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New owner. Wading Camchain & Maintenance Advice !


New Member
January 3, 2014
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Explorer V6 SOHC 4.0
:uk:Hello. I've just got my first Explorer (a 1999 OHC Automatic AWD). It's only on 90k miles (with full ford service history) and after a recent test run to France I plan on keeping it for a while. Seems to be doing about 24 (UK) MPG on a run! It came with a couple of things I wasnt expecting like levelling rear suspension and a sunroof as well as air con. Overall very pleased with it.

Not sure if this is the right forum to ask a few questions (I'm sure someone will point me to the right thread/forum !!!)

Did an oil/filter & air filter change when I got it and by virtue of the 5w30 semi synthetic not turning up on time discovered the timing chain hated 10w40 for the first 3 seconds on startup when left a couple of days (had some knocking about that wasnt going to get used and only used it for 50 miles). Now its got 5w30 in it's as quiet as anything again every startup. Does anyone know if the 1999 OHC's have later modified tensioners/camchains or how to tell ?

Theres not much on the dealer info / Ford ETIS system for it here in the UK being a US Export and some parts seem hard to get hold of apart from second hand (needed a drivers door latch due to a small spring broken).

I'm from London/Essex and am off somewhere in Norforlk at the weekend (tomorrow!) to collect 5 tyres for it from somewhere thats had a few floods recently.

The book says the wading depth is the bottom of the hubs, is that just because the grease is washed out of the front hubs any deeper or does water get in any rear diff breather holes or are there any low down electronics like oxygen sensor connectors that would suffer ? A quick look underneath seems to indicate most things are tucked out nicely out of the way and the air intake around the level of the top of the tyre.

On my return I was planning to do a gearbox/transfor box and diff oil change. I've got some Dextron III which supports the Ford Mercon V spec and this seems suitable for the gearbox and transfer box from what I've seen. Whats the best oil to use in the rear diff ?

Any other regular service items (besides greasing the hubs/ checking wheel bearing play) you'd recommend to do sooner rather than later if I'm planning on keeping it ?

Any advice gratefully received !

Best Regards,


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Explorer Addict
September 2, 2011
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1. your V6 does not have AWD. only the V8's came with AWD. you have 4WD with a select switch to the left of the radio. some years had an AUTO function which will engage the front diff if slippage is sensed (not sure about the '99). most find this feature annoying and do the "brown wire mod" to disable it.

2. the front hub bearings are sealed. the grease will not wash out, but i suggest you follow Ford's advice regarding water depth.

3. do not use Dexron in your transmission. use Mercon V only. use Dexron III in your transfer case only. synthetic 75W145 is recommended for diffs and be sure whatever brand you use has the required friction modifier for the rear diff if it's limited slip (diff type "D" on the door sticker). use Mercon V for your power steering fluid too, or you may run into noise and other problems.

4. the OHC engines are known to develop timing chain problems. the '99 model does not have an improved tensioner/chain/guide or cassette design. the best thing you can do is use a full synthetic oil (5w30 is recommend) but that may not help much. repairs/replacement to the cam chain cassettes are very expensive an usually exceed the value of the vehicle. this has caused many-a SOHC Explorer (including mine) to-be scrapped ahead of their time. some have added a pressurized pre-oiler system to prevent component wear due to oil starvation on start-up. some recommend replacing the hydraulic tensioners about every 75,000 miles. there's something called the M0012 kit, which may help if you start hearing the timing chain "death rattle".

5. there are no grease fittings anywhere, unless things like the u-joints, ball joints and tie-rod ends have been replaced with grease-able units.

6. check for ball joint play by jacking the front wheels off the ground (by the lower control arms) and check for any play at 12/6 o'clock. also check for play at 9/3 o'clock for tie-rod end play. there is no check/adjustment for wheel bearing play. you'll know they're bad when they start hollowing.
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Staff member
Elite Explorer
May 26, 2009
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City, State
Greenville, SC
Year, Model & Trim Level
00 Sport FI, 03 Ltd V8
2002 and later

Welcome to the forum Kevin! The timing chain related improved components were incorporated in the 2002 and later Explorers. Since your vehicle only has 90K miles it probably still has the original parts. You could confirm that with your service history. I agree with koda2000's post that a full synthetic 5W30 is a good engine oil choice. An oil filter with a quality anti-drain check valve may also help.


Well-Known Member
December 13, 2007
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Eddie Bauer 4.6L 4X4
Motorcraft 05W/20 synthetic blend is very good also.


Elite Explorer
May 27, 2010
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City, State
Powder Springs, GA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Eddie Bauer V8 2WD
Also, check out the UK sub-forum on this site.