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.

7.8

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,142.00
Average Mileage:
123,583 miles
Total Complaints:
99 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (49 reports)
  2. new or rebuilt transmission (31 reports)
  3. replace transmission (9 reports)
  4. push in button underneath steering wheel (2 reports)
  5. replace solenoid body (2 reports)
  6. bought new car (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #79

May 052013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

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

I pulled into the driveway and went to put my explorer into park and then my gear shifter handle was hanging down by just the wire that turns my over drive off and on. I sat there thinking I was totally screwed, it was Sunday morning and I had work the next day. Great ,, now my car is going to need towing and I wont be able to get to work for a few days. And who knows how much this is going to cost. After pulling the boot off around my shifter I could see what broke and it was the cheap cast medal (steering column shift linkage coupler lever bracket) that held my shifter arm on. Then I looked online and everyone was saying they needed a whole new steering column and that ford does not make this part. So I researched some more and was able to get the replacement part. It is made by Dorm and the part number is 905-104.You can find it on E-bay, and they will ship for free but it will take a couple of days. I couldn't wait a couple of days and gave the part number to Napa. they had 2 in stock , but it cost a little more.(58.00 compared to 38.oo on e-bay, plus 37.00 to ship it next day). I went and got the part, and it wasn't that bad to change out. I'm not a mechanic , So if I can do it ,, you all should be able too. first the bottom panel should come off, this is 2 screws on the bottom and the top just pops out with a small pry bar then take the bottom half of your steering column cover off , should be 2 or 3 Phillips head screws, then take the top half off,,this is held with a single Phillips screw. you can separate the top half from the cloth by pressing the little clips in on the ends and middle. I swung the arm up and let it sit on the little shelf in front of the speedometer,etc.this keeps it out of your way while working.( be careful not to break the small wire , this activates your overdrive off and on) Now its time to remove the broken part, On the bottom side of the piece that broke is a pressed on ring that holds the linkage part that goes to the gear lever.on the steering column.it is circular brass looking with a ball that goes into the shifter. this will come right out,once you get the pressed on washer off, to get the washer off was a little bit of work ,but I got it off by using a small straight slot screwdriver and prying it out and then a bigger screwdriver to pry it more . be careful not to break the housing the part slides into .after you get the washer off . the old piece should slide out towards you. put the new part in, once its in slide the brass looking linkage on , it will only go on in the right position. slot to the top I think .now check to see if you will be able to get the snap ring on where you previously had to take the pressed on washer off. I had to take the brass linkage back off( it was to wide and covered where the snap ring goes) and grind it down a little, in order to get the snap ring on. make sure to grind just the side the snap ring goes on'.(snap ring must be well seated or you will be doing this again) now take the gear shifting arm and put back in the new part,, by pressing against the spring loaded part you just installed and sliding the holding pin thru to hold it .Try to shift it now , if it all works well, put your steering column covers back on and yell out the window Screw you Ford. Hope this helped . Good Luck

- , Raymond, ME, USA

problem #78

Dec 152012

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

not even a year into my loan and my great explorer went threw its second transmission repair they tore it all apart serviced it and put it back together. gotta love fords quality. NOT

- , Bellevue, OH, USA

problem #77

Mar 152011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Bought the car brand new to travel back and forth, every other weekend, from southern California to northern California. For over six years I made that trip which way four hundred miles each way. Bought the extended warranty at the same time. Maintained it and all the miles driven were on the 5 fwy. Very minimal stop and go driving. Needing a new transmission and not even having 100,000 miles is soo unacceptable. I feel soo ripped off. According to the complaints, my problems have only just begun. The only place I ever had it serviced was the dealership and I followed the suggested routine. After they preformed their "routine" flush - a week later the transmission was leaking and my car has never been the same. Up til that point the only problem I had was the air bag light. They had already replaced the switch three times but the problem was and still isn't fixed. That repair is a five hundred dollar repair that I would now have to pay for since the warranty will no longer cover it. Based on the cars history I would have to continue to pay for that repair the rest of my life only to have to do it again. Ford was and is aware of these problems but does nothing to assist the consumer. I was out of work and still am when this happened and had to take a loan to pay for the repair. It is salt on the wound every month.

- , Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #76

Jun 012012

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

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

Car makes grinding noises, jumps when put in park and turned off, makes all kinds off weird noises. I would have expected it to last a lot longer since I have always taken good care of it. It is to costly to put any more money into a car that is really only worth $5000.00 or so. I just had to have all the hubs replaced in 2011. What a money hungry car!!!!!

