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:
72,554 miles
Total Complaints:
388 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (197 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (58 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 12 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #168

Jan 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

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

During the initial buying period, the sales man stated that the transmission during that year was different than other. We have a 1997 XLT and I mentioned that we never experienced this type of a transmission issue.

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #167

Aug 072007

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Add my explorer to the list of crappy transmissions. I have taken it in for other work and mentioned the transmission shifting hard all the mechanics have said these transmissions are biggest pieces of crap ever. Course the mechanics love it they get the money from fixing these huge Ford WHOOPS! There are few days it works fine but mostly lurches when put in reverse after hesitating, lurches and shifts hard when shifting 1st to 2nd and sometimes 3rd..or will hesitate...or the check transmission message will appear and the O/D light will flash...pull over turn truck off and removed key..wait 5 minutes and it will run just fine for a few days..WTF is up with that!?!? Got the recall notice about the cruise control switch and the truck could catch on fire without even having a key in it ...I say BURN BABY BURN!!!!! Would do me a HUGE favor if it did catch on fire for sure!!!!

- , Spring, TX, USA

problem #166

Jan 012010

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

I Never Had a car that was such a piece of junk and contatly ripping me off right from the get go the trans had a problem i took good care of this car bought new tires serviced the wheel hub change the fluids and now im told the transmission needs new clucthes and rebuild. ford is trying to haggle me and trying to get me to order a replacement transmission for almost the same price of the blue book. I have never seen a car that depreciated so much and the plastic cracks on the back window by its self what a joke of a car that cost my wife and i lots of money. we had 4 fords in our family all of them the transmission went out. never again i will buy a Ford know i have to pay $270 for a dianostic just so that they can tell me that my ford is slipping in all gears when the stupid mill light say its a solenoid. This is America and i have to say i might just trade in this stupid car for a Japanese car.

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #165

Nov 042009

Explorer XLT 4.0lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

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

I just bought a used 2004 Explorer in June of last year. From the beginning I had a problem shifting in reverse, there was a delay of several seconds and then would lurch in reverse about five feet . But never owning a 4x4 before I thought it was normal till it got worse very quickly.Thank God I got the extended warranty because the transmission needed to be rebuilt at a cost of 3400.00. I only had to pay 100.00. At the dealership when I bought it they had to replace both front hubs, bearings, and the heater blender motor.After reading all of the other complaints I will never buy an explorer again.

- , Mayfield Hts., OH, USA

problem #164

May 012008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

2004 Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer 2WD 4.6L V8 83K miles. Problems started at around 71K miles but the problem was extremely intermittent. Now doing it every other time the truck is turned on. When it fails it all fails. Rarely does it work fine.

When gear selector is put into reverse "R", it will take the transmission 3-5 seconds to kick in. When it kicks in, it will jolt you as if you were hit from the front by another car at 10-15mph. When the selector lever is set to drive "D" it sometimes takes 1-2 seconds to kick in. The shift from 1:2 it will be sluggish and the engine will rev high for 2 seconds, same with 2:3. The shift from 3:4 is a nightmare. It kicks in so hard that it literally feels like someone rear ended you going 30mph in a truck. A tech at Boggus Ford in McAllen, TX advised me that my vehicle has history of transmission problems in its service history and he knows this model truck has transmission problems because it is electronically controlled.

I called Ford customer care and they first advised me to get it checked out then call back. I called back after getting it looked at by Aamco transmission in McAllen, TX and they said it could be a couple of shift solenoids or the transmission all together. Aamco also knew about this model trucks dodgy record. Ford customer care now refuses to help after they gave me false expectation. The representative was more concerned about getting me off the phone. Ford should do the stand-up thing and accept responsability.

- , Mission, TX, USA

problem #163

Nov 202009

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

Had transmission fluid flushed and changed at dealership. Bought extended warranty to 60k miles. Of course its starts at 63k miles. I've been loyal to Ford but very disappointed with response from dealership.

Broken left running board, cracked panel on rear hatch, now the transmission. Come on Ford, step up and make it right!

- , Reidsville, NC, USA

problem #162

Oct 292009

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,452 miles

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

I hear several ford explorer have this problem. I only have the problem when it's below 50 degrees and only for the 1st mile or so. I'm not sure of what to do.

- , Chico, CA, USA

problem #161

Mar 122008

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

I HAVE A 2004 FORD EXPLORER 2WD AND HAVE THE SAME TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS EVERYONE ELSE HAS WITH THE SUV ONE DAY I WAS PULING A TRAILER WITH MY EXPLORER AND ALL OF A SUDDEN IT STARTED SMOKING UNDERNEATH THE VEHICLE ONLY TO FIND OUT MY TRANSMISSION WAS BLOWING OUT FLUID IF FORD CANT MAKE BETTER QUALITY VEHICLES LIKE THE DID IN THE 70'S AND 80'S THEN FORD SHOULD GO OUT OF BUSINESS OR AT LEAST GET ADVICE FROM A FOREIGN CAR COMPANY SUCH AS NISSAN OR TOYOTA

- , Shelbyville, TN, USA

problem #160

Oct 262009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,700 miles

I purchased the 7yr/80k warranty when I bought this vehicle new, at 80,700 miles the transmission started slipping. Started by replacing the solenoid, fluid and filter, still had the issue. Ended up replacing the bands, all seems well now (knock on wood). Cost of $1500.

