CarComplaints.com 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.

9.3

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,836.00
Average Mileage:
94,536 miles
Total Complaints:
440 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced with rebuilt transmission (114 reports)
  2. replace transmission (86 reports)
  3. transmission needs to be recalled (81 reports)
  4. call Ford customer service and complain 800-392-3673 (63 reports)
  5. not sure (40 reports)
  6. local mechanic fixed, not giving dealer any more business (18 reports)
2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 20 of 22)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #60

Mar 152007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6 V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

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

I have always been a big fan of Ford explorers until know. I have had my transmission replaced 4 times since owned. First was at 34,000 miles, second time at 63,000 miles, third time at 126,000 miles and for the forth time at 127,324 miles. This is bullsh*t each time and is costing a little over 2000 dollars each time. A Ford mechanic recommended that I put an after market transmission cooler in to help keep it cooler. BULLSH*T, I did that and it still went out. This is the biggest piece of sh*t I have ever owned. I will never buy another Ford again in my life nor will my family. I think everyone should get together and file a class action lawsuit against Ford and make Ford pay everyone back for the cost of repair and the cost for lost time at work and the headaches this pile of sh*t gives us.

I THINK WE SHOULD TAKE FORD TO COURT AND MAKE THEM PAY OUT THE A** LIKE WE HAD TO.....................

- , Culver, IN, USA

problem #59

Mar 172007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

Well, to all who own a 2002 Ford Explorer, either total it, burn it, pay someone to steal it, or just get rid of it as fast as you can. I have posted many complaints all over the internet for the last four years, and on Friday I just gave up fighting.

I bought my Explorer in 2003 (it was a 2002 that I was told only the dealer drove)and it had 10,000 miles on it. This was my first brand new vehicle, and the first and probably only vehicle I will ever pay cash for. I bought a Ford against my better judgement. My family buys foreign vehicles, but the in-laws strongly stand behind their Fords. Boy, if I could turn back time and change my mind, I would do it in a heart beat. I bought the vehicle for $24,000 and on Friday I had put $13,250 into the vehicle. You read that right! I kept telling myself "what else can go wrong?" because I had done everything at least once. I replaced the entire engine at 54,000 miles, the first transmission at 62,000 miles, 9 wheel bearings, the air conditioning unit, the back windshield, the rear wiper motor three times, the window control unit, the abs sensor three times, had the air bag light checked numerous times, and have had the overdrive light looked at more times than I can count. There has been many other little things, but these are the big dollar repairs. If you read this closely I mentioned the first transmission repair, well, Friday I got the wonderful news that I was having transmission problems again. First they told me I needed the solenoid pack, but 24 hours later I received the news that I needed to replace the entire transmission again. This was it, I snapped! Enough was enough, these problems were never going to go away. Ford has never given me a cent in repairs, but I've kept every receipt so in the future if I need them they will be there.

I am now the proud owner of a Jeep Commander!!!! You don't even want to know what they gave me for a trade in on the damn thing. Let's just say it was less than a transmission. I tell everyone I know about my experience with Ford, and will continue as long as I live to tell as many people as possible. I can honestly say that I threw $37,000 down the drain, how many people can say that?

- , Johnstown, NY, USA

problem #58

Mar 172007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I OWN A 2002 FORD EXPLORER XLS THAT I FELL IN LOVE WITH (AT FIRST). I ALWAYS WANTED ONE (UNTIL MY PROBLEM!!) I ONLY OWNED MY "EXPLODER" FOR 10 MONTHS WHEN IT STARTED "JERKING" SOMEWHAT MILDLY. I TOOK IT IN A SHOP AND WAS TOLD THAT A TUNE UP WOULD DO THE TRICK. ONE MONTH LATER, MY EXPLORER LEFT MY FAMILY AND I STRANDED ALONG THE ROAD. THE TRANSMISSION "BROKE"! I TOOK IT IN YET AGAIN. THIS TIME THEY WANTED TO FIND ME A USED TRANSMISSION SINCE MINE WAS COMPLETELY BURNED OUT AND COULD NOT BE REBUILT. THEY KEPY MY VEHICLE FOR OVER TWO WEEKS AND GAVE ME A RUN AROUND ON HOW THERE ARE NO TRANSMISSIONS TO BE FOUND. BUT NOW I SEE WHY. THEY SUPPOSEDLY "FIXED" IT AND SENT ME ON MY WAY. TEN MILES UP THE ROAD WE WERE STRANDED YET AGAIN. THIS "USED" TRANSMISSION HAD GIVEN OUT ALSO!! THAT DAY I PARKED IT AND WENT OUT AND BOUGHT A WHOLE OTHER BRAND VEHICLE. NO MORE "EXPLODERS" FOR ME!!!!

