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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.

8.8

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,867.00
Average Mileage:
111,527 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. replace transmission (2 reports)
  3. buy a new vehicle (1 reports)
  4. weld servo cover (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #8

Mar 102012

Explorer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

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

Tranny started to slip so I go a short distance to ge some fluid at an automotive shop,come out only to find most of the fluid is now pouring out onto the ashphalt.Servo cover is broke, tiny little friggin piece is going to cost me nearly 3,000 bloody dollars. This only if I can find a good used one which so far I can"t,so far it"s been 10days.Thanks very much job #1...What a crock!

- , St.Thomas, ON, Canada

problem #7

Aug 052011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,985 miles

I CAN'T BELIEVED THAT FORD HAS DONE NOTHING ABOUT THIS PROBLEM WITH THE TRANSMISSION. AS I'M READING ALL THE COMPLAINTS OF THIS PEOPLE WITH SO MANY HORROR STORIES THAT THEY ARE DEALING WITH. FORD SHOULD RECALL THE TRANSMISSION AND REIMBURSED EVERY ONE THE MONEY THEY HAVE SPENT IN FIXING THIS RIDICULOUS TRANSMISSION PROBLEM.

- , North Plainfield, NJ, USA

problem #6

Apr 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,500 miles

I am just like the rest of you lucky 2002 owners; mine sh*t the bed also. On my way to have a good dinner with my family, I got on the highway and noticed a huge cloud of smoke after going by last exit for 3 miles. I got out and sure enough the infamous puddle of fluid on the ground. I knew what had happened so I drove it back to my repair shop and he told me that the servo cover blew off due to transmission blowing apart inside.

Ford should definitely have some type of a recall. I thought I was the only one that had the problem, but I guess not.

- , Gardner, MA, USA

problem #5

Sep 262008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

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

Our 2002 Ford explorer started having transmission problems about 2 years ago. We took it in and they rebuilt the transmission. The problem still wasn't fixed (minor slipping of gears). They said that the pan that holds the fluid was bent and replaced it. Now two years later...same problem. Took it in and said they couldn't tell us what was wrong until they took apart the transmission so it would be about $2200 to look at it and fix it. (worse case scenario). We decided to wait a few weeks and look for a new car to maybe trade it in or something. While out of town visiting relatives on our way home, there was smoke starting to come from the back of the car. We pulled over and had it towed. The repair shop said a gasket blew and either has to be rebuilt ($2000) or get a new one($3000). Our car is in Indiana and we live in Ohio so we can't even have it towed here. We either have to fix it, or junk it. The worst part...we still owe $5400 on it! We aren't sure what we should do. Any ideas??? I'd rather get rid of it, but we owe so much on it.

- , Dayton, OH, USA

problem #4

Oct 012008

Explorer

  • Manual transmission
  • 104,000 miles

What a joke! I will NEVER, EVER,NEVER,EVER,NEVER,EVER,NEVER,EVER, buy another Ford again as long as I live. No matter what my wife does to try and convince me. This time it is another transmission problem. My transmission does not have a dipstick and it is apparently a sealed fluid system. It is supposed to be "lubed for life" but we know that is a joke. The manuals also report changing fluid ever 25k with "rough use". Ford once again practices CYA. It continues to leak and then the Goodyear Tire Guys were not able to put the trans back together again. The shop needs special tools, techniques and temp gauges to replace the fluid only. My car now has to be towed to a transmission specialist and then I will have to waste another 5 days to see who is going to pay for all of these costs. No one really wants to take responsibility.

- , Grand Terrace, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 062008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

Driving on I94 with empty utility trailer in tow (OD is on). See smoke behind my vehicle and think it is a brake or bearing on the trailer. Pull over, trailer is fine, smoke from under the Explorer. Look and see leaking of fluid under the engine so shut down engine immediately thinking engine blew.

Notice when being loaded on tow truck that the fluid is very clear for engine oil. Double check and is definitely tranny fluid.

I am told the tranny fluid has broken down (still original) and foamed causing it to overflow. Mechanic in the process of replacing the tranny filter and refilling with 12 quarts of fluid. Praying it is ok after that. Stay tuned.

- , Climax, MI, USA

problem #2

Mar 222008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,768 miles

This started with a fluid change done by a dealer in Albuquerque NM. After driving 45 miles the transmission started leaking fluid out the top vent hole. Dealer said, "Not my problem because we do not make mistakes!". I believe this dealer put the wrong fluid in it but I cannot prove it.

Took it to another dealer who diagnosed as a failed transmission. Could be replaced or rebuilt per recommendation of the dealer. Good thing I chose the replace for 3800.00. Re-manufactured Ford trans was complete junk! After 45 miles the shift solenoid failed casuing a flashing OD light. Then it would not shift into gear. Took it back to the dealer who was forced by Ford corporate to fix the solenoid on a trans with 45 miles. I got it back and it continued to spray fluid out of the top vent hole, same problem the original one had.

Had it back at dealer tranny shop, 50 miles away, 5 times as the rebuilt tranny was under warranty (3years 100K miles). It is reported that there is a manufacturer defect in the 02-03 transmission where a solenoid body cast into the case, wears out. This is something Ford corporate does not want YOU to know.

The re-manufactured transmission had a bad case as well. Ford corporate, forced the dealer to completely rebuilt it in house. Mind you this was a re-manufactured trans with less than 200 miles on it at this point! Finally, it appears that the second re-manufactured transmission is ok. At least it is not spraying oil out the top after 130 miles.

Customer loyalty? Never another Ford. Shame we have had Ford in the family for over 50 years. Never again.

- , Los Alamos, NM, USA

problem #1

May 022008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,964 miles

this is the last problem i have had,not the only one! the vacuumed had to be replaced. after the recall for the back glass, the lid will not stay up, causing several knots on my head and bruised shoulders and the interior on the lid is broken loose and hanging down.causing the lid not to fasten. when taking off it sounds like it is stuck in double low or like you are pulling a heavy load. .had to replace both back wheel barrings and one slightly bent axle. ????????? the rear end has always made roaring and whining noises. has been

- , Martin, TN, USA

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