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.

2.5

hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,767 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #30

Oct 202007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,700 miles

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

Sudden failure of the engine that resulted in sudden lockup of the engine, complete loss of power, and control. This happened on a residential street at low speed. However a very busy intersection with high speed traffic had just been navigated. If the failure had happened at that intersection, the failure would probably have resulted in severe injuries or loss of life. The engine failure was sudden without warning and the engine was running perfectly up until the time of failure. The car started smoking from the exhaust system immediately after failure.

- Fort Smith, AR, USA

problem #29

Mar 262007

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,242 miles
Events leading up to the failure: Backing out of a parking space failure and consequences: Ford acknowledges issues internally with the timing cartridges on the 2002 E code 4.0L V6 SOHC engine through several tsb's, however does not notify the public that this issue exists. I found out about the issue after apparently blowing the entire engine on my 2006 Ford Explorer. Now, instead of having a repair done at the dealership that could cost a little, I have to spend a lot of money to have it fixed. I am greatly thankful that this happened as I was backing out of a parking space and not at highway speeds. Apparently, Ford used several plastic guide way parts to tension the chain, and these parts fail easily because they are oil starved at engine startup. Because they are plastic, they can fatigue and break at any time, causing severe valve and piston damage, and leaving the operator of the car with no control of the automobile because of loss of vacuum for breaks, and automatic steering. Correction of failure: Ford refuses to pay anything to help repair or replace parts even with known issues.

- Boynton Beach, FL, USA

problem #28

May 312005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles
At a complete stop vehicle surges (accelerates). Have to place in neutral at standing stops to prevent an accident. Driver's side power window switch failed, had replaced, also the window whines when rolling up. Passenger's side power window regulator(cable) snapped?? when rear windows are down at a speed of 20 mph+ it sounds like a helicopter is in the back seat(actually physically hurts your ears!!!) <<<auto and auto>high. Can not pin point problem. That about wraps up my lovely experience with this vehicle. I am a married father of two and the only one working on a limited income. I bought this truck with very low miles thinking it would be dependable not unaffordable.

- Pelham, NH, USA

problem #27

Aug 012006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

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

Spark plug blew out of cylinder head while driving under normal conditions, could have caused fire had to replace the cylinder head instead of a tap kit to avoid metal shavings ruining the engine.

- Lake Ozark, MO, USA

problem #26

Jul 212006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Persistent quality problems: Engine, transmission, power steering, air compressor, and related safety hazards such as defective rear hinge.

- Cary, IL, USA

problem #25

Feb 202006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 77,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer with a V6 engine, purchased new, maintained, has 77,000 miles. While driving vehicle it became erratic, as if water in tank, drove about 1/2 mile when it died. Now the engine needs to be replaced: According to warranty inspector the "cassette failed due to the hydraulic tensioner and it is clogged with sludge, sludge is getting thicker and it has clogged a pin hole in the tensioner and caused a loss of pressure". geico will not cover the engine replacement because they claim it was caused by lack of maintenance; however, I provided them with records of the mileage and date of oil changes at intervals between 3K and 5K miles, problem I have receipts for only 75% of those changes. The highest gap between a receipt backed change and non receipt change is 7000 miles. This problem seems awfully similar to the 1996 - 2002 Toyota Camry engines. I think Ford has a lot of explaining to do. Previously, this SUV had to have a transmission replaced at 50K miles and a rear differential at 65K miles, thank goodness they were covered by the warranty.

- Commack, NY, USA

problem #24

Nov 122005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

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

Driving on I-65 nashville, tn. Vehicle experienced a loud and abrupt sound in the engine with significant loss of power. Narrowly missed having an accident due to the loss of power. We managed to drive the vehicle home where upon inspection, a spark plug had obviously blown out of the left side of the engine (left side of the engine from the perspective of sitting in the driver seat).

