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 4 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #100

Sep 072006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

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

At roughly 45K miles, my 2002 Explorer also had the whining noise from the rear end at 55-65 mph, oil drip marks on the driveway - took it to the dealer and they stated that I needed a right wheel bearing, replaced for $800. Next time was just this summer (76K miles) - again had the whine return, drips on the driveway and this time it was the entire rear end - all bearings were shot. Spent another $1600. On repairs, plus rental vehicle costs to travel on vacation. Few days ago (78K miles), had "check gauge" lamp light when oil pressure gauge dipped to zero, then recover immediately. This happened three other times before I got home, with no flutter in the engine or anything that would indicate a real problem. Next evening we started the vehicle, it made a evil racket and quit almost immediately, never to start again. Aaa towed to dealer. Dealer left message (on my voice mail at home - I had to save it) that the engine needs to be replaced for roughly $5,000. Plus tax. I really need to speak to an attorney. This is what I paid $34,000 for 4 years ago" perfect condition trade value today is 9,200"

- Rocky Hill, CT, USA

problem #99

Jul 102005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer XLT. Whining noise from rear differential. Whining goes away if pressure is reduced from accelerator. There was some leaking of rear differential fluid around driveshaft pinion seal, it was fixed (Ford repair said it would also fix the noise, it didn't!) I 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.

- Ford City, PA, USA

problem #98

Aug 032006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
I have 68K miles on my 2002 Explorer and felt I was in need of new brakes and dropped off the vehicle at midas. I was contacted by the mechanic that afternoon and was advised: "sir I'm happy to report that your brakes are in excellent condition; however, I'm sorry to be the bearer of very bad news. Your rear differential seals are bad and leaking and the differential is close to 'falling off' of your vehicle! he further states, "he has been an authorized mechanic for 25 years and feels this is an inherent flaw from Ford as this is not the first one he has seen and that I proceed to the nearest Ford service department for them to correct this dangerous "safety issue." The mechanic also gave me a copy of the tsb from Ford. I called a local Ford service department the same day in a state of panic! a service manager assured me that not only was the mechanic who alerted me of this "flaw" not authorized by Ford, but he was only over-reacting! I took my Explorer in today with the notice printed by midas and it was only discounted as being a "service bulletin for technicians." I paid $55 for them to run the same tests as midas had done, was told by the service manager; "the right rear bearing needs replacing, the seals of the differential needs are bad and leaking and need replacing, there was no recall on my vehicle, you're out of warranty, and the repairs would be $700+ and service should be done very soon as the damage will worsen. No one at the dealer would admit that this was a recall. I paid a $55 diagnosis charge for them to tell me what parts had failed which I already knew. I declined the repairs, advised the service manager I would be calling my attorney for further instruction. I am now seeking legal advice as I see I am not the only person who has experienced this "inherent Ford flaw" and will do my best to see that Ford addresses this safety issue. This is a serious flaw from Ford!

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #97

Aug 042006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,014 miles

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

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with about 57,000 miles. I recently had an oil change at a place called the oil well and they noticed oil leaking from the rear differential and advised I should take it to the dealer as it appeared that the seals were leaking. The oil well advised that I take it to the dealer to get the seal replaced but the leak did not appear to be bad. I just took my Explorer to the dealer on Aug 4, 2006 and was told it was leaking badly and they replaced the seals. After waiting several hours, I was told the car was ready but the is a whining noise coming from the rear which they advised that the rear differential bearings are bad and that it will cost about $1400 to repair. It appears I am not alone in this problem which I am told by the dealer if it is not fixed that the rear could lock up and then I could have even worst problems. It appears that the 2002 Ford Explorer had a rear differential problem that Ford needs to correct judging by the other complaints for the same exact problem.

- Plainsboro, NJ, USA

problem #96

Aug 032006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,600 miles
Classic rear differential. Humming at speeds between 55 to 65 mph under load and leaking seals and my vehicle has 57K miles on it. It is a Ford defect.

- Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #95

Jul 092006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
Rear end noise on 2002 Ford Explorer.

- Bryceville, FL, USA

problem #94

Jul 312006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,595 miles

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

: the contact stated that there was a roaring noise coming from the vehicle's rear axle. The dealership determined the differential was leaking and there were also metal flakes in the differential.

- Somerset, KY, USA

problem #93

Jul 012006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,230 miles
Explorer makes whining noise in rear end at speeds between 45 and 70 mph. The ABS light stays lit continuously even after having the brake system services. Have also had front wheel bearings replaced all this since the vehicle reached 60,000 miles it now has 86,000 and mechanic says it need a new rear end.

- Decatur, TN, USA

problem #92

Jul 232006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
Bought 2002 Explorer in 2003 with 12,000 miles. Servicng dealer replaced transmission and torque converter under warranty @ 32,000 miles after O/D light started flashing. Now needs another transmission @ 54,000 miles. Car has always been serviced, driven lightly, never towed, never abused. Dealer will not pay or help out one bit. Ford knows 2002 Explorer have defective transmissions and rear ends, is ignoring problem, leaving consumer to absorb cost! have also had to replace timing chain tensioner, rear windshield wiper assembly, air conditioning unit under warranty. Front and rear wheel bearings needed replacing- out of warranty. Rear end is making classic "humming" sound that Ford is also ignoring-pinion gears.

