Weekend of repairs | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Weekend of repairs


Well-Known Member
February 11, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Strongsville, OH
Year, Model & Trim Level
03 Limited
I spent most of the weekend on my back looking up at the bottom of my Explorer.

First thing I did was replace my radius arm bushings with some poly bushings from Moog. I got them from rockauto.com, my new favorite web site. I also put a new heat shield on the passenger side.

I had been hitting the radius arm bolts, and all the radius arm bracket bolts with PB Blaster twice a day for a few days before, in hopes that it would help them come off without shearing anything. The bracket bolts all came out reasonably easy, but the 28mm radius arm bolts were welded solid. I had to hit them with a propane torch before they broke loose, using my 2 1/2 foot breaker bar.

A suggestion for anyone who is going to attempt this: BUY AIR TOOLS. After drilling out the rivets, it took literally 5 seconds with my air chisel to knock off the heads, and another 2 seconds with the same tool and a punch to knock out the old rivets. Once I broke the radius arm bolts loose, my impact wrench made quick work of them.

Both my bushings were shot, the right one (of course) was much worse, it had failed completely, and there was metal-on-metal contact between the radius arm and the bracket. It hadn't completely worn through the bracket - I was considering putting some weld on it and grinding it back to shape, but I figured with the new bushings in there, it wasn't going to make any difference anyway, so I just left it as it was.

Putting it all back together was relatively painless. While I had everything apart, I also changed the front shocks, which were shot, and removed the passenger wheel well, to gain access to replace an A/C line which had rusted through and vented my R-134 to the atmosphere. I had purchased some replacement shock mounting studs from NAPA to replace the studs I knew would shear off (based on everyone's experience here), but to my surprise, they both came off with no problems at all, so now I am the proud owner of two unused shock studs. I did hit them with PB Blaster beforehand, and I took the bolt off with my impact wrench (uses the same size socket as the wheel lugs - 19mm, I think), so that may have had something to do with it.

For good measure, I changed the oil, and also pulled the transmission pan, whose gasket was weeping - what a MESS that makes. The old cork gasket had cooked to the pan, and took a good 45 minutes to scrape off. I replaced it with a new synthetic one, as well as replacing the tranny filter. The old fluid was a chocolate brown, so it was well beyond time to do. The pan had lots of sludge in it (which I cleaned out) but nothing metallic on the magnet.

Seeing as I had to remove the fuel filter bracket anyway to do the left radius arm bushing, I replaced the fuel filter as well. I had originally planned to drop the tank and fix the fuel float, but I had a look at it, and the fuel vapor return line has rusted through to the point that it is leaking, so I figured any movement of the tank would cause that line to fall to pieces. I'll revisit rockauto.com and order a new one before attempting the tank sender repair.

I also pulled the center dash apart to fix the heater controls - it was jammed and wouldn't let me select anything to the left of "panel vents". Now works fine.

I still need to evacuate and recharge the A/C, but at least it now holds pressure. So my list is now updated, since I bought the explorer in January:

Things already fixed:

- dying radio replaced
- cooked subwoofer replaced
- driver's door hinge fixed
- multiple light bulbs replaced
- turn signal flasher replaced
- cruise control fixed
- engine seafoamed
- oil/filter replaced
- air filter replaced
- everything lube-able lubed
- front brake pads
- radius arm bushings shot
- shocks
- transmission fluid/filter change
- A/C inop

Things on my "to fix" list:

- parking brake cable seized
- fuel tank float cracked
- fuel vapor return line rusted out
- shift indicator inoperative
- dashboard illumination lights out
- front wheel bearings humming at >60 mph

Wow. Way to go you got a lot done there.

That sounds a lot like my last WEEK,, not a weekend. Substitute exhaust and new tires instead of the RA bushings that you did, my heater core to your AC problem, and my front shocks did shear!!! So I guess you got me! Good work!!! :thumbsup: :D

That sounds a lot like my last WEEK,, not a weekend. Substitute exhaust and new tires instead of the RA bushings that you did, my heater core to your AC problem, and my front shocks did shear!!! So I guess you got me! Good work!!! :thumbsup: :D

Thankfully, my exhaust is in reasonably good shape - I think it was replaced fairly recently, before I got the truck. I think I may do the rear shocks as well, they're in similar shape to the front (just not as noticable).