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 8 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Aug 102007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

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

The transmission is failing on my 2004 Ford Explorer. I have babied it for quite awhile because we already had plenty of electrical problems with it that had cost us a lot of money and we really have no idea where to get the money to fix this problem. We still owe a lot on it. When it first started, I spoke to my mechanic and looked on the internet for a solution.

Ford has the nerve to ask for a bailout with MY money, but they won't stand behind their lousy product!!! This is going to cost me at least $2500 to fix and I think since they have been aware of the problem from the start, they should have to correct it before we start handing them money. This is more than unfair! Further, the plastic parts on these vehicles are cheap and break easily. One of my visors is suspended from the sunroof by a phone earphone cord because the plastic hinge broke and it dangles in your way when you are trying to see out the windshield.

This is my 5th Ford, and my last. Have you noticed that most of the people going out of business during this economy crises are people that were hanging on by a thread anyway because they are bad business people? Henry Ford is rotating in his grave.

- , Memphis, TN, USA

problem #28

Feb 042009

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

OK SO I BOUGHT THIS EXPLORE 5 MONTHS AGO, I AM A FORD GUY OR SHOULD SAY WAS A FORD GUY, IV NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS WITH MY OLDER FORD MODELS TELL NOW, EVERYTHING SEEM TO BE WORKING FINE, BOUGHT IT WITH 47,000 ON THE ODOM BUT A LITTLE OVER 10K ON IT IN 5 MONTHS. WELL ONE DAY THE O/D LIGHT STARTED FLASHING THEN THE ENGINE LIGHT TURNED ON THEN I TOOK IT IN THEY TOLD ME THE SOLENOID (WHAT EVER)PACK WAS SHORTED OUT, THE DROPPED THE PAN TO FIND NOTHING BUT METAL SHAVINGS IN IT, COME TO FIND OUT THE WHOLE TRANNY TO NEEDS TO BE OVER HAULED. UMM THERE A PROBLEM THERE NOT EVEN 60K AND IT MISSED UP. NICE RIDE YES BUT AS FAR AS THIS LITTLE PROB GOES NO. SAD TO SAY IM THINKING ABOUT BUYING A CHEVY IF SOMETHING ELSE BAD HAPPENS AGAIN. FORD BUILT TOUGH UMM WHAT HAPPEN TO AT SLOGIN

- , Bloomfield, NM, USA

problem #27

Jan 092009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

I was on a trip to California about 150 miles from home when my transmission failed. I bought the car new and after I had 9000 miles on it I received a recall notice that they didn't put the proper trans fluid in at the factory. I was assured that there would not be any problems. Shortly after my warranty was up I started getting hard shifts and a hard shift when going into reverse. Before I could get it in for service the whole transmission just went out and left me on the side of the road in the middle of the desert. The dealership is telling me that it will cost 4000.00 to fix it. Ford is not offering any assistance in the cost of this repair. Based on what I have read this is a very common problem. I will never buy another ford product again.

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #26

Jan 052009

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

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

Same issues as the many other tranny complaints with 2004 Exploder. Hard shifting, burning clutch. Can't put into words the frustration and disappointment. Based on my personal experience with this so far, there is no satisfaction to be had no matter what avenue you try. So I've had to throw my hands up and pay the criminals at Ford. I own three Fords and I vow to never but a Ford again in my life and to encourage anybody I can to do the same. I hope they go out of business as soon as possible. Never again.

- , Wexford, PA, USA

problem #25

Dec 112008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I purchased the vehicle used with 18,666 miles with an extended powertrain warranty. At 25,000 the vehicle started showing issues shifting into reverse. The transmission would fail to shift for several seconds followed by a large "THUD" into gear. Ford replaced a solenoid at the dealership which appeared to solve the problem which reappeared at 72,000. At 78,000 the transmission has failed with the extended warranty company (First Extended Service Corp.) refusing to approve the claim for a new transmission costing $3,400. The vehicle currently sits at the dealer where it will remain until someone from either Ford or First Extended Services steps up to the fact that the transmission is junk from the factory and replaces it with new parts. Until such time I will proceed with communications with the State of Connecticut Dept. of Consumer Protection and the Small Claims Court.

