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. 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
109,087 miles
Total Complaints:
386 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford needs to recall their faulty transmission (123 reports)
  2. not sure (120 reports)
  3. complete rebuild (78 reports)
  4. new tranmission (46 reports)
  5. new solenoid, pistol in tranny broken (11 reports)
  6. new solenoid (4 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 14 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #126

Apr 062009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,469 miles


I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with an automatic transmission that is going bad. I see that this is a common issue and Ford is fully aware of the faulty product they've sold. One day the car is fine and the next day my light when on - out of the blue. I didn’t know there was a problem until my O/D off light is blinking & the service engine soon light is always on. Plus, CHECK TRANSMISSION LIGHT is also lit up. This all happened with absolutely NO warning. I feel the car is dangerous to drive and am not sure what I am going to do....except I know I cannot drive it anymore. I have three young children that are in this truck all the time. This truck is just trash. I've only made a few payments on it and now it's going to cost me over $3,000 to repair, which is almost what the car is worth at this point. I was always one to stick up for American cars but Ford is really making it hard to do anymore.

I wish I knew about all the 2002 Ford Explorers are having this issue before I bought it. Let me say, I can't believe there has been this many problems with the Ford Explorer Transmissions. I thought I just had bad luck until finding the “AUTO BEEF COMPLAINT” web site! I will say that this Ford is the FIRST and LAST I will ever own. There will not be a problem about leaving it behind.

If you do an internet search there are THOUSANDS of people with this SAME EXACT issue. Some vehicles report as low as 20,000 miles when the transmission fails. Ford should be held responsible for putting transmissions that are obviously FAULTY. Read the thousands of complaints out there from the hard working people who use to trust Ford. I think the Ford Explorer has been the #1 selling SUV in America for years! I really can't understand why. And with selling that many vehicles, if you where Ford and you ever had a major engine or transmission issue of course you wouldn't admit it, they would be out of business.

But FORD says it's not a safety issue. I am so outraged by the number of complaints for the same thing, how can they turn theirs heads and say that it’s not a safety issue. There are too many complaints about this problem…and it costs too much to fix. I still owe $7,000 on my vehicle. I also will never buy another Ford. I have been reading hundreds of the same problems and Ford will not contact these owners and attempt to correct such an injustice.

Ford knows of this problem. Bye-Bye Ford---I will trade this truck in and buy a Chevy, Dodge, GMC or Toyota. Ford doesn’t think they have any obligation or responsibility for the truck because it is no longer under warranty. But they made a defective product and now they should take responsibility for it…what’s wrong with this picture? You would think Ford would have some integrity and do an automatic recall instead of giving people a line, of whatever you want to call it.

After reviewing the customer problems with this truck I wish I did my homework because I would never had bought it. Ford needs to realize that the transmissions in this year are a piece of crap & they need to step up to the plate & reimburse ALL of us. I plan on taking further legal action if nothing does get done about this problem. I hope other owners will do the same.

I wrote and complained to Ford (pretty much as I wrote here, but nicer). Here is there reply...

"Thank you for contacting the Ford Motor Company Customer Relationship Center regarding the transmission concern on your 2002 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer. We understand how frustrating this experience has been for you. However, we have reviewed your situation, and there are no warranties, recalls or customer satisfaction programs on your vehicle that would provide assistance for this repair. Furthermore, Ford and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) work together to proactively identify areas of concern through investigation of consumer and dealer feedback. During an investigation Ford cooperates fully with NHTSA. Ford does not speculate on the outcome of any current investigation or future actions. Due to our rigorous safety standards and constant testing, not all issues result in Field Service Actions or Customer Satisfaction Programs. If a concern is noted, a recall is conducted to remedy a safety or emissions concern in the interest of customer satisfaction and environmental responsibility. Field Service Actions or recalls are released to ensure the appropriate corrections are performed promptly by an authorized Ford or Lincoln-Mercury dealer. Ford will notify customers by mail if a program is announced on a specific component.

Sometimes e-mail communication does not allow us to gain additional information that may be helpful in responding to your inquiry. Should you feel that we have not adequately addressed your questions, please feel free to contact us via telephone at (800)392-3673 between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, local time, Monday through Friday. Hearing-impaired callers with access to a TDD may contact 1-800-232-5952. Please provide your 10 digit reference number - 1522711049.

Sincerely, Julie Customer Relationship Center Ford Motor Company"

- , Brookline Station, MO, USA

problem #125

Apr 122009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Well I get to join the group of angry Ford owners!!!! My truck started with the blinking O/D light and then the service engine light started flashing. The dealer says we need to rebuild the transmission, which sucks but is necessary if i want to continue driving. If enough people CALL THEIR DEALERSHIPS with the problem Ford will eventually (that being the key word) have to fix.

