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

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 17 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #66

Apr 212008

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,900 miles

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

I have had multiple Fords, have 3 right now, and the newest one, the 2004 Explorer is the one that scares me the most! I bought this car on my birthday this year, January 11, and have had it in the shop 2 times so far for the same clunking, thunking, problem. It did it to me April 5th and today April 21st. On the 5th, the damn thing shifted into 4-high on it's own. I have noticed that this problem occurs most frequently when backing out of or driving into a parking space. I do not feel comfortable with this situation. I have contacted my Ford dealer AGAIN, and I have to take the car to the dealer AGAIN and they will tell me that they couldn't find anything AGAIN. I love the way the Explorer rides, this is my 2nd one, but I hate this problem. Fortunately I have the extended warranty and my dealer offers a lifetime drivetrain warranty. I don't want to have to say that this will be the last Ford I would buy again, but this will have a BIG impact on my choice the next time.

- , Boonville, IN, USA

problem #65

May 312006

(reported on)

Explorer

  • 50,000 miles

My truck slams into other gears sounds like its going to drop through the ground, they replaced the solenoid pack ? not sure what that is, back in December. Cost about 900.00 plus had to pay for a rental, took a few days to fix. It is now 6 months later and am having the same problems, but now also when I'm driving down the road to accelerate ( my rpm's shoot up to like 6 & 7) Not good! So took it back to the shop and they said they need to replace that solenoid pack again, but since I've put 14,000 miles on it in 6 months they said its not covered under warranty anymore. It will only last 12 months or 12,000 miles. That is crap! The same thing should not have to be repaired on your vehicle every 15,000 miles (especially transmission related probs.) On top of that I have some serious suspension problems. need rear struts, lower ball joints, some sort of bushings, a bunch of stuff that is going to cost about $1,200. Never dealing with Ford again!

- , Westminster, MD, USA

problem #64

Apr 082008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

This car is great in almost every category. Spacious, Handsome, Quiet, Smooth, Great Sound System, Nice interior/Exterior. The biggest problem (A REALLY BIG PROBLEM) is the transmission. It shifts and jolts when you put it into reverse, even if you just slightly touch the gas pedal. If shifts and jolts when you drive forward and skips gears, when it catches, it feels like the car is going to explode. The Ford Mechanics hooked it up to their diagnostic machine thing, and it showed no codes, yet it feels like we are slamming the brakes at 80 mph whenever it's shifting. The warranty Company I have (GE AUTO WARRANTY- FOR SOLDIERS) won't pay for the Ford Company to tear down the transmission and search for a problem because there are no codes. The car stalls when you put on the cruise control, (no codes found in diagnostic). Ford told me to take it home, and drive it till the Check Engine Light blinks or a OD light comes on. WTF ?"?????

This car overall sucks, as does my warranty company. I will fix it, trade it in, and not go back to Ford seeing as how every ford I've ever bought has giving me many problems. If you can help it, do not buy the 2004 Ford Explorer, or any Exlploder at that if you can help it. Gear towards Chevy or Honda...especially Honda...they last forever. Thanks for reading !

- , Killeen, TX, USA

problem #63

Mar 202008

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

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

I purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer brand spanking NEW off the lot. First the heater in the car stopped working then the O/D light came on went off came on started blinking shifting very hard while in traffic coming home from work. I would press on the accelerator and the car would barely move forward. Finally traffic started to move and I was able to drive regular speed almost to my home. I was around the corner from my house when I stopped at a stop sign and proceeded to go when I hard a screeching sound from that came when I tried to accelerate. I immediately took the car to Lee Myles transmission. The mechanic told me after doing a diagnostic that my box which is in the transmission went bad and would cost $1500.00. Then he took the transmission down and stated that the bore casing in the transmission went bad, and that it's a defect on all exploders. I have two options replace the transmission which is $3800.00 new or get a used one. I really hate ford they know their transmissions suck! And of course there is no recall nor sympathy for my problem from them. My husband told me not to get this car, but I wouldn't listen. Now im stuck with a virtually new broken down car that I'm still paying on with no warranty left! And to make this problem even worst, Im not even sure if this is the only problem going on here since sooooo many of the electrical lights are flashing( airbag, check engine, o/d and tire pressure). I tried to be patriotic and got RAPED!!!