- Franklin, TN, USA

problem #23

Sep 132005

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,500 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with 52,000 miles. I have an extended warranty through Ford esp. In August, a spark plug blew out of the left head. The vehicle was towed back to the dealer for repair. The dealer authorized warranty work that would replace the head on the left side. I had the vehicle back for 2 weeks and the same thing happened on the right head. I took the vehicle in and the dealer said that they would not cover the fault. Their reason is that there were autolite spark plugs in the vehicle instead of motorcraft spark plugs. I was told that they did the previous repair without realizing that. Furthermore, they only replaced the one plug originally that blew out, re-using the other 3 plugs (autolites) that were in the vehicle. I have talked with Ford in Michigan and they are looking into it. First, the fact that they are not honoring the extended warranty because of spark plug brand is something I cannot find written anywhere. Second, if those plugs are so bad, then are they negligent in putting those plugs back in. Third, the fact that this happened and could have pierced a fuel line is very hazardous. My wife was driving the vehicle for half day trip in a desolate area. Should something like this have happened while she was out there, it would have been horrible. Does Ford have the right to deny coverage with extended warranty for this reason" is it negligent on Ford's part to simply tell me after the fact that the plugs that are in there are non-standard and that they would not cover the work"

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #22

Apr 262005

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,900 miles
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer 4.6L V8. Within the last month 3 spark plugs have been blown out of the cylinder heads. Each time its a different cylinder. Ford Motor Company has denied our claim to repair the stripped out threads in the cylinders, with a 75,000 mile extended warranty.

- Patuxent River, MD, USA

problem #21

Mar 182005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,894 miles
1. rear end howling noise (3/18/2005) - hear noise when accelerating between 40 and 65 mph. When letting off of accelerator, noise goes away, comes back again when accelerator is pushed again. Dealer service dept replaced rear carrier bearings, cup, seals, and spacer in rear differential. Noise now occurs between 65 and 70 mph. Was taken back to dealer service dept on 4/11/2005. Was informed 4/20/2005 that rear differential was adjusted with new spacer, but noise is still there. Service manager has another Ford Explorer on lot and test drove it. This Explorer has same noise between 40 and 65 mph. One of the techs (who used to work at a Ford dealership) told service manager that alot of 2002 Ford Explorer owners have been having this problem. Ford has no solution or cure. 2. noise in timing chain area. Ford has a tsb on this. I can hear this rattling noise coming from this area and told dealership to look into it. They could not duplicate the noise, although when test driving it with assist. Service manager, I could still hear the noise, but he could not. I had my local mechanic check this out, and they can hear the noise that I'm talking about. This problem has yet to be fixed. 3. vibration coming from front end on interstate that starts at around 70+ mph. When climbing a steep hill on interstate and transmission downshifts, can feel a grinding noise in powertrain. Dealer believes that the fluid in the transfer case might need to be changed, causing clutches inside to stick. Will find out tomorrow (4/21/2005).

- Ballard, WV, USA

problem #20

Feb 112005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 66,000 miles

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

Just recently purchased 2002 Ford Explorer from a dealer. Kept scheduled maint. Has been off lot for six months. Noticed a loud engine knock from front of the engine. Took the car to the dealer!, they said I had blown a rod bearing. Has to be something with the engine. Engine doesn't even have 60,000 miles on it. No sign of an oil leak, sludge, etc. Dealer said the engine was clean.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #19

Nov 112003

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,156 miles
Transmission failure in a 2002 Ford Explorer, timing chain guide failure (4.0L previous Ford recall) Ford replaced trans. Now that trans is failing. Replaced timing chain and gear set.

- Endicott, NY, USA

problem #18

Aug 192004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,510 miles
While driving about 30-35 mph, the car completely lost all engine power. I was able to pull over to the side of the road. There, I restarted the engine and drove home. This same incident had occured to my wife the day before, so I dropped off my two sons and took the car to the dealer. The car also lost all engine power on the way to the dealer. After having the car at the dealer for 5 days during which they put 50 miles on my car, they could not duplicate the problem, and therefore did not fix anything.

- Van Nuys, CA, USA

problem #17

Aug 182004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,500 miles
My wife was driving the car at approximately 30 mph. She tried to accelerate, the RPM reading dropped to zero, and the engine lost all power. She pulled to the side of the road, was about to call me, and tried to turn the engine back on. It restarted and she drove home. My three young children were in the car with her.

- Van Nuys, CA, USA

problem #16

Sep 022004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,683 miles
Today, 9-2-04, while driving approximately 25-30 mph the engine abruptly stopped and lost power. The radio remained on. The engine started again, but one minute later, stalled again. It became difficult to turn over, started, and stalled yet again. This occurred one more time, and I drove it home to drop off my wife and children, and to take the car to the dealer, Ford galpin in North hills, California. This is the 3rd seperate occassion this has happened, and its 2nd trip to the dealer. It is currently being inspected at the dealership.