- Marcellus, NY, USA

problem #91

Jul 062006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
I just bought a 2002 Ford Explorer with 74,000 miles on it. I have had it for just long enough to discover a few problems with it, and have done enough research to know that I am not the only one by far with the same problems. I am not sure what causes the problems that I am experiencing, I just know that lots of other people are also having these problems. First of all, there is a leak in my rear differential. My truck is currently in the shop for that now - however, the shop mgr refuses to fix the leak until the rear end breaks.... which will cost more and cause more repairs than necessary at the current time. My second problem - which the service mgr again refuses to fix until it breaks is with the timing chain tensioner - which leads to transmission problems which are also very costly. I have done my homework on this situation, since I have been forced to, and I am seeing over and over and over again, replaced the rear end on my 2002 Explorer (multiple times on the same vehicle), and I am seeing over and over and over again, new transmission on my 2002 Explorer (again, multiple times on the same vehicle). I don't know if anyone else knows about this site, or I'm sure that hundreds of the same kind of complaints would be filed with you.... someone really needs to look in to this problem, because Ford is awful proud of their vehicles and I am paying a hefty chunk of money for mine, as are the tons of other people out there with the same problems who just may not know how to go about getting something done regarding this problem... I'm speaking not only for myself, but, for loads of other people with the same problems. Please look into this problem, I beg you!! I don't want to be on the side of the road with my babies (4 & 5 yrs old) praying that the right person stops to help me and not the one with bad intentions!! something needs to be done about this - Ford has got obvious drive train problems!!! thank you for your attention in this matter!

- Pampa, TX, USA

problem #90

Jun 262006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

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

2002 Ford Explorer XLT, 56,000 miles. Whining from rear differential between 40-60 mph. Whining goes away if pressure is reduced from accelerator or if speed is greater than 60 mph. Some leaking of rear differential fluid around driveshaft pinion seal. Also had transmission rebuilt at 54,000 miles due to rough shifting from 3 to 4. transmission was not covered under 36,000 mile warranty. In my research, I have uncovered many other 2002/2003 Explorer owners with similar whining 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. I will be forced to replace the rear end in addition to the transmission if there is no remedy from Ford.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #89

Oct 042005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
Rear differential on 2002 Explorer started humming at ~45K miles and began roaring ~60K miles. Rear differential started leaking around the time the noise was first heard. Differential now leaks bad and roaring is getting severe at 68K miles. Odd thing is, all this leaking and the lube level has never been low. This is a definite safety issue and should prompt a safety recall due to potential of the differential locking up on people that are oblivious to their vehicle making odd noises.

- Arnold, MO, USA

problem #88

Mar 312006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer that was making loud rear end noises. I took it to a friend who rebuilds rear ends and he had to replace most of the parts in the rear differential. Unfortunately, the vehicle was out of warranty, but I am complaining as this is a typical problem with the 2002 Ford Explorer.

- Blaine, MN, USA

problem #87

May 142006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,500 miles
At 43000 miles on my 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4X4 the rear differential started making a loud whirring whining noise. I was informed by the dealer that the rear end needed rebuilt. I was also told by the dealer and learned via internet bulletin boards that this is a very common problem with this year at very low miles, as the local dealer has had to rebuild quite a few.

- Pontiac, IL, USA

problem #86

May 102006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT. The bearings in the rear end differential are going out. This type of problem should not be occurring in a vehicle with less than 100,000 miles. From what I understand, many Ford Explorer have this problem Ford should take a second look at this problem because it should not be happening. I don't have a warranty, but still this is too common of a defect in the Ford Explorer for it to not be a manufacturer problem.

- Belton, TX, USA

problem #85

May 042006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer - 60,000 miles - took to dealership for noise in rear of vehicle- dealership want to rebuild rear end for $1,300. Never checked fluid or asked any additional questions. I believe Ford has big problem - with Explorer - I would like Ford to address this problem.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #84

Jan 012005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer with 49,000 miles makes a whining sound when I drive above 50 mph which goes away when I take my foot off the gas. It comes back as soon as I press back down on the gas pedal. This has been a problem for a little over one year. It appears to be a pervasive problem with this model.

- Seminole, FL, USA

problem #83

Nov 042005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with 50,000 miles. A while ago a loud, excessive whine noise started coming the rear axle at cruise speed.(50 mph or higher). Brought it into Ford dealer and said ring and pinion gear have to be replaced at a cost of $1300. Talked to 2 of my neighbor's with 2002 Explorer who have the exact same problem. Obviously a design problem that Ford should look into, address and correct.

- Orchard Park, NY, USA

problem #82

Apr 252006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
Rear differential housing leaking fluid. Problem was fixed once under warranty but is now leaking again. Dealer refuses to fix again since it is 12 months past original repair and vehicle warranty has expired.

- Kingsport, TN, USA

problem #81

Apr 192006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles
I have a roar in the differential in my Ford Explorer. It started just after the 36000 warranty. I now have 60000 and the roar is very load.

- Kernersville, NC, USA

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