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.

9.1

really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,796.00
Average Mileage:
88,589 miles
Total Complaints:
169 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (74 reports)
  2. replaced with rebuilt transmission (47 reports)
  3. not sure (26 reports)
  4. having the whole thing overhauled (16 reports)
  5. replace torque converter (2 reports)
  6. transmission seal failure causing leak and the pump is weak (2 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 5 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #89

Jun 192011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,352 miles

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

Absolutely ridiculous that a car with less than 75K miles would have the transmission go out. I loved this car and had planned on keeping it for a long, long time but after spending $3500 on the transmission, I am selling it and I will NEVER own a Ford again. The issue with these Explorer transmissions has been going on a long, long time and it is hard to believe that there has not been a recall or class action suit. I am a single woman who just turned 60. I only drive 3 miles each way to work, and occassional take it on a trip to the coast, 90 miles away. I don't drive off road and have certainly not been hard on this car. RIDICULOUS !!!!!

- , Sherwood, OR, USA

problem #88

Jul 012010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

It was very frustrating to have to pay for a rebuilt transmission on a car that I had just bought 2 1/2 years prior and to do so at such a low milage is a poor reflection on Ford. Especially when is was not the end of the problems with this vehicle. I truly regret this purchase.

- , Merchantville, NJ, USA

problem #87

Jun 102010

Explorer XL 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

I had a 2002 and a 2004 Explorer. Both transmissions had to be replaced. One at 37000miles, the other at43000 miles. The 2002 also had a cracked rear panel.Will not buy any more Fords.

- , Propsect Hts, IL, USA

problem #86

Jul 102009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

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

Once again FORD leaves you in the cold. I have NEVER had a car that needed a new tranny under 100k! Now I am close to the 100k mark and its acting up again. I will NOT fix this car again. Poorly made, FORD should be ashamed to sell this crap to consumers.

- , Newark, DE, USA

problem #85

Nov 042008

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,118 miles

This is ridiculous to have this much trouble with a car that age/mileage. Ford should have made a recall on these vehicles. I have two, and now the other one - reaching the same mileage - is in the same boat

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #84

Feb 012011

Explorer 4.0L Flex

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,400 miles

TRANSMISSION WENT OUT AT 58400 MILES. FORD MECHANIC SAID THIS WAS A BADLY DESIGNED TRANSMISSION BY FORD AND THAT THE REMANUFACTURED TRANSMISSION FOR THIS VEHICLE HAD BEEN REDESIGNED BY FORD BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT IT WAS GIVING PROBLEMS. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN RECALLED BY FORD AND FIXED BUT THEY LEFT THE CUSTOMER HOLDING THE BAG. I HAVE BEEN A FAITHFUL FORD OWNER FOR YEARS AND PRESENTLY OWN 3 FORD VEHICLES BUT I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD PRODUCT BECAUSE OF THIS

- , Taylorsville, NC, USA

problem #83

Apr 182011

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,666 miles

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

I will never buy a Ford again. Ever. My father was right. Why didn't I listen? Had issues while it was still under warranty and was still paying for it. Apparently, Ford SOLD my warranty to some other company. Had no idea they did this. I also had A/C problems, ball joint problems, and now the transmission is shot. I have had this car for 7 years, have taken very good care of it, and it only has 76,000 miles on it.

What was really annoying was when I had an issue, it was under warranty, and I STILL had to pay a $100 deductible. For something that was not even my fault. SERIOUSLY? I just couldn't believe it.

Never again.

- , Delran, NJ, USA

problem #82

Apr 012011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

When I brought my Explorer to the transmission repair shop, there were 2 other 04 models on the lifts. The mechanic grimaced when I asked him how bad the problem is with Ford Explorers. I called Ford and of course received a lot of sympathetic groans but no help. I found a technical service bulletin that announced the 04s where sent out without an additive in the transmission fluid. The rep was able to determine that my vehicle had operated about a year before the the dealer addressed the problem, but got no help with the repair bill. This is my fourth and last Ford, I will not purchase a product from a company that fails to stand by its product.

