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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Is your vibration like a rapid thumping feeling that shakes the whole truck? Or is it more like a buzzing or humming?
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Its a loud humming noise, almost sounds like its running 4WD but I know it isn't (dry pavement, straight, flat road).
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Huh, almost sounds like you have the bad rear axle problem that has been and still is a plague with these new Explorers. Does the sound seem to be coming from the rear? If not I would say that you either have exhaust resonance (or the exhaust system contacting something under your truck), or an out of balance driveshaft. Couple more questions for you. Does the sound come on suddenly or gradually? Does it stay at the same volume while you are in that 65-70mph range? Has it done it since you purchased it? Has it gotten worse if it has?
    I would say that if it gets worse, take to the dealer (I know, what a pain) and have them look things over. If your rear axle is making the noise, then have them hold off for a month as there is a new revised part to fix that problem about a month away. What a bummer though, it frustrates me when loyal Ford owners get their loyalty tested by such events/issues. Heres hoping that they are able to fix it and get you back on the road for 100,000+ trouble free miles:)
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    It sounds like its coming from near the front of the truck, like right below the front seats. It comes on pretty suddenly around the time I hit 65 and stays the same volume until I cross 70 and then it goes away.

    It didn't do it when I bought it, started this about 1000 miles ago. Its doing it more frequently these days. I'm ignoring it for the moment to see if it keeps getting worse.

    I still like my truck, its just a quirk like a lot of new vehicles have.
  • It's got all the symptoms of an out of balance driveshaft, except for the issue of "going away when you take it out of overdrive". Driveshaft rotation speed is a direct function of the speed of the car... not the gears or the transmission or engine speed. Not sure why going out of overdrive at the same indicated speed would cause the problem to stop.

    If the tech at the dealer knows what he's doing, it's a pretty easy job to use the stick-on weights to balance it out.

    Also, if you take it to the dealer, be SURE it can be reproduced easily. Nothing worse than the dreaded "could not reproduce" on the service ticket at the end of the day!
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    That is SO true!
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    I'm waiting for it to get worse, if it stays the same and is not easily reproduced, I'll learn to turn up the stereo, jump up to 75-80, and ignore it. There is NOTHING I hate more than wasting my time at the dealer and then getting a *cannot duplicate*.

    Nope, been there, done that, even a couple times when I *KNEW* they were lying and I showed them the problem, they still pretended not to notice. How the heck do you not notice a major brake pull?? Read: Step on the brakes, steering wheel yanked out of hands and truck makes a mad left. (this was on a 94 Mazda Navajo) I'll never know, but I still glare at the service manager from the Mazda dealer whenever I see him.

    My Explorer pulled its first trailer today and did pretty good, the trailer was horrible though, borrowed snowmobile trailer. Normally we use our big flatbed trailer to haul snowmobiles on, BUT, hubby wrecked his V10 Ram yesterday and the Explorer cannot pull that big flatbed trailer.
  • I posted the saga about the lemmon law return of my '03 Explorer and I constantly see posts making excuses for Ford and dangling the carrot for the fix of the balance of the drive shaft issue (this is what causes the harmonic/whine/hum in the cabin specific to 60ish to 70ish). I was told there would be a fix in December of '03. Well, gues what?

    NO ONE every apologized for selling me a lemmon. No one apologized when they REFUSED to try and fix my car a fourth time. Ford Corporate mishandled the reutrn of the vehicle and displayed ZERO professionalism during the whole process.

    My wife and I tried to do the right thing by buying the lesser expensive American made car. Ford let us down on all fronts.

    If your '03 or '04 Explorer is humming or whining, make them fix it and don't believe the fix carrot. OR make them buy it back. We did.

  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    For your next car.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,858
    what are you going to get next?
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • for your next demonstration of criticism
  • My wife and I pick up Honda Pilot in about an hour from now. Again, a little history. My wife and I had decided to buy the lesser expensive vehicle. The Ford was $10K cheaper than the Pilot when we looked back in August of '03. We really didn't want to spend that much, but in our case we got much less than we paid for.

    I'm not expecting the Pilot to be perfect, I've scoured the forums. The leather appears to sag prematurely, it's got some other defects that appear to be consistent, but it like the new Explorer is a second year model.

    My frustration with what happened with our Explorer comes from two sources; one, the quality of the car and two, the complete mishandling of the entire situation by the dealership and corporate.

    Thanks for asking.

