Notes: The 2005 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.

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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
133,667 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (2 reports)
  2. new engine (1 reports)
2005 Ford Explorer engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Jan 042013

Explorer ES 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 171,000 miles


Traveling along on the highway and I feel the truck losing power going up the hill, buck, and the check engine light comes on. I start to pull over and the engine dies. I pull off and stop, try starting and only hear a whirr when engaging the starter. Have it towed to my mechanic's shop. He quickly diagnosed it as a timing chain issue. He said he will have research it and see what it would take to fix.

Calls me up later that night, and first words out of his mouth "Not good". The worse engine ever to have a timing chain failure. He said it has 3, count them 3 timing chains. Two in the front of the engine, main timing and left cylinders, and the right cylinders are driven by the main shaft all the way to the REAR of the engine where the 3rd timing chain is... and if any one of the three go, it normally destroys the other two chains or sprockets, and quite possibly the valves and heads are damaged to. Cost to repair, he said don't bother, get a new engine.

I went and verified this information in the Haynes repair manual. Who in their right mind would design something like this? It says on the Ford site the timing chains are "designed for the life of the motor". Good way of putting it because when they go your motor is dead.

Not sure about anyone else, but part of a design of a vehicle should be a thought to maintenance and repair. This was designed and engineered to fail and fail with a large price tag to the owner. I will never own another Ford ever again. I have owned Dodge's, Fords, and EVERY SINGLE one has had issues of some kind. I have only had one Chevy, with only small issues and very pleased with it. However, I have ownd 5 Toyota's in a row without a single issue, not even ONE. I went back to american made 1) because of the cost of Toyota 2) Bad press for toyota, and 3) Wanting to buy american. After this, I'm going back to Toyota.

- , Claremont, NH, US

problem #2

Sep 042011

Explorer Xls Sport 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

This engine is a piece of garbage. 5 timing chains. the engine has to come out to replace the rear chain. The engine self-destructed. SHAME on Ford. After the new engine goes in, I'm back to GM. I change the oil with synthetic every 3-4000 miles.

No warning of what was to come. Any Lawyers out there want to sue Ford, e-mail me at Ford should have a sign on this vehicle that the engine self-destructs at 60-100,000 miles

- , Fort Lee, NJ, USA

problem #1

Oct 042009

Explorer XLT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

I purchased a 2005 Ford Explorer new in July 2005; kept up on all normal wear and tear maintenance issues, oil changes every 3,000 miles, replace belts, etc. on a regular basis. The Explorer is our family car, and we use it whenever we travel. We had the vehicle completely serviced by a FORD dealer just before leaving from central Florida up to Tennesee for vacation at the end of September. On the drive home the first Sunday in October, traveling at 75 MPH in the fast lane along I-75 near Gainesville, FL, and just having looked at the gauges which all showed no problems, the vehicle "bucked" and when I looked down again at the gauges, the "check engine" light came on. I immediately started moving the car thru 4 lanes of traffic to the shoulder. As I neared the shoulder, the engine cut out completely and I lost the power steering. Trying to re-start the vehicle was useless, there was only a "slight whirl" sound in the engine... never turned over. There was absolutely no warning, no symptoms of any problems, and no way to have prepared for a vehicle breakdown. My grandson's comment when I first bought the car came to mind -- F.O.R.D. - FOUND ON ROAD DEAD!! ... some 200+ miles from home. The vehicle was flat-bedded to a local FORD dealer, and we had to obtain an equal size rental vehicle to transport all our vacation supplies home. On Monday, the car dealer called and said the "rear timing chain" broke (which, by the way is INSIDE the engine and not subject to any regular maintenance inspection), which caused extra strain on the front timing chain, bent the rocker arms and valves... virtually SEIZING the engine.... which was NOT REPAIRABLE !!!! A rebuilt engine had to be installed at a cost of $5,200. With the cost of the rental vehicle for 5 days, our bill was $5,700. Thank GOD at least we had AAA for the towing. AND, of course, the vehicle was no longer under warranty!

When we called the FORD (FOUND ON ROAD DEAD) Motor Company, reporting the incident, the representative expressed his opinion that we should be happy to have gotten 125,000 miles on the vehicle -- we felt the vehicle should have lasted (with good maintenance as we had regularly performed on the vehicle) at least until the loan for it was paid off. We wrote to the company more than a month ago, but have had NO RESPONSE to date. Rest assured... with their lack of customer care and concern, we will NEVER purchase another FORD product. !!! BE WARE there was aboslutely no warning and no signs of a problem with our vehicle before the incident occurred on the interstate... this could happen to you too!

- , Sebring, FL, USA

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