- , Zebulon, NC, USA

problem #57

Sep 282006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • 37,000 miles

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

Bought it 2nd hand, just under the 60Km Ford coverage. I found out too late, it had past record of intense dealer service on the transmission! I have paid twice for an over the warranty related trouble. Now, the transmission sometimes slips during what is not so automatic shifting. Something is still wrong. It will not get any better on its own, it will need to be opened and repaired. Time will result to further internal damage, that I am sure of. Ford knows that there is a problem. A leak between the engine and transmission was serviced at a dealer. They changed a seal. There was some mention of a vent also responsible for exhausting trans oil. This is "Not normal", not in a sealed unit. Why did they not take the transmission down then? While it was under some form of coverage? I drive with little confidence because of the fear that the whole thing is just ticking. I have refrained from much pleasure travel which is the single reason that we bought a seven seater in the first place. I can't help to wonder what Henry Ford would think of that. The entire history of Ford and the model T was that it was solid and trouble free for the times, and it was used for freedom and adventure. A little extension of the frontier days. Shame on you Ford, for not admitting to this problem. Allowing to do nothing of what is obvious to many of us now, "a clearly defective product." If something fails once, its unfortunate, twice, is not lucky, three times there is something wrong. How they deal with a letter that I am preparing for them will say much about what roads we will take in my future. I can assure you that!

- , Laval, QUE, Canada

problem #56

Mar 082007

(reported on)

Explorer 4.0LT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Can't believe the similarities in events that led to this failure.. Driving up on ramp to freeway, when thump from 2nd to 4th... Loss of 3rd gear band... Straight to dealership who sent the box away and came back after 2 weeks with a FULL Rebuild and a $4000 (Aus) charge... Approached Fo Mo Co - 80,000 easy miles on a tranny should not result in this... They say it is out of warranty and not an manufacturing issue... If this is typical of their quality of product - I won't be hanging around waiting for the next rebuild!!!!

- , Hoppers Crossing, Victoria, Australia

problem #55

Mar 062007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Ford is done. The Silverado outsold the F150 last month. A Ford transmission can't go 67,000 highway miles? I don't trust Ford anymore. And every time they fry a consumer, and don't care, they seem to overlook that we take at least our immediete familiy with us. My kids will never own a Ford now. Multiply that times all the failed 02 transmissions. What did that really cost Ford?

- , Laurel Lake, PA, USA

problem #54

Oct 092006

(reported on)

Explorer XLS

  • 64,000 miles

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

Ford needs to issue a recall. This seems like it happens to every 02' and 03' Explorer owner I know.

- , Lebanon, OH, USA

problem #53

Oct 102006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauier

  • 89,000 miles

after ford had to quick fix leaking trans at 35000 miles again at 89000 miles leaking again this time I have been told

1st was leaking torque converter / AMCCO/ $ 800.

2nd was /MR. Transmission/ just 2 look @ /$1285.

3rd was /FORD / said 2 replace ($ ?) didnt ask !

4th was /Bullitt Co. Trans./ said that Ford knows that this is a problem but will not recall, he has had a lot of them , And for some reason that he is not aware of they are overheating and blowing out of the vent tube, but they all 4, he said he would replace with Jasper Trans. at least you would get a 75000 mile warranty.