- , CHestnut Ridge, NY, USA

problem #81

May 152011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.01

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

I OWNED A 2004 FORD SPORTS TRAC- GREAT TRUCK. A PERSON HIT ME HEAD ON- TOTALED MY TRUCK, BUT THE TRUCK SAVED MY LIFE, I GOT ONLY 3 BROKEN RIBS. I THEN BOUGHT A FORD EDDIE BAUER 2004 SUV FROM AN INDIVIDUAL WITH $55,000 MILES ON IT. AFTER I DROVE IT A MONTH, IT STARTED HAVING SHIFTING PROBLEMS AND THEN STEADY GOT WORSE, THE TRANSMISSION START SLIPPING. THEN I FOUND OUT THAT FORD MADE THE TRANSMISSION OUT OF CHEAPER METAL AND YOU HAD TO CHECK THE OIL FROM UNDER THE SUV.I TOOK IT TO A VERY WELL KNOWN TRANSMISSION PLACE AND THEY SLEAVED THE TRANSMISSION, WHICH COST ME ABOUT $1700.00. AND IT STILL CONTINUED TO SLIP. TOOK IT BACK TWICE MORE. THEY SAID THAT WHEN THEY HAD IT, THE VEHICLE NEVER DID ANYTHING. THE PROBLEM KEPT GETTING WORSE. TOOK IT TO A MECHANIC IN

CLOSE TO HOME AND HE PUT IT ON A MACHINE AND DROVE IT AND HE SAID THAT I DEFINITELY HAD TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS. DURING THIS TIME MY MESSAGE CENTER ON MY SUV- SHOWED.( TRANSMISSION OVER HEATED).

HE RECOMMENDED A TRANSMISSION PLACE IN BARTLETT IN MEMPHIS,TN. I TOOK IT THERE AND WHEN THEY CHECKED THE TRANSMISSION IT WAS FULL OF METAL. THE TROQUE CONVERTER WAS COMPLETELY DESTROYED. THEY FIXED MY TRANSMISSION- COST ME -$1600.00 PLUS TAX. AND NOW I HAVE THE SUV THAT I SHOULD HAVE. DRIVES GREAT. WHAT I'M UPSET ABOUT IS THAT FORD KNEW THAT THESE TRANSMISSIONS WERE BAD AND THEY NEVER DID ANYTHING ABOUT. IT. IT COST ME $3500.00 TO GET IT CORRECTED. THE FIRST $1600.00 I JUST THREW AWAY. THANK GOD FOR A GOOD HONEST MECHANIC LIKE MY SECOND ONE. I HAVE COME FROM A LONG LINE OF FORD OWNERS, BUT THIS IS MY LAST ONE. I WILL NO LONGER BUY A FORD.

- , Millington, TN, USA

problem #80

Apr 032011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

I have owned Fords for 40 years and our family has had fords since the early 50s. This will be my last FORD and I will convince the rest of the family to purchase other brands from now on. My father was a Ford Mech. for 30+ years and never had this type of problem then.

This Explorer has given us problems for about two years now. Took it Ford to have the transmission serviced and was told it is sealed and can not be serviced like the old ones. They did hook it to a machine to filter the oil ( So they said) but that was all they could do.

- , Manhattan, IL, USA

problem #79

Mar 152011

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

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

First of all my tranmission can only be checked by a tranmission expert because my transmission is under the car. My dad took my car in to have the transmission fluid changed summer of 2010. It was shortly after he noticed my SUV was leaking fluid. I live 6 hours away so I was not able to bring my car in to the same place for a while. We took it in to be serviced today. The transmission place said I need to replace the seal so it won't leak,$400. They also reported that the pump was not properly working and that would cost $700. They also said that it was wet above the transmission and there might be further problems. Not wanting to get all that fixed for the price I am only replacing the seals so at the least the fluid will not leak. I travel quite a bit in my car and am not looking forward to these mechanical problems with my vehicle.

- , Brownsville, TX, USA

problem #78

Feb 182011

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

My transmission failed after 93000 miles, and I never misuse my vehicle!!!!!!!!

