"Would like to see an easier glass hatch to close and latch - usually takes 2 attempts to close it."
I also recently bought a 2002 Explorer, and the first thing that I noticed were the squeaky doors. I can't stand squeaky doors or difficult closing doors, because it seems like a mark of owner neglect to not care about a car (not vehicle design). Ever since my first car, I've made it a habit to periodically spray WD-40 on door hinges and latch mechanisms. I did this immediately with my new Explorer, and of course the doors are now quiet and close a little more easily. I also sprayed the window hatch latch, hinges, manual key lock button (it was a little difficult to turn the key to open the rear hatch), and the shafts for the pneumatic hatch supports.
The glass hatch closes and latches with ease. In fact, it closes so easily that I don't care to slam it or let it fall from the full height, I just let it snap shut from about 6 inches of travel.
I also lightly sprayed the shaft for the rear wiper to prevent it from becoming corroded and seizing up. I think this little attention to detail by an owner can result in a much better experience, by heading off future annoyances.
Our '02 V8 Limited with tow package had early demise of the differential at about 20,000 miles, and just had the transmission replaced at 75,000 miles, which is probably due to our heavy towing (20 foot boat several thousand miles/yr). All were replaced on warranty, so be sure get an extended warranty and do your routine maintenance so warranty stays intact.
Otherwise absolutely no problems, our rear glass works easily, perhaps yours can be adjusted?
I bought a 2002 Limited Explorer with every bell & whistle on it brand new off the lot. The rear end has had a whine right from the start - which Ford told me is normal. It has been replaced 3 times. I have 65,000 miles on this vehicle and take impeccably care of all of our vehicles. Current issue is the ABS brake light is on - 3 different Ford repair shops have given up on it. The Cluster panel now comes and goes - which means you don't know how fast you are going or how much fuel you currently have. If the battery cables are left connected the vehicle is dead after about 20 minutes. I cannot trade it as who is going to give me anything for it - My husband's family have been Ford people for years - but this will be the last Ford I purchase. Ford has not stood by this vehicle at all. The really "funny" thing is this vehicle is beautiful - not a mark on it and the interior is like when it came off the lot.
It sounds like your 2002 Explorer Limited is just a lemon, but it's a little extreme to say you'll never buy another Ford just because this is a bad one. Maybe the differential was never filled with fluid, or was filled with the wrong fluid. If it's a limited slip, it needs synthetic fluid. There's something wrong to need a new differential every 20,000 miles. Either very heavy towing, or it was taken 4-wheeling and the pinion seal was torn up by sand and grass, and leaks fluid all the time. Your experience isn't typical, and there must be something more to the story.
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