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Ford Freestar Transmission Problems



  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    As you mentioned, not much you can do about returning it. Remember, not all Freestars will suffer a transmission failure. The fresh fluid will help. If you can, try and save up the money to cover a transmission repair.

    Of course, I'm wondering if your Freestar already had the tranny replaced before you bought it.
  • >> Of course, I'm wondering if your Freestar already had the tranny replaced before you bought it.

    I thought of that. But have no real way of knowing. The car dealer says they don't have any service records on the vehicle other than the 150 point inspection and fluid/filter changes they did before they sold it. They also warrant the power train for 4,000 miles so I hope that if the tranny's gonna go, it does it within 4,000 miles. LOL But so far, no problems. The car is crystal clean and immaculate. Looks brand new inside and out. New tires. Wipers. Etc. The only thing that doesn't work is the cruise control (which seems to be a common Freestar/Monterey problem). They said they'd fix that for me if I bring it in within 30 days.

    But that's a good question about if the tranny is original or replaced. Any way a novice like me could tell by looking under the hood?
  • I just bought a used 2005 Freestart a week ago. Yesterday as I was slowing down at a stop sign, my van died with no warning. The engine check light and oil pressure light were the only two lights on. I cranked on it for a minute, and the van finally started. No more problems that day. This morning, I started the van to let it warm up before I ran some errands, and about 30 seconds later it died....same warning lights. After about 5 minutes, I went back out and cranked it problem....and no problems since then. I do not know if having both the front and back heaters on is causing a problem or not......I have called my delearship to see what I can do....I am not to happy!!!! This vehicle did have some electrical work done 8/03 and 3/07, but has no issues since then.....I am wondering if they just quit driving it??? ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEAS???
  • Im sorry, but I too THOUGHT we had a beauty. We have a 2004 Freestar. Never had a problem till 3 days ago. We just got off freeway exit(thank God), my RPM went up to 3. But I had no "pull". Towed home. Son in law figured it was in need of a "Neutral Saftey Switch". Nope. Needs new Transmission!!! And, to come on here and see this many complaints of same issue, is EVERY REASON FORD NEEDS TO HAVE A RECALL!!!!!!! Will be over $3000.00, and my husband is 70 yr. old and still working part time, with fresh knee replacement, to make it with this economy.And Ford thinks we all need to repair our worthless crap they built incorrect?!!!!!!!!!!! My brother buys a new car every 2 yrs.& I WILL MAKE SURE NO MORE FORD MUSTANGS!!!!!! Or, ANY FORDS! Im sooo upset over this. I took my retirement to buy this van 2 years ago, and now find out FORD screwed up on transmission. NOT FAIR FORD!!!!!!!!!! Im getting an attorney, I refuse to fix FORD workers mistakes!!!! I will display "lemon signs" in our yard too. And warn all friends ,of Ford NOT attending to their mistakes made!!!!!!!!
  • Following up to my previous post......I brought the vehicle to the delearship where I bought the 2005 van, and they called me first thing this morning. The idle control module was stuck in the closed position, and since they replaced it, the van will run great (or so they tell me). I just wanted to add this to the list of things for people to be aware of as we go through the Ford issues together.
  • Still paranoid about my nice running (for now) 2004 Monterey that I recently purchased, I decided to play devil's advocate and call the local Ford dealer (not where I purchased it) and ask their thoughts (we've always had fairly good experiences with this service department and trusted their mechanics). Said to the guy that I've been hearing all these horror stories on the internet about the transmissions in these, and he claims they've seen only ONE faulty transmission come through their door on a Freestar and they narrowed down the problem to the wrong transmission fluid. He said the transmission in the Freestars/Montereys is so picky, one bad shot of the wrong fluid and your transmission is toast. I'm wondering if the folks on here who've had their transmissions go are using the right fluid or even if the mechanic that you trust is using the right fluid. Everyone get proof that the right fluid is being put in your Freestar/Monterey! I'm hoping the right fluid was put in mine. It "looks" right from what the guy told me ... the color of it, that is.
  • These guys would lie to their mother! That doesn't even make sense... my mechanic says that ford used the wrong size transmission for the engine and that they had done the same thing with taurus in the 90's. If the tranny fluid was soooo picky, I would think that this little fact would be in bold print in the book somewhere. Our tranny went out in our 04 model at 59000 miles without warning... good luck to ya! :lemon:
  • Add our 2004 to the list. Where is it that you make a complaint?
  • Well this may be a dumb question, but I was on another message board. One of the casualties (an owner of a dead 2004) said that it's not really the transmission per se that is faulty but the torque converter which fails at the splines and causes pieces of metal to ruin the transmission. So my dumb question: would it be beneficial to have our torque converters replaced BEFORE the splines fail and ruin the transmission? Of course, a Ford mechanic would probably look at us like we had two heads and it's a darn shame we'd resort to even thinking about this, but since it doesn't look like Ford will step up to the plate and recall these things, would that be a way to save money and beat the system instead of paying for a whole new transmission once it's already ruined?
  • hEY IGENOVESE. I too got screwed on a 2004 FORD, FREESTAR!!!!!! had it 3 years this March. Just complained to NHSA. People register complaints to them. The more complaints, the better the chance of a recall. Like everyone else, no warning, coming off freeway exit.......BOOM! no pull. Going to be $1800.00. Husband's 70 yrs. old, still working cause of the economy..... And FORD'S asking and receiving GOV. LOAN!!!!!???? I say, fix their junk first they sold people!!!!!!!!
  • We had the same problem. We repaired it ourselves after Ford took the car twice and couldn't fine it. It was the wiring harness under the floormat behind the drivers seat, where your feet would go. When it was stepped on it would shut the car off and wouldn't start. We separated the wires and taped them up and no problems since.
  • Please go to the NHTSA website and file your complaint. You will need to have your vehicle's VIN number handy but it is very user friendly. Also, stay tuned to this website for a potentially very good developement in this situation...
    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • Hang in there, report your situation to NHTSA via their website, and stay tuned to this website for a potentially very good developement regarding this situation...

