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CarComplaints.com Notes: The 2004 Ford Explorer one of our worst vehicles on record. "Avoid like the plague" is putting it lightly.

The 2002-2005 Explorer has a very well-established record of expensive transmission failure at under 100k miles. The Explorer has an enclosed transmission which is typically replaced with a rebuilt transmission at a cost of almost $3,000.

Another common problem for the 2002-2005 Explorer is wheel bearing failure at around 90k miles, with a typical repair bill of $500 to $1000 depending on how many wheel bearings failed.

Adding insult to injury, the 2002-2005 Explorer also has a massive problem with the rear panel cracking. While it's a minor annoyance compared to transmission failure, ironically the crack usually goes right through the Ford logo.

8.2

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$588.00
Average Mileage:
92,377 miles
Total Complaints:
38 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (13 reports)
  2. fix blend door motor is slipping or blend door is broken (10 reports)
  3. replace blend door actuator (8 reports)
  4. replace blend door (7 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #38

Nov 152008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Our air only works on one side, and not very well. Also:

Sick to death of all the problems. Ford just throws these things off the assembly line and then says "Oh so sorry, it's out of warranty". We actually won a lawsuit regarding a 2002 Explorer. The tailgate window exploded in my hand when trying to shut it. The car dealer knew it was a piece of junk and the judge called his selling it to us "the most egregious case of taking advantage she'd ever seen".

We had to replace the transmission in this 2004 model, replaced the visors and interior overhead console, one back seat belt doesn't work, again a cheap plastic problem, and the electrical/computer problem where a plug next to the computer melted and caused the engine to cut off while driving down the road, well that almost got us all killed. Turns out there is a group of wires near the rear and they were supposed to be suspended in some sort of harness and never were, so over time, the plastic coating rubbed off and caused at least one wire to ground out, which caused the plug near the computer to overheat and slide out of its socket, causing the engine to shut off. Once it cooled, sometimes the motor would start again. This cost us more than one battery, lots of time, being stalled at 2 in the morning with our daughter in the back seat. After $2500 spent in multiple visits trying to fix the electrical issue, and another $2600 for the transmission, and just under $1000 for the interior console and visors, add more $$ for visits to check out the Check Engine light and the ABS light... wonder what I'm leaving out... ? Oh yes, the air conditioning has been blowing hot on once side for quite awhile. The crack in the back window frame on EVERY SINGLE EXPLORER I see reminds me of the Ford Grenada back in the 80s.

Does anybody else remember the Ford Grenada? The gas cap was located behind the license plate and on every single Grenada, the spring on the license plate broke so they all drove around with their license plate facing the ground, wide open.

Owning one of these Explorers is like being in a club with other unfortunate individuals who have found themselves wondering if the $9,000 they've spent on repairs makes it worth keeping the car now. My mechanic calls it the "Ford Exploder".

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #37

Sep 012013

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This is ridiculous that something so cheap to replace is such a pain to replace! I looked up YouTube videos on how to fix it and you have about 20 different steps to removing the dash panel before you even get to the part and even then it's very hard to reach and replace or else I'd do it myself. Being that Ford has the resources and experience with the dash you'd think they'd give you a break but they want over $1000 to replace a $65 part that has failed.

So now I drive the kids to school in the fall and winter with no heat. I know I don't live in the Mid-West or where it gets freezing out, but if I did I would be irate because I would have no choice but to fix it. And what if I try to resell the vehicle? I would have to tell the buyer there's no heater! Just absurd how Ford handles these issues, or I should say doesn't handle these issues. An American car company should have a little more pride and respect for their customers.

- , Fairfield, CA, USA

problem #36

Jul 212012

Explorer XLS 6.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I have had all of the above happen to my 2004 Explorer. Actuator Door, Wheel bearings, Whistle in heater,Broken Hatch. I cannot believe that Ford is making the owners of the vehicles pay for this when it ts their problem!

