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Ford Freestar Transmission Problems

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  • Well, I went and had the codes read from our 2004 Freestar transmission this morning & low and behold it's the torque converter clutch. At highway speeds the fluid overheats and the clutch remains in the stuck position and the transaxle light will flash. Normal city commuting no problem, no flashing light, but it's just a matter of time I believe. I'm curious though if a complaint is filled out & we decide not to get the transmission replaced and decided to trade it in, will we have issues trading it in? 54,000 miles and the transmission is shot & the AC quit this past summer. This is completely unacceptable. :lemon: I'm at a lost where to even begin. If you have experience the same or similar, please advise me some options. Thanks.
  • First thing- you can take this car to CarMax and they will give you a written estimate on what they will pay you for the car- bottom line without haggle, black and white. I did this for a Ford Taurus that had some miles on it. They were generous - if you want top dollar for a trade, make sure the inside/out is spotless.

    Now that you know your trade in price - do a cost calculation. How much do you have to put in the van? Lets say it is $3500 for a rebuilt transmission from Ford with a warranty, and $300 for the A/C. You probably need tires? Then you can figure the Van is going to last another 54k at least because the rebuilt transmission probably doesn't have the defect.

    The only dealer that knows transmissions go bad on this vehicle are the Ford/Merc dealers. Reporting the problem to NHTSA or Ford I personally doubt would affect trade in value since they probably check CarFax to make sure it isn't wrecked, then a Kelly Blue book to see what it will sell for at the auctions.
  • The Freestars with 2 different engines - are they with 2 different transmissions ?
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    As far as I understand, there is only one type of transmission. AX4N/4F50N
  • Wow. Ford has got to be kidding. Few things disgust me more than when educated people, especially lawyers, abuse the English language, insult our intelligence, and obfuscate an issue.

    For Ford to say that loss of motive power is not a safety issue because braking and steering are not affected and the the vehicle can still be parked, is nothing short of obscene. What good are the brakes and/or steering if the vehicle is not moving?!? How do you steer a car that is not moving? The brakes are useless because, again, the vehicle has stopped moving!

    Hey Ford, what happens when the vehicle loses "motive power" in a tunnel on a freeway in front of a tractor trailer that is traveling even at the posted speed limit?

    Here is what happens; a fatal collision. It is just a matter of time before this scenario plays out; if it hasn't already.

    Also, how dare you suggest that the main motivation for the complaints we have filed is financial. My main motivation, and that of every other decent citizen who has taken the time to file a complaint, is that you put our families in danger. In my case, my wife and 5 of my 6 children were put in harms way when our Freestar lost "motive power." Steering and braking didn't matter at all when my family was a sitting duck in the middle of an intersection! My wife had to get out and push the vehicle to the side of the road!

    My secondary motivation is the fact that every Ford representative, from the dealership on up to Corporate, and especially the clowns at the Customer Relationship Center, lied to me and my family, disavowed any knowledge of this problem, and treated us like we are garbage.

    And yes, money is an issue to a blue collar man with 6 children. Your defective transmission cost me and my family nearly $4K that we had to borrow jsut in time for the holidays. How would you like to have to explain to your children that Christmas will be sparse because Daddy had to fix the family car that only has 45K miles on it?

    I am so sick and tired of corporate thugs who prey on working families and don't back their product.

    All Ford has accomplished with this ridiculous, disingenuous, preposterous, obscene, and dispicable response is motivate me even more to see that justice is done.

    Ford, maybe you could use some of nearly BILLION dollar profit you just reported to redeem yourselves and recall this vehicle before someone gets killed. What do you say?

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • It was Halloween night 2009 and I packed my husband, two oldest daughters, my son-in-law and my granddaughter into my 2004 Freestar to take the 2 1/2 hour drive back home from a day of festivites. We were driving down a very rural two lane road, in total darkness when it started. We were leaving the town of Elizabeth and accelerated from 30 to 55. Everything was fine until I hit 62. The van seemed to misfire and lunge. Everyone asked what it was. I had let off the gas a bit and tried not to go over 60. As we continued the van lunged again, but now I was only going 55, and then again and again, going slower and slower. My husband assumed I had a problem with the gasoline or something and told me to floor it and try to push the gas through. But then it got very bad. I could see headlights coming up in my rear view mirror and the van started to sputter. I was pumping the gas pedal and the van wasn't reponding, but would intermittently respond by lunging and the pausing, just like the "bucking bronco." I managed to put my flashers on but I couldn't get off the road, as there was no shoulder and we were driving through a very hilly area with terrific drop offs. I am amazed that we weren't killed because we could have been, because then the van totally shut off. I managed to put in neutral and get it started again, only to have the same thing happen about four more times. A few times I managed to pull off the road, but had to continue to the next town, as there was nothing until then.

