If you find CarComplaints.com is helpful ... We rely completely on word of mouth. Talk about us on Facebook, Twitter, tell your mother-in-law. Help us help more people.

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:
82,876 miles
Total Complaints:
119 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. rear end overhaul (35 reports)
  2. not sure (33 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 6)

problem #119

Jan 152014

Explorer 4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,838 miles

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

this truck is a colossal piece of sh*t! AVOID!!!!!

- , Waterloo, Ontario, canada

problem #118

Sep 282012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,559 miles

It's time for Ford to step up to the plate, far too many of this type complaints from your used to be loyal customers for Ford to ignore.

- , Elm City, NC, USA

problem #117

May 252009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

ok so i bought my 2002 ford explorer used...since then my timing assembly went out first...that was 700$ due to the fact there is 3 timing chains in this motor..and 50$ hr at 17.5 hrs!! then the roaring and whining noise started..took it to ford they said i needed a new rear end..and b both back wheel bearings were bad...they gave me a 1800$ estimate...instead we bought a new rear end put it in our selves and 2 NEW BEARINGS...replaced it all...and talk about pain in the ass well bearings have to be pressed and all that good sh*t...after all that the noise it still friekin there....so looks like more money for this junk crap car...i used to LOVE it...looks like ill switch to another dealer next time...ILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD!!!!

- , Scottsburg, Indiana, USA

problem #116

Sep 092009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

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

Well it appears I'm not alone! Its amazing to me, through a simple search on Google, to find this wonderful site with sooooooo many people with the same complaints as myself. I feel like I could of written the majority of them. We have had a humming noise coming from the rear differential for over a year now, and it is slowly getting worse. I did replace the replace the oil with the recommended synthetic, however it has not made any difference in the noise level, which is extremely annoying. The four wheel drive stopped engaging around 100000 miles. I also have went through the wheel bearing nightmare. the pressed bearing is such a pain in the ass to repair! I would like to meet the engineer who had the great idea of putting a steel bearing in an aluminum block. the corrosion from electrolysis was so bad, that we had to attach a cum along to a large oak tree and apply ALOT of tension while trying not to pull the exploder off the jack stands, (Sounds ridiculous, but it worked!) I have replaced all four wheel bearings, the rear being the worst, and one of the front ones twice. I have always loved fords and have owned several of them, however, never again. Quality just isn't in the game plan for them anymore. I have learned to hate our explorer with a passion!!!!! Oh and don't get me started on the window motor failures, the vent selector knob for the AC/Heater, the flickering dome lights etc................

- , Troy, IL, USA

problem #115

Nov 152004

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

The rear end started getting noisy around 60,000 miles and has continued to get worse every year. Ford dealership says it is fine, just noisy. I couldn't take it any more so, $600 for the used rear differential, new rear seals, and $300 for the install. With brake work earlier in the year and the transmision repair - I have now spent $3000 on the vehicle this year...... Now I might be able to trade it in and get $3500 back, if I'm lucky.

- , Greenup, KY, USA

problem #114

Apr 102010

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,636 miles

To say the most of my life the 2002 FORD EXPLORER has been a pain in my Side I will never buy another ford that vehicle has cost me money a new transmission at 54,636 miles i Still have my invoice thats asham that people buy a vehicle thats america made ford need to recall . Remind myself never to buy a ford tell my family, friends the Ford manfacturers I am very disappointed very poor QUALITY. With other problems like coolant leaking replace water pump replace gasket replace belt the noise underneath. very unhappy ford warranties suck ....

- , Springfield, KY, USA

problem #113

Mar 012011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

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

after replacing the rear end my transmission is now out. I would like to leave it running in a parking lot somewhere so someone might take it! Only thing is they would bring it back before getting out of the lot b/c it is a HORRIBLE VEHICLE!!!!!

- , Taylorsville, KY, USA

problem #112

Feb 182011

Explorer XTL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

POS will NEVER buy a ford again. just fixed the wheel bearing AGAIN and now this starts

- , Mentor, OH, USA

problem #111

Feb 032009

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Not a question of if, but when!!! Ford used 75W-90 oil in rear differential to get better gas mileage, and instead gave Ford dealerships that chance at repairing hundreds of thousands of BAD differentials with bad gears. Fords response was to replace the fluid with 75W-140 oil to help muffle the noise AFTER I had to pay for replacing all of the bad differential parts!

- , Park Ridge, IL, USA

problem #110

Mar 222010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,000 miles

This is the third time this has been fixed. Originally fixed in 2007 for $1200 and fixed under warranty (the one-year) within the one year. Now again it needs to be replaced. Not very good quality for ford rear ends differentials.

- , Arlington, TX, USA

problem #109

Sep 262006

Explorer EB V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,200 miles

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

The vehicle would groan like a bridge troll caught in under a fallen bridge every time you made a turn. It was determined that the friction plate was at fault. Of course it wasn't ford's responsibility...Just one of those things. Ha ha. Anyone want to buy this explorer at a steal?

Toyota, here I come.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #108

Feb 012009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

called ford - said they didn't have any other complaints. can't afford to fix, spent all of my money rebuilding transmission twice

- , Middleburg, PA, USA

problem #107

Mar 122010

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

My wife drives this 2002 Ford Explorer (purchased brand new) to school and back home (12 whole miles) 5 days/9 months per year. Pampered, service regularly, maintained to the hill and garaged the entire life. Rear differential start leaking on the garage floor about 6 months ago, paid a local garage about $180.00 to relace some seals. About 3 months ago (67000 miles) a slight whinning noise started when the accelerator or cruise were engaged. I thought it was a fuel pump thing or tires. I took it to my local Ford garage Friday and was shocked when they told me the rear end ring and pinion bearings were going bad. There repair estimate - $1900.00 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I said don't touch it and picked the car up yesterday (no service people available on Saturday) and found the diagnostic charge for that problem to be $137.50 !!!!!!!!!!! A TEST DRIVE! Pretty bad considering Ford knew about this issue since 2005. I have contested the charges and will be at Ford tomorrow to complain.

