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Ford Explorer Brake Problems



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Failing front CV joint, not all that unusual.
  • I just bought this Explorer, 2009, a month ago, with 29K miles. Several times, I have experienced, at low speed, pushing the brake & nothing happening. On two occasions, came very close to hitting the car I was parking next to. Ironically, had it in the dealership yesterday, they couldn't find anything, then it happened again after I left.
    I push the brake, nothing happens, car continues to move, then feels like the brake takes hold. Very scary.
    Anyone else having this problem?
  • I have a 2006 Ford Explorer with a very similar problem. I've had it to the dealer on two occasions, but am still having the same problems. They did put new rear brakes on and it did improve, but have had two episodes since the new brakes. Yes it is very scary. I came much to close to hitting a car in the rear on one occasion. No one seems to know what to do for this problem. Previously I owned a 2004 Explorer, but never had any problems with it. Would trade it in if I could afford to.
  • sandy1027sandy1027 Posts: 1
    I purchased my 2009 ford explorer eddie bauer edition May 20, 2009. Had first break failure on 8/24/10 - dealer changed "booster". Second failure on 9/3/10 - dealer said there was a bad production of "boosters" so they replaced again. The breaks have now failed a third time on 5/16/11. Ford engineer cannot find anything wrong. There is something wrong that Ford is hiding and we will be the victims just like Toyota customers went through a few years ago. What happens if we hurt someone during a failure? We could end up in prison because no one can duplicate the problem and it would be our word against the Ford giant. This is beyond scary, it's a crime waiting to happen. I'm on my way to an attorney.
  • hpurdyhpurdy Posts: 2
    We live in Colorado mountains. We're having severe brake problems. On a downward slope, gravel or snow, the brakes grind and vibrate, and do not stop. So, we have 2 options, depress brakes and do not stop or let foot up from brake and do not stop. Not a good scenario when the road is a hair pin turn, drops off 500 - 1000 feet , you want to stop. Took the vehicle into our ford dealer in canon city, colorado, and they took it for a test run and couldn't duplicate it. I think they should take it on Shelf Road and see how serious they'd be during their trouble shooting. It sounds like others have similar problems. What is the deep secret or solution? Buy a Nissan instead?
  • hpurdyhpurdy Posts: 2
    I agree with garden lady. This is beyond scary. I will need to make a decision before winter, and it will not be another ford if they don't step up to the plate.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited August 2011
    What you describe is SOP, Standard Operating Procedure, for modern day ABS, Anti-lock Brakiing Systems. ABS wil often sacrifice braking ability in favor of allowing the driver to maintain directional control. That can be very frustrating in certain circumstances, like the one you describe, but ABS, overall, definitely improves safety.

    My '92 Jeep acted the very same way, ABS continued to remain active right down to virtually zero, "creep", speed, NEVER letting the Jeep come to a full and final stop.

    I am a BIG fan of a new design that would disable ABS unless the vehicle direction of travel deviates, according to VSC, from the desired one.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited August 2011
    Back in my days in MT, long before ABS, I often made judicious use of the rear implemented e-brake in situations such as you describe.
  • In the evening on October 17, 2011, I attempted to pull my 2011 Ford Explorer into a parking space in Sunnyvale, California. I was driving between 5-10 mph at the time. As I depressed the brake pedal to come to a complete stop, the car failed to stop. Instead, it rolled into a closed business that was being remodeled. The car came to a stop at the glass front doors to the business and did not penetrate the business. The good news is that no one was hurt in the accident. Additionally, the front airbags never deployed given the low speed I was traveling. The car has about 7,500 miles on it. Much to my surprise, the Ford dealership it was towed to was unable to find any problem with the brakes. In fact, according to the dealership, the brakes appear to work fine now. I have been driving for over 37 years and know the difference between a gas pedal and a brake pedal. I clearly recall pressing the brake peddle in my failed attempt to get the car to stop. I also recall the brake peddle going to the floor and looking down to verify that my foot was indeed on the brake pedal. If I had hit the gas pedal by mistake, the car would have penetrated the business and not been stopped by its glass front doors.

    I discovered your web post regarding similar brake failure on your Ford Explorer. 2 questions for you:

    1) Have you had any other brake failures, other than those listed in your post?

    2) Did you ever find out what caused the brake failure and what if any repairs were made to the SUV'S braking system?

