.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I don't have occasion to back up a steep grade, but in the first months I had my 2000, I did do a drive off a well-raised farm road and reverse back off the dewy grass onto the gravel to turn around. no slippage, no issues, not a problem at all. just put it in reverse and used just enough gas pedal to make it happen. that's how AWD ought to work. the angle was something close to 25 degrees. my passengers had fits ;)

    I also had a chance to drive one of everything in the ford suv line in 2001 at one of the "no boundaries experience" hoorahs here, with side angles of 45% and an uphill of 30 degrees, and they all behaved fine in 2WD or AWD... never shifted anything to locked 4WD because the dirt was dry.

    if you have a model with 4WD/2WD switchable only, not the optional axle with AWD/4WD, I bet you were in 2wd mode and you don't have the limited-slip axle in your truck. try the backups both ways with 4WD on, but don't forget to turn it off before tooling down the level road.

    you still have something wrong, and once it gets fixed right, or you trade over to an AWD drivetrain, it should serve you well. good luck.

    and hey, folks, IMHO there is no reason to buy a vehicle without limited slip axles. maybe you can't burn out from the stop sign, but you will pull out from a sand monster if you get into one.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Have an appointment next week to take it to the dealer about the rotten egg smell that is persisting despite trying different gas, additives, fuel cleaners, and just about anything else I could think of.....besides a stick of dynamite.

    I have yet to get the truck winterized, we've been down to 6 degrees, started right up, no muss no fuss. Will be interesting to see what it does at -20. I really do need to get the engine heaters put on, will save wear and tear on the truck.

    Averaging 16 to 17 mpg mixed driving and some idling, not too shabby out of a V8.

    The dealer did mention that the truck might be running rich, but I kind of doubt it since it gets excellent fuel economy. I can get 22 to 23 mpg on the highway doing 59 mph.....that don't seem like a rich running engine to me.
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