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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.

7.1

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,325.00
Average Mileage:
117,395 miles
Total Complaints:
15 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (14 reports)
  2. add coolant (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #15

Jul 302012

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles

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

I purchased this vehicle used, in 2005. I have been driving Ford products faithfully since 1970. This particular vehicle, (2002 Ford Explorer XLS aka Exploder has been the biggest piece of junk I have ever owned. Not only has the transmission had to be replaced, so has the engine, the rear end, the rear springs, the tailgate has a crack in it. What a pile of crap. The worst part is that Ford will no longer stand behind it's products. Goodbye Ford. You will no longer have me as a Loyal customer. I can promise you this as well; I will tell everyone I know and don't know about your junk cars.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #14

Oct 052012

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,624 miles

Transmission shudders when going from 4th gear to 5 gear (automatic transmission) at about 50 mph. Very annoying and cause for concern.

- , Columbia, SC, USA

problem #13

Sep 122012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,132 miles

THIS IS MY FIRST AMERICAN MADE VEHICLE AND I HATE TO SAY IT BUT ITS PROBABLY GOING TO BE MY LAST, I WAS TOLD TO STAY AWAY FROM THIS VEHICLE- BUT IT HAD BEEN TAKEN CARE OF HAD A CLEAN CARFAX AND I LIKED THE STYLE, IT DROVE GREAT FOR A FEW MONTHS THEN AT 115,000 MILES THE TRANSMISSION STARTED ACTING CRAZY, I KNOW ITS A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE ITS COMPLETE FAILURE. OH AND ALL THE OTHER STUFF IS STARTING TO HAPPEN TOO- CLICKING NOISE IN REAR, BAD WHEEL BEARINGS, DOOR LOCKS AND UNLOCKS FOR NO REASON. I'M PAYING IT OFF AND DUMPING THIS POS.

- , Bluff City, TN, USA

problem #12

Nov 012011

Explorer XLS 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

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

I just want to add my complaint to the thousands of others that are having 2002 Ford explorer transmission troubles. Mine has got so bad that I'm afraid to go anywhere in it. I cant afford the gigantic expense to fix it and the repairs are more than its worth. I Called Ford service (800 393 3673) but they offered no help. I will no longer buy American because the foriegn makers stand behind their cars and Ford does not..

- , Fayette, AL, USA

problem #11

Oct 032011

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

I am just starting to have problems with my transmission, when I put it into reverse it hesitates and then clunks into gear, it also seem like it isn't shifting as smooth as it used to. I have a friend with the same year explorer and she is having much worse problems with her's, so I did some research and found that there have been hundreds of transmission problems on the explorer and the 2002 has to most complaints of all. This is very frustrating and also has a 2 to 3 thousand dollar repair tag from what I have been reading online. Any suggestions on how to get Ford to get this issue with transmissions on a recall or something??

- , Pittsburg, CA, USA

problem #10

May 262011

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

The tranny used to shutter or skip when driving over 55 mph, the way to make it stop? let off the gas and hope it doesn't do it again..NOW when you're trying to gain speed, it starts doing it..my son asks me "Mommy, why is the car farting" as that's what it sounds like as it's trying to change gears upon take-off. My husband is a mechanic and is in the process of changing the tranny filter and fluid (also a big fat pain in the A$$!!!!) Ford, fix your problem, you caused it, you can fix it!!!!!!! If i need to get a new transmission, you can bet your butt i'm contacting somebody, ANYBODY, with the huge list of transmission complaints about his vehicle, and the fact that nothing has been done about it..

- , Winder, GA, USA

problem #9

Dec 052010

Explorer Sport 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

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

Any one no how much to rebuild the ATF in 02' Ford Explorer Sport 4x4 4.0L V6

- , Dry Ridge, KY, USA

problem #8

Aug 042009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,187 miles

Why did those frakking ford tech mech. design that kind of ATF? WTF, all they are doing is cutting stuff short. So you have to depend on them, Shittie sh*t sh*t!!!!!