    Thank-you in advance for any assistance you can offer.
  • I had to do a panic stop in my '07 Explorer ad the brake peddle went soft. I felt like I was on ice. The Explorer would not stop and I hit the car in front of me. There was no damage to the vehicles but the driver of the other car received a jolt and went to the hospital. Now I have a claim on my insurance record. I took the Explorer to a garage and had the brakes serviced. They found nothing wrong with the brakes that would cause it to not work properly. I have tested the brakes myself, doing panic stop applications. The Explorer peddle feels mushy, it goes to the floor, the vehicle rolls on and eventually stops. I think the ABS is screwed up. The brakes do not pulse, like the ABS does, but 'feel' is similar :mad: .
  • I would suggest that you file an online complaint with the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA) and advise them of the problem you encountered. I did, even though Ford found no problem with my brakes and I also got stuck with an "at fault" accident, despite the brake failure.
    The more of us who post the problem with NTHSA the sooner Ford will be forced to find the problem and come up with a fix.
  • I also have a 2011 Ford Explorer and experienced brake failure, luckily I was pulling into my driveway and had the same experience as you described. The vehicle was taken to the dealershp where I purchsed it, they checked the black box and it told them that there was no failure. I contacted Ford and after almost four months they decided that it was not their problem even though they never checked the brakes and we have pictures showing where only the right front brake grabbed pulling the vehicle to the right and into the house. Seems Ford is not worried about public safety. Its a shame because I have been a Ford customer for over twenty-five years and have purchased over 30 of their vehicles and I guess this will be my last. I will be contacting the NHTSA next. I'm sure they would want to know about this before it becomes an epidemic.
  • We drive a 2006 Explorer Limited with 140,000 kms on the clock. Recently we had the same problem with the brake pedal going right to the floor for a second or two before the brakes engaged. Alternatively the brake pedal sometimes felt like the power assisted braking had failed and the pedal wouldn't budge, only to go soft a moment later as above. Most of the time this happened reversing out of the garage or rolling into parking bays. usually at low speewed. Only once or twice at speeds over 40kmh. We brought it to our mechanic who could find no fault. We brought it to a Ford dealership who initially wanted to change either the master cylinder ($650) or the ABS module ($2,500). I printed off the commentary on this forum and showed it to them. They ran some more tests and found some airlocks in the pedal assembly?? They now claim it is operating perfectly and have road tested it at low speed and high speed. We are collecting the vehicle this evening and if it's fixed I will post a complete description of what they did. The cost was $165.
  • Our 17-year-old experienced the exact problem that has been described here. She was not going very fast, having just turned out of her school. She tried to stop when traffic stopped, but even though she stomped on the brake she said the peddle went to the floor and the car didn't stop. She rear-ended the car, totalled her vehicle (94 Ford Explorer), and caused the truck in front of her to hit the car in front of them. The tow truck driver agreed that the brakes did not feel right. How can we get this problem some national attention? There could have been very serious injuries if she had been going faster!
  • I have had brake issues for well over a year now. My brake pedal occasionally goes to the floor and the brakes fail. When this happens, I have to quickly lift my foot off the brake pedal and slam my foot back down. They then start to work again. This first began in October 2010. I took the truck to the dealership, paid them $850 to fix the brakes. All they did was replace the Master Cylinder. The brakes worked for about a week and the problem happened again. I took the Explorer back to the dealership, they determined they put a bad Master Cylinder in, so they replaced it again at no charge. Again, I drove it for about a week when it happened again Again, I took it back to the dealership. They couldn't find anything wrong with it and sent me home with it. This went on for about 6 months and six more visits. At one point they even told me I was crazy and nothing was wrong with my brakes! Finally on the last visit, they said that yep they felt what I was complaining about and replaced the Master Cylinder yet again! The car actually drove fine this time for a couple of months. This all happened in Jacksonville, FL. In June of 2011 I moved to Mobile, AL. I parked the car and just now started driving it again. Well, guess what! It's all happeneing again! I called the dealership inm Jacksonville and they said that the Master Cylinder was 10 days out of warranty! TEN DAYS! OK, I am so not thinking that my problem is the Master Cylinder now, it HAS to be something else, what are the odds that they put 3 bad Master Cylinders in! I have plenty of fluid, no leaks. The ABS light is on, the AdvanceTrac is off. Those two lights are the same lights that were on when I first took it to the dealership and they said Master Cylinder. My question is, has anyone else had this issue? Brake Booster maybe? ABS system maybe? I don't have the money at this time to just go replacing parts if that's not what the problem is...
  • I was experiencing an unusual high frequency squeak at any speed that went away when I applied brakes. The issue was random, but happened more often than not and more so when the weather was hotter. At the time my ford touch was not active at all, so I brought to the dealer to have them look at the brakes and sync. The sync module was ordered, and then they told me they lubed up the sliders for the brakes. Brake problem came back again within the next day. When I brought the vehicle back in I again brought up the brake problem. The dealer called back and informed me that I had cracked rear pads and the rotors were glazed, so they needed to be turned as well, at a $200+ tag. I complained, and the service guy on the phone said nothing they could do because brakes are considered a wear item. Fine, I'll do it myself...after filling out the online survey that automatically came to my email from Ford with less than stellar marks about my experience, the manager of the dealership called and agreed to fix the issue. I am not a brake abuser by any means, I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem? I did pull the wheel and caliper off and inspected the pads myself... both inside and outsides on at least the driver rear were cracked right though the middle, with very little wear. I didn't bother checking the other side. The caliper was very very tight as well. I wonder if the root cause is a caliper problem and if the issue will come back at some point down the line....

