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. 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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
75,168 miles
Total Complaints:
749 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (292 reports)
  2. not sure (200 reports)
  3. replace panel (111 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 30 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #169

Jan 152008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles


Can't believe we bought this beautiful Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition only to find out that the panel right below the rear window cracked! Just walked out one day to find this huge crack running from just below the window to the FORD emblem. A real disappointment! Called to find out if it was a recalled almost every other Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer I've seen has the exact same crack...but was told NO. Real evidence of very poor customer service on FORD's end. Don't want to pay to get it fixed....who's saying that it won't happen again?? A real structural defect must be present for there to be so many Explorers on the road with the same problem!!

- , Houston, TX, USA

problem #168

Jun 112008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles


- , Florence, SC, USA

problem #167

Mar 052009

(reported on)

Explorer 6.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,300 miles

This car is only used on Sunday's. I'm a rollback driver and work 6 days a week. Was washing the car and was the crack in panel below back window. This is a problem because the same thing happen to my sons car and my sisters in laws car. We all own FORD EXPLORERS. My car only had around 44000 miles on it. This should be a recall.

We try to buy American cars but they don't want to stand by the problems.Anyone out there with this problem please complaint. Maybe FORD will do the right thing.

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #166

Feb 122009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles


Just searched and was surprised to find that it is a serious problem in manufacturing. I will contact Ford, just to have it on record, and maybe there will be some kinda recall in the future. I will heck into having it repaired.

- , Rowlett, TX, USA

problem #165

Jan 102009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

When this happened it was early morning and very cold, January, in Kansas. I heard a crack and thought it was a window cracking. A few weeks later I noticed the frame was cracked. Ford really needs to recall these and fix.

- , Augusta, KS, USA

problem #164

Aug 052008

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

We closed the door to the trunk while on vacation. We did not slam the door, but we heard a crack and the door was cracked right below the window. We saw other Ford Explorers with the same crack. This is something that we were looking for a class action suit notification to come in the mail. I don't know what to do.

- , Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #163

Mar 042009

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles


I went to put something in my truck on February 28,2009 and noticed the back hatch was cracked around the ford emblem just below the glass. The crack is about 1/4 inches wide and I also have a neighbor who just recently noticed hers as well. We compared the cracks and they were identical to the one that is on the sight. I called ford and they told me to take it to a dealer and see if they thought it was a defect, so we both did. We were told that there had been many complaints but they were not going to fix the problem. I think that is a load of crap and I intend to call the local tv station in my area and see if they can help. At least maybe it will bring more people to get together and get something done. thanks for listening.

- , Angier, NC, USA

problem #162

Feb 152009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,143 miles

I am going to talk to a military lawyer about the crack problem since I am in the military and currently living overseas to find out if I can start a lawsuit against Ford in order to start a recall and replace lost funds due to replacement. I will try and update my findings on this site and others. If I cannot start a lawsuit because of me living overseas I hope that someone stands up for the hundreds that have been complaining to the wrong people ie. Ford and websites instead of people that can take Ford on ie. lawyers.

- , Abilene, TX, USA

problem #161

Feb 062009

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,900 miles

I noticed a crack in the rear panel of my explorer. I did see another ford with the same problem in the same location; so I got online and found this site. I have not called it in yet; however, I am going to the dealer next week. I did not realize this was such a huge issue with so many year models. You think they would have recalled or used better parts.

- , Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #160

Jan 032007

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles

Now, here we are exactly 2 years later and this crack mysteriously appears again in exactly the same place on the tail gate, in the plastic body molding right below the window on the rear tailgate by the Ford Emblem. Just like the others who complained of the same defect. This time the dealer, Perry Ford in Poway, CA wants to charge me $450!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Horsecrap, this is definitely a DEFECT!!!!!!!!!! And a known one.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #159

Jul 012008

Explorer XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles


I won't fix it... the replacement would break too...

- , Groves, TX, USA

problem #158

Feb 082009

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,500 miles

why has this happen it just showed up i was working on the electric for a trailer hitch when i noticed it i have had the truck for almost 3 years now i see im not the only one with this problem ford need to fix it

- , Lynn Haven, FL, USA

problem #157

Jan 012006

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

I contacted the dealership when I noticed the crack and was told it was not a recall item. I see now that someone else has also had this complaint early on in the ownership of their vehicle. As you can see, I have very few miles on my explorer. It is well cared for and has not only this problem, but broken visor mounts, and a broken fuel gauge as well. All of which should be recall items. IF WE ALL JOIN TOGETHER AND SEND OUR COMPLAINTS TO THIS ADDRESS WE MAY GET THE RECALLS WE NEED:

Ford Motor Company

Customer Relationship Center

P.O. Box 6248

Dearborn, MI 48126

- , Clovis, CA, USA

problem #156

Nov 122008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

I went to my local Ford Dealer where I purchased the car new. The Ford dealer said it was not covered under my extended warranty. He also stated that Ford should cover the repair but at this time there was not a recall on this. He admitted it was a design defect from the factory. He said he would be glad to fix it if I paid for it.

- , Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #155

Dec 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

I walked out to my car after work one day and the damn panel was cracked in a triangle shape right next to Ford logo. Very disappointing to say the least considering what I paid for the car new with the Eddie Bauer addition to boot. I have been going to take it to a dealer to see if Ford would make good on the repair or see if there was a recall out. I also have a friend in the auto body business I was going to call. I drive 450 miles a week to and from work. Since my panel cracked it seems like everyone eles I see driving is also cracked. What a bunch of crap and they want a bail out!

- , Denver, CO, USA

problem #154

Jan 112006

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

These things are all defective I used to see 2 or 3 a day

- , Manassas, VA, USA

problem #153

Aug 312007

Explorer Sports 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

I took my Explorer to the Ford Dealer that I purchased it from and they said that it was not a defect . . . even though they had had a number of people that had brought their explorer back with the same problem. They said it would cost me approximately $400. to have it fixed. I have not decided if I am going to have it fixed, yet, or not. I have seen many of the Explorers around here, that have the same problem . . . this is definitely a defect.

- , Spartanburg, SC, Afghanistan

problem #152

Dec 302008

Explorer Eddie Baur V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles

One week and three days later it happen again. I spent $ 32000 for this SUV and I can't get the truth on a $350 fix.

There is something wrong with this. and it's not over!!

- , vanceboro, nc, USA

problem #151

Jan 292009

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Baur V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles

In the complaint area of a site that I found there 127 of them/call cust. service @1-800-392-3673. I did this and the several people I talk to lied, and said they never heard this before,I got upset but I didn't curse,This is my 10th ford,but it might be my last,if I don't get some kind of response.i'm going to get rid of the three I have.

- , vanceboro, nc, USA

problem #150

Jan 242009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Add me to the list of exploding liftgate appliques. My dealership quoted a price of $623 ($361 parts, $194 labor, and $68 paint). Unbelievable that Ford isn't issuing a recall. Has anyone heard talk of a class action on this? With thousands of us out there, it seems like a slam dunk.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

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