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.

6.4

fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
$453.00
Average Mileage:
75,272 miles
Total Complaints:
763 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. waiting for Ford to recall (294 reports)
  2. not sure (204 reports)
  3. replace panel (117 reports)
  4. possible class action lawsuit (62 reports)
  5. call Ford motor company 1-800-241-3673 (27 reports)
  6. do not buy Ford again (25 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer body / paint problems

body / paint problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Ford Explorer:

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

2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 39)

problem #763

Nov 012015

Explorer XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

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

Panel cracked on a cold winter day and I heard it crack when it did it. Nothing impacted the vehicle such as a collision nor did it come from slamming the panel shut. It came as I was driving down a smooth, paved roadway. The dealer said that it would take $500 dollars to get a new panel and that did not include the cost of painting it to match. Also not covered under my extended "bumper to bumper" warranty that I paid an extra $2500 dollars for when I purchased the vehicle new.

I had considered replacing the panel but from reading around in a number of forums found out that the replacement panels are the same thing as the old panels and they will crack as well - thus not worth the cost.

- , Smyrna, US

problem #762

Jul 082016

Explorer XLT 4.6V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,710 miles

A lot of photos are shown online of cracked plastic panels on the Explorer tailgates. The whole assembly is lightweight and frail. Eight hours on a corrugated dirt road would probably destroy both upper tailgate hinges and the glass. They are not strong enough for an SUV. Ford should have recalled all of them and replaced with a more substantial window.

My Explorer had a full-width crack in the rear tailgate plastic panel.I fixed the crack with RapidFix glue, made by Boss products in Michigan. It was done without disassembly, in about 5 minutes. It was less of a problem than gluing my Nike sandals; which I did straight after. It is waterproof, and looks very durable. I am sending this to your information bank because I do not seem to be able to access the Explorer Forum. It may be better to remove the panel and fix both sides but the job can be done without that. I did abrade the crack slightly and rubbed the sides of the crack with 1200 wet-or-dry paper, but that's all. It is worth a try for owners of Explorers with multiple cracked tailgate panels. I have forgotten the name of the plastic used to make the panel but that RapidFix glue will stick it. Just do not leave your fingers on the area you are gluing or the emergency boys will be cutting the panel to take you away to get unglued. Quite a few retail outlets stock that glue, and I would recommend it. Here in Australia I bought a pack online for $43.00, and that is a lot cheaper than a panel job. According to the RapidFix instruction video you can stab your radiator hose and then glue it, and it will hold under pressure. Or glue your radiator hole, coolant bottle hole, or water pump housing. Ford are not going to fix their tailgates, so people should be able to access a cheap means of repair. I hope you can give this message out to Explorer owners. I have no connection with the people of Boss Products except that I have some of that glue on my fingernails for a while.

- , Manly,Qld, Australia

problem #761

Dec 292016

Explorer ALS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,400 miles

I have a 2004 ford explorer and the back liftgate is cracking and it is getting worse. This make my whole truck look horrible. I would like to get it fixed.

- , Hephzibah, US

problem #760

Dec 152014

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

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

The plastic panel, under the lift gate window cracked, due to temperature change. This allowed moisture in and caused the latch to stick closed.

- , West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #759

Jul 282017

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,400 miles

When the Explorer was bought used in 2015 the cracks that are common in this panel did not exist. We purposely did not open the glass part of the lift gate to avoid cracking it. Eventually it cracked on its own just from opening the full tailgate. Then recently the lift gate latch keeper bolts/studs rusted behind the cracked panel and the glass lift gate released on its own. The interior lights came on as a result. This drained my battery in this summers heat. I had to purchase a new battery.

To avoid this battery issue from happening again, I rigged the lift gate latch with zip ties through the holes to temporarily hold the lift gate shut. It won't hold long like this so I need to fix the attachment parts that rusted behind the glass and then the colored cover panel that is now badly cracked, The cracking of this very poorly designed and poor material choice part let water in behind it after cracking. This caused rust of the latch attachment studs.

