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02' Explorer Sport V6 4.0


June 29, 2010
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Explorer Sport
This forum has been so immensely helpful to me and has probably saved me over $2,000 (at least) in the last few years. I'd like to detail all the issues I've had w/ my explorer sport in the hopes that it will help someone else out. Some of this may be a little simplistic, but I hope it will help many people out.

First things first- Ford knew they were not going to continue the "Sport" any longer when they redesigned the standard 4 door explorer for '02. Because of this, they didn't want to waste resources redesigning the Sport- they were going to cancel production in 2 years. So essentially what they did, is a very limited redesign that incorporated pieces from the previous explorer and the new explorer- It is a MUTT. There are also different characteristics depending on the manufacture date. This complicates matters makes the Sport often difficult to find info on and to find parts for. I always repeat to everyone "The Sport, the TWO door"...because more times than not I've had someone order the wrong part.

Now here is a list of some of the issues I've had over a few years and some things I've learned/fixes/advice:

-I've never had an issue w/ Fuses- they're always the first thing I check, but never been an issue. The fuse box is on the drivers side. It is located on the far edge of dash (where the dash meets the door)

-I've had some issues w/ relays (very easy fix)- new relay! Relays are located in the power distribution box (under hood, driver, side, black box- (look like big fuses). You can find a map of which relays control what online. usually $9-15 at O'reily

-Blower stopped working (the fan for heating/cooling): new relay did the trick

-Wipers stopped working: new relay did the trick. There are actually two relays that control the wipers. One controls the High/Low function, the other controls the intermittent and wiper park. (wiper park means the wipers "park themselves at the bottom of the windshield). Basically, when on intermittent, the intermittent relay sends over a signal to the hi/low relay that its time to work. The hi/low relay is still the one doing the actual wiping.

-Intermittent Wipers stopped working, and wipers would not "park" :new relay did the trick.

-Blinker bulbs can be replaced very easily by taking the back taillight off 2 screws and will pop off easy w/ some force.

- If the blinker makes noise but does not light up, then the front blinker isn't working, if it lights up and is blinking very fast, the back blinker is out. 99% of the time this is the bulb.

- I had some electrical type issues w/ the blinkers going haywire and the wipers not working on intermittent. the cause was the Multi-Function Switch (MFS). The MFS is the lever that controls the blinkers and the wipers. ($50 O'reily). The issue I found was that I didn't even need a new one, the wires were loose where they connected to the switch. The Blinkers made kind of like a buzzing sound.

-To replace the MFS, there are 3 screws that will allow you to take the Shroud off of the steering wheel. Before the bottom shrouds comes off though, you need to remove the "steering wheel Tilt" lever. this simply unscrews. Mine was very hard to unscrew, but put some force into it and it will just unscrew.Then once the shroud is off there are two "Torx" (star shaped *) screws that will let you take the switch off. There are then 2 plastic clips that the wires go into which plug into the MFS. The cplastic clips have snaps on the inside that hold the wires in. A few of my snaps had broken off, and the wires were not being held tightly onto the switch. A new clip can be bought for $10 online (Ford dealerships will try and sell you the wires w/ the clip for $50). I didn't replace my clip though, I just made sure each wire was carefully pushed onto the connecting pin. This fixed my blinker issues and my interminttent wiper issues

-a bit of a rough idle due to vaccum leak, smoke tested and found the EGR valve leaks.

-The EGR valve is super easy to replace ($50) at O' Reily vs. 250 for mechanic. It is right on the top of the engine and there are two bolts holding it on along w/ the emission line, which is just a nut holding it on. ALso, there is a rubber vaccum line tube on the top that will just pop off when you pull on it.

-Spark Plugs are not too difficult. On drivers side, Two reare plugs were pretty easy. Need to buy a special spark plug Socket $4. They are covered by wires. You'll see 3 wires going in to the bottom half of the engine- one wire for each plug. Pull the wires off and unscrew the plugs. Wires will be tough to pull off; twist and pull. otherwise a good tip is to use a short length of rope. slip a "lasso" over the boot (where wire connects to plug) and pull- wire will come off. Front drivers side plug is difficult to get at - best to remove battery as well- this will free up some space. I f'd this one up trying to get plug back in. I coudn't get the angle right and cross threaded plug. ALWAYS HAND THREAD THE PLUG TO START WITH- DO NOT FORCE IT I had to buy a kit at O'reily to retap the hole $30. Essentially you tap a bigger threaded hole in the engine block, then screw in an insert, and then screw the plug into the insert. This worked fine but was a lot harded than need to be. THe best angle to reach the front drivers plug by hand is to lay on top of the engine, head facing to drivers side and reach down (trust me, I tried them all). The fron passenger's plug was difficult, the best way to get to this one was to turn my front tires, and go in through the wheel well, this wasn't really all that hard, but just very tight. The back two on the passenger's side require a considerable amount of work. I paid a mechanic $75 to do these- I have no idea how to get to them, you'd have to take a lot off to get to them.

- I also replaced the spark plug wires $30- very easy to do,follow the wires from the plugs up to where they connect. put the wires through the same way the old ones were. there are a few clips along the way that hold the wires down. As with all clips, the plastic can be brittle after all the years so be careful. The are tricky, but will pop ope by putting a small flat head screwdriver in the very end and twisting. Also, put dialectical grease on the connecting end and the boot where it connects to the plugs.

