Rough idle when warm | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Rough idle when warm


April 15, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Richmond VA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 XL
I have a 1997 sohc 4.0 w/ 97,000 miles and when the car is warmed up and i come to stop it has a jerky idle. it does the same when i put it in netural. This just started 2 days ago. Any suggestions.

Thanks Pete

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Could be spark plugs, plug wires, TPS, IAC, or any of a number of other things. I'd start with plugs first and go from there.

WillieTD said:
Could be spark plugs, plug wires, TPS, IAC, or any of a number of other things. I'd start with plugs first and go from there.

Do what willieTD said first, since it's cheap to check plugs, etc. If your truck's check engine light is illuminated, then you should have the code read.

Lithuania! Nice to see Europeans here! Good day!

I will be changing spark plugs thursay, only day i have time. I have also nocticed that she sputters at low rpms when im driving at 1500-2100, it feels like the car is jerking a little. There is also a slight loss of power. I had the codes read even though no check engine light came on and nothing showed up.

Any other ideas of what i should try to replace on thursday?

A very easy thing would be to try cleaning the MAF. Takes 5 minutes. There are a lot of threads on how to do it.

With 97,000 miles you could have deposits causing drivability problems. You may want to try a can of polyetheramine based fuel additive. Two that work (among others on the market) are BG products 44K or Chevron Techron. Put it in a full tank and run down near empty before refilling and it should take care of the vast majority of deposit issues. Plus this is a simple low cost solution that has very few down sides to it.

The MAF can cause the stumbling. I need to clean the MAF in my truck, thanks for reminding me. Make sure your spark plug wires are ok--look for burned or chafed spots on the wires. Maybe run a can of Sea Foam thru it. Make sure your air filter isn't dirty. Make sure you don't have any vaccuum leaks--check all the hoses running to the intake manifold.

Well I have changed spark plugs and wires, and cleaned the MAF and ran sea foam threw her. I have also ran a tank of premium with fuel additive. It has gotten a lot better but it feels like she is still missing every now and then when Im driving at about 1500-2100 RPM. Also i just used about half the can of sea foam (the directiosn said use a third) can harm happen from using to much, i feel wiery about pouring a solvent directly into my intake. Does any one have any more suggestions about what i can do?


I have a similar problem: my check engine light finally came on.

Took it to Ford and they said there was valve damaged due to the loose cam shaft tensioner problem. This is a MAJOR repair, if not outfight engine replacement.

Anyway, the damage caused by the loose cam shaft tensioner guide was extended to 7 yeasr/100000 miles, so I don't think I'll have to pay for the damage.

Be sure to have yours checked out SOON--even if they don't diagnosis it now, if it appears later, you should be able to claim that it was causing problems before 100000 miles.

That's my contribution...

I bought the car used, would that still be covered by Ford if that is the problem? Is the loose cam shaft tensioner problem a common problem?


The timing chain and cam shaft tensioner is a common problem on the 1997 SOHC engine. It is a recall item, so Ford should do it free of charge. There is a TSB out from Ford Motor Company on it.

I suggest you search the site for more complete details. I am not a 2nd gen Explorer expert, but I do know that the timing chain issue is a 1997 SOHC problem.

My car makes the ratteling noise at start up and for a while after that then goes away. Im pretty sure that i have the loose cam shaft tensioner problem. Right now i have 97,500 miles. Is any of this covered by the recalls they made. Im going to call the dealership tommaro. Any suggestions on what to tell them?


Yes. If the tensioner is indeed your truck's problem, then I suggest you search this site for the exact TSB number. Tell for it is "Technical Service Bulletin #____" and it's a factory recall item.