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First vehicle, have some questions

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by gdomr99, August 15, 2017.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. gdomr99

    gdomr99 New Member

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    Hi everyone, I just made a post in the New Members section. I think this is the right place to ask about this stuff, but correct me if I'm wrong. These questions are mostly just me being clueless as a new car owner, but some relate to the Explorer specifically. Any advice would be awesome!

    • The driver side door will close with a click, but not fully close (flush with the vehicle) unless slammed. I assume this is a minor repair?
    • The rear hatch lock works fine, but its not fitted very tightly (anymore?) and can be jiggled around really easily. I would like to fix this, but is it so much effort to get at that I shouldn't bother?
    • The ignition lets me turn it to all positions without a key, but nothing happens besides the ignition/door ajar chime activating. Is it supposed to do this?
    • There are minor bits of rust all over that I would like to eventually repair. I assume the back bumper is a common spot because there is a hole in it you can fit your arm through. Once repaired, what should I do to make sure it doesn't come back soon?
    • Is there a list of common Explorer problems that I could go over to see if everything is in working order?
    • What could I do to improve MPG? I don't expect anything massive, but every little bit helps.
     
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  3. natenkiki2004

    natenkiki2004 Blue Bomb!

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    - Does the door stricker have a bushing? If not, there's excess gap and that won't close to latch fully unless you really slam it. Could just be straight out of adjustment too.
    - Might be bushings again.
    - No, it should lock in the off position. It's possible that the black/chrome piece is loose from the actual lock cylinder. The assembly is easy to replace once you remove the lower half of the column plastic. Insert key into ignition, turn it forward to the first notch and then stick a small pick up in a hole on the underside of the column to push on a pin that releases the lock cylinder. New ones are cheap on Rock Auto. FYI, this will leave you with a key for the door and a key for the ignition.
    - Paint any bare metal but even that isn't a 100% fix. It depends on if you're in the rust belt too. There's a neat product out called Fluid Film that would help you out.
    - There's a few threads on that already. Automatic transmissions can be problematic. Easy and cheap thing to do for them is to install a Magnefine on the rubber hose beneath the radiator. Make sure you get flow direction properly. $20 and it could very well save your transmission. Aside from that, preventative maintenance like replacing rubber items (vacuum hoses, bushings, belt, etc...) and doing proper fluid changes (not just oil) will help greatly.
    - Tune-up, similar things as above. There's things like under drive pulleys for the crank you can get so your auxiliaries aren't sucking as much horsepower from the engine. Aside from that, remove weight and drive gently.
     
  4. RangerX

    RangerX Elite Ranger Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    You might have a worn out hinge pin causing your door issue. It's fairly common, and more so on Sports, their doors are longer and therefore more strain on the hinges.
     
  5. gdomr99

    gdomr99 New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice!
    I can't check the things both of you mentioned until I go back to my Aunt's though. I don't have any (enough) money to insure it right now so it's sitting out of the way at their house until I do. It's also a 5-speed for the record. That's interesting about the Sport models having longer doors, you'd think they would just reuse the 4-door ones? I guess when you're as big as Ford you can do little things like that.
     
  6. acschilling

    acschilling Active Member

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    If it ain't broke on these things DO NOT FIX IT! And WHEN you have to fix (because you will) get as many Motorcraft parts as you can if you are able to afford it.
     
  7. gdomr99

    gdomr99 New Member

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    I think you're right, the driver door problem is a bushing. The passenger door is extremely smooth like it should be.

    I don't think the trim piece is loose from the lock cylinder, because I just discovered I can start / stop it without the key. I seem to be moving the entire lock cylinder when I move the trim piece. The mechanism inside rotates and continues working, not allowing me to insert the key unless I turn it back to the "real" off position.
     
