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Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer
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#5236 of 6400 Re: Trans hard shift from 1st to 2nd [steve_]
Jul 23, 2006 (3:07 pm)
I can't comment on power flushing, but have NEVER had any of my vehicles transmissions POWER flushed. I always flush my transmissions by disconnecting the cooler line and using the transmission pump to flush out the old transmission fluid and add new fluid. I always drop the pan and put in a new filter before I do the flush. I believe that is the best way to do it. I've done this on my personal vehicles for over 30 years, on all types of vehicles, mostly American makes, several Chevrolets, 1979 GMC, 4 Ford Explorers, a 1991 Saturn, a 1976 Toyota and a 2002 Nissan Altima. The manufacturer's recommendations will vary from make to make and also over the years as technology improves, but I have found a good "Rule of Thumb" is to flush and replace the transmission fluid and filter every 30,000 miles. Most vehicles I know of will show signs of the fluid darkening by that time, or certainly by 60,000 miles. And some vehicles need it more than others, and unfortunately, Ford transmissions seem to need it the most, at least from my experience. If your transmission does not have a filler tube and dipstick, it's best to leave this to a shop to do. Bottom line, I believe is is good insurance to do good maintenance, and the transmission flush is money well spent, as long as you don't get ripped off and pay to much for it. As I said previously, I spend less than $100 to do the transmission filter and flush, doing it myself.
Now about the "other" maintenance flushes, I also believe the other flushes, such as the Radiator, Power Steering, and Brakes are also important and beneficial maintenance items, for several reasons. Don't flush just to flush, flush when you need it.
The Radiator seldom needs flushing, and for most people with used cars, this will usually occur when they need to replace a water pump or Radiator, otherwise 5 year intervals are about normal. Check the manufacturer's recommendations. Systems that use the Dexcool Antifreeze (Orange/Yellow color) should be drained and flushed more often, about every 3 years. I have seen Dexcool gel up when left in a system for 5 years. When you service the system, and you have to drain the cooling system, it is an excellent time to check the overall cleanliness of the system. If any rust, corrosion, or discoloration of the fluid, it's best to pressure check the system to look for any potential leaks, Check/Replace Hoses, fix any leaks, and flush the system. It is easy and inexpensive to flush the cooling system, using an ordinary water hose. Drain antifreeze into a pan and dispose of properly, antifreeze is poisonous and can harm animals. You MUST remove the radiator cap and leave if off during the entire flushing process, so that you won't build up excessive pressure in the system. I made a simple adaptor from hose fittings and plumbing fittings that allows me to connect the water hose to one of the heater hoses so that the water will flow through the heater core and then into the engine. Turn on the heater in the car so the the heater water valve will be open. Start the engine and let it idle. With the Radiator Cap off turn the water hose on slowly and watch water come out of the radiator cap opening. Watch out for splashing water. Slowly flush until the water runs clear. The engine needs to warm up enough for the thermostat to open and for the water to circulate through the engine, so you may have to turn the water hose off for a few minutes, and cover the front grill with some newspapers. NEVER hold your hand or your head over the radiator filler opening, as hot water can suddenly gush out! Once you have very warm water at the Radiator cap opening, turn the water hose on slowly, so that water runs out the radiator cap opening until it runs clear, turn off water hose, let the radiator heat up again and turn the water hose again until the water runs clear. You need to repeat this process a few times until the water runs clear every time, because when you turn the water hose on, the thermostat closes when the cool water reaches it, so you actually flush only part of the water out each time until the thermostat closes. Once all the water flows CLEAR out the radiator filler, turn off the engine and turn off the water, remove the hose adaptor, reconnect the hoses, and open the drain cock to drain the system. Close the Drain cock, refill with the proper antifreeze and Distilled Water. I recommend adding only distilled water to the cooling system. Again, it's cheap and good insurance.
Power Steering and Brake Fluid Flushes are also easy and cheap to do. You can buy a bottle of Power Steering fluid for less than $5. Use an "OIL SUCK GUN or PUMP' with a hose attached to suck the old fluid out of the fluid reservoir. Discard the old fluid and pour in new fluid. I do the power steering "fluid replacement" every 30K at the same time I do the Transmission flush service and fuel filter change.
