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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Known Problems

The rear wiper may stop working. This could be due to a rear wiper motor that has failed requiring replacement.

The radius arm bushing may wear, causing a clunking or popping noise when driving over bumps. To repair, the bushings need to be replaced. Depending on the severity of the wear, the brackets may also need replacement. Driving with worn bushings will shorten tire life and cause tire cupping (uneven tire wear).

If you experience difficulty starting the engine when cold, stalling at idle, or hesitations during acceleration, it may be the idle air bypass valve. This valve helps the vehicle idle steady when the accelerator pedal is not pressed.

A coolant leak may develop from the radiator. Ford has released and updated radiator and powertrain control module (PCM) software update to address this issue. The software update includes revised cooling fan operating parameters. Failure to complete both service procedures may result in repeated radiator failures.

Our technicians tell us the spark plugs in this engine can be very difficult to remove. Ford has issued a service bulletin (08-7-6) to address this issue, which includes a recommended procedure on how to remove the plugs. Failure to follow the recommended procedure can result in the one or more spark plugs breaking off in the cylinder head.

The recommend procedure is as follows. Using this procedure will greatly reduce the chance of breaking a spark plug.

1. Break the spark plugs loose when the engine is warm.
2. Turn each plug 1/8 to 1/4 turn and soak the treads with 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of Motorcraft Carburetor Tune-Up Cleaner or a quality penetrating oil. Do not try to remove the plugs at this time.
3. Let the threads soak for at least 15 minutes.
4. After the soak period, tighten and loosen each spark plug, working it back and forth until the turning effort is reduced. Then, you can remove the spark plug.

There are special tools available to remove the broken spark plugs and repair shops will often charge additional labor time, over and above the quoted spark plug replacement cost, for the removal of each broken spark plug.

The front brakes may stick, bind, or grab. This can happen when the front brake caliper pins become corroded. Cleaning or replacing the caliper pins will be necessary to correct this problem.

Failure to change the power steering fluid can cause the fluid to become gray with metal particles. The contaminated fluid can damage the power steering pump resulting in a growling noise when the wheel is turned; the damaged pump will require replacement to eliminate the noise.. Life of the power steering gearbox and pump will be shortened if the fluid is not serviced regularly.

5.0L V8
Ignition wires
can rest on the exhaust manifolds if they are not properly secured. The hot manifolds will melt the insulation on the wires, damaging the wires and causing misfires.

The O-ring seals in the AC couplings can develop leaks. The condenser can also crack and leak, which is sometimes misdiagnosed as a leaking coupling.  The condenser cracks out of sight, under the radiator support, so it looks like the coupler is leaking. Leak testing with fluorescent dye will help locate the exact source of the leak.

If a noise from the rear end is heard when going around turns or after driving at highway speed for an extended period, this could be caused by a failing deferential clutch kit. An updated differential clutch kit available.