really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
111,400 miles
Total Complaints:
40 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replacement of transmission (14 reports)
  2. not sure (12 reports)
  3. rebuild (7 reports)
  4. replace transmission (7 reports)
1999 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 1999 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

1999 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #40

Aug 012017

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles


After 14 years of great service all of a sudden my transmission started having problems and now it wont move! Doing the research, I found that I have the Explorer transmission and have learned what everyone else knows about Ford transmissions. THEY DON'T LAST LONG! No simple fix for this! After lots of troubleshooting, it is dead! Ford needs to sell manual transmissions if the cant make a simply automatic, like the ones they ALL used to make long ago.

I am very unhappy and don't have a solution. the car is wonderful but it is not worth the price to get this car fixed because the design was bad when it left the factory. My Explorer has 123, 000 miles on it! Ford is a truly American Company and needs to make this problem right with the people who have gotten screwed by this very complicated and badly designed transmission. My 69 dart still has the original transmission and I have had the car for over 40 years and there is nothing electrical in the tranny!

Ford, listen to me: American people don't want the crap that we are being forced to spend our money on! We want a made in American car that gets good mileage and lasts a long time! Most of us don't want the bells and whistles and the other crap that always goes bad quickly.

If we can get the EPA and the other cost rising federal Government agencies to leave us and FORD alone maybe with our help Ford will will do a abetter job for US, the American people.

- August H., Umatilla, US

problem #39

May 052016

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 193,597 miles

transmission company said it was a total mess -- could not understand why it would not even run in neutral. don't know if they can fix it or not -- had to have the car towed again. no warning -- overdrive light started flashing, car simply would not move in drive -- had to put it in the lowest possible position and simply limp it to the side where I could get it towed. very disgusted - car runs great, looks great, but 3 transmissions is way too many. have had Fords all my life - not going to buy another one this time.

- Joyce K., USA, OH, US

problem #38

Feb 292012

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,024 miles

total transmission failure again -- totally rebuilt transmission

- Joyce K., USA, OH, US

problem #37

Jan 182005

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,270 miles


transmission totally failed - northgate transmission towed car and totally overhauled transmission

- Joyce K., USA, OH, US

problem #36

Aug 262014

Explorer 4.0L Sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

This was transmission replacement number 1 (for this owner). Soon to be entering transmission number 2. Thanks to Ford I will be learning to rebuild the 5R55E transmission.

- Jack K., Hudson, WI, US

problem #35

Nov 152014

Explorer 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,899 miles

This car has been maintained! Regular oil changes, services, etc, never abused, very little towing, even though has the deluxe tow pkg. Nothing was odd, then, the o/d light started flashing... Note, this car just came back from an oil change!

I took it to a tranny place who is very reputable, who the dealerships take their vehicles to, and they found filings in the tranny and it is toast, needs a total rebuild!

They told me to drive it for a bit as they found another to rebuild and prep to put in. I drove less than 30 km and got to a lot, went to leave, put it in reverse and it wouldn't budge, no drive, no movement, just engine revving, no engagement of transmission at all.

I can't believe it, no warning, no bahaing, no abuse and suddenly toast!

- whykatts, West Lincoln, Ontario, canada

problem #34

Dec 022014

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,582 miles


This is a history of how I ended up with the transmission problem after a dealer nightmare.

I bought this vehicle used on 11/11/14. The dealership refused to give me my down payment back on the first car I bought there where financing didn't go through, after I had the vehicle for 4 days. I get a call and when I take it back to get my money he said NO, you have to put it towards another vehicle. I asked what he had, he said nothing on the lot but would get me something. I called and went by several times and he said he was still looking for me. Just keep the vehicle I had, it had 30 day tags which expired. So he gets me another car to drive on the lot with dealer tags.

hen I get a call he has this Explorer, just needs to be inspected. I also have to pay a payment on the first vehicle as I have had it 30 days and owe a payment. Really?? I wait in his office and they drive up with the Explorer after more than a hour, I get in and the airbag light is on. I tell him and proceed to drive off and hear a clunking noise in the front so I call him. He said they are getting ready to close bring it tomorrow and his mechanic will look.

