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Ford Explorer Maintenance and Repair



  • At 121K my 5R55E transmission will sometimes shudder. Usually going up a hill, like it shifts out of gear and then decides to go back into it. Never see any change on the tach or feel the engine rev. Doesn't seem to happen when I turn the overdrive off. I've just had this 16K and have changed the fluid a couple of times and found stuff clinging to the magnets (I put a couple extra in). Figure the clutch pack is slipping and ready for a rebuild, I've had an Explorer before. What are the chances of this stranding me somewhere? I assume I could loose the overdrive and still keep trucking. Others with this experience?
  • bigaldsbigalds Posts: 47
    To opera_house_wk:
    I can't speak specifically for the 5R55E, as my experience has been with the earlier A4LD's, but there are many similarities between them. In the A4LD, the power enters the overdrive unit first, then passes through to the rest of the gears. I had an experience that the 1991 transmission started making bits of material clinging to the magnet, then after a while I had a sudden failure that left me stranded on the side of the road (fortunately near my house)at about 140K. The overdrive unit has an overrunning clutch that suddenly failed and would not hold, therefore power would not go through the transmission. It turned out that the overrunning clutch had been slowly wearing as evidenced by the scoring on the overunning clutch race.
    Being that yours has high milage, it may last a while yet, but could fail at any time. I would begin making plans to prepare for it's demise, which is sure, and possibly swift.
    What I did was go out and look for a good deal on a good used transmission, which I found a 1993, and put the good used 1993 transmission on the shelf for when I needed it. Sure enough, one year later I needed it and put the 1993 transmission in the 1991 Explorer. It paid off for me. I then rebuilt that 1991 transmission, put it on the shelf, and then put it in the 1993 Explorer when it failed at 155K (lost overdrive, but kept going until it blew a seal), and now it's running great to this day.
    One big lesson I learned about the ninties Explorers is to keep a spare transmission on hand!
    Good Luck,
    Big AL in Sunny Florida
  • I keep on dreaming they will make a better transmission some day. My 92 didn't have overdrive when I bought it @89K and didn't notice it for six months till someone pointed out that I was taching higher than I should. Dropped the pan and found six needle bearings in the filter along with other metal. Had a back yard transmission guy rebuild it with new planetary drive for $740 including pull and install. That lasted 14 months till the lock up converter went out. Hey, what do you want for $740. It turned into a soap box derby racer going down hills. Went through a lot of brake pads the next 4 years. Putting in 5 magnets and changing fluid every 6 months kept it alive. There would always be a 1/4 inch of fuzz on the magnets. Retired it last Nov when the fluid was absolutely black. It's in storage and will rebuild tranny this fall. I'm amazed at how much abuse they will take some time and other times fail in an instant.
  • mhun71mhun71 Posts: 1
    Have a 1998 Explorer with 95,000 miles that started making this horrible humming sound last summer, thought it was the air-conditioning but now it is constant (air or not on). Anyone familiar with this. We also just started the diesel ping but my Bronco II had this so I'm not too concerned.
  • marcjlcmarcjlc Posts: 3
    I need some advice on over rev problem that just developed. I own an automatic 2000 Sport model with the 4L SOHC with aproximately 60,000 miles (all highway). I purchased the vehicle in April 2002 and hadn't had any ploblems till now. After I purchased it, I gave it a full tune up all fluids ( tranny, transfer case, oil, coolant) new plugs and filters. It ran great until this...
    On start up with a cold engine, the revs seem to be around 700-750 rpms (normal) regardless to how long I idle and rev the engine. After I drive it and the engine warms up, the idle will seem to stick at higher rpms; anywhere from 500 to 700 more than it should be. I have noticed it happens in the foward gears as well as Neutral and Reverse. Also, after the over rev condition has happened and I restart the vehicle (engine still warm) the revs jump up to 2000 then settle to 1200 again over reving now in idle. When the engine is cold the over rev condition just doesn't occur.
    Unfortunately, I will be bringing it in to the dealership tomorow. If anyone can give an idea of what the heck is wrong I would greatly appreciate it.
  • I'd like to get a copy of TSB 99-6-5 from April 99, but don't want to pay a subscription fee to join ALLDATA to get it. Does anyone know how I can get a free copy from another source?

    The topic is Side Doors -- Wind Noises.

  • '99 4 door. Stock radio with only CD
    a small C shows up next to track number
    but CD won't play.

