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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
16 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,198 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 36 of 45)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #188

Apr 032006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

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

2nd gear lost in transmission O/D light flashing erratic shifting, had transmission rebuilt at over $3000 cost to me Ford said whoops sorry.

- Hanover, PA, USA

problem #187

Mar 212006

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles
Transmission failed suddenly while traveling at highway speed of 65 mph, car jerked extremely hard at 65 mph and suddenly slowed to 30 mph. O/D on/off light came on and also check engine light. I was able to get the car off the road thanks to the help of another motorist who was behind me and realized my car was breaking down. He assisted in helping me change traffic lanes to get to a safe spot to stop. Car was towed to dealership and determined that at 54,000 miles transmission failed. Transmission is covered under the 100,000 mile warranty, however first automotive has decided to put in either a used or salvaged transmission. They refuse to tell us anything about the condition or mileage of the used/salvaged part.

- Evergreen, CO, USA

problem #186

Nov 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles
Transmission sometimes not going into 3rd and slipping between 1st and 2nd and 3rd. Bought it used so out of luck but have talked to dozens who had the same problem. Ford issued this warning to their dealers "03-25-4 Dec 03 A/T - 5R55W no 3rd gear/slipping 2-3 shift/dtc's set" so many of these are just going out. Due to having a baby we have not had the 2800 to fix it. Just hoping it lasts at least 6 more months.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #185

Apr 042006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,200 miles

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

Transmission went bad at 68,000 miles. It was unable to shift from second to third gear. Previous to that make very hard noises when shifting from third to second.

- Caparra, PR, USA

problem #184

Apr 062006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles
Took 02 Ford Explorer in due to car not shifting when it should. According to Ford, I need a new transmission. The Explorer only has 34,000 miles. Freedom Ford in hampton, va installed a new transmission for $3600.

- Langley Afb, VA, USA

problem #183

Feb 262006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,360 miles
Automatic transmission (5R55W) has failed at 30,300 miles 10 months past lousy 3yr/36K bumper to bumper warranty expiration! 1 month prior to failing there was a second or so delay shifting into reverse or a harsh bump upon engagement. On 2/26/06 after a 30 minute drive on the interstate and then doing an in-town errand, the overdrive off light started flashing. After parking it in our garage there was a burned fluid smell. Due for the 30K transmission service, I also asked for a computer diagnostic test at an independent trans. Specialist. The mechanic came to me with the pan asking do you possibly have an extended warranty. (no! I shouldn't need one for a major component such as a transmission.) the fluid was completely black with no hint of red. Additionally the magnet was covered with a 1/2" thick layer of metal shavings! the computer code (P1783) revealed that the fluid had heated to greater than 270 degrees F. the transmission is fried and his best estimate to rebuild it was around $3,000! let me state that this vehicle was never driven under any harsh conditions, even those you should be able to do according to Ford advertisements such as towing, off-road or using the 4 X 2 low gear. After doing an internet search and reading how many people have repeated failures with the rebuilt and/or new 5R55W's installed, what is the consumer supposed to do" we have to pay for Ford's manufacturing defect because they are not taking responsibility for poor engineering on their vehicles. As many others have expressed, this vehicle is not even paid for so this is a huge financial burden for our family. I recognize that this is not a safety issue exactly, but it sure is hurting the pocketbook of consumers who have no protection from consumer laws once it's past the 1 yr for lemon law or the warranty has expired. How do we get support as a group to get a class action lawsuit started" not built Ford tough!

- Pleasant Prairie, WI, USA

problem #182

Mar 262006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

While driving on the freeway, my O/D light started flashing and my car would not shift. I ended up having to drive at 25 mph and at 5000 rpms in order to get home. I have heard of more than several other people having the same problem with 2002 Explorer. Ford did nothing to help me.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #181

Mar 222006

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
Automatic transmission failure sudden.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #180

Mar 202006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
2002 Ford Explorer exhibiting transmission and rear end problems Ford should recall all 2002 Ford Explorer for this problem. It appears to be very wide spread. Cost estimated to be $6000 for repair.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #179

Mar 052006

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2002 Explorer transmission is bad after only 33,000 miles.

- Moxee, WA, USA

problem #178

Mar 082006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,460 miles

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

This is the second time in less then two years I have had to have the transmission rebuilt. It was bought on 8/14/04 as is no warranty from a dealer (demo) unit it had 38547 miles on it, 10/13/04 the transmission blew with 41675 miles on it. The dealer wouldn't give me no help as well as Ford customer service, I paid $2181.03 to have it rebuilt including the torque converter replaced, and the solenoid pak (which was replaced 2 more times shortly after being installed each time) it needed a ls kit, bas hing kit, 5 forward steels, filter and fluids. March 8th 2006 I find myself spending another $1412.56 to have it rebuilt yet again now only having 64460 miles on it, it needed an overhaul kit, filter and trans fluids, intermediate band, od servo piston, int servo piston and another solenoid pak as well as the transmission case repaired. I have owned several cars in my life time and never had to replace a transmission especially twice in less then two years, this is my first Ford and will be the last Ford I own! I can't afford to spend this much money every two years and shouldn't have to the way I see it!

