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.

8.3

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,333.00
Average Mileage:
104,973 miles
Total Complaints:
241 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (95 reports)
  2. replace with rebuilt transmission (51 reports)
  3. replace the transmission (39 reports)
  4. complete overhaul recommended (18 reports)
  5. rebuild transmission (16 reports)
  6. rebuilt transmission installed (8 reports)
2003 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 5 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #161

Nov 042011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles

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

Absolutely no warning before transmission went out. Just bought this car before winter set in and now I'm back to walking or finding rides until we can get this fixed. Oh and don't have the money to do so right now.

- , Clare, MI, USA

problem #160

May 242011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

click to see larger images

o/d light flashes

I purchased this Eddie Bauer Explorer 11 months ago from Shawnee Mission Ford. It has been back to the service center every 4 weeks or less since I drove it off the lot. First was the HEGO sensor, then the wheel baring, next a transmission gasket, then other misc transmission issues (I don't have my records in front of me currently), and about 9 other major problems. The dealership refuses to right the wrong doing... the best they can offer me with this show stopper is an "estimated $4,800 replacement" which is completely unacceptable considering all else I've been through with Ford and this vehicle.

My warranty expired and they failed to make any mention of it. The sales rep and finance manager had left me with the impression that I was covered to 124,000 miles with what I had purchased... apparently this was not the case either.

If this was an isolated case where this was the only issue I'd ever had with this vehicle, I'd understand having to foot the bill for the repair, but taking into consideration that I can't even keep the thing out of the shop for more than one month at a time, I am an extremely unhappy Ford owner and a less than pleased Shawnee Mission Ford customer!!!!

- , Roeland Park, KS, USA

problem #159

May 262011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

I am just adding this to the complaint I just filled out, I have an 03 Explorer and the O/D light keeps flashing when I get over 30 mph. I have been told that I do not have 2nd and 5th geer and that it will cost about $1500 and up to fix it and it's not fair to me or my 4 kids to be without a vehicle since I don't have the money to fix it.

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #158

Aug 222011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

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

Does anyone know if there's a class action suit set up to resolve this issue

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #157

Jun 032011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

Same problem everyone else has, son saw the flashing od on the way home from prom, I saw the service engine light, pulled cables from battery to clear, light was on in 2 days. Contacted Ford Dealer, couldn't get us in for 3 days (wonder why, too many other trannys). FInally got in, called 5 hours later, they wanted 3890 for a rebuilt or some unspecified amount to try and rebuild, also wanted to replace my front brakes, said a caliper was stuck (they replace the brakes constantly, no issue 3 months back when they last had the car). Anyone want to buy an Explorer for parts ;-0, I'm done with ford, bought my wife a Mazda while I was waiting for the appointment.

- , Andover, NJ, USA

problem #156

Aug 282011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Transmission started slipping at the end of July. Took it to a transmission shop and they thought at first it was the gear linkage but it turns out it wasn't. Could not find anything wrong at the time so we brought it home. Then transmission started not going into gear and then the o/d light started flashing then the service engine light came on. Took it back to the transmission shop and now they are saying it needs a new transmission at the cost of 2200.00. This is on top of the clanking that happens when you turn your air conditioning from cold to hot and the cracked rear panel under the back glass. Will not buy another Ford.

- , Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #155

Aug 022011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,000 miles

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

Same as everyone else. O/D light started flashing!!! Check engine light comes on. Took it to a local garage and ran the codes. Says solenoids are bad. In my case my transmission hasn't acted up. It shifts normal but even after reset of Computer the O/D and Check Engine light comes on. North Carolina will fail me on my emissions test because Check engine light is tied into transmission failure. I suspect either an electrical problem or solenoids are failing. Ford Garages near Military Bases here in North Carolina will rip your wallet apart. Not looking forward to the trip.

- , Newport, NC, USA

problem #154

May 012011

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I have had this Explorer since October 2010. I have had to replace the transfer case $800 plus dollars first then the o/d light started flashing then check engine light came on now transmission needs replaced and the lift gate is cracked. All of these problems are common problems reported on several websites and made known to Ford but obviously this isn't a concern to them. My transmission will cost me $2200 to replace and a huge inconvenience at that, and why would anyone ever not put a dipstick on a vehicle so the transmission fluid can be checked?????????? I have spoken with several people and am preparing to file a class action lawsuit. If you are interested feel free to email me at longmindy24@yahoo.com THANK YOU TO ANYONE WILLING TO HELP

- , Clayton, NC, USA

problem #153

Apr 132011

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Anyone wanting to become part of a class action Lawsuit against Ford Motor Company please email or call me with your information. I need to retain an attorney but have to have enough people willing to become part of this suit. I will follow up with everyone on a weekly basis or daily if I need to until we get this ball rollin. Please help yourself and the others that are struggling with these cars with no help from Ford, Please email me @longmindy24@yahoo.com or call 240-727-4459

Thank You

Mindy

- , Clayton, NC, USA

problem #152

May 142011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

would not shift from 3rd to o/d' o/d light started flashing. check engine light came on. called transmission place and they said it would cost 14 to 1900 dollars to fix. he said servo broke in transmission. my husband and i are on social security and so is our son .

we cannot afford to fix and still owe $9000 on this car.

the dealer who sold it to us is no longer in business

we may have to have it repossessed and ruin our credit

.

- , Madison, OH, USA

problem #151

May 242011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 163,140 miles

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

Let me begin by SCREAMING $4050, for the exact same problem that everyone here has been describing. O/D light blinking off and on, then service engine light comes on and the car rivals up after 30 mph. UGHHHH!!! I am seriously disappointed that Ford has not recalled this and so many of us loyal Ford customers have to suffer and come out of our pocket whether it be to fix the problem or purchase another vehicle. I will never purchase another Ford again based on the treatment I received regarding this issue. My husband is in the military deployed and they wouldn't even offer me a decent discount, I was out of a vehicle for an entire week and had to depend on others for transportation because Ford does not provide loaner vehicles. If there is a Class Action Lawsuite please email me at crystaldlife@gmail.com.

