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 16 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #133

Nov 012007

Explorer XLS 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles


My 02 Explorer sits in front of my house doing nothing and I make payments. I have this urge to just blow it up, If this is such a wide problem, why hasn't anything been done?I cant believe that this company or any other would build such a piece of crap tranny.And why i don't hear this from Expeditioner owners or does this happens to them too.As I type this Iam looking for another tranny on Ebay because I was told just to fix it and good luck.

- , Chambersburg, PA, USA

problem #132

Sep 062006

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

This transmission was a piece of crap and the dealer knew it all along. I've had the following problems that they could never find until they finally wanted me to pay $2700 to have the piece of sh*t re-built.

Randomly lurches forward or reverse when going into or out of park

Slipping feeling when shifting

High revving before shifting

And the all telling blinking OD light with Service Engine Soon

- , Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #131

Dec 182007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Ok here we go first of all we bought our Ford Explorer in Alaska as my hubby rejoined the army....We started having problems with our ford just as soon as we got it...Our front windshield leaked all over everything so that was fun to get fixed as we were moving.. Then while driving to Texas where my husband was stationed at our transmission started acting like it was in neutral cruising down the road and then all of a sudden nothing...We had our Transmission rebuilt in may of 07 then everything was fine until this month...I found my husbands family that he hasn't seen since he was three years old and we drove from texas to vermont and on the way up here sure enough guess what our transmission started acting up again...So yup in the shop it went the day before christmas and we are suppose to be back in texas by tomorrow the 1st of january and here we still sit in Vermont because they can't quite figure out what is wrong with our Ford Explorer...I always thought that my dad was just kidding when he told me to never buy a ford guess I learned that lesson the hard way...We are having to pay over 300 bucks because they never billed the extended warranty people right then they went ahead and sent our extended warranty people the invoice so the shop has already been paid for a job that isn't done yet....So I have came on here and ranted and raved lol...but I will never buy a ford again that is for sure as soon as we are back in texas that thing is getting traded in that is for sure...I hope that you all have a wonderful new year :)

- , Fort Hood, TX, USA

problem #130

May 242007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


From day one, I purchased my Explorer new, I felt that there was something wrong with the transmission. It seemed to slip and make funny noises. I took it back to the dealer the first week and had it checked. They said there were "no events recorded" so nothing was wrong. At 45000 miles an idiot light came on and stayed lit. I don't remember what it said but the transmission wouldn't shift into overdrive. I took it to the dealer with my extended warranty in hand. They gave me a rental car and a week later I had a new transmission. I can only hope this one lasts longer than the first. Ford ought to do something about their drive train problems. I noted in another complaint that I just had my Explorer's rear end replaced too.

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #129

May 242007

(reported on)

Explorer Sport 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

who do call to get a recall going ? i have 2 fords and they are doing the same thing i would never buy a ford again and i will keep looking as to how to file something to get a recall going. if i have to get a lawyer i will - this is bull . my tranny is slipping and my over drive light come on i don't understand

- , Detroit, TX, USA

problem #128

Oct 282007

Explorer XLS 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

I do not understand - if this is a known problem, why do car dealers take advantage of this and sell this to people in bad credit situations? I have only had the car one year in august and now this. They sold it with only a 30 day warranty and now I do not know what else to do. I cannot replace the transmission nor can I pay for a broken vehicle. I owe $12000 on it as the dealer sold it at 15999 last year and I am in an upside down situation. Can't the FORD company do something- damn if this was known what the hell then. Are people out to just ruin peoples lives or something. I need a car or someone who can afford to fix the piece of sh*t to take over the payments or the FORD company to come and get their piece of sh*t or something. Any one with advice let me know something- FORD hater from pa. By the way this started about 6 months into the owning of this vehicle with the check engine light- then the fact the car had to be towed 3 times from various locations and then the crank sensor went and then the car windows wouldn't open then the car wouldn't reverse or go into drive and now the thing sits collecting bills out front of my house.

- , Chambersburg, PA, USA

problem #127

Dec 052007

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles


My family too had this issue with an `02 Explorer. Same symptom, blinking O/D light, jerking motion back and forth. The fact is that this is a known issue from Ford, the Government and the public. Ford are all laughing until the we all show muster and actually do something about it. Here is my contribution, please visit this website, tell everyone you know. It's an online legal site, its simple the more people fill in the form with our complaint the closer we are to having a shot at a class action suit. Remember, this is a KNOWN issue across the country at all transmission shops, their databases are proof enough and lets not mention all of the transmissions replaced along with receipts and records of these actions. Ford should not get away with this, the problem is too common and the symptoms far too similar. I would love to be profane and show muster in that manner but the truth is without action words amount to nil (nothing) The link is Good luck to us all!

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #126

Dec 012007

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Same problem as everyone else. The transmission never seemed right. The dealer never could find anything wrong. Serviced the transmission and said it should be ok. I now believe that they knew all along the transmission was a piece of crap and just hope to get it past the warranty. Symptoms very random sometimes would operate fine for weeks then it would start slipping again. Then the O/D light came on followed by the check engine and doesn't want to shift mainly into 3rd gear. I am going to try solenoid pack hope it works. If not guess it is a new transmission.

- , Evans, WV, USA

problem #125

May 102007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,800 miles

The transmission was REPAIRED 3 times before they finally replaced it 200 miles before extended warranty ran out. All 3 times related to putting into drive or from drive to reverse.

