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 1 of 20)

problem #391

Jun 082017

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,000 miles

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

I wish they would put this as a recall to many people have had problems with the transmission for it not to be a recall.

- , Taylor, US

problem #390

Jun 132017

Explorer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,400 miles

I have a 2004 Ford Explorer that I love. It began shifting super hard when I would put it into reverse. Putting it into drive was no problem until you applied pressure to the gas pedal to make it go and and the engine would race and it would slam into the next gear. We took it in to be looked at to see if there was a "inexpensive" fix to the problem. However they said that the overdrive had put sheered and put shavings into the oil pan etc. The mechanic said this is a known problem and has been a known problem for this model of ford explorers and yet somehow there is no recall for it. I have to have a vehicle to get to and from my dr appointments for my health and this is a HUGE setback financially for me. So frustrated since I love my truck and I feel that Ford should do better by those who purchase their product :(

- , Puyallup, US

problem #389

Apr 012017

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 147,850 miles

TRYING TO FIND IF THERE IS ANY RECALL ON THIS PROBLEM. EVERYONE SEEMS TO HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM. DID FORD TAKE ANY CREDIT FOR REPLACEMENT!!!!

- , Centereach, US

problem #388

Jan 082017

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 187,234 miles

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

SO SICK OF THIS SH$T. This truck has to be the worst built vehicle by ford. I had the computer reset twice because Ford claimed that was the issue. Only to find out that the tranny needed to be rebuilt. So I did, because I need my truck. Now here it is 5 years later and the same jumping and bucking like a freaking horse when I drive. Its so bad that when I decelerate it knocks too. WTFFFFFFFF!. So Many issues with this truck and now that I have found this web-site. I will be listing All of the issues

- , Hampton, GA, USA

problem #387

Jan 062017

Explorer EddyBauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

I CAN NOT DISCRIBE HOW I FEEL. I FEEL SO BAD AND ANGREE THAT IT IS HARD FOR ME TO DISCRIBE IT.

- , Saint Cloud, FL, USA

problem #386

Nov 112016

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 176,000 miles

FORD SUCKS!!! EVERYBODY NEEDS TO BOYCOTT FORDS!!!@))$ FORD EXPLORERS ARE JUNK!!!

- , Corydon, IN, USA

problem #385

Aug 012016

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

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

It's just down to this, if a company puts out a bad part especially to the whole country they should be held accountable and fix it, like that bad ass motor in 2002 2.4L dodge intrepid piece of junk.

- , Hinesville, GA, USA

problem #384

Aug 232016

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,000 miles

I'm disabled and bought the 2004 Ford Exployer thinking at 137000 miles it would be a good vehicle to get me back and forth to the doctor. However within 2 months it was shifting so hard the whole car jerked. Sometimes I would have to turn off the car and restart several times to get it to go in gear! Finally it just stopped, wouldn't go into gear. Since it is my only means of transportation I had it towed to a transmission shop....I just got off the phone with the guy working on my vehicle $2000. I'm sick!

- , Nicholasville, USA

problem #383

Aug 012016

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 178,239 miles

POPS INTO REVERSE HARD. MAKES A VERY LOUD NOISE WHEN I PUT IT IN REVERSE.

- , Byron, GA, USA

problem #382

Nov 152014

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

One day I had stopped to fill up my tank and on my way home my Service Engine Soon light comes on and 1 minute later my O/D light starts flashing. Now I'm freaking out because what could this mean and my truck is shifting weird, I'm stepping on the gas and I'm barely moving. Don't think about pulling in front of anyone unless you want to be in an accident. I went to get it checked and the mechanic says it's my Transmission Control Solenoid. They said the part cost $500 but, couldn't give me an estimate on total cost. I've read TOO many complaints on this issue for FORD to not have put their big boy pants on and offer a recall on this issue. Just admit that you messed up and deal with. Wouldn't you like more Positive reviews than Negative. GET IT TOGETHER FORD OR YOU SHOULD CHANGE YOUR SLOGAN FROM "BUILT TOUGH" TO "BUILT GOOD ENOUGH"!!!!!!!!

- , Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #381

Mar 052016

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,201 miles

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

Really, really stinks that everything else is working properly on the car, but you have to deal with such a great expense as replacing a whole transmission....who the hell has money like that?!! I sure don't!!

- , Fitchburg, MA, USA

problem #380

Dec 252015

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

I think the National Traffic Safety Board should force FORD to fix ALL these defective transmission's before somebody gets KILLED OR HIT BY AN 18-WHEELER !!!!

- , Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #379

Sep 072015

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

Why in the world would the transmission in my explorer with $93,000 mile go out? I do NOT have the money to fix this or buy another vehicle. I am on a fixed income. I have babied this vehicle since I purchased it, this vehicle should have lasted another 10 years at least with the low mileage I put on it.

- , Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #378

Mar 312015

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

Really tired of getting stuck with the "worst year" and vehicles that have known issues. Uhaul won't even rent a trailer to me with if I use my Ford Explorer! They should have to compensate owners for this issue since they didn't change the track of the Explorer until 2011, but knew the insurance companies and lawyers were aware of the issues not to mention Uhaul.

- , Williston, FL, USA

problem #377

Dec 152015

Explorer 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Make no mistake, if your eyes have landed on these words, nothing you are about to read will surprise you. After all, we are talking about an early 2000's Ford Explorer here, people... the official mascot of transmission failure. They say, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me." Folks, the shame is ALL MINE. Why? Because this isn't even the first time I've had to replace a transmission on a Ford Explorer! That's right, my first car, my baby, a 1994 Ford Explorer, white with blue interior, she was a beauty until she turned on me. I was young, naive, and fully willing to save her by injecting $3,000 into a brand new transmission. So now, here I am with her younger, hotter sister. But, crazy runs in the family and whatayaknow, she's flipped. A Ford dealership transmission inspection broke the news to me, she's slippin' in 2nd and 5th and her days are numbered. So what do I do? Well, I had the fluid flushed and topped off for $200 to buy her a few more precious months before she drives off to the great beyond. But truthfully, it felt like giving a blood transfusion to someone that really needed a bone marrow transplant. It wont fix her, just delays the inevitable. Ford Dealership employees recognize this pattern of problems, but as no recall or class action lawsuit exists, Ford Motors as a company will not recognize this issue as one of their one, they just wont do the right thing and fix the explorer tranny at reduced cost, no, no, no they want to squeeze even more money out of my wallet. A dealership employee quoted me $3,700 to rebuild it, $4,200 to replace it... not only is that significantly more than double the cost you'll find at any other mechanic... that's more money than i could sell the whole car for if it were in proper, working condition... but like I said before, you already know this. and if you didn't.. you damn sure expected it. If you, like myself, are contemplating fixing/replacing as opposed to bricking the acceleration pedal over a cliff and buying into a different company altogether, do yourself a favor, don't pay for ford's warranty fix. their word is as good as their cars. Do your research and go to a local, reliable, trusted mechanic and rebuild the tranny somewhere in the realm of 1,800-2,000 and take the 2,000 you saved by not letting ford fix it and put that away in your savings to use on that chevy you've had your eye on, because believe me. that explorer will die, and when it does, you'll want to cut ties with Ford Motors for the rest of your life.

- , Smyrna, GA, USA

problem #376

Nov 272015

Explorer Eddie Bauer 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Bought the Explorer new in 2004. always had some hard shifting. Changed the fluid and screen every 50,000 miles as suggested by the dealer. Now getting really bad. Long pause to shift from reverse to drive. Transmission slips when it shifts through the gears. It is simply a matter of time before it fails completely. It is going to be expensive.

- , Butler, MO, USA

problem #375

Oct 082014

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

Trans is shifting hard. Brought in to mechanic and they said the 2004 transmissions were horrible. Wanted $2k to fix. I did not fix, and just driving it as is. Transmission light on.

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #374

Jun 012015

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I have been lucky enough to make it to 113,000 miles without the transmission failing, but have started noticing it is extremely rough when shifting. I have seen a lot of people state that at or around 120-125,000 miles is when their transmission eventually failed them, so I guess it's either wait for the failure and pay the ridiculous prices we have all been stuck with or maybe Ford will actually do the right thing and issue a recall. I have contacted Ford with this same complaint to see what they have to say, but more than likely since issuing this recall would hurt their bottom line I doubt it will happen. I'll definitely never buy a Ford again once I can unload this piece of junk.

- , Tampa, FL, USA

problem #373

Aug 022015

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 154,000 miles

The transmission problem started about a couple of weeks after we purchased the vehicle. We took it back to the dealership, they checked it out and said there was nothing wrong. When put into gear it would jerk hard into gear. They did nothing to help. Years later the problem still exist. Now the transmission is starting to slip. Other than this problem, this vehicle is in very good condition. Help, help, no one wants to take the blame###FORD##

- , Pinetops, NC, USA

problem #372

Apr 252015

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

Cannot afford to take to garage!! It codes pressure control solenoid. Put in 2. 1 refurbished and 1 used and the problem still exists!! Not sure what to do now!! Will not buy another Ford!!!!!

- , Binghamton, NY, US

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