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.

7.9

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,016.00
Average Mileage:
72,747 miles
Total Complaints:
389 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (197 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (59 reports)
  3. replace shift solenoid (58 reports)
  4. replace transmission (56 reports)
  5. replace shift solenoid and bands (9 reports)
  6. had transmission rebuilt $2012 (3 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 10 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #209

Aug 112010

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,866 miles

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

After vehicle is out of warranty and only 88K old (I purchased in 2004 and was brand new), I was getting on hwy and attempted to accelerate. The SUV hesitated and then did a hard jump and finally accelerated, and at the same time the CHECK TRANSMISSION light came on and O/D light started blinking on and off. Took to Ford service center the next day. Of course they "test drove" vehicle (don't see how they did that because when I got my vehicle back it had same mileage as when I turned it over to them) and did not reproduce the problem. Did self test, found codes P0735 and P0775. Ran Oasis, found TSB 09-12-12 for similar conditions. Suspect servo bore has worn and causing abnormal transmission action. Was quoted a price of $1100 to install servo bore kit (not Ford piece) without a warranty guarentee, because would be fixed with non Ford parts. Was told that they had done this on 4 other vehicles over the past year and it fixed the problem. Was also quoted a price of $4500 to replace trans assembly (with a 3 year, 100,000 mile warranty). But of course, neither of these fixes would guarentee that it would finally repair the problem that I have. When asked why wasn't this fixed prior to warranty expiring, when I originally reported similar problems, was told that it's not the same problem and they usually see this type of problem occuring at 88K miles. What????? Vehicle is only 6 years old with 88K miles, never driven off road or under harsh conditions, never pulled trailer and always serviced (by the same Ford service center) at it's regularly scheduled times. Why transmission problems? Why not fix problem now without charge when originally detected problem prior to expriration of warranty?

Update from Nov 29, 2010: Had servo bore fixed (had to talk with owner of Ford dealership to talk down the price). Seemed like it fixed the problem. Now as of 11/26/10 my SUV took on life of it's own. I put in park, left it running in order to close my garage door. The SUV started to drive forward into my garage. I had to jump in the vehicle and put on the brakes, did not stop the vehicle. I let up on the brake and then the engine reved up and took off all the while while I am trying to slam on the brakes to stop the vehicle. Ended up driving through the back of my garage, into my yard, drove over a tree, ran through a fence and ended up hitting my neighbors house (concrete foundation finally stopped the out of control SUV). Put in a call to Ford customer service to report a vehicle rollaway and wondering why my vehicle never stopped. Was it the servo bore "fix" that caused a problem with my vehicle that made it have a life of it's own and not stop or was it something else? Now I have to wait 3 weeks to get packet back from Ford office of general counsel to see what they are going to do about checking my vehicle.

Update from Nov 29, 2010: Had servo bore fixed (had to talk with owner of Ford dealership to talk down the price). Seemed like it fixed the problem. Now as of 11/26/10 my SUV took on life of it's own. I put in park, left it running in order to close my garage door. The SUV started to drive forward into my garage. I had to jump in the vehicle and put on the brakes, did not stop the vehicle. I let up on the brake and then the engine reved up and took off all the while while I am trying to slam on the brakes to stop the vehicle. Ended up driving through the back of my garage, into my yard, drove over a tree, ran through a fence and ended up hitting my neighbors house (concrete foundation finally stopped the out of control SUV). Put in a call to Ford customer service to report a vehicle rollaway and wondering why my vehicle never stopped. Was it the servo bore "fix" that caused a problem with my vehicle that made it have a life of it's own and not stop or was it something else? Now I have to wait 3 weeks to get packet back from Ford office of general counsel to see what they are going to do about checking my vehicle.

- , Florissant, MO, USA

problem #208

Jun 152005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

I had this explorer in the dealership 3 times for the same complaint while under warranty and it still gives me trouble. At what point does Ford owe responsibility to its customers to actually fix this or replace it? I thought I had just bought a crap explorer (its my 3rd and final, the other 2 are fine) until I found this web site.

- , Novato, CA, USA

problem #207

Aug 042009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I bought a 2004 Explorer in 2007 it had 36,000 on it. It drove fine for about a year then I stared to notice the transmission jerking. As of July 31, 2010 it has 108,000 miles on it and the tramission jerks really hard, the ABS light come on and goes off when it want's to. The rear end of the truck sways like it going to flip over if I go around a curve. When I let my foot off the gas there a jerking motion from the truck. I had it check out and the guy said it might be the transmission. I will not be buying any more Fords Explorer. I own a Ford minvan that I relly love. I just decided not to drive it any more.

- , Bumpass, VA, USA

problem #206

Jul 272010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

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

Like others I had a problem with the transmission from the time it was bought. Dealer fixed it, it was fine until of course the warranty wore off. This was another Ford purchase after I swore I would not purchase another. Well I guess I don't have to be hit over the head a third time. No transmission that has been properly taken care of should have to be rebuilt at 70K miles on a decent truck. I can't believe Ford has not recalled this, it is obviously defective with so many people having the same issue.

