Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

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.

8.3

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,412.00
Average Mileage:
94,541 miles
Total Complaints:
84 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (27 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (27 reports)
  3. replace transmission (16 reports)
  4. replace solenoid body (7 reports)
  5. replaced transmission (4 reports)
  6. turn off truck & wait 10 seconds to restart (3 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #44

Jan 012010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

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

i couldnt drive my car. now i got a new transmission. and now its clicking

- , Whittier, CA, USA

problem #43

Jan 012009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

The o/d light has been flashing for 2 yrs but otherwise runs good. We took the vehicle to 3 different shops. No one can tell me why the O/D light starts flashing when I get up to 65 or 70 mph. Car runs fine. No problems with transmission.

- , Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #42

May 032011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,102 miles

THE O/D LIGHT WENT ON AND THE DRIVE GEAR SEEMED TO STICK.I TOOK THE CAR TO HAVE IT CHECKED AT AAMCO.THEY SAID THE TRANSMISSION WAS TOTALLY GONE.I BOUGHT THIS CAR BRAND NEW IT WAS THE FIRST SUV I HAD. 80% OF THE MILEAGE ON THIS CAR WAS HIGHWAY DRIVING. THIS CAR HAS BEEN TAKEN CARE OF LIKE A BABY. A TRANSMISSION SHOULD NOT GO AT A LITTLE OVER 71,000 MILES ON A 2004 CAR. I FEEL FORD IS RESPONSIBLE AND SOMETHING SHOULD BE DONE.

- , Port Charlotte, FL, USA

problem #41

Jan 142011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

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

day of my fathers funeral od light started flashing a day later engine light came on this was in jan. had to get transmission rebuilt , may 15th went to to drive to work today light flashing again parked my truck drove saab to work now i find out im not the only one with this problem i was getting ready to sell the truck but i cant sell it like this and wont screw anyone thats not how i was raised i was gonna get a aviator but since ford wont do anything about this problem i will never get another ford .

- , Warren, MI, USA

problem #40

Feb 202011

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,672 miles

This vehicle only has 61,672 miles on it and the transmission is failing??? I understand problems develop on all vehicles, however, a transmission should not fail after only 61,672!!!!

- , Braintree, MA, USA

problem #39

Mar 272011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

The truck only had 85000 miles on it. First the O/D off light came on, shortly after that the service engine soon light came on, then I lost 2nd and 4th gear. The transmission needed to be replaced.

- , North Brunswick, NJ, USA

problem #38

Jan 032011

Explorer LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

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

PAID FOR A NEW SOLENOID PART AND LABOR AND TRUCK STILL NOT FIXED.

- , Decatur, GA, USA

problem #37

Dec 232010

Explorer XLT 4WD 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,113 miles

I checked this website out about 9 months ago, wondering if I'd avoid this, or the other general problems w/ Ford Explorer trannies. Last week, just a few days after I bought a new set of tires, the 'Service Engine Soon' light would kick on, and a few minutes later, the "O/D Off" lamp would flash. Just as others had described on this and other pages detailing other various Explorer tranny problems, I'd lost 2nd and 5th gears. Also, as others had described, ever since I bought the car new (almost 7 years to the day), there was an occasional problem with the tranny shifting very hard into Reverse from Drive. Sometimes it would hesitate for 2-10 secs before banging hard into Reverse. This never seemed to happen when going from Park into Reverse. I just accepted it as 'the way it was' with this SUV.

Also, as others had described, when hitting the gas hard, it occasionally lagged before dropping into a lower gear to provide the necessary acceleration. I just thought this always happened in a big, heavy SUV w/ an Auto Trans (I've previously owned lighter SUVs w/ 5-spd manuals - a '97 Explorer, and my wife's current '05 Escape).

What really disappoints me is that the transmission needed to be rebuilt after only 67k of fairly gentle country highway driving. Yes, I've used the 4WD High, but only when needed (after all, I did buy the SUV for when I required its capabilities in the upstate NY winters), but I only used 4WD Low for the first time ever 3 weeks ago when the lots at work were buried in 9" of snow and the plows pushed the snow halfway up up the grille. I wondered if using the 4WD Low had something to do with my problem, but what the heck - shouldn't the SUV work as designed?

