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Ford Freestyle CVT Transmissions



  • ct2ctct2ct Posts: 5
    2006 FS-just over 38,000 miles, just out of warranty, i start to hear weird noises out of the engine, like a belt is loose. Then it starts roughly, runs roughly, especially in cold weather. It also had acceleration problems, not accelerating like it did originally. Sometimes had a pause and then kick with power. Further, when i put it in reverse, it had a disturbing acceleration, which could be very dangerous. Sort of lurched backward with too much power for just taking my foot off the break. It has now been in the dealer 2 times, for a total of 4 weeks. They have told me it is one issue and then another. They replaced the engine sensor light twice, check the PCM, the wiring and the coils. They alternate between telling me it is my problem for not changing the oil soon enough (went 14,000 miles before change) to telling me it is a computer problem or some other part. Now they are telling me it is a timing chain issue that will cost me $1600 or if that doesn't fix it, the whole engine needs to be replaced for a cost of $6800! This car is not that old, doesn't have that many miles on it. Is this just another transmission failure issue, like others I have read? Suggestions? I have liked the car, but I cannot afford to put in a whole new engine in it, especially if this is a design defect. :sick:
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    I've been trying to find out the sensitivity of fuel economy to CVT chain tension (clamping force on the cones). Specifically, is this tension/force just set, or is it somehow automatically adjusted? I don't see how this force is directly sensed, so is a certain hydraulic pressure simply commanded, with hope that the force/tension turns out right? In a nutshell, what is the control law/strategy for chain tension and clamping force against the cones? Any maintenance required? Below, a quote and link from ZF's Mini Cooper version of our CVT. I understand ours is very similar, ours having a torque convertor for smoother takeoffs from a standstill, and different control software of some kind.

    I posted this in the Freestyle maintenance section in hopes of snagging an answer from fordwrench or somebody else that understands the internals of this. I communicated this question to the son of the engineer who led the original development for the basic ZF design, and he is asking his dad about this. I'll post his answer later should I get it and compare it with the brainiacs who might answer this here. I'm certainly going to learn something here, and hope you all will too.

    From the Mini Cooper CVT transmission article PDF file to download here..., page 21

    "Pressure is supplied to the secondary pulley to ensure that there is always adequate clamping force onto the belt for all load conditions. A solenoid valve influences the secondary pressure control valve, optimising the pressure and hence the clamping force.
    Optimisation of this pressure improves fuel consumption.
    The working valves in this area are the secondary valve, the exhaust secondary valve, and a PWM solenoid secondary valve."
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    I found some more info into what is going on inside these CVTs: In the June 2008 issue of SAE's "Automotive Engineering International" magazine, Hirofumi Okahara said he's "not satisfied with the current efficiency of current CVT metal link-type drive belts. We are developing more sophisticated sensing throughout the CVT to further optimize the degree of clamping force at the pulley and reduce pressure on the steel belt under running conditions", speaking about the Nissan CVT. The Nissan (JATCO) CVT may be similar in some ways to the Ford Freestyle (BMW MiniCooper, Audi ZF unit). Actually, it may well be that the Ford Freestyle/500 CVT is more efficient than the JATCO Nissan one, as it has been noted in the past (Car and Driver) that the JATCO CVT wastes some energy in internal hydraulic pumping losses. Depending on how clever the engineers are, it is possible the ZF CVT (Freestyle, etc.) doesn't waste as much energy internally. However, the clamping force Okahara speaks about critical to efficiency may be a problem in some Ford Freestyles, since it is difficult to gaurantee optimization in all production vehicles. I wonder if this is behind the inability of some Freestyles to get good MPG. Okahara wants more sensors in the JATCO unit to better measure and control clamping force.
    Also see Technical CVT Paperor another Set of CVT Tech Papers. A lot of engineering/tech reading; not easy to understand. Anyway, I'll try to run Okahara's comments past one of the engineers responsible for the ZF CVT in our Freestyles to see if he thinks clamping force variations across many Freestyles could be a problem.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,719
    The Taurus X does not use a CVT, and the forum should either be "Ford CVT", "Freestyle CVT", or just "CVT Transmissions".
  • jjr4jjr4 Posts: 1
    I have an '07 Freestyle (Manufactured in late '06) with 39,000 miles. I am having identical problems with acceleration, or lack of, and surges, or lurching forward and in reverse. Did you ever figure out the problem?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    We were doing fine until Ford changed the Freestyle to a Taurus X and added the CVT.

    How about we just drop the CVT?
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    No, just drop the TaurusX from this forum and keep the "Freestyle CVT" association in this forum. The Taurus X does not have a CVT, and there is already another Freestyle/TaurusX forum to handle the other similarities in the vehicles.

