'91 Explorer eats flywheels (flexplates) | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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'91 Explorer eats flywheels (flexplates)


New Member
September 23, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Jackson, MI
Year, Model & Trim Level
'02 XLS
My Explorer is currently Found On Road Dead...I'm heading out right now to load it on a dolly and bring it home. It has 125,000 miles with no mods and very little mechanic work has ever had to be done, its been very reliable except for this...I am on my 4th flywheel and I think this one just went bad! The flywheels have been breaking apart around the bolt circle. I have not been replacing them myself but having various garages do the work. Since it doesn't tear up for a year or so after install, the garages won't stand behind the work or the part. This is getting to be a fairly expensive annual repair! My wife is a meter reader for a utility company and we need this back on the road fast for her to drive on her route! Anyone have any ideas why this would keep happening? Any help is greatly appreciated!

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Constantly starting the engine, on her route, is the worst thing you can do, try leaving it running.

No offense, but does she ever leave it running and get back in and try to start it, that can damage a flexplate easily.

Police departments sometimes have special relays installed in their cars that let them idle at a very effecient 250 RPM so save gas and start-up wear and tear on the engine. Police Dept/Fire Dept supply companies such as Galls may have them.

Have the crank mounting suface and torque converter checked for a good smooth/straight/square surface.

She only recently started using the Explorer on her routes. She used to drive a Tracker, which we have sold. The first 3 flexplates broke under normal driving conditions. She has always left the car running and since she reads approximately 400 meters per day on her drive routes, she has her routine down pat. While I can't say for certain that she didn't try to start the car while it was already running, I would be suprised if she made that mistake. (No offense; though, since mistakes do happen!)

Thanks for your suggestion about checking the crank and converter...I'll have the garage look into that!

I talked to a fellow today that said some Ford torque converters expand as they heat up and could damage the flexplate. He said if that's the case, I would need a new converter. Anyone ever hear of something like this?


Try replacing the starter after you replace the next flexplate. It would be cheaper than labor on the flexplate. :D

I'd have a good shop check the bellhousing for square. Breaking a flexplate under your conditions is strongly suggestive of a) the wrong torque convertor or one not fully and properly installed into the pump, such that a lot of pressure is applied around the bolt area when it is bolted tight forcing the TC into the flexplate (which is why you should NEVER draw an auto trannie into position by tightening the bolts... but fit it flush and THEN tighten the bolts) or b) a bellhousing that is warped relative to the flexplate. You may want to consider when you next have the transmission out to have the bellhousing machined, such as by Omega here in Sacramento (there is also a guy on the east coast doing this). Also make sure the pilot in the flexplate is replaced at the same time.

Omega says the A4LD bellhousings tended to warp.