    I have also had a middle row passenger side seat issue where the seat would not lock down after the seat had been lifted...this vehicle was one of the first made as I leased in Feb 2011.
  • shar11shar11 Posts: 2
    Hi all....I'm at a total loss. I have a 2000 Sport under 75000 miles. Really babied. This year I suddenly have this off and on issue I'm reading about here of breaking, feels mushy and pedal goes to floor almost. So far I do stop, but trying to keep distance between me what is in front of me. We have taken it in three times, breaks, pads, drums...everything is "perfect" so they tried taking the anti lock hook up off thinking a part of that may be the problem. Within two days it did it again. I notice if I go way down with pedal, then quickly rehit the break it tightens up and gets better. So today it's in again as I demanded a pedal check/inspection. They say nothing wrong...

    I have been lucky, it does it maybe once a day on the average but of course I'm driving around always worried about it. I also see on this forum the accidents that have happened to others. I am new here, just starting to read everyone's we have any idea at all what this problem is???? I can't seem to get any help with this and not in market for new car yet. Thanks for listening.
    Shar11 :confuse:
  • shar11shar11 Posts: 2
    Thank you so much for posting all this...I'm bringing up alot of your issues to my mechanic right now as my Sport is back in the shop again. They disconnected the antilock breaks thinking some part of that may be involved but has made no difference so I'm having them rehook it today and they still aren't finding any issue with the pedal they say.....but you brought up some great ideas to get checked. I really want to know what you had done as the $165 is the affordable zone in my life right now. Please don't forget us and post that totaly description you promised. Guess we have to help each other. Shar11
  • For a while now, my mountaineer has been pulsating when breaking. No noise or vibration in the pedal. Entire truck pulsates in relation to speed and is more notice able at lower speeds. I have recently changed all four rotors and pads. I bled the brake lines twice. Issue still exists but does not seem to be worsening. I also have a bit of a spongy feeling in the brake pedal when the truck is running but plenty of pressure when the engine is off. Not sure if that is a part of the problem but thought is throw it in there. Any help will be greatly appretiated. Thanks.
  • toby32toby32 Posts: 1
    It's amazing to hear of the same issues I have with the brakes. I have a 2004 Sporttrac with very little brake pedal and a left rear brake sometimes locking up. The dealership was no help at all. I've had two brake jobs done, and both times, the brakes worked fine up until a month or so later. It seems worse on very hot days. I believe the rear brakes are not engaging. The pedal will practically go to the floor before coming to a stop. I've heard of brake line expansion with the rubber brake hoses. You can push as hard as you want on the pedal, but the brake line expands and the truck barely stops. I also heard there could be a brake line junction for the rear brakes that could be malfunctioning. Lastly, the brake fluid could over heat. Other issues are irregular tire wear and inoperative cruse controls. The tire issue ended up being the Goodyear Wrangler tires. After the dealership replaced the tires with, you guessed it, Goodyear tires, I had the same issue after 2500 miles. I switched to Michelin and problem solved. Don't ask me why, but the Goodyear tire just didn't work. The cruse control issue was the cruse control switch on the master cylinder which I had to replace after the dealership wanted $500 do do everything but replace the switch. The switch has a plunger and when the brakes are applied, the plunger is pushed and deactivates the Cruse control. Hmmm.. Pushing the brake pedal to the floor applying a lot of pressure could have caused the plunger to jam. One issue creates another. I'm interested to hear any feed back regarding the brakes. I'm going to find a good mechanic, other than the dealership, to see what works.
  • I have a 2005 explorer XLT. I have had the same problems. Driving slow push on brakes and they seize up and loud noise sounds like coming from ABS. Dealer to me the same thing, can't find anything wrong. One of these days God forbid! some one is going to be going very fast and the brakes sieze up like this... Ford will have a huge law suit, instead of just fixing the problem. Please let me know if you get any results.

