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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.

9.5

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$3,762.00
Average Mileage:
84,297 miles
Total Complaints:
36 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. engine needs to be replaced (26 reports)
  2. not sure (8 reports)
  3. rebuilt engine (2 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #36

Aug 122014

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 187,000 miles

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

I wish I'd found this site BEFORE I bought the Ford Exploder. I'm so mad I could spit. Driving down the road on two occasions, at 60 mph, it just went dead. No spit...no sputter....just off. Damn good thing I wasn't pulling out in front of a truck. Less than two weeks later I took it in for tune up and ERG valve replacement, $300, didn't fix it.

$100 to tow it to dealer. After a $200 compression test, I'm told it's most likely jumped time and it will take another $500 to tell for sure and if any of the valves are damaged. To add insult to injury I still owe $2900 on the damn thing. I guess, from the sound of these other complaints, I'd be throwing good money after bad to try to fix it.

- , Lafayette, GA, USA

problem #35

Jun 032014

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

I have a 2004 Ford Explorer. I recently took it into Jim Click Ford for service and to get the cruise control fixed. When the car was repaired I decided to test the cruise control, when I activated the cruise control and pressed to coast button the car shut off while in traffic. I lost power steering and had a difficult time coasting it safely to a complete stop. I was able to restart the vehicle and decided not to activate the cruise control anymore I returned the car to the dealership the following day and it took back to Jim Click Ford. They said they cannot figure out what was wrong with the vehicle but they were able to replicate the problem. It took them a whole week for them to tell me it could be the computer that needs to be replaced, but they are not sure that would fix the problem. It is a $2,000 dollar repair. This problem could lead to an accident for the vehicles occupants or others. Ford must do a recall and fix this problem since it has happened to several other people.

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #34

Nov 282013

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

My wife was coming home from our daughter's house , ( thanksgiving day , approx. 9pm ) . Thank GOD traffic was very light , AND , she was in a well lit section of road , ( just before getting on Garden State Parkway ) ! ! Her 2004 Ford Explorer , JUST DIED ! ! NO STEERING , NO LIGHTS , NOTHING ! ! We had to have a flatbed towing Co. come , and , he took the vehicle to our local mechanic . Day's later , we were told , WE NEED A COMPLETE NEW ENGINE . WHAT THE HELL ? ! ? ! 115,000 + miles , NO real trouble with the vehicle , in the past . NOW WE NEED A " COMPLETE " NEW ENGINE . I WOULD JUST LIKE TO THANK THE EXPERTS AT "FORD MOTOR Co." , for that BEAUTIFUL vehicle , ( it is ....... REALLY ) , that just sits there , looking real pretty ........... IN MY FU-----G DRIVEWAY ! ! ! ! signed , Marieann's hubby .

- , Marmora, New Jersey, USA

problem #33

Jul 072013

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

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

Okay, so we bought this car brand new because we thought it would be reliable and great like the old 1992 Explorer my husband had. All was well except at 90,000 had to replace all the bearings, big bill!!! Last night driving back from a trip, all is well and the car just starts clunking and dies!! It is literally dead, towed back the final 100 miles of the trip, at the mechanic today with a cost of $6,080 to put in a rebuilt Jasper engine. All maintenance was done like clockwork, we never went over 72 miles per hour, never went off road riding, never towed anything!!! WHAT A PIECE OF GARBAGE!!!!!!!!!!! We will never buy another Explorer. So now we are in the middle of a move with NO CAR, new tires, new bearings, the car is in excellent always garaged condition, and it has to be junked! SOOOOOOOOOOOOO mad that I can only contain myself not to lose my composure. Ford should be ashamed of itself building such a lousy car, I had a 65 Mustang and should have learned from my mistakes as that car had the worse carburator and three on the tree transmission, but that is another story. Hope I can at least sell it for parts or to someone who can fix the engine themselves. UGHHHHHHHHHHHHH

- , Arlington, VA, USA

problem #32

Nov 022012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

So I bought this car brand new. The 1st New vehicle that I have ever purchased and my 1st SUV! This vehicle was a family car and is now a pc of junk! to make a long story short....My wife was driving down a German street (way smaller than those in the states) and the vehicle just shuts off. No warning or anything. Good thing she wasn't on the AUTOBAHN with my kids!! We left the vehicle over night hoping that it would start the next day and guess what? NOTHING! I had to have it towed to a mechanic only for him to charge me 160 Euro(close to $200bucks) to tell me there is nothing that they can do to fix it. So here I am with a 8 year old vehicle in another country that must be junked because it costs more to fix than it's worth. This vehicle has been costing me more to maintain than my 1998 BMW. Still have that BMW and it is almost 2Xs as old at the explorer and I haven't had anywhere near as many issues with it as I've had with this Explorer. To give you an idea of how bad this car was for me. I just purchased another BMW 1997 for $200 bucks and it runs just fine! all I have done was replaced some springs and am about to replace the starter but it runs fine for the most part. Sometimes.....OLDER & NON-US is better.

