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 14 of 16)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #48

Dec 222004

Explorer 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

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

There was a delay and jerk when vehicle was put in reverse. The gear popped, causing the vehicle to hit a tree while in reverse. Consumer will contact manufacturer.

- Chapel Hill, NC, USA

problem #47

Dec 072004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
There is a delay in the gear when vehicle is put in drive or reverse. Vehicle tends to jerk when the gear pops. Manufacturer will be contacted by consumer.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #46

Dec 182004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,500 miles
The transmission of my 2004 Ford Explorer does not always respond when shifting into reverse. This problem is also occuring occasionally when shifting into forward or drive. The problem going into reverse has been happening for a while and quite often but yes it is intermittent. When shifting into reverse, the transmission initially does nothing and when you press the accelerator the vehicle lurches or the drive train bangs, depending on how much the accelerator is pressed. I went to the dealer and they say that it has to happen in their presence. This is not always convienent and could take several visits for them to agree that I am experiencing the problem. They also stated that they are not sure that the present approach to rectifying the issue is the correct or final one. I asked for a service bulletin regarding my vehicle and their policy on repairing this and they refused. I feel I am entitled to any and all service bulletins concerning this vehicle. Since this is a problem that can occur creating a unexpected amount of motion or movement of the vehicle when the vehicle lurches there should be a greater effeort to be proactive in addressing consumer inquiries not trying to avoid any expense on their part in fixing the issue.

- Little Ferry, NJ, USA

problem #45

Nov 282004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

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

2004 Ford Explorer having transmission problems. Does not shift properly from park to reverse or drive to reverse. Has a hesitation before it goes into gear. They should be recalled. There could be injuries because when it hesitates one is pushing on the gas pedal and all of a sudden it goes into gear.

- Columbia, MD, USA

problem #44

Dec 142004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles
A problem in the transmission causes the engine to shut off when coming to a stop. The engine will shutter, then die. This results in the loss of the power steering and brakes making this problem a severe safety hazard for all motorist and passengers. Ford has been notified but declines to admit this incident. It has to do with the jerking of the harsh reverse engagement NHTSA item number 10008268. I have had this problem since Feb 2004, one week after the truck was purchased. They could not find what caused it until I had the harsh transmission engagement problem. After it was repaired the problem stopped. On Dec 14, 2004 the engine shutoff started again. On Dec 16, 2004 the harsh engagement started again. This truck was purchased new and all services have been done.

- Chesterfield, VA, USA

problem #43

Mar 232004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle transmission performance is inconsistent and intermittent, transmission will "bang" into reverse, rev up before engaging while going forward from a stop, hesitates when shifting between gears at lower speeds, appears to "slip" when making turns. Transmission and rear end replacement did not resolve problems.

- Southbury, CT, USA

problem #42

Dec 152004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,501 miles

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

As I put the transmission into reverse, when backing out of my garage, there is a hesitation in the shift into reverse between 4 and 8 seconds, then the transmission goes into reverse with a bang. This just started happening to me, lately, on a number of occaisions. The Explorer was bought in July of 2004 and as of this date has 9,500 miles on it, and the latest incident was 12-15-04.

- Owings Mills, MD, USA

problem #41

Nov 182004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
When shifting to reverse gear the vehicle hesitated before accelerating. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Mayfield, PA, USA

problem #40

Nov 182004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,100 miles
When down shifting to reverse gear vehicle jerked forward. Dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.

- Walnutport, PA, USA

problem #39

Oct 182004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Delay and harsh transmission engagement in reverse and drive.

- Sandwich, IL, USA

problem #38

Dec 032004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,578 miles

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

Purchased used 2004 Explorer w/ 17K miles on it. VIN# [xxx] wife took possession of vehicle Friday evening ready to drive away when she placed vehicle in reveres and it banged hard as it jerked into reverse and chirped the tires. Drove it home noticed the shifting from 2D to 3rd was hard and appeared to want to accelerate on its own and when it went into overdrive the rpms reduced but no noticeable signs that one could tell it had shifted into od.took it to dealer on 10th of Dec 2004 for upholstery issues and the shifting issues. Going into reverse has a 2-5 sec. Delay and then shifts abruptly, this can and may very be a safety hazard and someone will be injured in due time. Only by god's grace did we happen to have the foot on brake pedal each time vehicle was placed in reverse; otherwise the jerk and jumping into reverse would have hit a person or another vehicle in a parking lot. I am presently waiting a final solution form Ford. I will not be satisfied with the common reply that this is normal. That is unacceptable when others are placed in danger unawares! updated 07/24/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Bay City, TX, USA