- , Annandale, VA, USA

problem #205

Jun 082009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

the problem was fix so they say now it has started to slip again and harder going into first do gear. the dealership that i purchase my vehicle now has moved and i can not locate it to honor my warranty which has now expired. i am upset and would not recommend this ford dealership to anyone.

feed up

- , Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #204

Nov 012009

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

FORD SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROBLEMS WITH THE TRANSMISSION AND ALSO THE CRACK BELOW THE REAR WINDOW!!! I TOOK MY EXPLORER TO THE DEALERSHIP IN TOWN AND THEY SAID ONLY WAY TO SEE WHAT THE PROBLEM MIGHT BE WAS TO PUT A NEW SELENOID TO THE TUNE OF 800.00. I ASKED IF THERE HAD BEEN ANYMORE COMPLAINTS THAT THEY KNEW OF ABOUT THE FORD EXPLORER AND THEY SAID NO. THEY ALSO ADVISED ME THAT THE SOLENOID MAY NOT FIX THE PROBLEM!!! I ALSO HAVE OWNED A 2000 FORD EXPLORER BEFORE THE 2004 AND NOW I REALIZE IT IS A MANUFACTURE DEFECT. WAS STUPID FOR BUYING THE SECOND ONE. BUT I CAN PROMISE THERE WILL NEVER BE A 3RD OR EVEN A FORD AT THIS POINT!!

- , South Hill, VA, USA

problem #203

Jul 152010

Explorer LXT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

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

So I bought an 04 Ford Explorer XLT from Carmax and 60thousand miles later the transmissions seems to bog down when it attempts to upshift to a higher gear or do the upshift by fail to engage immediately. There is an obvious wait period of the engagement at the lower gear. Even when I jam the peddle to the floor it takes it like 5 seconds to actually get to the gear that is needed. It will bog down, upshift, and then upshift again. My previous SUV (95 Chevy Blazer) never had this pause in upshifting. I haven't gotten the rough shift into reverse or the lerching of the vehicle. Just don't like have to preplan when i will need to extra power to get to a faster speed.

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #202

Aug 102004

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

In 2003 I traded my older model explorer in for a 2004 explorer. That was a horrible mistake. My fiancee noticed that the car was sliping as the gears were shifting when we were driving up a hill on the test drive! But of course I ignored it for my new shiny "loaded" car. It wasn't "that bad" in the beginning. However at just under 15,000 miles I took it into Ourisman World of Ford in Alexandria, Virginia because it was getting persistently worse. My exact complaint was "the car jerks into gear when put into reverse - it is more pronounced when turning and backing up." They "tested trans; performed pinpoint test; R&R trans pan; and added a replaced solenoid body." I had owned the car less than a year when this happened! I never had any problems with my original Explorer but after looking back over all of my service slips, I have had problems with this one since the beginning. I will never (read my lips) ever, buy another Ford. And I will tell everyone that will listen not to either. My old roommate used to tell me Ford meant Fix Or Repair Daily. She was right --- this problem (and a whole host of others) still persists to date!

- , Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #201

Jul 152010

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I just paid off my truck, but I will probably have to spend just as much repairing it. Granted it has 130,000 (daily commuting & leisurely traveling) miles on it - but this has been a problem car since it left the dealership (Ourisman World of Ford, Alexandria, VA). The car seems like its never going to shift gears. I was on a slight incline crossing the Woodrow Wilson bridge last week and my car felt like it was an airplane taking off. This is exactly what I told my fiancee. The gears don't shift until I'm at 40 mph and then they slip just to get get there. And the jerking that happens when I shift gears is a running joke between me and my kids. When I back into my parking space I have to wait a full 30 seconds for the car to finally catapults into reverse. Its worse than the hurler at Kings Dominion. My neighbors have learned to go around me. Ford replace the solenoid body in 2004 (9 months after I purchased the truck brand new) and now, 6 years later this probably has persisted and gotten even worse. I can't believe they will not recall this and instead leave us consumers to replace the transmission. I'm sure I will have to - but it will be at the cost of Ford losing a loyal customer for the past 10 years. I am going to take the truck to Ford to see what they will say - but I'm sure they willl be singing the same song they've sung to the others - it's your problem now...not ours!

- , Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #200

Jul 062010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I bought the car new in 2004. The transmission always was slow to engage and occasionally would be late shifting or shift/downshift hard. The problem became progressively worse the last few months and I took it to very reputable Transmission shop. Apparently this shop has made a living off Ford Explorers the last few years as mine was one of 4 at the shop having to have the transmission rebuild to correct failing servo board.

- , Franklin, TN, USA

problem #199

Jun 042010

Explorer LX V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

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

I am a 59 year old very careful driver who takes care of his cars. I own a 2004 Ford Explorer That I purchased two and a half years ago. It has 97,000 miles on it. The check engine light came on last month . I took it to the dealer . He says the bands are worn and that I will need over $3,000 for a new trans. A car with 97,000 miles on it shouldn't need a new transmission.Obviously Ford knows they screwed up.

Here's the rub. I have owned this car for two years. Prior to that I drove another 2004 Ford Explorer that my company provided for me. The bands got worn at 60,000 miles and the transmission had to be replaced. I figured it was a fluke and bought this one. I know , I'm an idiot . I have learned enough this time to never buy another Ford product.