- , Pensacola, FL, USA

problem #124

Apr 092009

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

First it was my rear end that has been whining and vibrating everytime I make a turn at slow speeds. Now my overdriver light is blinking like crazy and the transmission isn't shifting right. It shifts really hard and makes a loud clunk when it goes into great. These explorers should have been called exploders, because thats all they do. I will never buy another Ford Explorer. I love the layout of the vehicle and the way it rides and drives, but if the drive train is made of pot metal, then it wont do you any good to sit in the seat and grip the steering wheel. Don't buy an explorer. Ford doesn't honor the lemon law on these cars.

- , Richmond, VA, USA

problem #123

Apr 062009

Explorer V8

  • Manual transmission
  • 108,000 miles


My Explorer will not even move now and the o/d light will not shut off. It just keeps blinking. Any ideas?

- , Dover, NH, USA

problem #122

Apr 012009

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Second time with this problem. First occurred @ 50k miles. Last time it was only $1000 to replace valve in transmission. This time I need a complete rebuild. I have owed 3 explorers since 1992. The other two were junked because of transmission problems even though the engines were still running in good condition. Will never buy a ford again!

- , Wilmington, MA, USA

problem #121

Mar 022009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles


- , Pine Grove, WV, USA

problem #120

Mar 232009

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,700 miles


I am in the same boat as all these other folks. WOW what a help it has been reading these posts. The numbers are staggering! My O/D light is lighting up like a disco ball. From reading these posts I have come to find out that it is a transmission problem. I bought my Explorer used at 75,000 miles in April 2008. She runs well, but now at 92,700, this problem has arose.

Today I took it to the repair shop at the dealership where I purchased it. I have an extended care warranty that SHOULD cover this, and I am waiting for them to get back to me. The only thing I am concerned with is, according to folks on here, I might experience this problem again in about 30,000 miles. By then, watch....the warranty will be expired! THEN I WILL BE REALLY PISSED!!!!!!! On the Carfax report it stated this was a Rental Fleet vehicle which under normal circumstances they are extremely well-maintained. So I felt good about that. Only other problem that I see with this truck is a "Door Ajar" light when no door is ajar! I hope and pray that I have no more problems with a rebuilt transmission until I am able to purchase another vehicle.

Everyone out there wish me luck!!!!!!

- , Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #119

Mar 232009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,000 miles

As I was taking my car back to an independent dealer for another issue with my rear bearings/hubs, my check transmission message came on and my O/D light was flashing. Good thing I made it to the shop, seen as the car would not shift hardly at all between 2nd & 3rd gear and again at higher speeds. I had my 2 year old son in the car and it was quite a tricky situation here in Las Vegas...trying not to get run over!

My independent repair shop gave me the 2 codes that the computer was showing which was P0733 & P0745 (which is the solenoid issue). They quoted low of $2,100 up to $3,000 to fix. I read another website and they said that you can call Ford on their toll free customer service number and open a complaint and they may do a "goodwill repair". Since I cannot get my car to the Ford dealer, I would have to have it towed and who knows what they would charge. I will just follow up with a letter and a call to the NHTSA. I would recommend others to call Ford at (800) 392-3673 and file a report and the NHTSA. This is the only way things will get better.

- , North Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #118

Mar 222009

Explorer Sport 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

I have owned my 2002 Ford Explorer now for 4 years and have never had a problem until this week. This car is only used 1 mile each way to and from work then parked all day and all tell me FORD how the hell do I manage to get my transmission all screwed up? Solenoid my ass! Even if it's the solenoid pack, you still need to open the transmission to fix it. Guess what? $2,300 down the wonder US auto makers need a bailout. You should try hiring the Japanese to make your cars.


- , Ridgewood, NY, USA

problem #117

Aug 082008

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

We purchased a Fleet owned 2002 Ford Explorer XLT in December 2004 -It had roughly 40,000 miles on it when purchased. Noted the blinking O/D light when driving home..called the dealership and they offered to take care of the problem-which was a tranny problem..WHEW! and the problem fixed and no further problems until August 2008 -had 142,000 miles on it -OD light started blinking, took to repair shop and was told needed a new transmission or rebuild..we went with a rebuild cost 2k....! Now 7 months later 155,000 miles and OD light flashing again-this time diagnostics reveal solenoid pack issue .. Frustrating ... lucky for us the folks who did the rebuild are willing to replace solenoid cheaply.....! They did advise us to start looking for something else -at their shop they call ALL Explorers- EXPLODERS..They have seen problem after problem with the FORD brand transmissions...

- , Crimora, VA, USA

problem #116

Mar 202009

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles


this sucks. ford should fix the junk of a trans. problem started with no warning and bam 2000 to fix it. this should be a recall. does anyone know any updates from ford about this.

everything else is great on the car but the trans. bought a limited edition and now stuck with paying for this crap. wont shift from second into 3rd.