    Rear Window Wiper won't operate but
    washer fluid does and fuses are ok.
    Didn't want to start just ripping
    apart back door and get suprised
    by hidden flanges breaking, etc

    any help,


  • geoffd1geoffd1 Posts: 21
    > How many miles do you have on your Mountaineer? I have a 98 V8 AWD and I
    > pound the snot out of it. I have not had any problems with it so far.
    > I live next to the beach and take it on the dunes rather frequently
    > and take it off road in the snow a couple times a winter. With only 54k on
    > the truck, it might be a little early for problems to surface.
    > At what mileage did you start having problems?

    The car was relatively trouble-free until it hit 75-80,000 miles. Then, it started living in the dealer until virtually all moving parts in the front end got replaced. I'm very glad I had an extended warranty. I went out and bought a VW GTI to commute with last August and the Mountaineer now has 97,500 miles on it without further problems. It's headed into the dealer to get the power door locks and rear wiper fixed before it goes off-warranty.
  • cwesleycwesley Posts: 55
    As I don't monitor this board, I don't know if this has been a topic in the past...

    I have a 98 XLT (60,000 miles) and had the LED display quit on the AM-FM-Cass-single cd player. My local dealer quoted $580 for a new replacement or $280 to repair. I found a used unit for $245 but was concerned that it could fail as well. Ended up buying a new Alpine unit instead.

    I've heard that the display failure I experienced is quite common. Is that true?

  • What's the story with the rear wiper? I just purchased a 2000 XLT (35k miles). When I test drove it the rear wiper wasn't working and I noted this with the dealer. When I went to pick it up 1 week later it was still not operating. They replacing the motor while I waited.

    Two weeks after ownership the wiper is not working again. What gives?

    Anybody please.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    1) radio displays... yes, they are problematic. had mine go desperately dim one day, bought a pair of pullers, and it suddenly became happy again. if/when if goes again, I will try and diagnose. it ain't 914 bulbs any more inside radios, this is probably heavy repair with limited access to the appropriate factory parts.

    2) the wiper motors in back have been an issue. try lifting the rear wiper out of the cradle and letting it dangle.. this is the "service position." if it works now, or after you go around the block once, you probably have a reset switch issue. I'm still under warranty, so have not fiddled with it myself, but I bet a slight realignment of the motor would fix many of these cases (the switch for end of travel is not being reached before the arm hits the cradle.) lazy man's way is to reposition the wiper arm by a remove and reinstall.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    Hello all. My 2000 XLS w/ OHV and auto today developed a metallic pinging sound as I gave it gas to maintain highway speed (60+ mph). I don't notice it at any other speeds, nor do I notice it if I "get on it" at highway speeds. A/C on or off makes no difference. I had been using Marvel Mystery Oil (about 6oz per fillup) the past 8 or so fill ups on the recommendation of a family member to help improve power/mileage. Today's fillup I just put in gas (almost 17 gallons) without the MMO as I think it may have something to do with the additive. Any thoughts?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    MMO is too heavy to burn but too light to goop, using it is supposed to take advantage of its solvent properties to get guck out of the fuel lines.

    it may have done that, and it may not have, but pinging is generally carbon buildup on the valve heads or the piston tops.

    a little pinging is not the end of the world... run a few fillups without any non-gas items in the tank, and see if it goes away. if not, run a two-cycle Techron treatment as recommended on the bottle for clean-up.

    if that doesn't do it, it may be time to have the injectors and cylinders cleaned with one of the on-car cleaner kits from 3M or Wynns. they replace the fuel line, so it's mechanic time.
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    only 1 that is i will be driving this truck until feb 03. now my thing is this im hearing a squealing noise coming from the converter or the exhaust. but guess what it does not do it all the time. after i get to work i hear it sometimes i dont replace it? or what its a lease is it wear and tear or what is it?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    I had one when I took delivery of my exploder that whistled up the dogs when the system was cold, as I was pulling away from lights in first gear. the dealer pulled the pieces apart and replaced the gasket. I had one repeat about a month ago, and hasn't come back.

    these things are at the header to pipe flanges, and possibly also at the converter to pipe flanges.

