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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
98,316 miles
Total Complaints:
31 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (16 reports)
  2. repair the internal differential positraction components (8 reports)
  3. replace the rear differential (3 reports)
  4. replace ring and pinion gears, seal kit and bearings (1 reports)
  5. replaced gear an 149983 (1 reports)
  6. replaced gears per tsb 051206a (1 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

Jun 022009

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


I own a 2001 Ford Explorer XLT. I have owned several Explorers and have never experienced this problem with any of them. When I was in a rollover accident a few years back, it was the truck that saved my life which sold me on owning Explorers indefinitely. I bought mine in 2007, and noticed that there was a bit of a wine in the back. It had 97,000 miles on it at the time so I attributed to higher mileage wear and tear. Put some thicker oil in there and changed out all the transmission fluids and differential fluids and so on and so on. The thicker oil seemed to do the trick for a few months. Out of no where the hum that was there (on deceleration only) went to a roaring scream on deceleration. Scared the life out of me. So a FORMER friend of my husband has a shop and said he could handle the repair. We had bought some of the parts and attempted ourselves but there was no way to get into all that without the proper tools. So the estimate started off at 600 to install the parts we had bought for 400. (1000 max) 11 days later I picked up my car and the roaring scream was no longer present on deceleration but now was present on acceleration!!! I was furious!!! That was in October of this year and the truck had at that time 150,000 miles on it. All said and done, the total came to 2100.00 and the problem was not fixed. What I learned was, DO NOT replace individual parts in the rear, buy a low mileage sealed rear from a salvage yard...that has not been hit in the rear...and replace the bad one on your car with the new used one. You can usually find them used for about 500.00. Labor to swap them out should be around 700.00 Much cheeper than replacing the individual parts and that keeps you from having to go to the dealer at the prime prices they will charge for that kind of work. Hope all this helps you save a few bucks and a lot of headache!!

- , Bailey, CO, USA

problem #10

Sep 082008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

No one can tell me why it keeps whining...........................................................................................................................................

- , Hahira, GA, USA

problem #9

Sep 012009

Explorer XLT 4.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I have a 2002 Ford Explorer 4WD..Nothing but problems transmission replaced, front wheel bearing, Rear coil springs crumbled and had to replace the struts as well, timing chain cable busted on passenger door window so can roll it up and now the rear differential in whining. I'm sick of dumping money into this truck..Owned explorers before never had a problem. I have noticed all the complaints on this year explorer. I wish we could all get together and file a class action lawsuit against Ford for this poorly made explorer.

- , Eastpointe, MI, USA

problem #8

Apr 012008

Explorer XLS 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


this vehicle was my company vehicle at new , which was taken to several different dealers while under warranty with complaint(s) of excessive rear-end noise . Advised that "all these vehicles make that noise" or "we aren't aware of any issues with the rear-ends" I purchased the vehicle from the company at end of lease with 60,000 miles... by the time it reached 80,000 the noise was so loud , it sounded like you were in a prop plane. replaced the entire rear chunk , which also made a little noise from the beginning, and is now almost as loud as the original.... ford doesn't want it on trade in of course, can't sell it with that noise , so looks like I'll have to put another band aid on it since ford apparently can't or will not come up with a solution . I've spoken to a lot of explorer drivers since this issue, and a large percentage of them voiced issues similar to this. What happens when the rear-end locks up at highway speed ?

- , Jackson, TN, US

problem #7

Sep 012008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Front differential out, along with tie rod, 2 wheel bearings, 4x4 sensor engaging (2 times), brake locking up (3 times), rear diff starting to whine. Three different dealerships have stated that these are constant problems with this model and Ford customer service says it is not. Last Ford will ever own.

- , Lexington, KY, USA

problem #6

Jul 232004

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles

Started hearing a whining sound from the rear. The dealership denied hearing it several times before replacing the entire differential

- , Poland, OH, USA

problem #5

Nov 302005

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


My Explorer is still in exceptionally good shape. Looks good ,ride and drives good. The whine is very loud. I like this vehicle but can't put up with this whine any longer. I want to repair but don't know what is the best solution to my problem. Any help would be great.

- , Mc Minnville, TN, USA

problem #4

Mar 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Our car has 120 000 miles and we have the rear end whine now. This is the one while power is applied and goes away as you coast.The car being well taken care of ,this is enough to make you mad. Being a mechanic I know that this just don't happen. Something slips,wears,breaks,comes loose. The least Ford could do is say WHAT AND WHY.

- , Grand Bay, AL, USA

problem #3

Jul 152009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Ok here I go again. Should have listed all the problems at once. Rear is making a whinning noise now. It has only 77,000 on it. Not to sure if it is the rear end, drivetrain or something else. Also had to replace both the rear springs on this car about six months ago. Of course when you call the Ford Dealer they give you nothing but BS about everything or anything. Next time I will buy a Chevorlet. My cousin has a 1998 Chevorlet Silverado pickup truck and a 2003 Tahoe, both of them have over 200,000 without all these problems.

- , Norwalk, CT, US

problem #2

Apr 202008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

This is my second Ford Explorer. I truly doubt I will buy one again. Around about 78,000 miles I started hearing this awful whinning noise coming from the rear end. I took it to the ford dealer for an inspection and was told that the rear diff. needed to be repaired. I was given an estimated price of about $1200 dollars. I found a local repair shop that did the job for $636 dollars. It ran great for about 11 months, now that whining noise is back once again. Lucky for me it happen 1 month prior before the warranty expired. Shame, shame, shame on the Ford company for putting out what they know to be a defective product.

- , Clyo, GA, USA

problem #1

Feb 052007

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

This is an updated complaint. There have been so many that I had not taken the time to report each failure individually. This was another dealership repair (WHINE) They repaired the rear wheel bearing first and then a separate visit to fix the differential. Withing the 12 mo. 12,000 mile warranty I discovered that the positraction no longer engaged. While still under the aftermarket warranty period the non dealership repair facility made the necessary $1000.00 repairs to get the positraction working again.

Problem after problem with this make model dealership and manufacturer.

- , Howell, MI, USA

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