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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,226 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #47

Aug 152012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 71,000 miles

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

First issue was with the solenoids now the issue is with 1-2 shift ratio. Shifting into neutral.

- Lambertville, MI, USA

problem #46

Jun 142010

Explorer

  • miles
I was driving down the street and heard a noise. We turned around and the liftgate had fallen off its on hinges and was hanging loose on both sides. We had to hold it on and drive the car back home. The car has not been driven since that date in 2010. Ford needs to be responsible for the 2004 model and all of its defective products. This is the second complaint that I have filed against Ford concerning this car. The first was a #2 valve falling in the engine and causing the engine to blow up. NHTSA please do something about Ford. Someone has to make car manufacturers responsible to the consumer. Every time that NHTSA is contacted nothing is done until millions are negatively affected.

- Tomball, TX, USA

problem #45

Nov 112010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
Bought the car used with about 85,000 miles on it. After one year of average use (no towing or off-roading) the transmission failed (about 97,000 miles). Had it rebuilt and now 2 years and four months later it is failing again (at 122,000 miles).

- Federal Heights, CO, USA

problem #44

Mar 062012

Explorer

  • 100,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the engine transitioned into safe mode and stalled. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, where the PCM, throttle, jack shaft chain, and bearings were replaced. The failure continued. Both the dealer and manufacturer stated that the failure could not be diagnosed. They recommended attempting various trial and error remedies. The contact stated that the PCM and throttle again needed to be replaced. The failures continued. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current mileage was 118,861.

- Crossville, TN, USA

problem #43

Jan 172011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
On 1/17/12 driving on highway and noticed a burning smell. It was a strong smell. Noticed a glow under the dashboard and pulled into a empty parking lot. The truck went up in flames. Called Ford and they said prove what happened. Not sure but the vehicle was in very good condition with no problems that I knew of before this fire. No one was hurt.

- Wayne , NJ, USA

problem #42

Feb 292012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 60,200 miles
Transmission failure, slips between gears, replacement required.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #41

Oct 012011

Explorer

  • 100,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that when driving anywhere from 30-50 mph with the cruise control activated, the vehicle would stall. The vehicle would have to be placed in neutral in order to be restarted. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where they advised the contact that they were unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 100,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Hamilton, OH, USA

problem #40

Aug 122011

Explorer

  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact was driving 50 mph when the engine stalled and the vehicle came to a complete stop. The instrumental panel gauges were illuminated during the failure. The vehicle restarted immediately, and was taken the dealer. The manufacturer was contacted, however the vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 42,000 and the current mileage 42,933. Updated 9/16/11 updated 2/23/12

- Downingtown, PA, USA

problem #39

Apr 182011

Explorer

  • 130,000 miles
The contact owns a owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 35 mph the contact heard a loud pop noise followed by banging noises coming from under the hood. The vehicle was pulled over and the contact noticed exhaust fumes were coming from the engine. The vehicle was taken to an independent repair shop where the contact was told one of the spark plugs broke. The vehicle was in the process of being repaired. The failure and current mileages were 130,000.

- Godfrey, IL, USA

problem #38

Jan 282011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
I purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer from a Toyota dealership on 1/28/11. The car was a certified / warranted vehicle. I was assured by the Toyota salesman that any problem with the car would be fixed under the warranty. Several problems which the car has include: Mismatched tires, inoperable sunroof, leak in the differential seal & noise in the differential. I had the car inspected at a Ford dealership & was told these problems needed repair. The Toyota dealership has not returned numerous phone calls, emails & when I brought the car back to them, I was told all these repairs had been fixed & later found out that nothing was done.

- Huntington, NY, USA

problem #37

Feb 012011

Explorer

  • 40,000 miles

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

The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer XLS. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph she experienced a violent shake in the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they advised her that she needed a new engine because the timing belt had failed. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact stated that the engine needed for the vehicle was no longer being manufactured. The failure and current mileage was approximately 40,000.

- Gloster, MA, USA

problem #36

Jan 292011

Explorer

  • 53,000 miles
2004 Ford Explorer: Engine seized for no apparent or obvious reason at 53,000 miles. Not repairable. Also, rear plastic panel beneath window cracked. Just read that this is a very common occurrence.