    there is a little flex in the exhaust system, so it's wear and tear... but it's also safety, if you're still under warranty have the dealer look at it. you might get away with tightening the bolts at that section of the exhaust system as well, but by now it will take half a gallon of penetrating oil before (assuming) any of the nuts will move.
  • mdeymdey Posts: 90
    I have changed those gaskets on a couple of Fords in the past. It's quite easy and pretty cheap. The car should be cold. Get a can of penetrating oil and apply liberally to the bolts. My experience has been that the heat at that part of the exhaust keeps rust to a minimum. One car I did had two gaskets, one before the catalytic converter and one after. The other had just one and it was after the catalytic converter. If your car has dual exhaust, you could conceivably have four flanges total. Just look for bolts that are threaded through a spring tensioner that keeps everything nice and snug. The gasket is basically a lead o-ring and costs about $3. Remove the bolts, pull the pipes apart, remove the old gasket, install the new one, tighten back up. A service manual will tell you how much torque to apply to the bolt. A 10-minute job and the gaskets are available at most discount parts stores.
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    Today I experienced a new one. While merging onto a highway, I noticed the left turn signal was not blinking on my 2000 Exploder. I noticed it had done something similar last week, then started to flash on its own - I checked and all bulbs were OK. Problem was today, a few seconds after I noticed it, there was a bright flicker near where the switch for the "4 ways" is, and then smoke began to pour out of the steering column. So, off to the shop again.

    Also going to have them look at the engine pinging, I ran through a whole tank of gas, and did some highway trips (20-30 miles) this weekend to blow it out, but no improvement. I'll let you all know.
  • I took my 99 Explorer in to get the transmission fluid changed and to do the 30K inspection. I have 28K on the truck. Well the dealer came back and said that I'm almost out of my front pads (3 mm) and the rotors are at their minimum thickness. So new pads and rotors are needed for a cost of approx. $550. From day1 the brakes were always loud and grabby. At about 10K another dealer replaced the pads and turned the rotors for free to try and address the issue (maybe that was a mistake). So the pads have only about 18K. It seems that I should be getting more life out of the pads and rotors. I don't do excessive stop and go driving so I plan on taking it for a second opinion to another mechanic. I have a few questions: Has anybody had a similar experience? How much life is typical from the front pads and rotors? Has anybody had luck in getting Ford to pick up the tab for rotors? On another note the dealer is telling me that I should change the coolant, even thought the recommended service isn't until 75K - any thoughts on the coolant issue?

    Any feedback would be appreciated, Thanks
  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    now it does this if i had to guess as far as week 5 out of 7 days it does it. now what piss me off is when i take it in it does not do it so what do i tell them? i have the papers to tell them where they said they fixed it last time. but really answer this for me im going to be driving this thing until feb 03 so what should i do??????? plus im out of warranty or can i do this repair myself????????
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I got almost 50K miles out of my factory front pads and that was mostly city driving. Something is wrong if you only got 18K. Be sure they lube the caliper pins. Maybe the pads aren't retracting fully.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    pinched wire for the combination switch will be the diagnosis, once they pull the wheel shrouds off it is easy to access the switch. it will need to be replaced. got mine under warranty.
  • Go figure -- there is a small button
    below the eject on the CD only Radio unit.
    It's labeled COMP -- apparently this
    is some undocumented feature. Anyways,
    some CDs don't like it when in COMP mode
    and will not play -- Press the COMP
    button again, little C disappears
    and CD plays ---

    enough to drive you crazy.....

  • Sounds a little too steep for me. A do it yourself job would run about $30 for a set of pads and about $50/ea a rotor (assuming 4wd). I would try a local chain store that specializes in brakes for your best price.

  • mookie14mookie14 Posts: 252
    um what about message 1489 or anyone??????????
  • njdevilsrnnjdevilsrn Posts: 185
    Well, I got the Exploder back today. The turn signal/wiper arm and assembly was replaced under warranty.

    As for the engine noise, they gave me a copy of a service bulletin acknowledging what Ford calls engine "marble" in the 4.0 OHV put in Ranger and Explorer from '98-2000. It reports that the noise is common while at idle or while under minimal load (<2000 RPM). They say there is nothing to do to fix it, and that it is a "characteristic" of the engine (so I guess now Ford designs engines to sound like that!) Anyhow, the dealer said it is running "to spec" and that there was nothing to be done.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    1) well, I'd ask the dealer to replace the exhaust flare gaskets on suspicion of noise, and to insure they are tightened to spec. you might have to have them retorqued at some point depending on how straight the path of the exhaust system is.

    also, if your engine "lifts" to the right enough to be really interesting when you rev it with the hood up, you could have a bad motor mount, which would have caused the extra play in the exhaust which allowed the gaskets to whistle. "really interesting" is not a technical term, but there will be a limit measurement in the service manual. ask them to perform the mount tests.