    We did manage to get to the next town safely and I am now dealing with getting the van fixed, HAHHHHHH!! My dealer told me "you should have gotten the extended warranty." He said the van was so far away, he wasn't going to get it. He recommended I have a service/repair place out in that rinky dink town look at it. He didn't even recommend a Ford dealer out that way.

    After finding this information, I realize that I had the van towed to the dealer in April 2009 for the same thing. My hubby went to move the van cause it was sitting out for a while and it was hard to start. It wouldn't stay started and the idle was very high and would rev up and then die out. He kept starting it and it would die. Then he managed to start it but it wouldn't go into reverse or drive. He had it towed to the dealer and on Monday they said it started right up, nothing wrong, NON ISSUE!!! Not to mention, every time I would run errands on rainy or wet days, the van was harder to start. It wouldn't catch the first or second time.

    Also, if I started the van with the a/c on it made a loud clunk sound. Even if I turned the a/c on shortly after starting it, same thing CLUNK. Amazing piece of junk. If they can't find the problem, there's nothing wrong. AMAZING! NEVER AGAIN!!! I could afford to fix it but I would never have been able to replace members of my family or, God forbid, leave my 17 yr old daughter without her family.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    Make sure you report the problem.

    If it was raining I would take this print out to the dealer.

    Link for the PCM correction: TSB
  • anabelanabel Posts: 21
    Your right, Jim.

    Something really bad could have happened to your wife and kids stalling out in the middle of an intersection. There are such crazy drivers that are not paying attention to where they are going.

    We broke down twice. The first time, I wasn't as smart so I didn't know to go look up information regarding the defect. I was worried because we were lucky to have gotten to a place we could get help and a place to stay with three little ones. I am sure there are plenty of people just like me out there.

    The second time, I got curious because usually transmissions don't breakdown twice during the ownership of one car in my experience as an automobile owner. And Aamco told me it should not happen again the first time we broke down. Also, the place where we were stuck was very unsafe. We were in the desert at 112*F in heat with a 4, 5, and 7 year old. No one around, trash all around, you could tell there could be wild animals around us. Some strangers would come drive around and then drive off. We were so scared. And when my husband had to try to call from the call box which was about a mile away, we were left behind in the scary dark night. If something would have happened to him on his walk to the emergency phone box or to us while we were waiting for him, guess who I would have blamed without a doubt. Especially since it was the second time we broke down because of this defect.

    Because I was not so intelligent to do the research the first time and could not afford to sell the car or trade it in after the first transmission failure, do you think it would have been our fault for breaking down a second time? I bet that is the way Ford would have won that case if something would have happened to us out in the middle of the Mojave Desert in the dead of summer.

    I started asking questions and that is how I came to find this site and how to file with NHTSA and Safercar.gov. We have always been lucky in our choices of used vehicles and most of the vehicles have been Fords. This is the first major mechanical issue we have ever had in the 30 years I have owned a vehicle. This time was very different. I don't have any ideas how to inform other people like me to file. I have told other people around me that have Ford vans to look into it. I have also called and sent emails to "7 On Your Side" News in California as well as Texas. I am hopeful they will be interested in this story.
  • I was driving this evening back home from work on my mercury monterey. While driving all of sudden the car died and i was hardly able to move the van from Interstate 90W from middle lane to the shoulder. Since the time was around 6pm i called the Mercury dealership in Schaumburg, Il and was told there service department is closed. Since i dont know what exactly went wrong i was in the middle of no where. Meanwhile the State Police officer arrived since my van was on the shoulder of Interstate who called the towing company. Surprisinly and the worst shock I was charged $150.00 Plus 3 dollar per mile where ever i have to take my van. Meanwhile i called one of the store in my neighbor hood National Tire and Battery who advised me to bring the van to there workshop. After preliminary inspection they told me the transmission of my van is gone and its a huge cost to fix it. Now I am confused after reading all these stories about Dealer charging $1300.00 to repair the transmission where should i take my van to fix this problem. Since NBT dont repair the transmission I have to pay again for the towing to take my van from NBT to the repair shop. Please help and advise where should i take my car so I wont be waisting my money for towing the car from one place to other.
  • I did report it to NHTSA. Thanks for the link. I did have it towed to a Ford dealer. They've had it for 24 hrs and I haven't heard anything yet. I'm calling in the morning. Thanks again!
  • Did it just die or did it exhibit the lunging and non accelerance before shutting down? Did it crank or start at all after you pulled over? Had it been raining?
  • I personally took my van to a Mercury dealer. It was around the same price for them to do it when I talked them down a bit (regular customer) as an independent transmission shop (IE: A Jasper rebuilt transmission). My Mercury dealer had "rental cars" for $5 tops because they said Ford paid for the rest. Not sure if all Mercury dealers do this, but $5 for 3-4 days of a rental car still didn't take away the pain of the $3,260 repair bill for the Frod rebuilt transmission.

