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 6 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #286

Sep 092010

Explorer LX 6 cyl 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles

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

Well, my problem is, I paid 33,000 dollars for this vehicle new. I know I have driven it over 200 miles now, but I feel like most of these mile were highway miles. Never pulled trailors. They are easy miles & the rear end starting singing at like 65,000 miles & the transmission starting going out around 100,000. I also own a Mitsubishi Galant & it has 206,000 miles & it doesn't have any of these problems. I think Ford skimped on the rear end & transmissions. Should have used heavier duty parts. Seems like there are a million people having the same problems I'm having, so I know Ford dropped the ball.

- , Pearl, MS, USA

problem #285

Jun 202009

Explorer LS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

The Explorer does not to come out of park and jerks sometimes while driving. I never called ford customer service thought there no use. I also had shifting rod replaced on steering column. Transmission sometimes i have problem going into drive.Tank you.

- , Paris, KY, USA

problem #284

Jul 192011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,001 miles

Just spent $8,400 on a "new to me" 2004 Ford Explorer in what seemed to be perfect condition inside and out, and

r about 3 days later, I have noticed the transmission shifting hard, and when going from park to reverse, it jerks really hard. After reading alot on line, it seems that this is a MAJOR problem with this transmission. SO did I just WASTE my money on a LEMON?????

- , Newborn, GA, USA

problem #283

Nov 062006

Explorer XLS 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20,000 miles

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

I bought this car in 2006 and now in 2011 I am trying to sell it so I can buy another SUV(definitely NOT A FORD). It has always shifted hard, and now it is 100,900 miles and still doing it.The last mechanic I took it to says he thinks it is a module on the transmission. Not sure yet how much, but he says it won't be a lot. Probably about 100-200. Yet, I have read all the complaints on here and am worried that it needs a new transmission. I can not figure out how Ford can continue to be a money making company with such a horrible track record with transmissions. I am only asking 6000 for my Explorer and it is well worth it. I think this is very reasonable, and if this transmission goes out, they can still have a great car for a good price if they do replace it. My SUV is in top shape except it shifts a bit hard.I forgot to mention that I JUST REPLACED a whole transmission on my 2007 Ford Eddie Bauer as well. My dad is a mechanic SO I LUCKED OUT AND HE DID THE JOB. IT COST ME AROUND 500 FOR THE PARTS and that's it. Yet when it was finished, the torque converter(a new one) began whinning. We now have to put a new one of those in. AMAZING! I can't ask my dad to work on another one for me so I took the 2004 one to someone else. How can this darn company continue to thrive? The new Explorers are making an unbelievable showing in sales. They've tripled the sales of the last year's model. Unbelievable! When I get rid of these two, I am NEVER buying another! Man up Ford and do the right thing! If you don't Karma, God, etc WILL COME BACK AND BITE YOU IN THE ASS! This internet is connecting customers and we are becoming stronger and more organized. You can't continue to ignore your customers and make money for long with this technology that's available today!

- , Lexington, KY, USA

problem #282

Jun 012011

Explorer XLT 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Transmission getting stuck in gear. Also, shifting hard. Got to the point that it flung passengers in their seats.

Spoke with Ford Hqs. They said no recall but definitely keep my receipts.

Thank you very much.

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #281

Sep 012011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,400 miles

I bought a 2004 Ford Explorer in January 2011 and it had 69,800 miles. There was no apparent problems with it during the first few months, but around six months into owning it I started to notice it slipping. Now it is October and it is really slipping so I took it in to get check out. They are replacing the transmission because second and third gears were frozen together and multiple bands wore completely worn out.

I thought I researched this vehicle adequately before purchasing it, but now I see that this problem is way too common and I should have never purchased it. I am going to do everything I can to get my voice heard and get Ford to step up and get this problem recalled.

