definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,788 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 (Page 1 of 3)

problem #57

Aug 192008


  • 160,000 miles


I was leaking antifreeze. Brought to mechanic. He changed the intake manifold. A tune up was also done. Now periodic smell of antifreeze and oil at different times. Very potent. Mechanic is aware of these problems, but cannot find anything wrong after doing many pressure tests and flushes.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #56

Aug 292008


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford Explorer. While leaving his home, the contact noticed that the hood of the vehicle was on fire. The fire department was called to extinguish the fire and a police report was filed. The contact did not notice any differences beforehand. The vehicle has not been diagnosed for the failure. The current and failure mileages were 110,000.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #55

Feb 172008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,022 miles
Engine failure. Engine code P0300. Cylinders 4, 5, 6 have weak compression. Timing chain is damaged. Dealer has previously serviced timing chain twice and after second service Ford extended engine warranty to 100K miles (now expired). Dealer now recommends engine replacement at cost of $5,500. What was once a $30,000 beautiful eddie bauer rig now has a kelly bb retail value of ~$8000, but without engine, car is a total (auction block) loss! while no one was hurt when this engine failed, it is both a potential safety hazard and yet another shock to a vehicle with a troublesome (and expensive) past, and to a loyal Ford customer who expected a better quality product. I can't help but wonder how many more 1998 Explorer are out on the roads about to loose their engines. Is 10 years too long to own a Ford? I am still pondering what to do with this vehicle which now sits as a 2-ton "bookend" in my garage.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #54

Nov 262004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 184,000 miles


Very heavy rattling in the engine of my 1998 Explorer 4.0 SOHC. Took to local Ford dealer, they claimed characteristics of the motor, twice. Some time later tensioners broke while driving and motor ceased. No cooperation offered on Ford's part. Had to replace engine out of pocket for Ford's design flaw, which has been getting swept under the rug for years now. One month after the replacement Ford offered to fix others, if found before 75K miles, etc. Too late for me. How many failures have occurred? what if this failure had of occurred at highway speed, instead of idle speed. Check the figures on this problem, it's scary, and Ford is pitiful.

- Athens, AL, USA

problem #53

Sep 012005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles
Intermittent stalling when coming to a stop.

- Portlsnd, OR, USA

problem #52

May 092005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
It started with a minor rattle in the engine towards the front of the engine. The rattle got louder and louder and louder until it was decided not to move the vehicle any longer. Took vehicle to a certified mechanic, turns out, the timing chain assembly broke throwing pieces all over the place causing the chain to malfunction that lead to damage to the engine. Engine block had to be replaced at a cost of around $3000. Ford has a service bulletin out on this same problem, however I bought the vehicle in Nov 2000 and I never received any service bulletin from Ford informing me of this problem. I tried taking the vehicle to the local dealer and was told they won't repair it under the Ford safety bulletin because it was only for 7 yrs or 100,000. The vehicles 7 years expired in April 2005. I tried emailing or contacting Ford directly and got no response.

- Hialeah, FL, USA

problem #51

Oct 212004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


While driving 50 mph engine started producing a clicking sound. Cause has yet to be determined.

- Lorain, OH, USA

problem #50

May 222004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,482 miles
I had problems with my Ford Explorer engine since the first day I bought the truck. It has been in the shop a few times for recallas on the engine, the last time only this past December. Last Saturday, May 22nd the truck stopped in the middle of traffic. I had it towed to Ford dealer and was told my crankshaft broke. Two different dealers told me the same thing and agreed that that should not have happend but also told me that there is nothing they can do. Basically to bad on you. I have seen many messages on the internet on this very same problem happening to others. This could have been deadly if I were on a highway when it stopped. Ford should be responsible to cover costs when something that should not break does. Ford could care less. Cost to me over $4,500 for a new engine on a maintained 6 year old car. Per an attorney this is known as a latent defect and it took this time to happen, when that kind of part should last a long time.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #49

Feb 092004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,432 miles
Engine head gasket cracked. The consumer stated while driving home the engine started to misfire and the temperature gauge went up a little.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #48

Jan 132004

(reported on)


  • miles
1998 Ford Explorer fire. The consumer ( a fire fighter) responded to a vehicle fire. The owner of the vehicle stated the brake light blew. He changed the 15 amp bulb and noticed a plug on the master cylinder was hot and had some soot on it and it wasn't melted or deformed. The vehicle sustained heavy fire damaged to the engine compartment with the heaviest fire damage near the master cylinder.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #47

Dec 062003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles


I have read 24 complaints concerning the failure of the camshaft chain on the 1998 Ford Explorer with the 4.0 SOHC engines and seen 23 technical service bulletins concerning this same problem. This type of failure can cause serious injury if this occurs while operating the vehicle due to engine failure, not to mention the fact that it also blows the engine requiring it to be replaced at a cost near $5000. Ford has acknowledged this problem and has offered replacement with mileage limitations. If this is a defect and a safety hazard causing the loss of control of the vehicle when this failure occurs, why is this not important enough to warrant an investigation" my Ford is 4000 miles over the limit set by Ford to replace the parts in question. Although this did not lessen the danger when this failure occurred to my wife, 5 year old and 1 year old daughters while in the vehicle causing her to lose control due to the engine failure as a result of these defective parts. I was told in a phone conversation that the recall was voluntary by Ford and it is legal for them to set those limitations. This is unconceivable that they can place individuals in harms way knowingly and in an effort to save a buck, not a life, set limits to the remedy of the situation. Why are these complaints not being investigated and if they have what was the end results of this investigation" david kyde 810 third St. #5 trenton, Ohio 45067 513-988-6516

- Trenton, OH, USA

problem #46

Nov 072003

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles
Check engine indicator light illuminated. Vehicle was taken to the dealer at consumer's expenses of $850. Twenty days afterwards the problem was still recurring.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #45

Aug 282003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
Cam shaft broke inside engine, during normal operation. Car had only 85,000 miles, there must have been a defect in the part. It cost $3,500 to repair damage.

- Hackensack, NJ, USA

problem #44

Aug 152002


  • 82,006 miles
1999 Ford Explorer experiencing high idle. Vehicle experienced high idle for 1 year.

- Davie, FL, USA

problem #43

Jul 091999

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
1998 Ford Explorer, 4.0sov has a repeated engine hesitation problem when engine is warm and accelerating from a stop. Dealer says after numerous complaints he can not find the problem. I have had this problem since the vehicle was new it now has 100,000 miles and still hesitates on acceleration.

- Sanford, FL, USA

problem #42

Sep 022003

(reported on)

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • miles
Engine light illuminated and the vehicle was driving "rough." Dealer determined that the cam chain guide broke, and engine had to be replaced.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #41

Apr 092003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles
Vehicle stopped dead in traffic on weems creek bridge in annapolis Maryland during a rainstorm because the crankshaft broke.

- Severna Park , MD, USA

problem #40

Apr 152003


  • miles
After sitting idle for an hour the vehicle caught on fire. The fire department determined the fire started in the engine.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #39

May 032003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
Broken crankshaft on 1998 Ford Explorer with only 83,000 miles. No help from Ford. Seems to be a materials defect.

- Galveston, TX, USA

problem #38

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

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