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:
75,154 miles
Total Complaints:
754 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (293 reports)
  2. not sure (201 reports)
  3. replace panel (114 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

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 5 of 38)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #674

Apr 012008

Explorer XLT 4.0ltr

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

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

Ford needs to stand behind their product.The crack appeared just after the warranty was up, just simply from closing the rear gate.

- , Madison, AL, US

problem #673

Jul 012009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

The cracked lift gate, should be something that Ford should have to fix. I hate how it looks and think eventually it will cause other problems.

- , Dallas, GA, USA

problem #672

Oct 202014

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

I'm like hundreds of others of owners of Explorers, Mounteneers, and Lincolns that are waiting on Ford to do the right thing and fix this thing and other problems that plague his model. I also have a problem with the heater control that makes a thumping sound when turning it on. I have solved part of this problem by the way I turn it on. I don't turn the heat knob all the way up and I turn the fan knob all the way up until the thumping stops, (usually in a short time). Then, turning the heat back down, I turn the heat control down to any setting and then turn the fan to a low setting. Seems to work so far, but I have seen this on the internet as well and this a factory defect as well.

I will add that I believe in American cars and American craftsmanship, and never, ever, would I buy a Japanese or Asian car. These people claim they are made in America, hire American workers, but they take our money and run!! I say for me: BUY AMERICAN IN AMERICA. I know that will ruffle some feathers out there.

- , Kennard, IN, USA

problem #671

Jul 152010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

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

This situation is ridiculous! Came out of work one day and I see these black lines on the lift gate. As I got closer I see it's cracked. No other damage to indicate it had been hit or even touched. Really makes the truck look nasty.

After it happened, I started to notice other Ford Explorers with the same exact damage. I decided to look online. This couldn't be coincidence. That's how I found out there is a class action suit against Ford. When I go to the dealership that services my Explorer, I mention the lawsuit and they play dumb...like they never heard this complaint before! Just disgusting that a vehicle can cost so much money and be made with defective materials. Ford, DO SOMETHING !!!!

- , Medford, NY, USA

problem #670

Apr 012009

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

click to see larger images

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

I had the car less than a year. I bought in 2008 from a dealer who gave no insight to any possible issue (of course). Anyhow, when I reported the issue to my local Ford dealer service center, they would not repair the crack under my existing extended warranty I had purchased. The repair was going to cost $500-$1200 because they couldn't tell me for sure. They said it was considered a cosmetic issue and not a safety issue. I thought to myself "It will be a safety issue when the whole panel falls off and hits someone's car or worse!"

The panel is still in tact, but I notice the crack moves and changes depending on the weather. I've also had issues with the bearings, replacing the fronts earlier this year for over $1500. I'm told the rears might be in danger of needing replacement as well. My A/C temperature control actuator does the clicking thing if you try to change the temperature to warm, so I have no heater anymore. That repair has a part that costs $65, but Ford wants to charge over $1800 to open up my dash and replace it! This was a beautiful car and does drive well, but little annoyances are just unbearable and I don't think I'll be buying another Ford anytime soon. Just hope this car makes it a couple more years. Currently have 132K miles on it.

Hope the case wins so we can all get our cracks fixed. At least if I do try to sell it, it won't look like it's been in an accident.

- , Fairfield, CA, USA

problem #669

Jun 012007

Explorer EX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Took the truck to the dealer but they will not fix it for free. We see this same location cracked on other Explorers too. We are concerned about rust and rot in the cracked location. It should be a recall.

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #668

Jun 012012

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

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

I take pride in keeping my vehicles looking nice, and to have to see, not only my truck, but every explorer I pass have that crack in the rear panel annoys the hell out of me. Ford knows they f@cked up why cant they just fix the problem. If this is how Ford is going to be about admitting to and fixing their problems I will never buy a Ford again!! I took my truck in to see how much it would cost if I just fixed it myself instead of waiting for a recall, and it would be over $1,000. I refuse to pay that kind of money when Ford should grow a pair of balls and get it themselves.

- , Gardner, IL, USA

problem #667

Jul 222010

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

the more I hear that ford knew about the crack during manufacture, the more pissed off I become. "Found On Road Dead" ------FORD, now I know why. I also had to replace the transmission. Please put me on the class action lawsuit. I can document the cracked rear panel if needed.

- , Columbus, GA, USA

problem #666

Jun 152012

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I purchased this 2004 Explorer EB in 2012 @ a Ford dealer in Houston. When I inquired if they were going to fix the rear panel crack, they laughed and said all Explorers of that model had these cracks....as if it's normal, live with it. I have since had the transmission problems, and replaced wheel bearings, just like everyone says would happen. The vehicle has 122,000 miles on it now as I travel to pipeline facilities around Texas a lot. I guess, from what I'm hearing, I'm lucky the thing still drives. Regardless, I'm getting a new vehicle in a few months.

- , Katy, TX, US

problem #665

Jun 012012

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

yeah. had it replaced and it cracked a year later.

- , Dade City, FL, USA

problem #664

Mar 082013

Explorer LTD V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,500 miles

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

The crack under the rear window is the least of the problems, the transmission is just terrible cannot understand why there has not been a recall.