- , Roselle, NJ, USA

problem #62

Nov 012007

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

I have owned my 2004 Ford explorer since oct of 2004,since the first week after purchasing this suv it has been to back to dealer 4 times to repair the same problem,the transmission slamming into reverse and the o/d light coming on.The dealers solution was to replace the solenoid which kept the light from coming on but not helping the jolt when I put the trans. into reverse.I don't believe there is a way to fix this transmission it needs to be replaced

- , Cartersville, VA, USA

problem #61

Mar 182008

Explorer XLX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,500 miles

This is the second time the problem had to be taken care of. I don't know why FORD doesn't own up to this faulty transmission. I am very disappointed in FORD (not like they really care how we feel). I don't know why this hasn't hit the evening news. I don't have much pull in society, but I know I'm not the only one with this problem. Surely something can be done. I've read tons of complaints about the hard shifting that goes on with the Explorer. I will tell you one thing.....I'm not going back the dealership for anything. I can get the repairs done for half the price with the same parts somewhere else (I've already checked!).

- , Wichita, KS, USA

problem #60

Feb 282008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,623 miles

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

I spent a little over $22k on my 04' Explorer XLT with 31k on it, now as a single mother of two I can't drive my vehicle without worrying about my two children. When I put my vehicle into reverse it hesitates than engages so hard I feel like I've been rearended. When I'm accelerating it hesitates than engages, in the meantime I have 18 wheelers gaining on me while driving on the interstate. My vehicle is in the shop now and I don't know how much the expense will be. I'm outraged that Americans are trying to keep it American and now Ford won't even stand up and do something about their failed product. My next vehicle will be a foreign, when you can't even depend on American made it a damn shame.

- , Big Sandy, TN, USA

problem #59

Aug 252004

Explorer XLT 4L Shoc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,500 miles

The transmission has never worked right, you put it into reverse and it lurches backward suddenly. Every time it went in for an oil change, we would mention the transmission. 2 solenoids and a couple of gaskets later the problem is getting worse, it now does it going forward. Our dealer doesn't even know what the problem is, but has admitted that the model year has had a long history of this problem. Now that the car is not under warranty we are wondering what will happen. The car is at the shop awaiting the new diagnosis. If anyone has successfully fixed this problem I would really like to know.

- , Middlebury, VT, USA

problem #58

Feb 152008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

Just like everyone else, my O/D light started flashing and shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear became rough. I pulled over and turned off the car. The light turned off and I continued driving but the problem intensified and within 5 minutes the check engine light came on. I stopped at a local auto shop and they read the engine code as P0745 "Pressure Control Solenoid Malfunction".

I bought this car brand new and had no problems until the recall for the transmission fluid additive. One week after we did that the pressure control solenoid went out and was replaced by Ford as the car was still well under warranty.

I don't think it is coincidence that we are seeing fellow 2004 Ford Explorer owners having the same problem at approximately the same mileage. Use Autobeef's resources to file additional complaints!! The NTSB is only reporting two of these complaints from the same person!

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #57

Feb 172008

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

My heart sank when I found this website and saw that the #1 complaint with the 2004 Ford Explorer is the transmission. We just moved to a new town two weeks ago. Yesterday, we decided to drive to another town about an hour south of here (just to look around). All of a sudden, the "check engine" and "O/D" lights came on and the car wouldn't change gears. We pulled over into a parking lot and turned the car off. A few mins. later my husband cranked the car and began driving again. The "O/D" light had gone off but not the "Check Engine" one. It changed gears once, but no more. Lo and behold a Ford dealership was just up the road a bit. We decided that we didn't want to do any more serious damage to the car, so we filled out the "early bird" drop off folder (it was Sunday) and called Enterprise for a rental car. The dealership this morning called and said that they had already done an initial diagnosis, but needed $190 more to figure out the problem. An hour later, they call back and say that a part in the transmission needs replacement for around $2000. I ask what it would cost for a whole new one. He replies around $3000. I told him to wait since I needed to talk with my husband first. After finding this website with all of the transmission complaints, I am p.od. that they needed an extra $190 to diagnose the problem. If it is this big of a problem, they know it. As we are in a new state, don't know anyone, and don't have the money for a new car, we will have to figure out a way to come up with the $3000. I really wish that Ford would own up to the problem.

- , Columbia, SC, USA

problem #56

Feb 082008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles

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

I've had the same exact problem as everyone else. I've had the transmission fixed 7 times in the 3 years I've owned. I've also had paint peeling from the roof. Also i've had the fuel pump replaced four times in order to fix the inaccurate fuel gauge. I've also had the transmission and fuel pump repaired twice on the extended warranty. The stealer wanted to charge me the 100 dollar deductible, but i argued that it was a pre-existing problem which they failed to repair. Everytime i've had to get the transmission repaired it's been a F**ing hassle. So in January 07 i contacted Krohn and moss (a lemon law attorney firm). This past January we settled out of court, i should be receiving my check in the mail soon. I wanted to go all the way to court and get a complete repurchase. It was a very long process and right now i just want to get rid of the car. During the whole process, ford kept offering BS offers. Right up until it was time to file a court date. I decided to as for an amount that was 2g's more than what i owed on the car. They were quick to respond and ok the amount. They really do not want to go court. I know if had waited to go to court i could have gotten more money, but like the rest of you i was way past sick and tired.

