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:
102,962 miles
Total Complaints:
58 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replacement hinges (28 reports)
  2. not sure (14 reports)
  3. replaced with hinge kit 2l2z-78420a68-aa (7 reports)
  4. replace bracket (4 reports)
  5. repair but Ford says problem will recur (3 reports)
  6. adjust hinges (1 reports)
2004 Ford Explorer windows / windshield problems

windows / windshield problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

Dec 122010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles


Pain in the ass when not at home to fix. Window will not close.

- , Fernley, NV, USA

problem #17

Oct 242010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,500 miles

I'm afraid to open the back door ...what the hell is going on with ford ...I only ever owned a ford...never had a problem before.

- , Plymouth, PA, US

problem #16

Aug 282010

Explorer LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

For the 3rd time we have now had a problem with our Ford Explorer rear tailgate window. The 1st time was Christmas morning 2months after we bought it. I had just put all the food I had prepared for our Christmas meal with our family in the back end and when I closed the window it shattered and because most of my items were covered with wrap it was all spoiled, every last item. Ford covered the cost of this one because of the warranty. The second time the window did not break it just wouldn't close so they were able to fix it again at no cost because of the warranty. But this time we are 2 months away from our last payment and there is no more warranty. We were just finishing our overnight vacation and when leaving the hotel my husband went to close the window and the left hinge broke and the strut was locked open so we could not close the window and we could not drive with it hanging like that so we removed the strut and got the window shut and took it to the dealer who of course tried to act like this was very rare and didn't know what to say when I told him it was the 3rd time for us. He said ya it seems like a few people have problems but most don't. The fact that they act like this is not a defect in their design is a load and I will not do business with a company that is openly willing to disregard the safety of my family.

- , Saint Paul, MN, US

problem #15

Aug 222010

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


So, it's 92 degrees, 75% humidity. I drive my 2, 4 and 6 year old to a city lake for some swimming at a beach on a Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. I open the back window to grab a bag of towels and "BANG." The entire window falls into my arms. Luckily, I am nimble, because the glass window is very heavy. This is the nanny vehicle, which is driven all day long, every weekday by her. I can't believe this happened to me instead of her. THANKFULLY. The hydrolic lifting posts were still attached and I could not get them off while my kids sat baking in the car. So, luckily, I happened to have some ratchet straps inside. I looped them through the window latching loop, up over the glass and attached them to the roof rack, to hold the thing in place while we escaped to the beach. Then we drove home later, wondering whether the thing would fall off and take out whoever was behind us en route. Very dangerous all around.

- , Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #14

Aug 222010

Explorer Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,283 miles

Ford has a better Idea ????????

I hardly use my back window, usually I use the the back hatch. Today I did and boy am I sorry. No warning and I have my back window on my head. Question for Ford why dont you recall the 2004's like you did the other years? Are you waiting for a class action suit first? I think your better than those japanese cars that were forced to recall there cars. I only own Fords and this is what I get.

- , OakBrook Terrace, IL, USA

problem #13

Apr 142010

Explorer XLT 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

My wife was closing rear glass hatch on my 2004 Ford Explorer, and RH Hinge failed, putting to much strain on right hinge and it was ruined also. She was very lucky she did not get hurt when this happened. Ford knows this is a problem but they have decided to only recall the 2002 and 2003 models because of this. The hinges are the same. Also from my estimates of seeing Explorers on the road I would estimate that 75% or more of the trim pieces below the rear glass are cracked near the emblem, this is a big problem on Explorers and Mountaniers, but they refuse to fix the problem. I also had a sensor fail on my cruise control which was a recall on another year model but not on mine, my local dealer acknowledged this and sold it to me at a discount. I would also like to mention that It developed a whine at certain speeds, upon investigation I had found that wheel bearing assemblies could cause this. So I replaced all 4, along with both u-joints and changed the fluid twice in both front and rear differentials. I am able to to this all in my own garage, so I was able to save a ton of money, but buying the parts alone on the bearing assemblies was over 700.00.

Also, since new this vehicle has always made a loud clunking noise when going from a stand still to reverse especially if the rpm's are up a little, I have learned to ease it into reverse. Under warranty and a TSB they chaged the trans fluid because it had the wrong kind put in when new. This did not fix the problem so twice they changed, I think it was a solenoid assembly, which if I would have had to buy would have been expensive. Needless to say it never fixed the problem. Now I have noticed that from a stand still it sometimes hesitates to go forward when put into drive. I have a feeling I will be running into more problems with trans in the future. Even though I have had all these issues I still like the Explorer but have considered pursuing legal help in regards to issued that continue to be unresolved by Ford.

- , Metropolis, IL, USA

problem #12

May 022010

Explorer V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles


Like the other people who have experience this issue, I called Ford directly to see if they would cover the repair, was told there was nothing they could do. I have own 6 vehicles in my life, the most by far compared to any manufacturer. Had brake issues with our 2008 Dodge Caravan, called Dodge, they made accommodations to cover the repair. Its not rocket science, 1 company stands behind their product, 1 does not. The only reason I bought the Explorer was because it burned E-85. Now that that is not an issue any more, my next vehicle will be a Durango.

- , Poplar Grove, IL, USA

problem #11

Mar 102010

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,135 miles

Definitely a problem that Ford should make right. I was able to get the glass shut and drive to the Ford dealer. The dealer said it would be $240 to replace the hinges. Later called me and said the glass had shattered and now would cost $1,400 to replace glass and frame. This is my third explorer and my last.

- , Lawrenceville, GA, US

problem #10

Jan 282010

Explorer ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,010 miles

I went to put my groceries in through the rear as usual. It is 7 degrees outside. I open up the top hatch the window falls off the hinges. A stranger manages to help me place back in place and places duct tape over the hinges to hold until I get home. I drive off and bam the window falls out and shatters. What the? I haven't gone to the dealer yet. But I'm not feeling too good about this.

