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.

7.6

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,042.00
Average Mileage:
82,254 miles
Total Complaints:
120 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. rear end overhaul (35 reports)
  2. not sure (34 reports)
  3. Ford should take more pride in their work & fix problems (22 reports)
  4. replace rear differential (18 reports)
  5. replaced rear end oil with 75- 145 synthetic (3 reports)
  6. mention TSBs #05-23-3 and 05-25-8: Drivetrain rear axle humming (2 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 5 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #40

Sep 202007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

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

ok i got this vehicle 11months ago apparently from a really bad car lot, the first thing i notice about 2hrs after driving this thing was a loud noise in the back that vibrated the whole truck, call the dealer brought it in diagnosis it as bad rear diff, he fix it apparently, the noise started back about 3days later, call the dealer brought it back diagnosis the noise (vibration gone now)as bad brakes repair the brakes quite the car somewhat, but the noise stater again so i took the truck to cv pros who stated that my u joints were rusty. a month pass i notice the noise again but this time it sounded like the truck needed tires but before i could get the tires change the right tire popped off while i was driving with my 2 children had the thing towed to a local car repair place was told that 4 lug nuts had popped off, they repair that but advise me that my rooters where not correct on the vehicle, so i called the dealer told him i almost die and that i wanted another vehicle or my money back, his reply was i can't do that but i well repair your brakes he did my brakes a total of 4times. The noise still c0ntiued so i took my vehicle to a local brake place and paid for a complete brake inspection the whole system was shot, i call the dealer and told him that if he didn't correct this problem i was going to make a complaint to the state. so i went to ford this time he paid for the assement and i sat right there in watch them order the parts, he refuse to let ford fix the brakes claiming that they were trying to rip him off and he didn't want any one else fixing the truck. TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT THE NOISE COMING FROM THE BACK WASN'T MY BRAKES IT WAS MY REAR DIFF (YEAH THE ONE HE CLAIM HE REPAIR) THAT'S GONNA COST ME $840 TO REPAIR PLUS THE SLENOID IN THE TRANSMISSION FOR RIDING THE CAR WITH A BAD DIFF. I'M TOTALLY PISSED OFF MY WARRANTY IS OUT AND ANY REPAIRS ARE MINE SCREWING WITH THIS GUY!!! TRUST NO ONE THE MINUTE YOU FEEL SOMETHING NOT RIGHT IT'S NOT TAKE THE DAMN THING BACK NO EXCUSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #39

Oct 102007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I feel that the Ford Motor Company should be held accountable for all problems. I am all for a CLASS ACTION SUIT!!!

- , Birmngham, AL, USA

problem #38

Sep 212007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

THERE IS NOT MUCH TO SAY. ALL I'M TRYIN TO SAY IS MY TRUCK HAS JUST HIT 75000 MILES AND IT FELLS/SOUNDS LIKE IT HAS A LOT MORE. I HAVE ALWAYS OWNED FORDS BUT I HAVE NEVER HAD A CAR WITH SO MANY PROBLEMS. IT WOULD BE NICE IF FORD CAN TAKE CARE OF THESE PROBLEMS.

- , Detroit, MI, USA

problem #37

Aug 172007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4,0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

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

ROLLING HUMMING NOISE. SOUNDS LIKE IT'S THE TIRES. BOUGHT NEW GOODYEARS FOTERA SILENT ARMOUR. DID NOT SOLVE PROBLEM. TOLD IT WAS FRONT BEARINGS. CHANGED BEARINGS SAME PROBLEM. TOLD BEARINGS MUST BE BAD. CHANGED BEARINGS AGAIN. SAME PROBLEM. TOLD THAT THE TIRES MUST BE NO GOOD. GOT 4 NEW TRIPLE THREAD FROM GOODYEAR TODAY. STILL SAME NOISE. MADE APPOINTMENT WITH FORD DEALER FOR AUGUST 24TH 2007. WILL REPORT THEIR FINDINGS ON YOUR SITE. THANKS FOR POSTING ALL THOSE SIMILAR COMPLAINTS WITH 2002 FORD EXPLORER. IT GAVE ME A HEADS UP. SOUNDS LIKE IT COULD BE THE COMMON DIFFERENTIAL PROBLEM.

- , Bellerose, NY, USA

problem #36

Aug 192007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Rear end completely failed. Poor assembly in lining up drivetrain, cheap parts until you replace them, assembled on a Monday, but everyday at Ford is a Monday!

- , Longmeadow, MA, USA

problem #35

Jul 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,200 miles

My Explorer joins the rest of you. This vehicle whines since the day I bought it (used). I thought the noise came from the cheap almost worn out tires it was wearing. No, $600 dollar tires later it whines worst then ever. Can't wait to start replacing rear bearings or differential parts. why not. it goes through front bearings like their free. My last Ford.