  8. MountainSAR994

    MountainSAR994 New Member

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    My first car was a 93 Explorer. I've happily driven mine 16000 miles in the past three years. I haven't had the problems you've described with the doors and the ignition, but I would like to pass this on to you:
    1. Get a service manual. I use Chiltons primarily, but will use Haynes. These Explorers are old enough that part failure is inevitable, and you must either learn to do preventative maintenance and routine repairs or have the same professionally done. This vehicle is not perfect, and neglect will ruin its systems. You can save some money by buying an unwanted one on eBay for less than half the cost of a new one, and condition of these books won't matter, they're not on display and will get dirty.
    2. Become familiar with your spare tire kit. Know how to use your bottle jack, tire iron, and spare tire before it becomes necessary on a dark highway. Don't be like some poor soul I helped out with his explorer, with a failed primary and spare tire. If you're missing any part of your kit, fix that. If you haven't raised your vehicle before, set the parking brake, put it in first/park, block the opposite tire and run through the motions. It's important to know.
    3. Have a self-rescue kit. It's worth the investment. Store a gallon of 50/50 coolant, at least one quart of oil, a bottle of DOT 3 brake fluid, and transmission fluid if you have an automatic. Also have a way to jump your car. A rechargeable self-jump kit works, but so do jumper cables. Be familiar with operating that equipment. I also keep a junk cold weather coat and oil rags or blue towels to keep top-ups clean.
    4. Check fluids every time you stop for gas, and let nobody tell you otherwise or call that overkill. Check brake fluid, power steering fluid, oil and coolant in the overflow. I've made this a practice, and in the past two years I've had both of the front brake lines start leaking, coolant leaking from a failing water pump, and other issues, which I would have missed without monitoring the fluids.
    5. Service the cooling system. I'm currently dealing with rust in the cooling system, but rusty coolant should not be ignored. Severe rust buildup, especially if the system has been neglected, can obstruct the channels of the radiator, lead to early water pump failure, and obstruct the air bleed valve of the thermostat, all of which can contribute to overheating. The overflow tank can indicate the condition of the coolant in the system. Flushing on this cast iron block system should be done to keep it clean.
    6. To best become familiar with working on this truck, start just by changing its oil. That's how I started off, knowing nothing about cars, and worked my way up to replacing the clutch plate and rebuilding the entire cooling system.
    7. I recommend 5w30 high mileage oil. I do not recommend synthetic oil. I judge my oil age by how long it has been in the system and its visible condition. With the actual condition of my oil at a few thousand miles, I'm not convinced full synthetic oil will survive as long as it claims it can. Conventional runs just fine in these Explorers. You're better off spending your extra money on high mileage formulas that take care of old rubber seals rather than trying to go thousands of miles beyond scheduled oil changes to prove a point to me -but what do I know, I just know how to get high-mileage oil off Amazon for the same price as standard conventional at the auto parts store.
    That's what I would pass down. I'd say start with #6, changing oil is a simple routine that gets you down and dirty without getting you too far into a project to back out.

    I'm a logistics officer for the auxiliary to the Air Force, and I regularly document squadron vehicle maintenance in vehicle books. I made one for my Explorer at home. I would highly suggest you keep a record of work done and do what you can to keep up with the recommended service schedule by the manufacturer.
     
  9. larrydd999

    larrydd999 Active Member

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    I rarely disagree with an expert - especially when it's not my field, but have to disagree with the no synthetic oil. Both of my Gen1 Explorers have had synthetic oil (I use Mobil1 5w30) since purchased and other than minor valve cover gasket leaks haven't had any problems. I do change the oil twice a year, well within the recommended mileage interval. I check fluids weekly and carry spare fluids and a few other things only on trips. Gas mileage will never be great, the vehicle is heavy and not very streamlined. I get around 17 mpg in mixed town and highway driving and 20-21 on trips. The vehicle is fundamentally sound, reliable, and comfortable for its age, and usually fairly easy to repair. Most common parts are available and certainly not as expensive as on newer vehicles. If you peruse this site you'll soon get an idea of the most common issues and the solutions.
     
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