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.

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.

6.1

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$1,075.00
Average Mileage:
53,372 miles
Total Complaints:
19 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (7 reports)
  2. differential rebuilt (4 reports)
  3. replaced differential assembly (4 reports)
  4. new ring and pinion gears (2 reports)
  5. replaced both rear wheel bearings (2 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #19

Mar 152014

Explorer LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

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

My Explorer is on its 3rd rear end and again it's hummin' so bad ya' can't hardly have a conversation. Sooo long Ford. It's been nothing but a money pit.

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #18

Jun 152007

Explorer Eddy Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Tech said it was related to the lurching overdrive problem that they never got fixed. Every year it seems to get a little louder. Fluids are OK and have been changed. No metal found in used oil.

- , Windsor, CO, USA

problem #17

Mar 012012

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

This is the worst vehicle I have ever owned. It is leaking transmission fluid and no reasonable way to add it, the transmission is slipping, banging and grinding. I have not mistreated this car the entire time I have owned it. Now I am going to have large repair bills I cannot afford. This is the last Ford I will ever buy. There is obvious need for drive train recalls on this vehicle and Ford doesn't seem to want to do it.

- , Canton, OH, USA

problem #16

Nov 072012

Explorer Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

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

My car has been making a roaring noise from the rear end for quite some time now. Due to an upcoming road trip I wanted to make sure the car was roadworthy so took it to the shop. They told me this was a difficult problem to pin down. They recommended I start with the rear wheel bearings. They replaced them today and the guy from the shop just called me and said that fixed some of the problem but not all of it. He recommended I have the rear differential replaced next. This is outrageous I have had more problems with this vehicle since they day I have owned it than any other vehicle I have owned. Ford has been totally unresponsive and takes no responsibility for any of the problems I have had since the day I purchased this vehicle and I purchased it new. I am so angry and disappointed in Ford, not that they care. Nothing seems to be their problem. I'm wondering if there is any chance this may be covered under warranty or is under any recall but am sure the answer will be no as in all previous instances. Am waiting for a call back from the dealer where I purchased the car.

Update from Jul 8, 2013: Resolved the problem - traded my Ford lemon for something dependable.

Update from Oct 2, 2013: Sold vehicle tired of the unwillingness for Ford Motor Company to stand behind its product.

- , Niceville, FL, USA

problem #15

Jul 072012

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

Rumble not whine from rear diff, sounds like a pinon bearing and race. Not fixed yet.

- , Pawtucket, RI, USA

problem #14

Nov 162011

Explorer Eddy Baeur 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

The rear differential was fixed once already & is broken again - Ford Motor Co. should realize there is a problem with it & have a recall

- , Moorpark, CA, USA

problem #13

Dec 012004

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles

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

yell, we are on our 3rd differential and it is still howling and there are no new

differentials on the market. we are forced to buy used because there are

no new ones out there. The one in the explorer now costs $1200.00 used.

We do not know how much longer this one will last.

- , Conchas Dam, NM, Uruguay

problem #12

Dec 112010

Explorer Super Duty V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,300 miles

I have a 2004 Ford Explorer, the differential was noticeably whineing @53000 miles. Now @56500 miles it needs repair, can't stand the noise. At this mileage it shouldn't be accepted to have to replace these parts. Can't Ford build a vehicle like they used to? This is something that is supposed to last longer than this. What is wrong with your company's products nowadays?

I have always bought Fords in the past. I once had a 1978 Pinto that ran forever. I took it eveywhere, dirt roads, fields, highways, and city streets. It was a great little car. I ran my Pinto like truck. But I'm afraid to take a Ford Explorer "off" the highways and city streets, and run it like the "truck" it should be, because of this problem.

- , St. Petersbugr, FL, USA

problem #11

Jul 152007

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Whining from rear end has almost always been there. Getting louder and is overwhelming with backseat folded down.

- , Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #10

Sep 162010

Explorer Limited 5.4L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,694 miles

I think these rear wheel bearings should have lasted much longer.

