Timing Tensioner Problems of Ford Explorer - part 1

Ford Explorer owners have reported 45 problems related to timing tensioner (under the engine and engine cooling category). The most recently reported issues are listed below. Also please check out the statistics and reliability analysis of Ford Explorer based on all problems reported for the Explorer.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2014 Ford Explorer 1
Failure Date: 11/18/2017

Driving on highway approx 65 mph in rain. Sudden loss of power steering, message on dashboard indicating check charging system, then hill assist failure, then warning message that all accessory power was disabled to conserve power. Then all lights on dashboard lit up. Loss of power steering in rain on highway almost caused vehicle to lose control and be involved in multiple car accident. Serpentine belt was found to be in proper condition, and was able to drive home alternate route along 35mph roads. No further problems aside from occasional squeak under acceleration. Immediately followed up with service call, serpentine bell was in good condition, but belt tensioner spring had failed. Vehicle has only 57,000 miles. Seems excessively early for this type of part to fail.

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car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2016 Ford Explorer 2
Failure Date: 04/22/2016

On 22 Apr 2016 our son was in town visiting when he was looking over our new vehicle and notice that the screws that hold the belt tensioner in place were almost all the way out. Since my son is a mechanic he advised us not to drive the vehicle since this could cause a catastrophic malfunction leading to a serious accident. The vehicle only has 1681 miles on it and we immediately contact the dealership which also told us to contact roadside assistance and have the vehicle towed to the dealership. The dealership tighten the bolts down and according to the invoice (attached) that the bolts never were tighten down at the factory. I've included a couple photos. I've contacted Ford and opened a case file since this appears to be issues at the plant and who knows how many other vehicles on the road have this same problem. The quality control inspections should have identified this issue and fixed it! after I filed the complaint (case # cas-9331585) I was told that no one will probably get back with me regarding this issue. I had requested to talk with either a Ford safety representative of the quality control manager at the chicago Ford plant to express my concerns. I believe Ford should put out an immediate service notice to have individuals check the tensioner bolts on their 2016 Ford Explorers since this can lead to a major malfunction which could cause a serious if not deadly accident.

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car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2008 Ford Explorer 3
Failure Date: 03/11/2014

The car was traveling at 30 mph from store to school in midday two miles, started ticking and got louder as traveling back home(2 mile). At home popped hood, listened for noise ,engine idling smoothly ,but ticking or rather hitting noise from top of valve cover,drivers side front,was very prevalent. Turned off car and pulled chain tensioner out and looked inside with snake camera and saw broken plastic parts all around timing chain area. I searched online and found this has been happening from 1997 to currant. Plastic, vinyl parts in the motor repeatedly shattering for years, costing consumers thousands in repairs. These v-6 and v-8 Ford motors are flawed because of these weak parts. This is a engineering bomb, and when you least expect it, the timing chain goes bad at 72931. 5k. That should not happen. The motor has to be pulled to change the four chain cassettes, or single cassette,because vinyl parts are in the pan and in the oil galleys. 18-19 hours on book the repairs are expensive, unreasonable,and a cover-up. Ford could change the part, but chooses not to. An addition 3000$ to the cost of ownership is not acceptable in the first five years. That's what the n. H. T. S. A. Is to be observing. The car is inoperable, for fear of having the valves contact the piston, and end up with metal in the bottom of the oil pan. Someone is responsible for the decision to make these parts out the inferior media. P. S. Regular oil changes are documented.

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car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2002 Ford Explorer 4
Failure Date: 03/03/2013

Tl- the contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that there was a rattling noise heard from the engine as soon as the vehicle was started. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic, who stated that the timing chain plastic tensioner was fractured. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000. The VIN was unavailable. Kmj.

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car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 1998 Ford Explorer 5
Failure Date: 01/15/2013

The timing chain tensioner broke allowing the chain to slip. It was a recall problem but I was not the original owner and the problem must not have been addressed, or else the recall didn't get done properly. After the repair it hasn't had good oil pressure at idle. It is too bad that Ford put this motor in so many vehicles and doesn't stand behind they. It is poor design in my opinion to have four timing chains on a 4. 0 liter motor is crazy. I wish that Ford would have put more effort into seeing that my vehicle were recalled and not allowed to depreciate because it was happening to so many other Explorer.