The Brake fluid is also cheap, a quart cost about $5 to $8 and is usually enough to flush all four wheels. You might want to buy 2 quarts to be sure you don't run out in the middle of your flush. To Flush, you simply do brake bleeding at each wheel, using a one man bleeder, simple to make from a small plastic 6 or 8 oz bottle and a foot of rubber hose, size the hose so that it fits snugly on the brake bleeder screw, with the hose going through a snug fitting hole in the bottle top, with the end of the hose near the bottom of the bottle. Use a piece of tie wire to support the bottle during the process. Start at the Left Rear Wheel, attach the hose to the brake bleeder screw. Loosen the bleeder screw about 1/2 turn, pump the brake pedal about 10 times, then check the fluid level in the master cylinder. Pump until almost all the fluid is gone from the master cylinder, but don't let it run dry! Fill up the master cylinder about 3/4 full, lay the cover on top, so the fluid won't splash out, and pump the brake pedal about 10 times. Check the master cylinder and keep refilling it throughout the rest of this entire procedure. Close the bleeder screw, remove the hose and bottle, discard the dirty fluid, put the hose and bottle back on, open the bleeder screw, and pump the brake again 10 times, refill the master cylinder. Continue this same procedure until the fluid runs clear out of the wheel cylinder into the bottle. Close the Bleeder Screw and remove the bleeder hose. Move to the Right Rear Wheel and do the same procedure, then to the Right Front Wheel, and then finally to the Left Front Wheel. All bleeder screws should now be closed. Fill master cylinder with new fluid. Test brake pedal, brake pedal should be firm and high. Always test the brakes to be certain they are operating properly before driving the car. I do the brake fluid flush every 30K at the same time I do the Transmision flush service and fuel filter change.
#5237 of 6400 Re: Spark Plug Hole Thread Stripped [dodgekbad]
Jul 23, 2006 (3:44 pm)
When you finally got the old plug to 'break loose', did it seem to come out easier the rest of the way or did you have to 'wrench' it all the way out. If it came out easily after it broke loose, it may just be that the new plug may be crossed in the threads starting it in. You can buy a spark plug thread 'chaser' that is like a tap, you screw it in and it cleans the threads, actually cuts the metal a little bit to reduce interference on damaged threads. If the threadS are messed up bad where the 'chaser' won't work, then you will have to buy a spark plug repair kit, like a heli-coil kit or similar. The guys at the auto parts house should be able to show you what you need. You have to buy the right kit for your type spark plug. It consists of a special tap that rethreads the hole to an oversize special thread. Then you screw the new heli-coil onto the installation tool and screw it carefully into the newly threaded spark plug hole, to the correct depth, according to instructions. Once in, the little metal 'tab' on the heli-coil is broken off and the repair is complete.
AN OPTIONAL STEP: Myself, I do not like the little metal tab and any metal chips falling down into the cylinder, because with my luck, it will cause me a problem, so before I start doing the procedure, I locate the piston at the bottom of the cylinder, ready to come up on the compression stroke, and I fill the cylinder with shaving cream. When the procedure is done, you rotate the engine, and the shaving cream comes out the spark plug hole carrying any metal shavings and the little metal tab safely out of the engine. Then you have a 'new' spark plug hole with new threads.
Note: I recommend that when installing spark plugs on any engine, DO NOT overtighen them, apply a very light coating of "never seize" onto the spark plug threads, then just install them tightened down snugly. Pick up the never seize at the auto parts house also. I've never seen a spark plug blow out, just because it came loose, and it if ever did, it would be a LOT better than stripped out threads.
Let us know how it comes out.
#5238 of 6400 Re: Trans hard shift from 1st to 2nd [electricdesign]
by Stever@Edmunds HOST
Jul 23, 2006 (3:51 pm)
It's not just the cost of the fluids - ATF seems pretty benign from skimming the material data safety sheets on-line (even though most of the non-synthetic stuff is a known carcinogen to the State of California) but I still don't want that stuff winding up in my aquifer (replacement wells in my neighborhood start around $14,000). So there's the green issue of replacing auto fluids needlessly as well (eco green and dollar green ).
Some of the indy shops around here don't even change radiator fluid anymore since the disposal issue is too much of a hassle for them. If you are doing that at home you should be taking the first drain to the recycling center and not flushing that stuff in the storm drain or the sewer.
#5239 of 6400 1998 Explorer XLT Noisy front end
Jul 23, 2006 (5:01 pm)
My 1998 explorer makes some gosh-awful noises these days. Sounds like a red neck thug-mobile. I couldn't sneak up on anybody if I had to. It is getting quite embarassing at this point.
