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.

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.

8.3

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,193.00
Average Mileage:
97,510 miles
Total Complaints:
150 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford should recall these enclosed transmissions (39 reports)
  2. Replace transmission (37 reports)
  3. not sure (34 reports)
  4. repair transmisson (11 reports)
  5. drop the tranny and bring to a shop for a rebuild (8 reports)
  6. rebuild / replace transmission (8 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 8)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #110

Sep 112010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,000 miles

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

This is the 3rd time I'm having the transmission rebuilt. This time I've decided to go to a private transmission repair shop to have it rebuilt. The first two rebuilds were done by Ford service. Obviously the transmission broke down after the service warranty has run out.

I regret not getting an extended warranty. That was my fault. BUT...this vehicle has had numerous things wrong with it. Some that one would never thing that could occur. I would list all the things that have gone bad on this vehicle but I don't have the time to enter each issue.

I am never, ever going to buy a Ford again. I don't even think I'll buy a domestic again. I just don't believe they are building these things to last.

- , Evergreen Park, IL, USA

problem #109

Aug 252010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

The whining and clunking came on very suddenly and I thought having it checked right away would lessen the amount of repair needed, but no it needs a complete rebuild -- the converter was bad, and bands slipping, or so I was told. No dash lights or any other indication there was a problem. The mechanic (independent transmission shop) told me this was not unusual with the Explorer (and I presume other vehicles with this transmission). We've done most of the major service intervals ($$$) along the way and after 127-128K this is what we get! Will contact Ford to see what they can/will do :-/ but this could be it for me and Ford!!!

- , Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #108

Mar 242009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

The estimate was $3800 to fix it. I figured with the rear end singing I could live with the slipping as long as it would last. Well the tranny lasted longer than the spark plug. I couldn't believe the death of my FORD was due to a plug blowing out of the head for the second time. I wanted the rear end to go out, the transmission to get stuck in low or something exciting. Oh well i guess I will see if I can locate the CEO of Ford so he can prepare for this to show up on his front lawn or better yet, Eddie, where are you?

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #107

Mar 272010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

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

we just purchased a 2002 ford explorer from a used car lot i know that the used cars lot people that we dealt with meant no harm very professional and i have known them for some time and bought many nice vehicles from them . My girfriend bought a new ford explorer back in 2004 but due to difficult times later had to let it go so she was heart broken so finally back in the game we bought another one on 3/27/10 a 2002 had high mileage on it i am a mechanic and have changed lots of ford transmissions especially on these years but with the mileage on the vechicle i assumed that all the tranny glitches were takin care of because they dont last with the mileage that we purchashed it with. well let me tell you even these vehicle fool the best mechanics i checked this vehicle from the front to the back in and out no problems as soon as we got home we noticed that it started shifting funny and it started raining the other night and now the door ajar light is on well she loves her truck and i now have to deal with the issues

- , Lake Ridge, VA, USA

problem #106

Oct 132009

Explorer EB V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

I am really disappointed in ford quality. This transmission trouble is both annoying and troubling. Who can trust a vehicle that is slowly failing in reliability? I always have to explain to passengers about the noise. Fortunately it is most apparent when cold.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #105

Nov 192009

Explorer XLT 4.Ol

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,637 miles

It was really annoying. the car was well taken care of and ford would do nothing to help after several attempts. We will never buy another ford again because if something goes wrong ford will do a whole lot of nothing to help.

- , Johnstown, NY, USA

problem #104

Dec 012008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

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

2 times I have had this rebuilt. The car is sitting again with same problems. Don't ever buy another ford. They are a big joke. like it besides tranny problems

- , Middleburg, PA, USA

problem #103

Mar 012010

Explorer Limited 4.6L Romeo

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,833 miles

My first and last ford. Think this might be my last American car/truck. Cannot believe I just said that. My last 3 Chevy's, and this ford have all had tranny problems. Can't America build a transmission? But the sealed transmission? Ford? Wish I had known of this engineering feat before I bought this truck. And the hardest part to take, is that I really liked this truck up until now. Only problem I had early on, was a misfiring condition, new plugs and a new injector took care of that problem. Now this. Ford, Fix your obvious mistake and restore some of what is left of a reputation.