- , Longview, WA, USA

problem #75

Oct 202012

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I started having the same problems O/D light flashing.. Transmission felt it wanted to jump out the truck. This is Ridiculous.. When I see all the other complaints online and they're all the same.. It's as if Ford built that truck knowing this problem will happen. Why in the hell would You build a truck and a person can't check their fluid in their transmission. Your only option is to bring it to the dealer "Ford". Sound like a set up waiting to happen. Since they're aware of this problem and they don't want to recall them. I say lets get together for a class action lawsuit.. Everyone in this economy is having a struggle, this adds on more Bulls***.. This will be my First and Last time Buying a Ford vehicle..... Ford Do SOMETHING...

- , Marietta, GA, USA

problem #74

Jan 012012

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

My 2002 Ford Explorer has recently started to slip going into 3rd gear when accelerating at medium speed. I haven't had it serviced yet and feel it may be low in fluid but after reading all the complaints with the transmission I'm not sure if it's something major now. It also makes a grinding noise ever now and then when accerating from a stop but after going through the gears it drives fine, I though the grinding might be coming from the differential because it had to be replaced after 15,000 miles when I bought it new in 2002. What ever the deal, Ford will probably charge out the ass. I usually fix most problems myself because I have been in maintenance all my life, hell they tried to charge me 1,500 to replace the steering rack. I bought it at Advance Auto for 200 and put it in myself. I know they have to charge for labor but that's BS. I guess I will have to find a good mechanic soon before it dies. Hope with all this complaining that Ford back you up on this.

- , Fort Mill, SC, USA

problem #73

Aug 012012

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 186,000 miles

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

ford needs too man up

and do something about their transmissions.

- , Lintn, IN, USA

problem #72

Jan 252012

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

My issues is not the transmission but that's the only category to state my problem. The O/D light comes on and there is an issue shifting from 2nd to 3rd (all other gears work perfectly). Being that I had the transmission rebuilt a couple of years ago I know it is not the transmission. Others have made the same complaint but know one knows the solution. Whats the issue????????????????????

- , Richmond, VA, USA

problem #71

Jul 172012

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

My truck came out of park and went into reverse without anyone in it!!! Thank god it only hit another vehicle and not a person or animal. Ford had a tech notice out on this issue since Oct 29, 2004 but never notified owners because it had not happened enough YET to become an actual recall!!!! In the mean time it is costing me close to $1,000 and how many days are me and the other vehicle owner without our trucks for repairs!!!!!!!!!

- , Lima, OH, USA

problem #70

Jul 072012

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

Fairburn Transmission says there will be a class action lawsuit because the bore where the bank of ply pins are are drilled at an odd angle and easily wear out. The owner of Fairburn Road Transmissions says he is aware of this problem. It is a defect in the way the transmission was made.

- , Lithia Springs, GA, USA

problem #69

Jun 122012

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles

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

I have a 2002 ford explorer and the tranny slips from 2-3 and the overdrive light is flashing and the check engine light is on. it will not go into overdrive after it warms up. and i found out with my 2yo and 3yo kids in the car that if you need to pull out somewhere where cars are coming it just revs up and then slams into gear when you let off the gas and they will not inspect the car until its fixed so i just cant drive it anymore until i save up $3200 to fix it and even then everyone says it will just do it again. ford needs to at least help with their problem. I've always been a ford guy but i think I'm a trade it in on a newer tahoe, but i couldn't even get a good down payment outa the explorer with this problem. anyone want to but it for cheap? very nice car if it wasn't for that.

- , Casar, NC, USA

problem #68

Feb 252012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I bought my FIRST AND LAST FORD EVER!!!! NEVER WILL AGAIN!!! SHOULD OF WENT WITH MY KNOWLEDGE OF ALWAYS SEEING FORDS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD! MY EXPLORER STARTED SLIPPING WITHIN 1 WEEK OF PURCHASE! I HAVE TO LET OFF THE GAS AT 25MPH SO IT CAN SHIFT, THE USED CAR DEALER WANTS ME TO PAY 1,500. TO A FRIEND OF HIS TO REBUILD MY TRANSMISSION.. AND SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE NEW HAHA YOU CAN FOOL ME 1 TIME BUT NOT TWICE!!!! I AM ON DISABILITY AND DON'T HAVE THAT KIND OF MONEY LAYING AROUND!! I HAVE 4 CHILDREN I INHERITED TO SUPPORT AND THIS IS WHAT I GET!!! A DEALER TAKING ADVANTAGE OF ME!!! I FEEL HE KNEW ABOUT THE TRANNY BUT WON'T ADMIT IT!!! FORD NEEDS TO HELP ALL OWNERS!!! I AM WAITING TO JOIN A LAWSUIT IF ANYONE GETS ONE GOING ....

