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.

CarComplaints.com 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.

3.0

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,055 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #120

Apr 142007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,990 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Rear differential failure.

- Murfreesboro, TN, USA

problem #119

Jan 012007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
Drive train problems, holing noise from under vehicle, rear differential problems and transfer case noises, rough shifting from 2wd to 4WD. Have checked on line for a long time and heard nothing but the same problems, why wasn't anything done to Ford to get these things put on a recall. We buy their product and now they didn't care about any of our problems. Something has got to be done.

- Davenport, IA, USA

problem #118

May 052005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
Noise in differential.

- Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #117

Feb 222007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Explorer XL, V6, automatic transmission, with 88,000 miles. Differential problem. Our mechanic determined that the bolt broke on a piece of metal holding the pinion in place. We were going down the interstate, 70 mph, the speed limit. All of a sudden we heard a noise. The sound resembled a flat tire. We pulled off on the shoulder and looked at all 4 tires. No flat. We then called aaa to tow to our first mechanic. He looked and discovered our parking brake shoe, yes, parking brake shoe, had fallen off. He replaced it, $130. He drove it out, and still heard the noise. He suspected the rear end. He couldn't fix that type of problem. We took it to our second mechanic. It took a week to get the lengthy repair done, to get it to fit into his schedule. After the repair was done, ($885) the ABS brake system kicked in whenever we stopped. The pedal thumped!so we took it back and he said when the pinion was damaged, that also ruined the speed sensor in the rear end. He fixed it for free, feeling sorry for us that we had two expensive car repairs on our Ford within 2 days. The mechanic said if we had driven much longer with that problem, the car could have seized (my words), and "thrown us through the windshield." (yes, we wear seat belts.)

- Crescent, IA, USA

problem #116

Feb 152007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles
I just had to replace the gear and pinion assembly, axle differential gear on my 02 Explorer, a very costly repair on a 02, 47K miles vehicle. But the reason why I'm making a complaint is because I found over 100 complaints over the internet for the same year/make vehicle. I talked to a couple of different mechanics that told me that if I didn't notice the noise and replaced the parts, my rear wheels could lock while driving and I could have found myself in a very dangerous accident. So I contacted Ford about it, they responded that they were aware of the problem, but since the NHTSA didn't find this to be a life threatening problem Ford decided not to issue a recall. Possibly locking the rear wheels on a 4X4 vehicle is not life threatening"??? hundreds of consumers with the exact same problem and nothing is being done? if there are no fatal accidents from this problem yet is because people like myself will spend the $1100 to repair the problem before they risk their families...is it worth risking someone dying so Ford can save some money" I'm outraged!.

- Hickory, NC, USA

problem #115

Jan 022007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
Noise coming from rear differential on 2002 Ford Explorer.

- St Cloud , FL, USA

problem #114

Feb 022007

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,827 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I began hearing an odd noise coming from the rear of my 2002 Ford Explorer. We took the vehicle to our mechanic and requested that he check the brakes. He said our brakes were ok, however we had a real problem with the rear differential. We were on the verge of losing our wheels. Because of the severity of this issue and the possibility of injury had we not discovered the problem, we requested that our mechanic keep the old parts.

- Eads, TN, USA

problem #113

Jan 232007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Tsb 05-12-6 rear-end noise in a 2002 Ford Explorer. I have found that there are thousands of others with the same situation. This is a known defect and obviously a flaw on Ford's part. The cost of this fix should clearly be placed on Ford.

- Fountain City, WI, USA

problem #112

Sep 012006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles
Rear end roar at highway speed and reduced gas mileage.

- Ann Arbor, MI, USA

problem #111

Dec 012006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
Fix for chattering and rear whine on 02 Explorer. When the car was new 25,000 the dealer replaced the rear pumpkin, very loud whine.. last month with 85,000 miles on the car, during a turn the rear would chatter and shake the car. I was told the rear needed a special lube for the rear to keep the rear clutches free, I had a local shop replace the rear differential oil with a special blend and it has been fine since.

- Midlothian, VA, USA

problem #110

Dec 162005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Rear differential has to be replaced at 63000 miles. All maintenance has been done every 3000 miles! already replaced transfer case. Also impossible to get into 4WD high.

