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.

7.8

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,014.00
Average Mileage:
72,004 miles
Total Complaints:
386 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (197 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (58 reports)
  3. replace shift solenoid (57 reports)
  4. replace transmission (56 reports)
  5. replace shift solenoid and bands (9 reports)
  6. serviced transmission and cleaned valve body (3 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 15 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #106

Dec 252006

Explorer LX 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

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

I have a 2004 ford Explorer, the trans don't work good at all? Ford will not fix the trans, because no one knows how? Why--Because a mech can not fix what is bad with another bad part .Can I hurt FORD--- YES My family and I can ! We have all dreven fords for a long long time but no longer will we put up with FORD B,S ! Five New Fords will be some other brand this year . If you call an air head at ford and ask for help you get B.S. Cleveland Tn. More than one third of the cost of a 2004 Explorer has been spent without any chang .Whin I go to trade this Explorer in they ask me to fix the trans or pay for it or no trade. Junk is junk ! What can I do?

contemplating

- , Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #105

Nov 012008

Explorer XLT Sport 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Bought 2004 ford Explorer because it was Editor's pick on Edmunds.com. Too many problem to list from the transmission to the air sensor on the throttle body. The car only has 65,000 miles . I will never buy an American car again. friend has a honda accord with 187,000 drives better than mine and only ever changed the oil.

- , Framingham, MA, USA

problem #104

Jul 072008

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,285 miles

It is a pain in the ass to have to wait a couple seconds when I shift into reverse.

I took it in to a ford dealer to get it diagnosed, and according to them I need to replace the solenoid body (cost including labor and parts $1,100.00) these vehicles should be recalled since there's been so many complaints. Ford has seriously lost a customer.

- , Fontana, CA, USA

problem #103

Feb 012006

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles

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

Same problems as the other 102 entries. 3 trips to the dealer and still no improvement.

Dealer acts like they don't see the problem...

- , Tullahoma, TN, USA

problem #102

Dec 012004

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles

Why can Ford not get the transmission right in an Explorer? Our 2000 Explorer XLT at 44000 miles was at the dealership in Dec. 2003, getting a new transmission put in under our extended warranty when we decided to trade for a new 2004 Explorer. Why, why, why, we did that I will always wonder, because we had that thing less than a year when we started noticing the same transmission problems that the other one had. Harsh engagement, and also kind of a vibration when making a turn and accelerating such as turning at a stop sign or pulling out from a parking lot. Its not as bad as our 2000 model was yet but I am worried that it could get worse. We have had it in to the dealership several times, the first time in '05 when there was a recall on the transmission fluid, but they have never been able to cure the problem. After having two Explorers with the same problems we have learned our lesson and will never get another Ford.

- , Fairfield, IL, USA

problem #101

Oct 012004

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles

Wow...just stumbled on to this web site. I have been having this problem with my Explorer from very early on. It seems to be getting worse and now I see what I have to look forward to when I need to repair it. I really want to dump this vehicle, but I almost feel guilty passing it on to someone else. I owned a Ford Ranger before and it had some quirks, but this SUV has been a mess. Not only that, the value of it has plummeted over the few years I've owned it. I WON'T buy a Ford again.

- , San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

problem #100

Aug 012007

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

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

From what I'm hearing this is a common issue that ford needs to deal with and man up to the faulty equipment. They just need to replace it with a better trans and eat the bill!

- , Eugene, OR, USA

problem #99

Sep 072006

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24,000 miles

at 24000 miles had same hard shifting problems as everybody else.Ford replaced solenoid

pack.At 62000 doing the same thing ford says need a new transmission.Also they say my tough luck its not covered.They know they have a problem they should stand behind it.

- , Lake Placid, NY, USA

problem #98

Nov 062006

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles

Same story. Fixed under warranty and dealer butchered repair. Brought back in to fix again following day but dealer charged to a rear end universal joint ripping off Ford. Transmission started same exact problem right out of warranty. Hard shift to reverse, slipping 2 & 3 gears. 4 wheel low not working now.