problem #37

Dec 042004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Transmission was sticking when the car was put in reverse. After a few seconds of acelleration there is a bang and the car jolts back rapidly. I am still afraid to parallel park. I also noticed some sticking/hesitation from park to drive. I took it in for service on 12/07/04 and the solenoids were replaced along with some other work on the trans. The dealership told me that the parts were on hand because they know about the problem. If that was the case why no recall letter? there are only about 6500 miles (rounding up) on my vehicle and when I purchased it in June of 2004 it was brand new. I am deeply concerned that the problem will return or that some of the others that I've read about will develop. How many complaints/repairs before a recall is issued?

- Trenton, NJ, USA

problem #36

Nov 292004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle is having trouble engaging from the park position to reverse smoothly. Consumer hears a popping noise, and feels the vehicle jumps when the gears are changed. Manufacturer has been contacted.

- Syracuse, NY, USA

problem #35

Sep 272004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,500 miles
When shifting into reverse, it would take a few second then the transmission would slam into gear and the whole truck would jerk. Dealer replaced a part and reprogrammed the transmission. As of 12-7-04 the problem has returned.

- Langhorne, PA, USA

problem #34

Dec 072004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Automatic transmission takes anywhere from 3-10 seconds to engage when put into reverse. As this problem gets worse I've noticed that the shift points while driving seem out of form and more harse than normal. My dealer ordered a new selonoid (which cost $360) and will replace when it becomes available - currently on backorder (obviously this is a problem).

- North Port, FL, USA

problem #33

Nov 152004

Explorer 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
Vehicle does not engage in reverse, it makes a loud sound, and then it accelerates to the point of trying to gain control of the vehicle.

- Metuchen, NJ, USA

problem #32

Dec 052004

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,250 miles
Vehicle traveled at various speeds the transmission failed and as a result vehicle was unable to move and made an idling noise. Vehicle was taken to the dealer for repairs for fourth time this year.

- Roselle Park, NJ, USA

problem #31

Dec 022004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
Since new, I have intermittent hard start issues with the vehicle. On about 7 occasions, the dealer was notified and they simply told me since it started that there was nothing they could do since there wasn't a light on the dash did not come on. Therefore there would not be any codes. Finally at 10,345 miles, the car broke down. They replaced the throttle position sensor. The kept getting about 4 or 5 codes and they were unable to clear them. Replaced the ECM and reprogrammed. I still have the intermittent hard start issue which is intermittent. The ECM has been updated 3 times. I also have an issue with the tire pressure indicator light flashing for about 20 seconds after start up, they claim, unable to duplicate. I also had a exhaust gasket replaced as there was an annoying noise that would go on and on while the vehicle was left running while in park. Lastly - transmission issues. The vehicle has poor shift quality. It likes to hang up and hesitate in 3D gear, you will be running 55-60 and go to pass another vehicle and doesn't want to shift until it hits 80-85mph and by then you are at 6 on the tachometer.they have replaced the solenoid body and the hydraulic pump and the car still is not fixed. It also likes to hesitate when accelerating from a stop sign or stop light. It is currently in the shop as we speak. I purchased the vehicle new in November of 2003 and the current mileage is 12,850.

- Metamora, IL, USA

problem #30

Nov 142004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2004 Ford Explorer -the transmission has failed to engage correctly multiple times. I have asked the dealer about this issue and the response was that the Explorer "has a hard transmission". in order to get the transmission to engage correctly I have to either put the cur back in park/ nuetral and attempt to reengage or give it gas. This usually results in a lurch of the car going either backwards or forwards.this situation has the potential for a serious accident.

- Corona, CA, USA

problem #29

Nov 012004

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The past several months I have had numerous transmission problems. My Explorer does not shift correctly. It hesitates when shifting which is really dangerous in traffic. Also when I try to reverse it hesitates and then abruptly accerelates into reverse very hard and fast. It makes a loud noise when it happens also. It does this everytime I go into reverse. Also my vehicle has lost all power in the middle of driving on the interstate. I have lost power on many occasions. It is very dangerous especially when I have to young children sitting in the back.

- Midwest City, OK, USA

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