- Monument, CO, USA

problem #109

Dec 112006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer has a rear differential which has worn out. The vehicle boards online are filled with complaints regarding this particular problem, if there is any relief available by Ford for this problem, I would like to be made aware.

- Pelham, NH, USA

problem #108

Jan 102006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles
02 Ford Explorer, rear differential chatters at low RPM/ low speeds, howls at higher speeds. Out of warranty, only 4 years old. Ford said it was harmonic vibration, would be fine.

- Camden, NC, USA

problem #107

Nov 112006

Explorer

  • miles
Well....here is the 2nd complaint that I'm filing on my vehicle. I purchased my Explorer brand new with only 10 miles. I thought I would get the brakes checked since I had 68,000 miles only to find out the rear differential was bad and needing repair. Ford dropped the ball on that!!! now I discovered that the rear panel has cracked. I will never buy another Ford again!!! there needs to be a class action lawsuit filed against them!!!

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #106

Nov 092006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
11/7/03 at 20,272 miles unit in for rear axle whine dealer replaced the drive shaft but rear axle whine not fixed. 11/13/04 at 34269 miles vehicle taken to dealer for rear end howl again replaced rear differential unit. Next morning wife went to take child to day care and vehicle would not go over 35 mph without resistance. Had towed to the dealer and the was told a faulty differential unit. Put the old one back in and reordered another rear differential unit and put the new unit in on 11//17/04 at 34,291 miles. When the service records state found bad bearing in the unit. 6/12/06 rear end axle seal leaking replaced the rear end whine was still evident. 6/12/06 at 62,31 miles rear axle seal leak repaired. 11/09/06 at approx 68,000 miles transmission has failed. Reference tsb#16898 rear axle whine and tsb#03254. Have seen a lot of complaints about these transmission failures on line for the 2002 Ford Explorer's. leads me to believe that the rear end whining is binding the transmissions and causing them to fail. Also see tsb#06216, tsb#18466, tsb#18423.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #105

Nov 012006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with 52,000 miles on it and the rear differential is starting to whine very loud. The whining started at about 30K miles. It has the 3.73 limited slip differential. I have talked to other Explorer owners and they told me about this site to file a complaint as this seems to be a growing problem

- Redmond, WA, USA

problem #104

Sep 282006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
Ford Explorer 2002. Rear differential whining and leaking axle seals. The seals have been replaced once already and now it is back in the shop to have replaced again. 66,000 miles on vehicle.

- Oak Creek, WI, USA

problem #103

Sep 092006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,528 miles
2002 Ford Explorer. Whining noise from rear differential. Whining goes away if pressure is reduced from accelerator. There was a lot leaking around the rear axle seals, it was fixed under warranty the first time at 17500 miles and was just fixed again at 54500 miles on my dime. Have uncovered many other 2002 Explorer owners with similar rear differential issues. Would seem that since there are many others having the same issue that there is some design/materials flaw in the rear end gearbox causing this issue. This is a definite safety issue and should prompt a safety recall due to potential of the differential locking up.

- Northville, MI, USA

problem #102

Sep 082006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer that had a noise in the rear end within the 1st 30,000 miles. Ford refused to do anything. They said it was the tires. We replaced all tires and the noise continued. After 3 rear ends/differential being replaced and paid for by myself, I think it is time to start a class action suit against Ford Motor Com.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #101

Aug 022004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,820 miles
Beginning late July, 2006 my 2002 Ford Explorer XLT began exhibiting halting or delayed shifting. After a few days, the O/D warning light came on intermittently and the shifting became noticeably worse. A reading the dtcs codes by multiple sources confirmed that the transmission would have to be rebuilt at a cost of $3,400. A month following this complete rebuild, I now have a major failure in the rear end differential and another estimated $1500-$2500 repair. This vehicle has only 82820 miles. Ford is aware of the transmission, driveline and differential component defects on this series of Explorer and has addressed them in multiple tsb's to their dealers and service departments. They have failed to advise individual owners of these problems, and the major driveline components are designed so that they are not user serviceable. I urge all owners of these vehicles to contact the Ford Motor Company customer relationship center and file a complaint with the NHTSA if you have experienced these problems.

- San Diego, CA, USA

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