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 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.

8.2

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,765.00
Average Mileage:
88,028 miles
Total Complaints:
25 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (12 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (6 reports)
  3. ford needs to recall (3 reports)
  4. needs solenoid body (2 reports)
  5. replace transmission (1 reports)
  6. replaced transmission with a jasper rebuilt (1 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #5

Jan 012009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

Just another problem to add besides the transmission.. Way to go Ford.

- , Queen Creek, AZ, USA

problem #4

Feb 252008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR SHOUTING BUT THERE IS NO WAY I WILL EVER BUY A FORD AGAIN IN MY LIFE. I TRADED IN A NEON FOR A PIECE OF CRAP AND I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE PAYMENTS UNTIL I GOT A SLOPPY FORD. I HATE THIS CAR THE O/D LIGHT POPS ON OUT OF NOWHERE AND IT CLUNKS AND SHIFTS HARD AND DELAYS GOING INTO REVERSE. IT HAS A HARD TIME SHIFTING FROM GEAR TO GEAR. I TOOK IT THIS TRANSMISSION SHOP PAUL'S TRANSMISSION IN COLTON CALIFORNIA WHO DIAGNOSED THE PROBLEM AND TOLD ME THAT IT WAS THE TRANNY ONLY FOR THEM TO REBUILD IT, REBUILD THE DIFFRENTIAL, AND NOT EVEN 8,000 MILES LATER IT STARTED GOING BACK OUT AGAIN. THE FIRST TIME THEY PUT A SHIFT KIT ON THERE, A COOLING FILTER AND LIKE SOME OTHER STUFF I NERVER ASKED FOR BUT SINCE THEY SPECIALIZED IN TRANNYS THEN I ASSUMED THEY KNEW WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT. LIKE I WAS SAYING 8,00 MILES LATER IT MESSED UP AGAIN NOW THEY ARE TELLING ME THE BAND BROKE, THEN I NEED SOLENOIDS (HOWEVER U SPELL IT), THEN I MAY NEED ANOTHER KIT, THEN THEY HAD TO DRILL A WHOLE BECAUSE FORD MADE THEIRS TO SMALL ON THE SIDE OF MY TRANNY, AND TO TOP IT OFF I NEED A VALVE BODY OR SOMETHING. THE TRUTH IS THEY CAN'T EVEN FIX THE PROBLEM THEY HAVE HAD MY TRUCK FOR ONE WEEK NOW AND THEY SAID BECAUSE THE ECONOMY IS MESSED UP AND THEY HAVE BEEN SLOW THEY WON'T HAVE THE CAR READY UNTIL TWO WEEKS FROM NOW BECAUSE THAT GIVES THEM TIME TO GET CUSTOMERS TO MAKE MONEY TO PUT INTO THE FORD :(

- , Colton, CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 032008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

I was so excited about getting a new vehicle last week! I really wanted an suv and thought a ford explorer would be nice. I really liked the ford explorer. I searched and searched for one til i found one i could afford and liked. I bought my 2003 explorer and byers auto in Columbus Ohio. I was ready to leave with my vehicle and heard puttering in the engine. I thought maybe it was just the way it sounded so i went home with it. The next day i drove it somewhere and started backing up and all of a sudden, BANG!! I knew right then that something was wrong with the piece of sh*t! I took it to a ford dealer and they said it needed a solenoid body for the tranny for about $650. HELL NO, there is no way i am payin that sh*t for a vehicle i just got. It is still sittin in my drive way. Ford better think up something quick before i raise hell with them. Now that i know all explorers are having this problem, i am even more pissed. I hate ford. If i do get this thing fixed and it starts doin it again then by god im starten sh*t! FORD (Found On Road Dead). There's your new Logo BITCHES!

- , London, OH, USA

problem #2

Jul 092008

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

well this is mike from Philly, PA. here's some more crazed out news. When i made my complaint on here, I also called the BBB, they in turned called ford and had a rep contact me. The rep offered me a 50% discount to have the repairs done. I couldn't give an answer to her at that time, and for her to call me back later in the week, she did, but between gas, insurance, and other bills I have to pay, i couldn't afford $2,500.oo+. So I asked if the discount could be raised to at least 65% or +. She said no, I explained to her that I needed more time to discuss this with family, and I didn't have money to get a factory defect fixed, and I felt as though that wasn't fair, especially when I had the trans checked and they told me nothing was wrong, it was as good as the day I bought it, total bullshit, I called my mother and my aunt, told them both what happened and my mother broke down and said hat she would help me get the repairs done, so I call ford back the next day and talk to someone else, now this lady is telling me that the person I talked to put in there system that I told her that i wouldn't take the offer and i turned it down. I never told her that, so to get my truck fixed ford want 5-6.000.00+. Well i can't pay that, my sons start school soon, I went to Aamco, the guy the there Jim, outstanding guy, I told him what kind of truck, before they checked it out he wrote down the problems, and had one of his techs perform the check in front of me. Everything he wrote down came up, and told me that it would cost no more than 2,500.00 to fix and it would be no more than 3 days at his shop and back on the rode again. So when i get the work done, I come back on here and tell everyone the problems and what can be done to fix it, and if it stays fixed, until then good luck tu all

- , Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #1

May 302007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4X4 V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

My 2003 Explorer Ltd 4X4 starting making noises and down shifting hard after It was rebuilt (3 times)! Yes, that's right "3" times the shop went through the transmission to figure out why it was sounding like a thrust reverser on an airplane when taking off in 1st gear! They never figured out what the rattle and loud noises were so they did not charge me anything!!! Of course they did not fix anything, in fact they made it worse! It now leaks and downshifts like with a extremely loud clunk when slowing to a stop! Finally, I decided to check all of the fluids myself... as you probably already know, this itself is a challenge... there is no dipstick for the transmission (what idiot designed that). If anything, the fluids are a little overfilled (since fluid ran out). I decided to take it to three shops... now having spend hundreds of dollars for "opinions" and diagnosis... I still have the same problem... I'm just waiting for something to break!!! I've can't afford to trade it off now... or back to FORD, they have a record of the problem now and say it has to be deducted from the "low" value of the car... My conscience want let me sell it to an individual... I just could not do that to another person! I am not giving up on finding the problem and if or when I do... I post a remedy! I understand that there is a class action law suit against Ford for these and other transmission related problems!! I think I'll join in...

Update from May 13, 2011: Well... I finally broke down and rebuilt the transmission at 70K miles... cost me 2500 and still shifted hard and clunked sometimes.... now at 103,000 miles it went out again on May 8, 2011... this time it cost me 2990.26 from HHH Transmissions in Tulsa... I had no choice but to have it fixed because it was not worth anything the way it was... The owner of the shop told me that this is an epidemic (and helps keep him in business)... He replaced the factory parts with what he said were better, longer lasting and wearing ones.... only time will tell. I certainly hope that some agency will look into this.... I read the web objectively with what I have determined to be thousands of these complaints.... Beware... the HHH shop owner told me that new car designs (both foreign and domestic) are going to a new automatic constant velocity type of transmission that can not be rebuilt... only replaced... between 3K and 7K! Go figure !!!

- , Tulsa, OK, USA

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