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What is wrong with my Explorer?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by amhemmer, September 27, 2013.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. amhemmer

    amhemmer New Member

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    City, State:
    Beloit, WI
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    1997 Ford Explorer
    We have a '97 Explorer with multiple issues that I believe are probably connected, just not even sure where to start. We don't have a lot of money, so would love to troubleshoot/fix ourselves if possible. We've had the truck about 2 years and all this started about 6 months ago...

    The first issue is the interior dash lights, radio lights, door lock lights and other accessory lights. They randomly fade in and out, blink on and off or just don't come on at all. The only lights that work regularly are the warning lights in the dash cluster (parking brake, airbags, 4WD, etc...)

    Second issue is the power locks. We can unlock all of the doors normally by pushing the unlock buttons, but can only lock doors by going around and physically locking the doors. Also, the keypad entry on the driver's door is now completely unresponsive.

    The third issue is the most serious one. We have no headlights. All of the other lights (parking, brake, rear) work just fine. The high beams do not work when the lever is clicked into place (forward), but if we hold the lever back continuously while driving, the high beams will come on.

    Like I said, this all just kind of started and progressed. I'm thinking this all has something to do with some wiring issue, but don't know where to start or what to look for. Any thoughts, advice, tips or how-tos would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading all of this!
     
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  3. Turdle

    Turdle Moderator Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
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    I think the "flash to pass" bypasses the light switch.

    A common symptom of a bad light--dimmer switch is fading and blinking dash lights.

    Adding the 2 , I would start with a light switch assembly from a junk yard.


    For the door lock issue, I would look for a broken wire in the driver door jamb. I cannot load up my schematic diagram, hopefully someone else will chime in with one to identify which wire would be suspect. Since all locks and windows run thru the driver control, I suspect the door jamb area.
     
  4. dcdyd

    dcdyd Active Member

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    City, State:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
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    For the 3rd issue, it could be the multi-switch that controls the turn signals, the wiper etc. There is one thread in this forum talking about that. You can take it off and clean it. I did mine two years ago when turn signal start not working correctly. It is in the big block under the steering. There are two long screws holding it. When you take it out, be patient. Don't use excessive force. Good luck.
     
  5. BobWiersema

    BobWiersema Well-Known Member

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  6. amhemmer

    amhemmer New Member

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    City, State:
    Beloit, WI
    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    1997 Ford Explorer
    Thank you guys for your suggestions. We did some exploring (haha) and discovered a couple things that led us to replace the turn signal switch -- which also controls the headlights and wipers. We were lucky enough to stumble upon some free '95 Explorer parts on Craigslist, which included a light switch.

    After changing the switch and still having the problems with the headlights, we looked a little closer at the turn signal switch. I very carefully opened it up (which I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to) and found a large burnt piece of plastic and corroded metal inside.

    Just purchased and installed the new turn signal switch last night and it solved the problem immediately! Headlights, fog lights and brights work perfect again!

    As for the power locks -- haven't had time to start that yet, as the headlights were most important. I'm leaning toward the dimmer switch as the problems for the dash lights. If I press on the dash between the dimmer switch and the steering column, they will come on and slowly fade out again. Either it is faulty or there is a poor connection somewhere.

    Thanks again for all of your answers, and I hope maybe this information can help someone else :)
     
  7. amhemmer

    amhemmer New Member

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    City, State:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    1997 Ford Explorer
    Another Update...

    Got the dash lights fixed!! After messing with the cluster and checking wiring, we noticed that the dimmer switch was a little loose on the back of the dash. This wasn't the issue, but noticed when I was tightening it up that the dash lights would get bright and stay on when I squeezed the sides of the dimmer. Did a little more research and came across a link on another forum on how to fix a dimmer switch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8YulJx-QRg

    Figured that since this would be a free fix if it just needed to be resoddered, we took the switch apart and found that the soddering points in the video were completely broken apart! Resoddered the points and put it back together and the dash lights work great now! No more fading, blinking or anything :)
     
  8. JHolben

    JHolben New Member

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    City, State:
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    I just love a good success story with a happy ending!!
     

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