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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • This is my first time posting. Didn't think we would buy a Ford Explorer, but ended up with a good deal. Got a '99 2WD with 18K on it, and a good price for our trade-in. I took it to get our first oil change (20K). The guy there said the coolant looked really dark for 20K. The scheduled maintenance for the coolant is supposed to be at 42K. He suggested we take it in to the dealership. Does anyone know about this problem and if there is any kind of recall related to this? Also, to respond to any earlier message about the extended warranty, we insisted on the 75K premium warranty. The salesman hemmed and hawed but they definitely can haggle and it's not a fixed number. He did quote something like $1500 and that the finance guys were firm, but we said he could find a way to work with the numbers. We got it down to $1000, though I think they were creative with the combination of our trade-in and the base price. Thanks for any feedback.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Check out the '02 Ford Explorer V8 4WD here!




  • After using my cruise control on my 99XLT V8, my gas pedal seems to stick when begining to depress it. This has happened before but the sticking went away. Now it has been sticking for 2 weeks. Did I hear about a recall on this or has anyone else had this? Thanks, Jim
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    I am about ready to take mine in. I have a 98 V8 AWD with the sticking problem but not just after I use the cruise. I have sprayed some WD-40 on the throttle flap shaft??? I dont know what you call it. It seemed to fix it for a while.
  • bioman3bioman3 Posts: 37
    This recall was on the Edmunds Maintenance web site for the Explorer. You could check with your dealer to see if your Explorers are part of this recall.

    Nature of Defect:
    Dates Manufactured: MAY 1996 to MAR 1999
    Number of Vehicles Affected: 917000
    Date Owners Notified On N/A

    Vehicle: 1999 Ford Explorer
    Defect Description:
    Vehicle Description: Certain 1997-1999 RHD Explorer equipped with 4.0L OHV/SOHC engines and cruise control built from May 29, 1996 through March 4, 1999; 1998-1999 Explorer/Mountaineers equipped with 4.0L OHV/SOHC or 5.0L engines or 1998-1999 Rangers equipped with 2.5L, 3.0L FFV/EFI or 4.0L engines and cruise control built from January 5, 1998 through March 4, 1999; 1998-1999 Mustangs equipped with 3.8L, 4.6L 2-valve or 4-valve engines and cruise control built from March 2, 1998 through March 4, 1999; 1999 F250/F350/F450/F550 (over 8,500 lbs.) trucks equipped with 5.4L or 6.8L engines and speed control built from March 2, 1998 through March 4, 1999; and 1999 F-53 stripped chassis equipped with 5.4L or 6.8L engines and cruise control built from March 2, 1998 through March 4, 1999. Also included in this campaign are 1998-1999 Mazda B-series trucks (B2500, B3000 and B4000) equipped with cruise control and built from January 1998 through March 4, 1999. A cruise control cable can interfere with the speed control servo pulley and not allow the throttle to return to idle when disengaging the cruise control.

    Consequence of Defect:
    If the cruise control is used and this condition is present, a stuck throttle could result, which could potentially result in a crash.

    Corrective Action:
    Dealers will replace the cruise control cables. At the present time, the replacement cables are not available. Customers are being advised NOT TO USE the cruise control system until a replacement can be made.
  • Anyone have any idea why mileage varies in a vehicle? My 2000 XLS with the 4.0 OHV gets filled with Hess 87 Octane all the time. While I may use a different station, I am sure it is the same gas as the Hess Refinery is in our town. Anyhow...I drive the truck pretty much the same way all the time, and some tanks are as low as 14.0 mpg, some as high as 17.5 (on the usual...I think I did almost 20 on a trip once). Any thoughts?
  • rysterryster Posts: 565

    My '00 XLS with the 4.0L OHV engine is the same way. My mileage varies from 13-19.

    Biggest factors seem to be outside temperature (the colder it gets the lower the mileage; summer months I get the best mileage), and the fact that when filling up Explorers/Mountaineers they tend to automatically cut-off 4 gallons early. Therefore it is hard to tell exactly how full the tank is at any given fill-up. This can affect mpg calculations as much as 4mpg. The best thing to do would be to totally fill the truck, as much as you can, at one fill-up and run it down . Then do the same on the next fill-up and calculate the mileage. This would ensure you are getting a fairly accurate reading on a completely full tank.

    15-17 seems to be average for these vehicles. I always run 87 octane, too.
  • Let us know how you make out with that bad pedal. That would be good if it were covered under the recall. Jim
  • Message # 1126 - posted by eschafenacker - did you ever find source of problem. I have same problem with my 99 Mountaineer. I've heard it is fairly common and Ford/Mercury has tried to avoid resolving. Would appreciate your comments.
  • smily1smily1 Posts: 104
    I have already had my cruise cable replaced under warranty but have not asked the dealer yet about the gas pedal. I have an extended warranty with a $50 co-pay. I will call them and find out if this is something that should have been taken care of a long time ago. If not then I will wait for other little things to go wrong with my truck so I dont have to pay $50 for every little repair.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I have a 96 Explorer V8 with 121,000 miles on it. Outside of the tires cupping and replacing the throttle body plate at 42,000 miles, the car has been extremely reliable. The steering wheel began sticking at about 95,000 miles. It was only intermittent. Now it does it every time. What I mean by sticking is, as you go to turn the steering wheel the wheel stops and you have to give it an extra effort to get it to continue turning. Once you get beyond this "sticking" point it turns with no problem. It doesn't seem to hurt the performance of the vehicle but it is more a nuisance than anything else. I had it checked out by an independent garage (fluids, belt, etc.) and they saw nothing wrong. the only other thing is the steering rack. Could this be the problem? has anyone else had this problem? may consider getting this repaired since I will keep the vehicle as long as it lasts. The engine says it wants to go another 5 years.