I've been told that I need new ball-joints and whatever else goes along with it. But, is that what might be making the noise. The noise comes from bouncing on the least bump in the road or any other motion. I recently put new breaks on front and back.
#5240 of 6400 Re: Spark Plug Hole Thread Stripped [electricdesign]
Jul 23, 2006 (5:01 pm)
Thanks for the reply. I acually can't remember if it came out smoothly or if I wrenched it out. I was tired as dirt by then and on that V6 SOHC, all but one of the plugs are easy to reach -- so it;s sort of a hassle all the way through the process.
I heard Helli-coil should be left to a pro. It sounds like this cross thread job should be left to a pro also.
#5241 of 6400 Battery problem
Jul 23, 2006 (5:34 pm)
2004 XLT 4X4 - 13K miles.
This morning I took the SUV out and had no problems. 6 hours later I go into the garage and it will not start up. There was a little bit of light on the dash and then I lost it when I turned the key. Just the old clicking noise.
Jump started it and took it around the block. Lights on the dash were flickering on and off and the gauges were not stable. Then then the battery light came on so I parked the car.
Do I need a new battery or could it be the alternator or something else? Is there an easy way to diagnose? Could a shop just hook something to the battery to determine the issue?
#5242 of 6400 Re: 1998 Explorer XLT Noisy front end [kwccorb]
Jul 23, 2006 (6:11 pm)
How many miles? Have you had the ball joints replaced? The suspension BUSHINGS front and rear need to be lubricated, they squeak loudly when they get dry. Get a big can of WD 40 and lay on the ground right up beside the vehicle and spray all the suspension bushings (all points that move). The bushings are on the front on each side, 2 upper control arm bushings at the frame, 2 lower control arm bushings at the frame,sway bar and link bushings and the shocks. On the rear, bushing are on each end of the leaf springs and on the sway bar and links and the shocks. Have a friend, preferably a heavy one, stand on the front or back bumper and bounce the vehicle up and down while you are listening to and spraying the bushings under the car. You may be able to hear where the sound is coming from, and as you spray the bushings, you will hear them silence. Keep spraying until the noises are gone. If the squeaks come back, then spray them again with a heavier spray grease, like a white grease or a marine grease.
If the ball joints squeak, those will have to be replaced. There is a lower ball joint and an upper ball joint on each side, total of 4. The lower ones wear out first. You may need just the lowers replaced, or you may need both uppers and lowers replaced.
You can also take it to any service or repair garage and have them put it on the lift and ask them to spray and lubricate all the bushings and anything that moves or squeaks. They will be able to check the ball joints then also. If you have original ball joints, they are probably ready to replace by now. I have heard of cases where the ball joints failed early, like at 50,000 miles, but usually they are replaced between 100,000 to 140,000 miles.
#5243 of 6400 Re: Battery problem [ecnirp]
Jul 23, 2006 (6:20 pm)
Yes, you need diagnosis, a shop can test the battery, starter and connections. It might be just simply a loose connection by your desription of the 'flashing lights'.
#5244 of 6400 Re: '2000 explorer Whistling Sound! [jarmendi]
Jul 23, 2006 (6:50 pm)
I have the same problem with my 1998 explorer. I had a shade-tree mechanic tell me that it was probably this (as he pointed to a little electronic thingy near the air filter).
I was just looking in my Haynes Repair Manual and the thing he was pointing at was the Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF sensor).
I looked up the price of the new part and it is about $210. I may give it a try. If it works I'll let you know.
#5245 of 6400 Re: rear end problems [theturc]
Jul 23, 2006 (9:30 pm)
Scratch it's nose maybe, but wake up - I doubt it. I've never dealt with such cold customer service about anything in my life. Anyone know how to get in touch with Erin Brockovich? I'll let you know how my day in small claims court turns out. Speaking of court, I'm going to take copies of as many messages as I can find about these problems with me to the judge to try to show a pattern of poor quality and service. I know they won't be about the dealer I'm suing, but I see the dealer as an agent of Ford bound by it's policies and practices. So, if anyone out there has stories about Explorer tranny problems, please reply with your story. If I can win this suit, maybe it will help create a precedent in the court system (at least in California) that will get Ford off it's butt to give the customers what they deserve for their money besides the offer of an extended warranty. By the way, my problem child is an 03 Eddie Bauer 4x4 V8.