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Ford Freestyle Transmission Failure



  • 1.) The brakes on that car were junk out of the factory. They were basically recalled under a special campaign because of people complaining. Since then, they have fixed them and they should last longer. I can personally attest to this. My current set at 15k on them, has outlasted every other set and they are wearing well. The brakes have nothing to do with the throttle.
    2.) I had a Limp home mode in my 500 as you described as well. Its not fun!
    3.) The transmission's fluid can be checked, but its a pain and you might as well have your fluid changed because when they check it, they have to remove the air filter, battery, etc.. By the way, did you do that at 60k, per the owner's manual?
    4.) The transmission in this car is fairly noisy - its a noisy chain! Please describe the car's noise in more detail. Where is it coming from? Is a "whinning" noise? My CVT makes noises when I let off the gas, coasting, or at slow speeds.
  • Here's what I've got: a 2005 Freestyle SE that I purchased in May of 2006 with 19k on it. It now has 85,000 miles and is rock solid - hands down the best car I have ever owned. Aside from the normal maintenance, it has only seen the inside of the dealership once for a mysterious no-start problem at about 60k that never recurred. I had an extended warranty on it because I knew the CVT could be quirky but when the warranty company went out of business I wasn't too concerned (other than annoyed at the loss of my money) because the car has been so solid. Now I'm getting concerned. Over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed that I'm running higher rpms and varying rpms more than normal on the same stretch of winding country road I drive every day with that car. And twice in the last week, it has rolled backwards after shifting into drive from reverse backing out of a parking space. We had the normal service done on the transmission at about 60,000. Anything else that can or should be done? Or do I wait for the big bang and hope my kids aren't with me?? I'm obviously way out of warranty so anything I do will cost me. I'd like to have some info before I talk to the dealer. My husband is good with cars but the CVT is beyond his basic knowledge. :confuse:
  • Because the CVT has infinite ratios, the car will pick the best "speed" based upon conditions (ie speed, wind believe it or not). If there is just a little bit more wind outside, due to the drag, the car will rev higher. I've driven home before while its windy and the thing is running over 2k rpms vs a normal 1600 or whatever.....

    There was a TSB about RPM flutter - it doesn't always doit but its not a big deal.

    There is a stall speed on your car, and if your spot is slightly inclined in a strange way, it will go backwards. Just my 10 cents...... I think your car is fine but nobody here can diagnose things 100% accurately - check the dealer for that (and some dealers are lousy!)
  • I understand the rpm variances due to conditions - I've noticed that before and have not been concerned. This is different. I've driven this same road every day since I bought that car and these variances are different. It just flat out feels like it is having to work harder in all conditions (wind, etc.). Same with the rolling backwards. It's never done it before and something just feels different.
  • Well, if its different take it to a dealer. Mention that you know about the TSB, drag effects on the CVT, etc......Is this something that can be duplicated? If not, they won't look at it anymore than that.
  • jbrooks544jbrooks544 Posts: 8
    My CVT transmission just died. 2006 Limited AWD. The wife took it in, and everything is covered under the warrantee, even up to $28 for a rental car. I'll keep you posted with what I learn. The cvt had been making a soft whirring/whining noise for a few weeks. While it wasn't alarming in and of itself, I new it was a new noise, and I knew something was up. The noise was most noticeable between 20 - 50 mph, and it didn't change when i put it into neutral and pumped the gas, or whatever I did.

    I sure would like to know if more CVT's croak than others. I understand that so far there has been no evidence that they are any worse than any other car for tranny failure. At least mine was still driving fine. This car has been less than perfect. I went through a set of the 18" Pirelli's very fast, along with brakes and rear rotors. My rotors didn't count for the recall, as they had too many miles, something like 24k instead of under 15k. I also went through a main engine ecu (computer) under warrantee. Overall, I love the car. I'm definitely considering buying the Ford extended warrantee. I think I can get it up to 7 years /100k miles with $200 deductible for $865. That way, I wouldn't be out the $3,500 to $7,000 I've heard a cvt replacement costs. If the tranny goes again, I can't afford to cough up $5k in a moment's notice.

    Any thoughts re. Ford's extended warrantee? I'm seriously considering it.

