98 Ford Explorer


Old 01-28-02, 04:36 AM
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Question 98 Ford Explorer

My wife's 98 explorer just got back from the Ford shop after having some recall work (throttle body and cam shaft guide) done on it, as well as a new thermostat and serpentine belt. Now the dash has two flashing indicators, the 4WD High and 4WD Low. They have a definite pattern to them; Engine running at a stop - 1 flash of both indicators every 2 minutes, street speed of 35 - 45 mph - both indicators flash 3 times every 2 minutes, highway speed - 55 -75 mph - both indicators flash 6 times every 2 minutes. Neither indicator lights when it is supposed to; the 4WD High is supposed to light when high is engaged, it does not but I believe that 4WD engages, the 4WD low is supposed to engage when in low but it does not either. Sounds like the shop might have done something while it was repairing the above mentioned items. Or is it as simple as doing the battery disconnect/reset? Thanks for your help
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Old 01-28-02, 07:00 AM
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Yup, try the battery reset deal.

If not, bring it back to the shop and have them find out what happened.
Old 01-29-02, 02:52 AM
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The FORD Saga

The FORD shop said that until last week they had never ever seen this particular problem but earlier in the week another owner of a newer model Explorer bought her car in for the exact same problem:

With no warning the 4WD High and 4WD Low indicators flash at 2 minute intervals. At a redlight they flash once, at street speed 3 times and at highway speed 6 times.

Cause of the problem according to FORD:

The front and rear speed sensors along with the shift indicator have all shorted out. The lamest thing the shop said was "they must have gotten wet in this last heavy rain." My response to him was "isn't this supposed to be the rugged Ford Explorer, SUV. I guess you can only drive it in the sunshine on good days."
He bascially told me he could not explain why it happened but that the diagnostic codes all pointed to those three things. Cost for repair $726.00

I saw a thread somewhere on the internet. Can you tell me in your opinion whether this is too far fetched. They worked on the CAM Shaft Tensioner as part of a recall. The thread said something to the effect that they were supposed to disconnect the battery before doing this. What if they didn't, could they have shorted those systems. The shop says all their work was on the front end of the vehicle and this is totally unrelated. I am not totally convinced as yet. Any thoughts you could offer me?
Old 01-29-02, 03:45 AM
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I would make Ford eat the repairs for the reasons you stated. Should not happen.

Check www.alldata.com for known bulletins on your problem.
Old 01-30-02, 02:08 AM
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F.ix O.r R.epair D.aily - aka FORD


I went to the alldata site as you directed and lo and behold there was a TSB on 98 Ford Explorer that was almost the exact problem I described. I contacted Ford at the 1-800-392-ford number and they said their database contained no information like that. I took the alldata printout to the Ford shop. They said the same thing Ford No Service said, "The info from those sites is not acceptable. They just cause auto makers trouble. People just get on there and write all kinds of inflammatory things about our products." They basically discounted the information on the alldata site and "unreliable" and that if it wasn't on their "oasis" system it was not to be considered. Well we ate the cost but I called Ford, Centers for Auto Safety, NHTSA, Clark Howard. At least I was able to work off this anger. Still feel like they ripped us off though. Thanks for your help

Last edited by misnomerny; 01-30-02 at 06:58 AM.
Old 01-30-02, 03:52 AM
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Thumbs down

I'll reply more in depth later, but in short..

Bull buscuits. Flat out.

1) The bulletins are published by the car maker, not Alldata.

2) The bulletins also quote special tools and part #s which Ford offers!

3) Ask Fordtech of this forum, we discuss these at length here. Ask him if a TSB helps him fix a problem or do his job better. He's nodding all the way from KY, I see it now. Lol.

4) A TSB helps a dealer or technician address a concern, problem area or trouble spot and fix it. The car maker engineers, service parts people are the ones that develop and write the bulletin, NOT Alldata! They just compile the information! Lol.

Call up another Ford dealer, give the bulletin # and ask again. If you get good results, call Ford and the other dealer and scream bloody hell. And make them eat the repair. And make them eat the labor. Call the government too. The Better Business Bureau while you're at it.

