Top 5 Ford Explorer Problems: 4th Generation (2006 to 2010)

The Ford Explorer has existed since 1991 and there have been a number of variations. This article reviews the top Ford Explorer problems of the 4th generation, years 2006 to 2010.

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Top 5 Issues on the 4th Gen Ford Explorer (2006 to 2010)

1. Temperature Control Problems

2006 to 2010 Ford Explorer HVAC controls

Symptoms Temperature Control Problems on the 4th Gen Ford Explorer

  • Temperature doesn’t change after adjusting it that may be accompanied by a ticking noise in the vents

Causes Temperature Control Problems

The passenger compartment temperature control tends to fail on the 4th gen Ford Explorer. The blend door actuator diverts air so if the heat is turned on, the blower motor can blow hot air into the cabin from the heater core. If the actuator is broken, it won’t be able to divert air to change the temperature when commanded. If this problem is accompanied by a ticking noise, the blend door actuator has likely failed. The casing on the blend door actuators can crack and break or the internal gears may bind.

How to Fix Temperature Control Problems

It’s not easy to access the blend door actuators but it’s still possible to replace them without bringing the car to a mechanic.

2. Thermostat Housing Leaks

Coolant collected on the 4th Gen Ford Explorer's thermostat housing
Coolant collected on the 4th Gen Ford Explorer’s thermostat housing

Symptoms of Thermostat Housing Leaks

  • Sweet smell in the air after running the engine
  • Coolant leaks
  • Coolant collected on the thermostat housing
  • Hot air isn’t coming out of the heat
  • Low coolant level

Causes of Thermostat Housing Leaks

The thermostat housing houses the thermostat. It’s common for the thermostat housing to leak coolant along the seam in between the upper and lower thermostat housing. If coolant is leaking on the 4th gen Ford Explorer, it’s likely from a bad thermostat housing.

How to Fix Thermostat Housing Leaks

The thermostat housing connects to the upper radiator hose. To fix this problem, flush the coolant system and replace the thermostat housing and thermostat.

3. Intake Manifold Gasket Leaks

Symptoms of Intake Manifold Gasket Leaks

  • Rough idle
  • Loss of engine power
  • Engine stalling
  • Engine misfires
  • Check engine light

Causes of Intake Manifold Gasket Leaks

The rubber areas where the gasket is supposed to meet can wear, crush, or harden, causing air intake issues. The gaskets are supposed to prevent dirty or unmetered air from drawing into the engine. If the gaskets are worn, air can enter the engine and cause performance issues.

How to Fix Intake Manifold Gasket Leaks

The intake manifold gaskets sit where the air intake system connects to each side of the engine. Diagnose the problem with carb cleaner or a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol to see if the intake gaskets or another part is causing these problems. Mist the engine near the intake with the engine running. If the engine idle fluctuates up or down, there is likely a vacuum leak. If there is a vacuum leak in the intake area, there is a problem with the intake gasket.

4. Exhaust Manifold Leaks

Symptoms of Exhaust Manifold Leaks

  • Cracked exhaust manifold
  • Ticking noise from the wheel well at start up that disappears as the engine warms up
  • Smell of exhaust fumes underneath the hood area or the passenger compartment

Causes of Exhaust Manifold Leaks

It’s common for exhaust manifolds to crack. When the metal on the exhaust manifold is cold, it contracts and exposes the crack, which disappears as it warms up and seals, eliminating the ticking noise.

How to Fix Exhaust Manifold Leaks

There is an exhaust manifold located on each side of the engine. Check the exhaust manifold for cracks. Diagnose which exhaust manifold is leaking and replace it. The mounting studs and bolts that hold the exhaust manifold to the engine may have broken off into the engine. If that happens, drill the studs out and tap a hole.

Learn more about the signs of exhaust manifold leaks and how to diagnose and find them yourself

5. Rear Wiper Motor Failure

Symptoms of Rear Wiper Motor Failure

  • Wiper arm doesn’t move when commanded and may stop at any position

How to Fix Rear Wiper Motor Failure

Testing a rear wiper electrical connector with a test light on the 4th gen Ford Explorer
Testing a rear wiper electrical connector with a test light on the 4th gen Ford Explorer

Remove the trim panel above the hatch trim panel to access the rear wiper motor. Disconnect the wiring harness. Check the wiring harness for discoloration, which is a sign the wiring harness needs to be replaced. If the wiring harnesses are in good condition, check them for electrical power with a wiring diagram and a test light. Check the wires for damage like tearing and see if a fuse is blown if there is no power at the wiring harness. If there is power and ground, the wiper motor needs to be replaced.

Learn more about how to diagnose a windshield wiper’s motor with a test light

Fix Your 4th Gen Ford Explorer Yourself

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4th Generation Ford Explorer Model Years

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Article Name
Top 5 Ford Explorer Problems - 4th Generation (2006 to 2010) - 1A Auto
Learn the top 5 4th gen Ford Explorer problems like temperature control problems and coolant leaks as our experts review the common issues with model years 2006 to 2010
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1A Auto
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