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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
93,770 miles
Total Complaints:
433 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced with rebuilt transmission (112 reports)
  2. replace transmission (85 reports)
  3. transmission needs to be recalled (81 reports)
  4. call Ford customer service and complain 800-392-3673 (63 reports)
  5. not sure (36 reports)
  6. local mechanic fixed, not giving dealer any more business (18 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 15 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #153

Dec 232007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


Well its seems apparent that there is definitely a problem with the Ford Transmission of 2002 Ford Explorer. If after all these complaints Ford refuses to face this complaint head on then there is only one thing to do. QUIT BUYING FORDS!!!! I have had Fords in my life from childhood, my dad was a definite Ford Man. But the Ford is not as good as it once was in the day? I own a 2002 Beautiful Blue Ford Explorer, and that is just what it is, beautiful no body damage, no interior damage, but so what! It sits in the driveway with a failed transmission. We had it in Ford several different times long before the transmission went out and they continued to say it was nothing, until one day is just did not move or shift into gear. I have had it....I really think that everyone who has posted a complaint on this website should all get together and file a suit against Ford. I myself and going to contact an attorney and give him a copy of all these complaints as well as the ones on the Department of Transportation Government Website. If you are interested in being apart of the lawsuit contact me at this is my other halves email which she gets daily. Being a firefighter, I don't always have time to check my email. Everyone get together and lets stop this once an for all.

- , Boring, OR, USA

problem #152

Feb 142008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

So my problems is very similar to others. I leased the vehicle and at 51,xxx miles (and out of warranty) the transmission started acting-up. Brought to Ford dealer and stated transmission needed to be repaired, $1200 later problem seem fine. Bought the vehicle and at 65000 miles, the rear clutches need to be replaced, $900 latter problem is fixed. At 121000 miles, the same symptoms of the rear clutches started to appear again, to the point where the vehicle was difficult to drive. brought to dealer, and again indicates rear clutches need to be replaced. This time a bit less money, $700. Picked the vehicle up on Thursday afternoon, Friday morning drove the vehicle and same noise still there as well as jerking/growling when making a sharp turn. Called dealer, and they claim they fixed, but I should bring back to test drive with technician on Monday. On the drive home from work on Friday, transmission starts slipping. By the time I get could get the car back to the dealer the transmission completely failed. So now, another $3000 to fix. In reading the other entries, it is very clear Ford has an issue which they refuse to acknowledge.

- , Macungie, PA, USA

problem #151

Feb 182008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Bought used from local Ford dealer in 2006, 67,000 miles. It just turned 120,000 miles when "o/d off" light started flashing and check transmission warning displayed. Local transmission shop charged $42.00 to check. He said torque converter failed and recommended full rebuild. Says it will be around $1700.00. Looks like I'll fix and sell , never Ford again!

ps. Vehicle is driven by wife like a "granny" never abused, well cared for...

- , Creighton, MO, USA

problem #150

Feb 242008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles


I guess Ill join the club. Went shopping with wife. Noticed the O/D light went to blinking and went out after a bit. Came out the store and went to leave and you guessed,no gears what so ever!!!!!!!! Damn thing wouldn't move an inch. Thank goodness for AAA,had it towed to the house and called a mechanic friend and its goin to be about a $3000 fix,WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH FORD!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seems theres a problem and they wont do anything. Ill be calling them with my thoughts,wont do any good but make me feel better. I will NEVER buy a Ford again and I mean never.

- , Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #149

Feb 152008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,069 miles

Bought new 2002 Ford Explorer XLT here in Ketchikan and driven from town to home as a daily driver [30 miles a day]. Last night my wife parked he car [the Explorer] in the driveway and this morning after the standard 15 minute warmup... nothing! It wouldn't move in any gear. I started looking for the fluid level dipstick, and even used the Haynes Manual which gives a location behind the generator... it isn't there. So I start surfing the net and find out this POS has a sealed tranny, no dipstick. And then I find this site and everything becomes clear to me. Ford, I see your stock sitting at $6.00/share and know why you're going down the toilet. Read Adrian J. Slywotzky's "The Upside" and see why Toyota is terminating your miserable existence. You only exist to make them look good. I'm looking for another way to get my transmission fixed but not through the Ford garage here. IF I COULD BUY PARTS FROM THE PRC... IT WOULD HAPPEN! I will never buy a Ford mfg. component or product again! Get it together, do the right thing or EAT DIRT!

