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Because I apparently cannot find it.. Things to check on Explorer.


ThatExplorerDude

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I have had my truck for a little while now. 97 explorer 4.0 xlt SOHC. Because I cannot find anything, im posting in here... What are some thing to check before getting the truck on the road? I have no maintenance records from the previous owner..

I've heard of balljoints going. but they seem fine. Shocks appear good. alignments is good. brakes are fine, the belts are not cracked or worn, it runs nice, I dont hear anything knocking or rattling... I'll be doing an oil change very soon. and all my fluid levels are topped off. Are there things I should be checking that I have overlooked?

I know very little about vehicles.. but Im all about preventative maintenance :)

Any of the knowledge of the older guys on here is great. Thanks in advance :)
 


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AP9

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Transmission shifting nice and smoothly, and the fluid doesn't smell/look burnt? (Same on the power steering fluid)
 




ThatExplorerDude

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Transmission shifting nice and smoothly, and the fluid doesn't smell/look burnt? (Same on the power steering fluid)
Shifts into all gears fine.. no shimmy at high speeds..

I'll check the fluids :) Thanks for quick reply
 




XLTrunner

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Sounds like you have a solid Explorer to drive if suspension, brakes, tires, fluids and such are good. When I buy a used vehicle, I always change the fluids just to establish a baseline of when it was done. Maybe do the same with the air filter and fuel filter. I also like to pull at least one of the wheels on each axle to check brake pad wear.

Something else you need to be aware of...the life of your truck's transfer case can be dependent on having all four tires the same size, tread depth and even air pressure. Unlike earlier models that could be switched to 2WD (and, thus totally disengage the transfer of power to the front axle), your truck cannot. In Auto mode, sensors will be constantly monitoring differences in axle speeds and will "instruct" the transfer case to engage accordingly. This is not good on the driveline when on dry pavement. So, be diligent in rotating them on a regular basis.

One more tip...these trucks are notorious for developing worn rear diff pinion brgs. If you hear a whining or howling noise coming from the rear, don't ignore it. The brgs have probably gone bad and will eventually cause the pinion gears to wear unevenly; resulting in more expensive repairs (just got my truck back from the shop for this very thing...with 150K miles on it).
 
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ThatExplorerDude

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Sounds like you have a solid Explorer to drive if suspension, brakes, tires, fluids and such are good. When I buy a used vehicle, I always change the fluids just to establish a baseline of when it was done. Maybe do the same with the air filter and fuel filter. I also like to pull at least one of the wheels on each axle to check brake pad wear.

Something else you need to be aware of...the life of your truck's transfer case can be dependent on having all four tires the same size, tread depth and even air pressure. Unlike earlier models that could be switched to 2WD (and, thus totally disengage the transfer of power to the front axle), your truck cannot. In Auto mode, sensors will be constantly monitoring differences in axle speeds and will "instruct" the transfer case to engage accordingly. This is not good on the driveline when on dry pavement. So, be diligent in rotating them on a regular basis.

One more tip...these trucks are notorious for developing worn rear diff pinion brgs. If you hear a whining or howling noise coming from the rear, don't ignore it. The brgs have probably gone bad and will eventually cause the pinion gears to wear unevenly; resulting in more expensive repairs (just got my truck back from the shop for this very thing...with 150K miles on it).
Thanks for the information :)

Hoping to do the fluids very soon :) Brakes are good, no warping under braking either so no warping of rotors.

I have no howling noise from the back end as of now so we are all good there...

Im a little OCD about my tire pressure haha.. all have to be as even as possible. The tires are pretty much brand new Goodyear wrangler territories with less than 2k on them.

The last time I can confirm that the oil was changed was about 13k km ago... so Im not 100% sure if its been done in that time.. so I think I will be doing that almost immediately. Tire Rotation.. good to note haven't done that yet... but very good to remember...

Thanks Again for quick response
 




masospaghetti

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I would take a peek at the front suspension more carefully. Even if it feels tight, you can get a pretty good idea how much longer they'll last by the condition of the rubber parts. Check ball joint boots, sway bar end link bushings, and control arm bushings.

Also check your fan and radiator. The radiator will crack at the plastic tank, checks the ribs really closely, they will get hairline cracks. Sometimes it will be hard to see until you splash a bit of water or coolant on it and then the cracks will stand out. The fan will get cracks around the base of each blade, this is a cheap replacement part, about $20 from Amazon. FYI Amazon also has Canadian-made Spectra premium radiators for about $100 if you have a cracked one.
 




ThatExplorerDude

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I would take a peek at the front suspension more carefully. Even if it feels tight, you can get a pretty good idea how much longer they'll last by the condition of the rubber parts. Check ball joint boots, sway bar end link bushings, and control arm bushings.

Also check your fan and radiator. The radiator will crack at the plastic tank, checks the ribs really closely, they will get hairline cracks. Sometimes it will be hard to see until you splash a bit of water or coolant on it and then the cracks will stand out. The fan will get cracks around the base of each blade, this is a cheap replacement part, about $20 from Amazon. FYI Amazon also has Canadian-made Spectra premium radiators for about $100 if you have a cracked one.
Thanks appreciate that... Anything to save a bigger bill later on.. Will be checking those later today... If BallJoints are bad will replace now before they fail... Any recommendations? anything but moog right???
 