If a TSB is not valid, you can ask the numerous folks here and myself why dealers have ate repairs due to bulletins we found.

Not only that, Saturn should be eating a transmission repair bill as a result of a TSB I found.

Make sure you didn't misunderstand them. Your vehicle might not be one of the ones affected by the recall or bulletin (Oasis says your vin is not covered), but to say TSB's are not valid is a wrong statement.

Talk to the dealer's general manager and make sure you didn't misunderstand!

Otherwise, bull biscuits (Hiya Smokey!)

If they say TSBs aren't valid, bad, bad, bad, bad Blue Oval

Another reason I don't own their product if that's how they treat their customers!
Old 01-30-02, 05:28 AM
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What was the bulletin # you were interested in?

I'm going to see if I can find it.

Betcha it quotes revised Ford part numbers, special tools and other things that only Ford would know.

So, how could they say that a TSB is not valid. They are the ones that write them!

Perhaps you misunderstood the dealer's manager?
Old 01-30-02, 06:46 AM
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Unhappy Alldata info


I printed out the alldata listing and wanted to show it to him. He was not interested.

Here is the specific page I went to and pulled that data


Number 31 on TSB says 99-14-2 JUL 99 4x4 Indicator Lamp Flashing and 4x4 Inoperative, 4.0L

I told him very clearly that I had found some information on Alldata site that may be related to the mechanical problem I was experiencing and would he look at it. I quote him verbatim, "Those are not real TSBs, they're made up. If it is not on Ford's OASIS system it is not a real TSB. Those folks just sit there and write these things up and cause problems for us." I don't know what else I can say. He never asked for any VIN numbers or did any research to even tell me that my vehicle did not match the TSB. He just sat in his little space and never moved, never looked at anything. There was no misunderstanding in my opinion. They will be sending me a "evaluation" of their shop. We got one last time we were in there. They emphasize we should say they are excellent. I am going to include the Alldata sheet and whatever other supporting info I can find and tell them what I really think.
Old 01-30-02, 07:33 AM
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I'll have a look. Time to call Ford and tell them what you found.

Tell them what he said. I think he's wrong.

Why would Alldata make up something like that?
Old 01-30-02, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Riverdale, MD
Posts: 529
Might want to go to this site and find the TSB info.


This is a NHTSA site that you can search by vehicle.

Joe_F, I know that you like ALLDATA, but I have found that the NHTSA site has TSBs that ALLDATA doesn't. I have found a lot of information about the Ford 3.8 engine head gasket problems here that I didn't find on ALLDATA. The is only a summary of the data on the initial read of the data , but you can request a cipy of the full bulletin. They say that there is a fee, but I recently got information from them on 3 bulletins having to dowith the ford problems and they didn't charge me. They even sent me some of the copies of the letters that had been sent to them. Plus it's free
Old 01-30-02, 09:21 AM
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That's another way to do it, but I'm not sure that the mfgrs furnish it willingly .

In Alldata, they do.

Remember, it's to correct a problem OR to help service a vehicle easier when it comes to a dealer's service bay. Sometimes a recall is "hidden" in there if you read the text carefully.

That is the purpose of a TSB.

A recall is a government or mfgr issued (usually as a result of the gov't being involved) issue that the mfgr. must correct.
Old 01-30-02, 10:11 AM
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Ford Saga - continued


I'd be interested in what you find out about that TSB #31.
I know what the Service Manager said and my wife was right there so she heard it too. On top of that the person on the 1800-392-ford line said something along the same line. I tried to read him the TSB and the tag and he was not interested. I can give you the shop, the address, and the Service Manager's name if you want it.
Old 01-30-02, 10:32 AM
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You'd be interested to know I have the full bulletin sitting in front of me.

#99-14-2, it applies to 97-99 Explorers with the A4WD transmission and the 4.0 liter engine. Now, perhaps, your vehicle is not so equipped with this tranmission, but I believe it is in this year. Fordtech will probably confirm that. Fordtech????.

Guess what? There are Oasis codes on the bottom of the page as well. Liar, liar, pants on fire. Lol. . I still think there is some sort of misunderstanding. I cannot see how they can discount a technical service bulletin that THEIR COMPANY WRITES. Lol.