- , Clarendon, TX, USA

problem #7

Oct 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,500 miles

I have been having this problem for the last 3 years. I have complained to ford about this and had the suv serviced regularly since I bought it. the ford people say they can't find anything.

- , Priest River, ID, USA

problem #6

Sep 192009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 169,000 miles

Fellow Consumers Unite...I am filing a Class Action Lawsuit against Ford Motor Company. All of you who would like to be involved...the more the better...please contact me @ g.s.hulet@netzero.com. Be sure to save your receipts/documents that are proof of the problem that you have had with your vehicle...particularly the Ford Explorer (primarily the transmission) and the money that you have spent trying to repair it. I will save and compile all complaints into a file and will be contacting a lawyer/attorney on how to proceed in filing this lawsuit. Please pass the word along. I am hoping that everyone that has logged a complaint about Ford on this website will get involved with this. Thank You.

- , Spanish Fork, UT, USA

problem #5

Sep 182008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,385 miles

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

Ok, I want to add my voice to the resounding cry that Ford should step up and recall these transmissions. My Explorer has multiple transmission problems. 1. Slips when accelerating 2. Makes the car shudder when it downshifts 3-2 or D-3. 3. Goes into neutral on a hard stop and then slams back in when you accelerate (Yes, I've had the fluid levels checked and refilled on the transmission.).

I'm just waiting for the thing to quite working at which time I will scrap a good car and buy another used one because I won't put that kind of repair money into a problem car.

So, if anyone starts a class action suit, count me in.

- , Golden, CO, USA

problem #4

Apr 012009

Explorer ELT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles

I'm sick of people dissing Ford!! Have you ever tried a coolant on the explorer either before or after you changed the transmission??? I think not, I have a 2002 explorer with transmission problems, but what do you expect?? It has 168000 on it, so you dumb a*ses who think they know it all, please beware, you may be taking you car to someone who doesn't know much!!!!

- , Livermore, ME, USA

problem #3

Apr 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,100 miles

I got my Explorer used in 2005 and have only had until now $2,000 total in repairs. It has been a great vehicle. Recently the transmission has been shuttering. I can be at a dead stop and step on the accelerator to go and I will get no initial reaction. Then it jumps forward. It also seems to hesitate when shifting between gears a lot lately. Any ideas?

- , Brockton, MA, USA

problem #2

Mar 032003

Explorer XLT 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

The hard shift between 1st & 2nd gear happens regularly. Everyone that rides in my Explorer asks "What's that noise?" when going 40mph or faster. It is very noisy/annoying to everyone that rides in the back. I have complained to the dealership that I purchased it from a few times. The first time I was told by the Service Manager that nothing was wrong. The second time they told me it was missing some type of gear in the transmission, but luckily it was still under warranty and they supposedly fixed it. Guess what, nothing has changed. I am used to the noise since I drive it everyday, but I think it is getting worse. I have babied my Explorer from day 1 and I am worried after reading all of the similar complaints that there is no way that this problem will ever go away.

- , Newark, CA, USA

problem #1

Dec 112007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I noticed my transmission started to shutter around 65,000 miles. I changed the fluid in the sealed transmission at 30K even though they said I didn't have to. I changed and flushed the transmission out again at 65K when the shutter started. Recently, I spoke with a Ford Mechanic Online who said all Ford Explorers have this problem. He said the problem is being caused by the intermediate servo hanging up in the transmission case. He said they are seeing more and more of this problem. The servo is not applying when the transmission wants to. The fix is to remove the transmission and disassemble completely. There is a repair kit that drills out the case and inserts a Bronze bushing to fix where the case is wearing. Labor and materials costs about $2,400.00. He said for that much money you might as well buy a new Ford Motor Transmission that comes with a 100k mile warranty. The mechanic said you could try to have the band adjustments adjusted which might move the servo away from the damage in the bore. I spent around 35K on this truck with everything when I bought it. Did I mention I had to replaced the wheel hub bearings at 30K because they became so loud you thought you were driving on flat tires. FORD Fix or Repair Daily, your choice!

- , Katonah, NY, USA

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