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:
$2,048.00
Average Mileage:
72,980 miles
Total Complaints:
391 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (198 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (59 reports)
  3. replace shift solenoid (58 reports)
  4. replace transmission (57 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 17 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #71

Apr 232008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

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

THE CAR WOULD TAKE A BIT TO GO INTO GEAR AND IT WOULD SHIFT HARSHLY WHEN PUT INTO REVERSE. SO THE SOLENOID WAS REPLACED ON THIS VEHICLE UNDER A RECALL A YEAR AFTER I GOT IT IN 2005 AND IT WAS GOOD UNTIL A MONTH AGO. NOW IT IS DOING IT AGAIN. THE DEALER CHARGED ME $228.00 FOR A NONSENSE DIAGNOSTIC TEST, THEY DID NOT TEST DRIVE THE CAR (THE MILEAGE WENT UP .2 MILES. BASICALLY THE DISTANCE FROM THEIR LOT TO THERE REPAIR SHOP) , AND CAME BACK WITH A PRICE OF $3,000 FOR A REBUILT OR $4,000.00 FOR A FORD FACTORY TRANSMISSION. THE REBUILT HAD A MICKEY MOUSE WARRANTY OF ONE YEAR AND THE FORD FACTORY TRANSMISSION HAD ONE FOR THREE YEARS. I ASKED IS IT POSSIBLE TO CHECK AND CHANGE THE PARTS THAT NEEDED TO BE REPLACED? THEY SAID NO, BECAUSE THE SOME OF THE OLD PARTS WOULD CONTAMINATE THE NEW ONES. SO ON TOP OF PAYING $4.15 PER GALLON FOR GAS I HAVE TO SPEND $3,000.00 - $4,000.00 FOR THE CAR TO RUN PROPERLY! NONSENSE! FORD IS LOSING MONEY BECAUSE OF SLUMPED SUV SALES BUT, THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO MAKE UP FOR IT.

- , Bronx, NY, USA

problem #70

May 162005

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

My Ford Explorer started having shifting problems after 1 year I bought it. Ford dealer fixed it because it was under warranty. They claimed that it was the transmission solenoid.

I am having the same issue 1 year after the fix was made and went back to the dealer. They said that the car is not under warranty anymore and it will cost me around 1400 dollars to fix it. I did not have them fix it and figured that I call Ford customer service to get this fixed for free. That did not get me anywhere. This was back in 2006 or 2007 and I am still having this issue.

I found this site today and said that I might have a Lemon car and it is describing the same exact problems that I am having.

http://www.ford-problems.com/explorer-transmission-problems.htm

- , Burbank, CA, USA

problem #69

Mar 202008

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,500 miles

I actually have a 04 Mercuy Mountaineer with this same tranny problem, however, I suspect that many Mountaineer owners aren't aware of this web site. GET A CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT STARTED !!! goto http://www.ford-problems.com/explorer-transmission-problems.htm and fill out the form and get an attorney...

- , Urbana, OH, USA

problem #68

Apr 212008

Explorer LX 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,700 miles

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

Extended warranty (Universal) only covered a $300 part and NOT the other $1k of labor to take it out, the band for third gear which was damaged and went out. I almost feel "lucky" though, because we ended up getting a brand new trans installed for just over $1k. Ugh.

- , Gardendale, AL, US

problem #67

Apr 292008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,150 miles

I had a 1999 Explorer that I LOVED!!! When shopping around for a newer car I kept going back to the Explorers. I couldn't afford a brand new car and found a 2004 that was loaded - with even more than I could have asked for. I have two active (young) children, and finally felt like we all got the vehicle that fit us. I felt my children were safe in this vehicle. While driving to work the day after I bought the Explorer, I noticed it shifting very hard. I tried to stay optimistic - but a few days later knew something was terribly wrong. The car would shift so hard it felt like the brakes were being slammed on. It would jerk and make a loud noise while shifting into reverse - the ABS lights and O/C light kept going on and off. I was so upset - I didn't know what to do. I just financed $16,000 for this car and did not buy the warranty as it only had 37,000 mile on it. Today I took it into a Tranny shop where they performed a diagnostic on it - it needed over $3000 in transmission work. One of the mechanics gave me some websites (this one as well) to read up about all the problems with the 2004 model. Well, after crying, yelling, and getting my day ruined I took the car back up to the dealer and DEMANDED my money back. I was surprised that they took it back without a hassle as it has been a week now that I've had it. I am relieved that it happened so fast after I bought it.

I am grateful for this website - if I had not read this I probably would have shelled out the money and just thought it to be bad timing. I am sorry for all of you who have had your lives horribly inconvenienced from this experience.

- , Stow, OH, US

problem #66

Apr 212008

Explorer XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,900 miles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, US

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

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

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