- , Shrewsbury, NJ, USA

problem #663

Jul 042014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

click to see larger images

cracked panel below the rear window

Third time. Worried about winter weather wreaking havoc.

- , Twin Peaks, CA, USA

problem #662

Dec 162010

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L Flexible

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,885 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 noticed this crack a few years ago and noticed many people with the same complaint. I have not gotten an estimate on it but worry that if the window completely breaks apart it could fall off and cause an accident and/or injury.

- , Redford, MI, USA

problem #661

Mar 012009

Explorer XL 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,500 miles

It makes the car look cheap and trashy. I thought Ford would want their cars to look at least good and with that crack in the rear door trim it looks cheap and trashy.

- , Owensboro, KY, USA

problem #660

Apr 152013

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I HAVE HAD SEVERAL ISSUES WITH THE 2004, IE. STUD AND WHEEL FELL OFF WHILE DRIVING IN A PARKING LOT. NO DAMAGE BUT ISSUES

COSMETICALLY THE REAR PANEL IS COMPLETELY ANNOYING. I HAD TO GET IT FIXED WHEN IT OCCURRED. MY BODY GUY HAD NO IDEA ALL THE OTHER COMPLAINTS OUT THERE. IT COST ME OUT OF POCKET $500. NO WARRANTY, NO VOUCHER, ETC. TO FURTHER COMPLICATE THE MATTER, THE PANEL IS NOW SEPARATING FROM THE REAR WINDOW AND WILL NOT STAY ADHERED. I TOOK IT BACK AND NOW HE IS SAYING THAT I MUST PURCHASE A NEW REAR WINDOW SINCE THE WINDOW HAS A RUBBER SEAL THAT THE PANEL MUST LAY ONTO . NOW I HAVE MORE COSTS.

HE HAS RESEARCHED THIS ISSUE WITH THE PANEL AND FOUND THIS WEBSITE AND NUMEROUS MORE IN ADDITION TO A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT SINCE FORD INTERNAL MEMOS HAVE NOTED THE PROBLEM BACK IN 2002 AND STILL DID NOT CORRECT NOR NOTIFY. DEFINITELY RECOMMEND ADDING YOUR NAME TO THE LIST. I ANTICIPATE THIS WILL COST ANOTHER 5-6OO DOLLARS TO REPAIR.

MURRAY FRANK AND SAILER ARE THE LEAD FIRM 800 497 8076

I AM CONTACTING FORD TO SEE WHAT THEIR RECOURSE IS AT THIS TIME.

- , Easton, MD, USA

problem #659

May 012014

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

This problem is widespread. Most of the Explorers that I see on the road have the same problem. Although the number of complaints on your site are relatively small compared to the number of vehicles on the road, I suspect a very high percentage of these cars suffer from the same problem. Water will leak into the back hatch and ultimately cause more than cosmetic damage.

- , Fair Haven, NJ, USA

problem #658

Jul 082013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,960 miles

I HAD NOTICE THE CRACK DOWN THE PANEL ON THE REAR HATCH OF MY EXPLORER --WENT TO DEALER ABOUT RECALL AND WAS TOLD THERE WAS NONE --STARTED TO NOTICE SEVERAL EXPLORERS WITH SAME ISSUE --WHEN ASKED THE OWNERS HOW THEY DID THAT THEY REPLIED THAT IT JUST HAPPENED - WENT TO SEVERAL DEALERSHIPS AND NO SOLUTION - I WAS TOLD I WOULD HAVE TO EAT THE COST TO HAVE IT FIXED WHICH IS CRAZY AS THERE MUST BE A DEFECT IN WORKMAN SHIP OF VEHICLE --I THINK FORD SHOULD PAY TO FIX OR REPAIR THE ISSUE ON ALL VEHICLES --THE CONSUMERS PAY TOO MUCH AND WORK TO HARD FOR THIS KIND OF CRAP--ALL I WANT IS FOR FORD CO TO MAKE IT RIGHT --AND THAT IS NOT ASKING A LOT -ESPECIALLY WHEN I DID NOT CAUSE THE PROBLEM -------------------------------

- , Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #657

Sep 042013

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

This first happened to my sister's Explorer. She said after it happened to her, she started noticing it on other Fords she was driving behind. Apparently, in researching it is very wide spread. It then happened to my parent's Ford Explorer. Mine was next. Like my sister, I notice that pretty much every Explorer I am behind of this period has the same issue. Obviously a design defect (just like the gear shift that broke off when I attempted to reverse my vehicle).

- , Piscataway, NJ, USA

problem #656

Feb 122014

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Common problem and Ford refuses to recall. Shame on Ford. This is my 4th Ford vehicle... and last.

- , Rochester, NY, US

problem #655

Apr 132014

Explorer XLS 4.0L 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 174,000 miles

I'm disappointed to find this is a common problem and Ford hasn't done anything about it. My car lasted longer than many before cracking, but that doesn't mean I'm any happier about it.

- , St. Louis, MO, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?