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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.

7.7

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,000.00
Average Mileage:
61,214 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. replace driveshaft (3 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #7

Mar 012013

Explorer LX 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,500 miles

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

I was driving to go across the border. There was a long line to get to the inspection booth. I shift to neutral. When I tried to get to drive, the shifter handle broke off. There was a inconvenience. I can’t get anywhere in the line. I have to get under the car to change the selection from the neutral switch from park to drive.

- , Chula Vista, CA, USA

problem #6

Jun 092007

Explorer 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

PURCHASED O4 EXPLORER WITH 15000 MILES ON IT- FAIRLY NEW. FIRST EXPERIENCED HARD JERKING SENSATION IN JUNE 2007. FORD DEALER REPROGRAMMED PCM SENSOR. FIXED PROBLEM FOR ABOUT 8 MONTHS. COVERED UNDER WARRANTY. RETURNED TO DEALERSHIP WITH SAME PROBLEM IN MARCH 2008. SOLONOIDS REPLACED THIS TIME AROUND. COVERED UNDER WARRANTY. ITS NOW 2010 AND GUESS WHAT??? I'M HAVING THE SAME FREAKING PROBLEM AGAIN. I'VE BEEN EXPERIENCING THIS PROBLEM FOR ABOUT 6MONTHS NOW. MY WARRANTY HAS EXPIRED!! I HONESTLY THINK ITS A MANUFACTURERS DEFECT!! FORD NEEDS TO BE HELD RESPONSIBLE. FIX OUR RIDES!!! I UNDERSTAND NOW WHY ALL MY FAMILY MEMBERS BY CHEVYS!!!! THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS COMPLAINTS ABOUT THIS ISSUE. FORD SHOULD VALUE CUSTOMER SERVICE AND DO SOMETHING!! WILL BE PUTTING MY TRUCK BACK IN THE SHOP ON NEXT WEEK. I'M PRAYING I DON'T NEED A NEW TRANSMISSION. THE FREAKING THING IS PAID FOR-SO ITS ALL MINE!!!

- , Americus, GA, USA

problem #5

Aug 082010

Explorer LX 3.0L, V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

The Explorer has +140,000 miles on it, so it has some expected maintenance. It has developed a thumping noise and "feel" when decelerating from highway speed (55mph or more), but not during braking. Our local repair shop says that Ford issued a technical service bulletin in 2005 (would have been nice to konw back then!) about this problem. What do you know and what should we expect? Thanks!

- , Centreville, VA, USA

problem #4

Jun 192009

Explorer EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

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

ABS light came on with flashing 4 X 4 high light...Took to the dealer while on vacation to find out that the drive train needed an "overhaul". Estimated cost to fix this problem... $3601. Had the ABS sensor fixed to drive home. A cost of $289 which worked for 2 whole hours. The Ford dealership in Columbia, MD will NOT return numerous phone calls or emails. Called the Ford Customer Service number...They were not helpful to me either as they weren't to others! Replaced the whole back end at a local mechanic for $800! Car is too "young" to be this "sick". Got the car back and the transmission is an issue now. Will go to the add another complaint button here...

- , Somerset, KY, USA

problem #3

Apr 012009

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

Our explorer started to vibrate about a month ago, and it only vibrates when I get over 60mph. I took it to our tire garage and they balanced and rotated all the tires. I got it back and up to 60 again, and the vibration was still there. I took it back and after some extensive inspecting, the garage called and indicated that there was nothing they could do because they were just a tire shop.

The told me that Ford put out a technical service bulletin in 2005 regarding a vibration in their Explorers. According to the bulletin, if you can live with this, it won't hurt, but if you want it fixed, the drive shaft needs replaced. That's all I know, not sure if I will spend the money or not.

- , Coldwater, MI, USA

problem #2

Mar 152007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles

I bought my 2004 explorer used 4 weeks ago and it has been in the shop for three of them. I just got it back today and it has the same problem I put it in the shop for. They have replaced the entire transmission and all related components but has not fixed. Every time i make even a slight turn there is severe vibration in the drivetrain. I suspect it may be the rear differential. I am fuming and out of energy from this ordeal. I have spoken to ford and they are aware of the problems but refuse to recall these parts. I am not sure of my next step but I'm working on it

- , Selkirk, NY, USA

problem #1

Jun 292006

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Ford replaced the driveshaft under warranty but it started to vibrate after a while. Ford dealer says it must be the tires. The pinion seal is now showing signs of leaking. Will be out of warranty next month

- , Burnaby, BC, Canada

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