- , Millington, TN, USA

problem #67

Jun 042012

Explorer XLS 4.0L Sohc V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

Summer of 2001 this Explorer was new and after 500 miles the transmissiion blew a seal and lost all the Trans. Fluid. We had to have the unit towed back to the Ford dealer. They returned it when they said it was fixed. I placed news papers under the Trans when parked. Transmission oil was still leaking. But worse, I saw that the Ford Co. replaced the two steel external cooling tubing with a rubber quick fix connecter. We insisted that this was a new Ford SUV with only 500 miles and fix it right and stop the leak. The Ford people came and towed back to the shop. A couples years lated the transmission was missing gears, we paid the Ford Dealer to fix this problem. Onother year or so passed the shifting became rough when going into reverse. But now 2012 no reverse. Trans Oil is Red no burning smell , no bit of metel. Moves in only one forward gear. We call the Ford Co. They did admit that 2 out of 10 , 2000- 2002 Ford Explorer had the same problem. Plus Ford said there is no recall on the this transmission at this time. But for a while back they did repair the problems free of charge. However: Ford stopped the program because it became to costly. Next I called my Ford Dealer, Im told a rebuild Transmission would cost a bit more than $3,000 with a three year guaranty or 100,000 miles. In the first place the unit didn't last 500 miles. Something wrong with the recall system when so many units or 20% were defective. Ford must have important friends in Washington. I'm only a retired carpenter who cares about the working anymore?

- , Palm Coast, FL, USA

problem #66

Mar 222012

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

click to see larger images

difficulties shifting

WTF first it is hard to shift into park then it just broke off in my hand

- , Buffalo, MN, USA

problem #65

Mar 012012

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

click to see larger images

difficulties shifting

If you cant shift out of park or have a hard time getting back into park your BSI Brake Shift Interlock, (the pin in the picture that runs vertically directly behind the ignition) would be a likely cause. Ford now sells a pin that reacts quicker when pressing the brake. Remember to check and make sure that when the vehicle is RUNNING (must be running not just key turned forward) to make sure your brake lights are working. If they are not than this part is not what you need. Remeber to check your fuses and test your brake lights first. To remove this part you would need to remove the hex bolt and then the three screws under the steering column that hold the wire loom on. Make sure and test the harness going into the BSI while the key is on and you are holding the brake. If you get voltage you know you need a new one. The reason I advise making sure this part is truly out before you go buying one is because it's more than 100$ and no one that I have found besides FORD carries the part. You can override the switch if you need to by sliding the small plate underneath your steering column cover and inserting a small flat head screwdriver (WARNING: doing this will make your vehicle always susceptible to being removed from park even when the key is not in the ignition). So if you do use this method don't make it permanent.

- , Gainesville, TX, USA

problem #64

Mar 242011

Explorer XL 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Had transmission oil change, helped some. Still has a vibration. Ford needs to take responsibility and do something about all the problems in the explorers. We've owned Fords for 30 years, that includes 2 explorers. Have had electrical problems with both. We have decided not to buy another Ford SUV unless they decide to change their way of doing business on faulty workmanship.

- , Granby, CO, USA

problem #63

Jan 202012

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Vehicle has 118,000 driving home from work heard clunk and o/d off light blinks car wont shift out of first or go over 30 mph.

- , Hartford, CT, USA

problem #62

Aug 282011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

click to see larger images

difficulties shifting

the 2002 ford exploder awd was and is the most inovative vehicle and the worst or travisty to the automotive world every possible thing has gone wrong with this vehicle in the last 200,000 miles yes thats right 200k but a new complete drive train, and not one optional item worked properly except the trailer hitch but that blows the trans.if used at all but it does drive thats built ford tough! with a lot of help from junk yard exploders

- , Clinton, MI, USA

problem #61

Dec 302011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

All right, this one really pisses me off. I've been a Ford owner all my life, and until I bought this 02 Explorer I would have recommended them to anyone. But I think this is my last. It has been babied and serviced regularly, first the 4WD module, then the crack in the hatch panel, now the tranny. It started shuddering between 2nd and 3rd, then the OD light started to flash, and I have no idea of how much this is going to cost. It wouldn't piss me off except for the fact that every internet site I have been on looking into the problem and the PO745 code shows me that this is a problem with the majority of 02 Explorer's. I find it hard to believe that Ford hasn't been aware of this problem for years and at the very least have issued a recall before it affected us all. Strike three in my book for Ford, I'll never trust them enough to buy another. I have an old 93 Jeep Grand Cherokee with over 200,000 miles on it which has never given the first problem. Chrysler may have had to been bailed out by the Federal Government, but I'm beginning to think this may have been to them not resorting to knowing putting sub standard parts on their products, which I'm beginning to believe is what Ford did with these 02 Explorer's

- , Jimmy Byington, TN, USA

problem #60

Jun 172010

Explorer Limited 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

My transmission would not shift well between shifts. Would not go into reverse. I had to get pulled out of a friends driveway because it wouldn't back up. How bad was that? I love my truck but it's not worth the hassle of owning it.

- , Lucasville, OH, USA

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