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This Chilton’s Total Car Care manual is intended to help you learn more about the inner workings of your Ranger, Explorer or Mountaineer while saving you money on its upkeep and operation.

The beginning of the book will likely be referred to the most, since that is where you will find information for maintenance and tune−up. The other sections deal with the more complex systems of your vehicle. Systems (from engine through brakes) are covered to the extent that the average do−it−yourselfer can attempt. This book will not explain such things as rebuilding a differential because the expertise required and the special tools necessary make this uneconomical. It will, however, give you detailed instructions to help you change your own brake pads and shoes, replace spark plugs, and perform many more jobs that can save you money and help avoid expensive problems.

A secondary purpose of this book is a reference for owners who want to understand their vehicle and/or their mechanics better.


Where to Begin


Before removing any bolts, read through the entire procedure. This will give you the overall view of what tools and supplies will be required. So read ahead and plan ahead. Each operation should be approached logically and all procedures thoroughly understood before attempting any work.



If repair of a component is not considered practical, we tell you how to remove the part and then how to install

the new or rebuilt replacement. In this way, you at least save labor costs.



Avoiding Trouble


Many procedures in this book require you to “label and disconnect …” a group of lines, hoses or wires. Don’t be think you can remember where everything goes−you won’t. If you hook up vacuum or fuel lines incorrectly, the vehicle may run poorly, if at all. If you hook up electrical wiring incorrectly, you may instantly learn a very expensive lesson.


You don’t need to know the proper name for each hose or line. A piece of masking tape on the hose and a piece on its fitting will allow you to assign your own label. As long as you remember your own code, the lines can be reconnected by matching your tags. Remember that tape will dissolve in gasoline or solvents; if a part is to be washed or cleaned, use another method of identification. A permanent felt−tipped marker or a metal scribe can be very handy for marking metal parts. Remove any tape or paper labels after assembly.



Maintenance or Repair?


Maintenance includes routine inspections, adjustments, and replacement of parts which show signs of normal wear. Maintenance compensates for wear or deterioration. Repair implies that something has broken or is not working. A need for a repair is often caused by lack of maintenance. for example: draining and refilling automatic transmission fluid is maintenance recommended at specific intervals. Failure to do this can shorten the life of the transmission/transaxle, requiring very expensive repairs. While no maintenance program can prevent items from eventually breaking or wearing out, a general rule is true: MAINTENANCE IS CHEAPER THAN REPAIR. Two basic mechanic’s rules should be mentioned here. First, whenever the left side of the vehicle or engine is referred to, it means the driver’s side. Conversely, the right side of the vehicle means the passenger’s side. Second, screws and bolts are removed by turning counterclockwise, and tightened by turning clockwise unless specifically noted.


Safety is always the most important rule. Constantly be aware of the dangers involved in working on an automobile and take the proper precautions. Please refer to the information in this section regarding SERVICING YOUR VEHICLE SAFELY and the SAFETY NOTICE on the acknowledgment page.



Avoiding the Most Common Mistakes


Pay attention to the instructions provided. There are 3 common mistakes in mechanical work:


  1. Incorrect order of assembly, disassembly or adjustment. When taking something apart or putting it together, performing steps in the wrong order usually just costs you extra time; however, it CAN break something. Read the entire procedure before beginning. Perform everything in the order in which the instructions say you should, even if you can’t see a reason for it. When you’re taking apart something that is very intricate, you might want to draw a picture of how it looks when assembled in order to make sure you get everything back in its proper position. When making adjustments, perform them in the proper order. One adjustment possibly will affect another.
  1. Over torquing(or under torquing). While it is more common for over torquing to cause damage, under torquing may allow a fastener to vibrate loose causing serious damage. Especially when dealing with aluminum parts, pay attention to torque specifications and utilize a torque wrench in assembly. If a torque figure is not available, remember that if you are using the right tool to perform the job, you will probably not have to strain yourself to get a fastener tight enough. The pitch of most threads is so slight that the tension you put on the wrench will be multiplied many times in actual force on what you are tightening.There are many commercial products available for ensuring that fasteners won’t come loose, even if they are not torqued just right (a very common brand is Loctite(). If you’re worried about getting something together tight enough to hold, but loose enough to avoid mechanical damage during assembly, one of these products might offer substantial insurance. Before choosing a thread locking compound, read the label on the package and make sure the product is compatible with the materials, fluids, etc. involved.
  1. Cross threading.This occurs when a part such as a bolt is screwed into a nut or casting at the wrong angle and forced. Cross threading is more likely to occur if access is difficult. It helps to clean and lubricate fasteners, then to start threading the bolt, spark plug, etc. with your fingers. If you encounter resistance, unscrew the part and start over again at a different angle until it can be inserted and turned several times without much effort. Keep in mind that many parts have tapered threads, so that gentle turning will automatically bring the part you’re threading to the proper angle. Don’t put a wrench on the part until it’s been tightened a couple of turns by hand. If you suddenly encounter resistance, and the part has not seated fully, don’t force it. Pull it back out to make sure it’s clean and threading properly.Be sure to take your time and be patient, and always plan ahead. Allow yourself ample time to perform repairs and maintenance.
Ford Ranger, Explorer Mountaineer service repair manual

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