2017 Ford Explorer - Fix brought more issues

I just had the rear suspension toe-in replaced as issued by a recall from Ford, they “re-aligned” the rear wheels. NOW, when I drive between 55 - 63 mph I get a very heavy vibration in the steering wheel and seat. Not all the time but enough that it catches my attention and now reluctant to take it back to the dealer. Hell, I complained about the front struts bottoming out and the exhaust sleeve at the engine sounding loud but then quiets down when the engine warms up - after 2 hours they found nothing wrong but its still there - ideas? The vibration is a real concern to me. New Michelin tires came on the vehicle when I bought it (used, 57,585miles presently 64,300 miles) there’s no real tire wear, yet! This vibration issue has me stumped - IDEAS? More specifically, it is a 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum 4WD, 6 cyl. Eco-boost HELP!

Try moving the front wheels to the back, and visa versa. Good idea to check their balance at the same time.

I’m not familiar with the toe-in recall you mention, but adjusting toe-in is usually just a matter of rotating an eccentric bolt or similar, doesn’t require installing anything new. Was some new part installed in your case? After an alignment shops routinely provide the before & after alignment vs spec document to the customer. If you have that, suggest to post it here.

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Ever had the tires balanced? Sound like one wheel might have had a weight knocked off.

Yeah sure balance the tires, rotate, maybe 4 wheel alignment somewhere else, but 60,000 miles on oem tires? I’ve never gotten that kind of mileage on factory tires and usually replace by 40,000. Just something to consider. That many miles on a bad alignment might have ruined the tires. Fwiw.

Bing, the tire were new when he got the vehicle, not new from the factory, hence less than 5,000 miles on them.
I suspect Mustangman is correct, a weight was knocked off. I would follow George’s advice.
If I am reading it correctly, the OP has discussed it with the dealership.
Odd about the front end bottoming out, way too early for front struts to be worn to that degree unless the previous owner really abused the vehicle.
Exhaust noised— something with the exhaust routing to the turbo?

This vehicle was likely sold “as is, no warranty”, I would suggest an independent shop.

Morning guys!

That is exactly what had happened, a wheel weight did come off, I was reluctant to go back to the dealer even though I did buy the extended warranty, took the vehicle to the local Tire Warehouse. They inspected all 4 wheels/tires, found one that looked like a weight had come off – balanced that tire and bingo all was fine. I also found that the dealer had turned on the tracking alert for wandering outside the intended travel lane – I had never used that option. But I did try wandering and I did get an alert – vibration in the steering wheel – NOTHING like the unbalanced tire though, and turned that option OFF.

As for the struts, I don’t believe they are worn out but for me to inspect them, well, I’m no spring chicken, I’ll let my son crawl around and check-out. The exhaust question, I don’t know it there is an expansion sleeve that is wearing out, the comment about the turbo is an interesting thought, I’ll take it to a local garage friend for him to inspect – if there is a problem, I’ll head back to the dealer to fix “under warranty”.

Hey – I really appreciate the feedback. It’s great to know there are some people out there willing to assist others not up to speed!

Greatly appreciate your efforts :blush:

Semper fi,

Eric Anderson


Actually, you don’t need to really crawl around too much

You perform the “jounce test”

And you see if any of them are leaking

Adhesive wheel weights should not easily fall off, the person who mounted the tires may not have cleaned the wheels very well before applying the weights.

Also, the balance of new tires can change during the first 5,000 miles, I sometimes find an imbalance of 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce.

I find the stick-on type laying on the side of the road occasionally during neighborhood walks, but not nearly as often as the clip-on type. I have two full coffee cans of clip-on wheel weights that I’ve found. I use the stick-on types to test my lab balance-scale.


OK…you helped me in the past with a vibration in my wheel(s), yes in fact weight weights were the culprit!!! Re-balanced and smooth ride now, THANK YOU!!!