- , Peoria, IL, USA

problem #102

Jun 012007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,800 miles

transmission constantly slips has for years now and it is getting worse ford really needs to address these problems or we should all do something about it

- , South Fork, PA, USA

problem #101

Dec 012009

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

A Nightmare car !!! Got it used with 79K great car. One day the transmission starts to hold the gear too long ...past 2,000 RPM's driving real easy. Had the fluid changed ...of cours at the dealer because Ford sealed that POS transmission !! Seemed to be ok after that. 3 weeks latter I start it up on morning and hear a whinning sound from the motor ...it went away after a few minutes but was replaced by a rattle sound ...long story short ..it was the timing chain tensioner ...in the rear of the motor. The half-retarded mechanic at the dealer said he see's one a month. 3,000 to fix or 1800 to replace the motor with a junk yard one ...I went for the cheap way out so I could get rid of the POS. Next day after the motor my transmission is acting up real bad hits neutral between 2& 3rd now .....Merry Xmas to me !!! Count me in on any class actions guys !! Cant believe an attorney hasnt seen these complaints and contacted us yet.

- , Winchester, MA, USA

problem #100

Mar 202005

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

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

As I was slowing down toward a light, the trans downshifted and there was a loud thud and the whole car jerked. I finished going into work, but on the way home I quickly noticed that my car just seemed to no longer have a second or third gear and it would thud and jerk. Needless to say I just drove to the dealer who said I needed a new transmission. The car was only 4 years old, so well before I was willing to give up on it (and it just seemed like a fluke that the trans would die so soon).

Oh well. Major pain, and had I known then what I know now about the issues with this model, I would have moved on a while ago.

- , Richmond, VA, USA

problem #99

Jan 012009

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Me and my wife bought our third ford in 2006, a used 2002 Ford Explorer. I HATE this car. This car has been nothing but a pain in my rear. Every year we have owned it, we have had to pay more to fix it than the amount we pay every year in payments! With the exception of this year...No this year, if I chose to get it fixed, it will cost more than what the whole car was worth! No! Now, I have an ugly ass silver yard ornament that I can't junk because I'm still making payments on the POS! You can probably guess from all the other complaints, it is a transmission problem that we can not afford to get fixed. You can also probably guess how many Fords we will be buying in the future...ZEREO!

Ford guys you really need to get back to Henry Ford's ideas that made him and his industry boom. To make GOOD working vehicles, AFFORDABLE for the common American. If you ask me you have made yourself a DISGRACE to Henry Ford and his legacy! Copy this site and learn a few things about the man who made your jobs today.

- , Nebo, NC, USA

problem #98

Jan 062007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75 miles

the problem was at 25 mph and after the mechanic worked on it, the problem moved to happening at 35 mph and has been doing it ever since then.

- , Priest River, ID, USA

problem #97

Oct 062009

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

I bought my 2002 Explorer V8 Limited in late 2001, so it has been almost 8 years. I bought it because the American auto industry was not doing well and my brother worked for Ford at that time. All auto manufacturers were offering rebates and 0% financing at that time. I tried to be patriotic and bought American.

Other than bad gas mileage, I love to drive the explorer. I paid over $1000 recently to change the coil and spark plugs because of the "service engine light". Other than that there wasn't any other major problem until 2 weeks ago. With only 66,000 miles, it ran normally but the tranny slipped all of a sudden and started clunking wih very hard shifting. The O/D light also started blinking. Of couse, the service engine light came on as well.

I took it to the dealer and was told it would cost $250 to just diagnose the transmission. What a joke it was because the info panel already said to check transmission and the slipping and clunking of gears still need that kind of $$$ to confirm? I left it with the dealer because was hoping a rebuilt tranny may be around $2000. When I got home, I started googling about Explorer problems and that was how I found this site. The dealer called back and told me it would cost $3100 for in-house overhaul with 12K/1 year warranty or $3700 for a re-manufactured transmission with 100K/3 years warranty - plus tax. That knocked me off my chair when I heard that. I complained about the cost, and the in house overhaul just sounded like a scam to me. Minutes later, the dealer called back and reduced the rebuilt tranny from $3700 to $3400. I told him I had to think about this. A hour later, the deal called again. He told me he could knock $50 off (so $3350) if I give him an OK now. I told him I just needed to discuss this with my wife first.

I then did some more research. I mean, although the mileage of my Explorer is rather low, but the blue book value of mine is about $7500; a bad tranny would be less. Paying $3600 (more than 1/2 of the car's value) sound silly. Besides, I am afraid I will be burnt with more issues after the fix because everytime I bring it to a dealer, it will cost me couple hundreds just to check it.

I couldn't sleep for couple nights because I was just pissed off. By the way, I also called Ford and file a report on this and was given a case #, but was told I wouldn't be compensated unless there is a recall.

I am going to pick up the Explorer tomorrow and just let it rust, and then junk it. I will send pictures of it to Ford. This is the first Ford I bought and is also my last.