I had a friend go under it the next morning before work and the sway bar link was not even connected, the upper and lower ball joints were bad. It was a mess and I have the pictures to prove it. I called him and he said you bought this as is because of the year and mileage. I said yes, but it has a new inspection sticker and this is illegal. He said he wouldn't do anything. I had my friend, who is a mechanic go with me to talk to him and suddenly he said oh yes I will take care of it. He had it almost a week and only fixed part of the problems. I told him when it was picked up it still wasn't right and he said he isn't doing anything else because he isn't making any money on it. I said I am calling the VA STATE POLICE and they will be investigating it then because it isn't safe or good business. He wanted to know why I was being a B** and trying to get people in trouble. I said why are you selling me crap? He took the car back to fix the other issues, I got the vehicle back and the airbag light was still on. I asked him he said it was replaced, just need to reset the light. So, not sure if it is fixed or not. Drive it home and the next morning supposed to take it back for the light to be "reset". While driving about 45 mph, lose power, push down on the gas and the engine revs but no movement. I coast into a parking lot and coast to a stop. Put it into park and rev up engine, seems okay...put it into drive and I have nothing. Try it again and it starts to creep enough for me to get it into a parking space. I called a mechanic friend and when he came later that night to look he put it in gear and it starts to drive, then after about 4 feet it drops out and the engine revs but no movement. He got out and rocked the vehicle, got back in and started to drive it again. Who knows what the heck that meant but it worked. Then about 10 feet and it goes out again. I called the dealer and told him I couldn't bring the vehicle as it broke down on the way to work. He said what happened and I said transmission. He said tow it here and my mechanic will look at it. Haven't had good luck with that in the past. I said are you paying for the tow and repairs/ replacement and of course he said NO, you bought it used as is.

So had it towed and checked at another shop and was told transmission is gone. Sensors check out okay. So now what??? So I am now looking into what if anything my options are for repair/replacement and suit against the dealership or on my own.

- gotme2, Fredericksburg, VA, US

problem #33

Feb 112014

Explorer Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,890 miles

Drove Explorer all weekend with no problems. Tuesday 2/11/14 the trans started slipping after only driving a few miles. Stopped at light and trans failed. Checked trans fluid and it is black and smells like motor oil.. COMPLETE FAILURE OF TRANS WITH NO PRIOR SYMPTOMS EXCEPT O/D LIGHT FLASHING.

- Terry C., Albany,, OR, US

problem #32

Feb 142014

Explorer Sport 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

so why are these trucks/suvs still on the road? i get i am buying someone's problems when i get a used car. but when the chips are down do i need a good kick to da gut also? no job no credit no chit! and now i need wheels and i get this 99 ford explorer sport only to find out the tranys are junk.....in a ford?? really?? used to be first on race day now we are going back to found on road dead...fix or repair daily?? really ford?? do you just not care about being number one or got enough money you don't have to care? thanks for NOT standing behind your junk.....should have got a mopar and been done......wished there was help for us helpless working class but no recall...i know get a job and credit and a new car....too damn bad it will be a toyota, mazda, or something other than a us made piece of chit!! sorry about rant but ever wonder why we are so behind the rest of automotive manufacturers?? just ask yourself.....................

- Randy H., Knoxville, TN, US

problem #31

Aug 122012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 174,000 miles

I bought this vehicle used from a dealer close by and i've had two problems, running lean and transmission problem. My main issue is the transmission. I was backing into a stall at lunch time and heard and felt a clunk after backing about 1 foot. I was able to drive forward, but no reverse. I got it home that night and called around the next day for estimates. This is were I go off- every f*ing repair shop told me its the filter. I have replaced the filter which set me back $80, still no reverse. I called J&G transmissions and they told me It needs replaced because the shifter disrupted the bands in said transmission and that I was looking at a price of $2200 for the fix. I am so damn tired of putting money into a vehicle that was supposed to have all the kinks worked out of it. Oh, by the way I bought this vehicle for $7,000 in 2005 with 148000 miles on it. Now I would assume putting 34000 miles on it in 8 years was good, mind you those were freeway miles not city driving. What the hell Ford Motor Company? For being a supposed #1 truck selling company, they are difinitely not worth purchasing. Since my vehicle is dead in the water, My father-in-law made it a point that I need to drive something more safe and reliable, he has given me the opportunity to drive his truck which a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500. THIS IS A TRUCK. This truck has a better buy back rate than any I have heard of, Dodge wants to by it back for $22,000(without any upgrades done to it). Ford, get your heads out of each others ass and revamp your customer service skills and stop milking owners for your own benefit. No one can afford to drop more than 2,000 dollars on repairs of faulty foreign parts. Get a life and buy back your mistakes or do good by those that own your vehicles. Ford told me that a replcement transmission would set me back $2600 and change, really? We all have families and low paying jobs, we can't afford your outragous repair cost, If we could? we would be driving Lexus or jaguars not a Found On Road Dead vehicle. The most disturbing news is ford has the most recalls and complaints than any automotive company out there combined, oh the least 'chevrolet'. I guess in this situation you dont get what you pay for. Now if think I am hot under the collar for $7000 bucks, imagine those that pay the high cost of $30+ thousands your vehicles sell for today. Wake the f* up Ford!!!

