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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
43,520 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac Owner Comments

problem #9

Oct 152010

Explorer Sport Trac 6-cyl

  • 92,000 miles


Began to notice transmission slipping about 4 months ago. Ford advised fluid change. Fluid change did not help. Problem is getting worse, now occurs daily. Mechanic says he cannot duplicate problem and no error codes show up when test is run. This problem is very common for this vehicle but the dealerships do not acknowledge it. Problem can result in accident due to no or little acceleration unexpectedly. Transmission replacement is advised at a cost of $3500 for Ford rebuilt with 3 year/36 month warranty.

- Oak Ridge, TN, USA

problem #8

May 202009

Explorer Sport Trac

  • 37,000 miles
2004 Ford Explorer, Sport Trac XLT. Only have 37,871 miles on this truck and already having problems with transmission. Transmission slips in 2ed gear and take about 3 to 4 seconds for reverse to engage. Ford dealer charged me $159 dollars to change trans fluids. I told them that the fluid was dark and smells like metal. I call them back up telling them it didn't fix the problem. I talked to another service person and he stated that if there was a metal smell there is something else wrong. And will cost $75 to check it out. Thank you Ford for a wasted fluid change.

- Lawton, OK, USA

problem #7

Jul 012008

Explorer Sport Trac

  • 85,000 miles
During the acceleration from a stop light the vehicle would slip shifting from 2nd to 3rd. The overdrive off light then began flashing. This caused unexpected poor acceleration and in traffic could result in possibly being rear ended by traffic behind you. Dealer replaced transmission control assembly. $1400. Why should a 4 year old truck need such drastic service?

- Azusa, CA, USA

problem #6

May 152008

Explorer Sport Trac

  • 75,000 miles


At 70,000 miles, my truck is starting to slip when shift from 2nd to 3rd. I did some research on the issue and found that this and other major issues with the automatic transmission on my Sport Trac were very common. I purchased the vehicle new in may of 2004. Within a year, I received a letter stating that Ford needed to add some type of fluid to the transmission. When I took my truck in for this, the mechanic mentioned that this was to prevent a major issue with the transmission and also prevent failure due to a mistake at the plant. What concerns me is that now that my truck is out of warranty, I now will have to foot the bill to have this fixed. This amount seems to vary from $1800 to $4000 as others have mentioned on multiple forums. I have contacted the dealership regarding the issue and they acted as if they had never heard of such an issue. Someone needs to look into this as it would seem that there is a safety concern regarding this transmission.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #5

Apr 062007

Explorer Sport Trac 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,300 miles
Purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer Sport-trac w/26,000 miles on it nine months ago. Drove it to 31,000 miles, and noticed that the transmission was slipping and shifting hard. Called the dealership and advised them of the problem. Dealership stated that due to the warranty, 3 years or 36,000 miles, the item would not be covered. Took to a transmission repair shop (total cost was $1,800) due to electronics and burnt bands. Thanks but no thanks for ever buying a Ford again.

- Texarkana, TX, USA

problem #4

Oct 062005

Explorer Sport Trac 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
The truck's transmission slips going from first to second gear. This was a noticeable problem around 35K miles, and has continued to happen infrequently. Ford sent a letter, January 2005, stating that the transmission fluid used at the assembly plant needed to be replaced because, that over time, it could cause delayed/harsh engagements. When I took the vehicle in for the fluid replacement (42K miles approx), I mentioned this problem to the service employee. He said that this would probably fix the problem, and that I should drive it for awhile to see if the problem corrects itself. At 49K miles, I took the vehicle back to the service center due to the same problem. The first phone call I received, the service center employee said that he drove the car on two occasions and the problem did not occur. Then, I explained the symptoms directly to the mechanic. The next day, the service manager said that the valve body on the transmission would need to be replaced at a cost of $1050. Then, two days later, after removing the casing to replace the valve body, they said that they found deposits of metal in the valve body. They informed me that this would require further disassembly to determine parts and service required. The preliminary cost estimate will be an additional $400 plus parts. I am amazed that a new vehicle would have a serious transmission problem like this, and Ford is accepting no responsibility. Please let me know if this is a problem for any other consumers, and if there is anything I can do to resolve this.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #3

Dec 202004

Explorer Sport Trac 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 19,000 miles


I purchased a 2004 Ford Explorer Sport tracker 11 monthes ago. The first incident was the shocks towers. So, I thought. When I brought it into the dealership, they said it wasn't the shock towers but the sway bar. This occurred around September 2004.. than I brought it into the dealership again because the transmission was slipping. I was told the transmission was brought into the shop. I only have 23,000 miles on the truck. When I bought this truck it had 23 miles on it when it brought it. I have put alot of highway miles on it. But the transmission should not have need to be rebuilt.

- Bellevue, NE, USA

problem #2

Nov 142004

Explorer Sport Trac 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,299 miles
2004 Ford Explorer Sport-trac, tranmission problems. The transmission bucks and the limited slip diferential acts strange.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #1

Apr 122004

Explorer Sport Trac

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78 miles
The consumer was taking off from a stop when he noticed that the vehicle wouldn't go higher than 28 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the dealer could not duplicate the problem.

- Brownsville, TX, USA

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