XLTrunner

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Is there something about the quality of Moog parts I'm not aware of? I just installed Moog Problem Solver ball joints and tie rods. Always thought they had a good reputation.
 
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ThatExplorerDude

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Is there something about the quality of Moog parts I'm not aware of? I just installed Moog Problem Saver ball joints and tie rods. Always thought they had a good reputation.
I've seen several guys in the forum that seem to have issues with the rubber on them wearing out prematurely.. even as quickly as a week or 2..
 




masospaghetti

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I've used Moog often, usually no issues, had a bad apple on a Honda. I've used Moog parts to rebuild 3 2nd Gen Explorer front ends, all of them were fine. If Beck/Arnley is available they usually have good parts too.
 




ThatExplorerDude

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I've used Moog often, usually no issues, had a bad apple on a Honda. I've used Moog parts to rebuild 3 2nd Gen Explorer front ends, all of them were fine. If Beck/Arnley is available they usually have good parts too.
Was wondering about that... so moog is ok for the light duty applications then? seems that they do not hold up well on the lifted applications :)
 




ThatExplorerDude

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I would take a peek at the front suspension more carefully. Even if it feels tight, you can get a pretty good idea how much longer they'll last by the condition of the rubber parts. Check ball joint boots, sway bar end link bushings, and control arm bushings.

Also check your fan and radiator. The radiator will crack at the plastic tank, checks the ribs really closely, they will get hairline cracks. Sometimes it will be hard to see until you splash a bit of water or coolant on it and then the cracks will stand out. The fan will get cracks around the base of each blade, this is a cheap replacement part, about $20 from Amazon. FYI Amazon also has Canadian-made Spectra premium radiators for about $100 if you have a cracked one.
Did a check today... Rubber pieces look pretty good and solid. No cracks in radiator that I can see (did the water check). no movement in the tie rod ends, swaybar end links, or the control arms... The bushings are solid :)

The fan has no cracks either... Im kinda surprised actually... this truck spent most of its life on reservation roads... But the engine runs really solid. I also get no trouble codes, and it does not smell like it is running rich or lean. Next thing to do is the Oil change.. I picked up some 10w-30 synthetic that I will be running in it so hoping to do that soon.

Can anyone confirm that the fluid capacity of the oil is the quoted 4.7L for the 4.0L SOHC?
 




ThatExplorerDude

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The only Problem I have had since I got the truck was that It was stuck in 4LO at the time I got it. the t-case shift motor had failed, however since I replaced that... not a single issue. Starts first try every-time...

The only let down I have is the Napa Legend battery currently in it... However I acquired a ford Motor co. Eliminator Battery that was less that 2 years old from a 2001 Escape My dad owned. And it is reliable so may be good there as well. I have plans to upgrade again to the Optima batteries type 31 or type 34 dependent on how this works out. I have a uncle in Audio Competition and he gets Batteries from interstate for below shelf price (Sweet!)
 




masospaghetti

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Sounds like you got a peach. Haynes lists the oil capacity for all engines at 5 qts, which would be 4.7L.

Not sure if it would considered "preventative maintenance" to replace our timing chain tensioners to preserve the guides as long as possible. For sure, using good oil and keeping it changed often will help.
 




ThatExplorerDude

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Sounds like you got a peach. Haynes lists the oil capacity for all engines at 5 qts, which would be 4.7L.

Not sure if it would considered "preventative maintenance" to replace our timing chain tensioners to preserve the guides as long as possible. For sure, using good oil and keeping it changed often will help.

Awesome Man Thanks a Bunch!! Planning an oil change within the next week or so... Stuff for my stereo comes in a few days too.. so stoked :)
 




swshawaii

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ThatExplorerDude

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Owners manual specifies 5W-30 and a 4.7L (5 qt.) capacity with filter. Using 5W-30 would be beneficial for cold starting in Canada.

Page 223
http://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_Content/catalog/owner_guides/97expog1e.pdf
Understandable. 5w30 would be Ideal for winter... the truck currently has 10w30 in it (at least thats what the previous owner tells me) and it seems to run fine. I dont drive it a whole lot at the moment, just want to get a basis for when the oil is done...
 




Flash

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Anything I was going to say has been said - about the 5W30 oil and the timing chain tensioners.

So, just change the air in the tyres and shampoo the headlights and call it good.
 




ThatExplorerDude

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Anything I was going to say has been said - about the 5W30 oil and the timing chain tensioners.

So, just change the air in the tyres and shampoo the headlights and call it good.
Alrighty...Thanks for the quick responses guys... I have noticed that the rear end of my truck sits about a half inche lower than the front of the truck, with very minimal weight in the back... saggy leaf springs causing this??? how can I Stiffen that back up, any suggestions?
 


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




Flash

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Alrighty...Thanks for the quick responses guys... I have noticed that the rear end of my truck sits about a half inche lower than the front of the truck, with very minimal weight in the back... saggy leaf springs causing this??? how can I Stiffen that back up, any suggestions?
You can lower the front to match the back by adjusting the torsion bars or you can install an add a leaf kit in the back or extended spring shackles or you can install Monroe Sensatracs.
 




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