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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
84,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
  2. replaced with open market clutch (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer clutch problems

clutch problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #2

Feb 152012

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 69,000 miles


click to see larger images

clutch won't completely release clutch won't completely release clutch won't completely release clutch won't completely release clutch won't completely release clutch won't completely release

Bought this truck from Savage Hyundai and sent it to West Africa. On my way back home from one of my journeys I felt the clutch pedal getting too soft. Suddenly the truck lost power and will not move. I therefore had it towed and sent the truck to the nearest mechanic. They realized the clutch had completely worn out. I was about 300miles from home.

The following day I had the truck towed to the nations capital since the previous mechanic could not work on it for lack of the part and wasn't sure if they could get it in the country. Mine was a 26 spline clutch which is not common. I then contacted ford and they told me they had no such part. Thought it was a joke and took contact with Ford dealers in US only to be advised to check in the open market. When I checked on the net I realized Ford produced only 1000 of such trucks with 5-speed manual and a 26-spline clutch disc. I was lucky I came across Southland clutch who had started manufacturing clutch discs and flywheel for replacement. I had to buy from them to do the conversion - by then I have spent well over $6000 on the truck to get it back. Towing here and there created dents and some body work had to be done.

I will never buy a truck from American Ford. I have been driving Ford in Scandinavia for over 10 years without any problem. Ford, bye with your trucks. I have prevented all my friends and family members from buying Ford trucks. They know what I went through. My child had malaria because of this as the truck left us in the bush to the mercy of mosquitoes.

Update from Feb 10, 2013: I think the problem has been fixed now. The truck runs and accelerate better than the original clutch kit. I also bought a spare kit. I am not advertising for Southland clutch in California but those that have my problem can contact them.

- nannang, Raufoss, NORWAY, Norge

problem #1

Jun 162010

Explorer Sport 4.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 100,000 miles

clutch started going to the floor and transmission would not shift into gear while car is running,shut it off and it goes right into gear,clutch in good condition so I had the clutch slave cylinder replaced and bled but can't get full travel on slave cylinder ,it goes over halfway to the floor before that is any resistance which makes it impossible to shift into gear,what I don't understand is why ford would put a plastic slave cylinder in a vehicle to start with,problem still not resolved and looking for an answer or solution,now I have a 2002 ford explorer in new new condition which is almost paid off and can't drive it cause of some stupid Idea to put a plastic slave cylinder in an suv,my opinion is Ford sucks!!!!

- Kenneth C., St Joseph, MO, US

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