- , Rochester Hills, MI, USA

problem #115

Mar 202009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles


- , Coloroado Springs, CO, USA

problem #114

Feb 022009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

Had a 2002 Ford Explorer, which has never gone off-road, mostly just highway miles. OD light sometimes would be blinking, but would go away after turning vehicle off and on again. Then, I heard a knocking sound under the rear of the vehicle, which became more frequent, until now i can't drive without it occurring often. I called the dealer and they said it might be transmission, or just some bearings that needed to be replaced. This is a car that's been regularly maintained at the dealership itself. I despised trying to spend money on a major repair that would cost more than the car itself, so I drove the car to a Toyota dealership and traded it in for a RAV4. There is a significant quality gap between Ford or any American brand compared to a Honda or Toyota. There's a whole lot of minor problems that I had with the Explorer that I didn't mention because they were tolerable but I will NEVER buy a Ford again.

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #113

Feb 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Here's my submission to Ford ...

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with an automatic transmission that is going bad. I see that this is a common issue and Ford is fully aware of the faulty product they've sold. How do I get some assistance with this problem at a local Ford dealership?

Is there a class action lawsuit in the works for this yet? If so, how do I become a part of it. If not, how do I start one?

Sent it via this link:

- , Levittown, PA, USA

problem #112

Mar 132009

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,150 miles

I have viewed several websites now with people having the same issue. WE NEED TO STAND UP AND FIGHT THIS ISSUE WITH FORD. EVERYONE NEEDS TO VISIT NHTSA WEBSITE AND FILE A COMPLAINT! If we stick together everyone should get this issue resolved through Ford!

- , Newark, OH, USA

problem #111

Jan 042009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

I think it stinks that the trans is so bad. There's no question Ford knew about this problem shortly after the car was on the market. I bought the car used from a BMW dealer who knew so much about explorers' and after paying thousands of dollars, 4 months later I have to rebuild the Trans. The economy stinks, I'm out of work and money, and the billionaires at ford couldn't give a s*$t! Now I know why everybody hates Ford. I feel like Ive been assaulted.

- , Glen Ridge, NJ, USA

problem #110

Jan 302009

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

My O/D off light is blinking & the service engine soon light is always on. This all happened with absolutely NO warning. We took it to a garage where they said it was code p0745 pressure solenoid malfunction which will probably cost about $2500.00 to fix. This isn't the only problem we have had with this piece of sh*t either. 2 years after we bought it, we had to replace a wheel bearing and caliper that cost about $900.00, and to top it off it happened while we were on vacation. Then about a year after that, I went to drive it one day, and it made this horrible grinding noise and it was hard to turn the steering wheel. So we AGAIN, took it to a ford dealership and they said it was the transfer case shift motor and 4WD control module. Well $600.00 later after replacing those 2 parts, the piece of sh*t still isn't fixed so we drive with the 4wd unplugged. WE WILL NEVER OWN FORD AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Circleville, OH, USA

problem #109

Feb 132009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,204 miles

I own a 2002 Ford Explorer XLT... And never F*CKING buying American Again!!

My O/D Light came on and so did my Service Engine Light. I pulled the code (p0775) Which Means... * The PCM has detected a malfunction in pressure control solenoid B* Which I was told 2 different diagnosis. 1st. I needed to replace the solenoid pack in the Transmission. 2nd. The Transmission was slipping in 5th gear causing the O/D & Check Engine Light to appear.

I was told that the best bet was to do a tranny over haul which costs about $$2,300 est.. Times are hard these days!! Like who really has $$ 2,300 to spend??!!!!! The local tranny shop says he does about 15 tranny jobs a year on 2002 to 2004 Explorers. I have a Honda that went 289,000 miles before the tranny went. And American Car Companies want us to bail them out.. Let THEM F*CKING ROT!!

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #108

Jan 182009

Explorer XLS V6 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,321 miles

As most of the people on here started with the O/D light flashing and then the check engine light with the 2/5 code, which means 2nd and 5th gear is shot. Don't wait to take it in as your solenoid can pressurize to the max and blow a hole in your case which is more money. Local transmission shop did it for $1,400 not including tax, that was a complete rebuild everything included. The owner said he does about 3-7 a month and it is a common problem. He also said the transmission is basically the same from the old 1980's Pinto with some modifications.. I guess the transmission and the wheel bearings seem to be a common problem on the explorer.

- , Derby, NY, USA

problem #107

Feb 102009

Explorer 3.2lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I can not believe that I have to pay out over 2800.00 to have the transmission rebuilt with only 60,000 miles. I have always kept the maintenance up on this Explorer. I truly believe that if Fords wants to stay in business with our tax dollars, that they should reimburse us with this excessive repair bill, and or totally recall the 2002 Explorers, for the o/d light and the bad transmissions.

- , Memphis, TN, USA

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