The same thing happened to me. I have a 2002 Explorer XLT. I live in Renton, WA, about 20 minutes SE of Seattle. Our weather here for the past few days (Feb,15,16,17) has been about a low of 26 degrees Farenheit. Wednesday and Thursday morning, my vehicle was iced over, but not this morning. It felt just a lil bit warmer. Currently, the weather reads as 28 F. I stopped to get gas this morning before work, and approached my vehicle from the rear and didn't even notice it then, so I don't know if it was there at that time or not. When I arrived at work this morning I noticed that the tailgate panel that the ford "applique" is on (Just below the glass) was cracked about a couple inches from the center, with a 1/4 inch gap in between the cracks. I started thinking to myself how and when it could have happened, because there has been no impact to the rear of my vehicle. I didn't notice the crack last night when I drove it. My co-worker who was carpooling with me this morning suggested it might have something to do with the cold weather. I immediately googled "2002 Explorer cracked tailgate panel" when I got to my desk, and sure enough, there are a few forums where they are talking about the same problem. When thinking about it, it was even more weird, because there was no ice on my vehicle today, so I didn't even use my defrost, as I had Wednesday and Thursday, but i don't think it cracked until today. In my case, as I purchased my car used, I don't have warrantly coverage for it, so most likely I will have to pay out of pocket. But I am trying to find the part number for the panel, and also wanted to keep in touch with you and anyone else who had this problem to see how your situation is going. So I can formulate a plan of action. If you could e-mail me at email@example.com
or PM me with any future developments. I would really appeciate it.