2002 Ford Explorer Powertrain


    “Explorer’s powertrains are among the most sophisticated in
    any SUV. The new all-aluminum V-8 delivers more power, more
    efficiently, while the improved V-6 is more refined. Combined with
    two new transmissions and a rugged, updated 4×4 system, Explorer’s
    powertrains deliver everything from improved all-around performance
    to more serious trailer towing capabilities.”
             – Steve von
    Foerster, Explorer Chief Program Engineer

    • New all-aluminum 4.6-liter SOHC V-8 delivers 240 horsepower
      and provides impressive low-end and mid-range torque
    • New maintenance-free, wide-ratio 5-speed automatic transmission
      gives customers improved city and highway merging performance and
      better NVH
    • Refined 5-speed manual transmission (for the V-6) delivers
      car-like shift quality in a robust truck powertrain
    • New high-tech electronic engine controls integrate several
      electronic boxes for better reliability
    • Improved 210 horsepower 4.0-liter SOHC V-6 is now standard and
      features an all-new composite plastic intake system for improved
      sound quality and better durability
    • Improved Control Trac™ four-wheel-drive system

    With a new all-aluminum V-8 engine, improved V-6, improved manual
    and automatic transmissions, sophisticated new electronic engine
    controls and refined Control Trac™ four-wheel-drive system, the
    new Ford Explorer has even more power to fulfill its mission as the
    most refined, practical, hardworking and versatile SUV.

    Explorer offers customers a choice of two engines. The standard
    engine is an upgraded 4.0-liter single overhead cam (SOHC) V-6.
    Also available is a new sophisticated, more powerful, lighter-weight
    4.6-liter, all-aluminum, SOHC V-8. It replaces the former 5.0-liter
    pushrod V-8.

    4.6-liter SOHC V-8

    Explorer’s 4.6-liter engine – the first all-aluminum entry in a
    Ford SUV – delivers 240 horsepower at 4,750 rpm and 280 foot-pounds
    of peak torque at 4,000 rpm, providing sure freeway merging. Power
    is up from 215 horsepower in the former 5.0-liter V-8.

    The added power and torque contribute to Explorer’s higher tow
    rating for 2002.

    The torque curve for the 4.6-liter V-8 exceeds 250 foot-pounds at
    revs as low as 1,500 rpm, and remains above that mark all the way to
    5,000. This translates into responsive around-town driving and
    freeway cruising.

    Besides the added power, the new V-8 also offers improved part
    throttle feel, better drivability and less weight than the 5.0-liter
    it replaces. Engine oil capacity is increased to 6 quarts for
    better cooling and longer engine life. The engine’s reliable
    coil-on-plug design eliminates conventional spark plug wires.

    4.0-liter SOHC V-6

    The proven aluminum-head, 4.0-liter, SOHC V-6 engine offers 210
    horsepower at 5,250 rpm and 250 foot-pounds of peak torque at 4,000
    rpm. The torque curve for the 4.0-liter engine is designed to be
    relatively level across the entire rev range, providing strong
    performance at nearly any engine speed.

    An all-new, equal-length composite plastic intake system was
    added for improved sound quality, while engine durability was
    improved through the use of aluminum main bearings.

    Explorer also offers flexible fuel capability with the standard
    4.0-liter V-6 engine and automatic transmission. The Explorer
    flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) can operate on gasoline or a blend of
    gasoline and ethanol. The use of E85 fuel reduces carbon dioxide
    emissions by as much as 20 percent, compared with gasoline.

    Both engines meet Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) standards. Fuel
    economy has been held constant – even with a larger vehicle and one
    that can seat two more passengers than the prior model – thanks to
    several weight-saving innovations. An all-aluminum hood and V-8
    engine block as well as a magnesium cross bar beam save
    approximately 90 pounds.

    Both engines offer exceptional reliability and will go 100,000
    miles before the first scheduled tune-up under normal driving
    conditions with routine fluid and filter changes.

