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Newbie...Drive train concerns with '03 Explorer

Discussion in 'General Explorations!!' started by Toby from MO, January 2, 2005.

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    1. Toby from MO

      Toby from MO New Member

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      City, State:
      Arnold, MO
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      2003 Explorer XLT
      I have a ‘03 Explorer XLT 4X4 w/the V6, its got 23K miles on it. This vehicle is not my daily driver, it’s my wives, so I don’t know all the “normal†driving and operating characteristics of this vehicle. However, over the holidays we did a lot of traveling which gave me a lot of seat time behind the wheel. I felt and heard some things within the drive train that has me concerned that something is not right. I thought I would list my concern w/some detail and I would hope/appreciate if you guys could give me your opinion on what it is and if its normal operation.

      1) A howl/whine from the rear - It’s only happens at 30+ mph (approximately) and when your foot is on the accelerator, no sound is heard when coasting. Past experience tells me it’s possibly the ring & pinion gear.

      2) Transmission shift – It hesitates/lags when downshifting and seams to be shifting rough. A) I sometimes can catch it between gears (sitting/driving in traffic) as I slow to stop then accelerate just prior to stopping. You can feel drop down into gear roughly. Also in the morning, shifting into reverse. You almost have to pause slightly to let it fully engage reverse. If you apply the gas to soon it will engage with the higher RPM and jerk reward. B) There are also times when I have come to a complete stop and I don’t believe it has yet shifted down into first. Then as I lift my foot from the break, to accelerate, I can feel it drop down. C) This weekend I had it in 4X4 Low. I would accelerate to about 25 – 30 mph and it seemed to shifted up through he gears crisp and right on the mark. I would then take my foot from the accelerator and let the low gearing slow the vehicle to a crawl, just as I would apply the brake to come to a complete stop the transmission would shift into 1st with authority, very abruptly, almost lunging the vehicle forward.

      3) A howling and popping from the front end when in 4X4 Hi & Low – While fooling around trying to get the transmission to repeat its lagging shift I noticed excessive howling and popping from the front end when in 4X4. FYI…I was on dirt/gravel road when in 4X4. A) The howling is similar to the rear but much more course. Its not a grinding sounds but a very low pitched howl. The pitch of the howl is directly related to how fast I was traveling. It would get higher and louder the faster the axles turned and it was magnified even more if I turn the wheel, even slightly. B) When the wheel was turned about ½ rotation the popping would start, the harder you turned it the louder the popping got. It was like the ball joints were being pounded out. I could also feel significant “feedback†in the steering wheel.

      My last three vehicles, including my two current vehicles, have been 4X4’s. I know and expect some added sounds and some resistive steering when in 4X4, especially when cutting the wheel and especially when in low gear but these seemed excessive when compared to anything I’ve ever felt. My last three 4X4’s with solid front axles and on leaf springs didn’t hop, grind or pop like this thing. My current truck is a 4X4 Super Crew and it handles better with less resistance up front.

      What do you guys think………sorry for being so looooooong winded.

      Thanks,
      Toby
       
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    3. 00XLS

      00XLS Well-Known Member

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      I've been reading alot about the newer rear ends in the Fords, seems to be a problem with them no one can fix, if its still under warrenty I'd take it in and have them look at it. Transmissions as well, was yours one of the one filled with the wrong fluid ?
       
    4. TPLYNCH

      TPLYNCH Well-Known Member

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      Ditto - There is a known problem with the rear diffys - fix is to replace, but even the replacements have the problem. There is a recall going out about the transmissions. They were shipped with the wrong fluid. Your's is showing the classic signs of that issue. As for the 4x4, unless you are on really really loose gravel, you will get binding/popping from the front end. The T/F cases usually howl, especially in low. I'm surprised you got it up to 30mph in Low w/o it screaming. And the downshift to 1 is normal. With a low 1st gear being reduced even further by the t/f case.
       
    5. jasminec

      jasminec New Member

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      Have it checked if it is still under warranty

      I have an 04 and am waiting on a part for my transmission. There is a cylaniod (spelling?) That has been going in a lot of the newer models. The part was on national back order. I hear the sound on the drivers side when I'm accelerating (not all of the time though). It shifts hard around 25-30 mph in town. And it usually delays and shifts so hard into reverse that the whole vehicle moves. The dealership told me that this has been quite a common problem.

      Besides, with a warranty, what have you got to lose?

      Hope that helped a bit.
       
    6. PSUExplorer

      PSUExplorer New Member

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      I have the same problem exactly that you describe in #2 Transmission Shift......have it at the dealer now, ready to fight over who will pay. Only 60K miles..I bought the '2 with about 36K miles on it and so comes down to me owning it for 20K miles and having to replace transmission?

      I am looking for resources...any Recall information, Ford resources, etc to help me replace Transmission.
       
    7. PSUExplorer

      PSUExplorer New Member

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      TPLYNCH-

      Can you suggest anywhere to find about about the Transmission recall from Ford?

      Thanks for any help you can provide------just got married, don't need a $3,000 repair bill!!
       
    8. jasminec

      jasminec New Member

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