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car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2002 Ford Explorer 6
Failure Date: 12/26/2012

Was driving car along local road when the engine started to make noise and the car would not go over 5 miles and hour. Many cars severed to avoid truck and was lucky there was no accident. Truck was towed to local facility and had Ford tech look at vehicle. The timing chain tension broke. Tech and dealerships( called two for quotes ) said this was a common problem. After finding out the engine needed to be pulled for repair I had to junk the vehicle could not afford repair. This is certainly a safety issue any time a vehicle breaks without warning in the middle of traffic. It is also a know common problem. Dealer says the design of the tension is poorly produced and they had extended the warranty for the repair. Ford should fix/ replace the tensioner on these truck before someone is killed.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2003 Ford Explorer 7
Failure Date: 12/09/2011

Rattling noise in 4. 0 liter-sohc 2003 Ford Explorer XLT. Dealer replaced rear tensioner. Noise remained. Diagnosis said engine noise is coming from rear cassette and possibly front one. Engine would have to be removed and taken apart to replace timing chain cassettes for @ $4k. The car only has 53,070 miles on it. Online search verifies an obvious issue pattern and complaints to an inferior quality cassette material requiring labor intensive engine removal repair.

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car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2003 Ford Explorer 8
Failure Date: 08/15/2011

Timing chain tensioner failure with valve cover damage provoking oil leak and heavy smoke out of the engine, wich lead to spill of oil in the highway (oil dropping) and engine out of sequence due to a plastic "casset" tension break, I have read over the internet alot of complains about the same incident.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2003 Ford Explorer 9
Failure Date: 02/01/2011

Timing chain broke, with no warning, bent all the valves and wasnt even driving it. Had just started the car in the garage and backed out of driveway with car idling very rough. Pulled back in driveway and oil was pouring out underneath, due to chain had busted the valve cover. Well had to pull the motor, replaced guides, cassettes, and tensioners, with 2000. 00 just in parts alone. Had car back from mechanic not even 3 weeks and engine started knocking as if a rod was knocking. Went back to mechanic and tensioners were the cause of timing-chain "clank". Apparantly they (Ford) designed these tensioners with "plastic" guides which shred off into the hydraulic tensioner pick up tube therefore clogging up the hole for oil to get to chain and will continue to do so unless you get updated tensioners directly from Ford at 100. 00 each. There are 3 timing chains and multiple tensioners as well, which continue to go out after 30,000 miles and need replacing, which most can be replaced with motor in but some cant therefore I have had motor out twice now, at 2500. 00 each time. There was an onp to owners but Ford would only cover cost up to 100,000 miles and only if owners complained!! otherwise they would not fix!!! well this is a bad design on Fords part with plastice tensioners to guide your timing chain!!! now they have updated with a tougher nylon "plastic". But have not recalled the old ones so unless you order dealer parts you receive the old parts which are no good and will end up making you spend more money and for the last 12months, I have had my car 3 weeks due to cant afford the enormous repair bill, which Ford knew about all along, but failed to recall plastic parts unless someone complained. According to my research it has been an ongoing problem since the 1996-2006 year model explores with 4. 0 sohc v-6 motors. Something definitely needs to be done!!!.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 1999 Ford Explorer 10
Failure Date: 05/15/2010

The single overhead camshaft (sohc) v6 engine may have as many as four timing chains with associated tensioners and guides. I have been receiving a rattling sound from my engine for years and it use to come and go, but now it has gotten worst. I had notified Ford motors corp. , about this problem back on 6-30-10 and didn't get any help on this matter, the person I spoke with told me that my VIN# wasn¿t covered. I recently found three documents on this problem, with a NHTSA # on each document. Item number #630022, #620173 and article # 02-7-6. I have also been by a local dealership and was told the same. I would like to know if the Ford dealership is responsible for fixing this problem. I would like to have my vehicle fixed, and is hoping to can help.