- robrown67, Midvale, UT, US

problem #30

Nov 212012

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles


I was in a parking lot about to leave, and my explorer wouldn't go into reverse. Only 130,000 miles. Yes its 2012 and it is a 1999, but that low of mileage seems terrible.

- avail1236, Portland, ME, US

problem #29

Jul 122012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 158,000 miles

I pulled out of a gas station and lost all power to transmission. I had the screen and oil replace to no avail. I am now in the process of putting a used tranny in my truck o have my tranny fixed is too much [1000 to 1600] dollars at continental transmission. Now that I have a problem with my truck i am being told this is a major problem with this year truck.i am on a fixed income i cannot afford a continuing financial problem such as this.how does one start or become involved in a class action suit?

- gomo1945, Buffalo, N Y, Venezuela

problem #28

Oct 152011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles

I bought this car used. I got it in April of 2011 and by October 2011 I couldn't drive it anymore. The transmission will not go in reverse. This is the second explorer I bought that had this problem. I think that Ford should be recalling them and fixing the problem. I have always bought fords since the early 2000's but I keep having problems with them. If this is going to keep happening I would rather drive a Chevy!!

Update: This economy is bad enough without having to be worry about your car not working right. I have to use my mother's car to get to work right now because I cant afford to fix mine. This is a problem. I am a single mother of 2 and can't get my car repaired because it cost to much. I believe that ford knows about this problem but decided to do nothing about it. I have been ripped off by ford dealers when I have taken my car to them for repair. They have fixed the wrong thing and charged me and I still had a problem when I got my car back. I think they are sneaky and trying to sell cars that aren't worth the money they ask for them. When you have to keep putting money into a car it's not worth it anymore. I will not recommend the ford explorer to anyone.

- shamblin, Sanford, ME, US

problem #27

May 152012

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

I bought this vehicle used. Two weeks later the transmission blew. There was no indication of any problem previous to the disaster.

- mcarty, Carson City, NV, US

problem #26

Aug 032002

Explorer XLT 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Bought this ford when it was only 3 years old with 78000 miles on it. Two years later the transmission quit. Wasn't even paid for & no warranties left on it. Main source of transporation to work. Had to borrow money to fix it & make those payments on top of truck payment. And yes we had changed the filter & fluids. First thing we do on any used vehicle purchased. Can't trust anyone especially dealers. Only consolation is I am still driving the vehicle - rusted, hardly any power anything still works & it's lasted longer than the ex! Wish I had internet back then - definitely would've bought something else. Especially when I bought an '04 Ford Escape last June. Yes - you guessed it. The transmission has quit. Still waiting on the esimates for this fiasco. Have learned my lesson - finally. There will be no more Fords. They used to be all I would drive. But two with transmissions blown? That's more than just a case of bad luck!

- Brenda L., Howes Cave, NY, US

problem #25

Feb 112011

Explorer Limited 4.0sohc

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles

Transmission was slipping after taking it to a independent shop got it fixed no problems there after yety.

- cka123, Walnut Creek, CA, US

problem #24

Sep 232011

Explorer Eddie Bauer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,600 miles

Reverse is as effective as neutral, feels like neutral. Drive works just fine. I felt it slip out of gear in reverse (was under power) and reverse has refused to engage since, Problem has not yet been fixed, I found this site when checking for any applicable recalls after seeing that it was a VERY common problem according to multiple sites and forums.

- caffiend, New Britain, CT, US

problem #23

May 162009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

We had a 1997 Explorer and the transmission started slipping. We choose to sell it and informed the new owners of this issue. Two years later we bought a 1999 Explorer because I like the car, I was very comfortable with this model. Like others this was a mistake. The transmission failed completely. We had just put new tires on it! I called independent shops and Ford and was quoted $2700 to $3500 to rebuild or replace the transmission. I drove our F350 for a year before we relented and bought another car. Now I have a car payment i did not want (we owned the explorer outright). Ford has known of this problem for more than 12 years! Its time for a lawsuit.

- K. B., Garden Valley, CA, US

problem #22

Aug 182010

Explorer XLS 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles


- Luis I., Lajas, P.R, Puerto Rico

problem #21

Aug 152010

Explorer 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Same as the rest of the complaints, O/D flashing, and all 3 of the mechanics I have been to say the same thing. We will not give an estimate until we get into the problem. Basically 300-400 dollars to get started, and then what ever is wrong with the transmission. A rebuild being 2500, or so. I love the or so part. Or they just keep your vehicle until you can pay. And I only have one vehicle, so I think my next one will be a tacoma.

- 1999_pos_explorer, Pasadena, MD, US

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?