Common problems and solutions for Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer 4.0 V6

Problem: Rattling noises from engine at startup.

Solution: There a few known problems concerning rattling noises that occur at certain engine conditions:

1. Explorer 1997 - 1998 10th character of VIN V or W. Rattling noises from front left or rear right of the engine, but stop after five minutes of engine startup. The most likely cause is a damaged timing chain guide or timing chain tensioner.

2. Explorer 1997 - 1999 10th character of VIN V, W or X. Rattling noises under all operating conditions at any temperature. The casue could be a damaged front or rear timing chain unit depending on if the noise is coming form the front or rear of the engine.

3. Explorer 1997 - 2000 10th character V, W, X or Y. Rattling noises only under acceleration between 2000 - 3000 rpm. The most likely cause is a damaged primary timing chain tensioner.

Before commencing investigations, the oil level should be checked, the oil pressure should be checked (1 bar at 2000 rpm) and the engine should be started from cold to check for rattling.

If the timing chain unit is indeed damaged, small pieces may break off and damage other parts of the engine including oil and coolant pipes. These should all be inspected carefully for any signs of damage and replaced as necessary.

Ford Maverick 2001 LHD only

Problem: Rattling noises coming from the gear stick lever when in 3rd or 4th gear.

Solution: A unique problem, the cause is most likely vibrations from the engine being transmitted through the gearshift cables. The solution is to fit revised gearshift cables.

Ford Explorer 2001

Problem: Squeaking from front axle which tends to be more apparent in cold weather.

Solution: The most likely cause is contact between the inner dust ring and the spindle carriers. The solution is to fit new dust rings and and apply high temperature grease on the sealing lip of the dust shield. Thoroughly clean the contact surface of the dust shield and halfshaft.

Ford Explorer 2001

Problem: Oil leaks from front differential vent hose.

Solution: The cause may be oil over flowing from the vent hole. The solution is to fit a revised front differential housing cover that has updated vent hose routing.

Ford Explorer 1995 - 2001

Problem: Automatic gearbox not shifting into 2nd or 3rd and / or slipping gears. P0732, P0733 or P1762 fault codes are triggered.

Solution: A common failure is a faulty valve body. The solution is to fit a revised valve body with intermediate plate.

Ford Explorer 4.0 V6 1994 - 1996

Problem: Knocking noises from the cooling system and the coolant temperature gauge  fluctuating.

Solution: The cause may be irregular flow of coolant moving through the cooling system. The solution is- Explorer 1994, A new revised water pump and gasket should be fitted. Explorer 1995 - 1996, A by-pass kit should be fitted. The kit consists of a distribution element, reducer element and modified coolant hose.

Ford Explorer 1998

Problem: Overdrive (O/D) warning lamp flashes with or without diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) P0741 and P1740, or both, in memory.

Solution: This may be a result of a damaged torque converter clutch (TCC) solenoid valve. You must read out the trouble codes using WDS, check the torque converter clutch solenoid valve and install a new one if required.

Ford Explorer 1991 to 1999

Problem: Rustling noise when the blower motor is switched on, smell or smoke coming from the facia/crash padding.

Solution: The cause may be foreign objects in the area of the blower motor. Remove these foreign bodies from the area of the heater housing and install additional rubber grommets at the pivot shaft bearings of the windshield wiper arms.

Ford Explorer 1999

Problem: No gear shifting or jumping out of gear late.

Solution: May be caused by the retaining plate being broken in the 5R55E automatic transmission, leading to a loose pressure control solenoid valve (EPC valve). Remove the valve body, check the retaining plate and the build date of the EPC valve and install new ones if necessary. A new valve body and intermediate plate should be installed if there is heavy contamination.

Ford Explorer 1995 and 1996

Problem: Over drive (O/D) light flashes and diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) in memeory.

Solution: May be caused by a damaged servo piston seal, damage to the throttle position sensor wiring harness or a fault in the transmission control system. Read out the DTCs using a diagnostic scanner. Check the automatic transmission control electronics, the brake band adjustment and install a new powertrain control module if necessary.

Ford Explorer 1991 to 1999, Ford Probe 1993 to 1997, Ford Windstar 1995 to 1999

Problem: Engine speed variations, engine ringing, poor driving behaviour, power loss under max. acceleration, illumination of the malfunction indicator light (MIL) and/or diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) in memory.

Solution: May be the result of a dirty or corroded mass airflow sensor (MAF sensor), leading to incorrect operation of the mixture preparation. A new MAF may need to be installed to rectify this problem. Faulty MAFs are a very common failure in many cars.

