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 1 of 8)

problem #160

Apr 282014

Explorer

  • 130,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that there was a noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated that the rear differential was defective and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The recent vehicle failure was not repaired. The failure mileage was 130,000. The current mileage was 133,000.

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #159

Mar 162009

Explorer

  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Ford Explorer. The contact heard a loud grinding noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. He took the vehicle to a local mechanic and was informed that the bearings and gear of the universal rear differential unit failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle has not been repaired. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 75,000 and current mileage was 77,000.

- Wall , NJ, USA

problem #158

Sep 252005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Ford Explorer rear differential clutch part failure. Consumer wants assistance from Ford to cover the repairs. The consumer stated numerous parts failed on the vehicle. Those failures included: The differential compass, HVAC blower motor, one of the rear window lift motors and one of the seals on the rear differential failed.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #157

Jan 022002

Explorer

  • 24,000 miles

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

With in the first year of having my vehicle I had to have 2 transmission repairs. Within the next year it was done again and then I started to complain about noises and a thumping coming from the rear during acceleration. I now know that the thumping is due to the rear differential and axle needing repairs. Now the vehicle is out of warranty and this is going to cost me about $1,000 not to mention that I have had to have the transmission done also at a cost of $400 there are many other people with this same complaint that I have noticed on the internet and I think that something should be done.

- Miami, FM, USA

problem #156

Mar 232008

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
At 85K miles, under normal driving use/condition, the transmission and rear differential have failed on my 2002 Explorer. There are Ford tsbs that identify and acknowledge these problems as evident in many of their vehicles, yet refuse to absorb any cost of the $3200 it will take to repair them. The wheel bearings also continually fail at a cost of $500 each, and have been repaired at least 3 times at my own expense. The torque converter and bushings need replaced, and the transmission cooler is worn. My mechanic explained these should not wear as quickly as 85K miles, and from the current state of its condition, recommended a complete transmission rebuild/replace, along with a new rear differential gear set. I have come into contact with hundreds of Ford owners, of new and used vehicles alike, with the exact same problem and am seeking all resources available to initiate a suit against Ford for its evident manufacture defects.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #155

Nov 062007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,252 miles
Driving on highway at 63 mph and valve spring broke. Valve dropped into piston causing engine failure. Check engine code called for random engine misfire and code was triggered at around 2600 RPM. Prior to engine failure I have been experiencing a shudder when transmission shifts into overdrive. There is also a problem with the clutch pack in the limited slip differential that is causing a shudder when turning right or left from a dead stop. (dealership called it the parking lot shudder) I have a 02 Ford Explorer XLT with 4.6 and 4X4 that has bad engine, transmission, and rear differential. (engine replaced).

- St. Charles, MO, USA

problem #154

Oct 152007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

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

Rear differential gears had whining noise replaced gears three times...still whining. Front hub bearings making grinding noise at 80,000 miles, told they are 1500 to replace, cant afford repair. Told if the bearings fail when driving at highway speeds could be a serious safty issue. Bearing should not need to be replaced at 80K. Have researched on the web and found this to be a pattern on the 2002 Ford Explorer. Something needs to be done on this issue.

- Manhattan, IL, USA

problem #153

Feb 012008

Explorer

  • miles
Bought my 2002 eddie bauer 4X4 with tow package and V-6 new from the dealer in August 2001. At 45K had to have the rear differential replaced as the vehicle was making the usual "whining" sounds at both low and high speeds. Was told by the dealer that their mechanic would install the part with "tighter specs" and that it should last longer than the original. Yeah right!! at around 75K, the rear diff started leaking. Had the leak fixed and as you may suspect at around 80K the "whining" sound typical of rear diff failure came back. Had it replaced again along with the rear wheel bearings this time which were also worn to the point of needing replacement. I do use this vehicle off and on the road and have used 4WD probably more than the normal Explorer owner. Also do some occasional towing but am always careful to stay within the weight limits and take it easy on the speed while towing. I've taken excellent care of this vehicle following the maintenance schedule exactly. It is just terrible that Ford keeps installing these parts even though they know they are defective and won't last more than 40 - 80K. Some compensation would be nice, maybe through a class action lawsuit. One thing for sure. No more Ford for me!