- , Arcadia, CA, USA

problem #55

Feb 022008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

Shortly after purchasing the vehicle brand new, we were sent a recall notice to have a fluid added to the transmission. This was supposed to "fix" the problem. Within a few months, the problem started again after the additive. Their solution, add more additive. Things seemed fine until this week when it started, again. Now, I am out of warranty and without a vehicle while I send it to the shop tomorrow. I am sure it will be at my expense. They knew about this as soon as the car was put out for production. Something needs to be done to make them accountable for their defective product.

- , Shreveport, LA, USA

problem #54

Jan 252008

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I have had similar problems as all the others on this complaint. I have had the slipping from 2nd to 3rd, long wait before shifting into reverse and also when stopping an all of a sudden thump or slip that is unexplained and can't get to replicate when I bring it to the Ford Dealer. I am hunting for a solution that won't kill my wallet.

- , Dawsonville, GA, USA

problem #53

Jan 262008

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

I am a true owner of Fords. I have been driving them since age 16. I come from a long line of Ford Owners. My parents have always owned Fords. All with minimal problems only one that needed a garage.

I AM SO PISSED OFF. I JUST REPLACE THE MOTOR DUE TO LEAKING HEAD GASKET. LUCKILY BY BROTHER-IN-LAW WAS ABLE TO FIX IT WITH SOME HELP. HE IS A CHEVROLET MAN. ANYWHO HE GOT THAT BACK A RUNNING. I TOO NOTICED THE HARD KNOCK WITH GOING FORM PARK TO REVERSE. I OWNED A 96 FORD EXPLORER AND JUST ASSUMED IT WAS NEW AND IT WAS ONLY ME HOW COULD IT BE THIS NICE CAR AFTER ALL IT IS A 2004.

JUST THE SAME LAST NIGHT I WENT FORM DRIVE TO REVERSE AND IT JERKED AND JUMPED LIKE A FROG. MY HUSBAND SAID CAREFUL YOU WILL JERK THE TRANSMISSION OUT. BUT IT WAS NOT ME. I AM ALWAYS CAREFUL TO MAKE SURE IT IS STOPPED COMPLETELY BEFORE PLACING IN ANOTHER GEAR.

TODAY WHILE ON THE ROAD WITH MY TWO KIDS UNDER THE AGES OF 10. THE DAMN THING DECIDES THAT IT DOESN'T WANT TO GO UP A HILL I THOUGH AGAIN THAT IS IS ME. SO I MASHED ON THE GAS UNTIL FEEL IT TAKE OFF LIKE A ROCKET HEADING FOR SPACE. I CAME UPON ANOTHER HILL AND IT DID THE SAME THING.

AFTER GETTING IT PARKED IN MY PARENTS DRIVEWAY. I TOOK IT THROUGH MY DADS FIELD TO SEE WHAT WAS GOING ON. I WAS TO AFRAID ON GOING OUT ON THE HIGHWAY. IF JERKED AND CARRIED ON LIKE SOMEONE HAVING SEIZURES PULLED UP AND THEN IT WOULD NOT GO IN TO REVERSE. I THEN PUT THE NEUTRAL AND PUSHED IT TO THE GARAGE.

IT WAS LEFT SITTING WHILE I DROVE MY DADS 86 F-150 STILL GOING STRONG WITH NO REPAIRS HOME.

I WILL HAVE A GARAGE LOOK AT IT ON MONDAY. BUT HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSE TO REPAIR IT ON MY INCOME. I THOUGHT HAVING A NEWER ONE WOULD BE MORE RELIABLE WITH MY KIDS.

PLEASE ANYBODY WITH SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO MAYBE GET SOME SORT OF HELP FROM FOR LET ME KNOW.

AND A CLASS ACTION SUITE SOUNDS GOOD TO ME SOMEONE POINT ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

FORD STAND UP AND TAKE CARE OF THIS PROBLEM WHAT IF MY TRANSMISSION WOULD HAVE GIVEN OUT AND CAUSED A WRECK AND HURT ON OF MY KIDS OR LEFT THEM WITH OUT A MOTHER. MAKE IT RIGHT OR GOT TO HELL!!!!

