Ford Explorer Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Ford Explorer as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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33
Known Problems

A cosmetic crack may develop on the plastic liftgate trim panel. Ford has released a service procedure to replace the applique without damage the the liftgate glass.

The composite (plastic) intake manifold may crack near the thermostat housing and cause a coolant leak. Ford released an updated manifold that was reinforced to prevent a recurrence. No recall was issued for this problem but Ford did extend the warranty to seven years on some models from the date of purchase.

A failed heater blend door or actuator can cause the temperature control for the HVAC system to stop working. A clicking sound from the dash area would commonly indicate an actuator fault. If the heater gets stuck on the hottest setting, the heater blend door may be broken requiring replacement of the heater box to repair the issue.

The Ford Explorer with automatic climate control may have a problem with frequent fan speed changes when using the heater or air conditioner. Normally, the fan speed changes only to maintain a selected temperature, but when the fan speed changes frequently and needlessly, there is an issue with the fan speed control unit. 

The fan speed control unit, sometimes erroneously called the blower motor resister, regulates the speed for the blower motor in order to maintain the temperature set by the driver. When it fails, the fan will run at random settings, and the climate control will be inaccurate.

Note: this does not affect the temperature of the air that comes from the vents, it affects the amount of air that comes from the vents. 

The repair is simple, and quick. The control unit is located behind the glove box in most models, and removal and installation takes only minutes.

Also note: this only applies to vehicles with single or dual automatic climate control.

A rattling noise from the engine may indicate that the timing chain cassette is worn. Our technicians tell us that installing an updated cassette and timing chain tensioner should correct this concern.

Various problems with the 5-speed automatic transmission were common. These problems can be more common on the 2002 models with build dates before March, 2002. There are many service bulletins describing the diagnoses and repairs, which include fluid leak repairs, transmission software updates, or internal failures requiring a costly repair.

The intake manifold O-ring gaskets commonly leak, causing stalling and poor idle quality; the Check Engine Light will illuminate.

The rear window wiper may not fully contact the rear window. Our technicians tell us that replacing both the wiper blade and wiper arm will generally correct this issue.

A ticking noise may develop from the engine due to a cracked exhaust manifold. Damaged exhaust manifolds will require replacement to correct this issue.

The Check Engine Light will illuminate and the engine will idle roughly when cold. There are updated upper intake manifold gaskets to resolve the problem.