- Geneva, IL, USA

problem #152

Jan 272008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
Rear end noise on a 2002 Ford Explorer. Possible rear differential.

- Gansevoort, NY, USA

problem #151

Jan 252008

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Rear end differential problem on 2002 Ford Explorer.

- Shepherdsville, KY, USA

problem #150

Nov 172007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

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

Whine from rear differential, was fixed once by plantation Ford of Florida when car was bought used in 2005. Problem is back and was told my mechanic that if not rebuilt it may cause rear end to lockup possibly causing a crash and even death.

- Plantation, FL, USA

problem #149

May 082006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Purchased the vehicle new at 2002. It always has a little bit oil on the parking lot but I did not pay attention. Now I found out it is the rear differential leaking. Apparently it has been leaking for a long time.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #148

Nov 012007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
Rear differential drivetrain failure. Vehicle mileage 25,000 miles on odometer. 4 wheel drive vehicle, rear differential whine/hum at highway speed. Ford has a tsb 05-23-3 on rear axle noise repair. Took to haldelman Ford, hamilton N.J. for service/repair. Cost of repair was $3,600.

- Allentown, NJ, USA

problem #147

Oct 222007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,342 miles
Whining noise coming from rear differential on 2002 Ford Explorer. It is apparent that the rear differentials on these vehicles are failing and Ford is aware of this but refuses to repair the problem at their expense.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #146

Sep 212007

Explorer 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
I have been driving a 2002 Explorer for about 4 years now. I am currently experiencing a major transmission problem, and just found out last weekend that the rear differential was going out. Now, I don't know much about cars so I rely on others, but when 3 different mechanics repeatedly told me that the rear differential was going out, I think that means something is wrong. I would never have guessed that a transmission would go out after just 5 years, and the rear differential is just icing on the cake. The fact that I have read several other complaints regarding this same issue and yet Ford wants to do nothing about it just totally disgusts me. My family are very loyal to Ford, even have a few relatives that work for them. Ford needs to recognize that this is a major concern and do something about it. Having your tires lock up while you are driving is a very scary thing and honestly I never want to drive that vehicle again.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #145

Jul 012006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,049 miles
2002 Ford Explorer transmission and rear differential failures, reported well before 100,000 warranty expiration and ignored by Ford!

- Litchfield, CT, USA

problem #144

Sep 252007

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,145 miles
I, along with many other owners have logged complaints referring to a noisy differential on the 2002 Ford Explorer that ultimately results in differential lockup, possibly at highway speed. If you search the complaints associated with the 2002 Ford Explorer rear differential logged on this website you will notice over 50 complaints regarding the premature failure of this unit on these vehicles. In addition Ford has identified the problem and sells updated kits to repair this issue, however owners must pay for this kit and have it installed to repair Ford's defective material and workmanship.

- Bolingbrook, IL, USA

problem #143

Sep 072007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
There has not been any accidents, yet. But the rear differential in the 2002 Ford Explorer will eventually fail causing the rear end to lock up and the vehicle be uncontrollable. Many consumers have had to fix and replace the parts at low mileage and Ford is aware of the problem, but refuses to voluntarily recall the parts. The rear differential seals go bad and cause it to leak. There is then what sounds like road noise consistent with vehicle speed. When the fluid is finally gone, the part will eventually lock up. Ford had been advised by numerous consumers of this problem and knows of the possible problems that could arise, but refuses to take the steps necessary to prevent a major accident from occurring. Please look into this and maybe someone can talk some sense into Ford. Thank you. S

- Midland, TX, USA

problem #142

Jan 012007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT with 96,000 miles on it and around 60,000 the noise started. First the front right wheel started to vibrate and then the hub went. While driving my front tire just collapsed. 2nd issue the rear end started to make noise is more like vibraing. And after searching on google, I find that im not the only one with this issue. This is a very expensive issue $1200. Just to start the Ford company is aware of this issue and nothing is being done about it. This is not a joke, this is serious, someone can get hurt. Maybe that's what it will take for the Ford company to resolve the issue, the issue that Ford is aware of. Please help!

- Newburgh, NY, USA

problem #141

Aug 242007

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,200 miles
Complete rear differential failure, complete lockup of wheels, started with whining from rear end on 2002 Ford Explorer 4WD with only 84,000 miles.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

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