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • Interesting. My transmission professional, retired Ford Mechanic, over 20 years experience, who now operates an AAMCO shop, has seen many with the same problem and new exactly what the problem with ours was as soon as I described the incident to him over the phone before he even saw the van. Also, I new my Ford dealer was lying to me the minute thay answered my question about it. (I used to work there. I know how they operate). How much stock are you going to put in a mechanic who tells you that your transmission fluid "Looks right...based on the color?!?!?!" Are you kidding me?
  • Amen. You are 100% correct. They put a transmission designed for a conventional car into a van that weighs hundreds of pounds more and coupled it with a more powerful engine without upgrading it at all to handle the added weight/power. They realized their problem when it was still called the Windstar and, rather than fixing it, rebadged it the Freestar and covered themselves by requiring a transmission fluid change at an unheard of 30k miles. What a bunch of clowns. Did I mention that my family could have been killed when our transmission failed? I will never give up this fight until Ford comes clean and recalls these vans. If I can save one life or one family like ours a $3 - $4K repair bill it will be worth it. And these clowns are in DC begging for a handout from the taxpayers. They flew there in multi million dollar jets for God's sake! I'm eating PBJ sandwiches and noodle ramen because I'm still paying off the repair bill from a year ago!

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • Again, hang in there. help may be on the way.....
  • Hey everybody! I'm guessing that, like me, most of you are closely following the events in Washington with the 3 Stooges begging Congress for a handout of our money. How ironic! They couldn't step up and help out their loyal customers by backing their product that they knew in advance put us all in harms way, and now they are coming to us for help. I pray that common sense prevails and these clowns are sent packing back to Detroit in their MULTI MILLION DOLLAR JETS where they can drown in their own tears and file for bankruptcy. I'm pretty sure Toyota, Kia, Honda, and the rest of the carmakers who actually live within their means and build and back a quality product will be more than happy to step in and take over the market. Apparently, Ford can't even give their products away now. I just saw a commercial tonight featuring "Employee Pricing Plus!" Plus $6K cash back! How pathetic. I'd like to see my $4K cash back from the transmission repair I had to pay for last year at 45K miles.
    Hang in there though. There may be a potentially very good development on the horizon. Stay tuned. When I hear one way or the other, I will post it here first.

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • I did report my transmission to NHTSA. I so hope you're correct. My 2004 went in repairs Tues. Be back Fri. Again, my huwsband is 70 and still working part time.Not fair we have to pay for Ford's mess!!!
    thank you
  • Jim - You're leaving us sitting on the edge of our seats. :) Can you share this potential very good development?

    I feel like a weirdo. My 2004 Monterey is running fine but I'm not enjoying it after reading these posts. I have known to be a bit paranoid in my life and now this message board has got me riding down the highway looking for shoulders and planning escape routes if it dies in the middle of the highway. Is that pathetic or what? :confuse:

    What's weird about all of this is that my used Monterey could have already had the problem and been corrected but I have no way of knowing. The dealer has "no service records" on it. Is there a way a novice like me could tell by looking under the hood if something has been rebuilt or replaced?

    But as far as I know, everything probably is original and I'm just praying I'm not the next victim. The '04's seem to be dropping like flies from reading this board. I'm at 51K now.