    New Automatic and Manual Transmissions

    Explorer features manual and automatic transmissions. Both offer
    improved operation and greater efficiency than the units they

    The new wide-ratio, 5-speed, 5R55W5 automatic provides improved
    performance over most four- and five-speed transmissions. It is
    internally balanced for better NVH.

    The transmission team’s goals were to improve launch
    acceleration, quiet operation and reduce customer service needs. A
    major step in that direction comes from Explorer’s new 44-pound
    single aluminum transmission casting. The single casting greatly
    reduces NVH and powertrain bending at higher speeds.

    The transmission carries more torque through its new wide-ratio
    five-speed. First gear now has a ratio of 3.26 compared with 2.47
    for the previous transmission. Similar gains were made through the
    other four gears, giving the Explorer improved city and highway
    merging performance.

    To reduce noise, Ford developed a quieter oil pump and new
    planetary gear designs. Planetary gears provide different ratios as
    a transmission goes through shifts.

    Another major change is in what cannot be found under the hood –
    a dipstick. The new transmission is sealed at the factory with 11
    quarts of a semi-synthetic blend of specially formulated fluid that
    should not require service for 150,000 miles. This is a benefit to
    owner convenience and the environment.

    Because Explorer is the first Ford SUV with a sealed
    transmission, it was subjected to a series of brutal lab and
    real-world tests. Some tests were conducted in Ford’s Research and
    Engineering Center in Dearborn, Mich., where the transmission was
    run for 50,000 miles at speeds of 115-120 mph on a dynamometer.

    Real-world tests took place at Ford’s Arizona Proving Grounds,
    where trailer pulling, mud baths and steep hill-climbs were standard
    daily fare.

    Later in 2001, Explorer’s five-speed manual transmission will be
    available on the 4.0-liter V-6. It has increased torque capacity to
    handle the engine’s higher output, new offset-chamfer design
    synchronizers and an all-new hydraulic clutch system with improved
    clutch disk. The goal was car-like shift quality in a robust truck

    A 3.27 axle ratio is standard for all automatic 4×2 XLS and XLT
    models. A 3.55 axle ratio is standard on 4×4 manual XLS, 4×4 XLT,
    Eddie Bauer and Limited models. A 3.73 axle ratio and limited slip
    differential are standard with the Class III/IV towing package.

    Towing capacity is increased with Explorer’s V-8 engine. The
    standard receiver hitch, which is part of the rear frame, offers
    Class II towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, depending on engine and
    drivetrain. An upgraded towing package, which includes a limited
    slip rear differential, provides Class III/IV towing capability of
    up to 7,300 pounds. A built-in hitch receiver offers towing
    capability right from the factory and can accept many accessories,
    such as a bicycle rack.

    New Electronic Engine Controls

    A next-generation 32-bit Powertrain Electronic Controller (PTEC)
    manages all engine and transmission functions, along with speed
    control and many other powertrain functions.

    “If you think of the previous-generation electronic engine
    control module as a 286 computer, the new PTEC is like a Pentium,”
    explains Mike Pruitt, powertrain program planner. “It’s very

    The new PTEC module integrates several electronics boxes, for
    better reliability.

    The electronic controller is so sophisticated that it raised
    national security issues during development.

    Because it uses a high-tech internal code, the United States
    government at one point forbid engineers from taking it across
    international borders.

    The main benefit of PTEC is that it allowed engineers to more
    precisely control engine functions – including combustion – under a
    broader variety of operating conditions. The result is better
    emissions control, reliability and efficiency.

    Ford expects to use the PTEC in a broad range of vehicles in the
    The PTEC module in Explorer also controls the 4.0-liter V-6’s
    flexible fuel capability, allowing it to operate on environmentally
    responsible gasoline-alcohol blends of up to 85 percent ethanol.

