pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
94,300 miles
Total Complaints:
39 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. replace engine (14 reports)
  2. not sure (12 reports)
  3. replaced the timing chain (9 reports)
  4. fix engine and sell (3 reports)
  5. dont buy a ford (1 reports)
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This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Ford dealer.

problem #39

Dec 262016

Explorer LS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles


Started the Explorer and it wouldn't shift out of park. Let it warm up and the ticking/rattling sound started worse than I've ever heard from it. It has always had a rattling sound coming from the timing chain/fan belt area. We always dealt with it because we had a Ford dealership fix the timing chain and they told us that it would always rattle and make some sound. They couldn't find anything else wrong with it at the time this was several years ago and was told that some Fords are just loud. Took it to the repair shop and again it needs another timing chain replacement along with other repairs. They quoted me about $3500 if I was lucky since it was going to be a 22 hour job plus costs of parts, this is not taking into account the other things I need repaired. I could buy a new engine since I also need a new transmission and rear differential work but I no longer love my Ford and who has that kind of money to throw at a bottomless pit. I could replace the engine, timing chain and sell it or trade it

I am now rendered with a useless vehicle and all we are getting is snow, snow and more snow. Thanks Ford for literally leaving me in the cold.

- idn8tiv, Boise, ID, US

problem #38

Aug 142012

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,542 miles

I have a 02 Ford Explorer 4.0 v6 I've replaced the motor at a Ford dealership. My question is how about all the people that had the same problems get together and bring a law suit against the Ford Co. Anybody wants to I'm all for it. So sick of this crap Ford needs to take some kind of responsibility.

- Tina R., Hurricane, WV, US

problem #37

Jun 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

So how bout it Mr Ford..are you going to make good for the faulty timing chains? It's because plastic was used for timing chain tension..that was real stupid to use plastic..I recommend nobody ever but a Ford because they had a poor design with timing chains. If they would just stand behind their product making it right, then I would have no problem with Ford.. but they won't...they should be sued, jailed, closed for good!

- daveyjoe8265, Silver Lake Wisconsin, US

problem #36

Jul 102013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 162,000 miles

Timing chain guides made out of plastic, found out this happens to all of these motors anywhere from 140,000 - 175,000 miles. Have to pull the engine to fix, need special Ford tools for several items during the repair process. Most shops will encourage you to purchase a remanufactured motor and just replace the whole engine instead of replacing $300.00 in parts. They do not want to warranty their engine work (at least this is what I found in my town)

I watched U-Tube videos, purchased the special tools on EBay and did it myself. Ford has known about the problem and will not fix it, designed failure, I believe the rest of the engine will last well over 200,000 miles, but at 300,000 miles I may have to do this repair again!

- Joseph B., Galt, CA, US

problem #35

Nov 272013

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

driving car down the road when it stopped going , traffic started to honk and swerve around me. glided to side of road. Engine was making terrible noise. Had Ford Tech look at it. It new in about a minute that it was the rear timing chain tensioner that broke. Called dealer and they new exactly about the problem. He said that most of the people junk the truck or put a new engine in the truck. This truck cost 28,185 new. I still have the original sticker. I just finished putting upper and lower ball joint and tie rod ends on the truck. ( this is normal wear and tear for a truck with 122,000 miles on it. I put a new alternator and battery in the truck two weeks before the ball joints( again normal wear and tear) when the engine breaks because of a known weak component in the system Mr. Ford needs to step up to plate and help the customers. With no help from Ford and unable to pay 5,000 for a new engine I junked the truck after just putting 1,500 in to repairs. I now drive a car with 165,000 miles cause it all I could find but it runs strong at 165,000. I need a check from Ford. I will list a second complaint but my other car is a Mercury Sable and I just put a new trans. in that car the week before . This car also has a known problem were the spline strips out on the torque converter. I'm going broke owning Fords. If they wanted to do the right thing for this customer they should send me a new Ford. The car I had before the Explorer was a Ford Taurus. I had the headgasket replaced on this one at 100,000 and at 113,000 it went again. and if you cant believe in luck I had a taurus before that and the engine bearing went our at 100,000. NO ONE could make this up. Ford needs to tell me why I should buy something else.

- N H., Geneva, IL, US

problem #34

Jan 052011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Belt tensioner, timing belt broke and ruined my entire engine!!!! I have kept up with the maintenance on this vehicle and am so pissed off that out of nowhere, and for no good reason, the thing just breaks and renders my vehicle useless! I would be a lot less upset if the belt broke and I just needed to replace that, but from what I understand, this is a major fix and includes replacing the entire engine. Ford designed a very poor model and should be held accountable for their actions. This should have been a recall.... too many people have had this issue!

