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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
109,087 miles
Total Complaints:
386 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford needs to recall their faulty transmission (123 reports)
  2. not sure (120 reports)
  3. complete rebuild (78 reports)
  4. new tranmission (46 reports)
  5. new solenoid, pistol in tranny broken (11 reports)
  6. new solenoid (4 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 19 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #26

Jan 242008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles


Oh My GOD! I can't believe, no, actually, I can believe - this is ridiculous. One day the car is fine and the next day my light when on - out of the blue. I took it into my Staten Island Ford DealerCrooks and the service write up guy immediately said "needs a transmission rebuilt" without even having a mechanic look at it! I freaked! Not even 50K miles and needs a transmission rebuilt?? I didn't believe him but reading what y'all have written I now know how he knew that - he's probably seen thousands of them! So I tell him I want someone to look at it and tell me exactly whats wrong with it so he says fine. They take my car and then tell me it's $190 diagnostic fee. I asked "What are you going to do for $190?" and he said "Hook it up to the computer." I made them go get my truck out and I took it to a mechanic. He said it needed new sensors but when he replaced the sensors the lights (both O/D Off & Service Engine Soon) wouldn't go out. He put the old ones back in and told me he couldn't fix it. So now I'm driving it around, locally only, and hoping it hold together. I want to trade it in - I'm going back to Honda and never leaving ! Oh, yeah, we had the extended warranty which expired on Dec 13th - one month earlier! They don't give a sh*t - pay up now!! I'm going onto all of those websites to lodge my complaint even though I feel like I am SCREWED.

- , Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #25

Feb 012008

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

Update on my FORD EXPLODER, well the good news is I didn't have to go in the hole 2500.00 for a new tranny. When I went to the transmission shop very I was told this was the third ford explorer that had been worked on in the SAME WEEK!!! MY husband and I took a test ride with the mechanic and he using the Mobis computer and found that 2nd and 5th gear were not shifting, possible problem with torque converter. Piston that needed to be repaired cost apprx 25.00 at most, but the solenoids which come in a bundle are costly thanks to Ford manufacturing you have to purchase the whole bundle and they cannot be disassembled, even if only one solenoid is bad. WELL 745.00 is better than 2500.00 for a rebuild.The mechanic told us that one of the other exploders that he worked on this week was brought to him on a second opinion after the owner visited a FORD dealership and was quoted a price of 3500.00 for a new tranny, my mechanic was able to fix the problem for 800.00. When I asked why isn't there a recall if there are so many similar problems and basically the consumer is screwed because the problem generally occurs after warranty expiration and they it is not considered a safety issue. Now how about that!!! Pretty sad. Thankyou Ford..

- , Schenectady, NY, USA

problem #24

Feb 052008

Explorer 4,0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Adding myself to the list of rabid Ford owners with this problem. I guess I should consider myself lucky to have found a reliable service to fix it. The Ford dealership that does rebuild in this area is known to be league with the anti-christ (Lake Shore Ford). They told me at least $3500, no loner, and warranty is void. Terry's Transmission in Valparaiso if any local has this same problem is where to go. They are doing a complete rebuild with no Ford parts. Cost $2500 is the estimate. Truck is out of extended warranty by 3 months. I would gladly join and Class Action suit against Ford. Like all others here I will NEVER again buy a Ford.

- , Chesterton, IN, USA

problem #23

Jan 312008

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles


Wow this is scary, to see of the similar symptoms that my 2002 exploder has with all these other victims. while driving to woik on the thruway o/d off light starts blinking. I pull over in the closest rest area pull out the manual at 5:50am on my way to work and it indicates get your car to dealer asap if light steadily flashes. which it did.. I turned the cart off and then when turned car back on light was gone I thought this is interesting proceeded to drive 17 miles to work noticing lose of power with pickup I was concerned felt as though vehicle was stuck in gear ( neutral). Here i am on the thruway I just prayed I make it to work. Upon leaving work at 5:30 pm car starts no probs. let it warm up no probs, back on thruway in RUSH HOUR traffic vehicle does not want to kick in at 30mph, hesitant and slow to react finally accelerates and o/d off light starts flashing as well as service engine soon. I by luck made it to my mechanic who is closed and next day I call him and tell him the symptoms puts it on modis diagnostic computer and reports back to me that code 775 and 735 represent TRANSMISSION trouble. This vehicle has 61,000 miles on it NEVER towed more than groceries and car seat in the back seat. Whats up with this... Now I'm being told buy transmission shop that I'll probably need rebuilt tranny,or just hope it is the transmission 5th speed solenoid problem. Quoted a price of 2500.00 for new tranny...Thats 2500.00 that I aint got for car repairs. If this is such a common problem how can FORD ignore the problem. We are responsible for bringing our cars in for recalls which I also had to do 2 months after I bought this vehicle brand new for a defect in the back hatch. Will update my results of my repairs to my car as of today cant drive my car til this problem is fixed. When my husband went on this site and we could not believe the complaints and I just had to voice mine because I am so frustrated. A very unsatisfied customer of FORD....Oh yeah one more thing has many one had a problem with the doors intermittently power locking whenever they want tooo... I cant even think of electrical problems and repairs but yes sometimes the doors power lock when I put it in drive and other times they don't. A true inconvenience especially with kids in the back. Thanks ford I 'll keep making my monthly payments and when its paid off in August I'll be making repair payments if I decide to keep this car. I do have a conscience and would never want someone to suffer the frustrations that has been brought on to my family. I need to have a safe reliable and dependable car for my family. I dont want to have to worry about being stranded on the thruway...