    Thanks for any help.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Sounds like a rack problem to me and it sounds like something that you should take care of right away for safety's sake. It's odd that your garage couldn't find a problem.

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  • 1) I noticed the edmunds maintenance guide says you should have the fuel filter replaced every 10000 or 20000 miles. The Ford guide makes no mention of it. Anybody change theirs?

    2) Both front seat belts in my truck recoil when I get out (or a passenger) pretty much whenever they feel like it. Otherwise they lie limp and invariably I shut the door on them. Anybody else with this problem?

    3) Transmission service...many different thoughts here. Ford book says 30000 miles. Local dealer says they can just look at the fluid and see if it needs doing rather than automatically servicing at 30000. I am nearly due for 21000 mile service, and do a lot of driving in mixed traffic. Should I get it done now, truck is 18 months old, I own and want to keep the thing running for a long time. Also, should I go for a total transmission service with fluid, filter, etc. or just a fluid change?

  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    i got a 2000 explorer xls im wondering even though it has a electronic engine componets and fuel injection system i was looking at power max on tv it says it cleans tranny, engine and fuel,system is it true why? this explorer was made bad ive had many problems with the fuel system ford had to replace the catalytic converter after 20000 miles gasket tail pipe etc i change my oil all the time it dont help syntec blend so im wondering what can i do to make it sound like its clean or tune down the sound its a little loud what can i do ???? ps i have yr left on the lease planning to get rid of it jan 2003 would it be worth it? plus i have warranty it has almost 42000 miles on it .
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    does anyone with a 2000 xls know about problems after 40000 miles just wondering im aprroaching 42000 so im wondering what to expect besides church and the movies and work shopping thats all i drive i keep oil changed maintenance is kept up the main reason im asking is that ford which i have found out makes crappy cars and trucks simply so thats all thanks.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    The fuel filter should be replaced when you have a problem, or else at around 30K. Its an easy replacement, but it can get messy.

    The tranny should have the pan dropped, the fluid and filter replaced every year. The dealers give you the BS that they usually just change the fluid, but since to change the fluid you have to take the pan down anyway, change the filter too. It only costs $17 for a filter.

    The stupid maintenance manual also does not address the changing of the power steering fluid, which should be done every 24-36K miles, or if it gets really dark or burning smell is present.

    Don't forget to FLUSH the radiator every other year. It is important to clear out all of the gunk and sediment that collects in the bottom. Also have it pressure tested.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    I was hoping you wouldn't say that. I have to get a bunch of maintenance things done in the next couple of weeks. So I will have them check it out. The garage that looked at it is out of business (owner decided to retire after his partner died). I was upset about that. It's so hard to find good, honest mechanics.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Well, I can't turn a wrench, but it doesn't sound like something you want to ignore too long.

    Small comfort, but you aren't alone with a steering problem:

    cwmoser "Isuzu Trooper" Jan 25, 2002 6:45am

    Good luck.

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  • I find it hard to believe that the dealer is hesitant to do work I request. When the thing was new and I wanted an oil change at 1500 miles, I almost had to have an argument to get them to do it. If I'm paying and it isn't warranty work, I don't see the problem.

    Makes you wonder how much of an interest they have in keeping the car running in good shape.
  • the interior door handles and plastic trim are breaking apart. can't buy new panels $480.00 for driver side at ford and left side unavailable, also can't locate any at a junk yard. would it be possible to use newer year panels(grey interior)? any after market companies? other than this problem it's a great truck i've had since new.
  • Hi Folks. Disclaimer - Let me start out by saying I know next to nothing about car engines!
    Took in our Explorer with 68K miles on Thursday because it was idling really rough and seemed to be "slipping" when I went to accelerate. Going over 60mph felt like I was really pushing the car. After two days the dealer tells me that it wasn't holding compression and that they need to send the heads to the machine shop and replace the head. Is this normal for a car with so few miles. We bought it with 28K three years ago so we have done around 13K a year mainly around town and such. Had an extended warranty that expired last November even though we haven't gone over the 70K miles!! Typical! My main question is this though. We took the car in last July because it started over heating - air conditioning blowing hot air, lights on the dash came on etc. It was also making some funny knocking noises. Service dept. replaced the thermostat and away I went. Well now that it is out of warranty the price is $1790 to fix. After talking to some people more knowledgeable than myself, I am starting to thing that it might be related to the over heating last July and should be covered under the warranty. What are my chances of getting the dealer to see my way of thinking? They claim it's not related because they did a compression test last July and it checked out OK. Is there someone else I should be contacting about this other than the dealer? They claim to have contacted the "warranty guy" and all they can do is give it to me at wholesale rather than retail which will save me 20%. Something smells fishy to me and this just isn't adding up.

