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Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers Questions related to non-modified 1995-2001 Explorer, Mountaineer, Ranger and '02+ Sports and Sport Trac. Problem solving, maintenance, TSB, service bulletins, owner reviews, specifications.

Rough Idle, Check Engine Light is On, Spark Plug Issue - connected?

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Old 08-25-2010, 09:58 AM   #1
Traverse City, Michigan
2000 Explorer 2dr
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Rough Idle, Check Engine Light is On, Spark Plug Issue - connected?

I've got a 2000 Explorer Sport (2dr) w/ 4.0 X-Vin OHV with 126xxx miles and I've got a few engine issues I'm trying to diagnose, wondering if the issues I'm having are connected - mechanic hasn't been a big help.

Here's what I'm seeing:
- Check Engine Light has been on for some time, scanned codes, says I have a large vacuum leak (can't remember what the exact code was). Per mechanic's suggestions, I've replaced the gas cap 2x, hasn't fixed problem. I'm wondering if there is a valve in the vacuum system that has gone bad?

- New Motorcraft plugs & wires. Plugs have needed replaced at least once a year. Center electrodes get worn down to almost a nub/fine point and cylinder will start missing badly. Usually the offending plug will be on the lean side and codes will indicate a cylinder is running lean. Every time it's happened, it's been a different plug that goes bad - never in the same cylinder twice.

- At start-up, truck idles rough when cold. At/below idle, idles roughly, chugs
- rev the throttle in neutral or accelerate over 2000-2500, cleans rough idle out and truck starts/runs great while warm.

- Slowly losing coolant from radiator, can't determine where. Not seeing any leaks or drips, doesn't leak while sitting. I will occasionally smell a puff of coolant via the heater/ac ducts when starting the truck (mostly when truck is warm), but that's about it. Truck doesn't appear to be smoking in engine compartment or excessively out tailpipe. I've pulled plugs a number of times in the last year and there has been no evidence of coolant on the plugs. Truck has not overheated to my knowledge. Wondering if I have a leaking heater hose or something like that? Got my fingers crossed, really hoping it's not a head gasket leak - need to run a compression test soon.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:50 AM   #2
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Upper and lower intake gaskets, id get someone to pressure test the system.

97 Limited 4x4 31x10.5 (CRASHED)
99 Sport 4x4 Lifted 33x12.5's (SOLD)
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bad spark plugs, check engine light, coolant leak, rough idle

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