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 9 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #226

Oct 212010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles

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

I am disappointed that Ford doesn't better stand behind the product they sell. I purchased my car brand new and it has only 56,000 on it, I was not expecting to have to fork out money to have the transmission repaired! Ford has to begin to understand that when they do not stand behind their vehichles and satisfy their customers that repeat customer will not exist for them.

- , Vista, CA, USA

problem #225

Jan 122005

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles

Since the car was purchased in 2004-new- it has had the shifting hard problem, or not catching up when accelerated after a stop. I did take back to the dealership and was told it was just a slight solenoid (sp) and was repaired...no it wasn't I have complained since I have had this car-No thanks to TOWNSEND FORD,TUSCALOOSA AL..I have almost been hit several times because it wouldn't go after being stopped...or wouldn't go after turning onto a road, most annoying. When it does catch up it hits HARD!

- , Northport, AL, USA

problem #224

Sep 142010

Explorer 6 cly

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

This is my 3rd transmission. lucky for me I bought the 2nd transmission from auto zone and they replaced the transmission. It took 2 months. The second transmission lasted 15000 miles. the first transmission went out with no warning at 75000 miles. I had the fluid changed a month before this happened.

- , York, SC, USA

problem #223

Nov 072009

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,830 miles

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

First I want to say to all of you who read this - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check out your states Lemon Laws and fill out papers and form, you never know if you can have help or not. ALSO - I am not sure if many of you that bought used are aware of this - But MANY of the 2004 Fords left the factory with the wrong transmission fluid in them which is why most of us have these issues, even after they were recalled to flush and replace.

Okay on to my horror story NOTE This is only just the transmission story and since there is a history I will tell the whole story rather than keep re-entering I will be updating all the other stuff in the other categories. Yep I have a lemon and I don't drive much - I currently have 52k on my 6 year old car - and I don't trust it - I just upgraded my AAA to plus so that it has a 100 mile tow radius incase I break down and it can go back to my dealer so I don't have to do this process over somewhere else.

Bought my car in October 2004 with 14 miles on it - 1st issue was a recall to replace transmission fluid was at 4200 miles - Car never ran right after that. I constantly felt the hard shifting, felt like I was getting rear ended when transmission was down shifting.

2nd issue was at 5780 miles - I had the hard shifting and hard reverse where it felt like the tranny was going to fall out with a clunk underneath the car - They replaced the solenoid bands and off I went (FYI It didn't shift hard again for awhile but the tranny still had hard into reverse)

3rd issue - was 6800 miles it had delayed engagement and the bands were replaced again and some other stuff - off hand my service docs are at my office.

4th issue 10200 miles - felt like I was getting rear ended coming to a stop - Ford was "Unable to Duplicate Issue".

5th issue was 20100 miles - car would not keep running died when accelerating (not sure if this was tranny but it miraculously went away) Ford also "unable" to duplicate

6th issue was 44000 miles - November 2009 - Gears slipping in 1st and 2nd - transmission rebuilt luckily I had extended warranty - My heater blend door was also replaced at this time for 1200 dollars (warranty)

7th issue 51108 miles - August 31, 2010 - September 11, 2010 - OD Off light started flashing so I nursed it into the dealershit (not a misprint) planet gear shift was broken in half and some other jargon I could not understand - ANOTHER REBUILD????? Are you kidding me - you would think they would replace my tranny at this point after its had like 7k put into it from day one. But I swear this car has a virus and everything in it is infected from the start with their bad tranny fluid.- Anyhow - I can promise you that this tranny will not last me 6 months - I already have weird shifting and I haven't even drove it 500 miles since I picked it up 3 weeks ago. Ford was responsible for this since they rebuilt it last year. They also scratched my car while it was there. I have to take it in Monday again so the mechanic can drive it and see if he can feel the weird shifting - it is sporadic again shifting weird and sometimes won't shift until 3500 RPMS and thats nursing it along. It also feels slow and heavy like I have something towing behind it. My car has no Giddy Up. I have extended warranty and Ford is responsible for another 12k miles every time this is repaired within that year.

This whole process is a waiting game. I have filed for lemon law - I am waiting to see if I qualify for any relief.

- , Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #222

Oct 142010

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

I decided to join in and write about my experience after reading of so many stories of these cheap, faulty transmissions that Ford does Not stand by. I am not looking at a possible repair of over 3500! I bought this brand new in 2004 and even purchased the extended warranty for another 1800, and now just 10,000 miles out of warranty, my transmission needs replacing. I am so frustrated! Never again. Where do I go to put my info in for joining in on the class action lawsuit...I can't believe no recall!!

