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:
13 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,613 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 12 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #88

Feb 152004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles

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

The car will not start in the mornings, and sometimes when it sits for a while it will not start. Consumer had the vehicle into dealership for this problem. Dealership could not find out why it will not start. Dealership kept the vehicle for a week, and vehicle started correctly after that. After a couple of months this problem came back. Owner has not taken the vehicle back for repairs yet. The rear brake light cover is lose and coming off. The consumer bought the vehicle in January of 2004. The consumer has not contacted Ford at this time. Ford was contacted with the first time when the vehicle was in the shop. The consumer has not filed a complaint with Ford, but wa going today.

- North Charleston, SC, USA

problem #87

Jan 012005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,500 miles
See Ford Motor Co tsb 04B22 or NHTSA item number 10013306, Ford Explorer 2004. Subject vehicle's transmission, to a lesser degree, had started to exhibit the characteristics described therein prior to receipt of the 04B22 program notice. Random violent transmission operation. Causes vehicle to lurch when accelerator is depressed after placing transmission in gear with vehicle stationary, occurs most often in reverse, before or after vehicle starts to move, most often before vehicle has started moving. I consider this a safety issue and shortening service life of drive line components. Five times to dealership in attempt to have problem corrected under warranty, dealership fine; manufacturer's reps. Verbally advised me that transmission operation is "normal", I requested they put it in writing, they refused. It is my understanding, verbally, they will not do anymore to correct the problem. The vehicle is under warranty. Ford retained all original parts removed from transmission (warranty work). After filing this complaint and I receive case number I will forward to ODI copies of all documents from my files on this issue. Please note that the failure mileage(7500) listed elsewhere herein is only an estimate of the mileage at which this random malfunction ocurred; it started subtly and increased in magnitude over a period of time.

- South Dennis, MA, USA

problem #86

Jun 132005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
2004 Explorer exhibited signs of not shifting smoothly into reverse as early as Aug/Sep 04. Pronounced delay of shifting into reverse around 2004 holiday season. Called dealership upon receipt of letter from Ford in January, but transmission additive not yet available. After additive (March 05), vehicle continued to jump into reverse and forward shifting at lower speeds became more pronounced. This presents a hazard particular in city driving and in backing out of tight parking areas. Have been working with dealer to anaylze proper repair and manufacturer's responsibility. No satisfactory resolution yet.

- Rice, TX, USA

problem #85

May 192005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles

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

Transmission leaks, has been repaired 4 times by dealer. Transmission has no dip stick to measure level and no way for user to add fluid. When leak is noticed user does not know oil level and can be left stranded in dangerous locations. Has also been repaired for slamming due to solenoid problems also.

- Oceanside, CA, USA

problem #84

May 072005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
My 2004 Ford Explorer XLT has a whine in the rear end at appx 56-58 mph. Took to dealer and was told it was the ring and pinion would have to be replaced.

- Cave City, KY, USA

problem #83

May 052005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2004 Ford Explorer XLT has a delay and then hard shifts from 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd gear. I have already replaced the solenoid because of harsh reverse engagement and now am going to have to replace the valve body.

- Cave City, KY, USA

problem #82

May 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles

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

2004 Ford Explorer engine shuts off and there is difficulty shifting gears.** answer required***. both of theses malfunctions present a danger and a hazard and are very serious defects.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #81

Dec 102004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission has been slipping gears since purchased new in 2004. It hesitates considerably to engage into reverse. When engaged in drive it's initially nonresponsive to light acceleration then surges forward. After taking to a certified Ford dealership for solenoid work, it continues to misengage into multiple gears. This is not my first Ford Explorer and is radically different from the transmission performance of any SUV I've driven. My concern is that after this problem is fixed, residual damage done to the transmission will be still present, which may not become apparent until after the vehicle is beyond warranty.

- Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #80

May 162005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2004, V-6, auto transmission, Ford Explorer, an intermitant problem when the transmission clunks when put into reverse. Engine revs, feels like there is no connection to the transmission, as if in neutral, then unexpectantly it engages, causing the vehicle to lurch backward. We received a service notice from Ford that this condition only happens in cold weather, to take the vehicle to our dealership and have them put in a special fluid which would fix the problem. Well it is now May 16 here in Pennsylvania and it, the reverse problem is getting worse. We are going to the dealship again,

- Tunkhannock, PA, USA

problem #79

Apr 222005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
I have a 2004 Ford sports trac Explorer. There was a recall to put an additive into the transmission which I did. I am having a problem with the transmission. Ocassionally when stopping the transmission does not step down gears and I have to just about stand on the break and quick put the transmission in neutral to stop the car. I took it to cavalier Ford in chesapeake va.. they were unable to duplicate the problem and said that although it was a saftey issue they could go nofurther. I complained to Ford customer service and they told me the same thing.

- Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #78

Aug 072004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles

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

Transmission has a significant delay when shifting from 1st to 2nd gear and when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear problem occurs during moderate acceleration, approximately 2500-3000 rpms. Transmission shifts acceptable during lighter and heavier accelerations.

- Warrington, PA, USA

problem #77

Mar 312005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,700 miles
Transmission is defective/ slams into reverse after several seconds of hesitation/delays in shifting in forward gears, and is dangerous!. afraid every time car shifts gears because it happens sporadically, you never know when it will lurch or hesitate. Bought this car 2 weeks ago, used, 19,750 miles on it in 37 years of driving have never experienced this with any vehicle I have owned. Every person I know who has a 2004 Ford Explorer is experiencing the same problem - Ford is a large automobile maker, should provide a recall to its customers.

- Rockbridge, OH, USA

problem #76

Mar 192005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,900 miles
Auto transmission jumping in and out of reverse gear.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #75

Aug 152004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
Transmission shifting delay. Dealer has "fixed" twice and added the "new" transmission fluid with no improvement. My factory warranty runs out in 8,000 miles and I am very concerned about the future problems I will have with this transmission. It has already been adjusted, rebuilt and adjusted again with no improvement.

- Hawthorne, FL, USA

problem #74

Jan 152005

Explorer

  • 100,000 miles
After shifting in reverse gear vehicle lurches forward. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #73

Dec 152004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
2004 Ford Explorer-delayed then harsh shift of transmission into reverse, was in shop to replace solenoid and bad transmission fluid installed at the factory"-problem persists-car was purchased Nov 2004 and has only approx 4500 miles. Problem is ongoing so there is not just one incident date.

- Canonsburg, PA, USA

problem #72

Mar 092005

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,400 miles
2004 Ford Explorer XLT 22,000 miles. Vehicle will not shift into reverse unless you step on the accellerator. Then it engages with a loud bang, slams into gear and lurches backwards. Car also pauses between shifts during acceleration. Have a service appointment with dealer yet was told transmission solenoid to fix the problem was on back order.

- West Nyack, NY, USA

problem #71

Jan 012005

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,700 miles
The transmission on my 04 Explorer is failing. Ford issued a recall to add an addative to the transmission which did not correct the problem. Then the selaniod was replaced and the problems seemed to go away. Now 500 miles later the problem is happening again. No help from the Ford dealer.

- Glenolden, PA, USA

problem #70

Aug 032004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,500 miles
I was involved in an accident due to a transmission problem with my 2004 Ford Explorer. (3aug04). Broke and arm and still in brace and longer weeks ahead. The problem is still not fixed. It has been acknowledge as a problem but no one will take my complaint or call me back. No lawyer will touch the case yet hear I am with loss wages maybe unable to use my arm (I'm a nursing student) but hey if that's how Ford works.. I'll never buy again. The transmission surges forcible in reverse, and while in driving, sometimes it goes forward while in reverse.. please help.. at my wits end thanks..

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #69

Aug 092004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The gears on the vehicle were popping, which was not letting the vehicle have movement. The transmission on the vehicle has been repaired a total of three times, but the problem is still recurring.

- Newnan, GA, USA

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