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car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2002 Ford Explorer 11
Failure Date: 03/08/2009

Timing chain rattle on a 2002 Ford Explorer. Had the fronts replaced once under warranty at about 25,000 miles and again at 80,000 miles at my expense. Now the rear chain is making noise, this is after having the rear tensioner replaced last month at 94,000 miles. The rear cassette seems as if it is ready to go. I don't know how Ford can get away with producing such a poor product. There a thousands of complaints about this problem and Ford won't do a thing about it.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 1997 Ford Explorer 12
Failure Date: 11/16/2008

1997 Ford Explorer 4. 0 sohc, my engine is making a terrible rattle sound while running, I have been told by many that its the timing chain tensioners, and that Ford knows about the problem but is not doing anything to help owners to get this repaired.

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car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2002 Ford Explorer 13
Failure Date: 07/14/2008

My wife's 2002 Ford Explorer had a whine in the rear end since it was new and it continued to get worse with time. At about 55k miles it was so bad that we had to have the entire differential rebuilt at a cost of over $1,000. At 65k miles the engine had begun to make noise and it became much louder rapidly. The entire cam drive (timing chain, sprockets, tensioners) had been ground up. The tensioner pads had 3/8" deep grooves worn into them and there were metal shavings everywhere. The bill this time was almost $1,300. It is interesting that all the parts that were replaced were a different design than the originals. If there was nothing wrong with the original design, why spend the money to change them? of course Ford would not admit that they had a problem with the timing chain for the cams. After the timing chain was fixed there was still a noise so we took it back to the shop that did the work. With a stethoscope the noise was isolated to the bellhousing/torque converter area. We took it to a transmission shop we trust and he thought it was a cracked flex plate because that happens frequently on these vehicles and it causes that kind of noise. The flex plate was fine as was the front pump on the transmission and the starter drive. The only thing left in that area was the torque converter so we replaced that. The noise was still there. He said that the noise had to be coming from the transmission and that would be a $2,000 repair. I've had it with Ford and their "quality is job one" or whatever their current advertising lie is. This car is a lemon and they won't admit to a single thing being wrong with it. Every driveline component has had to be fixed and it only has 67k miles on it. Ford should be ashamed of the way they hang their customers out to dry. Even though I had to identify a particular date below, this car has had major problems since it was new in 2002.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 1997 Ford Explorer 14
Failure Date: 06/25/2008

Ford 4. 0l sohc timing chain issue. Currently my timing chains are still in one piece. The plastic tensioners break, leading to chain slack, and eventually, breakage. There has been nothing done to correct it as of yet, the only way to repair them is to buy $500-$600 worth of parts and tools, remove the engine from the car and repair and replace the timing chains and guides.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2002 Ford Explorer 15
Failure Date: 02/03/2007

I have two or three issues; the first one is my timing chain tensioner broke and came up through the head gasket cover. It was brought to my attention that Ford has had this problem with many of it's 2002 Ford Explorers. I am just returning from iraq (air force) I have just had it towed to the repair shop it has not be fixed. I have transmission problems for about 2 years were it jumps into gear and I have a whining noise coming from the rear end. I spoke with ganley Ford in barbeton and they tell me that there are no recalls however, a lot of customers complain.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2002 Ford Explorer 16
Failure Date: 07/06/2006

I just bought a 2002 Ford Explorer with 74,000 miles on it. I have had it for just long enough to discover a few problems with it, and have done enough research to know that I am not the only one by far with the same problems. I am not sure what causes the problems that I am experiencing, I just know that lots of other people are also having these problems. First of all, there is a leak in my rear differential. My truck is currently in the shop for that now - however, the shop mgr refuses to fix the leak until the rear end breaks. . . . Which will cost more and cause more repairs than necessary at the current time. My second problem - which the service mgr again refuses to fix until it breaks is with the timing chain tensioner - which leads to transmission problems which are also very costly. I have done my homework on this situation, since I have been forced to, and I am seeing over and over and over again, replaced the rear end on my 2002 Explorer (multiple times on the same vehicle), and I am seeing over and over and over again, new transmission on my 2002 Explorer (again, multiple times on the same vehicle). I don't know if anyone else knows about this site, or I'm sure that hundreds of the same kind of complaints would be filed with you. . . . Someone really needs to look in to this problem, because Ford is awful proud of their vehicles and I am paying a hefty chunk of money for mine, as are the tons of other people out there with the same problems who just may not know how to go about getting something done regarding this problem. . . I'm speaking not only for myself, but, for loads of other people with the same problems. Please look into this problem, I beg you!! I don't want to be on the side of the road with my babies (4 & 5 yrs old) praying that the right person stops to help me and not the one with bad intentions!! something needs to be done about this - Ford has got obvious drive train problems!!! thank you for your attention in this matter!.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 1999 Ford Explorer 17
Failure Date: 05/19/2006