  • Hi I am having the same exact issue. I've taken it to the dealership and they can never hear the problem when I take it in every other week. I finally got it on video 2 different weeks. They replaced all the brakes or so they I got pulled over because my rear brake was scorching red hot. I took back to the ford dealership for the brake issue and need new calipers which are on back order for 3 weeks. Just curious what happened with your 2011 explorer and what they did so I can share with my dealership who said they ran checks and recalls and can't figure out the squeaking noise which anyone can hear even with the radio on and the windows up!
  • I have a sports trac 2007 and I just had to replace the Master Cylinder but when the shop replaced the MC the brake pedal still went down to the floor and they said they talked or got in contact with a the dealership and the ended up placing the whole brake pedal system so now I have a whole new brake pedal. The problem started when I noticed the pedal going down and I had to pump the pedal to stop. When I stopped at a shop to get the fluid checked it was almost black and told me that someone had put the wrong fluid in the brake fluid well. I don't think that is what happened unless Jiffy Lube done it about 500 miles before when I had the oil changed because it did not show up on the bill and they always put a notice on it if they have to top a well off. Anyway after they checked it they said it had a bad Master Cylinder and still the problem was there but after they put the whole new brake pedal in the problem is now gone. I got the old brake system back and I plan to ship it to ford and find out if they know what the problem is or if I got took. Because I do know they had a problem bleeding the system and if it wasn't bleed correctly after the new MC was replaced it would still have the problem.
    It is unsafe to drive though because the brake pedal could fail and you would have no brakes all if you still have the problem. The complete job cost me 1400 dollars and I am very unhappy about that.
  • I posted way back when here... I am still having my same brake issues. Not working, going to the floor, etc. We have learned, if they fail, pump them and they will work again. My mom started having these issues on her 2005 Cadillac, after taking it to get checked, was told it was a computer issue. Hmmm, makes me wonder! Something about occasionally the computer fails to tell the brake system to work which is why when you pump them, they work again! Still praying for a recall... One time, pumping them is NOT going to work! I dread that day!!!
  • I have a 96 explorer xlt that has been a dream until 10 days ago. No warning lights, no squeaking, no pulling and the vehicle stops just fine, just massive grinding. Why would a car not have some type of hic cup before a major system goes down - very disappointing - back to chevy I guess live and learn
  • My 1994 xlt did same thing. My friend, Mr. Fixit,diagnosed the problem as soon as we got in and I stepped on the brake pedal. I'd asked him to help me bleed the brakes, so he was looking. He said, "You don't need to bleed the brakes. Your brake booster's shot." Never heard of a brake booster before, so he explained it to me. It's the large drum-looking thing mounted on the chassis, driver's side, up on the "back wall" of the engine compartment, behind the brake fluid well. It contains a diaphram that tore, interfering with the hydrolics. The part had to be ordered so I couldn't get it that day. My friend had another booster from a similar year exploder (so he had to modify it a bit), but he wouldn't let me drive it as-was, knowing what would probably happen, and trusting him, I let him make the swap till the new part comes in. He ws 100% right, as usual. The brakes are doing fine now, although they make a breathing sound upon depressing the pedal till I push it all the way down (not down to the floor, but till the pedal's as fr down as it goes). The "breathing" doesn't affect the brakes' functionality, and is only a minor annoyance pending getting the new booster installed. The part costs about $50 (without the master cylinder), and it took my friend about 5 hours to change out, including fabrication time. BE SPECIFIC with your's the booster, not the rotors or pads, and probably not the master cylinder. Go for it!
  • We were given a 2006 Ford Explorer as a Christmas Gift with 96,000 and in beautiful condition. Within a week we experienced the same problem everyone is talking about on this blog. We were coming to a slow stop for a red light. The brake went to the floor, the vehicle did not stop and we hit the PU in front of us. Very little damage to the PU but a lot to our Explorer. A young gal in the pickup was taken to the hospital because of a headache as more a precautionery move we believe. We were out of our location, had the vehicle towed to a brake shop, they checked the brakes and the front ones were very new and the rear had wear and we told them to put new brakes on the rear. We drove home and took the vehicle to our mechanic the next day and he kept it for 3 days, checked everything out, tired to duplicate the problem and was unable to have the brakes fail. Reading the above, people have had new boosters put on, a lot of new master cyclinders and always had the brakes checked. Nothing has seemed to work. Does someone out there know what the problem is?
  • I have a 98 Ford explorer XLT 5.0 and one day heading home the brake pedal went straight to the floor. I was told that it should be the master cylinder,so I replaced it. It didn't work. Someone then said it should definitely be the brake booster. I just did it today. It did not work. I've bled after every new part. The pads are fine. The rotors and calibers are in good shape and work. I have no leaks but when the engine is started the peddle hits the floor. Any ideas? 
  • MesieraMesiera OntarioPosts: 1
    Very same problem on 2010 Explorer Eddie Bauer. Last time it happened several times in stop and go traffic in December 2017. Had it in the garage several times prior to this
    Recurring incident.
    It is in the garage now. They can not find anything wrong.

    Have driven ford trucks all my life. This is my last one.

    Do not want another ford car.
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