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 9 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Feb 062006

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

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

the transmission on our 2004 explorer went out at 34,000 miles and had it replaced under the 3yr. 36,000 mile original warranty. they told me that we only had 2,000 miles of warranty left on this vehicle which included the new transmission they put in. I wrote the BBB & complained that I expected another 3/36 on this new transmission mainly because we had complained about the noise & jerking numerous times to ford ever since we bought the vehicle new. They kept telling us there was nothing wrong. I finally received the extended warranty & the new transmission continues to do the same noise & jerking & they keep telling us the same. I'll never buy another ford as long as I live.

- , Hixson, TN, USA

problem #8

Oct 112007

(reported on)

Explorer NBX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

This is the second time for us with the transmission failure. I drive 1000 miles per week, so I really rack up the miles fast. The problems really do not show up until the truck has been driven 200+ miles and is hot. Again the O/D light came one and I lost all gears except low and reverse. This was rebuilt at 68000 and so only made it another 60000 before going out again. Ford says this is not a major problem and have heard of no other transmission problems with this model. The recall that called for an additive to correct the wrong fluid from the start, says that if not changed this bad fluid will cause rough shifting and overheating in the transmission. This was read to me by the service manager right off of their spec sheet on the recall. So when I tell them that this is exactly what has been happening to me the whole time that I have had this truck, he still says that there is not a problem with this model and we are the only one having this trouble.

- , Independence, KS, USA

problem #7

Oct 112007

(reported on)

Explorer NBX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

Transmission never shifted smoothly from the start. Lurched when backing up and had a loud clunking noise especially when backing to the right or left out of a parking space. Not as bad straight back. Went back to dealer many times with this problem. Finally at 68000 miles, o/d indicator started to blink. They replaced Torque converter, valve body and solenoid. After getting the car back, shifting was still not smooth, but the clunking in reverse went away.

- , Independence, KS, USA

problem #6

Oct 112007

(reported on)

Explorer NBX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,200 miles

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

This is my 3rd complaint on my explorer. At the beginning, I had all of the same problems as everyone else with the harsh shifting and the clunking in reverse. I had to have a new torque converter, solenoid, and valve body at 68000 miles. This lasted until 130000 and then total failure. Had to rebuild at cost of $3300 to me. The next day after I picked it up from dealer, it failed again. I drive 1000 miles per week, so I have many more than most anyone else. My advise is to get rid of these explorers! Ford will not stand behind their cars. We own 5 Fords! I will never buy another one after all of this. The thing never shifted right from the beginning and we kept taking it to the dealer, who could not find anything wrong. Their final answer to us, as to why the 3rd tranny quit after only one day was ( SIT DOWN FOR THIS ONE!!!) our transmission failed because we had a low tire!! The service manager told us that even driving this new transmission less than 300 miles, because our rear left tire was 5 pounds low it caused the tranny to compensate for the tire and made it quit!!! What kind or idiots do they think we are??? NEVER BUYING ANOTHER FORD PRODUCT.......

- , Independence, KS, USA

problem #5

Jun 122007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,689 miles

From day one of purchasing the Explorer (while still in warranty) went from Ford dealership to Ford dealership complaining about how the transmission did not shift correctly. delayed shifting, jerked really bad as if someone could've bumped you in the rear. All dealerships told me nothing was wrong with the transmission that is perfectly normal. The day finally came that the transmission would not shift out of first gear, took to a Ford dealership, where it sat for 3weeks waiting to have inspected only to be told they really don't handle transmissions. Certainly not the answer given while still under warranty. I ended up taking to a transmission specialist, to get rebuilt cost a little over $1500, the transmission still jerks just like it has from day one, the only resolve is that it will shift from low to drive. You couldn't give me another Ford. This is not the only issue with this vehicle, the rear end has also had to be replaced multiple times, each time costing about $1000.00.

- , Lebanon, VA, USA

problem #4

Aug 062007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

Apparently, even after generations after Henry built the first car, Ford, JUST CAN'T GET IT RIGHT! Why would a three-year old car's transmission completely fail? But even more to the point, why did it "start going" IMMEDIATELY after the 50K mile warranty expired. My transmission starting jolting when put in reverse at 52K miles and completely failed 10K miles later. But does Ford stand behind their product? No way! All bets off after 50K. THIS WILL UNDOUBTEDLY BE THE LAST FORD I BUY!

- , Canisteo, NY, USA

problem #3

Aug 032007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

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

I have had this truck only 6 months. Went to work on Sunday, trouble shifting out then that night.... NO REVERSE. I took it to the local dealership to find out that the clutch pack had come apart. NO WARNING!!!!!!!!! I call Ford because of the multiple complaints others have had and told too bad, so sad!!!!! COST $3044.54

- , Bay St Louis, MS, USA

problem #2

Jul 172007

(reported on)

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

We first started having transmission problems at 17,000 miles. We brought it to Ford for service and they replaced the fluid and the damaged solanoid. Then at 44,000 miles, the transmission completely went and Ford gave me an estimated cost to replace of $4,800. I did some research and found that in May, 2005, Ford issued a Technical Service Bulletin 04B22 which stated that the '04 Explorers had "improperly formulated transmission fluid that overtime may cause delayed/harsh reverse engagements." I fought with Ford insisting that this was an existing problem that should still be covered under warranty. They gave me a $1,500 credit and the dealership agreed to reduce their price but I am still out of pocket $2,400 on a leased car that I'm giving back in 6 months. Hey Ford, we teach our children to take responsibility for their mistakes - why won't you??????????

- , Smithtown, NY, USA

problem #1

Apr 242007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

This was a real heart break. I had the reverse gear issue and some minor slippage, dealer replaced fluid and adjustments (service bulletin at dealer) and the truck worked great. No slippage, great speed and power. But a week ago, a leak developed. Since it was out of warranty, took to a Trans-shop. They worked on it for 2 days, determined, tooooo much wear/tear, filings, caused wear on seals and housing around fitting.. etc. No major failure of any part(s), but multiple parts and seals, tubes, housing etc. needed to be replace. With same wearing parts still in place, they suggested a new rebuilt for the same price as the piecemeal fix version. But here is the deal.. out of warranty, then no help from Ford. No recall will be issued on a non-safety issue. Your dealer or Ford might do a "good-will" adjustment for a loyal customer, but that's a case by case review. Its too bad, the Explorer is a great Truck and until now, mine was great. Now, $3000 later/poorer, I am pissed.

- , Lakewood, CO, USA

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