Last post on May 05, 2013 at 7:47 AM
You are in the Ford Explorer
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Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer
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#1322 of 6385 Trannny & A/C Problems
Mar 17, 2002 (2:01 pm)
I have been reading many posts here for over a year, and I am just SO AMAZED that you guys seem to put up with all this crap that you do! I would NEVER pay out that kind of money that you do for these Explorers and get such sad performance and service! I could put part of the blame on Ford and the Dealers, but I'd have to put part of it on you guys for putting up with it. Myself, I could never stand the hassle, so I buy a 5 or 6 year vehicle with 100K miles and take care of it myself. Your big problem is depending on someone else to take care of your problems, and I found out many years ago that's NOT the way to go! Everyone can't be a mechanic, but should try to be at least as knowledgeable as possible, and not afraid to get their hands dirty. In the back of your car, keep some hand cleaner, roll of paper towels & rags, flashlight, jumper cables, and a tool box chocked full of tools.
To the guys with the tranny problems, it's sad cause I know that is above even most advanced home mechanics to repair or rebuild. I've built trannys for years, but don't like to have to work on my own. You best defense there is to make the right selection when you buy. DON'T BUY a car with a known weak transmission! DO your RESEARCH right here on Edmunds and you will know what to buy, and just as important, what NOT to buy. You next best defense is to service it WELL and often as needed. A Ford Explorer transmission needs to be flushed of all fluid, pull pan, new filter and pan gasket, and fill with new fluid, EVERY YEAR! No shortcuts here! That's why I have a 1993 Explorer with 154,000 miles on it, orginal tranny never been out, it gets the full service every year, and I know it's done right cause I do it myself. I wish everyone could do their own work theirselves, it might put those Dealers back it line. But as long as the Dealers have a long line of suckers coming back for more of their bad high priced service, they are going to keep dishing it out. I know cause I used to work at a Dealer. No Any More, not for a LONG time!
To the guys with the Air Condition problems, there should never have been a problem with your system cooling in the first place, that thing is designed to blow out ice cold air! I've worked on A/C for years, and any that I repair will freeze you out! I've done a lot of conversions of R12 to R134A too, all Ice Cold. If it's not cooling well, you need to really bark at whoever is responsible to fix it. Don't just say that it's not cooling well and never has, that's just lame. They will jump on you and take advantage of you! Get some knowlege! Get some basic tools like an A/C thermometer that you stick it the dash vents and MEASURE your VENT TEMPS. Tell them what your vents temps are at different driving conditions and times of day and under differnet ambient temperaures. Demand Vent Temps that are down in the LOW to MID 40's while driving! Maybe higher 40's while idling at a standstill in hot weather! You can open the hood and feel the temperature of the refrigerant lines (that will tell you a lot). Careful with the compressor discharge line, because it should be about 200 degrees and will burn you. Liquid line out the condenser should be warm at about 125 to 135 degrees. At the orifice tube, line should be warm up to it, and cold (in the 30's) just past it (where it goes into the evaporator). The outlet pipe should be in the upper 40's, outlet of the accumulator should be sightly higher in the upper 40's or lower 50's. Suction line should be cold all the way back to the compressor suction port(Lower 50's). Get yourself an infrared thermometer to check all this with (less than $100.00) you'll be glad you did, cause you will find so many uses for it, like measuring the temps of your radiator inlet and outlet tanks to find out how much temp drop you have across it (which tells you how well it's working 10 degrees ok, 20 much better, 30 super). You can also take the infrared thermometer with you when you go out to eat and check the temperature of your food, is your soup hot enough? How cold is that drink?
I wish I could help all you guys, but you have to try to fend for yourself, I'll be glad to help anyway that I can. Your best defense is a good offense and good working knowledge. I've got 3 Explorers and all run perfectly.