Now, another problem, the engine is continuing to skip/knock. Doesn’t make any difference if it is uphill, downhill or a flat grade. I’ve run the tank almost dry, filled it up with “good gas” and it still skips. I’ve opened the hood at night to see if any sparkplug wires are arching – nothing, changed the air filter. I even took it to the dealer, put it on the computer and there were no error messages, other than my error to have to pay $110 to find out nothing!

My gas mileage varies from 20 mpg to 25.5 mpg depending on traffic/road conditions, which isn’t too bad but I’m thinking it might be better if it was running smoothly. The vehicle is a 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum 4WD, 6 cylinder, EcoBoost engine, with 65K miles, mostly highway miles, 22” Michelin Defiant tires inflated to 36 psi – hey I’m grasping for straws with any questions you might have. I run SHELL gasoline 87 octane, I have tried 93 octane with the same issues, no real increase in miles per gallon BUT definitely a higher price! (as you would expect).

I have NOT changed the spark plugs – dealer said they were changed prior to me purchasing the Explorer used and with only 10K miles put on since I bought it there is no need to change the plugs!!?? Well…I wonder, #1 did they really change the plugs? #2 install the proper plugs AND have the proper gap? I’ve also “heard” just to change the spark plugs it costs a small fortune in labor! Oh for the days when I was younger, open the hood, climb inside to access air filter, spark plugs and wiring – man have things changed!!!

With all of the about being said, I am hoping there’s enough information to advise this “old man”. Please feel free to forward to any of you grease buddies for idea.

Again, thank for you in put in the past, hope you can figure out this dilemia!

Eric Anderson

Hebron, Maine

Knocking – presuming you are using the correct gasoline octane – means the ignition is too far advanced for driving situation, or there’s internal engine problems. Spark plug problems can cause this sometimes too, although uncommom. Sometimes called pinging, or pinking, b/c that’s the sound mild versions tends to make. Does this problem get worse when going uphill, accelerating?

Skipping, usually called missing, means a cylinder didn’t fire like it should. I expect this is actually what you are experiencing. However, that problem is almost always detected by the computer, which posts a diagnostic code. Could be a pending code though. Severe missing will turn on the check engine light. Is that warning light on? If not, does it turn on with key in on, engine not started?

I doubt this is a gasoline problem. Likely culprits from among

  • spark plugs
  • spark plug wires
  • coils
  • cylinder compression
  • injectors

The common method to diagnose missing is to swap parts cylinder to cylinder, see if the miss moves to a different cylinder. But in your case apparently there’s no diagnostic code so no idea which cylinder it is. I guess if I had that problem and no obvious disconnected wires, coils firmly on plugs, etc, I’d probably start/a compression test. And check the ignition timing, which I presume has already been done by your $110 test. If not overly expensive I’d remove the spark plugs after that for a look-see at their tips, making sure the gaps are correct, nothing unusual looking. How many miles on this engine?

Well, on the + side, at least the tires are working … lol …

WOW George!!!

Thank you for that prompt response, I greatly appreciate it!!!

OK, timing and injectors I thought would show up on the computer, but the technician said there were NO code messages. The engine light never comes on (knock on wood). I’ll go back to my “old-timer friend” and have him look at timing and compression.

Thank you again for you help and ideas

Eric :blush:


In order to check compression plugs must be removed, so good opportunity at that time to see what the tips look like. Make sure the plugs are numbered so you know which plug came from which cylinder. You can post photos of the tips here if you like for ideas. Visible plug tip differences is pretty good diagnostic method.

A 17 Explorer, reasonably maintained, should really be running like clockwork, only 5 years old, so pretty good chance whatever is wrong will be fairly easy to find by an experienced mechanic.

Here’s my advice

Bring it either to a Ford dealer or a shop who has a pro-level scanner with bi-directional capabilities . . . and ask them to perform a cylinder contribution test with their scanner

If it is indeed misfiring . . . I assume that’s what you mean with “skips” . . . it will show up and they’ll know which cylinder(s) to concentrate on

It’s possible one or more coils are failing

Just because there are no misfire codes doesn’t mean there are in fact no misfires

Every engine misfires to a degree

It’s only when those misfires exceed certain parameters that code(s) are set

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