I almost made it | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

I almost made it


March 3, 2002
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
to 200,000 miles with no big repairs, but 2 weeks ago on I-81 in way upstate NY the OD light started flashing. No noticeable symptoms in engine or tranny and only 100 miles to my first stop. When we arrived I checked fluid, level, odor and color were fine. The next morning the light does not flash , but I know with another 300 miles to go we need to check this out. I bring my '97 SOHC auto to Cottmans. The exam shows PO153, P1131, and PO741. The O2 codes have been off & on for 6-7 months and not a source of Major concern, but the 741 is "torque converter clutch stuck off". A rebuild is done ($1.9K + tax) and we're on our way (4 day turn around). On the way the 4WD light starts flashing (I've dealt with that before-the electric motor near the transfer case), so again no major concern. And yes the CEL is still on. The trans feels good so we keep truckin'.
After getting home I clear the codes, but the CEL comes back. It's still PO153-slow response Bank 2. I change out the drivers side front O2 sensor, clear the code and after a few miles the CEL returns. Now I've got PO161-O2 heater circuit malfunction Bank 2 Sensor 2. I remove the console and access panel and find that the wires at the connector to the rear O2 sensor are seperated. It seems that when the tech dropped the trans the connector was stretched causing the O2 heater wires to be pulled out of the plastic connector. Additionally the insulation on the other 2 wires got nicked. I replaced this sensor also, cleared the code and all seems well in Explorerland again.
My goal is 250,000 miles.
I'm getting in touch with Cottmans to inform them of this problem. Hopefully they'll be careful the next time.

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

That's a chain shop for you.

I am trying for 150000 before my first major repair. I have done some minor stuff, but the tranny is starting to go south. O/D light flashing but upon shut down/restart it goes away and runs fine. I have 144000 on the ticker as of this morning, so if I can get 150000 I will be happy.

If you got 200000 then WOW.


What type of waranty on the rebuild did you get with Cottman? I have 172k with no major problems but trans is not what it use to be, darn Ford's. I would consider a rebuild to get another 3 years out of it. Front end creaks like a stage coach though, will need work there also soon.

Cottman Transmission? Are those clowns still around? I had a bad experience with them a while back.

At the very least I'd have the codes pulled on a flashing OD. I have an '01 E-350 (my 4th since 1986) that gave me the flashing OD lite 2 years ago. That showed shifting problems and cost me $2700, so I did not want to risk extensive work on the Ex 300 miles from home.