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Ford Freestar Transmission Problems



  • sacleonesacleone Posts: 1
    I am sitting here reading these posts and I cannot believe it! The EXACT thing happened to me several days ago, driving home from vacation with 4 children in the van...Vehicle started loosing power, and there was massive smoke...I was able to coast into the roadside plaza along the Mass Pike...only to have people start screaming to get out of van because it was on fire! Everyone was terrified, and a rest stop employee was able to extinguish flames We were stranded for hours...What prompted me to check it out online? Almost the same thing happened in 2009 and I had to have a new transmission put in the van...yes, a 2004 Freestar! My car is still in Massachusetts at a dealer, and I am told it may be at least a week before they can even look at it....I cannot afford another transmission, nor do I think I should have to...I WILL be checking into the class action suit mentioned in another post...
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    Please file a complaint with NHTSA. Remember that Ford does have secret warranties so it could help with cost.
  • About six months ago our 2004 Ford Freestar had the water getting into the PCM. My mechanic said they new about a service notice/alert, whatever you might call it, stating that Ford knew this was and issue and that it was not a recall.

    They actually poured water out of the module. He stated that it did not drip out, it "poured out". He explained to me that the water was getting in between the windshield and hood. He showed me the spot. It took them 5 days to dry out the PCM and they sealed it, the best they could.

    Sunday, July 3rd, the "Sprocket with an Exclamation Point" light came on in the bottom left corner of the dash as I was driving home from church with my wife and four children...12, 8, 6, and 1. Then the transmission just disengaged. We were stranded on one of the busier roads in Buffalo, New York. We called a friend to take my wife and family home. My wife got our 1998 pickup and brought it back and we towed the van to our shop.

    I called today, and they have not started working on it yet, but NOW I KNOW WHAT IT IS!!! We were supposed to leave for vacation from July 8th through July 17th in Virginia. My kids were looking forward to spending the week with their grandmother for the week. I can take a broken down car, but not my family being put in danger and my children being crushed for the loss of a vacation to their grandmothers. I will file a complaint with the NHTSA, as you suggest. I doubt Ford will do anything. Unfortunately our 1998 pickup is a Ford with a leaking break line in the right rear. I was just about to put it in the shop.

    NO MORE FORDS FOR ME. "FOUND ON ROAD DEAD" truly fits my opinion of Ford now.
  • I have filed a complaint with the NHSTA and sent emails to the two law offices representing the law suit.
  • mfynavymfynavy Posts: 1
    I guess I will do the same thing. My wife had the same problem comming home from Vacation today.
  • rar6rar6 Posts: 1
    This happened to me last night on the interstate. I was going 70/mph down the interstate then all of a sudden it just wouldn't go. I managed to pull over with my 15yr old and 5 yr old and had to sit there about 45 minutes before we could get someone to come make sure we were safe. Another 15 mins waiting on the tow truck (only to find out that my AAA only covers 3 miles of free tow) but thankful we were not hurt and we broke down 1 mile from our machanic. I did have something strange happen about an hour before we broke down. My clock radio reset to 12:00 and my cd popped out and the radio switched to am. Which has only happened before when my battery went dead. Last week I also noticed that my cruise control was no longer working. The tow truck guy did have me do some stuff while he looked under the hood and said that my gears would move but it wouldn't engage. At least I think that is how he described it but being that it was almost 11:00pm I could have mixed the words up.
  • bkgoffbkgoff Posts: 2
    Who are the attorneys?
  • bkgoffbkgoff Posts: 2
    I took my 2004 Freestar to my local mechanic a few weeks ago because something was draining the battery when the car was left sitting but nothing was left on. I had figured out that it did not happen as long as I turned the air conditioner off before I got out of the car but still wanted to check it out in case it was an electrical issue.

    My mechanic called our Ford dealer because he couldn't pinpoint the exact source. They told him to advise me to sell it. My husband and I wanted to think about the best way to get rid of it. Two weeks later my husband pulled into the road and the transmission suddenly died. Luckily, it was a low traffic area and he was able to push it to the parking lot. It had not previously slipped or showed any signs of failure. It is still sitting in the parking lot while we decide what to do. Any recommendations?
  • iferifer Posts: 11
    I have a 2004 Freestar and posted before about my transmission and pcm issues. Rebuilt the tranny in April 2009 and just over 2yrs later, July 2, 2011, my tranny went out again! Of coarse it was with my mom and 3 little ones in the van, in a road construction zone no less!!! After having it rebuilt 2yrs ago, I never thought we'd have to do it again!!! Now I'm reading that it's VERY common!!