    To be clear, Ford used a CVT in the Freestyle from '05-'07, and the TaurusX from '08-on has a new engine, tranny, and front suspension, and otherwise the vehicles are almost identical (only front end cosmetic changes).
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    ct2ct and jir4,
    You both might be having the same problem the forum poster named jrmust has. See his post at Freestyle lurching issues post by jrmust

    I think what jrmust was experiencing, and the dealer finally resolved, was a loose electrical connection in the accelerator pedal or where the electrical signal moves the throttle in the manifold, one or the other; I couldn't tell exactly from jrmust's post. You might be able to email jrmust to get his attention, by clicking on jrmust when you see it green and underlined to the right of the title. That might work.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    jjr4 and ct2ct,
    The forum post jrmust does not have an email address listed, so post on the Ford Freestyle Maintenance and Repair forum by clicking here and jrmust is most likely to hang out there.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    Ok, if anyone happens in here with a Taurus X transmission problem, yell and we can start up another discussion just for you.
  • drewmimidrewmimi Posts: 9
    I have a 2006 Freestyle AWD. Waiting for a plane, with engine idling, drove away at slow speed. Stopped for traffic and the yellow wrench light comes on and the car won't move. Put it in park, shut off the engine, restarted, won't move. Shifted through low to reverse to drive, the car moves slowly. Shut off again and loaded passengers. Parked for the night. Next morning, no wrench light, car runs fine. To the dealer, they change a transmission module since the "codes" were not related to the transmission. A month later, same thing and back to the dealer. Dealer rebuilds transmission with info from Ford that seal is allowing fluid to bypass, causing loss of power from engine through the transmission. Month later - still working.
  • nibyaknibyak Posts: 26
    That’s sort of what they did to my 06 last year. I started having problems at around 60,000 miles. Never had the no-go problem but had the wrench light and hard downshifting when going up hills. My dealer’s service department had no clue what was wrong and I ended up having loaner cars for a total of nine weeks. The third time the service department had the CVT out of the car they finally fixed it (with Ford’s hotline help). The problem had to do with input shaft machining defects which destroyed the o-ring seal and screwed up the internal pressure. The service manager stated that Ford specifically told them to check the integrity of the input shaft seal. The list of parts is outlined in “TSB 06-11-4 CONTINUOUSLY VARIABLE TRANSAXLE (CVT) NOISE DIAGNOSIS”. I will also say that my car never made any noise that I heard. I have included the list of parts from the TSB below. Not all of the parts on the list will have to be replaced for every CVT, but as you can see, they don’t appear to be inexpensive parts.

    7F9Z-7015-A Input Shaft
    5F9Z-7025-A Bearing
    5F9Z-7F465-AA Diff Assy AWD
    5F9Z-7F465-BA Diff Assy FWD
    5F9Z-4222-BA Diff Bearing Race
    5F9Z-4222-CA Diff Bearing Race
    7F9Z-7H348-A Side Shaft Gear Assy 5.19
    7F9Z-7H348-B Side Shaft Gear Assy 5.54
    5F9Z-7J309-AA Dust Cap
    5F9Z-7L280-CA O-ring

    All of my problems were fixed under my extended warranty and I didn’t even have to pay the $100.00 deductible. I have put about 40,000 additional miles on the repairs and haven’t had any issues.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Host Steve,
    Could you add "500/Montego" to the title? Those had the CVT as well. Sorry I forgot to mention that before.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    You're welcome to go start your own Montego discussion over in Sedans. :shades:
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    The same CVT transmission was in the Freestyle/500/Montego for model years '05, '06, and '07. Therefore, shouldn't this CVT discussion include all the vehicles that had the identical CVT?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,041
    Parts is parts but we don't ordinarily lump the different vehicle types together like that; we do have discussions like 4WD & AWD systems explained that aren't model specific.

    And we do refer people with a, say, Rodeo question to a Passport one if they don't find answers with the search tools.

    We could link this over to Sedans and just call it something like Ford CVT Transmissions.

    Meanwhile, if anyone has a question about their CVT, please jump in.
  • baethkebaethke Posts: 8
    My 05 FS has a noise coming from the tranny that sounds like a bearing on a pulley dragging when it is in P or N. When its under load it stops. And now the cvt tranny seems to surge when accel and trying to pull a hill. And it also sounds like a regular transmission in a low gear when going down a hill. Oh yes and one more thing, it has a really loud whine and some what grinding noise going in reverse. Anyone want to take a stab at it?? :(
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Posts: 178
    It doesn't sound like the same exact thing as you are experiencing, but our '05 AWD FS has been making a loud whining noise for about a year now, worse when it is hot out. At first I thought it was the CVT going south, but later discovered the whine is coming from the power steering pump. Our Ford dealer didn't seem too concerned about it and said, "We've heard a lot worse", even though people turn their heads to see what is making the noise when we drive by. Perhaps this is one reason why Ford is in trouble.

    - Chad
  • baethkebaethke Posts: 8
    Thanks for the idea but i figured that out right after we bought it. If you fill the power steering up past the max mark it should stop it for you for awhile. thats what i tried on mine just for the hell of it and it worked.
  • bestwilkebestwilke Posts: 1
    Hi. New to this forum. I have an 05 Freestyle with about 29K miles on it. We use it primarily for trips to TX coast from OH to get out of the cold weather. I purchased an extended warranty when I bought the vehicle. I've thought about getting a new vehicle, possibly a Taurus X, but not sure if I want to keep the CVT or not. Haven't really had any problems with it other than a squeaking noise from brakes being in the salt air I was wondering if I'd get as good gas mileage without the CVT. Doesn't Volvo use the CVT on their wagons? Have they had any problems with it? Any thoughts or comments are welcome. Thanks.
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