- , Washington, PA, USA

problem #106

Dec 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

TRIED REPLACING REAR END OIL AND ADDITIVE WITH NO RESULTS. I SAW THAT SOMEONE HAD DONE THE SAME THING AND SAID THAT CHANGING OIL/ADDITIVE WORKED. DOES ANYONE KNOW IF THE RESULT WAS INSTANTANEOUS? IT SEEMS TO ME THAT FORD WOULDN'T HAVE A LEG TO STAND ON, HOWEVER IT WILL PROBABLY JUST MEAN THAT MIDDLE AMERICANS WILL GET CRAPPED ON AGAIN AND HAVE TO TAKE IT.

ALSO ON THIS VEHICLE,THE INTERIOR LIGHTS BURN WHEN THEY WANT AS LONG AS IT WANT.

THE PANEL ON THE BACK BELOW THE REAR GLASS SPLIT WIDE OPEN (SEEN MANY MORE OF THE SAME ON OTHER EXPLORERS)! THE VENT CONTROLS INSIDE THE CABIN BLOW THE AIR WHERE IT WANTS TO.

I'M NOT POSITIVE BUT I BELIEVE THIS MAY BE A LEMON. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS JUST BE SATISFIED KNOWING THAT THE CEOS AND OTHERS RUNNING HENRY'S BUISNESS WILL KEEP GETTING RAISES AND HUGE BONUSES!!

I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO FEEL GOOD!!

- , Lilllington, NC, USA

problem #105

Nov 062007

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

Had the bearings go out in the rear end. Got a quote from Ford ($2500!) I opted to pull the rear end and rebuild it. Took me a whole weekend, but got it done. All this, right after I had just got done replacing the wheel bearings all the way around. P.O.S.

- , Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #104

Jan 012008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

My Explorer has been having the same exact problem, with the roaring and what not coming from the rear end. I recently got my front brakes done and the mechanic who drove it said that I was going to need my rear end replaced soon, and that he sees that a lot with Explorers. So yeah I'm pretty upset about the whole situation and now that I've witnessed so many complaints here and in life I wish someone would call Ford or a lawyer about this, and let me know.

Also, I'm going to try and that replacing the gear oil with the 75/145 heavy duty stuff and see how that works. I'm driving up the east coast soon and I hope this isn't gonna be a problem. I really don't think it will but....

- , Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

problem #103

Dec 142009

Explorer Sport 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

This is a low mileage "city car", never driven hard, no abusive driving, 67000 miles, bought from original owner at 27000 miles. Noticed a whining/roaring inside the cab coming from the rear. Took to Metro Ford in Tupelo MS, after investigating they said it would require replacing the ring and pinion gear set - $1300+. I have to drive it out of town immediately so I agreed. I spoke with the service manager who agreed it was a known problem. He recommended I retain the receipts in case Ford decided to refund the money. I see where there may be a class action law suit against Ford being formed. I hope so, this is ridiculous....

- , Tupelo, MS, USA

problem #102

Jul 062009

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,390 miles

I bought this 2002 Explorer from an estate...the vehicle had always been babied and I knew the previous owner well.. Basically like buying a new vehicle... The rear end is a problem and still making noise...The previous owner had just replaced the transmission before he passed away. / It is a shame that the rear ends are such a proble...This is not the first Explorer I have owned... I have always known about the transmission problems with them.. The replacement or rebuild seems to last for ever, but the originals always give out in short order. (personal experience twice and my brother's experience too and everyone I know that owns/owned an Explorer with over 100,000 Kilometres on it).I still loved the Explorers though and bought again. Last year I was hit side on by a Chrysler, in my 1999 Explorer. The Accident was caused by the other driver going way too fast in bad conditions and loosing control The car went under the Explorer ripping out the rear end and rolling us over.. My dog and I survived with bruises and some minor cuts.. more than could be said for the other driver..The investigators said that it was the Explorer that saved our lives. Thus I bought another..It is a disappointment to have to expect a transmission and now rear end problem when looking for an otherwise great vehicle...My advice is to buy cheap, because they are a great and safe vehicle, but if these parts are original, they will need replacing in short order,, That applies to all years of the vehicle, not just the 99's and 02's....it is a common problem... If you have a vehicle with replace trans and rear end, then they are fine.....rebuilding the rear end will not solve the problem....after market replacement will though....

- , Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

problem #101

Aug 172007

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

We had a really bad noise coming from the rear end. sounded like the tire was rubbing at slow speeds while turning.

Decided to take it down to the dealer who informed us that we would need a new rear end (not covered, of course)

I looked around and found a guy that said he fixed the same problem by changing the oil in the rear end. Worked like a charm at 20% of what Mr. Ford Dealer wanted.

This was the same place I bought the car new. You would assume at least some sort of customer loyalty.

- , Martinez, CA, USA

problem #100

Jan 232007

Explorer XLT 4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,088 miles

Annoying whine from the rear diff when accelerating , went to dealer ship 1500.00 dollars to rebuild the rear end , went to a tranny and diff shop 850.00 dollars but also advised to try the fix " drain all the synthetic gear oil out of the diff and then replace with standard h duty 75/145 gear oil . I did just that and also added an 8 oz bottle of gmd antislip additive for positraction systems that are in the diff .

Just did this 4 months ago and NOISE IS GONE worked for me. Lived with the noise problem for some time as was not sure what to do if you are wondering the actual date of the problem

- , Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?