Mar 18, 2002 (2:42 pm)
I see your point, but am rather put off by the statement that we, as consumers, are partly to blame because we "put up with it". Knowledge, research, all that stuff is fine. But, as with most other things in life, we rely on professionals to handle the major things we cannot fix ourselves. Some are good, but most are bad. Would a home mechanic have had the ability to re-align my Explorer's bad b-pillar and body seams (which failed at 13,000 miles because the truck was built wrong)? Most likely not. Would the average home mechanic have had the equipment and tools to properly replace a tranny (that failed prematurely at 20,000 miles)? No.Who's to say that when you buy a used Explorer it hasn't had the tranny replaced already or has not been properly maintained? You take just as much risk when buying a used car as when you get a new one these days. You are in the fortunate position of being able to tend to most of your own repairs. Most of us are not in that position and can only do oil changes, coolant changes and other easy maintenance items.The whole problem could be resolved if service departments treated people with the respect they deserve instead of as naive, unsuspecting lemmings (which we most certainly are not).I will have my tranny serviced every 30K miles per my owner's manual. Once a year is overly excessive.
#1324 of 6385 I dont think Al is helping....
Mar 18, 2002 (11:23 pm)
You said in your profile:
"It's a job keeping up with all the new technology. I'll stop by here & lend a hand whenever I can."
So that post above was "Lending a hand"? I am sorry but your post sounds a little condesending. A lot of people buy new cars so they dont have to deal with getting thier hands dirty or with having major repairs or reliability issues. People here do research...thats what this place is for! DUH!!! Thats why these people are here. If someone did make a mistake or needs help we dont need anyone saying things like:
"I am just SO AMAZED that you guys seem to put up with all this crap that you do! I would NEVER pay out that kind of money that you do for these Explorers and get such sad performance and service. I could put part of the blame on Ford and the Dealers, but I'd have to put part of it on you guys for putting up with it."
That kind of stuff is totally uncalled for especially when someone is having trouble with their car and you just add insult to injury. We dont need an "I told you so" either. If your post was not intended to sound like it sounds to RYSTER and I then I apologize. You just might want to choose your words more wisely.
#1325 of 6385 I Aplogize if I sounded condesending.
Mar 19, 2002 (4:37 am)
I didn't intend to put anyone down but the dealers who cause you the grief with all these service problems. I just feel your pain and frustration seeing these same posts with the same problems over and over again, for so long. I have them all printed out in a 3 inch binder notebook, and it's full! If you have a problem, you just have to work it out as best as you can for now. If you have a vehicle with problems, I am hoping that next time you buy a vehicle that you can make a better choice.
Last month I bought a 97 Explorer with 100K miles. I knew that I didn't want the under powered pushrod V6 4.0 L engine, and for sure not the SOHC V6 4.0 L engine that has all the timing tensioner problems. I knew I didn't want a weak transmission that they put with the V6 engines, so I bought one with the V8 5.0 L engine, that comes with the 4R70W Transmission. It is a strong combination that has high reliability, that I expect to last for another 100K miles with very little problems. As I was shopping for the vehicle, it was amazing to hear how the used car salesmen with try to push off junk to people, make even bad stuff sound good. I would ask the salesman, "what kind of engine is that?" when I knew it was a SOHC, and they will reply saying "that's the high powered V6". Then I told him what it really was, with the 3 timing chains and all the timing chain tensioner problems, the engine should have never been built that way. Sure FORD has fixed them, but who want all the hassle of having 3 engines put in your vehicle in 50K miles, with the car in the shop for more time that you drive it?
All I am saying is, I hope people reading these posts will understand how important it is to be properly informed, to be able to make better decisions when buying in the future. Concerning your present problems, I give people advice on mechanical problems and repairs, but his board is not orientated towards those technical aspects. If you have a technical problem concerning engine, transmission, air conditioning, or whatever, try going to
and myself and many others are there to assist you. You don't have to be a mechanic, often you can get guidance on how to handle or approach a problem. If you are not exactly sure what the problem is, they can help you sort it out.