- Chantilly, VA, USA

problem #35

Oct 312010

Explorer

  • 67,800 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While driving approximately 35 mph he heard a noise and the vehicle stalled. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer. He was advised by the dealer that the number three piston broke and ceased the engine. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was unavailable. He called the manufacturer for assistance and he was advised that the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The approximate failure and current mileages were 67,800.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #34

Dec 182010

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • 120,000 miles
My wife was driving our 2004 Ford Explorer eddie bauer uphill on a mountain road when she felt like the engine is loosing power. She stopped, exited the vehicle and saw smoke coming from under the car in the engine area. Then some people stopped and pulled her away because from the point my wife was standing she could not see the actual fire. As a result the engine compartment burned down completely creating a big hole in the hood. The car had about 120K miles on odometer and we have not missed any service maintenance points. She said besides that power loss there was no indication that there is something wrong with the vehicle.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #33

Aug 012010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,100 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving approximately 55 mph, the vehicle suddenly stalled and all the warning lights illuminated on the instrument panel. The vehicle was able to be restarted. The failure occurred three different times. The vehicle was inspected by an authorized dealer who could not duplicate the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 67,100. Updated 02/23/11 updated 05/04/11

- Chapel Hill, TN, USA

problem #32

Nov 262010

Explorer

  • 91,031 miles
I backed SUV out of garage and put in park, got out of vehicle while still running (to close garage door), closed the SUV door, turned around and saw that SUV was moving forward into my garage. I opened the SUV door while it was moving and jumped in the drivers seat, pushed on the brake and SUV did not stop, I was looking down at the floor to see why SUV did not stop, pulled up my foot and placed it back down on the brake. SUV still did not stop. It then made a loud noise like the engine was reeving up and then the SUV took off forward, ran through the back of my garage, ran through my back yard, ran over a tree in the yard, ran through my back yard fence and my neighbor's fence and crashed into the back side of neighbor's house. All while this was occurring, I was inside of the vehicle with my left leg sticking out of the car (since I jumped in the SUV in a hurry, I didn't realize that my leg was still out of the SUV), I continually attempted to step on the brakes (each time lifting my foot up so that I could place it directly on the brake), the engine reeved up again while going through the yard. The only thing that stopped the SUV was the tall concrete foundation of my neighbor's house that it ran into. I jumped out of the SUV, fell to the ground and laid there for a few seconds before I realized that my SUV was still running, then I jumped back into the SUV and turned the ignition off.

- Florissant, MO, USA

problem #31

May 222010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a Ford 2004 Ford Explorer. While the contact was driving approximately between 55-60 mph, the engine completely stalled and the instrument panel warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle restarted and resumed without the illumination of the warning indicators. The failure occurred on numerous occasions and became progressively worse. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The failure mileage was 68,000. Updated 01/13/11 the consumer stated the engine stalls at any speed. Updated 03/23/11

- Robbinsville, NC, USA

problem #30

Oct 012007

Explorer

  • 15,690 miles
There are numerous complaints on the internet regarding the 2004 Ford Explorer. The car jerks violently when going into first, second and reverse gears. The first repair was on 10/07 at 15,690 miles. The dealership replaced the solenoid and assured the problem was resolved. At 24,190 miles the same problem recurred and the dealership recalibrated and charged $118. Now at 26,900 miles the problem has recurred and again they are going to replace the solenoid. Of course at my expense. There is obviously something wrong and Ford is refusing to address the problem. They should at least guarantee the work that was done under warranty.

- Kenilworth, IL, USA

problem #29

Aug 182010

Explorer

  • 78,350 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. While driving 25 mph, the vehicle began making an abnormal squealing noise from the front end. The vehicle was then taken to an independent mechanic where the contact was advised that the harmonic balancer failed and caused the air conditioning line to fail. He also stated that the serpentine belt would need replacing. The mechanic repaired all components at the contact's expense. Neither the dealer nor the 'manufacturer was contacted to report the failure. The failure mileage was 78,350 and the current mileage was 78,470.

- Philadephia, PA, USA

problem #28

Aug 082010

Explorer

  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Explorer. The contact stated the ABS warning light illuminated and the vehicle was repaired. Following repairs, the contact was driving at an unknown speed when the vehicle stalled without warning. The dealer advised that the failure was due to the rear cassette fracturing and causing the timing chain to fail and destroy the engine. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage and current mileages were 140,000.

- Lagrangeville, NY, USA

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