    The PTEC allowed engineers to give the 4.6-liter V-8 a fail-safe
    coolant strategy to prevent engine damage through overheating. When
    the cylinder head temperature rises too high as a result of coolant
    loss, the engine’s electronic controls shut off fuel to alternating
    banks of cylinders – but continue to pump cool air through those
    cylinders – to allow the driver to drive a short distance without
    engine damage.

    Explorer’s transmission also benefits from this “smart”
    electronics approach. Adaptive pressure control technology helps
    keep transmission shifts consistent over time, even as the
    transmission wears.

    The same adaptive technology extends to engine controls. The
    powertrain control module adjusts for hundreds of variables,
    including throttle position – a key indicator of how the driver
    wants the engine to perform.

    Improved Control Trac™ 4×4 Performance

    Explorer’s Control Trac™ four-wheel-drive system has been
    refined to make it more “transparent” to the driver, while improving
    its abilities in limited traction situations.

    For the first time, the optional, two-speed four-wheel drive
    system has its own electronic controller, which can be likened to
    the latest high-speed personal computer. The extra computing power
    gave Explorer’s engineers the ability to fine-tune the system to a
    wide variety of demands.

    For example, sensors measure and compare front and rear drive
    shaft speeds, as well as throttle position – to figure the driver’s
    intent into the mathematical formula that determines how much torque
    to send to each axle.

    These measurements are taken 50 times per second, for an almost
    seamless adjustment of the clutch that controls the transfer case
    output in the 4×4 system’s “automatic” setting.

    If the rear wheels lose traction, the optimal amount of torque
    for the situation is transferred to the front – up to 500

    But the system doesn’t have to wait to sense slip before it takes
    action. For example, if the Explorer is sitting at rest in a
    four-wheel-drive setting and the driver presses the accelerator, the
    controller sends torque to both the front and back wheels within
    milliseconds and then samples the results. This heads off wheel
    spin in low-traction situations.

    The Control Trac™ system includes a pushbutton switch –
    versus the former rotary knob – on the instrument panel that allows
    the operator to select “4×4 Auto,” “4×4 High” or “4×4 Low” modes.

    In 4×4 Auto – recommended for most driving situations – the
    system continuously monitors conditions and adjusts front-wheel
    torque, combining transparent all-surface operation with highly
    capable four-wheel drive. When in automatic mode, the Control
    Trac™ drivetrain normally delivers all engine torque to the
    rear wheels. It uses an electronically controlled electromagnetic
    clutch to redirect up to 100 percent of engine torque to the front
    wheels when it detects rear-wheel slippage or heavy throttle

    In 4×4 High – recommended for severe winter weather and off-road
    conditions – the system effectively locks the front and rear
    driveshafts together to provide optimal traction of four wheels.

    In 4×4 Low – recommended for low-speed off-road driving or
    high-torque situations, such as towing a boat out of the water – the
    system locks the front and rear driveshafts together but adds a
    2.48:1 gear reduction, which provides extra pulling power.

    Neither 4×4 high nor 4×4 Low is recommended for dry road

    An important consideration in designing the 4×4 system was to
    make sure the wheels don’t “bind” during turns in the automatic
    mode, providing uncomfortable feedback to the driver. Built into
    the Control Trac™ system is a smart control. Unlike typical
    mechanical 4×4 systems, Explorer’s Control Trac™ can even
    adjust for such variables as differences in tire pressure.

    By continually tailoring torque transfer before any slip is
    detected, the system actually helps prevent wheels from losing
    traction in the first place. The 4×4 system kicks in when needed
    without telltale pulses or harshness. The Control Trac™
    transfer case housing is made of magnesium for reduced weight.

    ControlSlip Rear Driveshaft

    Four-wheel-drive Explorer models are equipped with a patented new
    ControlSlip rear driveshaft, which provides exceptional stiffness,
    for quiet performance.

    It has safety benefits as well. In the event of a frontal
    impact, the driveshaft is designed to telescope, not buckle. This
    movement helps the vehicle further absorb impact forces and manage
    energy. In addition, the driveshaft is thinner than the previous
    shaft and contributes to a 3.5-pound weight savings.