Had to tow my 98 XLT | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Had to tow my 98 XLT


New Member
March 26, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Luanda, Angola
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 XLT
I know you shouldn't tow an automatic, but... I'm working for the US Embassy in Angola and I have been using my Explorer for some pretty serious African off-roading. I was about 40 miles from Luanda when my little girl's electrics stopped working, windows, radio and so forth. I just reached the shade of a tree when the car just gave up all hope. After about 3 hours of waiting a rather nice female French oil worker happened by and offered to tow me in to town.

I replaced the alternator and the Explorer roared in to life. However, there is now a sort of very dull whine noise coming from the front end.

What have I ruined by towing the Explorer?

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did you tow your explorer on a flat bed or in a dolly. if you tow your explorer on a dolly i hoped you removed the driveshaft or you propably messed up the transmission.

if it was in neutral it should have been fine. Maybe your power steering pump got some air in it when you were using it with the truck off?

I wished for a flat bed, but the only thing available was my tow rope. The noise isn't that bad...sort of like really noises tyres on a paved road.

If it was in neutral, odds are you cooked something in the transmission. Without the engine running to pump the trans fluid, the bearings starve for oil. The transfer case has its own internal pump, so it'll be fine, and the axles are splash-lubed, but the trans doesn't like to be flat-towed.

Now, that being said, IIRC, the owner's manual states it can be towed up to XX miles at XX speed without causing any damage. In a pinch, it's do-able, but highly NOT recommended.

As for something in the front end whining, and assuming the trans is fine, is it a high-pitched squeak heard from about 15-35 mph? Has the TSB for the dust excluder seals ever been performed on your vehicle? Might start there....

Other possibilities in teh front end include CV joints, wheel bearings, and axle parts. It all depends on the rhythm of the noise, and whether or not it's a constant pitch, and if it's rhythmic, what's it in time to?