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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • NVBANKER, thank you for the feedback. I have never towed with it. I'll make sure they do the power flush.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I have started to experience in this fine cold winter ( ) an occasional "dud start" on my exploder. I do hear the fuel pump running up when I turn the key to RUN until the pinball machine stops flashing on the dash and the blower motor starts to run... but occasionally crank without the engine catching.

    when this happens, turning it all off, counting to five, and repeating usually gets me started.

    so it could be happening for once to me. I figure on getting a relay some time before I die and see if the issue goes away. I had pegged it for fuel from a particular gas station for a while, but cutting them off the list didn't do it.

    recently switched to Mac, so haven't installed the Ford manual CD onto my remaining WinSlows machine for the locations. but the printed electrical manual should identify the location. if you have neither, ask the parts counter guy at the dealership where it is. I've found mine to be muy bueno helpful.
  • I have the same problem in my 1997 Exploder. No problem with the initial cold start, but if I stop and turn off the engine it occasionaly refuses to restart for a few minutes. Only happens in very cold weather. Just replaced the battery, and the starter and alternator are fine. Really pisses me off, maybe I will have them check the fuel pump relay. On to other matters....

    Timesaver, I think a 1999 with 47K miles (not 470K) is a good deal at $12,900. Over the last 3 years, I have put 30K miles on my 1997 Exploder (total now 64K) and haven't had any major problems. Though I would stay away from one that has done major towing...

    However, I would highly recommend the extended warranty. I overpaid for mine (almost $1500 for a 6 yr/60K/bumper2bumper) but so far the ins. co has paid $1000 for a number of rather minor repairs including the infamous thermostat replacement, an a/c fix and an alignment issue. I would be surprised if I don't get the remaining $500 + interest back before it expires, but in any case well worth the peace of mind. BTW, I would get a 3rd party one if you can, as I find my local mechanic does a far better job (for less money) than the dealer.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I would not get a third party extended warranty. Check out the Warranty board for some nightmare stories about third party warranties. If you think you need an extended warranty for a vehicle, don't buy the vehicle.

    /WebX?ed_displayMakeModelRelatedD- iscussions@@.ee9203c!conflimit=Finance%252C- %2520Warranty%2520%2526%2520Insurance&make=CATS&model=War- ranties
  • pjgirlpjgirl Posts: 1
    I had the same problem, display not lighting. Found out as you did it was not cost effective to replace or hardly to fix. Then I searched for Ford radio repair, on the net. hmmmmmmm seems we are keeping two sites in business. I chose the one that cost $100. I believe it was at 1-800-838-3394, but check them out for yourself. My husb talked to them, you mail it in and they give you a tracking number. They are quick, and replace that entire board so it doesn't do it again. The board goes bad on the radios. There were two companies on the search I did for a repair place. One charged $100. the other was $150, think they charged for shipping or something. You can remove the radio easily with a $5. tool from pepboys, but read your the info at the repair site, something has to be done to get it to get it to acknowledge the radio again, when it is re-installed. good luck, PJ
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    guaranteed. there's a dotcom engineer keeping the heat on through a website in which he sells the details on how to fix it yourself for a suggested donation of $20 that has been mentioned often (and several times by me as well) on this very thread. I had to go into mine three times to find all the scuzzy solder joints, but it's been working almost a year with no issues since the fixes.

    because of the detail information from that source, I am not going to spill the beans and omit something. I will tell you that all the through-board connections on the power board need to be redone, all the diode and SM resistor connections need to be redone on the power board, and there will likely also be a number of funky solder joints on the display board that comes off with the radio's front.

    I also redid all the joints to the display VF screen to the display board, as several of them looked marginal.

    after that was all done, it worked fine. until it was ALL done, the display was dark.

    search back a few hundred messages using some sort of search string like "ford radio" or "radio display" and you should get links to the website. it if looks like things you've done in the past, you can fix it if you have 97/3 silver solder or better and a fine tip on a low-wattage soldering iron (like 10 or 17 watts.) a lighted magnifier also helps big time.

    otherwise, pay somebody else. you can't use big tools like you'd use for copper roofing on this job.
  • I too had a `99 Explorer with the 5-speed auto tranny that developed this same problem at 60k miles. After the dealer plowed over it, the tech told me the tranny was creating too much pressure and in turn was blowing the seals. He rebuilt the tranny and the problem cleared up, but he told me this would happen again over time. Thank goodness we opted for the Ford ESP extended warranty.
  • Question for anyone that has an '02-'04 Eddie Bauer Explorer: are the outside mirror positions supposed to be "memorized" along with the seat and pedal positions??? We just bought an '02 Eddie Bauer, and the mirrors don't move when we hit the memory seat settings.

    Thanks in advance!!!

    P.S. I searched all the forums for this, checked the TSBs, and even RTFM. No joy.