- , Concord, CA, USA

problem #221

Aug 282010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

well i thought i was the only one with this problem, but i see im not. yes i have the same problem as the rest of you do. I wrote to the company and i got a "there is nothing we can do to help you " letter then they have the nerve to send me a customer satisfaction survey... well a few choice words and i sent it back. Now i think we all should start a class action law suit aginst FORD before some one gets hurt or killed with these transmission problems. hell i dont have the money to pay for a repair or a new truck. i owned fords all my life and never had a problem that i could not fix myself, but with this new sealed transmission i dont even want to touch it and have them tell me i did something wrong. so i called a dealer and set up an appoinment to have them do a diagnostics on the transmission and to do a fluid and filter change all for the low cost of $350.00.

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #220

Aug 312010

Explorer XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,000 miles

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

This is where the craziness begins "Why" don't Ford take care of the customers and vehicle problems better than they do. I've had 2 vehicles from Ford , have had the same problem with the power train . I am a single parent, I need help fixing what I call a dud product again . My complaint is I need help fixing my only vehicle tranportation for work.

- , Empire, AL, USA

problem #219

Jan 012009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Same story as other transmission complaints... rough going in reverse, shifts hard, and clunks when down shifting. Ford, be kind and offer a fix!

- , Johnsburg, IL, USA

problem #218

Aug 012006

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles

The dealer replaced the solenoids and the same problem came back a year later. Now, it also jerks while I'm driving and hesitates then jerks as you accelerate. I wish I could turn it in and have it be the company car for the president of the ford company.

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #217

Aug 212010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles

hard to shift and makes loud popping noise when i put on the brakes.....what will fix this

- , Muscle, AL, USA

problem #216

Jun 092010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

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

ford built a truck that a owner cannot perform basic care on to force you to pay something as basic as adding fluid.I am totally disgusted with this company and will never ever buy any ford again and will shout on a rooftop how much they suck. This is the reason foreign auto makers have taken over the market!!!

- , Capitol Hts, MD, USA

problem #215

Aug 022010

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

This is the 2nd time i had this problem, the1st was right after the warranty expired and i brought the veh. back to the dealer and to my surprise they fixed it, no charge, i've been a good customer, bought quite a few vehicles from this dealer, nice people! That was probably back in 2007. Now at 83000 miles, again the hard shifting in reverse, so i returned it to the dealer and now they wanted $900.00, so i am debating on whether to have them fix it. Too bad, i really like Fords, but i wil call Ford and complain!

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #214

Dec 152009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

i put 10 years in at the sharonville transmission plant and built the 5r55 model and could not beleive we were building one with out a dipstick, and had a runnig joke that i would never get one that i could not check fluid level, however i took the buy out in fear of layoff and bought a 2 year old explorer for my wife, we love it till this bullshit transmission ,no recall, it can disengage on the highway witch it has. its a pain to me not knowing if or when it works or when i get the call from my wife stranded, kings ford wants 4 grand for a rebuild 2800 for a redone one i told them go to hell, cause i know how to build one for 130 dollars thats what the kit costs i just gotta do the labor in taking it out and doing it

- , Loveland, OH, USA

problem #213

Apr 152008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I KNOW THERE WAS A RECALL SOON AFTER I PURCHASED THE TRUCK FOR A SEAL IN TRANSMISSION I HAD THIS REPLACED BUT AROUND 50,000 MILES I STARTED NOTICING THE HESITATION WHEN PUT IN REVERSE NOW IT NEARLY GIVES YOU WHIPLASH AND IT ALSO JERKS AND HESITATES IN ALL GEARS NOW SLOWING DOWN AND ACCELERATING I AM JUST WAITING FOR IT TO BREAK DOWN ANY DAY NOW. MY DAD, BROTHERS, UNCLE, AND COUSIN ALL WORKED FOR FORD. MY DAD RETIRED. SORRY DAD BUT I WILL NEVER AGAIN BUY A FORD VEHICLE

- , Rockmart, GA, USA

problem #212

Apr 122010

Explorer Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

I bought my 04 Ford Explorer this March. A week after buying it I exprerienced the hard jerking when putting it in reverse. Two weeks in two having the truck I noticed the hard jerking when changing gears. Now it has been several complaints on this so Why in the hell haven't it been a recall on it yet. This is very frustrating and I am feed up with this.I have to pay over $1280 for repair on it and if it goes out on me I will have to pay $4000. What and when will this sh*t be recalled!!!!!!

- , Warner Robins, GA, USA

problem #211

May 012010

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Well this was happening when my timing chain busted so I haven't been able to deal with this problem yet!!! I still can not believe how much trouble I'm having with this vehicle @ 54,000 miles!!!

