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:
61,600 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (6 reports)
  2. install new clutches (4 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain 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

problem #10

May 012009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


The differential started slipping when going around corners. It wasn't a huge deal, but I was told it should be fixed soon as it would eventually fail completely.

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #9

Apr 162007

Explorer 6CYL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles


- , Covina, CA, USA

problem #8

Jun 022010

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Wow I cant believe there is this many people with the problems on this one particular ford and The Strongest and Best auto maker The USA is to have is turning there heads to all this. What if this problem was causing deaths or injurys would they be sitting in there seats turning a deaf hear to that problem Hell NO they wouldnt be. The Big Wigs of our good ol American made company would be doing what ever it took to fix the problem with every last one of there cars that is sttill being driven on the roads, so they would't have to face all the law suits that would be coming at them from our state attorneys. It seems since the only real damage being caused by these Manufacture Defects is touching only the pocket books of the owners why bother with the long drawn out process of suing Ford on these matters you konw there are alot of other things going on to sue over. This is the way I see these issues bing looked at and its a bunch of BullShit that we have allowed the laws to get so dam complicated that it takes thousands upon thousands of dollars to convict a burgler who was caught Red Handed so we can imagine what the amount of money and time involved in suing ford over " just or pocket books being drained " Oh yea my grandmother and I bought a 04 explorer in 07 with 35,000 miles on it. We didnt have the Suv a year and had to have the shift silinloid replaced due to the hard shifting alot of you have described. Now at 99,000 miles I started hearing a whinning noise coming from the front end and discovered fluid leaking from the diffarentual housing continued to drive when had to while trying to find a means of finding the exact problem and fixing it without a lot of money being spent. Huh isnt that just f*cking funny boy how dumb am I really.

My girlfrfiends brother is a master machanic who used to own his own succesful shop but now works for someone else when asked if he could Help Me work on it Said Oh just make a apointment and I will be sure to get er looked at for you. NO a appointment wasnt what I was asking for so I didnt make on because for one we dont have the money it will probally take to have a shop fix the problem so after not hearing a word from brother n law about never seeing the Explorer in the shop I new to expect something really wrong. With winter coming and still No money extra I decided Im the only person willing to work on this dam Suv for under a couple grand so I went to local O'Rileys and bought a Chilitons Manual for the 2004 explorer and looked up diffarental and found that We were Screwed in dummy terms that chapter said "Any problems with this area Take To Shop"

Well F*ck Thanks Ford for forgetting to included the key chain lube bottle with the keys to this what we thought was a good Suv. Oh yea ours too has had the plastic piece under the back glass break all the way through also. Lets quit accepting this and join together and make FORD hold the responsibilty of there mistakes. I know not enough of the law to try and even start a suit against them so If anyone would like to help me or give me any ideas on how to start this process my email is bennettconstruction75@gmail I will be glad to do my part plus in this matter.

- , Winfield, KS, USA

problem #7

Apr 102009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


Shakes when turn like your driving on the edge of the tread on the tires. Ford claims not to know of the problem and nobody I have taken the P.O.S. into can discover what the problem is......My opinion...Its a f*cking piece of sh*t! I will never buy another found on road dead vehicle! Chevy Suburban here I come!

- , Northglenn, CO, USA

problem #6

May 312009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


- , Rockmart, GA, USA

problem #5

Apr 082009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

The rear end on my 2004 Ford Explorer is going out. Ford thinks this should be general maintenance. They don't feel like they should be responsible. I have never had a rear end in a truck go out. Never. $1100 to get this rearend rebuilt and Ford doesn't know anything about it. Just like the crack it the fiberglass on the rear hatch. I will never buy another FORD.

- , Mckenzie, TN, USA

problem #4

Jun 012009

Explorer NBX 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles


I bought this Explorer brand new in April 2004. At about 37,000miles (OF course the warranty had expired) I noticed a shuttering when we turned corners and accelerated. I asked someone at a Ford plant and they said Ford was aware of the problem. The vehicle now is at 51,000 miles and it is still noticeable. By all the complaints I am reading on here I guess I can expect a $1000.00 plus repair bill in my future. Someone did tell me to change the differential fluid and gave me an additive to put in it. They said it might help, so maybe we will try that and report back.

- , Westland, MI, USA

problem #3

Aug 012009

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,000 miles

I purchased a 2002 Ford Explorer and within 5 months had to have new clutches installed in the rear end and before the warranty was out they had to be replaced again.

I didn't learn my lesson and purchased another Ford Explorer in 2004. The clutches had to be replaced in this explorer while under warranty.

The first of August of this year the problem started again and of course the explorer was out of warranty. The cost to replace these clutches was very expensive (OVER $900.00) You would have thought that Ford would have fixed this problem between 2002 and 2004. This doesn't make me want to purchase another Ford product and I won't.

- , Covington, OH, USA

problem #2

Mar 272008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Today is the 5th time the rear end of my '04 Explorer is being rebuilt/repaired. I have had the whine and now the binding during slow turns. They are going to replace the Clutch Pack once again. The pack has been done at least twice before along with the pinion gear sets and bearing 4 previous times!

How does one go about getting Ford to finally fix this problem? My extended warranty will run out soon.

Very disappointed with Ford's response. They just keep throwing parts and labor at the problem rather than solve it.

- , Newport Beach, CA, USA

problem #1

Jan 262008

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

My 04 explorer only has 40,000 miles and has a very concerning chatter coming from the rear end. Actually, it's feels like it's coming from the front end. I spent a fair amount of time trouble shooting the chatter and determined it was coming from the rear end. The dealer new what it was right away without opening up the differential. By the looks of these TSB complaints, Ford has acknowledged the defect. I would like to know how many of these repairs will it take before a recall is in order?

- , Corvallis, OR, USA

Not what you are looking for?