- , Elizabethtown, KY, USA

problem #52

Oct 132006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • 91,000 miles

I OWN A 2002 FORD EXPLORER. MY TRANSMISSION WENT OUT AT 91,000 MILES BECAUSE I WAS TOLD BY THE DEALER MY THIRD BAND WENT OUT. I HAD A 100,000 MI WARRANTY OR 5 YEARS WHICH EVERY COMES FIRST. WELL MY WARRANTY ENDED ON 17 SEPT. O6. MY CAR BROKE DOWN ON OCT. 9TH ABOUT 3 WKS AFTER MY AGREEMENT WAS UP. FORD WOULD NOT FIX MY CAR. I HAD MY VEHICLE SERVICED EVERY 30,000 MILES ON TRANNY. SO THE END RESULT GOES LIKE THIS. I FOUND OUT THAT THE EXPLORER, AT LEAST THE 02 THAT I KNOW OF, HAVE HAD LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH TRANNY. I CALLED FORD ABOUT 6 TIMES TRYING TO GET MY CAR FIXED. A NO GO! THIS SHOULD BE A RECALL!!!! THIS IS NOT FAIR TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY OR ANYBODY THAT BUYS FORD CARS AND TRUCKS. PLEASE TAKE MY ADVICE. BUY SOMEWHERE ELSE. I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED IN FORD MOTOR COMPANY. AND WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD. AND EVERYBODY I KNOW I WILL STRONGLY RECOMMEND NOT TO BUY FROM FORD. GO AHEAD IF YOU WANT TO BUT DON'T SAY YOU HAVE NOT BEEN WARNED!!!

- , VIRGINIA BEACH, VA., USA

problem #51

May 102006

(reported on)

Explorer

  • 107,000 miles

Over-revving before shifting began soon after we got it. O/D light began flashing erratically at approx 80K. Would reset if I turned it off, let it sit and then restarted it. Began hard slam shifting at approx 105K. Complete failure at 107K.

Shop said 02 Explorer is #1 for needing tranny repair.

Never again!

- , Knoxville, MD, USA

problem #50

Feb 272007

(reported on)

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

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

About 2 weeks ago I was coming from church going home and my 2002 Ford Explorer with approximatley 85,000 miles began reving very high, and did not want to shift into the next gear. Then after a "Clunk", it would chuck and then go to a higher speed. Shortly after that the OD light came on and blinked on and off rapidly. Then the Service Engine light came on. I called the Ford Dealer and they said that it would be 5 days before I could get in because they only have 1 transmission mechanic. I took the car into AAMCO and after diagnosing the problem said that my transmission needed to be rebuilt at a cost of $2850. I will never by another Ford again. Prior to this purchase, I always own Toyota vehicles. I lost my mind for a minute and purchased a Ford, thinking that supporting American made cars was more patriotic duty, never again.

- , Woodbridge, VA, USA

problem #49

Dec 102006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Transmission failed (overdrive) at 105000 miles. It had been serviced at 79000 miles. Never towed anything. Repair was going to be approx $2650, so I chose to spend $3150 and get the remanufactured tranny from Ford with a 3YR/75K warranty. Seems obvious that there is a design problem with this thing... I'm sure they are working on improved design at the expense of all of us who suffered the failures. Any installation of the Ford remanufactured unit requires the return of the failed tranny to Ford, so you know they are doing failure analysis. I married into this clunker, but I'll stick to Toyota when I spend my money.

- , Deer Park, TX, USA

problem #48

Dec 102006

(reported on)

Explorer 4DR V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Let me just start by saying that I will never buy a Ford again. I bought the vehicle used with 35,000 miles and around 55,000 the problems began and have since not ended. The transmission was just replaced at 87,000 miles and cost $2500. I will honestly say that I do not know much about cars but I do know that these problems should not be happening at such mileage when the vehicle is one of the best selling vehicles year after year. The reason Ford Explorers are so cheap is because they are made cheap.

- , Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #47

Dec 102006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

One more 2002 Ford Transmission failure. It was never right and I mentioned this to dealer at every service appt. from when I bought the car in 2002. At 71k mi. O/D Off light started to flash, transmission was slipping. Within 10 minutes, something popped and I could hear bolts being ground up. The car would not go into any gear (other than Park I guess). Luckily I wasn't too far from home. Had car towed to my Ford dealer. I had a "3rd party" extended warranty (100k mi./6 yrs.) - Portfolio and was offered 2 options;

A) Used transmission - 30k mi. with a warranty for 12 mo. or 24k mi. plus $420 (cost to me) for transmission cooler (external part not included in warranty).

B) Re-Manufactured transmission (new) - warranty for 3 yrs. or 75k mi. for a cost to me of $1300 (this also included $420 for transmission cooler).