Just same old poor quality and lousy dealer service. Radio messed up.

Update from Jan 27, 2013: So here we are in 2012. Replaced all bearings and living with the crack in the back window plastic panel going straight through their logo. We are babying the transmission. Always have but Ford screwed the pooch on these All Wheel drives. I had to buy this one.

To solve and save your hard shift changes from F to R or R to F. Let the fly wheel slow down and it will shift better.

Update from Aug 7, 2013: Transmission is still an issue.

- , Hixson, tn,

problem #97

May 152006

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles

Fixed under warranty at 13K, Dealership states replaced solenoid and did complete overhaul of transmission, only had the car for 5 hours. Problem occurring again at 48K miles. Two mechanics state there is no way dealership could have overhauled the transmission without having the vehicle for over one day. Dealership completely bull shitted the repairs, it is a complete band aid. Two very reputable transmission mechanics in my area state they do not know what the actual fix/problem is. They see it all the time. One of them actually does work for FORD (go figure!) They don't even know what the problem is. I'm now having to consider replacing my whole transmission if they cannot fix the problem.

- , Haverhill, MA, USA

problem #96

Apr 072008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

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

I bought my 04 Ford Explorer from Fairway Ford in Anderson, SC in 2006. I should have known when the car was listed well below book value that something was wrong. The transmission slipped for the first time one month after purchase. It didn't happen again until sometime well after that. It has gradually gotten worse over the last 6 - 8 months. The transmission jerks and slips really bad from Park to Reverse and has started hesitating and slipping between 2nd and 3rd gears. The service engine light has come on and now the overdrive flashes at certain times. I will never buy another

FORD again!! I honestly believe they knew of the problem when they sold it to me.

- , Anderson, SC, USA

problem #95

Aug 012008

Explorer XLT Advanced Trac 4.6L V8

  • Manual transmission
  • 62,137 miles

The transmission slips, is very delayed when shifting between gears. It even would go out of drive when I came to a stop at a light. I would give it gas the RPMs would shoot up then the gears would catch, jerking the whole truck. I'm just waiting for the time I snap the universal joints.

I put it in to be fixed, they had to take the whole transmission out replace the spring bolt kit and a front pump seal. 7.2 hours labour

Now here I am 5 months later and it is doing the same thing again. Now when I'm at the light if it goes into neutral and my RPMs go up I just rev the sh*t out of it and let the whole truck jerk forward when it finally goes into gear. I'm sick of dealing with this lemon!

- , Guelph, Ontario, Canada

problem #94

Mar 012008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

I am sure by now FORD is totally aware of this transmission problem and I cant believe they are not at least giving out good faith coupons or discounts to have fixed.

My 2004 ford explorer is shifting hard in reverse as well and i took to mechanic and suggestion was replace selenoid kit now after reading complaints on this web site i am not sure if i want to spend money to fix it.

I have to tell you my sister bought a 2004 Kia Optima within 30 days of my 2004 explorer and never once had it in the shop i feel like a fool for saying i had to be loyal to Ford since that is the only make of car i have ever owned.

- , Shepherdsville, KY, USA

problem #93

Oct 282005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles

I bought my explorer in Germany for the exchange car sales in 04, the transmission would hesitate when going from park to reverse. I took it to the ford dealer. They said it was the solenoid, so it was replaced. This problem was rectified, not even a year later, I had to take it back for the same problem, once again they said a faulty solenoid. Here I go again taking it back to the dealer for the third time, now they tell me that the transmission has to be replaced at my expense. But i'm getting in contact with head military sales dealer from the service section and producing all paperwork showing how many times this has occurred. Now I see why FORD actually means "Found On Road Daily"

- , Apo, AE, Germany

problem #92

Apr 122008

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

Just after my "Used Vehicle Warranty" ran out, the trans starting slipping . You could be just driving slow and give it gas its like a sudden urge. Other times when i park and go into reverse it wont go, then clunk it goes into reverse. I shoulda learned from having Fords before there transmissions totally SUCK!!!! This will be my last Ford vehicle thats for sure. When this trans goes it stays where it is, Im not made of money..