- , Sierra Vista, AZ, USA

problem #31

Feb 262012

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,000 miles

Well, my motor went in my car. 77,000 miles on it and I am now paying on a pos! this is a problem ford knows about as well but doesnt want to recall either. Will update more later (all the facts). So disgusted.

- , Bethalto, IL, USA

problem #30

Jun 072005

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles

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

Wrench light comes on & then check engine light comes on & it dies, just stops. Dealer can't find problem so it is still doing it not safe to drive & only have 48,000 miles because you brake down in middle of the road. The only way to get it going is to disconnect hot wire on battery & let it reset which at this point you are in middle of road & have no warning lights of any kind. Very dangerous & real scarryn in the dark. One of these days we are going to get hit & it will be Fords fault. It's a real shame to have paid $35,000 for a nice looking vehicle that you don't drive because it's bad & they forgot to put something in the passenger side to keep the cold air out from freezing passenger & heating in the summer. If you open the glove box it's like opening a deep freeze door.

- , Frankfort, IL, USA

problem #29

Sep 012011

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,346 miles

The jackshaft chain caused engine failure in my 67,346 mile old Explorer. I called to Ford Motor Co Customer Service (??) and after taking all my information it took a TOTAL of 3 minutes on hold to tell me that my truck was out of warranty and there was nothing that Ford would / could do for me! NO help with a replacement (ie: discounted pricing ,etc.) Nothing but a phony insincere "we're sorry" My A**.

Needless to say I will vent and talk a lot of trash about the crap that Ford sold me! After the wonderful experience this has given me this will of course be the last Ford product that I will ever spend one red cent on. This car was taken care of (even to the point that the dealership said that it looked almost new when it was towed in after it died!) I guess the old saying I have always heard must be true... FORD = FOUND ON ROAD DEAD or FIX OR REPAIR DAILY !

After the reading I did here at your site I only hope that the federal government Consumer Protection Agency looks at this problem and that the fat cats at Ford have to pony up big bucks to the many people with the same issue!

- , Vienna, VA, USA

problem #28

Aug 152011

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This has become such a huge problem there is a shortage of used engines. the price is $2,000.00 for engine alone. Shame on Ford for not doing a recall on these poorly made engines. Nissan here I come!

- , Fort Jennings, OH, USA

problem #27

Nov 232011

Explorer XLS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

Geez....I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I surpassed 100,000 miles before my engine quit on me. A lot of your responses sound all too familiar. On the highway, and all of a sudden the engine seems to rev up and then is making an awful sound and at low speeds seems like it may stall. I never in a million years thought they would tell me I needed a new engine but that is what happened. They believe the timing is off and could have ruined the pistons inside the engine. The mechanic said that the engine was a pretty stupid design by Ford, there are two timing chains with one on the back of the engine. Long story short, don't EVER by a Ford Explorer. Hopefully I have just saved someone else a lot of heartache.

- , Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #26

Nov 132011

Explorer 4.6lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

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

TIMING CHAIN HAS RUBBED A HOLE IN THE MOTOR CAUSING METAL TO GET IN THE ENGINE SO THE ENGINE IS NO GOOD ANYMORE. ITS NOT REPAIRABLE UNLESS THE ENGINE IS REPLACED. MECHANIC SAYS IT WILL COST $6100.00 TO REPAIR> THE TIMING CHAIN IS INSIDE THE ENGINE UNDETECTABLE EXCEPT BY A MECHANIC.I HAVE HAD MY TRUCK FOR 6 YEARS WITH 113K MILES ON THE ODOMETER AND REALLY DISAPPOINTED THAT FORD WILL NOT STAND BEHIND THIS DEFECT. I HAVE READ THAT NO ONE OWNING THIS VEHICLE HAS GOTTEN COOPERATION FROM FORD, SO GUESS WHAT? I AS WELL AS ANYONE I KNOW WILL NOT PURCHASE A FORD EVER AGAIN....THATS A PROMISE

- , Augusta, GA, USA

problem #25

Oct 072011

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,801 miles

I was driving when the service engine soon light came on. Shortly after the RPMs went all the way up to the top of the gauge and then dropped down to zero. At that point the car started to decelerate. I turned down the off ramp from the freeway and discovered that my brakes were not working either. I coasted to a stop halfway down the off ramp.