- , Schenectady, NY, USA

problem #22

Jan 302008

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,023 miles

While driving on highway I notice the OD light blinking. I don't believe the transmission was running bad. I was on a 2.5 hr trip one way. At the end I let the Explorer set for 1.5 hrs. The light never returned. I am getting ready to try it again, I feel like I am going to be stranded in a snow storm tonight. Oh well can't let this stop me.

- , Robards, KY, USA

problem #21

Dec 072007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

In December on a Friday evening after leaving work while sitting at a stop light a transmission warning light appeared on my dash. I immediately called at that moment from my cell phone to the local dealer and made an appointment to have the computer codes ran the following Monday. I dropped my car off and at that time requested the oil be changed as well. I specifically said "please call me with the codes, I do not want the pan dropped." I advised the service man I knew enough to be dangerous. I was hoping it was a sensor problem since the vehicle only had around 81k miles and planned on the dealership fixing it since it would have been minor. The service man called to tell me the codes were weird so they dropped the pan and took a look as a courtesy. When I reminded him I specifically requested that no one drop the pan he assured me there would be no charge. However the mechanic could see the overdrive band was broken. I asked them to put it back together as I would pick my vehicle up.

A. When a person knows the lingo "drop the pan" they might know something although they are female. B. You cannot see the overdrive band on that particular model vehicle by dropping the pan. C. My my ex-husband and I owned a transmission repair shop from 1975 thru 1983 D. I dropped a lot of pans when we were short handed at our shop. The pan seal although not the old cork design did not appear to have been broken or that the pan dropped when I took my car to my former competitor. E. The problem was not the overdrive band which was intact. It was however due to a design flaw in the Ford servo's which had to be sleeved When searching the internet I find this is a common issue and the dealership service manager was in my opinion wanting to take the transmission apart and hold me get the repair job. The guys at my former competitor gave me a professional courtesy discount or the price would have been at least double what I paid to have the servo's sleeved and rebuild the transmission. What really upsets me is that the dealership not only lied, I paid for the experience as they charged me for the computer hookup to get codes that were never passed on to me.

- , Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #20

Jan 052008

Explorer XLS 4.0L Hovc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,500 miles


Just out of the blue, while driving the tranny, trying to go from 2nd to 3rd gear felt like I was in neutral. If I went down a hill I could get it into a higher gear & I was fine. Then the o/d light started to flicker! I was able to drive it home (5miles). Had it towed to my local Ford Dealer. They found metal in the tranny pan. Once pulling the tranny down & inspecting it there were parts to be replaced: valve body plate, rear lanet gear & 2 bands. These could be replaced with a 1yr warranty OR put in a re-built tranny with a 3yr/75k warranty. Only having the truck 1yr & with only 57K miles on it I went with the re-built tranny. After reviewing the customer problems with this truck I wish I did my homework because I would never had bought it. Ford needs to realize that the transmissions in this year are a piece of sh*t & they need to step up to the plate & reimburse ALL of us. I plan on taking further legal action. I hope other owners will do the same. Broke in CT.

- , Prospect, CT, Afghanistan

problem #19

Oct 152007

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,250 miles

My Father retired from Ford and my Brother still works there. I have tried diligently to be loyal, but this is the last straw. I have had nothing but problems with every Ford I have ever owned, and it's been a lot of them. I get a new car every 2-3 years. I have an old

import that has NEVER let me down. Dad nearly had a stroke when I bought it, but good thing I did or I'd be walking all the time! O/D light is blinking, transmission revs high for a long time before changing gears....sometimes won't change at all....afraid to pull out of anywhere unless I have a mile of clearance just in case in won't leave 1st gear. Now I find that Ford and the dealership knew this all along. I'm outraged. How can they be so deceitful, greedy and uncaring. I will never buy a Ford product of any kind again. I will only buy from Companies that have a conscience and feel obligated to be sound members of society. I'm not going to have it fixed. I am going to have it towed to the heap, sell for scrap and get a new Imported 4x4 for these harsh Ohio winters. Thank God I can afford to dump it and get something safe and dependable. I am willing to contact an attorney as well. It is ridiculous that this transmission is still available to unsuspecting consumers.

