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New Member
March 6, 2016
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City, State
Wentzville, Missouri
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Explorer
I take care of my Explorer religiously, because I need it to last me another few years at least. I have a 2003 Eddie Bauer AWD 4.6L V8 with 169,5XX miles.

Anyways, I left for Kansas City this weekend but prior to my departure, I had a low gas tank, and when I say low, I mean about 1.5 gallons. I figured I would just fill up as I'm leaving, however on my way to the gas station it started sputtering like it was low on gas; understandable. I filled my tank all the way up and headed out. About 2 minutes into my journey the engine began to violently jolt, as if fuel was being cut off for half a second or less.

Granted, this thing has a brand new intake manifold and thermostat housing (common problem with 3rd Gens for these to leak coolant), as well as brand new spark plugs and plug on coils and a relatively-new fuel filter, so it can't be any of those. I became increasingly frustrated because my trip to KC was time-sensitive, so I pulled into the local shop because I'm a college student with no access to my tools at home. They figured it was either the fuel pump or the fuel filter, but since it was running, just extremely rough, they would try the filter first. The vehicle ran slightly better, but the hesitations on acceleration and 'misfires' were very noticeable still. While in KC, the vehicle would stall at idle and in reverse. On acceleration it would sputter and jolt. Now, my fuel pump is at least somewhat functional because I can hear the electrical whine it makes when I turn my vehicle on.

I am completely stumped because I don't know if it's just the fuel pump, the entire assembly, some kind of PCV hose, the EGR valve, etc.

There are NO CEL's, which is also throwing me off. Every so often when the vehicle jolts, for less than 1/8 of a second, my battery light comes on and the dash displays "Check Charging System". I have only been able to find this out by recording a video of the light appearing, then playing the video back in slow motion because of how quickly the message appears and disappears.

I would really appreciate some insight to my issue, because I really am stumped and don't want to further damage my vehicle. I know threads exist about failing fuel pumps, but because of the parameters in my personal situation, I feel it's a bit special. Thank you for reading.


Well-Known Member
February 16, 2014
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Explorer XLT 4x4 4.6
Get a shop to check your cat converters for back pressure test