This Explorer is a terrific car to drive; I love the ride, comfort, and being able to haul my family or a bunch of kids and their sports equipment all over NY state in the summer. But it's been awfully expensive to maintain, between this problem, and what seems like constantly replacing the brakes, tires, and wheel bearings. I wonder when the rear differential will fail. I feel bad for everyone out there who bought an Explorer based on Ford's good reputation with older Explorers & Escapes, and can't afford to walk away and buy another car. I've always owned Fords (12 of 'em since 1984). Some have been great, some just 'OK', but this is the only lemon I've ever owned.

Ford should be ashamed of themselves for not standing behind their product and recalling cars with this tranny (5R55W) or offering to cover at least a percentage of the cost of such repairs.

- , Elma, NY, USA

problem #36

Aug 122010

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,200 miles

Hi,the transmission light came on and the od light was flashing and this went on for several months. Took to my mechanic and he said his computer showed that a transmission defect was the problem and that this would require some modification to the housing on the transmission. He told me that this was a factory defect but Ford would only tell him how to fix it. He offered me a rebuilt transmission with the upgrades Ford had suggested to fix the problem for $3200.00. I then went home and called my local Ammco dealer to see if he new anything about the Ford transmission problem and he told me to come down to the shop and see for myself that he had 4 of the explorers at his shop all with the same problem the housing needed to be board out and sleeved. He said all the local Ford dealers sent the warranty work to him and he guessed he had done over 500 of them in the last 2 years. He called my explorer a exploder as he said the transmission in them was not worth a dam. He said the problem was a factory defect and his company Ammco came up with the fix for Fords problem. He fixed my explorer for 2400.00. I have drove the hell out of it and it shifts like a dream. He told me I would never have anymore problems with the transmission. I hope he knows what hes talking about then again he done 5 of them last week. I seen them in his shop. Ford engineers are a bunch of dumb asses who know nothing about working on a car or truck. This transmission in my explorer does not have a dipstick to check fluid or a way to add fluid. If you want to check fluid or add you will have to take to a dealer or mechanic. I will not be buying another Ford or anything made in Usa. I ask the Ammco dealer what was the best vehicle on the road and he said hands down a Toyota.Guess I will be buying a Toyota and will be trading in this piece of sh*t Ford after I get my 2400.00 out of it.

- , Heflin, AL, USA

problem #35

Feb 102011

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

If you know Ford is doing a recall please let me know because they trans. problem is making me $?$?$ Thanks

Update from Feb 14, 2011: Rebuild with new case + new gear they were all scrap they put steel sleave on each new gear to cancel the friction with gear shaft after that the transmission will be like new and will never again break. but it cost a lot.

- , Granby, QUÉBEC, canada

problem #34

Jan 272011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

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

In 2005, their was a recall on the transmission for my vehicle. When i put the car in reverse the car would stall. When put in reverse it would not reverse then when the gas was pressed it would jumped back violently. I took the car to ford and they put some type of additive to the transmission. I was told the car was was fixed. However, the problem still occurred periodically.

In 2007, the car was in park and changed gears by itself causing the car to move forward, causing minor damage to the vehicle.

On 1/27/11 I was driving and the engine shut off while I was. The O/D light was flashing and the service engine light was on. Every time i put the car in drive it would shut off. The transmission had to be replaced.

- , Bronx, NY, USA

problem #33

Dec 032010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,400 miles

My transmission failed previously in July costing me over $1600 in repairs and then about $250 in expenses just so I could catch a cab in order to go to work. Not only did I just have to get the bearings done on the front and rear driver side tires which was over $500, my o/d off light flashes then after that the "service engine soon" light appears. Thank God for repair warranties or I would have to junk it and be in the hole again thanks to Ford!!!

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #32

Jun 012010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

Heard there might be a class action lawsuit for Ford Explorer owners with transmission issues. Please keep me informed!!! This is going to cost us a new transmission or at the least a rebuilt one...so much for Christmas...