- , Ketchikan, AK, USA

problem #148

Jan 122008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

This Ford Explorer is hands down the WORST vehicle I have ever owned. Sorry for the workers that lost theirs jobs from the Ford Plant closing in Norfolk, VA, but Ford obviously no longer cares about quality vehicles or employees!

With that said, I was traveling in my 2002 Ford Explorer on the interstate when I felt a surge forward from the truck which caused the RPM's to increase and the Tranny Light to come on. Every time I tried to drive it the tranny would clunk. Parked the truck for 1 month and had to take out a Home Equity Loan to fix this piece of CRAP!!! AAMMCO has it now and states that it will be $2400 for a rebuild.

I hope Ford goes out of business!

- , Newport News, VA, USA

problem #147

Jan 292008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles


Leaving the gym, getting in my car and starting the engine. All routine, right? No! I pull out of the parking lot and the $#&$ car just stopped. Engine still running. I knew what it was right away--the @&#$ transmission!! I had it towed to a Ford dealership, but then I talked to a buddy of mine and he advised me to take it to shop that specializes in transmissions. I took it to Mr. Transmission. This problem occurred the week of Thanksgiving. The repair cost me $1900! But that's not all. Recently, in January, the truck would slip 2nd gear and you would hear a loud rev sound! Fortunately, they were about to fix it and it didn't cost me anything. This is my last Ford. I bought it used and it had 42,000 miles on it, but once I hit the 110,000 mark, things started to fall apart.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #146

Jan 282008

Explorer XLT 4.0lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,044 miles

Never again.......and Ford wants to know why their products don't sell and why the Explorer has earned the nickname the Exploder. Its an easy answer.....THEY SUCK!!!! My wifes 2002 Explorer was shifting really hard between 2nd and 3rd gear. I figured it was something that can be fixed in a fluid and filter change. Nope......when I took it to the transmission shop, they found metal in the pan. The transmission was falling apart from the inside out!

I ended up shelling out money for the transmissions shops time and having to buy a remanufactured unit. Here it is 2 days after the reman unit was put in and the son of If I didn't owe any money on this shitbox, I would be either trading it in for something more reliable or better yet I would tow it to the crusher at the local junkyard. Ford definitely isnt living up to the reputation of "Ford Tough".... Its more like "Ford Junk".

- , Concord, NC, Pacific Islands (US)

problem #145

Jan 022008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles

i will never buy another ford product......................

- , Oconomowoc, WI, USA

problem #144

Jan 312008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,365 miles

Add me to the (growing) list of transmission failures on the 2002 Explorer. First problem was at about 80,000 miles. The O/D light would flash and "check transmission" would come up in the display. Took a long time to shift from 1st to 2nd gear. No overdrive as well. Dealer said it was a bad servo & replaced for $594. Same exact problem 3 months later. Dealer now says servo bore is worn and needs a new case. They tell me $3044 for a transmission. Called around and EVERY SINGLE PLACE TOLD ME THIS WAS THIER #1 VEHICLE FOR TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS. They knew the exact model of the trans right off the top of their head, and most predicted exactly the problem I was having. Now it cost me $2668 to have the transmission rebuilt. I was told normally they can do this procedure by boring out the hole the servo sits in, inserting a brass fitting to bring it back to original size, and replacing servo for about $800-$900, but my servo was broken and lodged in there, and the overdrive band was burnt, requiring an overhaul. Of course, Ford does not (will not), do the insert, only replaces the transmission. FORD REFUSES TO ADMIT TO THIS KNOWN PROBLEM WITH THIS TRANSMISSION (AMONG OTHER THINGS). They even have 10 (thats right - 10 !!!!) Technical Service Bulletins on this transmission, but of course, no recall. I will NEVER buy a Ford product again. I don't want to buy an import, so GM or Dodge. Lifetime warranty on the Dodge is sounding pretty good right now.