    I'll keep you posted as to what happens with my repair.
  • Hi, I got my Freestyle back, after about 2 1/2 weeks. They rebuilt the transmission for $4,300 under warrantee. The car has 46,515 miles on it. I thought it only had a 3 year/36,000 mile drivetrain warrantee. I'm glad I was wrong about that. Can anyone confirm what the 2006 Freestyle warrantee was? I have a copy of my window sticker, and it only mentions the 3/36000
    2006 Limited AWD with everything.
  • It was hard to find, but I found that Fords purchased on or after July 14th, 2006 have a 5 year/60k miles powertrain warranty. I bought my car on July 18th! WHEW!! The repair was actually $4,600 plus the car rental, it would have cost me $5 grand.
  • shosfunshosfun Posts: 1
    I purchased a 2005 Freestyle Limited AWD in February with 41,000 miles on it, Now at 49,000 it is in the shop for $2,600 in tranny repairs. Input shaft bearing is shot. Is this the typical problem others are having? Does anyone know if Ford is helping with these repairs if the car is out of warranty.
    I have been driving Fords for years (5 SHO's) and this is the 3rd Ford tranny I have had problems with (88, 93 and 96). I was hoping a 05 would be of better quality.I long for the days of my first SHO's with a 5 speed manual.
  • jsal2jsal2 Posts: 3
    I have a 2005 Ford Freestyle limited. On Saturday, the differential spider gear pin just fell out (I actually found it and pieces of my transmission cover on the ground) and my transmission literally broke up inside the car. (I guess the pin holds the transmission cover on and in place). Regardless, the car only has 42,100 miles on it and of course it is out of warranty. The cost to repair is about $6,000. Ford WILL NOT help at all with the repair. However, they are willing to put in a new transmission and provide a 3 year, 100,000 mile warranty for it. (but the original transmission only has a 36,000 mile / 3 year warranty). I think they knew the transmission had problems with it all along. Now they won't stand behind their product. No wonder their company is in trouble. The brakes were defective and they fixed those, but this they won't touch.
  • every time i use the cruise control it sets off the wrench light and my rpms go way up as i am slowing down like 6000rpms at 30mph and all i do is pull over shut off car and then it runs fine as long as i don't use the cruise control can any one help with this problem.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Try asking in the Ford Freestyle Maintenance and Repair discussion. Ford Freestyle Lots of problems may also be helpful.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • I too have a Freestyle 2005 Limited AWD. It has been in the shop for the tranny twice this year, the Throttle body control and I have put brakes a ll the way around. The AWD Malfunction came on in January and i had it fixed, cost of $1400, it worked until about mid September, the malfunction came on again, another $1400 and it still not working, so now they want another $1700+ to fix it. Ford said I would here from a Supervisor in 48 hrs, no one has called or returned my emails. This is a design flaw, there are hundreds of people with the same problem and the same story. There must be a solution that doee not suck every penny out of my savings.
  • jmdc3jmdc3 Posts: 1
    I've had the same problem with the higher rpms and varying rpms when griving on the same winding and hilly roads. I've also experienced lower than normal gas mileage. I just turned 60,000 miles. Did you ever get an answer on what caused that? Are you still having this problem? I took the car to my dealership and they said that there was nothing wrong with the car.
  • etometom Posts: 2
    I've experienced the same exact scenario on my 2005 Freestyle Limited AWD.

    It took me some effort to replicate the issue. At first, I was unable to replicate the problem. So my Ford service dealer (Quality Ford in East Rutherford, NJ) was interested in helping. They looked at the car's computer and found nothing. So they installed a "flight recorder" for 4 weeks so that if the lights came-on again, I could hit the button and it would record what the car's computer was getting.

    Unfortunately, I didn't know at the time that the problem occurred only when the cruise control was engaged, so nothing got recorded. Then about 2 weeks ago, I went on a road-trip with the family and engaged the cruise control. BINGO! After 2 minutes, on came the check trans light, then the traction control light. Had to pull-over, shut off the car, then everything was fine (as long as i didn't use the cruise control). And I thought you only had to "reboot" Microsoft products! :P

    So I brought the car back to Ford last week and gave them the exact steps to replicate the lights. They did, and found that the "output shaft transmission sensor" was malfunctioning. They're replacing it, and I get the car back later this week. Hope it fixes the issue . . . and helps you with yours.
  • Has anyone started a class action suit about the transmission problems?? My Ford Freestyle stop dead in the middle of the road. Had it towed in and was told that the transmission needed to be replaced for $6000.00!!!
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    I checked the latest Consumer Reports and the Freestyle Transmission has an average reliability rating. In fact, only the brakes were given a black circle for reliability, and Ford fixed most of those free of charge.