- , Norwich, CT, USA

problem #24

Nov 282008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,500 miles

I purchased a used 2004 Ford Explorer in September 2007, the vehicle had 28,400 miles. In August 2008 is when I started to have problems. The shifter was sliding threw the gears. When I took the truck on the highway. I'd get the truck up to 50- 60 mph without using the brakes. I noticed it was banging as it would slowing down. I brought the truck to the local dealer. I payed $100.00 to find the problem. It was determined that the transmission need to be replaced at a cost of $4,000.00. I decided to take the vehicle back to the dealer where I purchased it from (Watertown Ford Watertown Ma.). They checked the vehicle and said the solenoid needed to be replaced at a cost of $900.00. I told the service adviser that I have been on-line and have been reading all the problems with the Ford Explorer transmissions. The reports said that the replacement of the solenoid was only a temporary fix and would last a year and would have to be replaced again. He told me there has been ongoing problems with the 2004 Ford Explorer transmissions. He told me if I wanted to replace the transmission it would cost $3600.00 for a re manufactured transmission. He said he could over hall the transmission for $2300.00. I decided to take the vehicle to AAmco Transmission. They quoted me a price of $2700.00 to take the transmission out and send it out to have it completely rebuilt with Ford authorized parts. The vehicle has 37,500 miles on it now. I have only put 9000 miles on the vehicle since I bought it 13 months ago. I'll never buy another Ford again. Thanks for letting me vent.

- , Needham, MA, USA

problem #23

Nov 242008

Explorer NBX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,322 miles

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

i contacted ford about problem and they just blew me off.the problem is cost me 2735.00 for repairs.truck is only 4 yrs old.low mileage.ford said we should of taken for checkup..well ive only had truck a yr and if a transmission don't last 4 yrs,obviously there's a problem at ford company.i will never own a ford ever again, and they should be out of business.they are just ripping people off.its just not fair.i contacted ford 3 times in last 2 days and they say there's nothing they will do about it..i think they should cover at least some of the expenses,,or all of it..imm not done with this tho,,they will be hearing from me again.thanks

- , Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

problem #22

Nov 142008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles

after buying the truck in march of '06 the problems started. i would go to back up and the truck would jult. i took the truck in to Carmax since i still had warranty. they tld me it does that because "thats what trucks do, since there's so much power behind them."

the problem seemed to always be there, but was now just ignored.

this past weekend i decided to take a road trip to North Carolina. three hours away from my destination; my truck wouldnt shift, reverse failed. so for the addition 3hrs. i had to drive (by myself) doing 45 mrh to keep the rpm @ 4000. the amount of gas i went through was ridiculous....now it will probly be @ 3500.00 to fix this. because of course NOW the warranty is up.

- , Centerport, NY, USA

problem #21

Oct 302008

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

Only 56,000 miles and I start having all the signs starting about 2 months ago: flashing o/d off, abs and 4x4 high lights, clunking when putting it in gear, jerking accellaration... but they all happened at different times and only once or twice before going away. That is until yesterday when going up a very small hill, the transmission jerked 4 or 5 times as if in the throws of death then completely gave out and I was left coasting in traffic with my engine reving! Since then I've found several posting sites online about the 2004 Explorer and they all say the same thing about the stupid transmission! I haven't yet decided what to do since I just forked over $1,000 LAST WEEK to replace the brake pads and rotors. Oh, AND I recently discovered the panel below my back windshield is cracked. Dang, I wish I would have found this site before I even bought this piece of crap. Did I mention I'm still paying the loan??

- , Charlottesville, VA, USA

problem #20

Oct 202008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

No prior warning, just pulled out of a gas station and the transmission slipped, took it to Ford and they said it was shot and we needed a new transmission. We had no leaking nor fluids on the garage floor, no warning we had a problem. Even the mechanic said he had never seen this happen to an Explorer..What really frosts the cake is this is a sealed transmission, you cannot check the fluids only ford can change the fluid, so you have no clue if you are leaking anything. Also, and this is the kicker, they told us we don't have to do anything for 100,000 miles!!!!!! Called Ford and they said "sorry it is out of warranty" They have to know there is a problem. They spend millions of dollars trying to get new buyers and could care less about the ones they have. This is our fourth Ford and I guarantee this is our last. We will cross over and buy another foreign car......

- , North Port, FL, USA

problem #19

Sep 082008

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,500 miles

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

Had a 2000 Explorer change transmission fluid every 50,000. transmission failured at 136,000 miles. I was told by the dealer that the explorer needed to have fluid change every 30,000. I got a 2004 Explorer Limited had the tranmission services at 30,500 and at 61,000. The transmission O/d light came on at 72,650. It would still shift 1st thru 4th but not go into over dirve. We took it to the dealer and the dealer said that the transmission need a selenoid to shifting from first -2nd?. So they opened the transmission up and the dealer said that the pan was full of metal shavings. It need to be replaced. This is my last Ford. I have talked with three other people who had have Explorers. They all had to have the transmission either replaced or rebuilt.