- , Bayside, NY, USA

problem #96

Sep 142009

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

What a POS. I hate this vehicle. I bought the car used in Dec. 07. The 1st problem(68,000miles) I had was the damn thing was stuck in 4wd, took to a Ford dealer for repair, they had it for approx. 25 days, got it back, still not fixed right, took it back, finally seems fixed, not so sure though. At about 80000 miles took it to a totally different F.O.R.D. dealer, tranny shot. Mind you this thing had warranty that transferred to me, thankfully,my options were pay $0 and get a "rebuilt" tranny with 1 6mo. 6000 mile warranty or pay around $900 and get a "new" ford factory tranny. I opted for #1 and guess what the damn thing is jacked up again. Of course the extended and tranny warranty are both up. Anyway what mine does, is driving any speed over 45 the thing like jumps in and out of gear, the RPMs stay steady but it is ANNOYING, feels liike it's gonna fall out on the road. Has correct amount of fluid and not abused, only vehicle I have. It's a royal pain ui n the ass. I think I gonna call FoMoCo and bitch, give them my exact mileage and repair bills from their "certified" service techs and see what they will do. Probably notta thing, but never know. I have a couple buddies that are mechanics and they're baffled as to what it could be. I've been around and worked on cars my whole life as well and can't even explain to the svc. managers what the hell it's doing. I think i just figured it out, that blue oval on the front.

- , Mascoutah, IL, USA

problem #95

Sep 172008

Explorer XLT 6.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

I have a 2002 ford explore and while driving i can come to a complete stop and what happens when i start to go but feels like its jerking. this also happens when i hit a bump while driving. i had it under warranty and they "fixed it" got it back and started again brought it back "they fixed it" got it back started all over brought to them "they fixed it" got it back went to go get it fixed again because it started again and warranty ran out wouldn't fix it I'm so done with this car its just problem after problem here not to mention if it was just seeing the fluid yea you cant even check it there is no dip stick in the car you need to bring to the dealer and ive seen where that has lead me. aggravation!!

- , Mastic, NY, USA

problem #94

May 232006

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles

i bought a ford explorer in 2006 and it started shifting hard in about 2007 it is hell, me and my famliy went to colorado in it, and it barly makes it over the hills it shifts hard and i am tired of it i also have another ford a f-250 2008 and it a darn guzzler i loved fords but after all this i am sorry but these are the last ones i will ever purchased.

- , Portales, NM, USA

problem #93

Sep 032009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,216 miles

ok bought it may 2008.replaced rear coil,rear strut,lower control arm,upper control arm,sparkplug most cracked,transmission leaking,transmission slips,doesn't shift properly,sometimes stalls when putting into drive,locks when putting into reverse at times,radio doesn't work anymore,internal compass always says north,temp off whack,

plastic thingamajig on back with ford emblem ripped off when i had a carwash,need new tierod/allignement,emergecy brake completely shot,4way is now only 2 way flasher

but hey i look good driving it:) the only thing i dont understand is why ford does not HAVE A FREAKEN RECALL ON THE TRANSMISSION!!!!!!!!would be really fun passing a car and oops another car is coming in the other lane...need to accelerate yay tranny slip.

- , Val-des-monts, QC, Canada

problem #92

Sep 102009

Explorer Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

I HAD THIS SAME PROBLEM WITH MY 2002 FORD EXPLORER LIMITED 2 YEARS AGO , THE OD LIGHT FLASHING ,TRUCK JERKING WHEN GOING INTO GEAR AND THIS TIME CHECK TRANSMISSION LIGHT IS ON .LAST TIME I TOOK IT TO A FORD DEALER WHO SAID THAT I NEEDED A VALVE BODY AND SOME OTHER STUFF I BOUGHT THE PARTS FROM THEM BUT TOOK THE TRUCK TO A TRANSMISSION DEALER FOR A MORE REASONABLE REPAIR PRICE . THIS TIME THE FOR DEALERSHIP IS SAYING BASICALLY THE SAME THING AS BEFORE WITH A 3,700 TICKET ATTACHED I CANT AFFORD TO PAY THIS FOR THIS PIECE OF SH*T AGAIN. FORD NEED TO RECALL THIS TRANSMISSION OR WE NEED TO GO TO THE BBB OR ON A TALK SHOW OR SOMETHING ...THIS IS MY 5TH AND MOST EXPENSIVE FORD AUTO SO DO THE RIGHT THING FORD AND FIX YOUR SH*T!!!!!

- , Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #91

Sep 012009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

After just replacing the engine for 6,300$ I have no heat and the piece of crap is clunking hard when it changes gears. It's not even worth repairing and can't trade it in..We need the vehicle to get kids to school and us to work FROZEN, NOISY, and BROKE!!!!!! Really bad experience.

- , Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

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