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:
88,964 miles
Total Complaints:
21 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. crankshaft pulley replacement (15 reports)
  2. replace parts (4 reports)
  3. not sure (2 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #1

Mar 212008

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles


click to see larger images

crankshaft pulley failure

3/21/08 Ford Explorer XLT 4.0L V6 crankshaft pulley(CP) failure. Two weeks ago, it started with a slight chirp. Upon auditory inspection, it was obvious that it was coming from the location of one of the 7 serpentine belt pulleys. The belt was in good condition( no cracks/ no glazing) .I lubricated the 2 idler puller bearings, but that didn't help. After a week, the chirp turned into a continuous squeal. I applied belt conditioner ($4), but no help. At almost 2 weeks, the squealing was excessive. I purchased a new serpentine belt ($40) and anticipated a 15 minute change. Much to my dismay, when I started to route the belt underneath the CP, it was obvious that it was out of line with the cooling fan pulley that was directly above. A closer look, at the CP, revealed a critical failure between the outer pulley band and its rubber damper. Before I jumped to a conclusion, I checked the rotation of all the other pulleys to see if one somehow created excessive resistance that would cause this failure, but all were smooth. This vehicle only has 51000 miles on it, so it's obvious the manufacturing of this part was substandard. I've found 2 other owners who posted the same problem, but I imagine there are a lot more. I'll be contacting Ford to see how they're addressing this problem. See the other persons issue at the link below:

As it stands now, I'm out $200 in parts and labor and still have a dead vehicle. I hope Ford will step up to the plate and make this an easy repair.

- , Kitty Hawk, NC, USA

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