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #18

Aug 152008

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

Where do i start? I was on a trip and started back home when the truck started jerking when changing gears going up hill. I stop to a local service center and they could not check it. By the time I got home 800 miles later, it would not go into reverse without jerking with a pop. That Monday morning I took it to the show and the mechanic told me three days later that the transmissions was gone. I went to the Ford dealership where I got it from and he said that there was nothing he could do. I asked him could they at lease fix the truck because I'm still making payments and he said try to trade it. I told him that i did not know that he was in the selling of lemons business. He told me to come back when i make up my mine.

- , Erwin, NC, Armenia

problem #17

Jun 022008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

I basically have the same problems as everyone else only my transmission finally gave out totally. When I bought the car from the car lot I drove it back within a week to let them know it was shifting hard and I thought something was wrong with it and they basically told me that all the Explorers did that! I guess so!! Anyway I have driven the car with a bad transmission for 3 1/2 years nursing it all this time till last month when it finally died!!!! I have parked it in the drive and am patiently awaiting a recall because I refuse to fix a lemon!!! I would NEVER BUY A FORD AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Hoover, AL, USA

problem #16

May 282008

Explorer Sport V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

We have had problems ever since they put an additive in the transmission fluid. Shifting hesitation, jerking, slipping... We tried transmission flushes to no avail. One day the overdrive light starts blinking, then it stops...then again, etc... Then the service engine light comes on. I take it to Ford and they tell me that the solenoid needs replaced ($600.00). While waiting for the part to come in, I am still driving the car. Funny that every Ford dealer we call has the part on backorder!!!! We finally found a dealer that had one and the day before we picked it up, my transmission went. I was in a parking lot and could not get it to shift into reverse. I could hear some clunking, but when I pressed on the gas, it just revved. I had to have it towed and now I'm waiting to see whether or not I need a new transmission. Meanwhile, I have emailed Ford with my problem, we'll see what their reply is.

- , Newell, WV, USA

problem #15

Feb 152006

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles

I had this car for 2 years, and i did not use it that much. i only used it about 8 ,000 miles per year. i only used it for work and home. my job was about less than 5 miles away. and a day to work My transmission started to jerk. MY RPms got stuck at 2 and 3. it started out a little bit bad and it got worst. it just wouldn't move after 2. it when 20 mph. on 3. i took it to Lincoln Mercury dealer. and they gave me a new 2006 transmission . it works really smooth now. now i have 30,000 miles on it. and no problems . hopefully not.

- , Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #14

Mar 102008

Explorer ELT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

I bought my ford used. It had 10000 miles on the motor. I had it about a month and i noticed that it was slipping and jerking in reverse. I was told that it was normal for the explorer. I started getting really concerned as it got worse. I took it to a mechanic and he told me it was going to go. Ford however was telling me it was normal. So who do you believe? On March 10th. My daughters first bday my tranny went. I found that the transmissions had been recalled for the 04 explorer. I called ford and they told me it was not mine. My transmission came off a diff. assemble line. (although mine done the same thing as the ones that where recalled did.) I loved this vehicle when i was searching for a suv no other would do. Now i would take anything else. I will never own another ford in my life. I found a used transmission in Ohio. It came out of a wrecked 05 explorer. I paid 900 with shipping and the guy who works on my vehicles charged me 500 to put it in so i didn't have to pay as much as others. It is running really good now. NO slipping jerking or anything. It will be traded real soon though.

- , Athens, WV, USA

problem #13

Feb 012008

Explorer LXT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,335 miles

I too am a victim of fords piss poor design of there 2004 explorer transmission. Bought it with 22,000 miles on it in 2005 had it 2 weeks then back in the dealer for 3. for jerking problems. second time for crunching noise when parallel parking in reverse in august 2007 fords answer was i needed new tires so in on jan 4 2008 i put new tire on it and two weeks later at 76,335.3 miles my tranny has completely crapped out. Fords solution SORRY. The only good thing here is that this vehicle did not hurt or kill someone.

Lawsuit yes please. And folks don't let ford tell you about solenoids and fluid additives are the problem because it not its just piss poor design and ford admitting it.