    P.P.S., some posts here have mentioned a separate '02 Explorer forum, but I can't find one. Am I just dense???
  • Just bought an '02 Eddie Bauer Explorer. It has a case of mildew odor in the A/C system. Is this a common problem on '02+ Explorers? Anybody had any luck getting their dealer to clean it under warranty?

    I've done the deodorizing before on a couple of Nissans, so I can do it myself if I have to. Just don't want to go through the joy of getting the evaporator box open if I can get the dealer to do it.

    Thanks in advance!!!
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    No, the new Explorers DO NOT have memory mirrors. And from the looks of things on these boards, be thankful that you don't. Quite simply, they are a programing nightmare, and half the time your settings won't work without software updates and such.
    The A/C odor can happen to any car. It just depends on the type of use that the A/C gets. Once you get it deoderized, then try and get into the habbit of turning off the A/C (but leave the blower on) no less than 5 minutes away from home. It should still blow cool for 3 of those minutes, but this will help dry out the Evap. This has solved all of the issues I had with the A/C odors in my vehicles. Enjoy your new truck!
  • wgraferwgrafer Posts: 592
    After some heavy S.FL rains this weekend my driver's side headlight looked weird -- all fogged up with moisture and about 1/4" of water in the bottom. The other one is perfectly clear. As the day goes by the heat seems to dry it out. I also notice when I wash the vehicle the same headlight gets fogged. Has anyone else had this happen? Since I'm out of warranty,is there an easy inexpensive fix that doesn't involve a trip to the dealer?
  • wgraferwgrafer Posts: 592
    The tops of the rear black plastic trim pieces on either side of the rear window on my '02 XLT are both fading and discoloring at the top. Someone told me to just wax or compound them, but it does no good. The tops of the same kind of black plastic trim between the front and rear doors are all having the same problem. I thought mine was just getting old until i parked next to a friend's '03 Mountaineer and we discovered his had the exact same problems! Has anyone else noticed this or discovered a solution?
  • I'm going to be purchasing new shocks for my 98 4wd Explorer. Its between the Bilstein shocks and the Edlebrock shocks. The diference in price between them is $5. Has anyone installed either of these on thier Explorers? If so how good are they adn which is better if someone has used both brands?

    Also some how my driverside foglight got filled with water and is now destroyed. I need to replace it but not sure where to go to buy a replacement OEM one. I'm trying not to go back to the dealer, I've already paid about $700 for other various repairs in the past month and dont need another big bill. If I can replace the fog light myself I'd rather just do that. Any stores or websites I can visit to get the foglight?
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    I puchased Edelbrock shocks for our (mostly my wifes :-) 2000 Explorer. I put them on about 10,000 miles ago. The imeadiate difference is incredible, though the tough bumps and holes still get through to you. It's the smaller bumps and general pavement uneveness that you no longer feel. i.e. the truck will no longer bound all over the road with every change in road contour. I think you will be happy with either brand though. I have heard good things about both brands you are looking at.

    Foglight: Have to go to the dealer for that :-(
    Or you could try E Bay?
    Or how about an auto salvage yard?

    Look really close at your headlight and see if you can find a crack or something that would let the water in. If you find the source of inlet, then take out the headlight assy and drain out the water. Let it sit in the sun for a while and dry out.

    What I did to try and fix this little problem was take glue (one that dries clear) and cover the crack. So far this has worked for about a year now. However the particular fixture keeps getting a new crack every so often. Anyway, give this a quick try. Couldn't hurt.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I've had memory mirrors on my Lincolns since 1990 - never had an issue. Now, I hear, the units on the Aviators have been a problem, but I think it's isolated to that particular subcomponent. Nonetheless, the Explorers don't have that feature.
  • Thanks for the info. The FL isnt really of that much importance to me so I will just wait awhile to replace it.

    I am tired of the back end bouncing around going over normal stuff forget about rough patches. I do like the look of the Edelbrocks over the Bilsteins.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    The active discussions besides this one include:

    Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer


    Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer: Prices Paid & Buying Experience

    There's more in the archives that you can find with the search tool on the left, but I don't see one off-hand that dealt exclusively with '02 models.

    Steve, Host
  • Hey all ... i just got a 2002 explorer about 6 months ago and about 3 weeks ago I heard major noises in the front end of the car and slightly in the back. now Im not sure if it is shocks, struts, etc. But one thing is for sure it sounds like a creaking old mattress. And I also hear a hissing sound coming from the engine when the car is switching between gears. It is almost like a spraying noise to explain but Im sure someone out there has heard this and maybe can shed some light on my problems...