- , Beaver, PA, USA

problem #159

May 012006

Explorer XLT V6 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

My transmission delayed in reverse then jolted. Trans. slips between 2-3 gears and the rpm's rev like crazy. Dealer tried to do a quick fix on it at 32K miles, but at 92K miles now, still have the same issue and it's getting worse. I guess Ford doesn't want repeat customers. They feel there is no safety issues which is why they don't do a recall plus too much expense. The dealer said he would help me, but has not done much for this pre-existing condition. Don't buy FORD or from Future Ford of Roseville CA

- , Rocklin, CA, USA

problem #158

Sep 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

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

TRANS. SHIFTS VERY HARD IN REVERSE, SLIPS BETWEEN 2ND &3RD !!!!

I BELIEVE FORD SHOULD FIX THIS AT NO CHARGE TO CONSUMER !!!

TRIED TO CALL FORD TO COMPLAIN, BUT, CHECK THIS OUT !!! THEY WANT YOU TO PAY $IO.OO PER CALL TO REPORT THE PROBLEM !!!!

1-800-848-0991 WHAT A F-------- JOKE THEY ARE ! I'VE BOUGHT MY LAST FORD !!!!!

- , Ashland, KY, USA

problem #157

Apr 032009

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

never again ford. you got me once and that is enough.

- , Niagara Fall, Ontario, Canada

problem #156

Jun 102008

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

American automakers. DON'T ASK US TO BE PATRIOTIC AND BUY AMERICAN CARS and then do this crap! 2004 Ford Explorer ..Transmission ..delayed shifting into drive and reverse. Shift wildly and hard into reverse so much I hit my wife's truck behind me. This HAS to be fixed by Ford. this truck shifts wildly on the road and IS DANGEROUS! God forbid anyone gets into an accident!

I will never ever buy an american car again! I have 2 american Ford Explorers (2004 and 2002) and 2 major transmission issues. The 04 is the worse!

FORD=Garbage

- , Lake hiawatha, NJ, USA

problem #155

Nov 152008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Well, it's been awhile since I viewed the complaints from my vehicle, but here we are with the complaints still piling up.

Last October I had my transmission rebuilt and no more slipping into reverse, but I still don't feel like it's 100% operating capacity. It still hesitates once in a while to engage into drive.

All I can say is that I'm ditching this vehicle as soon as I can, no more Ford's for this guy. Never will buy a Ford again. My only exception would be a vintage 66-68 mustang, but that's just a completely differently vehicle from the junk they build today.

- , Pearl City, HI, USA

problem #154

Jul 142009

Explorer EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

From what I have read on here...This is an obvious problem with the 2004 vehicle (as a matter of fact, the top 3 worst cars ever built were the 2002, 2003, and 2004 Ford Explorer). As an average American who struggles to make it from paycheck to paycheck with 2 kids in daycare, it is RIDICULOUS that an "American" built manufacturer will NOT stand behind it's product. The abs light is on, the transmission doesn't want to go in gear which jerks the whole vehicle which in turn completely messed up my drive train...A whole new and big expense! Estimated cost to fix...$2500!

- , Somerset, KY, USA

problem #153

Jul 012008

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

FORD IS NOT LIKE IT USED TO BE - 3 Issues below are common complaints that For has not attempted to resolve. Poor quality and higher prices ar is causing folks to move away from Ford.

1) ABS Light Stays on

2) Crack developed in back tailgate under window

3) Transmission slips and shifts hard ito reverse, very dangerous

- , Tomball, TX, USA

problem #152

Jun 142008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Our transmission has the same problems as the rest. Jerky in drive, jumps into reverse.

My father-in-law worked at Ford for 40 years, so my wife has been an ardent Ford supporter since we married. Many years later we are starting to look for a car for our son. To my surprise she's looking at the other "American" manufacturers more than Ford. I think Ford has lost another long time customer.

- , Marshfield, WI, US

problem #151

Jul 212009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

Like most of all the other complaints, this was a problem from the beginning, we had it in the shop several times and were told that there was nothing wrong with it, the last time we took it in we were told that there was a recall on the tranny fluid and that once they replaced it there would be no more problems, wrong, now I have to pay out of pocket $2000.00 or more to have the tranny fixed, when Ford should have fixed it right the first time. I will never buy another ford as they do not stand behind their product, it is no wonder they are in financial trouble what with as many complaints that I have read.

- , Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #150

Mar 182009

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,376 miles

My car when I put it in reverse it shifts really hard there should be something ford could have done to make there vehicle better than what this one has turned out to be

- , Lone Grove, OK, USA

problem #149

Oct 162007

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,500 miles

Put it in reverse and I tense up waiting for it to jump into gear. As I drive forward, right around 40 mph the tranny will jump again while the RPM's go from around 2k to almost 4k till it shifts into the next gear. Truck is great other than the transmission is garbage. Apparently Ford figured this out for the next generation because the problem is non-existant for any model 2006 and forward, and like any car maker they won't do anything about it. I've read about various fixes for this problem, to only have those people have the same problem start up again within 1-2 years of the fix and a couple thousand dollars. I'm not into wasting money, so I'll just deal with it til the sh*t dies, or till I get so sick of it I replace the transmission completely. Awesome how Ford knows about it, has changed it for future models, but pisses on all saps who have the bad tranny. Best part is Ford doesn't know how to fix it either! Classic.

- , Bay Village, OH, USA

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