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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
69,091 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Mercury Mountaineer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Mercury Mountaineer Owner Comments

problem #11

Mar 252013


  • 240,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the rear differential made a popping sound. The contact stated that while in reverse, the popping sound was louder. The contact took the vehicle to a local mechanic for a diagnostic test. The mechanic noticed a leak in the rear differential and stated the rear differential needed to be replaced. The contact did not have the rear differential replaced. The failure mileage was 240,000.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #10

May 042012

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • miles
Ford has a tsb on their website for the problems I am having with my vehicle. I contacted tyem and I was told that I have to pay for the repairs. What I do not understand is if there are sooo many complaint from consumers on this vehicle for the same issues is that not the responsibility of the manufacture being it considered a defective product? I have to children and this is of extreme concern to me that these issues on my car can cause an accident. -back trunk door is cracked down the latch. -the car doesn't shift correctly and tires seem loose -the overdrive light is blinking all the time and the transmission is signaling.. I have found so many websites with complaints about the same issues on 2003-2004 Mercury Mountaineer.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #9

May 292012


  • 64,000 miles
The gear shift gets stuck in park and I have to pull down on it really hard to get it in drive or reverse I'm afraid that its going to break one day.

- West Point, MS, USA

problem #8

Mar 022012

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • 86,000 miles


Transmission failed while traveling @ 35 mph, would not shift into next gear.

- Powell, OH, USA

problem #7

Oct 092011


  • 92,000 miles
I attempted to put my vehicle in reverse so I could pull out of a parking space. When I did this, the transmission level broke right off. The vehicle, since it is full-time AWD, cannot be moved or towed since all the wheels are engaged in park. The metal holding the transmission lever to the steering column sheared off which I can only consider to be a grave safety risk if the vehicle was in motion and this happened.

- Medford, MA, USA

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problem #6

Oct 222009

Mountaineer 6-cyl

  • miles
I have had a problem for a couple years when I put the car in gear it doesn't "lock" in the gear I have to adjust it twice, didn't think much of it and thank god no accident. But I just learned to deal with it until I saw this. Want updates on this issue.

- Latrobe, PA, USA

problem #5

Sep 072009


  • 90,000 miles


We purchased a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer approx. 9 months ago and have now discovered that the front differential has gone out. When we did extensive research we found that there was a massive recall between 2002 - 2006 for this manufacturer's defect on Mountaineer, Explorer, Expedition and range/lnd rovers. When we contacted Ford Motor Co; they said that our particular VIN# did not make the recall list. When I asked how come a manufacture's defect could not make the recall list they said it could be an oversight or just maybe not for that model. I then asked how come the research proved to show that these were defective upon manufacturing and some of them not get recalled they had no answer for me. We now have a vehicle that is inoperative and nobody wants to clarify the problem. We have had 2 estimates both with used parts from a wrecking yard. The 1st estimate was $1350 and the 2nd was $800 and no guarantees since they would be pulling the front differential off of a wrecked vehicle the same year as ours and it could also potentially be defective. We do not have the money for the repairs and now my husband has no transportation to get to work. He does drive my car at the moment but can not carry all of his tools in my vehicle since his is an SUV. We did seek legal council and were informed that we need to file this complaint in hopes that you could force Ford to recall our vehicle and they said we had a very good law suit. If my husband did not have this checked and continued to drive it without knowledge of the problem it could have resulted in the gears locking up and a crash which could have resulted in serious injuries or even deaths. Please advise what our options are.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #4

Jun 262009

Mountaineer 8-cyl

  • 127,000 miles
2003 Mercury Mountaineer 4.6L-V8: When the vehicle is not under acceleration [stop sign/signal, exiting an expressway to a surface street, coasting] the engine will not hold idle, then stall. The steering & brakes are compromised when the engine stalls. To restart the engine, the headlights go dark for a moment...this is a very serious matter. Decelerating from an expressway to a surface street, on a curved exit ramp, at night makes for an out of control situation where the driver can not see because of engine failure! I've replaced the throttle position censor [tps] with no improvement. The dealer offers replacement of parts $1500, and no guarantee of solving the problem. The vehicle is useless to me fore it is a hazard to be on the road...for me and anyone else driving near me.

- West Amherst, NY, USA

problem #3

Jul 282008


  • 61,000 miles

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #2

Sep 012006


  • miles
2003 Mercury Mountaineer transmission made a clunking sound, slid backwards and forwards while shifting into reverse. A/C blower motor made a humming sound. While driving the motor would misfire. While driving the consumer noticed that the dash light went out. The consumer attempted to correct the problem by turning the lighting switch. When the switch was turned the dash light came on but the headlights went out. The consumer's indicated that they sometimes hear popping sounds while driving, which seems to be of an electrical nature.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #1

Feb 172006


  • miles
2003 Mountaineer transaxle housing broke in half. The oil from the transaxle leaked on the exhaust causing a small fire. The driver indicated that she may have hit an object in the road.

- Mayfield Vlg, OH, USA

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