What could cause a 1998 Ford Explorer to start and idle but runs rough and dies in drive but not reverse?

Tina Wilbert

Asked by Sep 07, 2015 at 02:25 AM about the 1998 Ford Explorer 4 Dr XLT 4WD SUV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

We have a 1998 Ford Explorer 4 wheel drive that has a 4.0 V-6 that starts
and idles but when you engage drive it bogs down,runs rough, and dies.
However it does not do this in reverse. The O/D light is on on the dash and
stays on.

2 Answers


He is some information on the O/D light...http://repairpal.com/overdrive-off-light- 648. You need to have the codes read. There are several thing that could cause the car to bog down.. throttle body may need to cleaned, crankcase sensor, clogged catalytic converter, fuel filter may be clogged and list can go on and on. Reading the codes is your best approach at this point.


Check everything Joe suggested. I would ask when is the last time you performed a tune-up (with Motorcraft parts)? You daughter's 99 has the same engine your's has. It's the old pushrod type engine which is a workhorse. She purchased it new. Her car experienced the same problem as yours. When I asked when was the last time she did a tune-up, she said "what's that" I suggest you check the resistance on the spark plug wires and primary and secondary resistance on the coil. You'll need a multi-meter. The "within spec" numbers can be obtained from the net. When I tuned up her vehicle it sounded like it was idling just fine. Checking it out while running I discovered it was missing on two cylinders out of six. Which caused the problem when the engine was under load.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

  • About my Truck 3 answers

    So i have a 1998 Explorer it start up but when i put it into drive or 2 Gear it dies my revise is out to... Everyone telling me it could be the Fuel pump i havent take it to a shop or anything for...

    1998 Ford Explorer 4 Dr XLT SUV


    Maintenance & Repair

  • Cost To Replace a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT Transmission 44 answers

    What should I expect to pay to have a transmission replaced in my Ford Explorer XLT 2002 vehicle - rebuilt or used?

    2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4WD


    Maintenance & Repair

  • elevated idle, any suggestions 5 answers

    2003 explorer v6 - reman Jasper engine two years ago and 40K on engine. Idle seems high, about 1000 RPM. Runs great, maybe, just maybe, a little rough at idle, but so slight I'm the only one who wo...

    2003 Ford Explorer XLS V6


    Maintenance & Repair

  • what could be the reason my od light is flashing and my truck wont reverse 1996 ford explorer 2 answers

    i was driving my 1996 ford explorer when only the sudden the od light was flashing and it wont reverse

    1996 Ford Explorer 4 Dr XL 4WD SUV


    Maintenance & Repair

  • car dies after i put in in reverse 5 answers

    i jus bought a 1998 ford mustang 4.6 liter v8 gt its been running great for the past week till today i was grabbing a bite to eat while i was sitting at the resturant the car dropped into a very l...

    1998 Ford Mustang GT Coupe


    Maintenance & Repair

Search Ford Explorer Questions

Ford Explorer Experts

#1 OJ
Reputation 8,470
#2 Tom Demyan
Tom Demyan
Reputation 3,360
#3 tennisshoes
Reputation 1,940
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Jeep Grand Cherokee"
1,168 Great Deals out of 73,666 listings starting at $1,500
Used Ford Expedition"
569 Great Deals out of 21,487 listings starting at $2,111
Used Ford F-150"
3,174 Great Deals out of 216,366 listings starting at $1,900
Used Chevrolet Tahoe"
1,056 Great Deals out of 36,217 listings starting at $1,700
Used Dodge Durango"
389 Great Deals out of 22,629 listings starting at $1,700
Used Toyota 4Runner"
352 Great Deals out of 18,756 listings starting at $2,400
Used Nissan Pathfinder"
439 Great Deals out of 25,004 listings starting at $1,500

Used Cars For Sale

2017 Ford Explorer For Sale
6 Great Deals out of 34,988 listings starting at $23,660
2016 Ford Explorer For Sale
262 Great Deals out of 10,681 listings starting at $22,000
2015 Ford Explorer For Sale
154 Great Deals out of 3,309 listings starting at $12,995
2014 Ford Explorer For Sale
319 Great Deals out of 5,608 listings starting at $9,999
2013 Ford Explorer For Sale
331 Great Deals out of 5,383 listings starting at $9,300