- Clinton Twp, MI, USA

problem #177

Nov 072005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,656 miles
: the contact stated while shifting gears, the automatic transmission made a clunking noise and the vehicle displayed a jerking motion. The vehicle was seen by a dealer and the solenoid housing of the automatic transmission was replaced. Afterwards, the problem persisted and the solenoid housing was again replaced by the dealer. The front pads were replaced. The drivers side door would pop open. There was a delay when shifting gears, and then the vehicle would slam into gear. Updated 04/06/06.

- Weatogue, CT, USA

problem #176

Mar 062006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,500 miles
Automatic transmission began having shifting difficulties shifting up and down between gears. The occasion that prompted this occurred as I attempted to place the car in reverse and it did not engage immediately. I was almost broadsided by an approaching vehicle before reverse engaged and I was able to avoid the collision. It seems it took approximately up to 1 minute for reverse to engage and the vehicle lurched backwards once engaged.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #175

Feb 202006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
Transmission overheating and not shifting correctly while on highway at 65 mph 63000 miles on 2002 Ford Explorer XLT complete overhaul needed on transmission approx cost $2600 to repair.

- Norwood, MA, USA

problem #174

Feb 242006

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I bought my 2002 Ford Explorer limited edition used with less than 47,000 miles on it. It was recommended that I have the transmission fluid changed which only the dealer can do. Since then 2nd gear would slip and my gas mileage dropped 5 mpg. The dealership said nothing was wrong. Now my used warranty is up and 2nd gear went out. They replaced 1, 2, and 3 bands, a drum, and a valve. I had it back 3 days and the same troubles. This time they readjusted the bands. I have back and mileage is dropped even more, at 30 mph it will not come out of 2nd gear and the engine sounds like it is really working, rpms are 2000 to 2200. The transmission feels like it is locking up or completely shifting as it should.

- Brooklyn, MI, USA

problem #173

Feb 172006

Explorer 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,420 miles
I bought my 2002 Ford Explorer with 55,000 miles on it about 2 years ago. Every once in awhile I would get a loud thug when the car shifted between 25 and 35 mph. The service places were never able to reproduce the problem. Last week, I was driving and the car just would not shift - the check transmission light came on and the od light started rapidly flashing. My car is of course out of warranty and the dealership is quoting me $3120 for a rebuilt transmission that they say I need. I have done some research and found that many people are having the same exact problem with the Ford Explorer 2002. There is even the following tsb issued for it that I found online 03-25-4 Dec 03 A/T - 5R55W no 3rd gear/slipping 2-3 shift/dtc's set. However, the dealership will not acknowledge whether or not that is true.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #172

Feb 152006

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The overdrive light is flashing and truck will not go into overdrive. I paid $1500 6 months ago to fix the problem and it is doing the same thing. I took it in again and the repair shop said it was electrical. I paid another $400 to fix it and 4 days later it is doing the same thing.

- Dundee, MI, USA

problem #171

Jan 012002

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles
Bought Explorer XLS 2002 in July 2001. Since owning vehicle have noticed an increase in gear slipping between 2nd and 3rd. Slamming into gear. Dealer unable to reproduce. Charged me $90 to check computer. In 2004 noticed a whining coming from engine, transmission pump failure, replaced. 2 days later, returned to the dealership, the replacement pump also failed. Transmission still shifting hard, increasingly getting worse. I have an extended warranty, worth the money so far. I've read over 160 complaints, all with the same problem. What is Ford thinking" do they think the problem will go away"

- Marlton, NJ, USA

problem #170

Nov 172005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission has failed on 2002 Explorer V-6 with 76,721 miles. Has been to shop 3 times. Torque changed, then transmission rebuilt, now still jerking and lurching-will have to go back. No warranty.

- Fulton, MS, USA

problem #169

Jul 052005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 212 miles
I brought truck on 02/27/2004. The salesman at bill heard Chevrolet made me sign some papers. In two weeks I had to go back to sign some more papers because they said they had made a mistake. They told me that I would finish paying for the car in three years the cost was supposedly $24,000. In two weeks after that I started having transmission problems. I told the dealership but they didn't want to fixed the problem so I had to pay out of my own money to fix the problem. After that they put an insurance on the truck which brought my payment to $518. My air conditioner didn't function since I brought it. My car has no direction at all. Also, when I run the truck more than 65 mph it just starts shaking. In three months after I brought the car I read the papers and realize that the truck did not cost 24,000 like they had told me it actually cost 37,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

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