Ford Explorer Runs Bad On Acceleration


I just read with interest your list of maintenance suggestions for cars with up to 120,000 miles on them, however, mine is significantly higher than that and I’m wondering if I should be doing things a bit differently. I have a 1996 Ford Explorer AWD 5.0 Eddie Bauer edition. It has nearly 320,000 miles on it. I bought it with 102,000 miles on it so I am unsure of the care and maintenance routine done by the previous owner but I suspect they were diligent also. I’ve been pretty consistent with the maintenance on it over the years (following a maintenance schedule similar to your general suggestions for lower mileage cars) and have immediately addressed any of the age issues it develops so for the most part it still runs like a champ. I am wondering if you can give me some suggestions that I may want to consider to either add to or enhance my maintenance routine which would help extend the life of my car.

Also, I have one issue developing that I would like to investigate before taking it in to my mechanic. Maybe you could help me with it. When I attempt to accelerate, usually between the 40-50 mph mark, my car starts to buck as if it’s not getting enough gas. It doesn’t lose power, just bucks. Occasionally when I accelerate above 60 I will get a rattling/pinging sound from the engine (like metal nuts in a tin can) that gets louder the harder I step on the gas but will eventually quit at a certain rate of speed.

For the most part, accelerating above 50 and below 40 is problem free. For the bucking issue I’m wondering if I may have a clogged fuel line filter (I’m hoping it’s not the one in the gas tank), a fuel injector going bad or as a long shot if it could be connected to my spark plugs. For the occasional pinging sound I’m wondering if that’s signs a fuel injector is going bad. I must admit, I often let the gas level in my tank drop below 1/4 of a tank so I’m sure I’m probably sucking up junk from the bottom of the tank. For that you may slap my hand.

Any thoughts you could provide me before I take it into the mechanic with would be greatly appreciated.


Hi there Dana

You should be giving ME tips! 🙂 I would keep doing what you have been doing. Those are great vehicles…minus their transmissions which are not the best.

I would suspect you have a bad spark plug wire, and should take a close look at them. if they are more than 50K miles, I would probably recommend replacing them as maintenance anyway, but your symptoms are common with worn out spark plug wires.

You can still use my maintenance suggestions or 120K but honestly, you are definitely doing something right and would probably not recommend you deviate.

Austin Davis

Reader Follow Up

Austin, thanks for your speedy reply. I checked my records and I have not replaced my spark plugs or wires in over 100,000 miles….so you are probably right about the need to change them now. 🙁

Thanks so much.

Posted in: Running Problems

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