    Disclaimer: Grammar and spelling not checked. It's a forum about cars. Not an essay submitted for grading.
  • I'm considering an explorer. Also envoy, trailblazer, durango, pilot, 4 runner, endeavor et al. Are those of you who bought the explorer happy with your choice? Or do you wish you had bought something else?
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    I recently purchased a 2004 Explorer XLS Sport V6/Control trac. I like the truck, its not without quirks and small annoyances, but over all very nice. Lots of power, handles great, fuel economy is nice, and it was a great value for the money.

    I traded in a 1997 Explorer Limited V8/AWD, it was a gas hog, seemed to lack power, handled horribly, I was never really thrilled with it. It was a pretty good truck until it hit 55k or so, then it decided to start falling apart, then again, I think age hurt it more than anything.
  • That's what concerns me. It fell apart after 55k. That doesn't seem to be very comforting. People have told me 4runners run a lot longer before they start showing age and having problems. Envoys seem to have electrical problems. I've been impressed with the value of mitsubishis new endeavor. But have questions about the company. Also its all wheel drive. Which system is better, I don't know.
  • Brian -

    Don't want to rewrite my novels :-) Please read my posts 2396 and 2320. Then buy anything but the Ford.

    The enticing thing about the Ford's right now is the extremely low price that you can get one for. When we added our employee discounts, the Ford was $10K less than the Pilot. Today it would be more like $13K less. That's hard not to take into consideration. I admit that everyone will not have the same experience that I did, but MANY will.

    IMHO, you are taking two risks. One, vehicle quality and two trying to work with Ford in the event there is a serious problem.

    Within the last 24 hours, I had a cubemate ask me for the "how to return a lemon in North Carolina" synopsis. Three guesses for what kind of car?

    As I've stated before, the '03 Explorer was my 3rd FMC vehicle. All related experiences to my first FMC vehicle were apathetic at best. It only got worse from there. I kinda feel stupid buying three cars from them, but my patriotism and former allegiance to the blue oval was hard to say goodbye to.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Keep in mind it was a 7 year old truck, miles aside, age is usually what kills a vehicle in Alaska. Lots of idling time, rough roads, and it was city driven (by prev owner) for the first 41k of its life. I'm guessing that contributed to its demise. I traded it in at the Ford dealer and they resold it, so its out there somewhere still kicking around. I just didn't want to drop money into a 7 year old truck when the deals on the new ones were so good.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,858
    i live in the northeast. there are zillions of explorers around here, including a lot of old ones. it's not a perfect vehicle, i have the vibro at 65 mph. i try to drive either slower or faster.
    it just has some many great features and is so practical, that i think it is the best out there, overall. i have an '02 loaded eddie bauer version.
    not to dis the pilot, but i have noticed, just from my own observations, on snowy days, if the pilot drivers show up at all, they leave early.
    could be coincidence, maybe your experience is too.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Generally, with RWD driveline vibrations, if throttle position doesn't matter, it is a "rotating mass" problem like an out of balance driveshaft or worn yoke bushing. If throttle position does matter, it more likely is a differential bearing problem. A lot of the new Explorer differentials have been replaced/rebuilt. The problem unfortunately isn't just isolated to the driveshaft.
    Sure is depressing that they can't get their you-know-what together.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Still pushing around a 94 Explorer with 120,000 miles on the clock - and it runs very well, is totally dependable, and has no real issues. I am on my 3rd Mountaineer, and have ordered a 4th - all of them from perfect to extremely satisfying. No, I don't work for Ford, or own stock. I'm just very satisfied.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,650
    Other than the quirks I've talked about here I love my Explorer. Just turned 3000 miles today, I've had it 1 month 2 days. Very handy truck, hauled a pickup tailgate in it today WITH the kids sitting on the back seat.

    Would definatly buy another Explorer, this one is #3, well, more or less, had a 1994 Mazda Navajo (Explorer Sport), a 1997 Explorer Limited, and now this 2004 Explorer XLS Sport.
  • jrc346jrc346 Posts: 337
    Sometimes I wonder. I will post the story that I have posted many times before (I hope those that have been on this board as long as I have don't mind :-P) I have owned 3 Explorers. I buy them because they are good trucks. Yeah I have had a few problems, but nothing really expensive, and never one thing after another.
    1996 Explorer Sport
    *Needed Fuel Pump @ 90,000 miles
    *91,000 miles needed new front shocks
    2000 Explorer XLT (was lease, tuned in @ 30,000)
    *Timing chain tensioner (covered under recall)
    2000 Explorer Limited ((Currently Own)@ 61,000 Mi)
    No rattles, and even slightly more quiet than my Expy.
    *Timing chain tensioner @31,000 (covered/recall)
    *Thermostat @ 40,000
    *Brakes (all 4) @45,000
    *Ball Joints (Lower) @ 51,000
    *2 Front Edelbrock shocks @ 48,000(just to soften up the ride)