When I got the car to the mechanic he said that the timing chain snapped causing the timing in the engine to break down and self destruct. So now I have to either rebuild the entire engine or replace it. Not something I expected on a car that has around 78,000 miles on it.

- , Littleton, CO, USA

problem #24

Dec 012009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

So the latest poblem is the oxygen sensor.. but after this many years and miles that is to be expected. I bought my vehicle used with 74,000 miles.. 6 months after purchase had to have the transmission rebuilt... ( whats up with not being able to add or even check the tranny fluid)...

- , Tad, WV, USA

problem #23

May 242010

Explorer LXT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

terrible ,my 2004 ford explorer only had 85,000 miles on it . this truck just died I have every single oil change receipt I have cried and cried. I was still paying for the truck and had to buy another engine . I will never ever buy another American car in my life. thank you ford company for just making a fool of me .I had to rent a car while my truck was getting another engine , pay for a tow truck run ,back and forth crying, never again

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #22

May 262010

Explorer LXT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

ford should really do something . I have a 2004 ford explorer I have my receipts for all my oil changes I had 82,000 miles and my car just died the engine is no good I had to have the engine replaced by a street mechanic the ford dealer stated it would cost 8,000 dollars I was still paying on the payments I have been telling everyone in Baltimore city DO NOT BUY A FORD EXPLORER. never again will I buy any American car.

- , Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #21

Nov 012010

Explorer 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

Vehicle only has 54000 miles on engine, was driving, came to a stop and the vehicle started jumping and stalled. Vehicle had to be towed, mechanic said it was the timing chain, which ruined the motor so I need a new engine. I had purchased an extended warranty but they are not willing to cover the repair because I had my oil changes done at a Quick Lube that does not provide computer generated receipts with Vin #, License plate #, and mileage. Hand written receipts are not accepted, so I paid $2000 for a warranty that will not pay due to an oil change receipt. Not sure what I will do with the vehicle.

- , Fairview, NC, USA

problem #20

Aug 122010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

This ford is the worst.The truck broke down on me close to my house. I was able to start it up and putt it to the mechanic by my house.They call me and told me that the engine lose compression .and the motor is junk.The only opion I had was to replace or rebuild.But for a motor to do this I was told that ford made a crappy engine,so im going to junk the whole truck.and the sad part about, I only had the truck for 3yrs and got it wit 83,000 miles and i put hwy miles on it and im still making payment with out a warranty. This truck suck in my book.

- , McDonough, GA, USA

problem #19

Aug 232010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

I have to replace an engine in this 2004 explorer that has 54,000 miles!!!!!!

Ford had definitely made a piece of crap engine this year!! I wonder why that was??? Mass production because of the demand for SUV's that year!! That's what I heard!!

- , St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #18

Jun 032010

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

Bought this vehicle late May with only 91000 miles. Like a fool I did not buy the extended warranty. 2 weeks after driving it off the lot it just quit with low oil pressure warning and high temp alert. I was only 3 blocks away from home so I pushed it back and left for work. When I got home later that day the engine turned over like it had no compression at all. I made some phone calls and found out that every experienced tech. I talked to told me the timing was out and the motor was junk! I had to find a used motor because I could not afford a new or rebuilt. I have never owned anything newer than a 1998 vehicle and thought that I would treat myself. I have also never owned a ford and I know for a fact this will be the last time.

- , Fremont, NE, USA

problem #17

Apr 032010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,500 miles

i was driving home form my uncles house and i was driving about 70 mph and had to slow down for a small town. i slowed down to about 35 mph. all of the sudden the check gauge light came on and the oil pressure gauge was low. i pulled off the road and and i lost power steering and i lifted the hood looked for leaking fluid i didn't find any. so i started it back up and drove it home with no other problems.

- , Boynton Beach, FL, USA

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