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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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
62,247 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. rear end replaced/axle differential/gear & pinion (2 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Jan 012008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles


I purchased this car at 33,000 miles. After about the first oil change I noticed it has this unsettling grinding and nasty vibration to the whole vehicle on turns. I have researched it time and again, but it seems like without replacing entire portions of the vehicle then I just have to deal with it. I don't know whether this contributes to other issues with my vehicles, because there are so many, but if anything it sounds awful and people riding in the vehicle with me fear that the car is about to fall apart or the transmission of blowing out. Ford sucks. It's awful, there are so so many issues with this vehicle it's laughable. Issue recalls for these safety issues, my God.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #2

Nov 212011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,850 miles

Rear end grinding when you have to make a lot of turns in a short period of time. Sounds like the rear end is slipping and grinding. Almost slips when turning.

- , Clarkesville, GA, USA

problem #1

Apr 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,891 miles

Rear End - differential for $2,000 at only 63,000 miles? Was told this is another problem with 2004 Explorers. 6 months later, the transmission went out on this vehicle! This is a sad statement on Ford, they should be recalling these models/years

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

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