How to Troubleshoot a Ford Explorer Transmission

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The Ford Explorer was a popular SUV made by Ford Motor Company. The SUV gained massive popularity in the 1990s as SUV sales rose. Ford was involved with a controversy over the use of Firestone tires on the Explorer. The tires were found to be defective and would come apart at highway speeds. This actually resulted in several high-profile deaths and rollovers. The transmissions for the Explorer, however, were built fairly well. Even so, they are not completely problem free. If you are having problems with your Ford Explorer transmission, you'll need to troubleshoot the problem before having it fixed.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean rag
  • Turn the engine on and shift the Explorer into neutral. Have someone check underneath the vehicle (look, but do not get too close to the wheels) to see if there is any fluid leaking from the front of the vehicle while you shift the Explorer into gear. If fluid is leaking, then you may need to have the rear main seal replaced on your Explorer, as this is the seal that usually fails first.

  • Shift the Explorer into drive. If the vehicle shifts roughly, you may have low transmission fluid. Put the Explorer into park, and shut off the vehicle. Open the hood and pull the transmission dipstick out of the transmission. Wipe off the transmission dipstick with a clean rag and replace the dipstick. Pull the dipstick back out and check the fluid level. It should be between the upper and lower marks on the tip of the stick.

  • Take the Explorer for a short drive around the block. Pay attention to how the explorer shifts. If you feel the SUV lurching, or if the Explorer "slips" into or out of gear while driving, and the transmission fluid level is good, then you have a serious transmission problem. Although rare, the Explorer transmission can fail from abuse by excessive towing and hauling. You will need to have the transmission serviced and possibly rebuilt by an experienced transmission shop.

References

  • Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer Repair Manual 2002-2007 All Models; Robert Maddox, John H. Haynes; 2008
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