Loud humming sound from rear?? About to buy... | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Loud humming sound from rear?? About to buy...


New Member
September 19, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
Savannah, GA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Explorer XLT
Hi everyone, I am currently about to buy a 2003 Ford Explorer XLT with 176k miles, but it has a second engine with only 90k, I test drove the vehicle today and as I got up to higher speeds there was a loud humming sound from the back, I asked the dealer and he said that they have had the vehicle sitting on the lot for 6 months or so(waiting on an engine to come along) and the bearings just need to be "drove" and eventually the humming sound will go away...I'm not stupid...I highly doubt that driving the vehicle will make it better. I'm assuming it is the bearings though, does anybody have any ideas of what the cost could be or what I should try to say to the guy??

Is it a good buy also considering its mileage & engine, its fully loaded with leather, sunroof, etc, he is only asking $4400

Thanks! Reply ASAP please thinking about getting it!

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!

I wouldn't assume it is only bearings (although it could be). Could also be the rear differential and/or CV joints making noise as well. I would only buy it if you were OK with the potential cost of all of those things in addition to what you are paying for the vehicle.

Well the dealer offered a 6 month warranty with it. So if something goes bad because of the rear differential and what not, it would probably be within those six months, right? What do you think the cost would be to get all that repaired??

I'd stay away to be honest. 90k miles on the new motor isn't bad but you gotta remember that's almost 200,000 miles on the rest of the drivetrain.

Especially if its already making noise. And if they would try to feed you some crap like that, I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to lie about the engine too. I'd have to see it on paper that the engine is a replacement.

Good luck regardless.

And people have driven these cars for years with the humming noise from the rear. Just because it hasn't completely broke doesn't mean its not getting worse.

Find the Noise Source!

If the place wants to sell it badly enough, see if they will put the vehicle on a lift, or jack stands under all 4 wheel suspension-points, all wheels off the ground, and run it in gear while checking wheel bearings, differential carrier(s), using a long stethoscope. Big screwdriver, or length of 1/2" rubber hose will work.

This must be done carefully, but can pin-point the noise source accurately. Bad pinion bearing(s) can cause hum, as well as ring & pinion gears, which can create noise themselves due to very bad pinion bearings, which may disappear if those are replaced.

Failing wheel bearings often make a humming sound similar to differential noise. Unless the actual source is definitely pin-pointed, you are relying on their say-so, which likely can be B.S., and guesswork, which has caused replacement of many non-failed parts in the process of "fixing" a noise problem.

The possibility exists they already KNOW, having checked out the noise source accurately enough to predict the vehicle will last through their "warranty" period successfully, in which case the cost of repair will become your burden. The asking price would, IMO, be reasonable if the mileage were not quite so high. As mentioned, all the drive-line parts have greater potential for failure, due to the mileage- (U-Joints, transfer-case bearings, transmission).

Just my opinion. imp

Edit: IMO, the story about noise being caused by non-use for months, and that it will go away in time is patent forked-tongue double-speak.

My first impression? It's a dealer trying to dump a problem vehicle. Walk away form it, Ex's are all over. No dealer is going to sell a great Ex for nothing, and he's trying to blow it out the door and rolling the dice that it lasts 6 months.

You may be looking at a rear bearing noise....Ford rear bearing will usually not come out..you have to replace the whole hub assembly...cost me $1700..don't put a used one in......if it smells like a rat pretty good chance that it is...

the possibility exists they already know, having checked out the noise source accurately enough to predict the vehicle will last through their "warranty" period successfully, in which case the cost of repair will become your burden.


Buy the vehicle only if they fix the noise first. Other wise.... I say run and run fast!