- fandlera, Warren, MI, US

problem #33

Feb 282011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Rear Timing Chain tensioner snapped, then timing chain jumped gears, and destroyed the rear of the motor. Part is not easy to replace. Ford wanted $5000 for reman engine and labor. Known problem. Car was at dealership a few weeks earlier for engine noise, and they failed to rectify. A simple check of the rear chain tensioner would have revealed problem. If you hear a 'marble in a can' noise from the rear of the engine have them check the timing tensioner to save you a little bit. Repair involves pulling engine, and fixing with a newly designed tensioner.

- Glen F., Cedar Park, TX, US

problem #32

May 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

I bought this ford in 2002 new. after about 60,00 it started to sound like it was knocking when we started it up. In 2007 April I took it to the dealer where we bought it and told them what was going on. They said they could not find anything wrong with it, ( Mind you, FORD had sent TSB'c out on the 4.0L engine starting in 1999 on the Timing chain tensioners telling there tec's that if a 4.0l came in and sounded like it was rattling, look at the chain tensioners) To me this sounds like FORD knew this was a big issue and just did not give a crap because it would cost them. So they did not send any thing to People who bought trucks with this POS 4.0L in them. They just sat there and the ones that came in under warrenty, if they could not BS them and sent them on their way, Some got fixed. Very few. The rest of us were just screwed. I again took my 2002 explorer in around 2007 June when we moved to texas to get a trans filter changed( the 4.0L 2002 has NO trans dip stick and it is injected trans fld.) When I went to pick up my explorer they had a list of crap that was going bad on the pos. It would have been a short list if they told me what was good on it. To this day ford will NOT fix anything. The issues started back when we only had about 60,000 miles on it and ford said there was nothing wrong with my explorer. Now that I am out of warranty, they do not want to fix anything unless "I" pay for it. cost to get every thing fixed, about $9,000. Ford can suck my _ _ _ k. I will now sent a letter to NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION TELLING THE WHAT FORD HAS DONE AND IS DOING TO PEOPLE. Just hope people will do the same,if you call ford, they will do nothing. Here is the number

1-888-327-4236. I wondered how ford made 8 billion in profits in 2010 and now I know how. THEY DON"T FIX ANYTHING.

- diversdown03, New Braunfels, TX, US

problem #31

Oct 302004

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles

I had the tensioner fixed on this vehicle at 23k it started rattling again at about 2400 RPM shortly after fix but it was out of warranty -

This vehicle has been one expensive problem after another and FORD hasn't backed this vehicle at all - Differential - 2 times - Transmission -Multiple times- Wheel Hubs-9 - Radiator - The list goes on and on I have paid for this vehicle twice just in repairs.....

Dealerships even laugh and smile about the reputation of this vehicle - I personally am not laughing or smiling ........

As for Ford they can laugh - look at all the money they make on repairs ....hopefully we all have learned our lesson just can't figure out what vehicle to buy next ... won't be a FORD!. SHAME ON FORD

- K H., Jerome, MI, US

problem #30

Nov 062010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,645 miles


- ebuckley, Staten Island, NY, US

problem #29

Apr 102008

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

plastic timing chain tensioner for real that sounds wrong i got the warrenty the company said its spark ping and to get some fuel cleaner and go drive on the highway it ll go away so i did the noise never went away. the pos drove ok so i never worried about it,now it is super loud warrenty is up and i get on here to find out this is a normal problem this is my last ford. bye the way it has all the regular problems shudder while accelerating, wheel berings, rear window broken rear end repair abs light and airbag light

- Matt D., Elkhart, IN, US

problem #28

May 122009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

My sister bought this pile before i knew and could tell her not to. I am not a ford man and never have been. i cannot believe how some dumb assed ford engineer could have possibly dreamed up an engine with this sohc cam timing system. it has to be the most f'd up thing i have ever seen . what kid of dum ass would have a timing chain on the back of the engine???

I have been in the automotive industry for 25 plus years and seen some stupid sh*t but this thing is the KING. after checking into it and seeing the special tools and whats involved to replace the timing chains(pulling the motor) to repair the timing chains!!!!!how stupid!!!!We have a friend who works at a engine shop who sold her an engine and let her make payments. thank goodness because there was nothing good about this pile.anyone with a sohc 4.0 beware if you hear clatter on startup get rid of it asap.

- Jim L., Omak, WA, US

problem #27

Jul 082010

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Can you show me a picture of the timing chain on vehicle

- Donnie S., Chgo., IL, US

problem #26

Sep 012009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

Ford says if I don't have it fixed soon ($1000-$1100) and it breaks, I'm looking at a new engine. My regular mechanic, who diagnosed the problem before Ford did, wasn't such an alarmist.

- pmj4la, Los Angeles, CA, US

problem #25

May 262010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Hubby has told me since day one that Fords are POS's and are a pain in the ass to fix and way to expensive to repair.

I've had a knocking/winding noise coming from the engine for the past couple weeks. Me being a "woman driver" as hubby calls it, I kinda ignored the noise until it was a little more noticable. I mentioned it to hubby and even though he's been a mechanic most his life, he didn't have the tools to repair it.

