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.


definitely annoying
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
56,990 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #4

Oct 292004

Explorer Limited 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,962 miles


Purchased vehicle in Aug 04, brand new. In Oct 04 I took the vehicle on a road trip for a hurricane evacuation. I noticed a noise coming from the dash/engine at a high rate of speed it sounded like a flute (low vacuum sound). This then turned into a flutter/low rattle. Took the vehicle to the dealer countless times. They claimed countless times that they could not duplicate the noise even though everyone that rode in the car could hear it. Finally they were able to eard the noise but stated they could not identify the cause or source. Noise is still there to this day (6 Jul 12) so I am waiting to see what will go out next. I am really disappointed, after having several Ford vehicles, at the lack of responsibility Ford is willing to take for its product. This vehicle has really burned me from ever considering another Ford product.

Update from Oct 2, 2013: Sold vehicle tired of the unwillingness for Ford Motor Company to stand behind its product.

- , Niceville, FL, USA

problem #3

Mar 012010

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

Engine is loud when you start it. It quiets down a little but has a whining noise as you're driving. I'm afraid it's going to quit on me. My mechanic said it's a problem that is best for the dealer to keep from having other trouble with it. The cost range around $1000 or more.

- , Akron, OH, USA

problem #2

Aug 172009

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Well first off I probably should have done more homework before I purchased the vehicle from a low end used car dealer. I didn't pass up the 3 year extended warranty, which probably saved me hundreds of dollars. My problem started about a week off the line with a low idle while the car was in drive and at a light. After I accelerated a bit, the vibration went away and the condition after that was normal. Then I noticed a winning sound coming from what I thought was the tensioner, I couldn't put my finger on a solution so I had an opinion from a certified Ford dealer. They had the car for two days and gave me some speal about how the rear motor mount was going back causing a circular vibration. I knew after they said rear motor mount, somone was trying to make a fool out of me. So I had another mechanic at the same location take a second opinion and he came to the conclusion that it was a crankshaft pulley, sensible but from past cars I have owned, I have never known a crankshaft pulley to go bad at less then 100k. So as we speak its being replaced and we will go from there. I am also having problems with my ABS light coming on and off, I was told it was a sensor that is inproperly installed or wearing out, if anyone has any info on this let me know.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #1

Sep 012008

Explorer LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Explorer makes an erratic, whining sound at speeds usually in excess of 40 mph seeming to emanate from engine area, possibly fuel injection or transmission, I hope not the latter. Could it be differential? It seems to occur on acceleration and deceleration it will usually last less than a minute. It is not intolerable but has me worried that it is symptomatic of a larger problem. I'm quite sure it is not a bearing sound. I would appreciate any ideas.

- , Berrien Springs, MI, USA

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