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Ford Freestyle Transmission Failure

bohemia1bohemia1 Posts: 33
We purchased a 2005 Ford Freestyle SE FWD on 12/31/2004. No trailer towing. 90% of the miles are highway type miles with just my wife in the vehicle. Garage kept. Dealer serviced. We find the Freestyle to be a great design and have been totally happy with it until....

At 15,000 miles the transmission has totally failed and must be replaced. As my wife left a parking lot on a green light she heard a noise that sounded like she ran over something but saw nothing in the road. About 2 miles up the road the vehicle failed to go at a green light. A red wrench idiot light came on in the dash. She managed to get off the road. She called me and the dealer, then a tow company. When I got there a stream of lubicating fluid was running down the shoulder of the higway. Freestyle has been in the Ford dealer's shop for one week waiting for the new transmission.

Dealer Service Rep. says it is the first Freestyle he has seen with a totally destroyed transmission. The force of the failure was enough to crack the housing allowing all of the fluid to leak out.

The dealer did agree to provide a rental car.

So we wait.
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Comments

  • The company I work for bought a 2006 Ford Freestyle last Spring it has less than 10K miles and we have it in the shop now at local dealer for exact same thing.
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 705
    Is this an example of the quality that we can expect from an American vehicle manufacturer? I am in the market for a new vehicle, and I want to purchase an American vehicle, but I would also like quality in the product and service from the dealer! I hope that you purchased a top of the line extended Ford warranty. You are going to need this protection with this vehicle! How long will you have to wait for a new transmission? Any period of time, more that one week is TOO long! What kind of a rental vehicle did the dealer provide? ---- Best regards. --- Dwyane ;) :sick: :confuse:
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 551
    Hello Dwayne: Why don't you check out the 2007 Toyota Camry board--Camry woes--all kinds of transmission problems. Honda for the last few years has also had a ton of problems with transmissions in V6 vehicles. These are all your good old imports. I had a 2003 V6 Accord. Except for a smooth engine it was a terrible car. Everything wrong.
    The bottom line is imports have lots of problems too.
  • djm2djm2 Posts: 705
    bdyment:
    You seem to be very angry! ---- Lets examine the facts. 1.) The American vehicle manufacturers want to win back the American vehicle buying public. In order to accomplish this task, they need to be better than the foreign vehicles. 2.) Toyota does have transmission issues now, and sludge issues in the past. They better clean up their act or they will loose their image in the marketplace. 3.) Honda had transmission issues in the V6 Accord. They also had A/C compressor issues and radio display issues in the 2003 Accord. They should also clean up their act if they want to maintain their image. Here is the all important question. The automotive world has been manufacturing automatic transmissions since the late 1940s. In those years the functions of the units were controlled by hydraulic circuits. Now we have computer command controlled units, but the job of the transmission is basically the same. Have we as a people, forgot how to design and construct an automatic transmission? I do not care what name plate in on the vehicle. The American buying public deserves a product that is well designed, tested and properly manufactured. There is no reason for massive brake, transmission or sludge problems. Don't the manufacturers test their products prior to placing them on the production line? It is not a foreign vs a domestic issue! All the vehicles have issues, but when you consider the price of a new vehicle today, we as consumers, deserve better quality for our hard earned dollars. I want to purchase an American name plate, but when I see transmission issues or brake issues on a new vehicle, why would I want to put myself into a cycle of vehicle visits to the selling dealer, and still make the high monthly payments. I am willing to do the necessary maintenance, and I understand that nothing is perfect, but I would like some quality in a new product as I drive it off the dealer's lot! This is not an attack on the American manufacturer. ----- Best regards. ----Dwayne ;) :sick: :shades:
  • Dwayne,
    From my perspective, someone who's neutral regarding this matter, I didn't see anything in bdyment's response that would indicate he is angry. He also was just stating his points as you have clearly done. Both of you are entitled to your points of view. I have read some of your other posts regarding the Freestyle and believe you have made your mind up to not buy one based on the points you have stated, which is fine for you. But other people should also be able to state their points in favor of the Freestyle and buy one if they wish. :)
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 551
    Dwayne: No, I wasn't the least bit angry. I was just stating a fact that many import name plates have problems as well. I have owned a lot of cars in my years and I have had good and bad luck with both domestic and import brands.

    I have found, however, that import owners are less likely to complain about their vehicles faults than North American drivers. This is why I take Consumer Reports with a grain of salt.