- Van Nuys, CA, USA

problem #15

Feb 012002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLS and it has been into the Ford service-repair shop a total 0F 37 work hours -10 documented service days for an annoying ticking noise coming from the front dash-console-engine area that can not seem to be repaired. It doesn't matter whether or not that the engine is cold or warm, the weather condtions hot-dry or humid and wet, it still ticks intermitently for sometimes around 8 minutes or can go on for 20 at that moment. When it starts it sounds like a toggle switch going on and off and then makes a rubbing, squeaking, ticking noise that starts off low and then gets so loud that you can hear it with the radio on set at a slightly high volume. It does not matter whether the air is on or off, the radio-cd is on or off or the heat is on or off. All conditions have been tested. The front dash has been removed numerous times and reinsulated, a new radio has been put in, the winshield replaced, vents and glove box removed and wiring checked. Once the sound starts, bumpiness in the road seems to produce the sound louder and more often. Also while turning the steering wheel on a winding road that is somewhat bumpy also produces the sound. It is not a pleasure to drive this vehicle and it has been serviced as I stated for this problem ever since 2002. It was purchased in July of 2001. The dealership and many diffferent techs. Ca not find or repair the problem. I would get rid of it if it wasn't for the fact that I could not honestly sell a lemon in good faith. This vehicle body wise is is excellent condition and only has 27,000 miles on it. As I see it, I have only had a perfect vehicle for 1 year out of the 3 years I have owned it. I have been faithful to Ford and that is only what I have owned the last 28 years and currently own 3 other Ford vehicles. My father worked and retired from Ford Motor Co. His whole life and none of us have ever experienced such disappointment in one of their products.

- Greenwell Springs, LA, USA

problem #14

Apr 272004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Bought car in January 2003, was a dealer vehicle. We had 54,000 miles on it when I was driving it home from work and the check engine light came on the same time the Explorer started almost bucking. The front end of the vehicle was shaking so bad that I immediately pulled over as best as I could. I called aaa and as they had me turn the vehicle around so it could be put on the truck the engine stopped all together, and the vehicle would not turn over. After bringing it to my mechanic I was told that the engine had seized up. I called my local Ford dealer where I had purchased the vehicle and was told that it would not be covered because my warranty was for 36,000. I have had the oil changed always on time and also had the vehicle in for its full maitence check just months before. Come to find out, the valve spring in the motor broke and caused the engine to seize. I had to order a new engine from Ford and between the engine and labor it cost me close to $3,900. When I called the Ford company, because I got nowheres with my local Ford dealer I was told that they could not do anything for me. If a recall was to ever come about then I should save my receipts. I have pictures of the engine to prove what had happened if I ever need them. The way I look at it, I have more miles, because of my job, than others do on a 2002. It's just a matter of time until others have this happen. My local Ford company says its a fluke. Nice reason hah? to me a $3,900. Fluke is nothing to laugh about!

- Johnstown, NY, USA

problem #13

May 122004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,600 miles
The ABS activated while on a dry pavement andthe vehicle lost braking power. The consumer took the vehicle back to the dealer, who kept insisting there was nothing wrong. However, the consumer felt differently about the dealers evaluation. The consumers brother verified that something was wrong, but could not take it apart to check it out because of warranty issues and the engine experienced a miss. The master cylinder was found bad.

- North East, MD, USA

problem #12

Sep 012003

Explorer

  • miles
The vehicle stalled while idling at a light. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who replaced the valve. Unfortunately within three day the vehicle stalled again. The vehicle was returned to the dealer but they were unable to duplicate or repair the problem. The vehicle began to surge while surging idling. The dealer was unable to permanently resolve that problem. The consumer noticed a whine in the rear end of the vehicle. The dealer replaced the rear differential but when the vehicle was returned to the consumer the noise was still present. The vehicle was still under warranty when all these problems started.

- Sanford, FL, USA

problem #11

Jan 242004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,500 miles
Driving on the expressway, when we got off & we tried to stop my husband heard a revving noise the car did not want to come to a complete stop. He shut the car off and the problem continued. The car was accelerating on its own. We had to shut the car off & coast to a stop because the brakes were not working either. We were lucky not to rear-end someone & that no one in the car including my 2 small children were hurt. The same thing happened 4 days earlier. I was also thankful my husband was driving. The car had to be towed. I have taken this car in 5 other times for related problems. They can never seem to find a problem. This is a lease car & I have had it for 1yr 9mths. It was first serviced 1 month after I got it for a related problem. I do not feel safe driving my family or self anymore in this car, it is so unpredictable.

- Whitmore Lake, MI, USA

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