- , Channahon, IL, USA

problem #143

Jan 302008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


Yes, I too have to have my transmission replaced in my 2002, Ford Explorer, with only 50,000 miles. It is costing me $3,500.00. The same thing happened, my service engine and o/d light went on and I could feel the transmission slipping. This is ridiculous, to say the least. I had a 1994, Ford T-bird and that transmission went out, too at exactly the same time, just turned 6 yrs. old and low miles. Ford did finally recall them and reimbursed me. If Fords does not recall these transmissions and pay me back my $3,500.00, I will never buy another Ford, again. There's something obviously wrong here, and they know it, too.

Update from Dec 21, 2010: Ok, so since I got nowhere after calling and writing to Fords concerning my trans. failure at only 50,000 miles. I told them if they did not issue a recall and/or pay for my trans. that I would never buy another Ford & I stuck to my word, cuz my husband just bought a new car.....a PONTIAC. BTW, right before my trans. went out on my 6 yr. old 50,000 mile Explorer that I bought new, my axel and ball bearings broke while out of state driving on the freeway.....this and the trans. failure are dangerous SAFETY issues.

Update from May 4, 2012: Anything that can break on a car has broke on this defected poc vehicle. I had to replace my bearings last wk. AGAIN. I had to replace another spring, AGAIN, two months ago. Now I have that beautiful cracked panel on my rear hatch door. This is obviously a manufacturing defect. There should be no cracks in the body of my vehicle. Of course, like with the trans. there is no recall and they will not pay to have it repaired. They do not stand behind their product & do not care about their once loyal customers. I am so done with Ford.

- , Brighton, MI, USA

problem #142

Jan 152008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Hello, all 2002 Ford Explorer sufferers. This is some information that may be helpful to us. I have found a website that may be beneficial to us. It's a government site that if enough people have issues with one particular issue they do a recall investigation. So far on this site there are 341 complaints about 2002 transmissions. If you all could please post your complaint on the site maybe they will finally do a recall for the transmission issue. I'm not sure exactly how many complaints they need but hey, at least it feels like we are doing something to help. The website is for the National Highway Transportation and Safety Assoc. Site is

Please check it out!!!!

- , Red Lion, PA, USA

problem #141

Jan 282008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

I guess I am "lucky" that my transmission went 96,000 before the servo gave out?

I just replaced the bearings on the driver's side last month, and now the servo goes out.

The interior has held together and the cosmetic stuff is okay, but if the engine won't turn the transmission and the wheels won't spin on their bearings, then the car is useless.

The center clutch pack broke at 50k, the stereo went out around then too.

I have been a big Ford truck fan, but this car has been a huge disappointment. I learned to never buy the first model year. But really, Ford has been a big disappointment.

I don't think that I will ever buy another Ford. Definitely not another Explorer.

I am just disappointed in Ford. Like someone else, no wonder that the Japanese are kicking their butts.

- , Spring Lake, MI, USA

problem #140

Jan 152008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Transmission number 2!!!!! Yep!! Bought the piece of junk 2002 Explorer in 2005, had it less than 6 months and and no warning lights, no noises, nothing, just no transmission within 3 days of "feeling something weird." My wonderful used car dealer would not help at all, so crying all the while I paid and am still paying the $2000 it took to get a new RE-built transmission. It came with a 6 month warranty. (this was at 70,000 miles) Here I am not quite 2 yrs later and my overdrive light started flashing at me, again, no other warning other than the light, within 3 days I was stuck on the side of the road with 2 young kids in the car and it felt like I was in neutral. Guess what!?!?! I need yet another transmission!!! If I do decide to do fix this it will be the THIRD TRANSMISSION in this wonderful Ford in it's short 6 years since being built!!!! What is the issue with this? I can't afford another transmission, now almost two yrs later the price of the transmission has gone up to $3000, and I still owe 2 yrs of payments on this car. How is it possible that this company KNOWS about this problem and yet does nothing???? Funny thing is that Ford is going under anyway, and they wonder why. They know about this problem yet still have them on the road and continue to make the car! Oh, and also, I have read all the other same complaints on this website (it's all the same...having no third gear with in the light starting to flash at you, not going into drive or reverse and I have also replaced rear end parts at my own expense as well) I can't afford legal action, wish I could, if anyone has any suggestions, please contact me!

Until then, it will continue to sit in my driveway as I can not afford to repair AGAIN at this time.

