fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
98,350 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)
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This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Ford dealer.

problem #31

Oct 062014

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

My 2002 Ford Explorer has developed an awful whine in the rear differential that is particularly loud and annoying while slowing down or cruising at low speeds.

Overall the truck looks beautiful but the design and quality of the chassis and drive train is terrible.

More complaints coming . . .

- Terry P., Edwardsburg, MI, US

problem #30

Jun 242003

Explorer 4DR XLT 4X2 4.0L Sohc V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,254 miles


I have never owned a FORD before so I am convinced that all of them have an annoying whining. I turn up the radio and try to ignore the problem until someone riding in the back seat says what is that noise, then back to Covert Ford we go.

- pjbuckle, Austin, TX, US

problem #29

Jun 242003

Explorer 4DR XLT 4X2 4.0L Sohc V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,254 miles

The original whine started in 2003 with mileage of 8,254, finally a replacement per TSB on 08/08/05 mileage 24,698. I had listened to a whine for 3 years and over 16,000 miles of radio at high decibels to block out the whine

WHICH IS STILL, STILL, STILL, STILL, WHINING SO IT IS ME AND A FREIGHT TRAIN IN MY REAR END DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD. Coming to the conclusion that Covert has no idea what they are doing at that. Ford SUV's are horrible vehicles.

- pjbuckle, Austin, TX, US

problem #28

Jun 292010

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,623 miles

This was the second differential we had to have fixed on this vehicle.

- C B., Long Beach, CA, US

problem #27

Jan 012014

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

Cannot believe Ford will not step up. What is their problem!!! They know these vehicles have issues so why not fix them? Why put even more burden on the consumer? Guess it just goes to show that all they care about is the bottom line.

- Kathy W., Indianapolis, IN, US

problem #26

Sep 012012

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

The 2002 Explorer XLT was by far the WORSE car I've ever owned. (with the exception of the 2nd one I purchased 3 months ago, which I got a refund for from the dealer for selling me a lemon). I spent well over $3,000 trying fix the rear of this car and it STILL whined...just a little less. First, ring and pinions, then inner and outer bearings for $1,200. NO GO! Then I out a used differential in it. It STILL whined....just a little less. Then, drive shaft, U joints, transfer case and transmission service (for the 2nd time) STILL WHINED and clanked! A nightmare from hell. Ford should have recalled it!!

Of course the rear panel under the back window cracked, I had trouble with the hatch and thousands in other repairs.

(I wish I had known about this site sooner. I just thought it was THAT car. Bought another one. A huge mistake. Made them take it back. ) Yes...avoid this car like the plague. They are NOT kidding her when they say it.

- roselady, Billings, MT, US

problem #25

Jan 012007

Explorer XLT Sport 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

We've had this hunk of metal for about four years now and had the tranny replaced at 112,000 and after that the rear end started howling, my mother loves the damn thing and I want to push it off a cliff, surprisingly it now has 178,000 somehow and hasn't blown up on us.

- exige1992, Sloatsburg, NY, US

problem #24

Apr 262005

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

This particular repair should have never had to happen. A rear end that is setup properly and driven normally should last the lifetime of the vehicle. It is my understanding that this is a common problem with 2002 Ford Explorer. I have been a mechanic since 1968, and as far as I'm concerned a problem of this nature should never have left the factory. Just another fine example of Ford Motor Co.'s incompetence.

- Mike N., Louisville, KY, US

problem #23

Feb 182012

Explorer 4.0L Litre Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 143,000 miles

I just bought this P O S, unaware that this is a common problem on these things. After reading all of these complaints, maybe we should all drive up to Fords' front door in Dearborn, Michigan. That would give this "Chistine" the publicity that it deserves and Ford the "Black Eye that it deserves. I have a 1992 Ford Explorer with nearly 300 miles on it with almost no problems. What the hell happened to the quality??

- Eugene M., Joliet, IL, US

problem #22

May 112011

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,678 miles

This is the 2nd event involving a rear differential with my vehicle. The original differential was replaced in Feb 2010 and now it is causing loud whining noise. Sort of like an airplane taxing down the runway. It is really annoying and drives one insane. They had to replace it with partial cost covered under warranty. It cost about 1200.00 out of pocket and warranty covered the rest. This is the 3rd rear differential to be placed into the car inclusive of the original.

- Steven B., Belleville, IL, US

problem #21

Jul 012011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

rear differential/ rear end constant whine and roaring. Ant suggestions for the fix?

- Joe H., Fort Worth, TX, US

problem #20

Feb 222007

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

Explorer had front wheel bearings and hubs replaced at around 100,000 due to grinding noise. At 120K the transmission went out. When it was rebuilt, the mechanic also replaced the rear wheel bearings and hubs because of growling sound. This did not eliminate a whine that was growing louder from the rear end. Turns out it is the differential. Debating whether to sink more into this grinding, whining money pit.

Now we discover that my son in Chicago has bought a 4WD Eddie Bauer edition 2002 Explorer. He said that he is going to pick it up as soon as they make some repairs. Turns out that the dealer is putting in all four wheel bearings and a "clutch kit" in the differential. These problems have to be known by Ford. Why has there been no recall.