- , Frederick, MD, USA

problem #31

Oct 102010

Explorer LTS 6.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I got this back in 2005 for my retirement car from a used car dealer. Well today I got a real surprise my O/D light started blinking and would not shift out of 2th gear. It has 78,348 miles on it. This is crazy if I have to put in another transmission. This is my third Ford and my last. I own $8000. on this still and now have to spent another $2000- $4000 on top of this, nuts...

- , Hollis, NY, USA

problem #30

Nov 052010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

I bought my 04 Explorer in 07, with 26000 miles on it. I take good care of my vehicles and keep up with the maintenance! I don't do a lot of driving, and even now it only has 47000 miles on it. So I'm driving the other night and it jerks suddenly and the o/d off light starts to flash. I get home and consult my manual, which says to have it serviced or damage may occur. Ok, no problem. I take it to Ford to find out that its the solonoid valve, which has to be replaced for around $1200! I was clearly upset. My Dad sent me this link and as I sit here reading all the complaints, I am pissed! This could only be the beginning! Think I need to cut my losses and get the hell out!

- , Brooklawn, NJ, USA

problem #29

Sep 282010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

while driving the o/d light came on and the transmission seemed to not shift in to over drive so i pulled over turned the truck off waited then restarted and it went off. this is annoying it happened 3 times this week. i hope you all call ford and complain may be they will fix this problem and do your self a favor take it to a dealer and have them run a diagnosis on the transmission and have them change the oil and filter on the same. i have a sealed transmission and can not change these my self like i used to on the other ones that are not sealed.

guess this is another good idea they had to get them extra money. guess it might cost them in the long run......

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #28

Sep 252010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

it realy bad news for beacouse, i have another problem with ford which by the way i never buy another ford brand again in my live first 4x4 light came on then abs and now o/d this it is mess i got this truck brand 0 miles i i took it to the mechanic and he said that i need a new transmission he said that in any time it will explot in pieces.

- , Nyc, NY, USA

problem #27

Sep 042010

Explorer 6.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles

transmission shift hard o/d light comes on rude people at ford customer service, had this in the shop, a dozen times about it shifting hard

- , Riverton, WY, USA

problem #26

Jul 192010

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

I took the vehicle to Aamco Transmission who is a nationally recognized transmission shop. The tech there said that the transmission cooler that is installed from the factory is inadequite for the transmission. Because the transmission got too hot it fried several components inside the transmission. The tech said that he see's this problem all the time on this body style of fords. He said that from 2002-2004 he sees this all the time.

It floors me that Ford has not had a class action lawsuit filed against them for this vehicle and all it's problems.

- , College Station, TX, USA

problem #25

Feb 262010

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I bought my Explorer in April 09 and drove it for 10 months. I had no problems whatsoever with it until one day the O/D OFF light starts flashing. I drove it ten miles once the light started flashing and then boom,,,,wont shift out of first gear. I get in it the next day and take it to the local dealership. Shifts fine on the drive to the dealership by the way. They do the diagnostic testing and tell me the transmission needs rebuilt. They replaced clutches,seal bands, and electric solenoids. I payed 2200 dollars for the repairs.I had a friend take out the transmission and put it back in after the rebuild to save me 1000 dollars. I had to take it back to the dealership to have transmission fluid put in it once my friend was done installing the transmission bc apparently you cant do it on your own! Figures! Once they get the transmission fluid in they call me and tell me that its throwing another code! They tell me that this is very odd and cant figure out what is wrong with it. They told me that they have been in contact with Ford engineers and are trying to find a solution to the problem. Here is my solution......FIRE the damn engineers bc they didnt build the car right in the first place!!! I cant believe a company wpuld try to sell something that cant be fixed! Also found out that as long as it is a ford part that is causing the code ie: faulty solenoid then my 12000 mi/1 yr warranty will cover the costs BUT if it is something the technician did wrong I am responsible for it....UNBELIEVABLE! They rape you in any way possible.....I will never purchase a FORD again!!!!!

- , St. James, MO, USA

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