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #280

Oct 052011

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

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

I already did my research online about why my truck would jerk real hard when I put it in reverse and then one day my message board said check transmission. I went around pricing how much it would cost to get it fixed hoping it was only low on fluid, it wasn't I was told that I would need a new or rebuilt transmission. I took it then to ford just to confirm it was true and I paid $120 just for a diagnostic test and they couldn't find anything wrong with the transmission? My question is how could ford not see anything wrong with there own transmission. However I knew that was not true because of all the jerks and it said check transmission...then I insisted if they were sure and they ended up keeping my truck over night just to call and say yes it needs a new one. When asked how much and what was wrong with it they couldn't tell me and just priced me a new one at $3700. I just took it to the other transmission shop and paid $2660 for a rebuilt one and I'm still having some issues!!!

- , Little Rock, AR, USA

problem #279

May 102011

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Our explorer is starting to have so many problems all the sudden! 2 months ago the heater went out and will cost $1000 to fix

4 weeks ago we started noticing that the car would take a significant amount of time when shifting into drive (at a light, when backing up,etc). The transmission is going to be close to $3000.

Last winter the middle seat belt in the 2nd row became stuck and will not retrack. We have to replace the seat because the lever that lowers the seat broke as well (about a year ago). That is going to cost us $300 for the seat. The dial for the radio does not work--when we try to turn the volume down it goes up--some times all the way up. Who knows how much that will cost.

ADVICE - -Don't buy an Explorer!

- , Kaysville, UT, USA

problem #278

Oct 172011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Will never buy a FORD again! I will tell everyone NOT to buy FORD!! This piece of junk is nothing but a problem. No matter how well you take care of it you will have to dump a pile of money into it for repairs...had taken this junk to the FORD dealership many times for the same problem over the years and the problems never seem to get fixed. The fix creates new problems...now replacing the whole transmission not very happy

- , Delmont, PA, USA

problem #277

Oct 132011

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,500 miles

This is my 3rd Ford vehicle. 1995 Ford F250.. no problems, currently own 97 F250 powerstroke that's been great... Decided that the family vehicle would be a Ford Explorer and found a low mileage 2004 (11,000) and bought it used from the same Ford dealer with a $2000 extended warranty to 70,000 miles. At 77,000 miles it starts shifting hard and slipping. Take it in and told shift solenoid is bad and need a rebuild for $1800. Shop got into it and said bands are bad as well as the Torque Converter is not far behind. Didn't want to spend $1800 to have the TC go out a few miles down the road and start all over so now I'm hit with $2800 bill for a family vehicle that's never towed anything with 77,000 miles on it getting a complete rebuild. Not a happy Ford Customer right now. This is really unacceptable for a vehicle that hasn't been abused with this low of mileage.

- , Portland, OR, USA

problem #276

Jul 042005

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles

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

Same as everyone else, warranty expired, now transmission, transfer case and rear differential all shot to Hell !! Should have researched before purchased, as usual was given run around by loser dealership, nothing they could do, just drive it. Was towed several times to dealer while under warranty, for jerking, slipping and whining, they could not replicate problem. This is a good indication of upcoming quality from all American made vehicles, I do believe, dealer told me vehicles are now made to be disposable, I guess I'll just take the bus because now I cant afford the repair cost of 5,144.00, I'm busted, just busted !! Ford will NOT do the right by us, the consumers, EVER, this is a changed America!! Buyers BEWARE!!

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #275

Mar 042011

Explorer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,625 miles

Our Ford was supposed to be covered under the Pre-Certified Owner Warranty, but Team Ford of Marietta, GA DID NOT HONOR this Warranty. This was a used vehicle from Ford's fleet. It is our understanding that this is a problem prevalent with 2004 Ford Explorers, as well as other years, but FORD has not recalled the vehicle. So, we took it to a transmission mechanic and had it replaced/rebuilt (?). Since, April of 2011, we had to take it back around July 11, 2011, because it began to slip and the gears stick again. It had to be towed. And, now, October 2011, we are having to take it back again for the same problem. We've had Ford products before, but after this ordeal and contacting Ford Motor and nothing is being done, we WILL NEVER purchase another Ford vehicle, and I will personally use ever outlet I have to discourage anyone from purchasing a vehicle from Ford. Ford knows there is a problem, and they are refusing to acknowledge it and fix it. I want them to buy back my vehicle. Three times!!!! Same problem!!!!

