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Unresolved problem-opinions welcome (long)...

Discussion in 'General Explorations!!' started by ryster, November 9, 2001.

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  1. ryster

    ryster New Member

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    Hi!

    My '00 Explorer XLS 4x4 has a loud popping noise somewhere in or around the driver's door. I took the truck to my dealer on 9/20/01 to have the problem diagnosed and repaired. Well, it has now been back 5 times for the problem with no resolution. In fact, last week's appointment ended with the dealer calling me and telling me they simply have done all they know how to do and do not know how to fix the problem on their own. I am scheduled for appointment #6 on 11/20 to swap my truck for a loaner so they can have the truck for "a few days" to work on. This time, the dealer is going to contact Ford directly for assistance. The service advisor anticipates only needing the truck for 2 days, but considering it is going in Thanksgiving week I doubt I will have it back before the 26th. In any event, they have already done the following to try and fix the noise:

    1. Initial diagnosis was a loose running board. They tightened the running board "under warranty" and said the problem was resolved. Ford paid $45 for this mis-diagnosis.

    2. They then diagnosed the problem as a bad window run and upper door moulding. They ordered the parts.

    3. A week and a half later, the aforementioned parts were installed. The mechanic and shop foreman indicated the problem was fixed. Ford paid $230 for this mis-diagnosis.

    4. Truck went back again. Mechanics worked on the truck for several hours at which point they decided they couldn't fix it and would need it back for an extended stay. When I went to retrieve my truck, the seat belt was severely twisted, the trim cover for the upper seat belt bolt was broken, the door panel was not properly reinstalled, the mounting bolt for the seat belt retracting unit is just sort of "there" but not fuly tightened, and there was dirt all over the door panels and interior trim. They resolved the seat belt issue and ordered a new trim piece to be installed at my next appointment. Don't know what Ford paid for this trip, but figure 5 hours of the mechanics time at $70/hour and you're looking at $350. Now we are at $625 in warranty work so far and the problem isn't fixed.

    There was one other trip to the dealer to have the foreman drive the vehicle and listen to the noise, but I didn't list it above.

    I must give kudos to the dealer for having the patience to work on the problem. The truck didn't have this problem at first, it has developed progressively over the past few months.

    Should I spend any more of my time and the dealer's time trying to get this resolved? Should I just cut my losses and trade the truck (it will be one year old in two weeks and currently has 15,200 miles on it)? Incidentally, I have spoken to a lemon law lawyer who said I would have a case should I choose to pursue one. He recommends letting the dealer have at it one more time. The noise is very loud and seems to be getting worse daily.

    I just don't know what to do. I do enjoy the truck but the noise is driving me insane. I have test driven other cars and will be doing so again in the morning. However, none of them feel as "right" as my Explorer (you know, that feeling you get when you drive a vehicle you enjoy).

    What do you guys think? Trade it? Let the dealer have at it a sixth time? Go the lemon route directly? Let the dealer try again and then go the lemon route if it doesn't work out? Try a different dealer (after the current one undoes everything they've done)?

    Thanks for your time!
     
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  3. mrboyle

    mrboyle I Drive By Brail Moderator Emeritus

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    First off, you didn't mention this, but is the dealer dooing the warranty work the same dealer that you purchased the X from?
    If so here's what I'd do: I would let them have it (again) and if the problem still isn't fixed, ask them how they are going to make good on the deal. Let them know you have already contacted a lawyer in regards to the Lemon Law and he feels you have a solid case. See if they are willing to make you an offer to either fix the problem (at their cost, no matter what it takes), or pay someone else to repair it (at their cost).
     
  4. ryster

    ryster New Member

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    Yes, the dealer doing the warranty work is the same dealer from whom I purchased the truck. I have also heard that sometimes if a dealer cannot solve a problem after numerous attempts, they will work with the manufacturer (in this case Ford) directly and offer a replacement vehicle as a means of bypassing "official" lemon law proceedings; a good will offering of sorts. Something like "your truck plus $3K, for a brand new XLT Explorer, and you continue on in your current loan no changes".

    Has anyone else heard of this? I personally find it hard to believe...

    Thanks!!!
     
  5. Robert

    Robert Well-Known Member

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    It is kind of early, but by any chance has your dealer looked at the kevlar patch on top of your driver's side torsion bar adjuster? I would have him look at it for deterioration, especially if you have been off-road a fair amount. The torsion bar adjuster is right under the driver's seat, attatched to the frame. When the patch wears out, the torsion bar bangs against the frame resulting in a poping, banging noise everytime the suspension goes up or down. My '97 had both of them wear out.
     
  6. ChuckyD

    ChuckyD Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Explorer<br>ECX Member Moderator Emeritus

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    Be a pain in the Ass, bring it back to the dealer as many times as it takes... hey, you payed for the thing right??? you payed for a functional vehicle, not one that makes noises when your driving normally... If it still doesnt get fixed and the dealer isnt cooperating anymore... i would go ahead and go to the lawyer. (it wont coast you anything to have the dealer look at it, but youll have to pay a lawyer, i would use them last)... Thats just my .02 everyone has their own opinon though...

    PS. Dont forget, the dealer charges Ford for warranty work.. so they are making money off of this too, they prob like to see you, especially if their bored.
     
  7. ryster

    ryster New Member

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    The torsion bar sounds like a step in the right direction. By chance is this something I could crawl under the truck in my driveway and visually inspect? If so, where should I look and what does it look like?