- , Montague, NJ, USA

problem #91

Aug 142008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I finally got up enough nerve to complain about the intermittent problem of the loud "thud" I hear when shifting my 2004 Explorer into reverse. Of course, the SUV didn't make the sound while at the dealership for two days. I drove around with the technician who said "he thinks" it's the solenoid pack. Service manager told me it would cost about $950 to repair the pack. After reading the posts, I don't feel it's worth my while to repair. Would you believe I am just short about a year of paying it off. I bought this truck because one of the cylinders on my 8 cylinder Expedition went and I was at the end of the warranty period. I thought I was getting away with something because I traded it in the knick of time. Looks like the "Fix or Repair Daily Problem" has caught up to me!

- , Chesapeake, VA, USA

problem #90

Aug 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

don't know whether to suck it up and get a new tranny or just sell it as is. i just don't want to hand anyone else this problem.

- , Austin, TX, USA

problem #89

Aug 182007

Explorer MP 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,000 miles

I purchased this 2004 Ford Explorer V6/4.0Liter from a local dealership and it had a bad rear end. As I test drove it, the salesman told me they had a full 30 day warranty from the date of purchase on ANYTHING! I am a mechanic for a major airline and work on my own cars pretty much unless I need some sort of special tooling. Anyway, I thought they might be selling me the car due to the bad rear end so I bought it with the intent I would be taking in back in less than 30 days and get a new rear end. The Ford mechanic came out on a test drive with me and agreed it needed a new rear end. They ordered one from the local junkyard that had been in a wreck and had 130,000 miles on it. I drove it and it was bad as well so I took it back again and, in the meantime, I called the junkyard where they got it at and found out about the high mileage (they told me that it had 25,000 miles on it). They replaced it again and everything was OK from that point on. After I had driven it for awhile, I noticed that when you were slowing down as if making a turn in a residential neighborhood and the car shifted back down into 1st gear it would pause on accelaration about 2 seconds. Now this is kind of scary because you sometimes need that instant acceleration in certain situations. I took it to 3 separate Ford dealerships and they set the programming on the transmission to "learn" my shifting and driving patterns again. This did not help and all 3 dealers did the computer tests on the transmission and it passed with flying colors. However, I still have this problem and it will NOT go away and nobody has a solution to it. When I accelerate after a turn, I can actually watch the tachometer spool up followed by about 2 seconds when the drivetrain kicks in the rear wheels. The "expert" that drove with me said there was nothing wrong with the transmission and they I would probably just have to live with the situation. How can this be? This is downright dangerous! Nobody wants to let me in on what to do at Ford and on the Ford website for complaints. I'm stuck with this vehicle and this annoying problem and I'd imagine my trim piece on the rear lift should be cracking any day now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , High Point, NC, USA

problem #88

Jan 012008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Same problem with transmission. Hard shifts in between 1-2 gear. Also a loud whining noise coming from engine compartment. Seems to get louder when taking off. Very annoying. This vehicle was in the shop 2 times @ Ford dealership before I purchased it for transmission problems. Stupid me bought it after talking to previous owner and she said that they fixed it. I bought 100,000 mi. extended warr. for comfort, but haven't taken it in yet to see if this covers it. Ford NEEDS a recall. Also the small thin plastic strip right below the rear window hatch split down the middle right to the left of the ford emblem.

- , Dyersburg, TN, USA

problem #87

Jul 262008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

I purchased the explorer with 42,000 on the odometer. I payed $11,000.00 for it. At the time of purchase my wife said, its to good to be true. Unfortunately she was right. I put the Explorer in reverse to back out my driveway when I heard a loud bang. 10 minutes later I was on the highway. I depressed the gas peddle in an attempt to pass the car in front of me. The Explorer hesitated, I refuse to be stuck with this piece of sh*t. I know a good lawyer, Ill be giving him a call. I WILL NEVER BUY US VEHICLES AGAIN!

- , Bradford, MA, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?