I opted for B) because what good is another defective transmission with 30k mi. on it already?? Somehow the cost wound up being $1k - may have only "flushed" the transmission cooler and not replaced it - wording on invoice is ambiguous - states both.

I am very angry and disappointed with Ford. This was my first Ford purchase and I will never get another one. Only 3 months ago I had a "rear differential" replacement. This was covered fully by the extended warranty. However in my mind - Ford should have a recall for both of these serious problems occurring in relatively new vehicles. Even with the extended warranty this car has cost me too much money. I feel for those who bought this lemon without one! I am now waiting for "rear axle" problems which I hear are also a serious problem with this vehicle. I have heard that 1 in 10 of these vehicles have the transmission problem - outrageous!! Ford will probably be out of business in short order - and well deserved to be putting out junk like this. The dealer tried to push the blame off on the "parts suppliers" for Ford. Shame on them for not doing their homework on their suppliers! It is their name that is being destroyed, not the parts supplier. Never again!!!

- , New Providence, NJ, USA

problem #46

Feb 202007

(reported on)

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

I can't say it enough I will never buy another FORD vehicle. I can not understand why there are so many complaints about the 2002 explorer transmission and Ford has not recalled it. I have to get the entire Transmission replaced and it only has 66K miles on it. Ford should be held liable for this and the consumer should not have to pay the price. The customer service people are useless and now understand why everyone is switching to Toyota. Very sad when a company does not stand behind their product. I had the same issue as everyone else with the O/D light flashing etc. Sad very sad...... I want to buy American and I can't anymore.....

- , Bridgewater, NJ, USA

problem #45

Feb 112007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,109 miles

I BOUGHT THIS 2002 FORD EXPLORER IN 2004 WITH ONLY 34900 MILES ON IT. AROUND THE 45000 MILE MARK THE TRANSMISSION SOLENOID SENSOR WENT BAD AND HAD TO BE REPLACED, COSTING ABOUT $800 DOLLARS. I'VE MAINTAINED HER PRETTY WELL, GIVING HER A TRANSMISSION FLUSH TWICE A YEAR. AT 85000 MILE MARK THE TRANSMISSION STARTED ACTING UP AGAIN. TOOK IT TO THE FORD DEALER AGAIN, THEY NOTIFIED ME STATING THAT THIRD GEAR WENT BAD. THIS TIME COSTING ME 1,800 DOLLARS. THERE IS NO REASON THAT THE TRANSMISSION SHOULD HAVE THIS MANY PROBLEMS WITH ONLY 85,000 MILES. FORD NEEDS TO DO SOME SERIOUS INVESTIGATING ON THE TRANSMISSION ISSUES. I LOVE MY EXPLORER, SHE IS A VERY COMFORTABLE RIDE, GREAT IN SNOW AND HANDLES PRETTY GOOD FOR A TRUCK, BUT FOR GOODNESS SAKE MAKE BETTER TRANSMISSIONS ON FORD EXPLORERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Saint Joseph, MI, USA

problem #44

Feb 102007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,500 miles

I purchased this 2002 Explorer in February 2005. My wife wanted a sport utility & we traded in her 2001 Honda Civic EX against my better judgment. I am a Ford truck person, I have owned a 95 Explorer still running with 185,000 miles on it & an 01 Expedition, which has been a perfect vehicle & has 130,000 miles with no problems. This Explorer has been the biggest piece of crap I have ever owned. The vehicle was purchased from Sutliff Ford with 41,000 miles on it. It was supposed to be a Ford Certified previously owned vehicle (what a joke). It was back to the dealer within a week for the 1st of 20+ visits for a transmission problem. The idiot lights would light up on the dash & the transmission would start with the noises. I would take the vehicle back to the Ford dealer since it was under warranty & they would keep it & give it back & say nothing was wrong with it. The last time it was at the dealer and was under warranty, was August-September 2006. The dealer, Plaza Ford in Bel Air, MD kept the vehicle for over 30 days & gave it back & said they could find nothing wrong with it. Every time I got it back it would run fine for a time & then act up with problems. On Friday, February 2nd, my wife left her job & got in the vehicle to come home. The vehicle would not move. She called me & we had the vehicle towed to the nearest Ford dealer, Bob Davidson Ford in Parkville, MD, even though it now had 80,500 miles. The guy in the service department said to bring him all the receipts from all our times back & they would call Ford & try to help us. He couldn't believe what he read & we told him & they never fixed it. The next day he called & said they couldn't help us, Ford said no. He also told me the transfer case was locked up & the transmission was done & needed to be replaced. The price would be $5200. I started e-mailing Ford, explaining the whole situation, I had called that useless 1-800 # & had never gotten anywhere previously. I basically got back a response that said it wasn't Ford's problem since it was out of warranty. When I called them because they asked me to based on my e mails, they said they could not help because "their guidelines" would not allow it. The guy said it wasn't Ford's problem since it was out of warranty. He said it didn't make a difference that I had taken it to the dealer 20+ times for these problems, it's not their problem now. I pulled the vehicle out of the dealer & took to an off site transmission shop. They said the transfer case was fine & the transmission would be $1800 to replace. I will never buy another Ford product as long as I am buying cars. I am going back to Honda. As soon as I get this POS back from the transmission shop, it's getting traded in & I am washing my hands of it. No wonder Ford lost $12.7 Billion last year, look how they treat their customers. It's like they don't care & are trying to go out of business.