Noise coming from under the hood. Repairman said it is a tensioner in rear of engine and is common problem in the Explorer. He thought it was under recall. This requires engine to be pulled to fix with only 85000 mile on engine.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2002 Ford Explorer 18
Failure Date: 02/20/2006

2002 Ford Explorer with a v6 engine, purchased new, maintained, has 77,000 miles. While driving vehicle it became erratic, as if water in tank, drove about 1/2 mile when it died. Now the engine needs to be replaced: according to warranty inspector the "cassette failed due to the hydraulic tensioner and it is clogged with sludge, sludge is getting thicker and it has clogged a pin hole in the tensioner and caused a loss of pressure". Geico will not cover the engine replacement because they claim it was caused by lack of maintenance; however, I provided them with records of the mileage and date of oil changes at intervals between 3k and 5k miles, problem I have receipts for only 75% of those changes. The highest gap between a receipt backed change and non receipt change is 7000 miles. This problem seems awfully similar to the 1996 - 2002 Toyota camry engines. I think Ford has a lot of explaining to do. Previously, this SUV had to have a transmission replaced at 50k miles and a rear differential at 65k miles, thank goodness they were covered by the warranty.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 1998 Ford Explorer 19
Failure Date: 11/26/2004

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.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2003 Ford Explorer 20
Failure Date: 02/16/2004

Vehicle failure problems with 2003 Ford Explorer. While driving the vehicle stalled in an intersection. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was determined that there was sludge in the engine. The dealer insisted that the consumer's neglect was the caused of the failure and if he refused to purchase a new engine from them they would void manufacturers and extended warranty. The consumer indicated that he took care of his vehicle performing all the regularly scheduled maintenance. The consumer believes this problem is related to a defect in the timing chain tensioner.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 1999 Ford Explorer 21
Failure Date: 08/02/2003

Service bulletin 00m12 from Ford called for replacement of timing chain tensioner. Tensioner was replaced but did not solve problem. Returned to Ford and was confirmed to be coming from tensioner. Was directed by dealer that ther was no other fix for problem but would not cause damage. Was told that if part failed Ford would warranty for 5 yrs or 75,000 miles. Part failed causing timing chain to slip and break, causing #6 cylinder piston to strike valve and put hole in piston. Ford now states that they are not responsable and will provide no relief for repair. Ford dealer advises that should have been covered but Ford makes final decision. Ford's final position is that age/mileage of vehicle problem is now my problem. Vehicle is 1999 Explorer with 60,000 miles which meets both of their cryteria in their service bulletin. Now Ford wants me to pay $4500 for new motor.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 1999 Ford Explorer 22
Failure Date: 04/09/2003

Service bulletin oom 12 from Ford was for the replacement of the camshaft tensioner in my 1999 Explorer. It was replaced on 11/27/01 and now needs to be replaced again. The Ford service center refuses to see the same componet continues to fail again and again as their problem.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 1998 Ford Explorer 23
Failure Date: 04/12/2002

Rear chain guide tensioner broke - part of cam chain guide assembly. Engine died in morning rush hour, but car coasted safely to emergency lane.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 1997 Ford Explorer 24
Failure Date: 09/17/2001

Cam tensioner broke. Metal piece from tensioner ran through engine and damaged it. There was a recall on vehicle's make/model; but, consumer's vehicle was not included because it exceeded 100000 mile warranty. Consumer bought vehicle and didn't know recall.

car image   Timing Tensioner problem of the 2001 Ford Explorer 25
Failure Date: 06/21/2001

While driving engine check light will flash intermittently. Dealer has been notified. Consumer states that when the light illuminates, the vehicle begins to drive sluggish, rough, and sometimes makes a screeching noise. Dealer has replaced the pcm, vapor management valve, canister purge solenoid, tensioner assembly, vacuum hose twice, dpfe, and the fuel tank.

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