    2) so, a light rolling ping is a "marble" now, huh? glad they found a word for it. an occasional ping now and again is just an annoyance. if it's regular and steady and has an edge to it, then it can be causing damage, and it needs to be worked on.
  • scrappy6scrappy6 Posts: 13
    I have a 99 Explorer with 44k on the odometer. Haven't had it long bought it with 32k. Recently I've noticed if I press the accelerate quickly and after I let off the engine will act upt. After a minute or two it will go back to normal. The engine doesn't die it just gets real jumpy. I don't see this at all during normal driving just when I feel the urge to pass or accelerate heavily. If I am stopping after all of this the check engine light sometimes comes on and the rpm's drop to like 250 but doesn't ever die. I took it to auto zone and they hooked up the scanner but were unable to locate any code. I just put in a new fuel and air filter. to try to fix the issue but had no luck. Any ideas? I skimmed through some of the postings and not sure but it looks like it might be anything from a fuel pump to an intake gasket. Any input would help. Thanks!
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    that's what the counter guys will say if you come in for a part here and a part there trying to get lucky.

    not really sure what the complaint is. like, is it, "I'm in overdrive at 75 mph and I punch the throttle, the car sags but then jumps like I bit it, and when I get past the truck and let up it kinda wallows around and zips around and finally gets back to the 75 I was driving on the cruise control?"

    if so, that sounds rather normal. cruise kinda coasts when you let off the pedal and drift back towards the set point, falls under it a couple miles per hour, and then punches its own pedal until it gets to the setpoint again.

    the low idle could be something else, like maybe a sour plug or wire or two, with the computer riching up the other cylinders so the car doesn't die.

    but the idle issues should come out if you have the engine scoped on the tuneup diagnostic set of charts.

    got a big crowd of serious wrenches here, if you have more detail, they can probably hit it right away for you
  • scrappy6scrappy6 Posts: 13
    Well if I start out at a red light and floor it get though about third gear and let off (it's an automatic) when it starts to slow down you can feel the engine jumping not every time I do it just most of the time. If I were to cruise at let's say 35-40mph it gets really bad with the motor jerking it's like it wants to die but doesn't. I pulled over a couple of times and let it idle and the rpm's go to like 250 and stays there for a minute or two and then after that it's back to normal. Sometimes the check engine light will flash and then go off during this episode and sometimes it will come on and stay on but after it's all over with the light cuts off and it's fine and dandy. Thanks!
  • On another site a guy was having problems with his idle. Cleaned IAC valve and that didn't help. For some strange reason he decided to make a gasket with holes in it 1/3 of the size of the ports to the IAC. Says everything has worked fine for weeks after that. Maybe it drops the pressure so the valve isn't erratic. Maybe it will help with the moose calls. Oh well, it's something to try when you are bored and have an empty cerial box. Gets a star for creativity!

    I just installed an external filter in my 97 Explorer using a Summit TRD-1028 ($12.75) that was just on the shelf collecting dust. Having an external filter also makes a transmission flush an easy and clean if you use the Summit spin on filter bypass adaptor TRD-1013 ($9.95) connected to a drain hose. I have mounted the filter with a dog leg "L" bracket on the outside rail just behind the bumper. So forward is it that the filter is within 1/4 inch of the bumper bolt. This makes for very low visibility and the filter was sprayed black to further conceal it. Filter is installed between the radiator and the external cooler. Remember that fluids flow faster when they are warmer and those of you in colder climates should place the filter before the radiator. I am using a standard PL3001 oil filter. Don't forget the filter has a check valve, so don't inatall it backwards. Many filters can be easily opened for examination by using a good quality kitchen can opener. Just get your own because it is hard on the cutting wheel.

    An alternative to this mounting hassle is to use the inline XL30 from SPX filters which also has internal magnets. Technicals can be seen on The filter can be ordered on for about $15 plus shipping. I also get my pan filters for my A4LD and 5R55E from this site. Part number 23921 fits both and is the glass fiber media type from SPX/FILTRAN made in the US. In the A4LD application, this has double the filter area of the original. At $10.35, this is half the price of the Taiwan ones from Autozone.
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