definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,622 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #5

Nov 012004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,111 miles


The timing chain tensioner inside of the engine failed, causing the timing chain to come loose. As a result heads and pistons inside of the engine came loose, destroying other parts inside of the engine. The ultimate result of this was that the engine seized and the vehicle lost power, making it difficult to steer at highway speed prior to getting off of the highway. Manufacturer has a waranty extension in place prior to 72,000 miles, but no recall, and considers a vehicle that looses power and cannot be completed steered as a result of an explosion in the engine not to be a safety issue!"!?!" the manufacturer acknowledged that there is a potential problem with these engines, but will only do something about it if the vehicle has symptoms. I had the first minor symptom on a Sunday afternoon, and a major problem the next day, Monday.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #4

May 052003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles
2nd time this happened...tensioner pulley failed (broke off) while driving on the highway. Serpentine belt came off, car overheated/engine failure/etc. First time was ay 40,000 miles. This time, at 102,000 miles. Towed to a texaco station in aberdeen, md. Service manager says tensioner pulley failure common in Explorer. Had to replace pulley/belt. Once I returned home to NJ, I started to notice minor dripping of radiator fluid. 2 weeks later, it all gushed out, causing me to also replace my radiator. To know this has now happened twice, caused secondary damage both times, and that you get left stranded on a highway each time is very concerning.

- Whippany, NJ, USA

problem #3

Jun 262003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Have been hearing loud tapping noises from engine-brought it to stadium Ford and was told it was front timing chain and gaskets which they replaced for $300 (no discount) noise has continued so never brought car home from dealership same day. Left car at Ford service center (stadium auto mall rutherford, NJ) and now being told it is the lower/rear tensioner and was advised Ford has a program for this defect yet was advised that they will not cover this for me. They want me to pay $2100 minimum to repair this defect with camshaft tensioners. However this defect/problem has previously shown to cause engine dmage other than w/the tensioners. Also read many complaints about this issue where was covered. Made complaint w/Ford customer relations and was advised that car w/either 7 years or under 100,000 miles is covered. Yet the dealership will not cover it and my truck is under 7 yrs and under 100,000 miles...at this point has been 3 weeks and still have not come to resolution and my truck is still in the dealership service center. Still waiting for manager/owner to contact me back...

- Union City, NJ, USA

problem #2

Mar 042003


  • miles
Front end felt loose and vehicle was veering to the right due to cracked ball joints. Engine check light appeared, and a red brown liquid was leaking from driver's side because power steering rack was defective. Also, dealer replaced timing gear, and upper and lower intake manifolds.

- West Lafayette, IN, USA

problem #1

Sep 011998

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Drive belt continually makes noise, replacement necessary to stop noise. Mjs

- Riverside, CA, USA

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