- , Riverview, FL, USA

problem #150

May 132011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

In reading on the internet there is a history of problems with this vehicle and the transmission. If that wasn't enough as soon as we got the car out of the shop my wife drove it to an automated car wash and the drying mechanism blew of a section below the rear window. No fault to the car wash.

- , Fayetteville, NC, USA

problem #149

May 152011

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

We got this explorer 9 months ago. We needed it for the room with kids,dog,etc. Well bam 3 days ago the O/D light starts flashing and the transmissions starts shifting really hard and hesitating. We are like everyone else right now and cant just run right down to ford and say hey give me a new tranmission. We have looked online for a transmission and the cheapest we have found is $1100.00! Well let me just right a check! NOT! This is the only vechile we have at the moment and as you all know no one will take a truck on trade with a bad tranny.

My husband call the National Highway Safety Deptarment and complained. They said in 4 to 8 weeks we will get paper work to fill out and if there are enough complaints there will be a lawsuit! I also called Ford customer care with no luck. They took my complaint and said it would be looked at by ford. Well Big Deal! So call complain do what you need to do,because ford is not standing by there Built Ford Tough! I have always loved ford untill now, I will not buy another ford knowing that they are so sorry to not address the problem!Please let me know if there are any lawsuits going on thaks!

- , Lansing, NC, USA

problem #148

May 102011

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

O/D Light flashing, Service Engine soon light on and Tranny is slipping bad out of first gear. I have never missed an oil change and take great care of my truck. I am very disappointed. UNBELIEVABLE

- , Rochester, NY, USA

problem #147

Sep 012010

Explorer

  • 38,000 miles

I have owned (8 Ford vechicles and currently own (2) Explorers. So I have been a loyal customer. However, my 2003 Ford Explorer only had about 38,000 miles and the transmission had to be replace. This was the worst ever and then to know that hundreds of other Ford Explorers have the same problem. Why isn't there a recall?

May there should be a class action suit.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #146

Apr 232011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Apparently, this transmission problem is common in Ford Explorers, however, I was never informed of this!!!!! I will NEVER buy another Ford vehicle!!!!

- , Leominster, MA, USA

problem #145

Dec 012010

Explorer XLT 4.2L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

First my "check engine" light illuminated sometime in mid June 2010. I have had it check out-tune up; filter changed, the electrical system revamped-the engine light came on again in November. In December is when the vehicle started cutting off while driving....I can feel the sluggishness in the transmission-how it would get loud then channels down to some since of normalcy then the O/D lights began to flash at which time I began to panic but the engine light goes out. So I decided to do some research and discovered this is a common occurrence to which FORD refuses to address. Which lead me to this forum. Class action suit, yes I’m on board with that! By the way, this is my third explorer.

- , Norristown, PA, USA

problem #144

Mar 152011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

i BOUGHT THIS suv NEW,HAD ALL THE SERVICES ON TIME AND ONE DAY WHILE DRIVING ALONG MY O/D LIGHT STARTED TO FLASH THAN THE TRANSMISSION LIGHT CAME ON.wHEN I TOOK IT TO THE SHOP THEY TOLD ME THAT I COULD HAVE IT REBUILDED OR GET A NEW ONE,THE REPAIRMAN DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEAL TO REPLACE WITH THE SAME KIND OF TRANSMISSION , HE SAID I WOULD BE HAVING THE SAME PROBLEM AGAIN, HE SAID SOMETHING ABOUT THE TRANSMISSION WAS MADE OF ALUM. AND RODS RUBBING, AND HE ALSO SAID FORD WAS AWARE OF THE PROBLEM THATS WHY THEY CHANGED THE DESIGN. THIS IS THE LAST STRAW WITH FORD AND ME , I'M GOING TO BUY ME A TOYOTA

- , Athens, AL, USA

problem #143

Mar 182011

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

I bought a 2003 Ford Explorer Limited used in 2007 and have had nothing but problems with it. After having spent more than $3,000 in the past nine months on various problems--including a valve and wheel bearings, my transmission now needs to be replaced at a cost of $3,600. The O/D light keeps flashing and the transmission slips when I accelerate. Ford should have recalled this transmission, judging from the number of complaints I've seen. I still owe money on the vehicle and it has drained my savings. I am done with this vehicle and I am done with Ford, which is a shame because I have owned Fords for 40 years and WAS one of their biggest supporters. What's more, I bought a brand new 2000 Explorer and never had any problems with it in the seven years I owned it. My son has a 1995 Explorer that still runs. The 2003 was definitely a lemon.

- , Crown Point, IN, USA

problem #142

Mar 202011

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,496 miles

So we were driving along the same stretch of highway as we were 6 months ago when or engine seized and this time without warning we heard this big clunk and then the truck jerked us all forward and the O.D light started blinking. As we had a very bad experience when the engine seized in this same SUV only 6 months ago costing $4000 to repair, we pulled over and called CAA right away. After redding the owners manual and talking to the tow truck driver we knew we made the right decision.Our children were terrified when it broke down the first time as we were stranded on the QEW and our cell phone was dead so we had to walk to a phone, 3 kms.Now this with the transmission and after reading all he crap on this site and hearing that ford wont do anything about it I am pissed. This is bullshit, I am contacting a lawyer. I would rather pay the 3500 to a lawyer and make ford pay for the new transmission and possibly help others with the same problem in the process!!!!!!

- , Guelph, Ontario, Canada

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