- , Mooresville, IN, USA

problem #35

Apr 192013

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

THE DAY I BOUGHT THE EXPLORER I NOTICED A CLICKING SOUND WHEN I TURNED THE HEATER ON. IT DIDN'T BLOW HOT OR COLD AIR. THE DEALERSHIP FIXED THE DOOR INSIDE DASH. WORKS NOW.

- , Fresno, CA, USA

problem #34

Apr 072014

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,589 miles

The blend door makes a clicking sound and I was told by a Ford dealer that the problem would cost over $900 as they would have to rip out the dash. This is very annoying but I can't see paying that kind of money for this.

- , Durham, NC, USA

problem #33

Nov 192011

Explorer LS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,304 miles

Blend Door in worst spot in the world took me 24 hrs to fix, thanks YouTube video, otherwise would have to sell my first born to cover labor costs when part is only $65. Another Shame on you Ford!!!

- , Whittier, CA, USA

problem #32

Feb 012014

Explorer LX 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I WANT THIS FIXED AND I JUST PUT 3,800 INTO IT IN SEPT 2014. THIS IS SUCKING ME DRY. I'M THINKING ABOUT NOT GETTING ANY MORE FORDS. HOW CAN THIS BE FIXED WITHOUT ME GOING INTO THE DAM POOR HOUSE AS I'M ALREADY THERE?

- , Vernon Center, NY, USA

problem #31

Nov 012012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Come on Ford, this is my second Explorer and I had problems with the first one, too. Now, the clicking behind the dash board points to this expensive fix. Let's get a recall on this. I've owned at least 10 Fords and this is my second new Explorer...it will be my last, I think. Not sure....

- , Richmond, IL, USA

problem #30

Jul 102012

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

Seems like many are having this same problem..not under warranty and would cost now.just not affordable and shouldn't of happened. Same car had cracked on rear on body exterior, heater/AC into 1yr of purchase and one month of being out of warranty rear end went out..thank you god it was still under warranty. Ford "would I buy again? I don't know." It seems to me this is one of many for the year 2004 and ford I FEEL WAS FULLY AWARE and should of recalled some of the issues as a courtesy to the people that have put their faith in the Ford name instead they just waited to see how many complaints they would inquire before they honor what ford probably already knew.

- , Santee, CA, USA

problem #29

Sep 132012

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

My new teenage driver just started taking the Explorer to school this week. When the defrost was turned on this morning there was a loud clicking sound. I had to let my teenager take my new car, not knowing what the sound was. After looking online I am certain that it is the blend door. I agree that this is a safety issue due to lack of visibility if the defrost is necessary in winter.

- , Dayton, OH, USA

problem #28

Dec 012012

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

What is wrong with Ford Motor Company not having a recall on this problem?

From what I have been reading on different websites, this is an ongoing problem costing lots of dollars to fix!

NOT EXTREMELY HAPPY WITH THIS!

- , Brookhaven, PA, USA

problem #27

Apr 012012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I, too, own a 2004 Ford Explorer who is having problems with the loud clicking noise regarding the heater/AC. My noise started to occur in the early spring months when I put the heater on HIGH or speed 4. When I turn the temperature knob down a notch towards cooler (still on 4 though), the clicking stops. Now that summer is here, and it's time to use the AC, I notice the AC unit isn't putting out much air. The air it does move is COLD but it only moves air on HIGH or or speed 4. The blower on 4 makes such a loud swooshing noise (like it's working overtime to try to cool the vehicle down) but the air it moves is minimal. This is the second time this has happened to me with this vehicle. I fixed it the first time about two years ago and the repairs were almost $800.00!!

Ford needs to do a recall on this! Out of pocket expenses are getting too much to keep this vehicle any longer! My husband has a Ford F150 truck that the AC unit freezes you out on. How can one company produce two vehicles with such different outcomes on AC/Heaters? Grrr to FORD!!!!

Update from Jun 19, 2012: Okay....so now I took it into shop and found out my blend door is broken (AGAIN) and my evaporator case is cracked! WTH!! Hmmmm total cost to fix it this time around: $1800.00!!! I have put more money into this vehicle than the Kelly Blue Book says it's worth so I guess I'm stuck with it for now, but that's the last FORD I will ever buy!