- , Elkland, MO, USA

problem #12

Jun 082007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

SURPRISE!SURPRISE! THANK GOD I BOUGHT AN EXTENDED WARRANTY! I HAD TO REPLACE THE TRANSMISSION AT 49000 MILES WITH SAME PIECE OF CRAP RE BUILT TRANNY! I HAD A HORRIBLE TIME AT THE DEALER AND NO RESPONSE TO MY COMPLAINT BY FORD. THIS WILL DEFINITELY BE THE LAST FORD I OWN EVER. MY WARRANTY EXPIRES AT 75000 MILES, IT WILL DEFINITELY BE GONE BEFORE THEN.

- , Chicopee, MA, USA

problem #11

Nov 052007

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Well at about 75000 miles it started jerking from 2nd to 3rd an when putting it in reverse and when it hit about 79000 miles my transmission just went out completely. I mean no park or anything just rolls. you have to put the e-brake on so it wont roll down the parking lot.. it really a pain considering how i just bought it..

- , Holloman AFB, NM, USA

problem #10

Aug 312004

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles

So - where to start! Bought 2004 Ford Explorer used with 5000 miles on it. Drove it off the lot with transmission problems and suffice it to say it has been 3 years from hell. I always heard about the smooth ride of the Explorer. I have never had a smooth ride - lurching, jerking, skipping, hesitating.

For a while the focus was the rear end as the 04 also has history of rear differential problems. I have the rear end serviced 6 times, had 3 different leaks all over the driveway and garage floor. Mechanic tells me after last repair "Well there is no chance any of your problems are from the rear end - the whole thing has been replaced!" Not sure how reassuring that it is! I still have a skipping/hesitation when starting from a stopped position especially on wet roads. They tell me this is normal. I don't think waiting for the rear end of your car to stop skidding on the road behind you while you put the car in front of oncoming traffic is normal - but I guess all of our faculties are questionable now aren't they!

So we move on to the transmission. I too had the harsh reverse episode right away and then days later got the recall. Had recall done and did not have problem again for quite a while. About 6 months ago (around 55000 miles) I would have either trouble shifting the gear shift from P to R or I could not move the vehicle once I was on R or both at th same time. I also happen to be using the parking brake at the same time as I often was on a hill when it would happen. Took it to be fixed - they focused on parking brake problem (which was repaired) and sent me on my way. Now at 80000 miles I am getting stuck again and having trouble gear shift - SAME EXACT SYMPTOMS as before. Th dealer tells me "Nope different problem - we fixed your parking brake - and now you are out of warranty" Now I understand why people "go postal". Can you say - reach through the phone and strangle someone.

So as read all the entries - I became frightened and affirmed at the same time. I read about other problems that I too have had but have not mentioned as I fear that my close friends and family think I am crazy. I have already been politely asked not to return for service at one dealership! I also at times think I am crazy - I try to convince myself that all the things that happen with the vehicle are normal even though I know better. I have felt the resistance and clunking when turning into tight parking space and used the same words to describe it - "feels like 4X4 is on". I have hesitation when shifting gears.

So - I have had entire rear end replaced, probably need new transmission, had new throttle control, new PCM (transmission?) and hinge from back glass window snapped. Also have had terrible humming, buzzing, whistling (loud like jet engine) coming from front and back of vehicle. (Dealer tried to switch me to another 04 and I when I test drove it - it whistled when AC was on just like mine but mine had been repaired - I turned him down) I have had dashboard taken apart twice! I had to have the Blend Door replaced (for blower/fan) in your dash. The only good news is that I purchased the warranty for 75000 miles. Thank God.

My suggestions to fellow sufferers: I use my Explorer for work - it is my livelihood - no car - no work then no money for me! It has been an awful three years but I did find some relief (not from FORD of course). I purchased a custom made magnetic sign for $40. It read "I bought this lemon from Jack Byrne Ford". I then drove all over the county with my advertising sign. You can only imagine the rave reviews! I have met more people in parking lots - one women was even leaving me a note on my windshield! People knew of me and my sign even without knowing me personally. When we woule meet they would say - "I've seen your car". Someone even pulled up next to me and told me where the owner of the dealership lived! A manager at another FORD dealer followed me into a parking lot to try to "help me"! I do highly recommend this form of therapy for a one time low cost of $40.

Second recommendation (good thing there is not limit to number of characters!) Get rid of vehicle. I am going tomorrow to buy a Toyota. Leased one a few years ago - put 80,000 miles on it - fixed 2 minor things!!!! I unfortunately will have to roll over several thousand dollars as I am upside down on payments - but I am sure to hell not going to put any money in FORD's pocket for my new transmission.

Third recommendation - never post a complaint entry regarding your piece of crap FORD again!

I wish you all the best of luck - I feel your pain. Thanks for listening!

- , Ballston Spa, NY, USA

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