    Now I've see quite a few other vehicles with black circles for their transmission and I doubt if there were class action lawsuits against all of them, but I could be wrong. I just seems hard to imagine how a transmission with average reliability would quality.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    bobw3, I've got a 2010 Consumer Reports Buying Guide, where the car reliability data inside shows an ABOVE AVERAGE reliability for Transmission Major and Minor problems specifically.

    That means that non-CVT, conventional automatic transmissions in 2005, 2006, and 2007 models are failing at a higher rate overall. It matches my experience spanning the last 40 years being around conventional automatics in that the old-style automatic transmissions do fail. At least our CVT fails less often.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    edited March 2010
    "bobw3, I've got a 2010 Consumer Reports Buying Guide, where the car reliability data inside shows an ABOVE AVERAGE reliability for Transmission Major and Minor problems specifically.

    That means that non-CVT, conventional automatic transmissions in 2005, 2006, and 2007 models are failing at a higher rate overall. It matches my experience spanning the last 40 years being around conventional automatics in that the old-style automatic transmissions do fail. At least our CVT fails less often."

    I understand your point of view, but unfortunately this isn't much consolation to those who had the failures. I think that part of the issue is that even the owners don't understand the CVT and it's unique design.

    And to be fair, I'm not sure that there wasn't some pattern of failures in the early model. I don't think anyone has correlated manufacture dates and failures.
  • etometom Posts: 2
    I was misinformed. My dealer said they followed my instruction (which i typed-out for them) to replicate the transmission "freak-out" while the cruise control is engaged . . . but the mechanic interpreted my clear instructions wrong, and “cruised at 55mpg” . . . vs. engaging the cruise control at 55mph.

    So after a week of not being able to replicate the transmission "freak-out" and lights, they gave me the car back with a "flight recorder" installed (this records everything the computer is reading and car is doing 30 seconds prior and 30 seconds after pressing the trigger button). I pulled-out of their lot, immediately followed my own instructions, and BINGO . . . transmission "freak-out". I pressed the trigger button on the flight recorder, pulled the car over, shut it down, restarted it and drove right back to the dealership.

    Once I got there, the manager wanted me to take him for a ride so I can show him, and I did, and I replicated the "freak-out" on que. So he drove me home and took the car back to the dealership. After another week of consultation with Ford's hotline, the transmission was removed to inspect the CONVERTER and TURBINE SHAFT O RING ON INPUT. They discovered the O-Ring was damaged/defective/broken, and replaced it. They also replaced a whole list of items which I’ll list later. One thing to note here is that the part number for the new O-Ring was different from the old one. The dealer said that this might indicate that the original (old) O-Ring might have been a defective design, and the new O-Ring was probably a redesigned version.

    Here is a list of parts they replaced . . .

    QTY Part # Description
    1 5F9Z-7N519-B Ring
    1 5F9Z-7902-BRM Convert
    1 5F9Z-7H497-EA Seal
    1 5F9Z-7B325-AA Cover
    1 5F9Z-7F401-AA Seal
    6 XT-7QCFT Fluid
    1 TA-25 Adhesive

    I'm lucky that all of this work was covered under my premium 5-year extended warranty, which ends in April 2010, and which by the way, I made Ford give it to me free since they had to replace my transmission only months after I purchased it! The parts above are under their own warranty, which is 12 months or 12,000 miles. So if this issue happens again within the next 12 months or 12k miles, and they find that it was the O-Ring or other parts listed, the new parts and labor are free.

    Another note, upon inspection of my transmission, they also found that my engine mount bracket was broken/damaged, so they replaced that (Part # 5F9Z-6F055-CB). Weather that allowed the engine/transmission to move enough to create the seal damage in the first place is something only a CVT-certified mechanic or engineer could tell me.

    So far, so good. Car performs without any issues, and I am very happy to have my Freestyle back . . . especially after borrowing my Mom’s recalled Toyota Camry for three weeks!

    Thanks for reading all of this. I did it so that it can hopefully help others experiencing the same issue.
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