- , Page County, VA, USA

problem #52

Jan 242008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Problem first appeared in March 2005, we received a letter of recall so we took it in. An additive was put in the tranny and we were off with the assurance that "that should fix it". Sounded reasonable. Since then, the problem has made a few reappearances, but was mostly an occasional annoyance. Today, however, my wife could not get it to shift into reverse for some time, I'm fully expecting it to fail altogether. Called Ford for the 2nd time- the first was inquiry, this time I'm looking for some assurance they will pick up the fix. I mentioned the numerous complaints I easily found, yet the rep was unable to comment. I can buy that. I have to take it in, at considerable inconvenience, get a diagnosis, then call back and hope that they will benevolently honor the problem recurrence. I gather that is a stretch and may have to threaten legal action? I sure hope not. We have always been Ford people, ever since I was a kid dad had Fords and I am on my 5th. Loyalty means nothing to me when the maker decides not to act appropriately though...I hope to update soon.

- , Angola, IN, USA

problem #51

Jan 182008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

My wife purchased a 2004 Exploder from the dealer and she has kept up the maintenance and fortunately had the transmission fluid replaced within the first 3,000 miles. She has 53,000 on the vehicle now and last week she ran over some trash on the highway and ruined two tires. She took it to the tire store and had the two new tires put on the rear and the two old (slightly worn) tires put on the front. The next day the transmission started, slipping and refusing to shift from gear to gear. I told her to take it back to the tire store just to see if they may have accidentally disconnected a sensor or something and they told us that this make and model was notorious for BAD TRANSMISSIONS. I did a little research and found several sites with pages and pages of nightmare stories about this vehicle and its transmission.

I took the vehicle to the dealer with my 100k warranty and I was “loaded for bear”. I insisted that the Service Manager take a ride with me just to confirm that we were on the same page. They kept the vehicle overnight and called me first thing and told me that my problem was that I had two different tire types and that the computer was interpreting the difference in RPMs front to rear as slippage and slamming the vehicle in and out of all wheel drive.

I called the tire store and got the owner on the phone and he was shocked and embarrassed that his people did not tell us that you do not put two different tire types on an all wheel drive vehicle. He felt so bad that he sold us two new tires at cost. These tires were the same size just new and a little different tread design.

There is a real “solenoid” problem with this transmission that causes the “slamming into reverse issue” but I wonder just how many of the other issues (slipping and shifting) are relative to the fact that the transmissions are simply wearing themselves out shifting from two to all wheel drive. If new tires on the rear and old tires on the front could cause our problem what happens in just day to day wear. It has been my experience that the front ALWAYS wear faster and if you don’t rotate them regularly would you not have this same scenario? Is the computer not calculating the delta correctly (the ratio of spin tire to tire) ?

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #50

Jan 072008

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,139 miles

I bought this Explorer used and noticed that when I place the SUV in reverse I hear the same "bang" and lurching that's been described by everyone here. This is the first Ford I've ever owned as I've only owned Toyota's since I've been driving. With 141,000 + miles on my Toyota Truck that truck has been reliable and never ever did I have any issues with that vehicle. I should have known better to buy anything other than a Toyota and will never again buy stray from that car manufacturer.

By the sounds of it, I'll be pissing up a rope so to speak to have this issue fixed and will cost me an arm and a leg for a problem that Ford refuses to recognize! Class action lawsuit sounds good to me!!

- , York Haven, PA, USA

problem #49

May 232007

(reported on)

Explorer LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

FORD SUCKS... They knew the 2004 Ford Explorer transmission SUCKED from the very beginning. I bought my 2004 Explorer brand new, and 6 months later, I needed to bring it in for a so called transmission additive that would correct a potential transmission problem. Well, wouldn't you know it...3 months later, I started noticing a sudden "bang" or "jump" when I shifted from Park to Reverse. Took the car in for repair and was covered under the original warranty for a failed "Solenoid Body". A year later... same problem, but this time the "bang" was more severe. Took it back to the same dealership... well this time they wouldn't fix it, because I was out of warranty by just a couple of months. It costs me $650.00 to replace the part that the dealer had already replaced. 6 months later... guess what same same old... same old... The same dealership now tells me that my 4th gear is gone and I'll need a new transmission... cost $3500. What's wrong with this picture? Can anybody bring a "class action suit" against Ford? These guys shouldn't get away with stuff like that!!! That really sucks. That's it... no more Ford for me, and everyone will hear about it.

- , Royal Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #48

Oct 022007

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

When putting the car in reverse there is a hesitation and then a loud pop/clunk. It also happens when putting it in drive. It is different degrees of severity each time. Sometimes it is ok and sometimes not.

- , Canton, GA, USA

problem #47

Nov 012007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

Finally had enough with my 2004 FORD EXPLORER XLT. Traded it in for a New Honda Van! The Ford once again started a new problem. While applying the brakes it made a loud thud when shifting from 2nd to 1st. The Trans and Dif had already been rebuilt at around 40,000 under extended warranty, that was $4,500.00. Rear diff was making a new noise as well. Thank God I bought the extended warranty. My Toyota with 238K still remains faithful to this day!

- , Spotsylvania, VA, USA

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