    If you take it to an independent transmission shop I would watch out for a repair that doesn't involve a total transmission replace - if you plan on keeping the van. I was told by the dealer that once the torque converter splines strip off the metal shavings float through the rest of the transmission making it pretty dirty. I am assuming this is what is wrong, based on your report from NTB saying the transmission is "gone".

    As far as towing goes, if you don't have AAA auto club, you can ask your car insurance rep if they offer roadside assistance, it is usually a minimal plan they tack on to the insurance - or sometimes credit cards do?

    When you know more, post it. Don't forget to call/write Ford Customer service and/or the NHTSA if you feel there is a safety concern.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    First thing I would do is to phone the customer relations center at Ford. They are very aware of this problem, and DO NOT let them off the hook for it.

    Ford will work better with a Ford dealership than an independent transmission shop so for that reason I would take the vehicle to a dealership. The second time we had to have our van to the dealership the bill was reduced by five hundred dollars. The third time it died in rush hour of I95, my husband had the van towed to the dealership, and the told the tow truck driver to get his charges paid by the dealership. The dealership did pay the tow truck driver.

    They never did resolve the issues with the vehicle, but the amount we had to pay out was somewhat reduced.

    BE ASSERTIVE. THIS IS A FORD PROBLEM AND THEY NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.
  • ghazal, I took my van to Atomic Transmission in Villa Park, IL last November when it died. They rebuilt the transmission for about $1,500. They were very good and I'd definitely go back to them again. They're pretty busy so you may want to call ahead to get an idea of how long it would take to fix.
  • I just got off the phone with the dealership where the van was towed to (without any assistance from my purchasing dealership) and they don't seem to find anything wrong with it. They said it starts and runs fine, that they've checked the electrical and yada-yada. I told them exactly what the van had done and I was told it sounded like a gasoline issue. I asked if it had rained out that way and they said it had been dry. I told them to look up TSB 06-14-10. They said they would and get back to me. I also e-mailed Ford customer service. Next I'm gonna call. I don't even want the thing anymore. Nothing wrong with it, it's a NON ISSUE? Not this time. They can have it.
  • Providing this magical information to the Ford service department resulted with the PCM being inspected and they made the replacements and repairs (without my authorization) for $200.00 total. I'm told that they are not sure if that fixes the problem because they actually couldn't find the problem to start out with.

    TSB 06-14-10 actually supercedes TSB 05-23-07 and updates the procedure and model years. Why is it that so many people are having their transmissions replaced when actually, the transmission driveablity issues are due to water entering the powertrain control module causing the harsh or delayed shifts, engagements, no reverse engagement and engine lean condition causing misfire and rough idle. No wonder Ford was able to post $1 billion dollar profit, all those trannies that were bought.

    Still gonna get rid of my Ford! :)
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    I have received three different price quotes for the information that I requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Each time it increases. I am beginning to believe that they do not want me to have the information. Wonder why?

    Now, I totally understand why Ford is permitted to put our lives in jeopardy and fleece us all at the same time. Our government condones it, or the government is totally incompetent.
  • olangolang Posts: 5
    I have a problem that the vehicle will not go. I took it to a transmission shop and they said there were several codes that showed up. They cleared them and it was fine for 2 days. I then took it back and was informed that it was not a transmission problem. I then called Dobbs, they told me that it was a dealer problem. The dealer said it was the powertrain module. Due to the fact that the seal was no good and water got in it. We had had rain for several days.
    Well 2 weeks later was driving down the highway and when I went to go from a stoplight it wouldnt go. I had to be towed back to Ford. What is the problem?????
  • olangolang Posts: 5
    Is this on a Ford? If so how did you report it to NHTSA?
  • has an attorney taken this case, if so does anyone know of any information for this class action. thanks any info will be great.
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