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:
75,201 miles
Total Complaints:
751 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (292 reports)
  2. not sure (201 reports)
  3. replace panel (112 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 38 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

Mar 192007

(reported on)

Explorer EDB V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


I noticed a stress crack on the liftgate of my Explorer and took it in and the dealer says to me that this problem is very common in Explorers and Mountaineers. It is due to the type of glue they used. Apparently they'll pay for it if it's under warranty but I'm just over my 36,000 miles so I have to pay for it. The dealership indicated it is a Ford defect but won't pay for it until it's a recall.... what kind of crap is that? This is a $40K vehicle!!! Then the guy tells me that if I don't fix this, there could be significant problems later with my liftgate. PLEASE DO NOT BUY ANY FORDS ANYMORE!!!!! I am looking to trade it in soon.

- , Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #10

Mar 152007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I bought this SUV and a month later the back door cracked below the window. I contacted Ford and they told be that they could not do a thing until the NHTSA orders them to! Yeah right! They can order a recall on there own per the NHTSA web page. I called NHTSA and filled a complaint and I would suggest that everyone does that as well so we can get our Explorers fix! Their number is 1-888-327-4236 or you can report it to the NHTSA at That will be the best way to get this done I think. If anyone has any other ideas on how to have Ford step up let me know. They said that it was not a safety issue at Ford.. It will be if the glass falls out on one of my children or when I am driving.

- , Port Charlotte, FL, USA

problem #9

Mar 152007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,042 miles

I noticed the cracked panel on or about Mar 5th. I thought that someone vandalized or backed into my car by hitting the Ford emblem on the back panel. When I went to the Ford service department to check recalls there are no recalls for this particular defect for the Explorer but it is listed for the Expeditions. I was told it's a very common problem and they're aware of the issue but Ford Corporation has yet to resolve the issue for all Ford SUV's with this known problem. The estimated cost for repair ($370.00). I would say that this should be covered by Ford as it is clearly a design flaw.

- , Orlando, FL, USA

problem #8

Feb 252007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles


I bought this 2004 Explorer sport edition XLT in Feb 2005. I just noticed the other day that the painted part under the resr window had cracked all the way through. I have not gone to the dealer yet but by the looks of it I might have to pay. I will not be putting any more money into this car. I am actually looking to trade it in for the new Chevy Tahoe. I have been dissapointed for a while with this explorer because of the transmission shifting hard and the rear window motors get stuck. Now I have to deal with this silly crack, what a crappy made part this is. My wife and I planned to keep this car for a hand me down for the kids... hahahaha it wont even make 3 years and parts are falling off. Hey Ford get your act together looks like you will be loosing many customers if no recall comes around soon!

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #7

Feb 182007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I noticed "the crack" while on break at work yesterday. After looking around the internet, I realize my car is being afflicted by the same issue a lot of other Explorer owners appear to be having. The only other problem I have had with this car is having the throttle body replaced while the car was still under warranty. I am buying this car to own and was planning on keeping for a long time. After this problem and reading through all the other problems people are having, I am seriously concerned.

- , Farmers Branch, TX, USA

problem #6

Jan 302007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles

Discovered the back frame area around the back tailgate glass was cracked just below the window wiper. It was not cracked in one crack but several all the way down from the bottom of the glass to the bottom of the frame that holds the back glass. It appeared as a stress crack not like a fracture or crack caused by a collision. There was no other damage. Took it to the dealership and they said they had some others that had been coming in with this problem. I left it to be fixed. They called later to inform me that I was going to have to pay for it to be fixed. I had it fixed and payed however I have since seen other vehicles on the road the same model but maybe not same year model with the same problem. I think there is a recall issue here and ford should be paying to fix this. Someone should look into this.

- , Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #5

Dec 272006

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6 FI SOHC

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


My 2004 Explorer (bought when the 2005 became available) has developed THE crack in the rear panel underneath the rear window that afflicts so many other Explorers. Ever since it happened I have noticed many other Explorers with the same crack. Called my dealer and he said it wasn't covered under the extended warranty I had purchased from Ford. I called the 800.392.3673 and they took all the information but ultimately told me that I needed to TAKE it to a dealer so that they can take a look at the crack. I guess that I'll have to play the game, hopefully Ford will do something about it (although I will not put any money on it). This is clearly a design flaw not a one time occurrence.

- , Hollywood, FL, USA

problem #4

Dec 062006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

I recently noticed a crack in the rear panel underneath the rear window. I called the dealer to ask if there had been a recall and they said only on the latch. I asked if they thought it was strange that the panel cracked and I too was told it was from the cold weather. What the heck kind of answer is that? Since when does cold weather make the exterior of a car crack? This seems to be a BIG problem and Ford needs to do something about this. I have driven Fords my whole life (my Dad worked for Ford) and their quality has gone way down hill. I have had more problems with this car than all my other cars put together!

- , West Chester, OH, USA

problem #3

Dec 062006

(reported on)

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

My 2004 Explorer (bought in Nov. 2004) has the same problem with the lovely crack in the panel below the liftgate window. The crack starts right below the window then curves very nicely around the left side of the FORD logo before traveling straight down again for another 3-4 inches. What's with that! I have driven Fords for most of my 40 years of driving.

My first car was a 1963 Ford Fairlane, a sweet little car. I've had two Pintos, a Maverick, an F100 truck, and two Explorers. I have NEVER had a problem like this with any of my Fords vehicles! My previous Explorer was a 1995 that gave me 130K miles of trouble-free driving. The day that I traded it in on the 2004 Explorer, the 95's exterior still looked as good as it did the day I drove it off the dealer's lot. My 2004 has less than 30,000 miles and there's that damn crack! I had almost caved in and bought a Toyota, instead of the Explorer, but thought, OH NO, I'LL BE LOYAL TO THE US AUTOMAKERS. So much for loyalty. If they can't provide the same quality, the hell with them. My next vehicle will be foreign made. The crack hasn't been repaired yet, but I am still under warranty and the dealer has ordered the replacement parts. I'm scheduled to take it in next week, and was told that they will need to keep the vehicle for 3 days because they will need to paint. We'll see how it all shakes out! Whew! That was long.... sorry! :-D But I am still peeved that I have be inconvenienced like this!!!!!!!

- , Queen Creek, AZ, USA

problem #2

Nov 262006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

2004 Explorer - cracked panel below rear glass. Just showed up one day - no evidence of impact - crack extends top to bottom just left of Ford Emblem. Appears this has been a problem as early as 2002 so why wouldn't Ford have redesigned by now. Not sure if it will be covered - car is kept garaged at both work and home - immaculate except for this crack.

- , Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #1

Oct 232006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

I can see lots of people have this problem too! Went to a movie, came out - and a large crack runs from the window to the bottom of the frame, right next to the emblem. I already have the car in today for fuel gauge issues, mentioned the crack, and service guy went "oh yeah, we've heard about that - I'll add it to your warranty work". Thank G-D - I have a good Ford dealership that really does believe in covering warranty issues. (Or so I hope - if I have a $400 bill when I pick the car up, I'll be pissed)

- , Banks, OR, USA

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