It cost me lots of money and stress!!!!! Not a happy Ford customer. I owned an Expedition before this, and was very satisfied with that, but will never buy a Ford again after this!!!!!!!

- , Biwabik, MN, USA

problem #77

Mar 122011

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,300 miles

This is the 2nd Explorer that I own. Both 2004. I guess I should have seen this one coming. I had my other Explorer fixed a few years ago at the same mileage. Ford should be ashamed that they are allowing their good customers to go through this. I have purchased Ford products all my life - never again.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #76

Nov 012010

Explorer Limited 4.0L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,787 miles

I bought this piece of sh*t after owning a Ford Ranger that I thought real high about. Very different for the vehicle. It started hard shifting several months ago and it's gotten worse. I will never own another one.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #75

Feb 122011

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I've read all the complaints on here a while back when I first started noticing problems. Every problem I read was exactly what I was experiencing with mine. Hard shift to reverse, slipping between gears and the slams, ect. Finally, it happened. My wife was driving home from work and the Explorer just died. Everytime she tried to restart it it would die when she put it in drive. We got it towed and the guy said it was the transmission. Long story short, it was $3,500. I am 21 years old with a 2 year old daughter. If it wasn't for tax returns the is no way I could afford that. This has completely turned me away from Fords for the rest of my life. The only way I would ever own another Ford is if they admitted their fault and recalled. I want my $3,500 back Ford!!! Say bye to this guy. He is never owning another Ford.

- , Georgetown, TX, USA

problem #74

Jun 212010

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

TOOK TRUNK IN FOR REPLACE WHEEL BARRENS AND ASK THEM TO CHECK TRANSMISSION AND WAS CALL BACK AND TOLD THE TRANS WAS GOING OUT.THIS TRUCK IS A LEMON, CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY A NEW CAR RIGHT NOW BUT WHATS NEXT WITH THIS PEACE OF CRAP. I WOULD NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD ANYTHING AND ALSO I MAKE SURE TO TELL ANYONE I KNOW WHO IS CONSIDERING BUYING FORD VEHICLE NOT TO.

CRACKED REAR WINDOW PANEL,TRANS REPLACE, HEATER WENT OUT,REPLACE ALL FOUR WHEEL BARRENS, NOW TIRE LIGHT ON AND I THINK I MIGHT BE MISSING SOMETHING ELSE THAT WENT WRONG.

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #73

Jan 072011

Explorer Sport V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I bought this vehicle in Columbus from MAG VOLVO on Dublin Granville RD on Thursday 1/6/11. It drove fine all the way home which was 65 miles. Then Later that day when I went to the grocery store the o/d light came on and the transmission light came on. My husband took it to ford the next day and they said the transmission had to be replaced! I just bought it not 24 hours before!. At least I wasn't stranded with my kids somewhere.

I really bought a lemon....wish I had done more research.

- , Marion, OH, USA

problem #72

Jan 112005

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,000 miles

Since after about 6 months of owning this Ford ,I've had trans problems had it serviced by Dlr several times and never fixed the slamming into rear gear,they upgraded the onboard CPU,changed the fluid twice,and finally it went out of warranty, than they told me it needed a valve body upgrade kit for X amount of $ I complained to Ford many times ,no body cares! Never buying a Ford product again,might as well go Foreign,since most auto's and trucks are made foreign anyway. TonyD

- , Hudson, FL, USA

problem #71

Nov 172010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,500 miles

reported shifting problems within the first week of buying truck brand new. was told by the dealership that it was not a problem. transmission broke at 46,500 miles.

- , Wilmington, MA, USA

problem #70

Jan 192011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,489 miles

Purchased 2004 Explorer in November 2007. 95489 miles. No prior indication in drivability, noise or lights coming on. Driving in town, overdrive light and check engine lights came on. Limped into nearest repair shop, which happened to be a transmission shop,. Transmission had to be totally rebuilt. Obviously Ford knew about these problems because they had sent update notices and what to do with transmission problems.

- , Pueblo, CO, USA

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