Ford Explorer 1997 and 1998

Problem: Hissing noise eminating from the 5R55E automatic transmission during idling.

Solution: This may be caused by a faulty bore in the main control body. Install a new main control body to rectify this concern.

Ford Explorer 1996 to 1997

Problem: When on full lock in four wheel drive there is a judder or twisting of the drive train.

Solution: May be due to contamination of the transfer box fluid, caused by moisture entry through the vent hose. Install a longer vent hose and route it in a different way to solve the problem.

Ford Explorer

Problem: "Check engine" warning light is on.

Solution: To diagnose the problem, check the fault codes with a scanner. If you read off error codes that indicate a too weak or too rich mixture then install a new, modified exhaust manifold gasket, do a road test and measure the control value of the heated oxygen sensor(s). If this value is less than -0.15V then renew the oxygen sensor for the cylinder bank affected.

Ford Explorer 1995 to 1997

Problem: ABS system malfunction, flickering ABS warning light, fault codes (DTC) in storage.

Solution: May be caused by corrosion of the wheel sensor multiplugs, damaged wheel sensor cables or a fault in the ABS display. Fault codes (DTCs) may also be stored in the powertrain control module (PCM) as well as the ABS module.

1. Read off the fault codes using a diagnostics scanner.

- Carry out the necessary repairs to the error codes.

2. Do a road test and check the ABS system taking into account the following:

- Turn off all other noise sources.
- Drive at around 30km/h.
- Check whether the brake pedal pulsates when brakes are applied with light to medium pressure. There is something wrong if the ABS system operates at speeds below 20km/h.
- If the vehicle pulls to the left or right when the ABS pump motor starts, it might be because of the front wheel sensor on the side opposite to the direction of pulling. The turning force felt through the wheel when the ABS pump motor is running should become more substantial when more pressure is applied to the brakes, if a wheel sensor is damaged.
- The rear pulse sensor is the cause if there is pulsing but no pulling either way. Continue with step 9 if this is the case.
- To make sure the pulling is the fault of the ABS system, disable it by removing the fuse and perform the same braking procedure. If the vehicle still pulls to one side then carry out the relevant system tests.

3. Check the components of the ABS system and the electrical connection (eight pins on a 28 pin connector) for damage. Renew/repair damaged components. Check the repair by repeating step 2.

4. Remove the front wheels by raising the vehicle.

5. If you find a defective front wheel sensor then remove both wheel sensors and check the front ABS sensor rings for damage and/or missing teeth. If a damaged front sensor ring is found then continue with step 8.

6. To prevent dirt entering, plug the sensor housing in the wheel hub. Clean the contact surface in the hub thoroughly with abrasive paper.

7. When you are installing the front wheel sensor, apply a thin protective film of high-temperatre grease to the front ABS sensor ring between the sensor ring inner surface and the contact sufrace ont the wheel hub in order to prevent corrosion.

8. Renew the damaged front ABS sensor ring if necessary.

9. Change the rear pulse sensor and the rear ABS sensor ring if necessary.

Ford Explorer

Problem: When a shift position is engaged, e.g. when shifting from "P" to "D", there are crashing noises from the drivetrain; change in torque applied to the transfer box output flange nut.

Solution: May be a result of excessive play in the splined joint on the rear output flange of the transfer box. Remove the driveshaft, secure the output flange using thread locking compound and increase the tightening torque of the transfer box output flange nut to resolve the problem.

Ford Explorer 1997

Problem: Discontinuation of the overdrive speed sensor (ODS sensor) on the 5R55E automatic transmission.

Solution: When fitting a new transmission, there is a fault signal in the powertrain control module and a fault code is generated by the open circuit in the unconnected multiplug. To avoid this, when the transmission is renewed or the transmission housing cover is exchanged, cut the unconnected multiplug at the transmission housing and join the cable ends with a crimped/soldered connector. New transmission housings installed in production no longer have a drilling for the ODS sensor.

In addition to this, the ODS sensor multiplug should be disconnected, the connector cut off and the cable ends joined together using a crimped/soldered connector, during sevice work on the 5R55E. The ODS sensor remains in the transmission housing.

Ford Explorer 1991 - 1994

Problem: Binding of the rear brakes when they are first operated.

Solution: Could be that the rear brake linings are absorbing moisture. This can be resolved by installing revised rear brake linings which are less susceptible to water entry.