- , St Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #210

Jan 122005

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles

I took to local dealer that I bought car from and they didn't seem to want to fool with it.

- , Sissonville, WV, USA

problem #209

Aug 112010

Explorer Limited 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,866 miles

After vehicle is out of warranty and only 88K old (I purchased in 2004 and was brand new), I was getting on hwy and attempted to accelerate. The SUV hesitated and then did a hard jump and finally accelerated, and at the same time the CHECK TRANSMISSION light came on and O/D light started blinking on and off. Took to Ford service center the next day. Of course they "test drove" vehicle (don't see how they did that because when I got my vehicle back it had same mileage as when I turned it over to them) and did not reproduce the problem. Did self test, found codes P0735 and P0775. Ran Oasis, found TSB 09-12-12 for similar conditions. Suspect servo bore has worn and causing abnormal transmission action. Was quoted a price of $1100 to install servo bore kit (not Ford piece) without a warranty guarentee, because would be fixed with non Ford parts. Was told that they had done this on 4 other vehicles over the past year and it fixed the problem. Was also quoted a price of $4500 to replace trans assembly (with a 3 year, 100,000 mile warranty). But of course, neither of these fixes would guarentee that it would finally repair the problem that I have. When asked why wasn't this fixed prior to warranty expiring, when I originally reported similar problems, was told that it's not the same problem and they usually see this type of problem occuring at 88K miles. What????? Vehicle is only 6 years old with 88K miles, never driven off road or under harsh conditions, never pulled trailer and always serviced (by the same Ford service center) at it's regularly scheduled times. Why transmission problems? Why not fix problem now without charge when originally detected problem prior to expriration of warranty?

Update from Nov 29, 2010: Had servo bore fixed (had to talk with owner of Ford dealership to talk down the price). Seemed like it fixed the problem. Now as of 11/26/10 my SUV took on life of it's own. I put in park, left it running in order to close my garage door. The SUV started to drive forward into my garage. I had to jump in the vehicle and put on the brakes, did not stop the vehicle. I let up on the brake and then the engine reved up and took off all the while while I am trying to slam on the brakes to stop the vehicle. Ended up driving through the back of my garage, into my yard, drove over a tree, ran through a fence and ended up hitting my neighbors house (concrete foundation finally stopped the out of control SUV). Put in a call to Ford customer service to report a vehicle rollaway and wondering why my vehicle never stopped. Was it the servo bore "fix" that caused a problem with my vehicle that made it have a life of it's own and not stop or was it something else? Now I have to wait 3 weeks to get packet back from Ford office of general counsel to see what they are going to do about checking my vehicle.

Update from Nov 29, 2010: Had servo bore fixed (had to talk with owner of Ford dealership to talk down the price). Seemed like it fixed the problem. Now as of 11/26/10 my SUV took on life of it's own. I put in park, left it running in order to close my garage door. The SUV started to drive forward into my garage. I had to jump in the vehicle and put on the brakes, did not stop the vehicle. I let up on the brake and then the engine reved up and took off all the while while I am trying to slam on the brakes to stop the vehicle. Ended up driving through the back of my garage, into my yard, drove over a tree, ran through a fence and ended up hitting my neighbors house (concrete foundation finally stopped the out of control SUV). Put in a call to Ford customer service to report a vehicle rollaway and wondering why my vehicle never stopped. Was it the servo bore "fix" that caused a problem with my vehicle that made it have a life of it's own and not stop or was it something else? Now I have to wait 3 weeks to get packet back from Ford office of general counsel to see what they are going to do about checking my vehicle.

- , Florissant, MO, USA

problem #208

Jun 152005

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

I had this explorer in the dealership 3 times for the same complaint while under warranty and it still gives me trouble. At what point does Ford owe responsibility to its customers to actually fix this or replace it? I thought I had just bought a crap explorer (its my 3rd and final, the other 2 are fine) until I found this web site.

- , Novato, CA, USA

problem #207

Aug 042009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I bought a 2004 Explorer in 2007 it had 36,000 on it. It drove fine for about a year then I stared to notice the transmission jerking. As of July 31, 2010 it has 108,000 miles on it and the tramission jerks really hard, the ABS light come on and goes off when it want's to. The rear end of the truck sways like it going to flip over if I go around a curve. When I let my foot off the gas there a jerking motion from the truck. I had it check out and the guy said it might be the transmission. I will not be buying any more Fords Explorer. I own a Ford minvan that I relly love. I just decided not to drive it any more.

- , Bumpass, VA, USA

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