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I've had the same sporadic Freestyle problems as other posters here and am at the 'to fix or not to fix' stage. Getting the wrench more frequently now and the vehicle stops sooner without letting me limp to the side of the road and won't restart as easily. For those that have paid for a new tranny - was it worth it or are problems still occurring? $6k is a lot but still cheaper than a new car.
We bought ours new in 2005 with the full knowledge that the Mercury salesperson I trust warned both myself and my father that several people including the engineers at Ford had serious misgivings about the transmission. We chose to buy the extended warranty to cover ourselves just in case. Everyone I've talked to believes the Freestyle is just too big a car for a CVT. Our transmission went the first time about 1 year into ownership. The car was in at the dealership shop for a full month waiting for O rings because the regional service manager wouldn't open a rebuild kit for them and they weren't available separately yet. It took pointing out to the service manager we were within 2-3 days of my being able to file on the lemon law in NH (30 business days in the shop) to get the logjam unstuck.
Transmission finally started acting up again @ 125k miles just before Christmas. So we got about 100k miles out of a rebuilt transmission (rebuilt by the dealership no less). It seems like the transmission light only comes on when it is slogging through snow so far. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. 9 years, while I'm not thrilled about, at least I got 5 years of payment free driving out of the car. We're still deciding whether to drive the car until the tranny goes completely or proactively replace it now.
I would like to point out Ford isn't the only company putting CVT transmissions into their cars. Regardless of the manufacturer if you see a car with a CVT back away, especially if it is semi-high mileage or you intend to drive the car into the ground. The fluid is expensive and apparently they are much more costly to repair (if at all!) than an automatic. I know I'll never look at another one until empirical evidence proves to me they are no more expensive to maintain, repair or replace than an automatic. In the meantime I'm looking for a manual transmission car.
I won't join in the lawsuit because I purchased the car in spite of my forehand knowledge of the reservations regarding the transmission on the part of trustworthy salespeople and Ford engineering. And for all you waving the Honda banner out there, my wife and I don't fit into the front passenger seat of any recent model Honda we've tried in the past several years. Glove compartment swoops down too low. Even in the Odyssey and Pilot. :P I had problems with a VW 1.8T Passat blowing blue smoke whenever it got cold and the dealership not knowing what to do with it; and we can't trust local Subaru dealerships further than we can throw one of their cars. Toyota - I haven't had any personal issues with them but until they've proven they know how to produce quality given their current size I'm going to steer away from them as well. Everyone is going to have their personal automobile manufacturers they hate for good reason.
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