- , Sachse, TX, USA

problem #26

Jul 012010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I found if I turned off the rear AC it doesn't make the noise. Live in AZ so kids are dying if I don't feel like listening.

- , Peoria, AZ, USA

problem #25

Mar 142012

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I worked for Ford Motor prior and for that reason, I always owned Fords. They all seemed to start having trouble at around 70,000 miles.I am now retired and cannot afford to pay $1200 just to get some heat in my vehicle. You can bet this is the LAST Ford product I ever buy. $1200 for a worn out plastic gear. That is stupid. My next vehicle will definitely be a foreign make.

- , Merrimack, NH, USA

problem #24

Jun 052010

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 133,552 miles

I hate Ford I have had so many issues with this vehicle. I will never own another ford!

- , Welch, WV, USA

problem #23

Nov 302011

Explorer LS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,650 miles

will blow cold air no heat I hear part does not cost much it is the Labor that cost so much. Just Like all the other problems with the explorer ford will not fix. i am a ford retiree & my children have fords. we suppose to be a family of fine vehicles. but that is not true. thank you. thompson 5.

Update from Dec 10, 2011: Sorry it was not the blend door motor mechanic friend fixed it.part 42.00 with his discount at koi auto parts.thankyou for your interest.

- , Paris, KY, USA

problem #22

May 092011

Explorer

  • Manual transmission
  • 56,000 miles

HAVE A 2004 FORD EXPLORER WHICH I TAKE CARE OF...IN MAY OF THIS YEAR TURNED ON THE AIR AND THIS VERY,VERY LOUD CLICKING NOISE STARTED...I TURNED IT OFF AND TURNED THE A/C BACK ON....NO A/C!!!!! CHECKED THE HEAT....NO HEAT!!!! CONTACTED FORD AFTER I LOOKED UP THE PROBLEM ONLINE AND SAW THE THOUSANDS OF COMPLAINTS THAT ARE ON THERE...COULD NOT BELIEVE THAT FORD HAS NOT RECALLED THIS PART!!!!! COULD THIS NOT BE A FIRE HAZARD???? NOT ONLY THAT, BUT THOSE OF US WITH CHILDREN DO NOT LIKE DRIVING AROUND WITH NO A/C OR HEAT!!!!! SUPPOSEDLY THIS IS A PLASTIC PIECE AND MELTS??? HOW DOES FORD THINK THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE THEY NEED TO ADDRESS???? PERSONALLY....I'M SO TICKED OFF, I WANT TO CALL MY LOCAL NEWS STATION, POST THIS ON FACEBOOK AND CALL THE NEWSPAPER WHILE I'M AT IT......THIS IS RIDICULOUS AND I'LL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD!!!!!

- , Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #21

May 252011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

ok I BOUGHT my 2004 explorer new June 2004. No miles. The AC didnt work, so i drove right back and returned it and got another new one. paid a$1000 more because they didnt have the same one i wanted. NOW 2010 the cold a/c doesn't work and i have to keep recharging the a/c every 5 months to get cold air. Now as of 5/1/2011, the heater when turned on is starting to make a loud clicking sound. i have to turn it off then turn it on again on low or high which ever one makes it stop

- , Whittier, CA, USA

problem #20

May 022011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

sad to say that I have had this vehicle 1 yr....we always thought there was something wrong with the vent doors....a few weeks ago suv started clicking whe you turned the blue to red control for heat....it had gotten quite warm out...then it got cold again...when I discovered I had no heat for 2 weeks when it had gotten down to low 40s in may in GA

- , Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #19

Oct 052010

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,239 miles

The unit makes a knock, knock, knocking -- it seems to make the noise until the car has "warmed up' but by then , i am usually to my destination. Typically, if it is not turned up to full power, it won't make the noise, however, there are those days where it is fickle and is noisy just the same.

- , Dallas, GA, USA

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