- , Jackson, TN, USA

problem #9

Mar 062009

Explorer XLS 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,700 miles

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

I bought the Truck used privately with about 59000 miles on it in Dec of 08 and heard a rear end noise which I thought was a wheel bearing. I took it to Raynor Ford in and they looked at it and said it needed a a new pinion bearing and wanted 1500.00 to replace the bearing.it. I took it to a local mechanic and he put it on his lift and discovered the left drive shaft to left wheel had 2 of the 3 universals falling out of it. He called Ford to get a price and was told he had the buy the complete assembly at some exhorbinate cost. He said he had never seen one fail before with such low mileage and suggested we check the junk yards for a replacement. Following its replacement at a cost of roughly $400 including p& l we took it for a ride and the same noise was still there. I was disturbed that Ford Garage never spotted the faulty drive shaft . He then deduced he would have to check the differential. Upon draining it was found to fbe ull of metal...he said that was a tell take sign that I needed a bearing. Upon dissembling he found all bearings needed replacement. plus of course new seals..He gave me a great price of $858.41 for the entire job. He said he had never seen one so bad with such low mileage.. Upon speaking with his brother who also runs a Transmission shop his bother told him he had rebuilt 5 with the same problem. He is under the impression that Ford ended up with a bad batch of bearings. Raynor of course had no knowledge of other failures and offered nothing but a BILL to rebuild it.

So far my Transmission seems to be fine...now have 79000 miles on the truck Was not aware there was no fill port on the Tranny.

- , Fulton, NY, USA

problem #8

Jan 112011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

The rear end is whining louder and louder as each day passes. I know that soon it will fail like countless others have reported.

- , Vineland, NJ, USA

problem #7

Jul 262007

Explorer 6CYL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles

WORKED FOR A FEW DAYS WITH FRICTION MODIFIER BUT THEN IT REALLY STARTED GNASHING AND POPPING, SOUNDED LIKE MATERIAL WAS IN THE CASE AND SNAPPED ON TURNING.

- , Covina, CA, USA

problem #6

Apr 152005

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

THE PROBLEM STARTED AT AROUND 20,000 MILES I KEPT COMPLAINING AND TAKING IT BACK TO THE DEALERSHIP. IT WAS ACTUALLY 800 MILES OVER STANDARD WARRANTY WHEN THEY FINALLY FIGURED OUT WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS. I RAISED SO MUCH HELL ABOUT IT SO THEY DID NOT CHARGE ME FOR THE SERVICE.

- , Rockmart, GA, USA

problem #5

Jul 012010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Dealer wants $1400 to repair, this is 3rd time for rear end problems. First 2 covered under warranty, this one is not.

- , Crofton, MD, USA

problem #4

Dec 162009

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,874 miles

Tow a 3200lbs Boat maybe once a month, three mile round trip.

Rear end should not have failed this early.

- , Ocean Springs, MS, USA

problem #3

Dec 162009

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,909 miles

Received call stating my differential rebuild was done. Picked up car at dealership and while driving home noticed the rear end whine was worse than when I brought it in the first time. Turned around and headed back to dealership. The service writer said the only thing he could do is replace the differential assembly.

- , Ocean Springs, MS, USA

problem #2

Apr 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,587 miles

A pronounced whine could be heard from the rear-end between 50 and 60 mph. Would go away when you took your foot off the gas.

Had to take it back to dealer 3 times before they would admit that there was a problem. The 3rd time it was in, we told them that we wouldn't pick it up until it was fixed. They replaced the ring and pinion gears and they had it for 18 days to fix it... problem came back at 30K miles (see that complaint also listed)

- , Sunrise Beach, MO, USA

problem #1

Apr 042007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

The whine from the rear differential is back at 30K- Was already repaired at 8587 miles! This time there is also a shudder at low speed tight turns that wasn't there before. I've ready that it could be the clutch pak in the rear differential... we'll see- it's going back to the dealer tomorrow. When they repaired the differential last time, they put in new ring and pinion gears. The warranty is up in 6k miles and I bet that the repair will just get me beyond the warranty period. I also had problems with the transmission "reverse bang" at 2800 miles (see that complaint listed separately under transmission)

- , Sunrise Beach, MO, USA

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