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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.

7.7

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,086.00
Average Mileage:
118,639 miles
Total Complaints:
90 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (44 reports)
  2. new or rebuilt transmission (29 reports)
  3. replace transmission (7 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 1 of 5)

problem #90

Feb 152012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

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

The 2002 Ford Explorer... Dealer told us it was a great car with in a month we started having multiple problems and this was only the 1st time it happened. long story short we had to take it to a transmission specialist and get it fixed which cost us $2000

- , Eden, NY, USA

problem #89

Nov 242014

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,192 miles

IT STARTED WITH IRREGULAR SHIFTING, NOT GOING INTO THE NEXT GEAR AND LIGHT CAME ON FOR CHECK ENGINE SOON AND OVERDRIVE,(O/D) LIGHT STARTED FLICKERING.

I DID NOT KNOW THAT THIS WAS A COMMON PROBLEM AND FORD SHOULD HAVE RECALLED IT. DON'T KNOW YET WHAT THE COST WILL BE SOLENOID REPLACEMENT WILL BE AROUND $8OO, BUT DOES NOT GUARANTEE THAT THIS ALONE WILL FIX THE PROBLEM. TRANSMISSION OVERHAUL WILL COST AROUND $2200. NOT HAPPY WITH FORD, SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT NON-AMERICAN CAR.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #88

May 012014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Bought Explorer from Beechmont Ford in Ohio, the truck had 135582 miles on it, at about 142500 the transmission started to flutter when it shifts, took to a mechanic at a local garage He said the transmission needs replaced, The Explorer now has 146000 miles on it the transmission is getting worse. I called the Ford Dealer they have not helped with anything,

- , Williamsburg, OH, USA

problem #87

Feb 102014

Explorer ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,245 miles

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

THE O/D LIGHT FLASHING ON AND OFF, WILL NOT SHIFT FROM 2ND TO 3RD GEAR

- , Clio, MI, USA

problem #86

Mar 012014

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 293,000 miles

I've read about others having trouble shifting out of Park into R or D -- that's not the problem I'm having. Mine is difficult to get into Park from R or D. When I try to put it into Park, I pull back toward me and swing the lever up, as you should, but something blocks the travel between R and P before it gets to P. I have to stop and sort of wiggle it back and forth to get it all the way into Park. I've read elsewhere about complaints alleging that these cars can shift from P to R by themselves while sitting at idle. I wonder if the problem I'm having could be related. Perhaps those others hadn't gotten all the way into P, but far enough to enable the starting circuit.

- , Raymond, OH, USA

problem #85

Jun 162010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

this transmission slips the 3rd gear... i dont understand why there isnt a recall i have not been able to fix as it is alot of money... i have been using it as it but its dificult to deal with as i can not afford a new car

- , Joliet, IL, USA

problem #84

Oct 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

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

O/D light flashes all the time. Won't shift properly and the RPMs go over 3000, until I let off the gas. Makes terrible noises like it's about to blow up.

- , Broken Arrow, OK, USA

problem #83

Jun 262011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Same problems with this truck that everyone has, bad transmission and door ajar light stays on, Also 4 wheel drive never worked, read about bad control modules changes it once and it worked (for a week).

- , Olyphant, PA, USA

problem #82

Jan 012005

Explorer Eddie Baur 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I never will buy a Ford again... and the 4.0 v6 is very under-powered. Would much rather have a Suburban or Tahoe with a 4l60e.

- , Duluth, MN, USA

problem #81

Aug 062012

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 300,000 miles

Costs 2,900 for the replace transmission, and couldn't do automatic when we need to use "R" reserve when the truck park. Waterloo Transmission at Dover, OH couldn't help so much because it costs us a lot of money, We will need some help to figure what to do with its a ford fault from 2000's and we have 2002 Explorer Ford. Any suggestions?

- , New Phila, OH, USA

problem #80

Jun 242012

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 173,000 miles

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

this is the 2 time the transmission has had to be fix in 3 years , ford talks about how solid their vehicle are , well this in unacceptable.

- , Virginia Beach, Virginia Beach, USA

problem #79

May 052013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

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

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

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

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