Have a Nice Day
#1326 of 6385 Geeeeee Al, and I thought I lacked social skills
Mar 19, 2002 (8:58 am)
Being right doesn't mean you have to tell others about it. I could never take the pressure of buying a new car and having to deal with the service department. Bad service is nothing new, 25 years ago I used to do electronic service. People would bring me electronics that they just paid to have repaired and still didn't work. They would rather pay someone else than bring it back. Some people were so happy when I fixed some things they gave me tip money. Even really aggressive people I know give up at at car dealerships. I buy at auctions where everything is just your tough luck. I just bought a 97 XLT 4WD control-trac w/105K for $5,200. Grill and headlight were cracked and 4WD didn't work. It did come with a new battery, great tires, brand new (I mean just installed) rotors and brakes, and a brand new shift motor assembly. Poor guy didn't figure out you had to disconnect the battery to reset the 4WD computer. Anyway $300 later I have a perfect car. Drive it a year and the transmission falls out, who cares at this price. I also have a 92 Explorer, bought at auction, w/220K that I have to put another transmission in after driving it for 7 years. History on that: 2 transmissions, 3 water pumps, radiator, brake master, 2 calipers, leaking head - solved for 5 years with aluminum flakes, power steering pump, a number of lifetime brake pads, and a radio that stopped playing FM. Seems like just normal stuff except for the transmissions.
Mar 19, 2002 (11:57 am)
My '00 Explorer has the 4.0L OHV V6. I find it much more enjoyable to drive than my parent's '00 Mountaineer with the 4.0L SOHC V6. Engine power and responsiveness is not all that different, which is not surprising considering the similar torque ratings. Ford used the 4.0L OHV engine for a number of years before offering the SOHC engine. It is more than adequate for people who do not do a lot of towing and simply want a good, reliable runabout.
The 5.0L V8 is a good engine, but it has a tendency to leak oil (weak seals). As stated previously, there is no such thing as a sure thing. Research does lessen one's chance of ending up with a problematic vehicle, but all in all the Ford Explorer in any version is a reliable vehicle.
Ultimately, though, life is too short to start analyzing the individual components of each vehicle to determine the combinations that will lead to the worst and/or best chances for reliability. It is more important to get what you want and what best meets your needs. Buy what you like, not what someone else tells you you should like. If it breaks along the way, like most vehicles will, get it fixed and press on. After a few years it can be traded in for something else.
Mar 19, 2002 (7:25 pm)
geez, opera house, "normal" to me is a couple tuneups, several brake jobs, maybe a radiator, for sure a few sets of hoses, zillions of filters and oil changes, PVC valve or two, and a set or two of tires in 120k or 140k. there's usually one R P A on any car, my last one was an oil pump job because of a screwy oil pan design that eroded the pan gaskets, which plugged the pump. but sounds like that 92 with 220K was bought from Jed Clampett, and you had to take the concrete blocks it was sitting on when you hauled it off.
#1329 of 6385 It's the water pumps, right?
Mar 20, 2002 (7:01 am)
I just can't get a water pump from Auto .... that will last more than 16 months. When I bought it at 90K, the overdrive planetary gear was bad. Had a back yard garage rebuild it for $760, a very cheap price. Should have paid a little more and had the torque converter replaced at the time. Lockup converter went out about 14 months later. Figured I'd wait till something else happened. I kept going for over 100k. The one problem I forgot was the fuel pressure regulator. Engine would loose power on high speed right turns. Anyone with strange engine problems should replace that fuel pressure regulator. Both cars are beautiful . Had the hood and roof repainted on the 92, typical Ford paint peal problem. Rebuilding the transmission will be my summer project.
#1330 of 6385 regulator, interesting
Mar 20, 2002 (8:52 pm)
I will file that one away in the cobwebs and senior moments for future reference, lots of posts among various car owners about "dies making a turn" on cars that don't have warped floats to hang in the carb any more.
as for the water pumps, sounds like maybe the shop's source is suspect, like using little tick-tick hammers in the middle of the bearing race to seat the front bearings.
Mar 21, 2002 (7:02 am)
These are brand new water pumps from a national retail chain. Every one tells me they have the same experience with other chains. How come I can get 120K on a factory water pump and after market pumps last 40K. This isn't rocket science and the belt alignment/tension is not a problem. They keep giving me free replacements.
I would recommend that when a fuel pump is replaced that the regulator is too. I had 150K on the vehicle and do a lot of traveling away from home. It was warm and sunny so I decided to replace the fuel pump even though the vehicle was running fine. I figured why wait till I'm 500 miles away from home and it is snowing. After replacing the pump, the car began to stall occasionally at stop lights. When I cut open the regulator, I found it had worn a flat spot on the seat. The higher flow rate of the new pump caused the valve to open wider and cause it to hang up on this seat bevel.