    I certainly agree with you that any manufacturer should be able to produce a long lasting smooth shifting automatic transmission. I think they are trying to eke out that last fraction of mpg. and their software is confused resulting is a rough shifting or hesitant action. This is the major complaint of the 2007 Camry V6 owners.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Plus you have to look at "quality" or perceived quality with respect to other vehicles. So if you're not buying the Freestyle because of your concern over the transmission, that's a fair point. But what other vehicle are you comparing it too?

    You could spend a few thousand more for the Honda Pilot (for example), but then you'll have a vehicle with less interior space. Or you could buy the Freestyle and pay $1500 for an extended service plan for 7yrs/100,000 miles zero deductable like I did because like you, I was concerned possible transmission issue, but when I bought the Freestyle two years ago, it was the only vehicle out there with an adult-sized 3rd row. Today there are other options with the Mazda CX-9, Saturn Outlook, Mazda5, a new Kia, etc.

    Again, if you're not buying the Freestyle because of the transmission, what else are you looking at and what's important to you? Space, features, quality, MPG, handling, size, cost, etc....
  • rick2456rick2456 Posts: 320
    Was this transmisson the CVT or the 5 speed auto?
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,863
    "Was this transmisson the CVT or the 5 speed auto?"

    The Freestyle is only sold with the CVT.
  • Steve - In 2005 the AWD had the CVT but the front wheel drives have a 5 speed automatic.
    The (job2) 2007 Freestyle with the 3.5 engine will have a six speed, no more CVT.
  • sportman said:
    "In 2005 the AWD had the CVT but the front wheel drives have a 5 speed automatic."

    I'm afaid not.

    Every Freestyle ever made has the CVT.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Correct...up to know, the Freestyle had one transmission and one engine. The Ford Fivehundred had a 5spd and it was originally planned (from what I remember reading at the time) to make that an option for the Freestyle, but it never happened.
  • The transmission failure and repair all occurred last summer. The dealer and Ford actually treated us well. Even with the July 4 holiday the vehicle was repaired in about 7 days as I recall. The dealer provided a rental car which just happened to be a 2006 Freestyle. Ford Customer Service agreed to provide a 5 year (starts on original purchase date) or 75,000 mile warranty on the transmission. I had to call Ford to get that warranty extension.
  • As stated in other replies, all 2005 Freestyles have the CVT transmission. I believe that is true for the 2006 model year as well.
  • rick2456rick2456 Posts: 320
    Thanks for the clarification. I had assumed the FS had a choice much like the 500. I am glad I purchased the extended warranty coverage. But with 9500 miles and 11 months on my 2005 SEL AWD, so far so good. My only complaint is I wish the styling was a bit more sporty.
  • Be glad the case broke. We lost ours internally at ~12k miles last February, and Ford did a rebuild - they wouldn't pay for a new transmission because it was greater than the $5k limit they put on warranty repairs. The transmission hasn't sounded the same since. The car used to be a fair bit more quiet.

    Ford gives you a rental automatically if you have the extended warranty. Otherwise, if it is under base 36k mile warranty only they make you wait until they decide they're going to cover it under warranty, which could be up to a week.

    We're waiting for the other shoe to drop. I figure as long as the car is under the extended warranty (which I bought after that fiasco) it's ok. But at $5k a pop for a transmission, the first time it croaks past 6 years old the car is history. Needless to say I am not impressed.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,863
    "they wouldn't pay for a new transmission because it was greater than the $5k limit they put on warranty repairs."

    Something is amiss here. The manufacturer is required to make any required repairs to items covered by warranty, regardless of the amount.
  • What that statement means is: if the cost to repair the trans does not exceed $5000 then it's rebuilt. If the cost is higher than $5000 then it's replaced. I don't believe the cost cap $5000 though, I think it's $3600 for the CVT. If the case is damaged the cost cap will surely go in effect. I own an '06 and I drive plenty at work, the only whine I hear is when in reverse, the engine is audible on accel but it's not a "whine" noise at all.
  • First I heard of a limit on a factory warranty repair. Then again this is the first major warranty repair I have experienced since a 1973 Toyota Celica.
    The repair slip on our Freestyle transmission replacement shows a total cost of $3500 plus the rental vehicle. I was told the replacement transmission was factory brand new. Our dealer said that Ford would not provide a rental, so the dealer supplied one. I have no idea if Ford reimbursed them or not.
    We are really happy with the Freestyle but this early transmission failure makes you question the quality and destroys credibility in the product.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Make sure you get your CVT fluid changed every 60,000 miles.
    also its a SPECIAL CVT ONLY fluid, you can be sure only Ford dealers will have on hand.