How they relate to "If it's not in Oasis, I don't want to know about it" is their balliwick. Their system, their issue. You have the proof to show them. Let them deal with it. Period.

Call another dealership. That's what I would do. Might get someone who is more helpful.

Funny how when you pull up the recalls in Alldata, the tire issues are the first ones on the list. Does Ford deny them too because they are on Alldata? I hope not!!

In short, the issue is that the lights may flash due to oxidation buildup or premature wear on the sense plate of the shift motor which may send bad signals to the 4x4 controller. The terminals on the transfer case connector get a resistive film, also sending bad signals.

Action is to install the following:

XL2Z-7F294BA Front Speed sensor
XL2Z-7A786AC Jumper Wiring harness
XL2Z-7F293AA Rear Speed Sensor
XL2Z-7G360M Transfer case motor.

The bulletin goes into a bit of depth of how to test it all and do the job. You might want to pay the yearly subscription to Alldata and print it out yourself. Then bill the dealership for everything including your time.

Then I would ask the customer rep at Ford on the phone, "I don't want to hear it. I'm going to fax you the bulletin in question. Now I want you to tell me who made those part numbers. I also want to know why there are Oasis codes listed on this bulletin and why the dealer is not willing to listen to me, the customer. I want and demand an answer. I also demand that it be fixed for free. No 1998 vehicle should have any trouble with the 4WD or transfer case so soon. I'm the customer, I have the proof, and you're the experts. Act like experts and listen to the customer".

Keep sticking them with it, and be persistent. They'll bend, I can't see why not, the proof is in the bulletin.
Old 01-30-02, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 247
Hello Joe and Misnomerny!!. You are both right the TSB 99-14-02 is still active(i've never seen Ford cancel one,just maybe update one).It reads exactly as Joe has stated.
Misnomerny,as far as the repairs they done(recalls) that you mentioned i'd have to agree with the dealership, there's nothing they could have done to cause the problem with the 4x4 concern.
Disconnecting the battery would not have caused it.
Now,you mentioned you took it back and the service manager said it needed"front and rear sensors and a shift motor",i gaurantee you he ran oasis(Ford's online) to give you that info and that it was from the TSB mentioned.And for them to say water caused it is not even close due to the fact all the items mentioned slide into the transfer case housing,which means water would have to go through metal to contaminate the parts.
If you bought the vehicle from a Ford dealership different from the one you've been mentioning,i'd take it to them and see what they can do for you.
If you take it back to the dealer you mentioned here's a couple suggestions that might help:
(1)Tell the service manager that you have a freind that's a Ford technician that you contacted and that he checked with Ford online and that the TSB is current.If he doesn't believe you tell him your friend said that all Ford certified technicians can access ford from any computer due to them being a part of PTS( Professional Technician Society).He can run oasis himself while you watch ,we do it for our customers all the time.
(2)Forget the service manager!!Go to the sales department and ask for the Parts and service director(if they have one) or the General manager and explain to them that you had your vehicle
in their service department and your dissatisfied with them and their servie manager.But give the service manager one more chance first .
I hope something here helps!!
Old 01-31-02, 02:50 AM
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And the beat goes on

Fordtech, Joe,

Thanks for the coaching.

Joe - My explorer matches the description you posted for the TSB -A4WD 4.0L SOHC

After I read Joe's most recent note and before I had a chance to read yours I called the 1-800-392-ford number and the Dealer Service Manager.

First the Ford Customer Service Center was no help. They had already closed my incident and logged it as nothing more to be done. They told me "Our TSBs are internal and for the use of our technicians only. Anything you got from an outside web source is not valid for us. We have no record of any issues with your vehicle and we stand by the actions of our dealership."

Next the Dealer Service Manager - I explained the whole thing over again. He stated that the TSBs on sites like Alldata are not referred to when performing repairs on vehicles.

He then went into the line of "Well we really can't tell what other things have been done to your car if you've had service performed elsewhere other than a Ford shop" He asked about the ownership history of the vehicle, how long I have had it. I told him it was previously owned by another housewife who had never even engaged the manual 4WD and that the husband told me they had all their service done at the Ford Dealer where they bought the car.

