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 8 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Dec 052004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

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

Whining noise coming from rear differential. Vehicle has only 44,000 miles. Possible crash if differential locks up at highway speed. Ford says I need to replace entire differential, yet not willing to pay part of the cost. Internet research shows this to be a common problem with 2002 Explorer.

- Allen Park, MI, USA

problem #19

May 012004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
I bought my 2002 Explorer in may of 04. It only has 40,000 miles and there is a severe whining noise in the rear-end. It will also jerk and slap sometimes when I let off of the gas. I also put it in 4-wheel drive and if feels and it slaps and jerks like the whole underneath is going to fall out.

- Campton, KY, USA

problem #18

Aug 012004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer rear differential noisy and leaking. I have had my 2002 Ford Explorer in for repair 5 times in 2 years for noisy (roaring) rear differential at speeds of 55-65mph it only makes the noise when gas pedal is applied. Coasting no noise. The rear differential is also leaking oil. Inion seals have been replaced 5 times, gears. He noise goes away after each repair but comes back after 5-10K miles. Currently have 108K000 miles. I see via internet searches Ford is having lots of problems with this year and model 2002-2004 for the same expact problem.

- Brigantine, NJ, USA

problem #17

Nov 252004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles

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

I am the original owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer (eddie bauer). At speeds between 50-70 there is significant noise (roaring) from the rear differential. When I let off the gas, the noise goes away. Currently have 60K miles, but noise started shortly after the vehicle went out of warranty (36K). Thinking that it might be the tires, I replaced all at 40K. Tires made no difference. Took vehicle to dealership and was told the ring and pinion needed to be replaced at a cost of $1200. To incur this cost given the milage is rediculous.

- Ocoee, FL, USA

problem #16

Nov 232004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
I have had the 2002 Ford Explorer XLT 4X4 for less than 3 years and have driven approximately 47,000 miles. We began having transmission problems about 4 months. The first issue was a whine in the rear end that started at 20mph and got louder until about 60mph. Next the shift between gears started to get rough and there was a delay when shifting into reverse. When we brought it into the dealer they said the following would need to be replaced: The solenoid and related parts (to fix the issues with the transmission shifting between gears) and the rear differential (to fix the whining noise). Total cost is about $2,750. I expect a transmission to last more than 3 years.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #15

Mar 022003

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
While driving at a slow speed the rear left axle started smoking and became red hot. The paint also peeled off. The vehicle was towed to the dealership who indicated that the rear left brake had locked up. The brake was replaced. The rear differential seal was leaking also. The seal and fluid was replaced. Since the brake failure there was a whining noise in the rear axle at speeds off 50-55 mph.

- Swainsboro, GA, USA

problem #14

Aug 152004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

My 2002 Explorer has a rear end problem and the vehicle only have 76,000 miles on it, I have put a window switch in it already, window regulator, 2 speed sensors, and some kind of an emmisions part. I should not be having these problems already.

- Aberdeen, NC, USA

problem #13

Aug 202004

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles
My 2002 Ford Explorer had a howling sound in the rear end which was identified as worn out pinion bearings. They decided to replace the rear end but were advised by Ford not to replace it with the original factory part number. In fact we were considering a used part and it was recommended to replace the rear end with a totally different part number.

- York, NE, USA

problem #12

Aug 032004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
We purchased a 2002 Explorer in Aug.2002. From day one it had a noise in the rear end that was audible when pressing the accelerator, but would stop when released. We took it to the dealership within a few weeks of the purchase and they told us it was road noise and normal. Since then the noise has gotten louder and we took it to a different dealership today. We were told our differential is goingn bad and needs to be replaced at $970 and we would have to wait for them to order the part. We told him it has been going on since we bought it and he said probably so there is a press release about it. He also said it will continue to get louder until if fails and it could cause an accident when the rear end locks up. Unfortunatly we are no longer covered by the warantee and have to pay for it ourselves. I have read on this website and others and it seems to be a Ford trend to tell people there is nothing wrong with their cars until it is no longer under warantee and then admit that there is a problem. I have filed a complaint with Ford Motor Company as well and was told that if they get enough complaints about this problem they will look into it becoming a recall issue where I "might" get a refund.

- Fishersville, VA, USA

problem #11

Dec 112003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,100 miles
Purchased new Ford Explorer in 4/02 in 12/03 with 37100 miles transfer case started grinding and going into gear became difficult. Transfewr case replaced, in 1/04 4X4 computer module malfuntioned and was replaced. In 4/04 grinding from rear differential case, had to be replaced with all internal components.in 5/04 sent detailed letter to william clay Ford explaining difficulties with vehicle along with all repair bills.. on 5/18/04 got a phone call from lynn arledge(Ford executive rep).

