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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.

6.9

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,530.00
Average Mileage:
81,573 miles
Total Complaints:
17 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (6 reports)
  2. replace transmission (3 reports)
  3. replaced solenoid and torque converter (3 reports)
  4. rebuilt transmission, wish I had just replaced it (2 reports)
  5. take it down put it back in (2 reports)
  6. replace timing chain tensioner (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #17

Oct 072011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles

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

This sealed tranny sucks, no way to help it or even check to see if there is any debre in drain pan or replace filters or anything for that matter, some of use aren't afraid of servicing our riggs to prolong the life of our hard earned dollar..My Explorer is in Great condition, then it all goes wrong at once. FIX the trany FROD oh sorry FORD. Do you need help with designs cause I could do it in my sleep. I have to get my family down the mountain, NW Montana is rough country but we know how to get things done and take care of folks that take care of you. we support you, we need you to supoort us. I don't have 2,000$ for a B.S. trany that will blow again. step it up.

- , Whitefish, MT, USA

problem #16

Feb 162009

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Had to replace Transmission, now having other problems with vehicle.

- , Gorham, Maine, USA

problem #15

Jun 132010

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

With only 36,000 miles, the timing chain rattles EVERY time I go from 20-30 MPH, and it probably started around 30,000. I thought I needed to use premium gas or a gas additive. What do I know? My regular mechanic diagnosed the problem and told me that, according to Ford, the timing chain tensioner system needs to be replaced. The Ford service guy told me that I better get it fixed soon, because if the timing chain breaks, I'll be looking at a new engine. My regular mechanic didn't give me such a severe warning. I guess this happens often enough for Ford to add it to their long list of potential problems with this vehicle.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #14

Jan 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

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

transmission has a rattle at idle,also o/d light starts flashing when going up a hill and trans does not shift properly sometimes.

- , Mingo Junction, OH, USA

problem #13

May 302005

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

Started hearing a rattling/ticking noise. Thought it was an exhaust leak, but the internals of the torque converter had actually broken apart and were spinning around inside of it.

- , Poland, OH, USA

problem #12

Apr 142009

Explorer Limited 4.6V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,508 miles

i have a ford explorer ut 2002 v auto i am getting a noise at low speed turning feft or right i took it to a ford dealer and they replaced the oil in the transfer case but i still got the noise. some sa its the diff or transfer case. help

- , darwin, default, Australia

problem #11

May 302009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

So we needed a new vehicle, went to Harold Zeigler in Grandville, MI, found this really nice 2002 Ford Explorer took it for a test drive, everything seemed fine. We ended up buying it for what we thought was a really good deal.....well were we ever wrong. We've had this vehicle for 1 week...yep just 1 week and we need to get a new transmission. It has 100,000 miles on it and is a big fat piece of crap. We just spent 7 grand buying this vehicle and now we have to pull another 3 grand out of our butts to replace this transmission. Never again will we buy a Ford Explorer. Thanks for making our lives so much easier. It's not like we don't already have enough things to pay for.

- , Allegan, MI, USA

problem #10

Feb 102009

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

I've had a 1998 and a 2000 Explorer which ran beautifully to over 100,000 miles, so I didn't think twice about buying my third, a 2002 Explorer Limited with a V-8. The truck only had 47,000 miles and the guy said it was his wifes. A soccer mom car that had never been used for towing or rough use. It was in perfect condition. I drove the truck for two weeks when I noticed a clattering sound coming from under the car. Took it to the shop and it was diagnosed loose springs in the torque converter. Had the whole thing replaced for $1,200. My mechanic is great. He told me that he has seen this problem in a number of 2002 Explorers. He used an aftermarket company who builds torque converters for this problem. He said he would never replace it with an original Ford part because the problem would just happen again. We'll see how it goes. I only paid $5,300 for the truck, so I feel like I can deal with a few problems. Otherwise it is a beautiful truck and very comfortable and powerful. I can see why people are so mad who bought their truck new in the $40,000 area. It's not right for major parts to wear out with such low miles.

- , Redwood City, CA, USA

problem #9

Nov 172008

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

this was one really really big pain in the _! the noise was first thoughtn out to be a flywheel crack. could not find the problems so i put it, back in same noise still.

- , Carencro, LA, USA

problem #8

Apr 132005

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

POS FORD EXPLORER TRANS/TORQUE CONVERTER FIXED/REPLACED REBUILT 6 TIMES BY FORD DEALERS. STILL MAKING NOISE, A KNOCK AT IDLE. NOW FORD SAYS IT IS THE ENGINE. THEY SAY IT IS THE NUMBER 8 CYLINDER EXH VALVE. THEY ARE A TOTAL PAIN IN THE ASS TO DEAL WITH, AND WANT TO ONLY REPLACE 1 CYLINDER HEAD. IF ANY, THEY ARE MAKING ME JUMP THROUGH HOOPS FOR RECIEPTS FOR SELF OIL CHANGES. I HATE THIS TRUCK, AND I WILL NEVER!!!! BUY ANOTHER FORD PIECE OF SH*T!!...NICE JOB ASSHOLES!!!!...SO PISSED BEAUTIFULLY KEPT SUV...SUCKS ASS