- , Hockessin, DE, USA

problem #198

Jul 062010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,500 miles

Another 04 ford explorer owner with transmission slip/hard reverse issue:

transmission Repaired at aamco cost=2623.00 New assembly kit 352.40 Reconditioned torque converter (upgraded) 379.00 new bushing kit(upgraded) 41.10 new solenoid block 213.00 new reverse band 62.75 new boost valve 49.95 filter 26.70 transmission cooler(optional) 145.00 fluid 42.00 3yr/36.000mi warranty 350.00

- , Dade City, FL, USA

problem #197

Oct 142008

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

The fact that the transmission went out so soon after getting this truck I called Ford to see if there was a recall on it. The customer service lady said no and when I asked for possible assistance because of such an odd occurance her only reply was, "I don't see a bucket full of money sitting around anywhere to help you with".

- , Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #196

Jun 012010

Explorer AWD 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Just add me to the growing list of 2004 Ford Explorer owners with transmission problems and rear bearing problems. I have 130,000 on it now, but problem been there since the first recall years ago. It just started to get worse and look like it is going to cost me about $2000.

- , Summerville, SC, US

problem #195

Jun 172010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

Just add me to the growing list of 2004 Ford Explorer owners with transmission problems and rear bearing problems. Had to replace transmission and rear bearings at 63,000 miles. I reported the issue to the Better Business Bureau and called Ford Motor Corp to enter a complaint. Ford would not negotiate with me at all on cost of repair. Everyone having this problem please call Ford and maybe we can get a recall. Hold on to your repair receipts. If Ford recalls we can get a refund as long as you can produce your receipt.

- , Albany, NY, USA

problem #194

May 172010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles

My sister had transmission trouble on her 04 Explorer at 46,000 miles. It went into gear slowly, and shifted hard in 2nd-3rd. I looked all over for the transmission dipstick and couldn't find one. The book said it had none and to take it to the dealer for a check-up. I took it to Dorian Ford in Detroit and they put in the new solenoid the same day at a cost of $460. My sister was livid that her vehicle could have such a major problem, so soon. She bought it with 24,000 miles and never planned on such a repair. It sounds like others have had worse situations than my sister did. Dorian Ford (Kyle) was very understanding and fixed the problem on the same day I took it to them. Wow!

- , Mishawaka, IN, USA

problem #193

Jul 012006

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

My 2004 Ford Explorer is the 3rd Explorer that I have owned. I started experiencing transmission problems around 50,000 miles. I took it to the dealership 6 times before I finally got a competent person to ride in the car with me and experience the same problem that I was complaining of. They had the truck around 3 days and supposedly fixed the problem. Shortly after my 60,000 mile warranty expired I was experiencing the same problem but only occasionally. I now have 140,000 miles and the transmission is horrible. Of course every time I took it to the dealership thy want to charge me ridiculous amounts to even diagnose the problem. My vehicle is barley operable now and I am still paying on it. Seems to me if it is the same problem they have fixed before that maybe they should fix it again, but Ford doesn't see it that way. My father has worked for Ford since he was 18 years old and I have always bought Ford vehicles until now. My daughter recently turned 16 and there was no way in hell I was letting her drive around in a Ford. When this Explorer finally dies, which I anticipate to be soon, as I have no money to pay thousands of dollars for a transmission, I will never buy a Ford AGAIN!

- , Belleville, IL, USA

problem #192

Feb 282004

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

I have an '04 Explorer and the transmission hesitates and shifts into reverse very hard. I bought it new in '04 and shortly thereafter took it in with this problem, which I was told it was an electronic problem, but it was not fixed. I did not take it back in because I went throught the warranty rather quickly and didn't have any faith in the Ford dealer in getting it repaired properly. Well it's still the same and I'm just waiting for the whole transmission to fall out. Ford needs to have a recall on this problem.

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #191

May 152008

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

seriously...the delay in shift time, the jerking that happens when it finally does shift. when slowing down it DROPS like a bastard. It feels like the undercarriage of my car is about to fall right out! I haven't gone to any shops about this because I thought about researching this further first. Doesn't look like Im the only one. boooooooooo ford.

- , Lake Havasu City, AZ, USA

problem #190

Jun 122007

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,590 miles

THIS IS MY 3RD FORD EXPLORER AND MY LAST. IT'S A LEMON. THE BACK GLASS LEAKED AND IT WAS REPAIRED 2 TIMES UNDER WARRANTY. THE TRANSMISSION SLIPS AND CAUSES THE VEHICLE TO JUMP INTO GEAR ESPECIALLY IN REVERSE. THE GAS GAGE DOESN'T WORK. BOTH PLASTIC PIECES THAT HOLE THE SUN VISORS IN PLACE BROKE AND ONE WAS DANGLING BY THE ELECTRICAL WIRE. NONE OF THIS HAS BEEN FIXED. MY ENGINE LIGHT STAYS ON ALL THE TIME. iT'S A HONDA OR TOYOTA FOR ME FROM NOW ON.

- , Tyler, TX, USA

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