Since we have had it the only place it has been is this Ford shop, for recall work and a bad thermostat, which they did such a bad job on we had it back into them 4 months later to be replaced again!

He went into something about the standard warranty is 36,000 miles and that we have already almost doubled that with 69,000 miles on the car.

I told him that it was inaccurate to state that a problem like this had never been logged before because it showed up on Alldata and the info there had to come from somewhere and that the remedy that Ford employed was exactly what the TSB on Alldata recommended. I even read him the part numbers Joe sent me and the part numbers on the bill and pointed out that they matched. I told him that he had at least 3 instances of this - the one that caused the issuance of the TSB in the first place and the customer who had the same exact problem 4 days prior to us bringing in our vehicle. I would have to think there is a greater frequency than just these three. I told him I thought it was a design flaw and that Ford should bear some of the costs of this repair. He didn't say much more but told me he would pull my file and look it over. To his credit he did call back. He told me he would ask the FST or Field Service Tech to run a more extensive check on this problem and "see what he could do for me and call me today."

Sorry to ramble but wanted to make sure you had the whole story and correct me if I don't do something. At this point I still hold little hope that Ford or the dealership will do something. I am going to write to Ford No Service and tell them that as an owner of two Ford products I will to the best of my ability not acquire another one in the future. Thanks again for the help and support
Old 01-31-02, 05:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 247
I applaud you for taking your stand!!.It looks like at least the service manager is trying to help,if Ford won't pay then his hands would be tied since the vehicle didn't originally come from his dealership i'd doubt his upper management would let him stay in his posistion long if he did anything other.
Good luck in the future!.
Old 01-31-02, 07:53 AM
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Bull buscuits .

Blue Oval product, blue oval product. No matter where it is sold. Good old Henry (or his heirs) are getting your greenbacks no matter what.

It's politics to say "Not my dealer". Will they all take your money? Absolutely!

However, it does work to say that you should stick with the dealer you bought the car from. That I agree with Fordtech but I have dealt outside the system many times. But, I am a PITA and VERY persistent.

Keep on them, their thinking will slowly unravel. It's faulty logic and wrong.

You might want to remind him that Alldata has Oasis codes, which are supplied by.......... you guessed it, Ford! So, I feel he's not right here.

Again, Alldata compiles, they do not craft the bulletins to my knowledge. So the information is from Ford. What don't they understand about this? Lol

Keep being persistent. If they don't comply, ask to speak to the field rep yourself. Call Ford and tell them you're going to take action if they don't.

Bad, bad Blue Oval!
Old 02-05-02, 03:20 AM
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Final Chapter - FORD R.I.P.

Thanks to everyone who provided information and advice. At this time it looks like a brick wall. At least you can read my final shot to Ford.

Track ID KMM1455226COKM
Case 472460

I recently had my 98 Ford Explorer in for very expensive service where the 4WD system malfunctioned. I have contacted you and the Ford Dealership to voice my concern about the fragility of such an important system. Both you and the dealership claim ignorance of the problem despite the wealth of data that can be found concerning this problem. "No such problem exists on our database" is contrary to my research where sites like Alldata.com and NHTSA.org both show the problem exists. A Ford Technician has emailed me. He concurs that the problem is current and does exist. I have personally just retrieved 6 related complaints filed at NHTSA concerning this problem or variations thereof.


The Dealership tells me they will follow up and call me back, and as expected it is just a ploy to get rid of me. Your website sends a message back saying someone will respond in three days, yet no one does. It is quite clear to me that my problem is not a credible one in the eyes of Ford or it's dealer representatives. If you can be honest, considering the treatment I am getting, what kind of confidence would you have in the Ford Corporation? I currently own two Ford products, a Taurus and the Explorer. Both have had their share of problems. Based on this overall experience would you purchase another "At Ford Quality is Job 1" vehicle?
Old 02-05-02, 03:30 AM
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Good for you.

Now call the local TV station, news agency and Better Business Bureau and report their tactics.

It's juicy enough for them to be interested and perhaps after you rattle some bones, you'll get something.

That's what I would do at this point .

My .02

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