- , Romeo, MI, USA

problem #7

Mar 302007

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

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

I just happened to stumble on to this page and decided to check it out. To my surprise FORD really does have some issues. I did buy mine from a used car dealership. They must have put some quick fix in the tranny or something, because all the rattling and whining of the transmission started right after I bought it. I have 2002 explorer xlt with 4.6 V8. It has 113,000 miles and Im scared as sh*t that damn thing is gonna take a dump on the highway. When you get up to about 50mph it whines like hell. When you start off it rattles all to sh*t and when you shift from reverse to park it makes a god awfull loud noise. God help everyone us that bought one of these.

- , Central, SC, USA

problem #6

Sep 292007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

this is just one in the line of many problems first the engine then the trans the abs hatch glass fell off wheel bearings if i was selling something with this many problems and asking top dollar for it someone would have shot me by now hey the best part of all is that after about 10,000 dollars wort of repairs the truck is olny worth around 3,500 on a trade in at a ford dealership payed 28,000 five years later and 10,000 worth of rebuilds and i cant get sh*t for it way to go ford looks like iam buying a honda or something

- , Scranton, Pa., USA

problem #5

Sep 252007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

I have had my Ford Explorer for 2 years, I purchased it from the Dealership with some warranty. The truck had about 54,000 miles and began given me trouble almost immediately. When I accelerate it jerks really hard, and does not pick up speed. It also begins to shake until I let go of the accelerator. I have taken the truck in for repair on 4 occasions 2 different Ford dealership locations and they only found minor problems that were fixed within a day. They both said they weren't able to detect anything else wrong, yet my truck continues to respond the same way. I feel they are giving me the run around until my warranty expires. There is no way a vehicle should drive and feel this way, especially with such low miles. I haven't even used it for any long distance driving for fear it will break down at any minute. There is way too many complaints from consumers and I want to see Ford responsible for this headache.

I will NEVER purchase a vehicle from them again !

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #4

Apr 152007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I am 23 years old and I work as a teacher. I don't make very much money. I bought a ford because I heard that they were dependable and shouldn't have any problems with it. I haven't even had it for 2 years and I have had more problems with this piece of sh*t. I noticed a problem when I was accelerating and my whole car started to vibrate so bad that it was very uncomfortable. I took it in to a mechanic shop and they looked at it for a half an hour and couldn't tell me what was wrong with it. So I drove it to AAmco and they wanted to charge me 1700 dollars. I don't have that kind of money to be handing out. With all these complaints that I have seen Ford needs to fix their problem or they are not going to have a business anymore without any customers!

- , Ft Collins, CO, USA

problem #3

Apr 022007

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,117 miles

I posted earlier about the rattling noise from the torque converter, as it turns out both the solenoid and torque converter had to be replaced and i was LUCKY it wasnt worse (this according to the ford dealership). Since we purchased this truck new I have complained about the engine hanging in gear, I have also had my truck serviced according to fords schedule. This major repair has come as a big surprise, and my cost is 450 cdn. Not sure why I have to pay anything since I havent done anything wrong and have followed the servicing schedule that ford suggested. If ford is willing to eat 75% of the cost, for an obviously crappy transmission they put in their vehicle, they should also eat the 25%.

- , Vancouver, BC, Canada

problem #2

Mar 282007

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,117 miles

just went in for my regular service only to find out there was a problem with my transmission. I had complained early on about the truck "hanging" in gear going down hills, was told they would download an update to the truck "computer", never fixed a thing. Truck also takes a bit of time to go into gear when going from reverse into drive (like when backing out of your driveway).

I own 4 ford vehicles, have always owned ford, but I have to say this transmission on the 02 ford sucks big time. It is obvious from what I read that there is a major problem here that ford needs to fix and pay for 100%.

I have been told by Ford that it may only end up costing $300-400 to repair, which is the 25% I have to pay and that ford will end up eating the 75%. I suppose its better than the $1000.00 I would have to pay if they had to replace the transmission.

Point being its FIVE years old, and quite honestly Ford should eat the whole cost. The truck is scheduled for a diagonis next week, who knows what else they will find.

- , Vancouver, BC, Canada

problem #1

Dec 262006

(reported on)

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

a month after i bought the SUV, I had a chatter when it shifted into drive. So the dealer sent it to B&P transmission after i got it back the first time there was a loud whining noise. So i took it back to them and they pulled the transmission out again. When i picked it up the the noise now sounds like a rattle in the transmission till it shifts to drive then the noise goes away. So i brought it back again they said they put a new torque converter in it. When i left there again the noise is still there on return to them they said there going to take the transmission out again (for the 4th time) needless to say they called me and told me they had to get a special tool for installing the torque converter and it should solve the problem. Well here we go again the noise is still there and i'm going back for the 5th time. Now is there anybody who would now what the noise is since a transmission shop don't. Would appreciate any help.

- , Swansea, Masssachusett, USA

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