- , Toledo, OH, USA

problem #18

Jun 052007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles



- , Bklyn, NY, USA

problem #17

Feb 012007

Explorer XLT 4.0lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

My wifes bought this used with about 56,000 miles on it. Shortly after, it didn't want to stay in overdrive. I did not think that this was a big deal because it happened when we were driving uphill. I just figured that I wasn't used to the V6 and it didn't have enough power to hold it in overdrive. A few weeks after that, the overdrive light started blinking. I took it to a transmission shop. The transmission had trouble shifting from 1st to 2nd, and would not stay in overdrive at all. The check engine light came on as well. They didn't really know what it was. The mechanic remembered reading about a chronic problem with some kind of plunger or piston that did not fit the transmission case properly due to the piston sitting in the cast aluminum. He said that he had bought the tool and the brass bushing that went in to a new hole. Apparently when the aluminum gets worn out, it looses pressure and will not shift the transmission properly. This repair would cost upwards of $2000. I put this on the back burner since we didn't have the money and he couldn't tell me that this would repair the problem for sure. A guy I worked with at the time was telling me that his girlfriends explorer was doing the same thing. When I asked what year it was, guess what. It was a 2002! Just like my wifes. Obviously Ford has a cronic problem and someone screwed up when they designed this transmission. I worked in the body shop of a local Ford dealership in the early to mid 90's when the paint was delaminating off of the Ford trucks and some of the cars. We had to repaint these trucks and Ford payed for that. Ford called it a good will gesture or something like that. I've always been a loyal Ford and GM person but defintly not a loyal Ford person any more. This is a costly repair! My 1994 Chevy truck had well over 100,000 miles on it before I had any transmission problems with it. I'm on the second transmission and have a total of 260,000 miles on the truck. It's no wonder the Asian car manufactures are kicking the domestic's ass. I've worked on a lot of vehicles in the last 16 years. I'm pushing my wife to buy a Toyota mini van. Actually, we would have been just as happy to have kept her 1999 Old sillouette van. It was older, more miles and no four wheel drive. But is was twice the vehicle. I hope that Ford steps up to the plate and takes care of this cronic problem for people. They should!!! They repainted a bunch of Farm Trucks for people. And paint doesn't get you down the road.

- , Mt Pleasant, IA, USA

problem #16

Jan 132008

Explorer XLS 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,258 miles


Ford should face up and fix this problem. Instead of the CEO making millions he should face the facts that his 2002 Ford Explorer XLS transmissions sucks and should be fixed

- , Coaldale, PA, USA

problem #15

Dec 302007

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

the GD car was 1 month out of warranty and ford wont recall the tranny because they want to save face....... its a little too late for that!!!!!!

- , North Wales, PA, US

problem #14

Jul 102007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

We bought the truck brand new in August of 2002. We have really had no problems with it other than the transmission. Right after the warranty expired, approximately 38,000 miles, the O/D off light began flashing after the truck would reach 45MPH but would reset when the truck was turned off. No noticeable shift problems or too much of any other drive ability problems so I haven't proceeded to try to fix it. I did, however, take my Explorer to a Ford dealership here in Germany since that is where we've been mostly since it started, and they told me that the transmission with labor would run about 5,000 Euros (~$6000 at the time). I have decided that since it currently has about 90,000 miles now and it still works that I'll just run it into the ground, then replace the transmission myself. Hopefully you guys who have had these massive bills for replacement of the transmission will one day get together and get a class action lawsuit going. I'm sure you'll have no problem finding plenty of people with this issue.

Update from Oct 7, 2009: Approximately three weeks ago I replaced the left rear wheel bearing because it had been making noise for some time. I had the issue with the O/D Off light flashing and had the code read which was a "P0741 TCC solenoid" and then nothing. Once I changed the wheel bearing the light stopped coming on anymore. The light works when you press the button and the O/D shifts correctly and everything but the light no longer blinks. I know for a fact that the drive before I changed the wheel bearing the light would blink as previously stated. I know this sounds bizarre to say the least but it's true. In my wildest ideas I can only surmise that somehow the vibration from the bad bearing was causing some sort of issue with the transmission. I would imagine this would be an isolated incident. I would like to think that this would help someone out there but not sure that it will. Eventually I'll get the clutch pack replaced in the differential for that whine I keep hearing.