    Thats is, not to bad of a list.
    My Expedition on the other hand has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned (incl. 5 Honda Accords), knock on plood)
    Currently has 96,000 miles on it and these are the repairs that have been done.
    *@65,000 Battery and Alternator (Shorted Bat= Melted Alt)
    *@90,000 first brake job

    So my Ford Experiences have been more like First On Race Day than Fix Or Repair Daily. Surely 4 good vehicles in a row has to be more than just luck?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    and I just replaced the battery. wasn't dead yet but acted like one cell didn't have much power left in it, so I took care of it before it stranded me. that's IT for failures, period, on mine.

    outside of the normal wear and tear items (oil, filters, lube, one set of front brake pads, wipers, fluids, outside bulbs were shotgunned when a marker light went out) I have not had one issue with it. this HAS been a year for fuel-line icing up here, so I've had some four-crank no-starts that cleared up right now with a bottle of isopropyl fuel de-icer. the AWD has been awesome, and the replacement General tires from the "customer satisfaction initiative" have a real good grip, whereas the original => KILLER TIRES! tm <= Ford decided to get off the road on their own dime were not real good in any category of performance.

    I liked the way the 2002s all handled and rode as well when I went to a No Boundaries Expedition day a couple years ago and drove 'em all on an imitation backcountry course.

    good truck. tows real well up to the 3000 pounds I have had on it. would get a new exploder or mountie at the drop of an insurance check if somebody slid through an intersection and totalled me out.
  • Explorerx4 -

    I'm trying to find the words to say this nicely but I can't. Your proposing that the driver alters his or her driving to accommodate (sp?) a defect in the vehicle that one has plunked down tens of thousands of dollars for? Not trying to be adversarial here, but c'mon.

    Can you help me understand the context of Pilot owners showing up and leaving early:? I might have missed something.

    PS - Got the Pilot on Friday. It now has 500 vibration free, silent miles on it.
  • I just purchased a '02 MM and noticed that going over speed bumps makes my front end bounce. I also get a lot of side-to-side swaying going over bumps, driveway entrances, etc. I have 40k miles. Is this a common attribute of the MM? Is there a way to stiffen the suspension so it doesn't rock so much? What about new shocks? Would this help and if so which ones are recommended?
  • gregb5gregb5 Posts: 82
    The traits you describe will not be changed significantly with new shocks. They are low speed maneuvers where the springs have more effect, as well as center of gravity, etc. Shocks dampen the movement of the springs when at speed and won't do much on driveway bumps.

    If you choose to replace them there are several good brands out there: Edelbrock, Bilstein, KYB, etc.

    Good Luck
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 11,858
    i bought a 1st year model, which was a complete redesign, so i am not suprised there are some bugs. pretty minor, considering how great everything else is.

    what i meant about the pilots i see at work is that i guess their owners don't have much confidence when the weather gets bad. i think you figured that one out on your own. might not be the vehicle. we have plenty of people that don't come to work when it snows, but then if driving in a snow storm bothers you that much, why buy a pilot? buy an accord.

    hhaddock - check your tire pressures. a tire with tall sidwalls and low pressure can flex a lot.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • wifemmwifemm Posts: 16
    Can someone tell me what is the normal idle rpm for a 02 AWD 4.0L Mountaineer/Explorer?

    I just put in a K&N hi-flow panel air filter, the idle is about 750-800, just want to check if this is normal, I forgot to check it before replacement.

    Immediate impression is the throttle response is better, although I did not get on the highway yet.....thanks.
  • dpfksdpfks Posts: 2
    I'm contemplating going to an All Wheel version of the Explorer...I'm presently driving a 4X4. I only use 4X4 for snow/ice/poor highway conditions. Anyone have experience with both types under this type of use?
  • dpfksdpfks Posts: 2
    I've been dealing with chronic problems with check engine light. We've replaced the air flow sensor twice. The computer message says that the fuel is running lean. Ford Service says the only other thing it may be is a failing fuel pump, but don't want to change it out until we know for sure. Any suggestions?
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