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 2003 Ford Explorer one of our worst vehicles 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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
77,429 miles
Total Complaints:
21 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (8 reports)
  2. complete rear end repair, replace wheel bearings (7 reports)
  3. ring and pinion replacement (4 reports)
  4. clutch pack replacement in rear end (2 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #1

Jan 192005

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • 24,000 miles


The problem has to do with the rear differential of the Explorer. The noise is a slipping sound in the rear of the vehicle during a take off from a stopped position. /mostly happens when turning from a start. 2 friends of mine had purchased their explorers around the same time and one had to have his rear differential repaired at around 20,000. The other friend has about 29,000 on his and has the same identical symptoms. He thinks it is a gear in the rear end.

Not sure if this is a problem with most of the Explorers but it is quite a coincidence that 2 close friends, purchasing the same vehicle around the same time, around the same mileage, are having similar problems.

Have scheduled an appointment to take out to dealer to get serviced next week.

- , Frederick, MD, USA

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