    As for the PCM, we replaced that summer 2010 and the van only ran better for about 6 months. It's not flashing the lights on the dashboard or losing power nearly as frequently as it was before replacing the pcm but still every few months it does for a brief moment.

    Since rebuilding the 1st tranny, the cruise control quit working...well, it works when it feels like it, which is very rare. The AC is acting up. The air in the rear comes out warm and just recently, the air on the driver's side isn't nearly as cool as the passenger side air. The air on the driver's side is just like using the vents. And whenever using the air this season, the van was really doggy. I'm guessing there still may be water getting in the new pcm?? Not sure...

    I've also experienced many of the other smaller issues such as the back-up beepers stopped working years ago, the side rear doors sometimes don't open or close when trying to open/close them. The rear side doors don't always lock/unlock when they're supposed to. Side view mirror on passenger side hasn't worked for years and the drivers side only works on rare occasions, has always been that way.

    I'm sure there are more little issues but I can't think of them all right now.

    Can someone please give me the contact info again for both FORD and NHSTA and tell me what specifically I need to put in my letters (main points that others have all used). And also, for the class action lawsuit, what is it that I need to do there???

    Thank You
  • we are currently sitting in a hotel room cause our transmission went out in our 2004 freestar. No idea exactly what caused the problem, but we will make sure to share this info with the mechanic. I can't find the fix on the ford website.
  • have all those issues and sometimes the trunk will not open. it opens at random times. How do we get apart of this lawsuit..or at least have them fix something.
  • shay672shay672 Posts: 1
    I have spent the last three hours reading almost every post on this site clear back to 2006. I am so p*s*ed right now I could sceam. We also have a 2004 Ford Freestar that we are at our wits end with.

    In March of 2010 on our way to a wedding our tranny went out with out warning..going up a slight incline in the road it just stopped. We were in the middle of Iowa on a county road with noone around. 2 hours from home we had a relative come and tow the van back for us and take it to a friends shop who in turn we had to have towed to another shop to rebuild tranny. Luckily we were only charged 700.00 to have it fixed.

    Fast forward to this year. Earlier this spring we started to experience issues as my husband states (started falling on it face). You would drive along and it would just get sluggish and then resume normal. A friend of ours suggested it was the EGR Valve, which we took off and cleaned and the problem seemed to stop for a bit. Then it seemed to come and go, we hadn't noticed much until last night when my husband drove it to work and barely got it home. Said he came off the interstate and then it just started running rough and kept wanting to die. And smelled very hot when he got it home. Last week we had a couple of pretty good rainstorms and now it's very hot and humid outside. Now it sits in front of the house. I am seriously think or praying that its this PCM and not the tranny.

    We are in no financial state to have to rebuild another tranny. The company I worked for closed in March and we only have one income and no employment in area. And have spent every dime we have trying to keep vehicles running this summer. And it just continues to be one headache after another. We are at our wits end, and are in no situation to get rid of the van at this time.

    We too have experienced the cruise that only works when it wants, the drivers side window that only works when it wants, lost all the security lighting inside. Broken back door latch(happened while at grocery store when it was -30. Delay when putting in reverse, surges, radio reset, driverside back door that wont open half the time, air in back wont work. And you would think after all of this we would have moved on. We would but cant afford to.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    As of July 15, 2011. NHTSA

