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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
94,541 miles
Total Complaints:
84 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (27 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (27 reports)
  3. replace transmission (16 reports)
  4. replace solenoid body (7 reports)
  5. replaced transmission (4 reports)
  6. turn off truck & wait 10 seconds to restart (3 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 5 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #4

Sep 012008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,150 miles


We just bought a 2004 Ford Explorer with 100,000 on it, and I wish I would have found this website first because now I see my tranny problems were inevitable. Within two months, the tranny was shot...completely charred and worthless. I can see now why this guy got rid of the thing and why we got such a good deal. My problem started with clunking reverse, then a hard shift from first to second, then flashing OD light, and then a check engine light, and then BOOM!! no tranny... this was all within weeks of each other. Any one that can tell me whether replacing the tranny is even worth it, I would REALLY appreciate it!! My first and last ford...

- , Brainerd, MN, USA

problem #3

Sep 252008

Explorer 4.0L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles

just not good timing for this problem o/d light is on engine light is on they tell me its skipping second and third gear i cant afford this at this time my wife could lose her job because theres no way to get there someone told me they had ford drain and replace fluid and the filter and it runs much better? but with my luck its the transmission.

- , Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #2

Jul 142008

Explorer XLT V8 4.6L

  • CVT transmission
  • 79,500 miles

I bought this truck in January '08 and have since had it in the shop for a total of 8x, 4 of which were for the tranny alone. 1st was the rear differential, 2nd complete tranny replacement (thank god I purchased the extended warranty), 3rd and 4th the solenoid pak. I just picked up the vehicle on 7/27/08 from Continental Transmission and am so far pleased with the results of this latest repair. It started with the O/D light flashing off and on when first started and a harsh engagement going into gear (F/R), which you are all familiar with from the sounds of it. But there may be a solution as my vehicle is running 100% better as of current as I immediately put 200 miles on it in 1 day to be sure of it. The manager told me that there is a spout/drain that all the water runoff goes into, which is located immediately above the transmission electrical system, rotted out and fell off causing all the water to run onto the main electrical component causing it to corrode. When the vehicle was plugged into the machine it was shooting all different codes, some of which they said they have never seen, but couldn't figure it out. They went back to '01-'02 and found a report that mentioned the above issue and checked it and found this component to be completely corroded causing the problems that we have all experienced. So far I have not had any problems and am pleased but will wait before I am in true belief of this repair. Hope this helps out!!!!

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #1

Oct 042007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

My O/D light keeps flashing, I've had the transmission and the computer replaced and nothing seems to fix this problem. The mechanics can't figure out whats wrong with it.

Has anyone been through this problem, and got it fixed?

- , Brookly, NY, USA

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