- , Apo, AE, USA

problem #13

Jan 042008

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

My explorer had a problem changing from 2nd gear to 3rd. Got it fixed, and now there are more problems with the trasmission. This is outrageous. I was in acceptance of the whole situation, and then I looked at other years that the ford was made and realized that the 2002 was by far the worst as far as transmission problems go!

go to this website

it is Tell them we need a recall. NOW.

- , Lafayette, LA, USA

problem #12

Jan 022008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

Same issue as others report - I'll find out in a couple days if my mechanic can address, and at what cost. I've learned that, when the Solenoid B code is stored, the O/D Off light is tripped. The valve body of Solenoid B (the one controlling 1st and OD, which together constitute 3rd gear) - a known faulty part - is at the root of the problem. This can also be associated with a failed EPC valve, which is usually replaced at the same time as the solenoid. My interpretation of this service is that it will generally address the problem.

Ford should have issued a recall for this common problem long ago. However, I'm convinced that this is part of a planned obsolescence program.

- , Denver, CO, USA

problem #11

Dec 272007

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

I�ve had just about every problem described by other�s in this section.

My Explorer has had the following problems over the past 3 years or so: Lost 3rd gear Randomly lurches forward or reverse when going into or out of park Slipping feeling when shifting High revving before shifting And the all telling blinking OD light with Service Engine Soon

With the exception of the 3rd gear issue, my problem could never be duplicated by the Ford mechanic. That meant I not only had to pay the diagnostic fee�s out of pocket, but had to live with a piece of crap transmission for the past several years. Finally the flashing OD indicator gave me proof that there was something wrong after all. Well they found a problem this time all right, and it cost me almost $1,000 since my extended warranty expired some time back. Fast forward 2 days later and the problem is back.. When I take it back in they tell me now I need my transmission re-built to the tune of $2700. Sound familiar? When I asked how they misdiagnosed the problem a few days back they said that the mechanics recommendation was to overhaul the transmission the first time but they failed to tell me. The Service manager even told me that the Shift Pack that they replaced in the prior repair was known to cause the transmission to fail. If that�s the case why isn�t Ford stepping up to fix this issue? I can tell you they won�t because I�ve already called. Ford and the dealer are playing the pass the buck game with me and you in the middle, and their hiding behind the fact that our cars have too many miles on them. Mines less the 100K and the problems started way back around 30K. I pointed out to the Service manager at my Ford dealer that I had a long history of transmission issues with the vehicle, and that every time I had an issue I brought it to his dealership. Without blinking an eye he told me there was nothing he could do. Despite the fact that my problems started when the vehicle was under an extended factory warranty for will do nothing to help me. I took the advice of Screwford (I like that!!) from TX and filed a complaint with I advise you do the same.

The link is

Good luck to us all!

- , Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #10

Jan 022008

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

If you have a Ford Explorer with a faulty transmission and I bet you do. Please file a complaint with If enough of us complain maybe we can make Ford recall this garbage.

Use the URL below to file your report.

- , Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

problem #9

Dec 132007

Explorer XLT 4.O V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

my O/D light can on blinking, the transmission was jerking between 2 -3 gears. had a meter reading done at Autozone code came up po 745. nOW i'LL GOTO cARx...

- , Rochester, MN, USA

problem #8

Dec 132007

Explorer XLT 4.O V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,800 miles

O/D light blinking. I have a 2002 Explorer. 84K...Today the trans was slipping between 1st and 2nd gear,.now, I had a problem a couple years ago of the car just stopped moving, engine on, not moving they (dealer) replaced some kind of clutch box between the engine and tranny. $900.00 later and now a problem with the tranny again. I really do not want to go back to the dealer. Oh BTW, this is my second and last ford explorer. the 1994 explorer tranny went out at 75,000 miles...aggggg. is that a code of something? rapid blinking. I'll hang up and wait for listen for your answer...:-)

- , Rochester, MN, USA

problem #7

Dec 102007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

After researching the flashing overdrive light, I sit here now waiting for the call from the dealer, informing me of the fix and cost for my problem. It seems this flashing overdrive light is a common problem in Ford Explorers. Sounds like something that Ford should know about or should have known about.

Update from Feb 28, 2011: Had the tramsmission replaced by Ford at 150K and now at 218K and will probably have to have this one replaced as well.

- , Waldorf, MD, USA

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