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.

7.9

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,048.00
Average Mileage:
72,980 miles
Total Complaints:
391 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (198 reports)
  2. rebuild transmission (59 reports)
  3. replace shift solenoid (58 reports)
  4. replace transmission (57 reports)
  5. replace shift solenoid and bands (9 reports)
  6. had transmission rebuilt $2012 (3 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 19 of 20)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #31

Sep 282007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles

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

there was a recall on the tranny, i took it back and it still did the same thing when you put it into gear it hesitates and if you step on the gas the car jerks i guess FORD= FIX OR REPAIR DAILY

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #30

Sep 192007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,800 miles

we purchased the vehicle with 34000 miles as is. that should have been our first red flag so we dont buy the extended warranty, thinking low miles, new vehicle, what could go so wrong. it was our backup and vacation vehicle. well when we need it for backup the transmission starts slipping. we take it in to get it looked at and a week later find out the transmission is shot and it needs a whole new one for a cost of $3600. well we complained and got a thousand dollars off so we paid it and got it fixed. why would a transmission need to be replaced with such low mileage? you would think that ford would fix this problem but of course not that is more money they would have to spend and save the consumer a big headache.

- , Winchester, VA, USA

problem #29

Sep 132007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,000 miles

Drivetrain problems at 23,000 is not acceptable on a vehicle such as the Explorer which has been on the market forever.

- , Chicago, IL, USA

problem #28

Sep 062007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

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

I BOUGHT MY 2004 BRAND NEW. AFTER A FEW MONTHS, I NOTICED A HARD "CLUNK" WHEN SHIFTING INTO REVERSE. I TOOK IT TO THE DEALER, AND THEY COULD NOT FIND THE PROBLEM. IT WOULDN'T "CLUNK" FOR THEM AND TOLD ME NOT TO WORRY BECAUSE "THEY" COULD'NT FIND ANYTHING WRONG. ALTHOUGH IT STILL DID THIS OFTEN, I JUST THOUGHT OF IT AS "NORMAL". NOW I HAVE 64,000 MILES, MY EXTENDED WARRENTY HAS RUN OUT AT 60,000 MILES AND I WAS ON MY WAY FROM DE TO VT ABOUT 2 HOURS FROM HOME AND SMOKE WAS COMING FROM UNDERNEATH MY CAR. PULLED OVER RIGHT AWAY AND FOUND TRANSMISSION FLUID LEAKING FROM CAR. I AM ROYALLY PISSED! CALLED MY MECHANIC RIGHT AWAY AND HE TOLD ME I COULD PROBABLY MAKE IT HOME. HE ALSO TOLD IT SOUNDED LIKE THE FRONT SEAL OF THE TRANSMISSION. HOW DOES THIS OCCUR? MY CAR WILL BE 3 YEARS ON SEPT. 29, 2007. NOT EVEN 3 YEARS OLD. I DID'NT NOW HOW MANY PROBLEMS PEOPLE HAVE HAD WITH THE TRANSMISSIONS ON THERE 2004 EXPLORER UNTIL I FOUND THIS WEBSITE. THIS IS BULLSHIT. FORD MOTOR CO. HAS A HUGE PROBLEM WITH THESE TRANSMISSIONS AND I AM GOING TO FIGHT FOR THIS PROBLEM. ANYONE ELSE?

- , 24889 Cannon Road, DE, USA

problem #27

Jun 062007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

2004 ford explorer xlt 49000 miles and the tranny is slipping. The dealer took it for a ride and it slipped for him but he said he did not know what it was. Now they called me 4 days later and said they have to put in a new tranny, ridiculous.

- , Macedon, NY, USA

problem #26

Jun 082007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I just purchased an XLT 2004 Explorer, 2 days ago and I am having nothing but problems from the time I drove off the lot. Only 40K miles on it and major bangs and shift lags coming from the trans.

The truck is perfect in every way except for the tranny. I have brought it back to the dealer and I am praying they will fix it for free.

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #25

Jun 242007

(reported on)

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,000 miles

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

Within the first few months of owning the vehicle, we had slight slippage of the gears. At 18000 miles, I took the vehicle in for repair under warranty, and the solenoid was replaced at that time. The transmission has never been right since the day we owned the car. Now the problem has gotten much worse, we are now at 47,000 miles, and they want to change the solenoid again. Of course, now that would be my expense to the tune of about $900. Of course, I don't believe that would fix the problem since it did not the first time. I spoke to someone in the Atlanta headquarters, he suggested I talk to the general manager at the Ford dealership where I have bought my last 6 or 7 Fords. I think that will be the last Ford we ever purchase.

- , Pompano Beach, FL, USA

problem #24

Aug 032007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I have the same never ending problem as everyone else. Transmission slipping when going into reverse. Solenoid had been replaced twice. The engine slips gears when i take my foot off the gas. I have been to 3 different ford dealerships and have come to the conclusion that FORD will never be able to fix the problem. Anyone what to buy a car?

- , San Diego, CA, USA

problem #23

Aug 022007

(reported on)

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,743 miles

2004 shifting hard especially from drive to reverse or reverse to drive. Hard shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear especially from accelerating on the interstate. Took to dealer ~ solenoid package to be replaced, changed transmission filter and fluid. $900.00 later the car is fixed. Bought Millennium platinum coverage with purchase of vehicle and it only cost me $169.00 out of pocket.

