Ticking engine, exhaust in cabin, now it's dead | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free! This box and some ads will disappear once registered!

  • Holiday Special! - 2 for 1 Elite Explorer sale!

    Right now you can purchase an Elite Explorer membership for $20 and receive a two year membership! If you have an existing Elite membership contact me by PM and I will upgrade your account manually.

    Click Here to start your membership and get rid of the ads!

Ticking engine, exhaust in cabin, now it's dead


New Member
April 7, 2017
Reaction score
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Explorer XLS 4.0L
I bought a 2000 Explorer XLS 4.0 today. It died before I made it home.

It was slow to accelerate at first, and ran and idled a little rough. I've owned nothing but sports cars my whole life and assumed the slow acceleration was normal for a larger vehicle, and didn't think much of the rough idle/run on a 17 year old vehicle. I'm not mechanically inclined.

I drove directly to work from the dealer. Upon leaving work I noticed a consistent tick/click/knock in the engine while both idling and driving. At the same time the ticking began, the car started accelerating much faster. Still not as fast as my G6 but much faster than it was upon leaving the dealer.

I picked up my daughter from karate and noticed a little bit of exhaust or smoke or possibly vapor coming from the hood. The smell of exhaust was pretty strong in the cabin at this point. I pulled over to investigate. Oil and coolant are full, smoke/exhaust seem to be coming from somewhere to the bottom-right of the engine. Temp gauge was normal.

Smoke subsided after a few minutes and I pulled back onto the highway to go home. While going up an overpass the engine completely died, power steering went out. I made it over the overpass and managed to barely make it into a mall parking lot (with much difficulty steering). Lights, radio and electrical components still working. Turned the car off for a while and tried restarting it. it cranks but doesn't turn over. Had to leave it and get a ride home.

I've read that exhaust leaks are pretty common on this model, but from everything I've read it should't cause the entire car to die while driving and then not turn back on, would it? What could this be? Is it reasonably fixable?

The car was bought as-is, no warranty from the dealer.

Tech By Trade

Explorer Addict
May 2, 2012
Reaction score
City, State
Your mom's house
Year, Model & Trim Level
07 Sport Trac
Death rattle. Start shopping for a new engine. timing chain probably smashed through the plastic valve cover. My guess is the oil pan is full of plastic and springs.