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.

6.4

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$453.00
Average Mileage:
75,156 miles
Total Complaints:
758 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (294 reports)
  2. not sure (202 reports)
  3. replace panel (115 reports)
  4. possible class action lawsuit (62 reports)
  5. call Ford motor company 1-800-241-3673 (27 reports)
  6. do not buy Ford again (25 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 17 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #438

Feb 042011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6 Efi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,500 miles

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

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

This is obviously a manufacturer defect. How can Ford not have a recall for this issue when so many cars have the EXACT crack at EXACT same place on the Explorer, ironically right next to the Ford emblem.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #437

Feb 122011

Explorer LS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Should be a recall item based on the similarity with others. This is definitely a manufacturing defect. Vertical crack through the panel to the left of center.

- , San Diego, CA, US

problem #436

Nov 072010

Explorer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,604 miles

I see this is a huge problem after reading alot about this , and am very surprized to see Ford has done nothing about this. Its not coming from people miss use. Mine just was there one day and has got bigger with the days. ford should step up to the plate and show how much they ( supposedly ) cares for its customers..... Like others have said i have seen this on many others and some people may not know it broke on ITS OWN. I also just had my fuel pump go on Dec 23, and found out that it is not an easy part to get. Most parts stores dont carry it and if they do it will most likely be the wrong one. After days tracking one down it seems the one in mine is from 2003 left over from old stock and using my year of 2004 is not the same. UNREAL.

- , Westbank, BC, Canada

problem #435

Mar 052008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

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

Very disappointed on this issue. I was told that there was a recall on the vehicle and I never received any information about it. It would hep if ford sold the part in the colors that they offered those years, but it only comes in primer gray and its about 200.00 to get the part painted to match. Id rather find one at a junkyard then give any more money to ford motor co.

- , Eastlake, OH, US

problem #434

Nov 092010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

We would like to get it fixed and feel that Ford should pay for it! It appears that it has happened to alot others and Ford should stand behind their product. We just bought a 2011 Nissan Titan because of it! It should have been a recall and they have done nothing about it!

- , Sebring, FL, USA

problem #433

Dec 042010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

The crack under the rear window on my Explorer happened over night. It wasn't there on Friday and Saturday it was cracked half in two. I went to the local Ford Dealer on Monday in Sherman TX and was told it would cost $250 to repair and it is a common problem with 2003 thru 2005 Explorers. This is very upsetting to a person that takes care of my automobiles. Low milage and changes oil every 5K miles and keeps in the garage. The worst part is FORD will not replace a defective car part. I even bought the extended warranty and that will not cover it. I will think twice before I but another Ford product. I have had in the past Explorers, Mustang and Lincoln with no problems, however, if this is not addressed by Ford, it will levve me no other choice but to take my business eslewhere.

- , Sherman, TX, USA

problem #432

Nov 062010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles

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

I have 2 ford explorers, a 98 and an 04. Will never buy a ford anymore(seeing ford wont help fix their design mess) and can see that ford's new ads of folks selling toyotas will go no where as long as people see all them explorers riding around with cracks.

Irresponsible design and poor after sales support. Think about it, i am starting a new campaign for carbuyers at every traffic stop to check out the hatchback of the ford explorer ahead of them before deciding between a ford and any other make. Ford, spare your ad budget and fix these mobile, highly visible crack anti ford 'ads' first

- , Valdosta, GA, USA

problem #431

Nov 262008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

MY FAILURE OCCURRED FIRST REALLY COLD NITE AFTER STARTED PARKING CAR OUTSIDE GARAGE.PROBLEM IS OBVIOUSLY A DESIGN ERROR IN THAT TWO MATERIALS ( GLASS/PLASTIC) WERE LAMINATED TOGETHER WITH 2 SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT EXPANSION COEFFICIENTS---ONE WANTS TO EXPAND MORE THAN THE THAN THE OTHER FOR A GIVEN TEMP RANGE. THE RESULTANT TENSION IS MORE THAN THE PLASTIC CAN STAND, AND IT BREAKS. IT'S FORD'S FAULT, BUT IT COSTS SO MUCH TO REPAIR, AND WITH IT'S PREVALENCE (AROUND HERE, 30 TO 50 PERCENT), I CAN SEE FORD'S STANCE, SINCE IT'S COSMETIC. I KNOW SOME FOLKS, KNOWING THAT THE CRACK IS BOUND TO HAPPEN, HAVE PUT A RELIEF CRACK IN THEMSELVES SQUARELY IN THE CENTER OVER THE FORD EMBLEM---LOOKS A LOT NEATER THAN THE RANDOM CRACK. WISH I HAD DONE THAT. SURE NOT GOOD ADVERTISING FOR FORD. EXPLORER OWNERS I KNOW HAVE MADE A GAME OUT OF IT WHEN TRAVELING---COUNTING THE CRACKED ONES VERSUS UNCRACKED.

- , Pendleton, SC, USA

problem #430

Feb 232011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,537 miles

I had been seeing Ford explorer with cracks in their lift gates and thinking how dumb could they be to slam their lift gate and crack it. Untill I came out of a Restaurant and saw that mine had a small crack in it.