    Mark.
  • Have'05 Freestyle with 34,500 miles, only 500 miles to go to work out the last kinks. I've had all the same problems as others, such as noise with turning and going over bumps, rear brakes, and finicky CD player. This new sound starts after I've been driving a while. A whining sound starts and follows the RPMs with a 1-2 second lag. Seems like a bearing in a pump. Took it to the dealership while it was making sound. Service manager seemed to think it was transmission. Made appt. for a few days later, and of course, got the "cannot reproduce problem". Their fix was to reset computer, which of course did nothing. Could it be the oil pump in CVT? Has anyone else had same symtoms?
  • Brought a 2007 LTD Freestyle home on a Tuesday...loved it, probably one of the nicest interiors i've had. By Friday I was on the side of the road. Wrench light went on, AWD traction light went on and car would not accelerate. Fortunatly i had just gotten off the highway exit. As it was, i was in a dangerous lane and had to get over without anyone slamming into me. After4 days in repair they have the go ahead from Ford to replace the transmission. My concern is that initially the service at the dealer said it looks like it was electrical, but day 4 they didn't know what it was and send the codes to Ford. Ford doesn't know what the code means, and they are replacing the transmission. I'm so concerned. I recall now that the 2nd day that the "passenger air bag off" light was on sporadically, i just thought it was when i was starting the car. I'm concerned the transmission will lead to more problems. They are replacing it in the next day or so, and i have called Customer Care about a buyback....but the dealer won't even discuss it at this point. I'm beside myself....because if my kids had been in the car and i had been on the highway i wouldn't be here writing this. Should i trust the car if they put a brand new transmission in...it was 3 days old!!!!?
  • As a tech at a Ford store I have heard of very early trans failures like yours. The CVT is a very good trans, they are either bullet proof.... or they fail real early on! Getting a new trans should be the end of your problems, the air bag light will come on if there is something on the pass. seat that is heavy enough to register on the seat sensor but is not belted. The two problems are not related at all.
  • That second issue isn't a problem to begin with. The light is simply an advisory that the passenger airbag has been de-activated as a safety precaution. As tkchsully said.. the system has sensed an unbelted weight in the passenger seat. I notice mine on all the time when I'm coming home from the grocery store with a bag of groceries on the right front seat.
  • deasundeasun Posts: 11
    Hello all,
    Just saw a write up on the 2008 version. Seems they are not including a CVT anymore. Any one know why ?

    Thanks
    Deasun
    Over 20K+ on her and shes running fine. Dogs love the back end :)
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    3.5 L has too much torque.

    the CVT uses an expensive chain from LUK in Europe and as the $ falls against the Euro the trans becomes to expensive.

    Ford wants to close the Factory that builds CVTs.

    Ford found that planatary gear trans like the new 6F gets similar fuel econ as a CVT but cost less to build and to own. (No fluid change every 60k)

    Some people have a negative reaction to the way a CVT feels on the test drive.

    Mark.
  • deasundeasun Posts: 11
    thanks for the reply.

    My wife has a mini which has a CVT and at first it was a bit weird to get used to.
    But now both of us like it quite a bit. Oh well.

    The extra power sure was needed. Tis a bit heavy for the power they gave it.
  • "Seems they are not including a CVT anymore. Any one know why ?"

    one word - Ignorance.

    Why lead when you can follow with a traditional 6spd. Seems like more manufacturer's are offering a CVT as Ford takes it away. Rather than tout it as "the way forward" they bail and take the easy route. Other manufaturer's have made the CVT work with more power, there is no reason they could not have made this work with the 3.5l. Ford wonders why they are in the spitstorm they are in, it's decision's like that one that are quite telling.
  • Ford found that planatary gear trans like the new 6F gets similar fuel econ as a CVT but cost less to build and to own. (No fluid change every 60k)

    I can't imagine going more than 60k miles on a CVT or the 6-speed automatic without changing fluid.
  • The ignorance is not on Ford's part. The problem lies with the buying public here in America who have never warmed-up to CVT transmissions. People here want to "feel" their shift-points.
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