- , Erie, PA, USA

problem #34

Aug 082007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

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

My story is similar to everyone else's regarding my 02 Explorer. I bought the car used without test driving the car over 50 mph. After a trip to the cottage and an oil leak on the drive I knew I had problems. I took it to Dean Sellers Ford in Troy, MI to have the leak, the whine and the rumble looked at. The service person acknowledged that this happened a lot and they would look at it. They gave me a quote of $1900.00 to fix the leak, rebuild the differential and replace the right wheel bearing. When I balked they offered 10% off. I took it elsewhere for the differential work ($1200) and had the right bearing done somewhere else ($320). It was still loud so I had the left wheel bearing replaced ($320). It was better but now I can a definite whine from the rear end again between 45-65 mph. A complaint to Ford got a response that this was "normal" for an "older vehicle". Screw these guys!

- , Clawson, MI, USA

problem #33

Aug 032007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,344 miles

Where do I begin?! I have always considered myself a Chevy guy until I met my fiancee and started to drive her '99 Eddie Bauer Explorer. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and the durability of her SUV and decided to sell my '79 MonteCarlo to my 16 year-old brother. I purchased my '02 XLT on June 6, 2007 from Washington Chevrolet. The vehicle was in pristine condition and the asking price was only $11,995. "Not a bad deal", I thought to myself. The SUV had 72,428 on it and only one previous owner. I drove the truck to and from Pittsburgh weekly and soon, I began to notice the infamous "whine, groan, grind" that so many '02 owners are b---hing about.

With 1084 miles remaining on my 3k mile/3 month drive train warranty from Washington Chevrolet, I took it in looking for a remedy to the problem. I told the Chevy Dealer that I noticed several TSBs regarding this problem and that I wanted it fixed.

Obviously, Washington Chevrolet needed to contact the local Ford dealer to have them examine the vehicle to "see if there was indeed an issue with the rear differential." As I had previous experience with Washington Ford (with my fiancee's '99 Eddie), I was more than happy to take it there.

I left the vehicle with Washington Ford Monday morning at 7am and ended up picking it up Friday at 8am. This was mostly due to the b. s. that Chevy put Ford through (and ultimately me) during the warranty service authorization.

It started out with the rear differential ring and pinion gears needing replaced ($1204.75)and both rear wheel bearings & the left front wheel bearing ($811.30).

Originally, Washington Chevy attempted to say that GM's warranty would not cover the LF wheel bearing. That was until I got a hold of GM's warranty service by phone (Now where is that phone #?... Oh, heck, Google it!). I proceeded to explain the warranty details on the window tag to the representative and then explained that the '02 Explorer is a full-time 4wd vehicle, thus the LF bearing should indeed be covered by the power train warranty. He asked to take a moment to speak to his supervisor and then after 5 or so minutes, he reported that it was going to be covered. I was happy to hear this and quickly took down his name and rep ID #. Needless to say, Washington Chevrolet WAS NOT HAPPY absorbing this cost (as they thought they could weasel me out of it).

The repairs were finished Wednesday afternoon and I picked the vehicle up Friday morning. It drove like it was fresh off the assembly line, UNTIL my fiancee drove it to Pittsburgh for an interview. Upon returning home in Washington, she stated that, "something" was still not "exactly right" with the SUV.

I immediately took it back to Washington Ford to let a tech drive it with me in the vehicle to hear and feel the shudder/moan from the rear of the vehicle was producing during low-speed turns. Immediately, the technician shook his head and stated that I would need to return the truck to get the clutch packs replaced.

That's going to occur this Tuesday. We'll see how this pans out.

I will definitely say that the staff of Washington Ford has been outstanding despite all the b. s. from Washington Chevrolet. It is the manufacturer's problem and lack of responsibility in 'fessing up to their poor choice of parts or design.

- , Washington, PA, USA

problem #32

Jul 092007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,674 miles

Have been tolerating a noise in the rear of the vehicle for quite a while and it started to become even louder (sounded like a humming noise as if the rear-end had no lubrication in it -- dry as a bone!!!). I took my Explorer to FORD-LINCOLN-MERCURY TEAM TOYOTA in Steubenville, Ohio where they told me that the left rear wheel bearing was bad and needed to be replaced. Also both rear springs were broken and needed to be replaced. $255.40 for the rear wheel bearing and $441.52 for the springs. Over $700 later, the noise is still present and sounds dryer than ever and is humming louder than I have ever heard it. After asking around, I found that there are many Explorer owners with the same noise. It appears that Ford has a problem and doesn't want to admit it, let alone make it good!!!!

I love the Explorer, but hate the "unsolvable" noise.

Very disappointed, angry and frustrated.