No more Explorers for this customer. They aren't backed by Ford.

- jmac3ky, Murray, KY, US

problem #19

Jun 012009

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Bought my 2002 Ford Explorer XLS new in Aug of 02, vehicle ran great until around 80,000 mile when a low "growl" emitted from the rear end, thought it was the wheel bearings so I replaced them. Replacing them didn't fix the noise as it became louder and louder until I've now determined from autobeef that it's definitely the ring and pinion gears in the differential. The noise is so loud now that the radio has to be turned very loud to drown out the rearend noise. I have not taken this vehicle to my local ford dealer (where I bought it) because I do not want to hear the BS. Getting a differential from a junkyard is a gamble that I'm not sure I want to take, but I'm kinda stuck because I've already spent $3500 having the motor replaced at 107,000 mile (yes, it blew up, but that's another story). Since I've got a virtually new motor I'd like to keep the vehicle. Any word of a class action lawsuit about this rear end problem please inform me, I'm in!

- chasl, Wellsville, PA, US

problem #18

Jun 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Same noise complaint as others--whiring/roaring noise from rear differential. Tried the replacement suggestion of 75-145 oil and that did not help at all. Car has always had loud noise from rear of car, but the noise is getting so loud now it is really annoying and embarrasing. I have owned 4 Fords and I have learned my lesson and I will never buy a Ford again.

- Stephanie L., Commerce, MI, US

problem #17

Aug 152009

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

I had this whining noise that was driving me nuts. I was first told that is was the rear bearrings which i already replaced like a couple of years ago. They wanted like $ 3,500 at the dealership to put in new differential. So i found a used one for $400.00 and paid

$350.00 to have put in.

It still whines, but not as much so for less than $ 2,000 it is better but not 100%. I can live with it since i have almost 150,000 miles on this SUV. it still gets me from point A to point B.

- bhaskins, Liverpool, NY, US

problem #16

Mar 152011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

My Explorer was also showing signs of the dreaded differential whine. The faster the speed the louder the whine. It also had the shutter at low speeds (5-10 mph). Took it to my mechanic (not a dealer) and showed him all the documentation about the Ring & Pinion" problem. When I picked up the vehicle later that day, I noticed that he had only replaced the right rear wheel bearing and cleaned debris out of the drive axle seals. Nothing else. Now the whine and shutter are gone. Just thought I'd provide what may be the solution for some of you (at about 1/10th the price). Hope it helps.

- Brent H., Syracuse, UT, US

problem #15

Oct 152010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Bought my 2002 explorer back in 2008 from the original owner. They babied the car and took good care of it. Majority of the miles were all highway because the truck was used to commute to Connecticut from New Jersey at least once a year. About 11 months later, rear end started the same whine/roar like everyone's mentioned. Over the past year it's only gotten worse. I had the tires replaced and that did not help. Now I'm almost positive its the rear differential. Also both rear coils snapped in the past 6 months and on top of the rear- the transmission is starting to hesitate going into 2nd gear. Dreading the cost of the repairs. Going to get my estimate tomorrow. I am so upset because I love my truck to death. If the cost is anymore than $2500, im trading this hunk of junk in!

- Ashleigh K., Brick, NJ, US

problem #14

Oct 102007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I bought this P.O.S. on the spur of the moment because we just welcomed our daugter in to the world and needed a "family" vehicle. I didn't notice the whining when I test drove the vehicle but after a couple of weeks I probably started driving with the radio turned down (for the little one's sake). I took it to my local mechanic who wasn't sure but suggested to replace the oil. He did put in the heavier synthetic and it never went away. I just went to a job interview 2 days ago, which is a 50 mile drive. On the way up I noticed that when turning from a stop it almost felt like it was stuck in 4wd. I wasn't sure if it was front end or rear. On the way home (in bumper to bumper traffic) every stop and start this P.O.S. would clunk and grind. When I got home I looked in the drive where I normally park and there were a number of spots where the rear end would sit. Looking under the vehicle it was obviously wet.

So here I am... and after reading all of your complaints I wish I would have never bought this thing. I got the job, but a: can't afford to fix. b: am afraid to try and drive to my first day of work on Monday...

Thanks Ford, maybe you should blame Firestone like you did 10 years ago for YOUR rollover problem!!!

- Matthew G., Massillon, OH, US

problem #13

Jul 022010


  • 135,000 miles

Same problem as all of you. I'm very sick of ford. I will never go ford again. I to will join the class action suit. Please let me know of changes.

- leonaz, Chino Valley, AZ, US

problem #12

Jul 152008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

Lets just say this is very annoying but not worth fixing if you can get away with it. This is another one of the problems that Ford doesn't claim is their responsibility. No problem, I won't own another Ford. Customer screwing is job one at Ford, not customer satisfaction. They had piss poor engineers that designed this piece of sh*t and yet they don't claim responsibility. The only thing they do claim is the money we owed them.

- wrench 112, Kansas City, MO, US

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