Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The 2002 Ford Explorer is hands-down our worst vehicle on record. "Avoid like the plague" is putting it lightly.

The 2002-2005 Explorer has a very well-established record of expensive transmission failure at under 100k miles. The Explorer has an enclosed transmission which is typically replaced with a rebuilt transmission at a cost of almost $3,000.

Another common problem for the 2002-2003 Explorer is wheel bearing failure at around 90k miles, with a typical repair bill of $500 to $1000 depending on how many wheel bearings failed.

Adding insult to injury, the 2002-2005 Explorer also has a massive problem with the rear panel cracking. While it's a minor annoyance compared to transmission failure, ironically the crack usually goes right through the Ford logo.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
87,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. conversion kit (1 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer clutch problems

clutch problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Sep 012015

Explorer XLT V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 110,000 miles


Purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer with manual transmission a year ago. Vehicle is in excellent condition and came with all service records. Clutch failed and was taken to a transmission shop. Found that the clutch assembly parts are OBSOLETE already. Apparently there were very few of these particular clutch assemblies produced. Not a single obsolete parts dealer had the parts!

Spoke with Ford and they told me to "scrap" the vehicle. What? Only 110,000 miles, excellent condition and have two years left on the loan. I was furious so say the least!

Solution: After a month of trying to find parts, trying to find parts that could be retrofitted, etc. nothing would work. Finally found a blog post that saved my life. Southland Clutch in National City, CA ( has the only way to fix this clutch. They have a "conversion kit" that you (or your mechanic) can order to get the vehicle back on the road. However, after reading all of the complaints about this year & model and having dealt with this clutch issue for over a month I will be selling my Explorer as soon as it is back on the road. I will NEVER touch another Ford vehicle!

Thanks for all of the info you provide. I only wish I would have found you before I bought this vehicle. I will be using this site to get information on my next purchase.


P.S. I will follow up on this post after the clutch has been repaired with the conversion kit and let you know how it goes.

Update from Nov 29, 2015: The clutch conversion kit from Southland Clutch worked like a charm! Cost was only about $200 over cost for a normal clutch kit.

- , Longmont, CO, USA

problem #1

May 052012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Purchased a brand new 2002 Ford Explorer XLT manual transmission in 2002. 5 months ago, the clutch failed. Ford ordered a new clutch, but it doesn't fit. After doing some research on line, I found out that Ford made 1000 manual transmission 2002 Explorers with an experimental clutch. Apparently, the Ford mechanics at our local dealer don't know this and I spent 4 months looking for this clutch before finding one in American Samoa. My mechanic, who worked for Ford for 25 years, said that the engine in this car is made up of parts from Mexico and Canada. I bought this car because I wanted an American made car and don't understand how Ford can misrepresent themselves this way. Of course Ford is no help and their lackadaisical customer service department has furthered my resolve to never again buy an American car. Way to go, Ford!

Update from Apr 20, 2014: Now the timing chain is trashed. This car is 12 years old, has only 65,000 miles on it, looks brand new, but is the biggest POS ever. I've been told to trash it. A car I paid $27000 for! I was told that this year had an experimental engine. How does Ford get away with this?

- , Wailuku, HI, USA

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