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #9

Jan 162010

Explorer Eddie Bauer V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,890 miles

Hinges broke on my back glass. Went to drop off clothes at purple heart when I shut the back hatch I heard something break and the right hinge just broke right off by the bolt. Broke the struts that hold up the window..well it broke one, bent the other and knocked the other hinge loose. I had no idea what to do! Couldn't get the other hinge off took 45 minutes and 3 people in the damn rain to push the window over enough to where it would shut and not fall off going back home and fall on the road possibly hitting a car behind me..THIS IS A ROAD HAZARD!!! 20 bungie Chords strapped everywhere along the back to hold the window in place until I could afford the $380 to fix it. $95 for BOTH of those stinkin' hinges!!! The struts are $85!!! then another $90 for labor to fix it and then add on state sales tax..FORD...WHAT A JOKE!!! And to top it off Ford has recalled the 2003 hinges and I believe 2005 but not 2004??? I have NEVER had a vehicle with the back window hatch like this have the hinges break out of the blue!

- , Spring, TX, USA

problem #8

Dec 312008

Explorer XLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles


So I go to open the rear window one morning and nearly got my head taken off! One of the bolts had completely snapped apart and let the window fall on me. It is a very heavy piece and it HURT! Ford is lucky I didn't claim medical damages for the pain I was in. Anyway, since the other bolt was holding and my husband was able to get the window closed again, I took it to the dealer and they had to order the hinges, which apparently didn't come with the the right bolt, so they had to use some other bolt that appears to work. Anyway, after all was said and done, we didn't claim it against the warranty because the cost was about the same as our deductible of $100.

But now that I have the whole panel cracking down the middle of this window/door I am becoming very unhappy with this vehicle that I thought was a good piece of machinery which has become a big pile of POOP!! I hope Ford hears all these complaints and does something about giving it's loyal customers some retribution for such bad workmanship and materials!!

- , Fairfield, CA, USA

problem #7

Jul 272009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Driving through the mountains and heard a loud "bang" from the rear of the SUV. I pulled over and saw no damage to the vehicle...I thought I'd hit some debris in the road. A few days later, I noticed that one of the rear window hinges was slightly crooked. Upon closer inspection, the pin sheared.

The dealer had a hinge repair kit in stock and said that this year for some reason was not covered by recall.

- , Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #6

May 312009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,234 miles

rear glass hatch fell off today. At the grocery store, luckily my husband came with me or I have no idea how I would have made it home in one piece. Was just getting out my reusable bags from the back went to close the hatch with one hand and the hinges busted. the glass didn't fall to the ground and we managed to remove the arms and put the glass into the car but what a joke this car is 5 yrs old. I've been reading many other posts with the same problem fortunately there was no broken glass and this didn't happen to any of my children. I can't believe Ford is not taking care of this I will be pursuing all possible avenues and will post if I am able to get anywhere with this problem.

- , Glen Ellyn, IL, USA

problem #5

Feb 132008

Explorer Eddie Bauer 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

My wife picked up some groceries and when she shut the hatch it fell off halfway. The other hinge was still hanging on. All she could do was drive home; it was to heavy and to much of a pain for her to try and rig. She pulled in the driveway and it fell off and landed on the ground. It got chipped and scratched all up and then even more as I wrestled the thing to get it back up in order to get it to the auto shop. When I finally got it there it was $20 dollars for each hinge and the labor was free because it was a friend, but my hatch is all scuffed and chipped. I heard later about a recall on the hatch's hinges and looked into it but none really existed.

- , Coldwater, MI, USA

problem #4

Oct 062008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I was initially told that there was a recall on the rear hinges. After visiting the dealership, I found out that Ford recalled the rear hinges in the 2003, 2002, and 2007 models but did not recall the hinges in the 2004 model? Is there any sense at all in this?

I am having my rear hinges replaced at a Ford dealership for 137.00 but the hazard this posed while having to drive for a week like this and the fact that Ford does not have a recall on an issue that they have acknowledged as being a problem is incredible.

- , Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, USA

problem #3

Aug 112008

Explorer Limmited 6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,595 miles

The rear hatch just came off as I was driving out out of a store, the hinge just broke off, as per the Ford dealer, this happen a lot due to the rear retaining water the hinges getting rotten due to the water

- , Rochester, NY, US

problem #2

Aug 102008

Explorer Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

The 2002 and 2003 Ford Explorer models have a recall on defective rear window hinges but FORD would not honor the recall for 2004 when it was installed with the same defective hinges. Luckily my window did not break and it didn't fall on someones head when it fell. The replacement hinges (parts) cost $30 but the labor and disposal cost $200. My biggest gripe is that FORD continued to install the same defective hinges in 2004 but they would not extend the recall and take care of what was once a loyal customer.

- , St. Paul, MN, USA

problem #1

Jun 252008

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

About a year ago and at about 40,000 one of my hinges broke. Ford acknowledged this as a recurring problem on the explorer model but unlike ALL other years around it the 2004 had no recall, thus I had to pay for the hinges. Now fast forward to 2008 and the same hinges are not only breaking again but has now damaged the glass. The repair shop has again acknowledged a defect and refused to tighten the hinge for a temporary fix because the glass is already cracked and this would cause the blown out glass as mentioned above. Ford service stated that there was no recall on the 2004 but right outside the managers window was another explorer with the same hinge mechanism and a shattered back glass. Ford offered no warranty service because of the lack of a recall but I was advised that if I got it fixed to "avoid using the back glass because it WOULD HAPPEN AGAIN" Best quote so far on the repair is $1280.00

- , LaPlace, LA, USA

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