- , Red Lion, PA, USA

problem #139

Jan 262008

(reported on)

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

This is an update regarding my previous posting:

Original POST: My Father retired from Ford and my Brother still works there. I have tried diligently to be loyal, but this is the last straw. I have had nothing but problems with every Ford I have ever owned, and it's been a lot of them. I get a new car every 2-3 years. I have an old import that has NEVER let me down. Dad nearly had a stroke when I bought it, but good thing I did or I'd be walking all the time! O/D light is blinking, transmission revs high for a long time before changing gears....sometimes won't change at all....afraid to pull out of anywhere unless I have a mile of clearance just in case in won't leave 1st gear. Now I find that Ford and the dealership knew this all along. I'm outraged. How can they be so deceitful, greedy and uncaring. I will never buy a Ford product of any kind again. I will only buy from Companies that have a conscience and feel obligated to be sound members of society. I'm not going to have it fixed. I am going to have it towed to the heap, sell for scrap and get a new Imported 4x4 for these harsh Ohio winters. Thank God I can afford to dump it and get something safe and dependable. I am willing to contact an attorney as well. It is ridiculous that this transmission is still available to unsuspecting consumers.

Chris R.

Toledo, OH, USA

ADDENDUM: Now that I have calmed dealership is going to pay half the cost of replacing the transmission and are giving me a 3 year warranty. My cost is $1900 and they gave me 90 days same-as-cash to pay it. They even threw in free tickets to the auto show. So, after talking to my Dad, I am satisfied with how Ford has handled the problem with my vehicle and have decided to stay loyal to Ford. Mary, in customer service at Brondes Ford is responsible for this. She really went out of her way to make things right and make sure I was satisfied. Thought it was only fair to post when good things happen, too.

- , Toledo, OH, USA

problem #138

Dec 022007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,250 miles

It stated when it took 5 seconds to go in reverse. Long story short - a check ball in valve body #28 in book wore out so much it blew through valve body gasket and in to bottom of tranny pulled it out. New check ball, new valve body gasketl good to go runs good.

- , Charlestown, RI, USA

problem #137

Dec 182007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

Folks, this is my SECOND transmission in the 2002 Ford Explorer. They replaced the first Transmission at 68000. I followed the maintenance schedule to the letter on the second tranny and here we are again. I am unloading it to a Junk Yard and getting rid of the headache. I will NEVER buy another FORD product again. This vehicle has had a new Rear End installed, new bearings all the way around the wheels......

And they wonder why the Japanese are killing them.

- , Smithsburg, MD, USA

problem #136

Jan 192008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

Same as everyone else I guess. The 4x4 High light would blink over so often. I could tell the tranny was shifting hard then it just quit. I wish there was another tranny option I could put in it. Hopefully it won't be too hard to place it with a rebuilt one myself.

- , Sevierville, TN, USA

problem #135

Jan 052008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

My fear got to me ...transmission went out. First i had speed sensor go off. Since

i read alot of forums i parked my car right away and then towed it to my mechanic.

Changed the sensor and blinking 4x4high light stopped blinkin and car was driving

sweet for 5 days. Once i felt slip in gears but didn't pay attention to it since i live in Brooklyn and streets could get slippery from dripped car oil. On the 6th day (morning) i started my car, warmed it up, and put it in drive and guess what not moving :( when i was putting it back to park i hear scratching noise and i knew that most common problem got to me. So now car in my mechanics shop (dont trust anyone else but him)

rebuilding transmission. FORD CEO I WILL SEE YOU IN HELL ! I take great care of my car. Even my GF is jealous that i pay more attention to it then her and still transmission goes out. thinking to rebuild this one for now and then most likely to build new and strong transmission.

- , Broklyn, NY, USA

problem #134

Jan 072008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,639 miles

I bought this car from Ford West in 2002. Immediately, there was a problem with the car slipping out of gear. Something was tightened and the problem stopped. In November of 2005, while still under warranty, Beverly Hills Ford had to replace something in the transmission because they found metal parts floating...

In November 06, while still under my extended warranty, I brought it back to Beverly Hills Ford because it was changing gears hard. Just my luck, the transmission was being worked on when they went out of business. I got the car back with no mention of whether or not the transmission was fixed. I assumed it was fixed since it worked fine for the past year, then in December 2007, the transmission started up again. Santa Monica Ford is saying the transmission needs to be replaced or rebuilt. I have lodged a complaint with Ford and am hoping to hear back. Meanwhile, it looks like I am out $3500.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

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