    Also, I agree that being a pain in the butt is the probably the best way to get it fixed. Seems you have to be that way about anything these days when it comes to getting something repaired correctly. One thing is certain, my dealer has never been as busy as they have been the last couple of months. I don't know if it's just a result of the slow economy and people are just keeping and repairing/maintaining their current vehicles or if Ford vehicles in general are having significant issues these days. It doesn't help that my dealer consistently overbooks itself either. It has been that way ever since they became a Blue Oval Certified dealer (whatever that's worth; I think their service quality has decreased since the certification).
     
  8. hammer58

    hammer58 New Member

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    If your x makes the noise on regular basis, a good suspension tech should be able to find the noise. Ask the service manager if they have a set of "chassis ears" at their shop. I was a suspension tech for Ford for 8 years and found many a noise with the chassis ears. If they still can't find it, you might consider going to another Ford dealership and get someone else to take a look.

    Gary
    Former Ford Tech
    Current College Automotive Instructor
    Explorer Nut
     
  9. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    The torsion idea is a great start, I was going to mention the same thing. The frame rail also passes right under neath you and problems somewhere else may be getting transmitted through the frame rail making you think it is near the door. I had a pop every time I hit a bump and it sounded and felt like it was near the door. Ended up being a loose rear shackle bolt. Find a good suspension tech like hammer said.
     
  10. Xplor

    Xplor Active Member

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    ryster, I'd defiantely try to find a different dealer. Usually I always see plenty of cars out on the Ford service lots, never once seen it quiet. Try to see if you can get a tech or a "chassis ears" to ride with you maybe they are hearing something else then what you're hear. Hope this helps. Good luck
     
  11. ryster

    ryster New Member

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    Good morning!

    These are fantastic suggestions!!!

    Thanks so much to all for taking the time to respond. I am going to give my dealer one more shot at fixing the noise (and suggest they look at what you guys provided). If they can't get it fixed, then I am going to either go the Lemon route or try a different dealer.

    You guys should act as professional advisors to Ford for assisting in the repair of Explorers. You have had more good ideas in less than 48 hours than Ford has had in 5 trips to the shop already.
     
  12. Robert

    Robert Well-Known Member

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    If you remove the torsion bar adjuster cover, you can get an excellent look at it. There are four bolts holding the cover on and they are all very easy to get to. This is what mine looked like, once I removed the cover. It is kind of fuzzy, but look for the material getting squeezed out around the top of the torsion bar adjuster. The adjuster is part at the end of the 3' long torsion bar.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. 2001ExpSport

    2001ExpSport Elite Explorer

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    WOw, I never realized how different the torsion bar pad looks on the 97. On my 2001, there is a large rectangular pocket in which a flat steel block sits with a poly pad insert for the bars to sit against. Interesting. Thanks for the photo.
     
  14. ryster

    ryster New Member

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    Update...

    My truck has been at the dealer for the past week while they take their 6th shot at fixing the popping noise in my driver's door.

    I checked in today, and the dealer indicated they contacted Ford directly. Apparently Ford has had other reports of Explorers with this problem, and recommended a possible solution to the dealer. My truck is now at the body shop being spot welded in certain spots per Ford. Hopefully the truck will be done by end of week.

    In the meantime, I have a nice '00 Taurus SE loaner.

    If they can't get my truck fixed, maybe I'll just trade it for a Taurus and press on. The Taurus isn't that bad at all. Took a few days to get used to it, but it is turning out to be pretty good.
     
  15. Lemondrop

    Lemondrop Active Member

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    Be sure to keep all documents to the repairs done and make them show you exactly where the welding was done . Be sure to check EVERY piece of electronic equipment in the truck before leaving the dealer with it . If they screw up and fry your electronics you dont want a pissing match about when and where it broke . Also as I said make SURE YOU ARE SHOWN WHERE THEY WELDED . Make sure you have documentation of where the welding was done . I say this because in 3 years if a panel suddenly rusts out in a weld are Ford will be responsible . The welds won't have the same rust protection as the factory offered . Be prepared to raise hell :)
     
  16. ryster

    ryster New Member

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    Got my truck back...

    Hi,

    Just wanted to let you all know what the dealer did. After keeping my truck for 17 days, they were finally able to resolve the popping noise. Turns out the B-Pillar was misaligned and the body seams were not properly welded during vehicle assembly. So, the dealer "welded and repositioned B pillar, refinished B pillar, resecured two body seams at B pillar, and road tested several times." according to the work order.

    The end result being that the truck no longer has the noise and feels more solid than it did when I first bought it. It's kind of scary, actually, that something this important was not properly done during assembly. Even the dealer acknowledged the truck most likely was not properly assembled causing the pillar and seam to loosen up prematurely.

    So, all told, Ford paid approximately $1,100 in warranty charges to get the truck "up to code" (not including the 17 days I had the dealer's loaner. I am certain the dealer will bill Ford for having to provide me a loaner.)

    I must admit I am quite pleased they were able to resolve the problem. It restores my confidence in my dealer and Ford in general. Maybe in a year and a half or so I will actually consider a new Explorer.

    Thanks!!
     
  17. stevetimleck

    stevetimleck Member

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    This may sound weird but check the little black roller at the front of the door between the top and bottom hinges. It develops a groove after a while and can cause a loud pop when opening and closing.
    let me knoe if this works
     

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