Rear Metal on Metal Rattle Finally Solved!! | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Rear Metal on Metal Rattle Finally Solved!!


New Member
December 13, 2015
Reaction score
City, State
Washington, DC
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Explorer XLT
I own a 2003 Ford Explorer XLT 4x4 nbx package with 146k miles and have owned it since new. While this is the first time I have visited this forum, I have plenty of experience maintaining this vehicle and in fact this problem may have already been posted and solved by others. Anyhow, here's the story-
I've managed to fix everything on this truck through research and diligence, and while my truck has aged gracefully, there has been one problem that has been frustrating and unsolvable until now.
It is an annoying metallic rattle. Not the same rattle you have from the lift glass interior plastic cover. An annoying, metal on metal rattle that had been occurring more and more often.
If your like this truck like I do, a rattle that you can't solve will drive you nuts. This rattle occurs when you are driving over rough surfaces, like a section of asphalt the is rough from potholes or repairs. I thought it was the suspension. Nope. Is it from the interior of the right passenger rear door? Nope. Body mount? No. Over a period of almost three years I lived with a rattle that made itself known over rough washboard road surfaces.
Thinking this over more and more as I have done, I came to the conclusion that the rattle was from the right rear passenger side and had nothing to do with the suspension or body parts. It sounded like it was inside the vehicle but wasn't. What makes the right (passenger side) of the truck different than the left? The gas tank.
I finally found the time to crawl under my truck, and I started from the rear where the gas filler neck enters the gas tank tank, and casually pulled gently on the rubber hose that connects to this filler neck. It moved easily which was odd I thought, and as I sort of bear hugged the gas tank with both hands while moving towards the front of the vehicle, when I felt a metal plate that moved very easily and with my fingers. Then I made the damn thing clank against the under body of my truck! I couldn't see it, but I even managed to wiggle this metal plate out and to the center of the vehicle and remove it completely. It is a small metal plate cover for the top of the gas tank, about 4" x 4". So there you go. A protective metal cover, which I think had been designed to prevent a tank puncture from vehicle impact, had come loose from rust, and was just sitting on top of my gas tank clanging around and banging the floor of the rear compartment right behind the passenger side rear seat. I has no mechanical value and is only a metal protective cover.
So no more metal rattle! I hope this helps someone out there who owns this vehicle, as I've enjoyed owning it for it's entire 13 years that I have had it, as it truly has helped me explorer this country and has been fun to own. Cheers!