I have a Eddie Bauer, V6 Special Order Edition with only 46,000 miles on it that I keep it in a garage. The crack started small but now it is from the glass to the end of the panel.

I have the extended warranty but Ford said the cracked is not covered and that if I fix it may crack again after 12 months.

- , Hampton, VA, USA

problem #429

Feb 252011

Explorer ES 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,999 miles

i think water sits in there and freezes and cracks them i work in the collision repair field and have been replacing them for years and they are urethaned to the back glass so its best to have an auto glass company replace which the whole deal isn't cheap for that reason ive started drilling small holes in the bottom to let the water run out seems to be working no come backs

- , Piqua, OH, USA

problem #428

Jan 092011

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

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

When I went out to place some articles in the back of my Explorer earlier today noticed that huge crack along the left side of the Ford logo emblem in the plastic under the back window of my 2004 Ford Explorer. I have no clue how this happened especially since there was no damages to this when I took items out of yje back and closed the window.

I have no idea how much this will cost to repair but know that it HAS to be DONE!!!!!!

I see from other posts that others have experienced this same problem and some are hoping for a recall from Ford on it, Any possibility of this happen? I sure hope so!

- , Suwabee, GA, USA

problem #427

Sep 072009

Explorer LS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This is obviously a manufacturer defect. After seeing it in my car I started looking around for it in other Explorers. Now I'm seeing it EVERYWHERE; shopping malls, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. It's obvious that it can't be these many careless Ford drivers.

- , Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #426

Jun 022010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,247 miles

I noticed this problem on my ford explorer and was very disappointed in the way ford makes their products. i was thinking about buying another ford explorer but now I've changed my mind and going with CHEVY. i think ford should fix this problem for free or recall it. I encourage everyone to think twice before buying a ford explorer.

- , Oceanport, NJ, USA

problem #425

Nov 072010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

I see a lot of Ford Explorers with the same issue... Every single Ford Explorer I've seen in North Texas have had cracks in the panel below the tailgate window. It just doesn't make sense that this would crack. FORD should have an obligation to fix this for free!!! Certainly makes me think twice about purchasing a Ford in the future...

- , Irving, TX, USA

problem #424

Nov 022010

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,600 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window cracked panel below the rear window

I take very good care of our cars and can't believe the plastic panel below the rear window cracked for absolutely no reason. I noticed a large crack in the painted plastic trim below the rear window as she was ready to pull out of the garage that was not there the night before coming home from work. The crack is all the way through the trim piece from top to bottom in the middle, and it's noticeable. I would like ford to offer to fix this issue. I have noticed other explorers of darker colors having the same crack. I believe this is a manufacturing defect and not damage caused by the vehicle owners,and just one day a took some picture for more 4 different explorer THE SAME PROBLEM,

- , Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #423

Feb 112011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Went to get estimate and was told that this has been occurring a lot due to manufacturing failure to use proper rubberizing of window for cold/hot expansion of window. This needs to be corrected and patrons of Ford should not have to be concerned of this occurring. Unappreciated expense when on fixed income. Just had to have transmission and starter replaced. Can't really afford new car at this time, but these expenses are getting to be ridiculous and I can't afford them either.

- , Prairie Village, KS, USA

problem #422

Jul 142010

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

There have been so many complaints on the problem with the cracked panel below the rear window and around the Ford sign and I obviously have the same problem. As I ride anywhere I have started looking at all of the Ford Explorers to see if they are cracked at the same place as mine and it is amazing how many you see that are the same way as mine. I own a 2004 Ford Explorer and I take very good care of my car. I do not understand how Ford can get by with this tremendous problem without issuing a recall to fix this. My entire immediate family drives Ford vehicles which we have 6 of them and we are considering to not buy any more Ford products if they cannot back up their vehicles quality.

- , Montpelier, VA, USA

problem #421

Feb 242011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Looks like we get to join the rest of the Explorer owners with the cracked panel under the rear glass on the liftgate around the Ford emblem. Est cost to repair $700 - $900. I'm not a happy camper right now.

Local Ford dealer wouldn't even look at it and referred us to a body shop.

- , Elk Grove, CA, US

problem #420

Feb 062011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

Keep my cars impeccable! This sucks......need to pay to fix as a crack this bad just look cheap! Not sure what caused it, but insurance won't cover it. Owned Fords my entire life...3 mustang's, 1 Escort, 4 Explorers, 4 different F150"s - F350's! This has got to be the weirdest defect!

- , Stafford Springs, CT, US

problem #419

Feb 122011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

We have a 2004 Explorer that is my wifes, and she keeps it clean, and it is garage kept. Needless to say that she was very disappointed when she saw the crack on the back of her Explorer. Since then, I have seen two others, the same color (red) and the crack is in the same place, just to the left of the center. I think the supplier of that piece (or Ford) should be responsible for the cost of the replacement of that piece.

Update from Apr 2, 2011: I have replaced the panel. I purchased the panel from Ford, it was painted and installed at the body shop. Body shop said the panel was glued around the outer edge, it had no support in the center. Cost, a little under $400.

- , Jackson, TN, US

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