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96 4.0L Explorer quit on highway

somebobby1

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Lothair, Montana
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96 XLT
I was driving 75mph for 30miles, all was fine. Then slowly and steadily I started losing speed and RPM. Soon I could only make 65MPH and RPMs would slowly bleed off until speed was down to 50MPH. I kept the throttle in the same position and as it hit 50MPH the tranny would downshift, RPMS would go to 4000 and speed would go to 60MPH. Then RPMS would drop back to about 2000 and speed would drop to 50MPH. Then the whole process would continue until I could only make 30MPH. I pulled off the road and it quit and that was it. Tried Two restarts to no avail. At the time seemed like a fuel problem but after I was towed home and tried to start it, the engine acted like it was free wheeling. not a normal engine sound. It was like all the pulleys were turning but there was no compression thumping like it was trying to start. I haven't checked fuel pressure or compression yet. I can hear the fuel pump pressurize but I have replaced fuel pumps before that seemed to operate as far as sound goes but had clogged strainers. I tried a shot of ether but I sprayed it through the mass airflow sensor so I don't think that was a proper method. I could sure use some ideas here. Thanks!
 


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Blee1099

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Check your crankshaft/camshaft position sensor..
 




somebobby1

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Thanks, that sounds like a good item to check. I haven't had the vehicle too long so I'm not familiar with the placement of all the components. I sent for a manual today, should get it the end of the week. also supposed to be blizzard coditions here tomorrow so I may not get to check anything for a few days. I will let you know what I find out.
 




my98nnj

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tried to start it, the engine acted like it was free wheeling. not a normal engine sound. It was like all the pulleys were turning but there was no compression Thanks!

Which 4.0 do you have?
Do a compression test to verify if you indeed have or don't have compression.
I suspect, if you have the SOHC motor the timing chain has given up.
 




BobWiersema

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98 xlt 4.0L SOHC 4x4
Which 4.0 do you have?
Do a compression test to verify if you indeed have or don't have compression.
I suspect, if you have the SOHC motor the timing chain has given up.

Yikes :eek:
I had that at 98K with my 98 4.0 SOHC, sounded like you were turning it over without the spark plugs in. End result........... Factory long block from Ford.
How many miles are on it. If you are the original owner Ford will fix it for free.
I don't remember what the millage cut off was or it the program is even still available. Mine was replaced three years ago.

Bob
 




Blee1099

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Seeing how his profile says 96, he has only one engine choice in the v6 selection.
 




CAHUNTERMAN

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99 XLT 4.0 OHV 4x4
Did your CEL come on during any of this? If so, get the codes read and that will help point in the right direction. I doubt it's timing chain related from the description of how it gradually lost power. Sounds more like a fuel delivery problem or a plugged up exhaust.
 




Sams01XplrSprt

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that sux bout ur x hope u get the problem fixed as soon as possible
 




somebobby1

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I have the V6 and I talked to a friend of my brothers today who was a ford mechanic and he thought it could be the timing set because ford used a tefelon gear on the camshaft and he said that that was a big problem area. He said to take the distributor cap off and turn the engine over and see if the rotor is turning. If it's not it's the cam gear. My explorer has 113,000 on it and I am not the original owner. I have mechanical abilities and can fix things but I lack the knowledge and discernment to narrow the problem down. I do however start with the simpilest and least expensive options. I do alot of testing and pondering over a problem. I can't do anything at the moment because it is a blizzard outside here in Northern Montana so it will be a few days atleast before I can do any testing or investigating. The original conclusion I thought of as I was coasting off the highway was fuel starvation, and even though the timing chain problem is a good theory, it just didn't act like that to me when I was having the problem. If my explorer had a timimg belt I might be a little more inclined to think that way. My explorer gave no indication of any type of mechanical problem until the last 20-30 miles of driving and then it was subtle, slowly and steadily. Thanks for the support and for all the ideas of where to start. Any and all ideas are welcome. I will start with one and if that doesn't work I'll move on to the next. It will be very interesting to find out what the problem is. This is like a quest and I am eager to get under the hood and find and correct the problem and pass on the information and my thanks for your help. The check engine light was already on for a "C" solenoid stuck/ off indication in the transmission, which my brother in law said was for the overdrive and he had been driving it for more than a year like that. I don't think that was the cause of my problem why it quit or won't start. Haven't had a chance to have it scanned so I don't know if any codes were entered or not.
 




Spdrcer34

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you don't have a distributor.
 




96eb96

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I have the V6 and I talked to a friend of my brothers today who was a ford mechanic and he thought it could be the timing set because ford used a tefelon gear on the camshaft and he said that that was a big problem area. He said to take the distributor cap off and turn the engine over and see if the rotor is turning. If it's not it's the cam gear. My explorer has 113,000 on it and I am not the original owner. I have mechanical abilities and can fix things but I lack the knowledge and discernment to narrow the problem down. I do however start with the simpilest and least expensive options. I do alot of testing and pondering over a problem. I can't do anything at the moment because it is a blizzard outside here in Northern Montana so it will be a few days atleast before I can do any testing or investigating. The original conclusion I thought of as I was coasting off the highway was fuel starvation, and even though the timing chain problem is a good theory, it just didn't act like that to me when I was having the problem. If my explorer had a timimg belt I might be a little more inclined to think that way. My explorer gave no indication of any type of mechanical problem until the last 20-30 miles of driving and then it was subtle, slowly and steadily. Thanks for the support and for all the ideas of where to start. Any and all ideas are welcome. I will start with one and if that doesn't work I'll move on to the next. It will be very interesting to find out what the problem is. This is like a quest and I am eager to get under the hood and find and correct the problem and pass on the information and my thanks for your help. The check engine light was already on for a "C" solenoid stuck/ off indication in the transmission, which my brother in law said was for the overdrive and he had been driving it for more than a year like that. I don't think that was the cause of my problem why it quit or won't start. Haven't had a chance to have it scanned so I don't know if any codes were entered or not.

Wow..my 85 crown vic with a 5.0 engine died in a very similar way as you described. It jumped time because of a plastic gear. I can't believe that issue still exists. It kept getting weaker and weaker until it finally quit. I was able to restart it a few times but it ran like crap and it seemed like gas was coming out of the exhaust. I don't believe the 4.0 is an interference engine though, so its just a matter of new gears and a chain if its that.
 




BobWiersema

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You seam to be avoiding the obvious. You said in your first post "At the time seemed like a fuel problem but after I was towed home and tried to start it, the engine acted like it was free wheeling. not a normal engine sound. It was like all the pulleys were turning but there was no compression thumping like it was trying to start.", that is not a fuel or distributer cam gear problem. And as Spdrcr34 said "you don't have a distributor.". In the 4th post of this thread you were advised to check the compression. That should be your first step. Anything else seams to be a waste of time. Check at least 2 cylinders one on each side of the engine and post back with your results. Once we have that information the unbelievably talented and highly skilled members of this forum :D can accurately advise you towards your next step.

Good Luck & Peace Out
Bob
 




somebobby1

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96 XLT
Thanks. I looked in a manual this morning and found out too that I did not have a distributor on my engine. I saw the coil pack and thought it might be a distributorless ignition. I do intend to check compression first thing as soon as the weather breaks and allows me to stand outside for longer than a minute. I will advise what I find. Probably won't be able to get to it until saturday. Thanks again.
 




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