- , New Freedom, PA, USA

problem #43

Feb 072007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,500 miles

I had to buy my Ford Explorer because my 2000 Ford Escort ZX2 coupe finally crapped out on me, while I was on my way to work. I figured that since my escort was such a great car that this one would be too. I got this car in November 2005 with 62,000 miles on it. I took it to the dealer in April 2005 to have it looked at because it felt like the gears were slipping, the dealer told me that there was nothing wrong with it. Now that it's not under guarantee is up on it the transmisson is taking a great big dump. I'm pissed because this is the family car, can you imagine fitting the family in to an eclipse? I have a lot of running around to do during the day and my hubby has to work so I'm mad because this is a HUGE inconvenience to us financially. I hate being with out my car. I'm really surprised that with all the complaints ford has on it's transmissions that they haven't had some kind of recall. Screw the back window, I want my car to run the way it's suppose to, I don't want to end up dead on the side of the road with my kids in the car waiting for my husband to come and get us. My husband warned me about getting another ford, I should have listened. I WILL NEVER OWN ANOTHER FORD.

- , Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #42

Feb 022007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I can say that the vehicle looks pretty nice. Its comfortable, roomy, and has a "good transmission" as well, or so I thought. One day, me and some buddies of mine were taking a trip up to Nashville in the Explorer. The transmission as a whole has never showed any problems for almost the whole two years I owned the vehicle. Well, when I started to drive on the entrance ramp leading to the interstate, the transmission all at once started to act up. It shifted to second normally, but it would not shift into third gear. The transmission acted like it went into neutral before it finally did shift into third. Then, the O/D off light stated to flash rapidly. I decided to end the trip, and carefully drive home. To sum things up, when my transmission technician removed the pan under the "sealed" transmission, he showed me where an accumulation of clutch material and metal shavings developed on the bottom of the pan.

All I can say is, that my warranty had expired, so I had to pay the total three-thousand dollars expense. I used to be a ford man, but now I will never own one again. I hate to say it, but the next car I buy will be Japanese. I think its terrible that the American cars have went downhill so much in the recent years. The American car companies should be "examples" to other companies. It looks like the foreign companies will take the lead in my boat. If anyone is considering the 2002 Ford Explorer XLT, they need consider starting a savings account for their new rebuilt transmission as well.

- , Tullahoma, TN, USA

problem #41

Jan 252007

(reported on)

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I'm not even gonna list the things other than the transmission... but the transmission is just a lemon,,,, biggest pile sh*t I have EVER came across... these transmissions drop like flies semi-annually... I work on more ford explorer transmissions (and ford transmissions in general) than ANY other vehicle. Ford has had bad automatic transmissions for 15 years or more, you'd think they'd be smart enough to finally make a good one.... Or are we as consumers just dumb for buying a ford in the first place?? If someone is going to buy a ford explorer and has stumbled across this site, I beg you you PLEASE re-think your purchase. All manufactures have their bugs and glitches but ford is just a complete joke... The ONLY vehicle i would EVER buy from ford is a Crown Victoria Police interceptor... Thats the only car that seems to hold up (maybe because they were smart enough to make police cars non-lemons?)

- , Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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