- , Rio Rancho, NM, USA

problem #124

Oct 082007

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Looks like we have to all get together and either write ford or go straight to the president of Ford. I will never again buy a Ford. I wish we could get this put on the national news. And let everyone in the US know that Ford sells crap.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #123

Nov 272007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


Ok so I start the car up and drive a little and he over-drive light starts flashing repeatedly. So I go to check the transmission fluid level under the hood, oh thats right you cant check the motherF* from under there u gotta go underneath. Level is fine.. the car still drove fine so I drive about 5 or so miles down the road to have it hooked up to a machine and come to a red light when It comes time for me to go from 1st to 2nd sounds like dragging metal on the ground. So you know I take it to the ford people and they say I can either rebuild or buy. I mean why are they going to issue a recall on a damn back glass which they didnt even fix but they got this expensive ass cheap transmission that breaks even when you take care of it. I'm not into conspiracy theories or anything but WTF I think they did this sh*t to make themselves a lot of money. I mean if I get it fixed and sell it I would just screw someone else over. Damn you to hell FORD! I'm going foreign baby.

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #122

Nov 142007

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

Here's the deal. Transmission gave out at 48,000 miles on a 2002 Ford Explorer. I was floored! Never heard of such a thing until experiencing this for ourselves. After searching the internet realized this problem is more widespread then we would have ever predicted. Of course, Ford would not cover out of warranty, and in fact advised that we would need to replace the transmission at a cost of $3375! I contacted Ford Corporate for assistance. They said that they referred the assistance to the dealer whom would be willing to help since we were such 'loyal' customers. Anyway, bottom line is they would replace the trans, but it would still be $2500. Yeah, thanks a lot! Then they had the nerve to offer, 'we could repair the stretched band between 2nd and 3rd gear for $700, but there is no warranty'. Couldn't believe it. I asked, no warranty? Not even a 30 day? The mechanic stated no that they could not guarantee the repair. Why would anyone in there right mind do this? So $2500 for a rebuilt with a 3 year warranty or $700 for a repair when I could drive it off the lot and trans could fail leaving me out the $700. At this point, my wife is so pissed that she just wants to trade the dam thing in for something else. I'd like to keep it for a teen that will be of age soon to drive. The car has been decent otherwise. We just replaced the brakes, tires, and had all the service...dam transmission! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

- , Mount Laurel, NJ, USA

problem #121

Nov 222007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,600 miles

Yes, I too am a very furious owner of a 2002 Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer V8 whose transmission just went caput without any warnings what so ever. Ford, you really need to do something about this sorry product that you've put out time and time again. So many people have had this same problem and nothing has been done about it. The Ford company should really be ashamed of themselves, robbing us hard working citizens of our money.

Please let's all band together and file a class action lawsuit against Ford. These faulty transmissions among other things are unacceptable!!!

By the time the O/D off light comes on and the Check transmission light comes on in the Ford explorer vehicles, it's too late and the only option is to replace the transmission....I've never had such a sorry vehicle in all my life.

I've had to replace wheel bearings, air compressor, rear henge for lift gate, and now the transmission. What next? I don't want to stick around to find out. I want to go straight to a foreign dealership and trade this piece of crap in.

Ford Co. you're going down.....I will never buy a Ford again. We consumers don't deserve this.....

- , Durham, NC, USA

problem #120

Nov 212007

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

I take very good care of my Explorer. I was driving and heard a bell, checked the panel and saw "O/D Off" with a note in the monitor that said CHECK TRANSMISSION. For the next day or so, the transmission "slipped" or "raced," meaning the engine reved but it was obvious the power was not getting to the drive shaft. I took it to the dealer and upon investigation was told a "servo" had become stuck in one of the tracks. They also told me the standard "fix" is a complete replacement of the transmission, which would cost about $3,100. This doesn't seem right for a vehicle that had no hard use (no towing or heavy loads) and was cared for according to the schedule of recommended services in the owner's manual.

- , Newtown Square, PA, USA

problem #119

Aug 092007

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,900 miles


- , Columbus, OH, USA

problem #118

Nov 212007

Explorer V

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I just dropped my car off to my mechanic because my O/D light started flashing and the "check transmission" alert came on. $4000 to replace the transmission!!! That a bunch of crap. Thanks Ford, you're the greatest!

- , Athens, TN, USA

problem #117

Nov 092007

(reported on)

Explorer 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

What a mistake it was to buy this car. We have had two other Fords with no problems and we were initially thrilled with our Explorer, until one day the OD light flashed and the next thing I knew we had to have the whole transmission replaced. less than 70K We are selling it now but I feel really guilty because I think it is a piece of crap. I really hope Ford does something about it! How many complaints does it take for them to recall it?

- , Escondido, Ca, USA

problem #116

Nov 122007

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,400 miles

Transmission failed. Service Bulletins have mentioned the issues for years. Ford knows very well exactly what is happening in these transmissions.

How do we initiate recall, class action lawsuit for 2002 Ford Explorer owners with 5R55W transmission?

This is unsafe. Transmission failed during rush hour with family in the vehicle.

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #115

Nov 132007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

I have worked hard in my life.I have 3,500 left to pay off this truck and it seems that its falling apart.I never drive it hard.It was all local driving and the transmission went.I find this to be unfair and out of control.

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #114

Oct 312007

(reported on)

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

About one year ago I felt a kick when shifting from reverse to drive. Two days ago, I was driving and the overdrive light started to flash as off!!! Then the Service Engine Soon light starts to flash. Long story short, I need a new transmission on a car with less than 50k miles... I guess I should be welcomed to the club?!?!?!?

- , Middletown, NY, USA

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