- , Wellsburg, WV, USA

problem #31

Jul 202007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,300 miles

I don't have this howling noise that some of you are talking about, but I have seen my problem in this section, too. There is a weird feeling from vehicle while turning after coming to a complete stop (like it was locked in 4wd) or driving over rumble strips - it feels like it's grinding. It doesn't happen when the car is cold, but begins after driving for an hour, or so. I have already replaced front and rear wheel bearings, and brakes.

If anyone can tell me exactly what the fix is here, and give me an approx. dollar amount, please write back to me! Thanks!

- , absarokee, MT, USA

problem #30

Jul 182007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

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

I still had the same noise and same problem after the problem was suppose to have been fixed. I did not have the money to have it worked on again at that time. The noise got unbearable so I had to have it worked on again this time they replaced the wheel bearings another $475.00. STILL GOT THE SAME NOISE. I thought I would try a different mechanic!

- , Wallingford, KY, USA

problem #29

Jul 182007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer and I have had numerous problems with my rear end. Same situation as everyone else. Annoying noise from rear end thought it was the brakes but they were fine. A mechanic told us our problem was the rear wheel bearings... they were replaced AND STILL THE SAME NOISE!!!

- , Wallingford, KY, USA

problem #28

Jul 182007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

Oil still dripping out of rear end, still same annoying noise!!! Not for sure if I am going to get it fixed or run it over a hill!! From the numerous complaints I have read from other Ford Explorer owners I now realize that the problem is with the differential and that Ford Motor Company should stand behind their products and issue an immediate recall. I don't feel I should have to spend any more money on this vehicle when the problem is obviously with the manufacturer.

- , Wallingford, KY, USA

problem #27

Jul 182007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

I took my vehicle to a different mechanic because I still had the same problem & at this point I thought it just might be the mechanic. The new mechanic discovered the rear main seal going into the differential was leaking. He replaced it costing another $200.00, would have been more but his wife works for me and knowing all the bad luck I have had felt sorry for us giving us a break. STILL GOT THE SAME NOISE!!!!!!

- , Wallingford, KY, USA

problem #26

Jul 022007

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

We were having noises coming from the back of the SUV. We took it in and got it back 2 months later (because of so long for parts and how busy they were, thank goodness they gave us a rental) they had to replace the whole thing. They said there were metal shavings and it had no fluid. NOT GOOD. I think after everything that has gone wrong with this SUV Ford owes me for all of the inconveniences. I will never buy a Ford again.

- , Beale AFB, CA, USA

problem #25

Jul 052007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 86,000 miles

I seem to have the same complaint almost everyone else does with the '02 Explorer. My rear diff has been making noise for the last 2-3 months and of course changing the fluid didn't help. Apparently it had been leaking because when I drained it there was only about .5-.75 liters of fluid that came out and it looked like mud. My next step is to try replacing the seals and if that doesn't work I guess I will try to track down a salvaged diff and see if maybe that will help. If none of that works I guess I trade it in on something else and just hope the dealer I take it to isn't aware of the problem.

- , Fort Sill, OK, USA

problem #24

Jun 262007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,981 miles

I have had several service outlets notice the rear differential seal issue and each had one comment in common... 'this problem seems inherent to the differential engineering and Ford is no doubt aware of the problem, but seems reluctant to issue a recall.' This seems par for the course for Ford when it comes to such problems. Now I come across this significant list of complaints with each indicating Ford's intent to ignore rather than fix the problems and save customer relationships. I will vote with my feet if they refuse to address my issues.

- , Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #23

May 012007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

bought this car new, lots of problems, replaced wheel bearings, rear end diff. THREE times, also had trans. work done many new parts installed. current milage 84000. VERY DISPPOINTED IN CAR AND FORD.

- , Strongsville, OH, USA

problem #22

Apr 292007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Just the same as everyone else that owns a 2002 Explorer, the seals on the rear differential are bad... I've got it worse though, cause I have the same problem in the front. I was told by the dealer when took it in for a recall that it would cost about $1200 because they would have to remove the entire rear and front ends to reseal them. I don't know anything about cars, so I don't even know where to add differential fluid to make sure I'm not grinding the crap out of it. I need to figure THAT out at least... This is a serious issue that's costing Explorer owners serious cash, and Ford really needs to take responsibility for this. This, regrettably, is my second Explorer, and will be my last Ford. I had a lot of stupid little problems with the first one, and ended up with the second one because I was being offered a good deal when I had to make a quick decision. I'm going back to Jeep... those things run like champs!

- , McKinney, TX, USA

problem #21

Mar 302007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Noise coming from rear end is a pain in the same. I've read the multiple complaints about this and I'm all in on a class action. I'll keep my eyes open.

- , Powell, OH, USA

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