    Thank you,
  • gregb5gregb5 Posts: 82
    For your headlight water problem:
    If the above solution does not work for you take the headlamp out and drill a small hole in the bottom to allow the water to drain. It'll save you the cost of a new lamp.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    My wife has 31,000 miles on her 02 Mounty so far, we bought it new the week they first came out back in 01 - it was on the Patio of the dealership. The longer we drive it, the better we like it. Only repair in 2.6 years has been a water pump pully that squeaked. It's quiet as a Rolls Royce (for anybody who was around in 1966, they'll get that comment...). Do you know if yours has ever been bent before you bought it?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,786
    i don't like your 'handle', but having an '02 also, there is some kind of tsb, or whatever, to replace the sway bar bushings. had mine done, and haven't had the creaky suspension noise since.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • gregb5gregb5 Posts: 82
    EXPLORERX4 is correct. The creaking in the front is likely the sway bar bushings. Ford replaced mine twice. The second set has been quiet. Check into that.
    Don't know what might be happening in back.
  • Thanks for the info on the memory and mirrors, everyone. (Apologies to Bob Hope.)

    Steve, I'm glad I've found the correct forums.

    We are very impressed with this '02 Explorer.Previous SUVs: 89 Isuzu Trooper, 91 Toyota Landcruiser, 94 Toyota Landcruiser, '00 Eddie Bauer Expedition, '01 Isuzu Trooper. We did a ton of research, and Explorer really fit the bill for us. It's the perfect size, and the fold-flat rear seat really sold us.

    As for the odor, I've been through this with other cars before, and just wanted to know if this was common. If so, it'll make it a little easier to try to get it deodorized under warranty.

    See ya' around the forums.
  • We need a second key for the '02 we just bought. Dealer quoted us $110 (includes the blank and the programming). I'd heard that these "chip" keys were steep, but wasn't expecting that. I searched online and on e-bay, but nobody carries the blanks. I found a remote, and I know how to reprogram that, but no joy on the key.

    Anyone know of any alternatives other than the (gulp) dealer?
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    I saw a guy on Ebay that was selling the blanks and programming, but I remember him saying that if you didn't have 2 keys already then the dealer would have to program the new key. I think he was getting like $10 for the blank.
  • well....i think im going to sell it! The car would suddenly "jerk" driving along on the highway. I took it in to the dealer and said one of the bands in the transmission was frozen and couldnt be adjusted and that i needed a new transmission!!. I have 29,000 miles on it and they are all easy highway miles driven by my wife. They are going to install a remanufactured unit and the whole repair is under warranty but i have lost my confidence in this vehicle. I have owned lincolns and mercury's exclusively by my wife and I including many sables, a couple of villagers and currently i have the LS...but i think this trans problem has me convinced to finally leave the ford line-up. We are thinking of trading it in for a subaru outback H-6..this will be our first japanese car but reliability is paramount to us over most other variables. The shame of it all is that we loved the ride and performance of the mountaineer but the constant litle failures were awful. The PCM had to be reprogrammed twice. Sway bushings changed twice. Clunking front drive shaft upon deacceloration is a constant annoyance. Many more minor rattles and squeaks. I really want to trade in for a 2004 awd V8 in hopes that these problems have been solved but its wifes car and she is so freaked out about the transmission going that she wants to run away from ford products forever. Thank god this happened 6000 miles before warranty end...i could only imagine the cost of this repair. Everybody happy with 2004's?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,786
    the blank may not be an oem key.
    we had to get a new one back when we had a taurus, a few years ago. the story goes, my wife had to visit the facilities at a park. when she sat down, the keys fell out of her sweathshirt into the toilet. she stood up up retrieve them, but it was an automatic toilet. Whoosh they were gone!
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    When it comes to making the wife happy I totally understand your situation. However, if you are still a Ford fan then try to explain to the wife that the 2002 Explorer and Mountaineer were first year models. There is always the risk in buying a first year model with design flaws and the like. You could also reasure her that there have been many programming updates for the transmission (though I think yours going out is the result of a defect from the factory). As for the sway bar bushings, I believe the latest update with those has fixed the bumping issue. At least that is what I have seen on these boards. Anyway, just some thoughts here. You always want to be comfortable with what you are driving, and if to be comfortable that means switching to Subaru, then all the more power to ya :)
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Sorry about your Mountaineer. It's a shame Ford can't seem to get a grip on quality control because the new Explorer/Mountaineer are really great vehicles. But if you've had continual problems with it, then you'll likely continue tohave problems throughout its lifespan. Sometimes the best thing is to get rid of it. Hope your next SUV is better to you, you're certainly in line for some good luck!
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Mine seems to have a weird vibration at 65-70 mph, under 65 its gone, over 70 its gone, take it out of o/d it goes away, put it in neutral it goes away, let off the gas it goes away. Of course none of those solutions make driving practical.

    My truck has about 2500 miles on it, so far the only real quirk it has besides the transmission forgets what its doing sometimes and hesitates or slips a little.

    I just hope that the vibration isn't the dreaded driveline vibration I keep hearing about from 02 Explorer owners.

    BTW, I really do like my truck, very nice to drive, just wish that loud vibration would quit it, thankfully its more intermittant than anything.
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