- , Marietta, GA, USA

problem #274

Oct 052011

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,000 miles

Bought the Ford Explorer brand new in 2004. Never had any problem until the transmission start slipping and I took to it to the Ford Dealer. Was told the whole transmission had to be overhauled and would cost around $3,200...My extended warranty expired out while I was deployed (20110331). The vehicle only have 66,000 miles but the warranty expired based on date (84 months). Pissed but still looking for a cheaper price to get my vehicle fixed.

- , Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #273

Jan 052010

Explorer Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,553 miles

It is sad to have a wonderful, fully loaded truck with everything perfect except for the transmission that wont shift right...

- , White Pine, TN, USA

problem #272

Aug 022011

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,345 miles

Very dissatisfying, vehicle when put in reverse gives of a hard shift erratically, about 4 months ago I notified Ford. They changed the oil for the Transmission the problem went away for a little bit but it is now back again and even worse!!!!

- , Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

problem #271

Sep 152011

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 161,000 miles

just want to vent. I'm having the same problems as the rest of u. ...what was ford doing when they designed this suv....just bad...... i have owned mustangs and earlier explorer models and this one is cheaply made parts, maint problems unheard of with any other car companies...cant say much more....I'm getting more upset by the min.

- , Southfield, MI, USA

problem #270

Aug 202004

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 11 miles

first brand new car i ever bought and ford managed to screw it up and made me never want to own a ford again, since DAY 1 the transmission has slipped. got a recall notice ford put a small vile of fluid in it and said that the wrong transmission fluid was put into it and thought that was the fix, it wasn't, they gave me an extended warranty and wouldn't fix it.

never buy this car

- , Fisherville, KY, USA

problem #269

Sep 012009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Ford needs to recall the 2004 Ford Explorer for transmission failure. My transmission first started shifting hard into gear about two years ago, 88,000 miles. It's getting worst, sometimes it makes a banging noise when I put it in reverese and it's hard to go in gear. When you stop it down shifts very hard, then when start it shifts with about two big bangs going into gear. This problem is getting worst and I know I'm going to have to replace the transmission soon. also, onec it would not shift into reverse, so I had to get a fuse changed to make it work.

- , Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #268

Feb 042005

Explorer XLS/SPT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

Every 30,000 miles or so I have to repair the same thing in the transmission they tell me its a sensor that needs to be replaced which cost 1065.00 each time I've had to replace it now about 3 times and its in need of the same repair once again. I call the customer service to see if they could help me with the repair since this is an on going thing with the vehicle they informed me no not unless they have a recall on it. This is totally outrageous for it to be the same issue each time. If you go to look online for used SUV and you look up Explorer you will find that each of them requires transmission work to be done on them. If ford knows this is an issue you would think they would want to fix them so people will want to continue buying Ford cars or trucks.

I will never buy another one now since for one they won't stand behind their vehicles. I now own a Honda and they take care of all the issues thus far. Good luck to anyone who wants to own one.

- , Oberlin, OH, USA

problem #267

Aug 122010

Explorer ES 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

THIS WAS DEFINITELY A FORD DEFECT-----I HAVE HEARD HUNDREDS OF THE SAME COMPLAINTS. THE MAIN PROBLEM IS THAT FORD'S DESIGN IN THIS TRANSMISSION WAS TO MOUNT THE LINKAGE (A STEEL ROD) INTO A HOLE IN THE ALUMINUM CASING. A MAJOR DEFECT TO ANYONE EXPERIENCED WITH MACHINE WORK. STEEL BEING MUCH HARDER THAN ALUMINUM WILL EVENTUALLY WOBBLE OUT THE HOLE IN THE CASE AND CAUSE A FAILURE. ANY DESIGN ENGINEER WHO KNOWS HIS JOB WILL INSTALL A HARDENED ALLOY BUSHING INTO THE HOLE TO PREVENT THE WEARING OUT OF THE ALUMINUM. FORD HAS ISSUED A REPAIR KIT AVAILABLE TO THE TRANSMISSION SHOPS BUT STILL DENIES ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THIS DEFECT. I'M A WELDER/MACHINIST AND I WILL STAND UP IN COURT TO TESTIFY TO THIS PROBLEM IF THERE IS A LAWYER WILLING TO FILE A CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT!!!!!

- , Mount Juliet, TN, USA

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