    The subject vehicles suffered from a design issue whereby water could run down onto the cowling under the hood and located in the area of the windshield wipers and then drip onto a computer module, the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), which could be manifested in a variety of symptoms depending on which part of the circuit board became wet or which of the connector pins shorted out. In addition to causing an engine to stall, which may or may not then restart, the water intrusion could also cause the transmission to shift poorly, the vehicle to have erratic power, a malfunction indicator light to come on, or result in an inability to start the vehicle, an inability to shift the vehicle into either forward or reverse. Also the problem could cause a higher than normal idle RPM in Park, or for the radio to malfunction, or the interior lights to stay on. During this investigation ODI was concerned with the effect of the engine stalling or a drastic and sudden loss of power either of which may create a safety risk. In reviewing the actual number of these types of incidents, collectively referred to here as engine stalls, the number was found to be below what would be considered a defect trend. For example, the number of engine stalls identified in Ford's warranty claims for the model year (MY) 2004 subject vehicles, the MY with the most failures, was 200 out of population of 125,865, for a failure rate of 0.16%. The one crash recorded by a complainant to NHTSA, VOQ 10311522, alleged that the engine stalled, due to water intrusion into the PCM, while the road was turning causing her to go off the road and according to the police report the vehicle then hit an embankment and a tree stump. Ford reported in their response that there were three alleged crashes but none of these were validated as being caused by a problem with water intrusion into the PCM causing a stall. Accordingly this investigation is closed. The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. The agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and take further action in the future if warranted.
  • tervmomtervmom Posts: 12
    Oh, my. Just amazingly stupid. Those are just a few of the vehicles effected by this engineering blunder. What about the vehicles it hasn't happened too yet (2005s and 2006s)??? My 2006 just went early at 42,000 miles. How about the people who thought it was only their vehicle's problem (like Ford service desks were going to tell them theirs wasn't the only van this happened to). I'll just always remember the night I ran out for a quick errand in the rain and my van just STOPPED in the middle of an unlit road with no shoulders - only ditches. So glad I remembered my cell phone as it was late, untravelled and AAA was over an hour.
  • You mean to tell me NHTSA doesn't find a drastic and sudden loss of the transmission to create a safety risk. Driving on the interstate or pulling into a busy intersection and the transmission suddenly just lets go and you have no way to move the van out of harms way. There are over 1500 messages on here, more posting every day, with most telling the same story, but that's not being looked into. I sincerely hope the agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and take further action in the future because it is warranted!!!!!
  • bigdstettbigdstett Posts: 1
    Wow I just had my brakes done $260.00 rear brakes and calibers went to Walmart came home and my tranny goes out just stopped working nothing . theirs no way that there can be these many problems with the transmission on one van and they do not recall it this is criminal. I have been out of work for 2 years my wife is on temp unemployment this will kill us i guess eating is a luxury. please help me Ford.
  • maddad321maddad321 Posts: 1
  • jeepermeo2jeepermeo2 Posts: 7
    edited August 2011
    I got this reply from Stephen McHenry today, Aug. 1,2011. The case is still ongoing. We need more people to report there complaint to NHTSA at

    The investigation into the failure of the torque converter in the Ford Freestar is not completed, the water intrusion into the PCM was a separate and distinct investigation. The complaint you filed with us on March 1, 2011 is still on record and part of the current, open, investigation EA09-016 on the torque converters; you can obtain more information on that investigation at our website

    Stephen McHenry >

    Investigator, US D.O.T.

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    Office of Defects Investigation

    NVS-213 Room W48-308

    1200 New Jersey Ave., SE

    Washington D.C. 20590-0001


    Fax *********

    Investigation: EA09-016
    Date Opened: 11/10/2009
    Principal Investigator: Stephen McHenry
    Subject: Torque Converter Output Shaft Failure
    Manufacturer: Ford Motor Company
    Products: 2004 and 2005 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey
    Population: 205,219 (estimated)
    Problem Description: The torque converter output shaft may fail, resulting in a sudden loss of motive power with no warning.
    ODI------------- Manufacturer ---------------- Total
    Complaints:------------ 124------------------- 0--------------------------- 124
    Crashes/Fires:----------- 0---------------------0 ----------------------------- 0
    Injury Incidents:--------- 0--------------------- 0----------------------------- 0
    # Injuries:----------------- 0--------------------- 0----------------------------- 0
    Fatality Incidents:-------- 0----------------------0----------------------------- 0
    # Fatalities:--------------- 0---------------------- 0----------------------------- 0
    Other*:-------------------- 0---------------------2791------------------------2791
    *Description of Other: Warranty claims indicating loss of motive power.
    Action: An Engineering Analysis has been opened.
    Engineer: Stephen McHenry
    Date: 11/10/2009
    Div. Chief: Jeffrey L. Quandt
    Date: 11/10/2009
    Office Dir.: Kathleen C. DeMeter
    Date: 11/10/2009
    Summary: ODI has received 227 owner complaints alleging a sudden and unexpected loss of motive power due to an internal transmission failure in the subject vehicles. Of those complaints, 124 can be attributed to the torque converter output shaft splines stripping causing a sudden loss of power to the drivetrain. The remaining 103 complaints experienced a loss of motive power but the specific internal failure cause within the transmission is not known.
    ODI is continuing to assess the scope, frequency and safety-related consequences of the alleged defect.
  • emmbemmb Posts: 1
    How do I join this in on this class action lawsuit? Same thing happened to me.
  • had only 80000 miles on my 2004 freestar and had to fork out money to get the pcm fixed and trasmission.
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