-Changing Oil is a cinch (15 minutes) and will save you big money over time. It costs about $8-10 to change oil yourself. Buy an Oilpan w/ a spout $8 Fleet Farm and an Oil Filter Wrench ($4) (Looks like a big Circle.) All you need to do is get the oil warm (change it after you've driven-doesn't need to be a long ways, just enough to warm up the oil- I usually change after driving 5 miles home from work), then put the pan under the engine, Then you'll see a bolt , Somewhere around 1/2" bolt), unscrew the bolt and you'll start to see the oil come out finish unscrewing. ADVICE- hold tight to the bolt, the oil will push it out and you'll drop the bolt in the pan otherwise. Also, there is a rubber seal that goes around the bolt, if the bolt does not have the seal on it, then the seal fell into your oil pan- fish it out before rescrewing the bolt in (or just buy a new seal). Anyways, let the oil drain. Then go under the vehicle, and on the passenger side, kind of next to the tire, looking straight up, you'll se an oil filter, unscrew it (there is just enough room to get an oil filter wrench in). A little oil will come out when you unscrew it. After all is drained, simply screw the bolt back in on the bottom (not too tight and make sure you have the rubber seal) and screw a new oil filter ($3) back on (not too tight). Then pour 5 quarts $7-8 oil 5W-30 back in. DONE!

- As with every single Expolrer Sport you've ver seen, the bumper was starting to rust a bit. This was a very easy fix. I bought some sandpaper and some anti-rust primer $5 O'Reily. I sanded the crap out of the bumper to remove all the rust. then sprayed the primer on. I then got some paint. *********THE CORRECT BUMPER PAINT IS NOT EASY TO FIND********* I had to do a TON of digging... still didn't find the right color. I found something that was close though it is a bit metallic where the original is a flat gray.- Still looks great though. I then just sprayed over the primer. It's also wise to either 1. remove the hitchball entirely, or invest in a nice anti-rust ball. My original ball is where a lot of the rust bled from. Also, getting the ball of is a BITC*. There is just a bolt on the bottom but odds are the thing is rusted like you wouldn't believe. After spending HOURS trying to get the thing off, (which involved a 10 foot breaker bar, a pipe wrench, and a vice grip, moving the vehicle side to side with force) I still wasn't able to get it off. I ended up having to break through the nut with a sharp chisel and a hammer. Anyways, bumper looks real nice now.

-There was always a rattling in the back of my vehicle, After like a year of trying to figure out what it was, I discovered it was the hatch on the rear drivers side where the jack and storage is. I fixed this easily by getting some thicker weather stripping from Menards $2 and going around the perimiter of the hatch to cushion it so that it didn't rattle.

-If you're looking for the door code, There are places on this forum that tell you where to find it. However being as the Sport is a Mutt Vehicle, it may be difficult to find. Mine was passengers side under the air vent- ou can view it from through the windshield after removing the vent.

-My rear hatch stopped locking/unlocking. This was because the actuator that pushes/pulls the latch inside the door went bad. This is an easy fix. The interior trim pops off by pushing up toward the ceiling. there are a few snap in's, but it's mostly hook-like extensions that fit into slots and face down. After this is off, you can see the actuator. There are a few screws holding it down, just unscrew it, disconnect the linkage. Then try to lock/unlock the doors. If it is slow then the actuator is bad. A new one is $50-75- I got mine from a salvage yard for $10. Easy to reinstall. just reverse directions.

-Gas gauge works when it wants to. Though lately since fixing the electrical connection issues w/ my Multi Function Switch it works more time then not. not sure how that's connected but anyways...

-Shocks in the front are extremely easy to change- takes 30 min. I had 99k on original shocks...unbelieveable difference in the ride now- 2 bolts and 1 nut per shock. Don't even need to Jack the vehicle, just turn the wheels in, approach from rear not front. 13M on bottom bolts. top nut will likely be rusted on pretty good. I used a ton of wd 40, a crescent wrench to hold the shock from spinning and a little monkey wrench w/ a breaker bar to get the bolt off the top.

-also this may be dumb, but to put it into 4X4 Low, you need to be in neutral.

-Fuel Filter. Replaced- easy to do, but hard to disconnect existing filter- should take 5 min but might take up to an hour. Filter is under vehicle- Just about under the driver's seat- right inside of the frame. You'll need a tool to do so- a quick disconnect tool- this can be purchased at O'Reily. 3-4$- You'll need two size- there are three lines that connect to the filter, and two sizes. First things first, the fuel system is under quite a bit of pressure- you need to bleed the pressure out before disconnecting the filter. easiest way to do so: start the vehicle and while it is running, pull fuse # 23 (20A) small fuse out of the power distribution box under the hood. this will shut off the fuel pump. without the fuel pump, the vehicle cannot continue to run, it will use up whatever fuel and pressure is in the system currently until it dies from lack of fuel. Open the gas cap as well. once the pressure has been bled- then go under and disconnect. There is a small metal clamp (easy to remove) on the main line going to the engine- a small screwdriver should do the trick. I tried and tried to get the fuel lines off- would not come off. the easiest way to do this is (i learned) is to actually remove the filter from its bracket first. The filter is pinned inside of a C shaped bracket against the inside of the frame. The bracket is real light gauge metal. If you push hard enough upward on the filter itself (not too terribly hard), you can pop it out while still connected to the lines. The filter will then hang down below the frame, suspended by the fuel lines (while still connected of course). Once its down, it's easy to disconnect lines since you can get at them.. I tried for about an hour to remove lines up above until I figured out you could drop it down, and THEN remove lines. If you bled the system, you shouldn't get much fuel loss at all. (mines was merely a dribble, though I have HEARD of sprays) Once disconnected, Simply reconnect new filter, pop back up into bracket, replace fuse, and start vehicle. It may need a few tries to start until the pump re-pressurizes system again. Check for leaks. Easy if you pop the filter itself out of the bracket- this is the key.

That's all I can think of for now. I really hope this helps a lot of you! These are all some of the issues I had to do hours of searching for on this forum to find!!