- Sag Harbor, NY, USA

problem #10

Nov 122003

Explorer

  • 20,392 miles

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

Problems with the transmission, rear axle and seatbelts. (nar) transmission problem was found out to be a problem in the rear differential. Vehicle was serviced also for parking brake not locking in position. Also, consumer encountered a problem with right rear hatch guide for door pin coming apart, and trim on driver's seat bottom was coming loose. In addition, air bag light on dash kept coming on and stayed on.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #9

Jan 122004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,810 miles
Roaring noise in rearend.took to dealer on 01/12/04 at 22,810 miles.tech check and said Ford engineers were investigating that I should call back in a month to see if problem solve by engineers.first notice noise in June 2003.VIN#[xxx]. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Pleasant Grove, AL, USA

problem #8

Mar 242003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles
The initial problem with the rear-end differential unit was a whining noise which the Ford dealer's service rep. Identified and immediately said it should be replaced. The new rear-end unit did not whine but within 3 1/2 months a vibration started and was returned to the dealer for a total of 6 different occasions to repair or fix this problem. Both the left and right rear axles were also replaced and another rear end differential unit was installed. At each service visit, the dealer's service manager and mechanic were completely involved and were very perplexed at the problem. My Explorer was at the dealer for about 30 days on one service visit and a total of 42 days over the 6 total service visits for this problem. Persistent fluid leaks and a recurring vibration has prompted me to submit a "lemon" letter to Ford.

- Sanford, NC, USA

problem #7

Nov 192003

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
From purchase there was a khkhhhkh noise that my brother noticed. I took it back to the dealer and nothing was found. On the 3rd trip back to the dealer, I was told the transmission shield was loose so they tightened it. The noise continued so I had my neighbor who has a trans shop listen and he said have them look at the torque convertor. The dealer did (34,000 miles), had the car for 14 days and fixed?? it. Its back in the shop now (16 days) (37,000 miles) and 1st gear and my forward clutches are being replaced. Did I get a lemon?

- Lake Forest, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 012003

Explorer

  • miles
Vehicle purchased new, had a pinion noice in rear differential since purchased. Dealer changed rear differential and a week later it developed a leak due to blown axle seal. Rear differential then developed a noise when accelerating into a turn from a stoped position. Dealer added an additive to rear for limited slip unit. Noise is still there on turns but is very light. All this has occured since purchased new and 14,000 miles.

- Southbury, CT, USA

problem #5

Aug 252003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,754 miles
Serious safety and operation issue with the 2002 year Ford Explorer SUV, the rear drive differential is failing, VIN#[xxx] is an example at 12,700 miles, serious interstate crash narrowly avoided due to the catastrophic failure of the rear differential. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Big Stone Gap, VA, USA

problem #4

Apr 012003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles
Vehicle developed a loud whining noise in the rear end at approx 25000 miles. Noise occurred at all speeds. It went away when accelerator pedal was released. Dealer replaced the differential. Noise returned immediately, but only at speeds between 48mph and 68mph. Dealer is now replacing the entire driveshaft. One service assistant indicated other Explorer had similar problems. According to dealer, Ford has issued service messages. Sounds like a recall.

- Valrico, FL, USA

problem #3

Mar 012003

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles
Vehicle has a resonance humming/ringing noise coming from the rear differential that increases with speed. Also has what appears to be slight drivetrain vibration as well. This problem was also noted in an editors review of the 2002 Explorer for edmunds. Rear differential was replaced in May 2003, but the problem has persisited. Was told by the rear end technician at the Ford dealer that it was being caused by the gears not meshing properly. Appears to be a defect.

- Munford, TN, USA

problem #2

Jun 122003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,140 miles
High pitch whinning noise in rear end of 2002 Ford Explorer. Dealer says rear differential gears have defect and I have to pay $1200. Because warranty expired!

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #1

Apr 082002

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
Module that controls the "control trac" 4-wheel drive system, failed at 3000 miles causing system to assume rear wheels were slipping. This caused the system to intermittently cycle the front wheel drive to assist even though rear tires were not losing traction. Owner complained to dealership 4 previous times of control trac problems, but dealership did not admit problem (told owner everything was fine with drive train) until 7000 miles when owner demanded a fix. Dealer then told owner that Ford knows about bad part, but that they have no idea when part will be available for repair. Currently, Explorer's 4X4 system is unpluged by dealer and is 2wd only. Dealer said they "don't know how much damage has already been done with 4000 miles of driving with bad system." Ford says module for fix, is on backorder, and don't know when fix will be available.

- Farmington, NY, USA

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