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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
125,929 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. 2 new timing chain cassettes (4 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. replaced timing chain tensioner (1 reports)
  4. serpentine belt tensioner broke , had to replace (1 reports)
1998 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #7

Apr 162014

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles


Mechanic said if the tensioner guide didn't fix the noise, would have to pull the motor to replace front and rear tensioners. Very expensive. Replacing the guide did quiet it down. Seems to be a common problem. We will probably sell the Exploder.

- , Odessa, Tx, USA

problem #6

Dec 022013

Explorer XLT 4.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles

Mechanic tried to replace the tensioners, which didn't work. He now believes that the timing chain needs to be replaced, which is a ~$2,500, well more than the car is worth - bummer !!

- , Moscow, ID, USA

problem #5

Mar 112008

Explorer XLT 4.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

I was raised around ford in the sixties and loved the trucks, but after buying a 98 explorer and having nothing but timing chain problems and even rear axle problems,my friends 2001 sport even has the problem, And after reading all these complaints of the same problems after this many years of the same thing, I WILL NOT EVER BUY A FORD!!!!!! I am going back to chevy, hear that ford! ( CHEVY!!!!!!!! )

- , Portland, OR, USA

problem #4

Aug 072009

Explorer XLT V6 4.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,500 miles


Apparently this problem is endemic in this engine. Are there any aftermarket parts for the tensioners that aren't plastic? There's got to be some metal parts somewhere.....someone had to have made them?

- , Denver, CO, USA

problem #3

Sep 182006

Explorer XLT 4.0L Ohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

tensioner broke and its less than one year and now my newest one is ready to brake

- , New Caney, TX, USA

problem #2

Nov 272006

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Pissed off to hear that the timing chain needs replacing and will cost almost as much as the half the value of the car. There seems a common issue with the explorer having timing chain problems with no response from Ford. They appear to bury the head in the sand knowing the extent of the repair time and cost. What a piece of sh*t engineering.

- , Wantirna, Victoria, Australia

problem #1

Nov 042006

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

My 1998 Explorer has been my pride and joy for 5 years and I've loved it to bits! But I had a rattle for a few months at start up which disappeared when the engine was warm and was told that this was a tensioner guide rattle and that it shouldn't be a problem. However it appears that a guide became detatched and got caught in the timing chain got carried to the top of the front timing chain cassette and punched a hole in the valve rocker cover. Must be a design fault mustn't it?

According to local Ford dealerships replacement parts will cost about $500 but labour repair costs will be atl least $3,000. My Explorer market value over here is now only about $2,500 - $3,500 max.

It looks as if it's going to be worth more as scrap metal!

So the moral is - ignore engine rattles on your Explorer at your peril.

- , Pontypridd, Wales, Wales

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