- , Benton, AR, USA

problem #22

Jul 262007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

My explorer just Crapped out on me this week and is now "undriveable" as I have had the same problems with my Transmission slamming into reverse and also slipping when it shifts into 2nd and again into 3rd gears. I contacted my local Ford dealership and was told there was a crack in the transmission and due to that the pressure to shift is lost thus causing the slamming and slipping. They told me it would be $2200.00 to fix this as they would basically have to replace the entire transmission. I told them that explorers were infamous for this problem and they tried to tell me that the explorers had the best transmissions of any of the Ford models. I laughed in his face and had my car towed home where it will sit in my driveway, as I am not willing to pay $2200.00 for a problem that Ford is aware of and is un-willing to fix. I will NEVER buy another Ford or Ford product. Instead of their motto being "Built Tough" it should be "Built Junk" . Way to go Ford! and you wonder why no one is buying american made anymore.

- , Holiday, FL, USA

problem #21

Jul 152007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

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

My Ford 2004 is the worse car I have ever owned. My Toyota with 225,000 miles has had less problems than my Ford with 40,000 miles. Transmission and Differential have both been rebuilt not to mention it goes back in the shop tomorrow for what I think is the exhaust manifold leaking. I will and would never buy a Ford again! It has had other problems as well. The transmission is still not right.

- , Spotsylvania, VA, USA

problem #20

Jul 122007

(reported on)

Explorer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

My Explorer only has 68000 miles on it and hesitates when shifting while parked and while driving and when it does shift it the whole truck jumps.

- , Erie, PA, USA

problem #19

Jul 132007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

I have noticed varying degrees of transmission slippage the past month - checked internet and found this site. Car had transmission fluid added as part of recall when I first purchased car (3 years ago). At this point it isn't terribly annoying - based on what I have read on this site it may be better to wait until things get really bad instead of trying interim fixes that don't work. Used to like Ford Explorers but it's changing quickly with this car.

- , SanDiego, CA, USA

problem #18

Jul 032007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.9L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

Much like everyone else here I brought my little "lemon" to the dealer for the first time after the recall of 2 years ago. They installed the "additive" and poof my vehicle was "repaired". Well now that I am passed my original warranty I have to pay as they say it had nothing to do with the original recall. Seems a little odd to me, as the hunk of junk never did operate the way it should. The only saving grace for me is that it is a lease and it's due to go back in 3 months. So I will return the favor to FORD and make the necessary "temporary" repairs until I can drop it back in the dealers lap. To think I was actually considering buying it out at the end of my lease! I smell a class action suit. Count me in if they even dare to charge me back for any transmission problems on return!

- , Medford, NY, USA

problem #17

Jun 042007

(reported on)

Explorer Eddie Bauer 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

I'm so utterly disgusted with Ford and the way they're handling this rampant transmisson problem. I'm one hundred percent convinced that the factory transmission fluid recall was the reason why I'm experiencing on-going problems. I WILL ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER FORD AND WILL MAKE IT MY MISSION TO SPREAD THE WORD HOW BADLY FORD'S SUCK!

- , Somerville, MA, USA

problem #16

Apr 212007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles

poor dad had to put up with a 02 explorer now an 04 explorer and doing the same thing as the 02 the trans takes 6 seconds to go into reverse and shifts really hard like you hit something

- , Trooper, P. A. 1, USA

problem #15

Mar 292007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT 4.0 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I had no idea the transmission problems in the Explorer were so damn rampant! (i thought it was just my vehicle). I too, have a 2004 Explorer with the "reverse bang" problem, also some gear slippage that seems to be getting worse. I was hesitant at first, to register here and voice my problem.. but after seeing the "tons" of other complaints... I had to come forward. I really hope Ford can do something about this Widespread tranny disaster!

- , Queens, NY, USA

problem #14

Mar 242007

(reported on)

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

I got the same problem as everyone else. Tansmission slipping when moving from reverse to forward as well as when starting from a dead stop. Had fixed at 34k miles under warranty, now 7k miles later same problem. About to be totally ripped off at the dealer as I am sure they will say it is a "new" problem and not something they fixed the first time.

- , Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #13

Mar 122007

(reported on)

Explorer XLT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles

I had the tranny fluid replaced for the recall and then at 10,000 miles my vehicle would hesitate when placing vehicle in reverse for 5 - 20 seconds and then would slam into reverse. I brought it into dealer and they said they 'tightened' the transmission - and after looking at the service paperwork, noticed they actually replaced the solenoid. At 50,000 miles I started having the same problem, but this time I was also experiencing slippage in gears while in stop and go traffic. The tranny was hesitating to go in gear while in drive in slow speeds - 5 to 10 mph. I again took it in for service and was told in would be $730 to replace the solenoid AGAIN! ONE WEEK LATER and the SAME PROBLEM!!!!! Now, they are saying roughly $2400 and the bands and servo's need to be rebuilt, that there is metal pieces in the transmission. They want to replace the complete transmission.

- , Albany, NY, USA

problem #12

Mar 102007

(reported on)

Explorer XLS V6 4.0

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

i purchased my 04' explorer in nov 2005, had it for a little over a month and the shifting from park to reverse was very loud. i brought it into the dealer which claim they fixed the shift sylinoid. ok, today is march 10, two months later, still having the same problem. i am taking it in again!! will the tranny be replaced this time??? i will never buy another ford. ever!

- , Winnetka, CA, USA

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