Ford's issuance of VSB's about this issue are proof they were aware and should still be on the hook for such poor design of this widespread tailgate issue that is a safety concern.

- , Fenton, MO, US

problem #758

Feb 112009

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,140 miles

2004 Ford Explorer rear Ford Panel under the outside window cracked just from shutting the rear hatch.

Seems this is a problem reported by a lot of owners but Ford has done nothing to address this problem.

Devalues your vehicle due to there bad qc control issues.

Waiting on a recall.

- , Delta, CO, USA

problem #757

Dec 272014

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

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

The crack in the panel below the rear window occurred in Dec. 2014. The car was 10 years old by then. I thought I had simply closed the window gate too hard and it cracked because of that. Then I started noticing at least one Explorer everyday with the same crack. It seems to me that Ford should be replacing the panels.

- , Portland, OR, US

problem #756

Jul 042013

Explorer Limited 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I have seen many Ford Explorers with this same issue. I don't understand why Ford won't fix this issue it is clearly a defect on all Explorers. I will NEVER BUY A FORD.

- , Keller, TX, US

problem #755

Feb 222012

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

Looks like a common problem but Ford refuses to acknowledge issue. Very expensive to fix and it re-occurs after fixing

- , Loveland, CO, USA

problem #754

Sep 152010

Explorer Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

My 2004 Ford Explorer as of today 10/7/2016 has a little over 80k miles, so not very much miles!!! The crack around the back emblem started in 2010 and is completely around the emblem!! Every Ford Explorer I've seen seems to have this same issue and apparently due to poor manufacturing in that particular area!!! Ford needs to recall and fix this!!!!

- , Lancaster, SC, US

problem #753

Feb 042017

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,111 miles

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

ford knows about the problem it on all of the cars

- , Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #752

Dec 212016

Explorer Limited 5.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,618 miles

Called Ford Motor about the Explorer, all I got was that they would "note it" for reference and transferred me to my local dealer. Talked to a very nice service rep who tried to get Ford to fix it. A very well known fact that Ford knows about from the beginning and just refused to fix it.

- , Springfield, MO, US

problem #751

Sep 012015

Explorer XLT Sport 4x4 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

This was cracked when I got vehicle. Noticed it seems to be common for explorers/mountaineers of the lineage.

- , Egg Harbor City, NJ, USA

problem #750

Jan 022016

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

The lift gate cracked about a year ago on my Explorer. I have a friend whose also cracked. I posted on facebook today about it, and there are about 30 people commented that their Ford Explorer liftgate cracked also. This seems to be a problem that Ford needs to correct. No reason for the body of any vehicle to crack like this.

- , Morganton, NC, USA

problem #749

Aug 202015

Explorer LX

  • Manual transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Crack on rear panel. Notice several other Explorers about the same model year with the same issue.

- , Wausau, WI, USA

problem #748

Dec 102013

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,469 miles

EVERY EXPLORER I HAVE SEEN HAS THE SAME EXACT ISSUE!

- , Byron, GA, USA

problem #747

Apr 152006

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles

after 4 years living with the cracks, a rear end accident forced entire door to be replaced. I thought problem was solved. 6 months later, it cracked again. It now has 3 cracks. The panel is now taped on to hopefully stop panel from falling off. It looks terrible and will certainly influence selling or trade-in.I am in Fl., and 98% are craked. Can't believe Ford can get away without solving the problem. Ford has refused to fix it.

- , Holiday, FL, USA

problem #746

Jan 012007

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

have repaired several times...

- , Stratford, CT, USA

problem #745

Jul 212007

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,500 miles

I have contacted Ford about this problem and I was told they had no complaints. Just about all the 04 Explorers I have seen have the same problem. Ford needs to take care of this as good customer relations. They must have had many complaints about this problem. From 05 on the gate design has been changed. FORD ... ARE YOU LISTENING ...???????

- , Clarksville, MD, USA

problem #744

Mar 022016

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

My Explorer has the crack on the rear hatch just right of the Ford logo, which appears to be a VERY common flaw. Ford needs to make this right!

- , Hilliard, OH, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?