    Many thanks in advance for any info anyone might have.

  • zman3zman3 Posts: 857
    I am not going to be a lot of help here, but it is more than plausible that your overheating was related to your head gasket issue. I just had the head gaskets replaced on my 98 Subaru Outback and the only symptom of a problem was engine overheating. The way it was diagnosed was not with an engine compression test, but rather they found hydrocarbons (combustion gasses) in the coolant. I would defer to someone such as mazman on this one, but I am not certain that you would see a loss of compression in the early stages of a head gasket failure. I think the problem probably existed while it was under warranty, but I don't know what your chances are of proving it. Good luck.
  • I wanted to first thank each of you (mazman1, dtownfb and G159) for your input. I appreciate the speed of which I (we) received replies :)

    Sorry that it took me so long to reply back ...

    anywho, would it be safe to assume that if her truck makes such a noise then the linkage has already sustained considerable damage from the prior owner doing that very thing (driving on dry pavement in 4WD) too much? ? ?

    also, I don't recall if she has the 4WD (auto) option on her truck (i'll check tomorrow) but if she does, then from what I read of the previous posts in 'auto' mode it will not lock the front wheels, correct?

    Therefore, if the road surfaces are variable, such as black ice, some snow (wind blown drifts)... etc ... then it would be safe (okay for the truck) to run in 4WD auto?
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    If she has 4WD Auto, tell her to keep it there during rain, snow or icy conditions. Otherwise keep it in the 2wd mode. 4WD Auto will not lock up her wheels, until it is necessary.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    If the damage is done .. no sense crying over spilled milk... Just get it fixed.

    On my 2000 Explorer, the knob on the dash has 3 positions 4WD Auto, 4wd high, and 4wd Low. I leave it in auto, and it never engages 4wd by itself.. even in snow. When I get stuck in snow, I have to turn the knob myself to put it in 4wd mode and lock the differential. I can unlock the diff by taking it out of 4wd high and backing up slowly a few feet.

    On my Expedition, there was an additional knob position that said 2wd. I basically left it there all the time. I manually turned the knob to 4wd high when I was in snow.

    To answer your last point, "yes", but try to avoid making sharp turns in 4wd high mode, as that puts a lot of strain on the linkages. Unless you are in Buffalo, NY, you will do better to be in 2wd.. especially from mpg perspective.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Let me see if I understand. You had an overheating problem last year. You brought it in, and they fixed it by changing the thermostat. Was it fixed? Did the truck run ok after the thermostat change?

    Did they actually do a compression test last year? Do you have the service Repair Order that you can refer to that actually says they did it? If they did not do the work last year, you may have a case for an attorney. At the very minimum, I would talk with an independent mechanic you trust.
    After that, use the knowledge to speak with the service manager or the shop foreman at the dealership.. not some drone in the service writer uniform. If you feel put down and are not explained what is going on, or they are not willing to work with you, call the Ford regional rep... but only do that as a last resort.

    From what I have read here, if you have a head gasket problem, they can just replace the gasket. If the heads are fouled or there is damage to the pistons or valves, those can be indicative of some serious problem.. one that would not have been fixed with a $1.35 thermostat swap 6 months ago.
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    i got a 2000 xls and im like 140 miles past the time im supposed to get a oil change ive got castrol syntec blend 5w30 in the engine the main question is how long will it or rather can i get at least 5000 miles between oil changes out of this oil i will start using ac delco oil filters so anyone answer this please i got 42000 miles on thus thing so far.
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Chances are the paper in the oil filter will go bad before then. Castrol Syntec is 80% dino oil and 20% synthetic. If you want to go longer between changes, change to full synthetic and upgrade to a heavy duty filter.

    IMO, changing the oil at 3K miles, spending $30 for a oil change is not a big deal. Its probably the single best thing you can do for the vehicle to keep it on the road. Changing the oil regularly helps the engine get rid of particulate dirt and makes sure the engine is properly lubricated (in case you go down a quart).
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    of course i got xls im wondering i wanna clean this engine some say oil does it but i think it does not can power max do the trick or they say as your mileage goes up you need to go up in octane i use shell is that true i got 42000 miles on it she will have at least 57 to 58000 when im done with it what can i do ...
  • mazman1mazman1 Posts: 229
    Clean the engine... Do you mean inside or outside? I never really cared too much about cleaning the outside of the motor. I have seen some over zealous people that actually Armor-All the plastic parts of the engine.

    Regarding cleaning the inside, I use Chevron Techron Fuel system cleaner every 6 months. I also use Isopropol Water remover in the winter to get rid of bad gas and condensation.

    Regarding Oil changes, I change the oil & filter every 3 months or 3,000 miles.

    Hope this helps.
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