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.

7.2

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$894.00
Average Mileage:
73,800 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (6 reports)
  2. replace the part (4 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #10

Jan 312008

Explorer LXT 6 Cylinder

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

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

Gear sticks when putting it into park, every single time.

- , Dearborn, MI, USA

problem #9

Nov 012010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

i have to count the number of clicks when i need to change gears. my little needle in the dash shows me in "drive" all the time. i can put the truck in park, and the needle doesn't move. if i put it in a lower gear, it moves, and then just stays there until it decides it wants to move back. its a big PAIN!

- , Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #8

Dec 012010

Explorer XTL 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

FIRST, ONE THING I LEARNED ON HOW TO PREVENT MY TRANS FROM ENGAGING ROUGHLY FROM PARK TO REVERSE IS SHIFT TRANS INTO NEUTRAL FROM PARK FIRST (WAIT A 3-5 SECONDS) THEN SHIFT INTO REVERSE AND THIS SEEMS TO PREVENT THE WHOLE PROBLEM 90% OF THE TIME.

I found out that Ford was aware of the transmission problem before I purchased my Ford Explorer in Sept. 2004. Solenoid becomes damages from the transmission fluid Ford chose to put into the 04' Explorer and other models as well. If only I would have investigated this truck on the net before purchasing it, i would not be stuck with a LEMON NOW!! PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK BY USING THE NET TO EVALUATE ANYTHING YOU ARE PLANNING TO PURCHASE BEFORE YOU PURCHASE IT. I WILL NEVER BUY A FORD AGAIN.

O.G. problem (shifting from park to reverse, trans would take 3-5 seconds to engage & truck would jerk roughly w/loud bang/thud) started June 06' and we paid $800 to fix the solenoid and not sure what type of trans fluid Ford dealership put back in my Ford as I was unaware to that issue then.

As of Dec. 2010 & 60k+ miles later, I am having exact tranny problem from 06' (park to reverse issue) + Explorer shifts hard from 1st gear to 2nd gear when accelerating from a complete stop (mainly be/w 0-15 miles per hr) such as driving in heavy freeway traffic (stop & go) or driving in a supermarket/mall type of driving conditions. Third problem is when I am having to brake relatively hard to a complete stop as there is a loud bang/thud + jerking motion when trans downshifts from 2nd into 1st gear (ex. when you decide to stop at an intersection relatively quick instead of lightly accelerating and taking a yellow/red light at the intersection). I noticed that on colder days which means thicker trans oil due to a slower viscosity break-down, the issues with stopping quickly and trans bang/thud + jerking downshifting from 2nd gear to 1st gear seems to not happen at all or starts to happen only after I have driven 30 to 50 mile+ before the hard down-shifting starts up. I am looking into the thickest trans fluid possible I could run in my trans without affecting something else to hopefully stop or reduce the hard shifting until I figure out exactly what i am going to do.

Aside from the the tranny issues which are ENOUGH TO NEVER BUY A FORD AGAIN, I noticed back in Jan. 07' the rubber housing on both sides that holds/protects the grease on the ends of the upper steering tie rods which I believe are the ball joints started cracking/breaking a part in large pieces which caused the grease to be lost (how, I don't know as I am not a mechanic which also explains my lack of correctly naming this area/part) but an excellent mechanic told me that should not have happened that early as truck was barely 2 1/2 yrs old. but I am not going to list another complaint on this part.

I am in no way financially able to buy a new or used vehicle so I might be forced to save $3k and pay AMMCO for a new or rebuilt trans as I do not remember right now but it will provide me with a100% life time warranty on my trans which seems exactly what I will need after investigating these problems. I was forced to clean & repack grease around ball joints and then tape & tie my own protective housing to prevent whole steer front-end from becoming damaged and then I will have another 2k to 4k problem. So far this has worked as I do not feel any vibration in my steering and I have to make slight housing repairs & pack additional grease some times when I drive in the rain. THANK GOD FOR SO. CALIF. (LIL RAIN)

- , Cudahy, CA, USA

problem #7

May 012011

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

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

Shifter gets out of position. Sometimes it will go all the way to park and will show in drive. Also one time you have to start engine in park and the next time in neutral. This is a danger no knowing what gear the vehicle is in.

- , Morganton, NC, USA

problem #6

Jun 172011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Shifter in steering column would not go all way to P. Seemed like no big deal at first, as could tell it was definitely in park. But over time, getting farther and farther away from P towards R. Got to where I couldn't tell if it was in park, reverse or neutral by shifter display. Have taken it to the dealer twice. They have taken it apart and said it's fine. It works for a day or two (going all the way to P) and then starts up again. Not sure if calling this a transmission problem is correct, as it seems to be the shifter, not the tranny, but I don't know for sure. And not knowing what gear my car is in, makes for some tense moments. I'm being very careful with it until I can get it in again.

- , Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #5

Oct 182010

Explorer ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Wow, i've had the car almost a year and a half...all of a sudden, the engine light came on . The automatic gears would shifting and jump into place. Each time i would put it in "reverse" or for that matter any gear. I have spoken to many Ford owners and most of the issues that they have are identical "FAULTY TRANSMISSION" This is a very serious and dangerous problem, especially if your traveling with young child and toddlers. The car will jump all over the place until it's in the right gear. I'm absoutley appauled that FORD has not done nothing about this! They are not recalling these vehicles and they are not telling the consumers...Shame on you FORD!

- , Aurora, CO, USA

problem #4

Jul 152010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

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

i was driving to work and the o/d off light came on follwed buy my truck driving sluggis. i had to shell out $1500 and the transmission people messed up my bolts which they fixed so my truck stopped rattling when i drove it and pinched my fuel line fixing the problem in July. it is December and my truck just hd the o/d off light come on a now they say a bad solenoid?? i have a warranty from their work before.

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #3

Apr 122008

Explorer Pearl 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

When you shift the car to put it in any gear you have to judge what selection you have picked. By looking at what you have selected is not accurate. The young lady at ford in the service department told me it was to expensive to repair since my warrenty had just run out.

- , Bellwood, IL, USA

problem #2

Jan 302009

Explorer Eddiebauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

love the look of the vehicle, but mechanically this vehicle sucks ass! Has had a rear diff,needs a trans,both front hubs[4wd] and a new owner!@80,000 not much bang for the buck!!!!

- , Kingfisher, OK, USA

problem #1

Dec 012008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

If you put the car in park, the shifter needle would say it was in reverse, or if the car was in drive, it would say it was in neutral.

- , Menifee, CA, USA

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