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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun looking at Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers from the 2002-2005 model years. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, out of some 1.4 million SUVs produced, more than 200 complaints have been filed with the government agency regarding transmission issues: 11 owners have said that the vehicle will go from park to reverse on its own, and 61 have said that the gearshift mechanism has failed when trying to get the SUV into or out of park.

NHTSA's action isn't a full-on investigation, and there is no recall – it is a "preliminary evaluation... to assess the scope, frequency and potential safety consequences of the alleged defect and any relationship of the alleged gearshift lever mechanism failures to the alleged vehicle rollaway incidents." For its part, a Ford spokesman has said, "We do not see a safety risk and we will be fully cooperating with the government with the investigation."

[Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I haven't suffered the problem you're complaining of, but I have to type my posts in a text editor, then go back to the home page, navigate to the article, find the post I want to reply to, and past the story quickly before someone else posts. If I don't do that, my post is lost in the aether. Browser-back and repost never works. This is probably a cookie problem.

      Secondly, I can't edit my avatar pic because from autoblog.com, I can't log in to change my profile; but posting is fine. I *can* log in at tuaw.com, so if I want to change something, I have to click on the link under my name, and change the URL from "autoblog" to "tuaw", then log in there.

      It's absolute junk. Why they don't use something normal is beyond me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This isn't really an issue.

      After the Explorer falls out of park and starts rolling it is quickly stopped by an exploding tire.
      • 6 Years Ago
      OMG FORD IS DEAD!!!11111

      In all seriousness, I'm sure this will be all over the news today while far more catastrophic failures tied to imports are completely ignored by the media.
      • 1 Year Ago
      The only problem I have had with my 05 mountianeer is that it is sometimes hard to get out of park. Having my foot on the brake peddle and moving the steering will helps but not always. No problem with slipping out of gear while in park. The only other problem is that I have had to have the advance tracking replaced twice which involves replacing the entire differential I believe is what was replaced but the second time they just rebuilt and and again my advance track isn't working. Can't afford a new car so I must make do.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've had a hard time getting my '02 Explorer into park for years. Even after I had the tranny rebuilt. Fords better idea, no dipstick to check the fluid level in the tranny.

      • 6 Years Ago
      This is why you should ALWAYS use the Parking Brake, even if you are in an automatic, especially on hills. It is not good to have all that weight resting on the little parking prawl pin.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I second what amfan12 says. It's amazing how many people I know refuse to use the parking brake because their car "is an automatic". The parking pawl isn't exactly a beefy component (in some cases, just a piece of stamped metal), and you really shouldn't depend on it to hold a vehicle in place.

        I used to work on a large gov't fleet of Explorers (among other vehicles), and not once was this an issue.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ford has been having this issue for 30 yrs, going back to the 80's!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I seem to remember this being a problem for a lot of Ford products in the 1970s. Those "tree" mounted shifters would drop out of park.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I guess they forgot that the Lincoln Aviator is built off of the same chassis as well so does that mean that the Aviator is exempt from this?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think the Aviator was matched with a six-speed automatic (it had the Marauder's 4.6L with 302 HP), so it's not affected by this issue.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The transmissions themselves from those years were junk too. Many, many people had theirs go out around 75K.

      Must be the way forward.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hehe, I get it, even in park, they go "Way forward"!
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's a major problem if the transmission slips from "Park" to "Reverse." I suspect this is similiar to the sudden acceleration issue where operator error is the main cause. Most likely someone who didn't realize what gear it is in or didn't put it all the way in gear...Let the foot off the brake and suddenly the car is moving.
      Dustin Thompson
      • 3 Years Ago
      mine is stuck in park. wont go into gear .... any ideals. it is a 2002
      • 6 Years Ago
      sooo were talking about roughly 0.007%

      wonder how much money they will spend looking into this...
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