So we took our POS Ford down the road to the nearest mechanic. He was pretty cool but diagnosed the problem as a "serious one" and said he believes it was the timing chain and tensioner pulleys. This is just what hubby said it was. Unfortunately, this mechanic doesn't work on timing chains since it involves pulling out the motor. So he said we should take it to the dealership or take it to another mechanic that he knew.

We ended up taking it to the other mechanic he reffered us to. That ended up being a BIG mistake! He told us the same thing the other mechanic said...timing chain and tensioner pulleys need to be replaced. BUT, he said "95% of the time, when you replace the tensioner pulleys, it stops the noise". All were trying to do is stop the noise so we can sell it, so since he was so confident that he could fix our POS Ford, we told him to go ahead. He called the next day and said even though the tensioner pulleys were replaced, it still didn't fix it and we owe him $298 for parts and labor. What the???!!!!!

So we called the Ford dealership to see how much it would cost to fix our POS Ford and replace the stupid timing chain and they quoted us $2700!!!!! Holy SH$T!!!! With 5 kids, we don't have this kind of money! Why do Fords have to be soooooo complicated and sooooo damn expensive to repair? I've already replaced the transmission 2 years ago that set me back 2G. I'm officially a GM and Chevy gal for now on.....no more Fords for us!!

- searcytn, Greenbrier, TN, US

problem #24

Feb 242010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,860 miles

Have loved the Ford Explorer's since '97 but always got a newer one when mileage was at 68K. Got the current '02 Eddie Bauer V8 when it had 19K on it have love using it to pull our pop-top trailer. The transmission has started to make a funny vibration in the last 5 months and just in the last 5 weeks, there has been an ever increasing "ticking/clicking" sound emanating from the front right area. After finding this site and reading the tensioner issues, I doubt I will spent the $2,200.plus and keep it. Best to sell now, take the loss and get a foreign equivalent. I can't believe they use plastic parts in such a critical area?! This site is great.

- Pete H., Centennial, CO, US

problem #23

Aug 012008

Explorer EB V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Cheap,cheap,cheap. Shame on ford using inferior plastic parts inside an engine. I bet the person responsible for this design fiasco is long gone,,or should be. The engine makes such a racket I just tell everyone it must be part diesel. Not cheap to fix though. Guess who gets stuck with that fix.

- Michael T., Virginia Beach, VA, US

problem #22

Mar 012010

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

same old story,bought new,bad axle bearing,then rear end went out at 60,000 ,then motor noise,boom at 126,000 miles,lot of money for junk.

- bohlen, Lancaster, OH, US

problem #21

Feb 102010

Explorer ESL 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles

1400, to 2500 dollas o something thats going to go bad again just dont make not a bit of since. Never i repeat never buy another Ford!!!! Dad always told me this when I was 16 over hear a conversation abouyt Fords now I know.Even the window on this 2002 ran 810 dolllars, wow the red one up in the upper right hand corner is exactly like mines.Look good but thats it to many problem with the engine parts ... Dam, what is the truck actually made for, OHHHHH!!!! o keep ford workers at work thats a good way to look at it.Well these should be Ford workers transportation so that they can deal with their on problems then sell their idea to another company after they get all the bugs out

- Shenita N., Cleveland, OH, US

problem #20

Dec 012009

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,000 miles

My husband and I bought our 2002 Ford Explorer after we were married and had children because we wanted a safe dependable vehicle for our family. In 2003 a back wheel bearing went and we dealed with it....really no problems since then until we paid it off Feb.09....surprise surprise :( . Since we paid it off the door ajar light,ABS light,and engine light have been on continually with nothing found wrong so we drove it that way. Then the front passenger window and back window motors broke and we had to replace them and as of December 09 we are also experiencing the noises coming from our engine that everyone has described on here...And to add to that our heater quit blowing heat.We have currently parked our Explorer for obvious reasons until we can figure out a fix for this MAJOR problem not to mention COSTLY.Now we are sharing my husbands car which is a pain and if that one goes we are in big trouble....

I am VERY Disappointed in Ford for our vehicle and expsecially after reading all the complaints on this website!!!!Ford used PLASTIC for the timing chain/tensioners in these engines ....THANK GOODNESS I read that otherwise we would have most likely replaced the engine with another one with the exact same problem waiting to happen....These are hard economic times for such a costly repair that should have never happened.We trusted that Ford was dependable, reliable.We Spent ALOT of money to buy there dependable Explorer for our family as the vehicle now sits parked in our driveway to find out they used PLASTIC PARTS IN THESES ENGINES!!!!! WE WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD!!!! And I will let Everyone know !!!!!! If anyone knows of a compatable engine minus plastic parts please let me know....It would be a great help!!!

- kimmer9698, Parma, MI, US

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