    I sure hope this potential big development is a recall or something. It'd give me so much more peace of mind. I have a family that rides in the van.
  • It is not a dumb question. The problem is only ford knows what vehicles were effected, and you do not know if the converter in your vehicle is one of ths bad ones.The labor cost for transmission removal and the torque converter is too high to consider this unless you know you have one of the bad converters.
  • Sorry. I promised I wouldn't tell. In the meantime, there is no way to tell w/o pulling the transmission and torque converter and, even then, because the failure tends to be of a "sudden and catastrophic" nature, you could pull it, see no readily apparent problems, and have it fail the next day. Fact; I checked my wife's transmission fluid less than a week before her transmission failed and saw no signs of dirty fluid, deterioration in the fluid, or the tell tale metal filings that would have been present if the damage had already started. fact; my transmission guy told me that the fluid itself was still good when he pulled the transmission after the failure and that the fluid had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FAILURE. All you can really do is be aware and be ready by planning your escape route if it does happen and, by all means, try not to ride down the road in front of any tractor trailers. They can't stop on a dime....

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • :sick: Jim, I appreciate your help & words on this site. You're 100% correct, when you say, NO WARNING! Im going here in an hour to get my "repaired" 2004 FREESTAR. A $1495.00 debt. Ihave turned Ford into our news here in Columbus, Ohio, "6 on your side". They investigate these "rip off" siturations. I was told there are other models involved also, Freestars, Windstars, Tarus. Well, good luck to all us :lemon: owners.
    shocked 1
  • >> All you can really do is be aware and be ready by planning your escape route if it does happen and, by all means, try not to ride down the road in front of any tractor trailers. They can't stop on a dime....

    That's good advice no matter how good or bad a car one may have. As bad as we hate our Fords, Chryslers are not much better. My mother-in-law has a fairly late model PT cruiser with a blown can belt that went on a dime and left her stranded in the middle of the road, much like these transmissions are doing for us Ford people. Not to mention I stumbled upon a thread somewhere with people complaining that some late model Toyota Sienna (the indestructible Sienna) has some shaky transmissions in their new vans. I wonder if it's a coincidence that Toyota is starting to manufacture their vehicles in America. A shame that we can't assemble quality cars. :mad: Drive carefully everyone. :shades:
  • Hello ominous this seems, finding this thread the day before taking a long trip in my '05 Freestar. I want to ask Jim if he could weigh in on what I sould do to best avoid the horror story situations described throughout this post. I just found the thread today, and have yet to have any issues with our transmission. But this information seems awful familiar to me since my '94 Taurus had a tranny go out on Interstate 95 in August of 2000. So Jim, I obvisouly should consider having my trans. fluid replaced. Is there a brand or other required information I should have before selecting the fluid itself? Should I make any special note of this issue to my mechanic? Have you heard any new information about he 'good news' you referenced before? Thanks for you're help and I appreciate hearing the word from you all first, before we end up on the side of the road without a private jet to fly me to D.C.

  • I can certainly sympathize with you. I purchased a beautifully maintained (looks like it was hardly ever used it was so well taken care of) 2004 Monterey (the twin of the Freestar) and was so excited. The day later I found this forum. LOL So I'm in the same boat. No problems yet but I am waiting to be hitch hiking. One question I do have ... a former poster said only Ford knows what vehicles were affected. So my question, does that mean some 2004/2005/2006 Freestars/Montereys have fine transmissions and other ones have faulty ones waiting to go or were they all sub-par and it's just one of those things that certain conditions make it happen faster than others. Know what I mean? I'm hoping the former and I'm hoping I have a non-affected vehicle, but if that poster could clarify, it'd be great. I too am looking forward to Jim's possible good news (maybe a recall soon?) so that we folks with OK vehicles (so far) can put our minds at ease. I too am interested in if there is ANYTHING that can be done to prevent it from happening. Weird little side question. I notice the gear shift on the steering column is a bit sloppy. Like it doesn't always want to lock in neatly onto "Drive." Know what I mean? I've been very careful to make sure the vehicle is fully stopped before flipping from "Reverse" to "Drive," or vice versa, and making sure it snaps cleanly into the proper gear. Could that have anything to do with anything?
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,441
    I know how they operate)

  • Looks like I am the latest consumer to fall victim to the Freestar transmission problem. Mine too is a 2004 model. I was pulling into a parking space at Big Lots, and wasnt quite lined up in the space. I attempted to back up and found that I didnt have reverse. Tried the forward gears with the same results. There was no prior indication that the transmission was failing. No idiot lights, slipping, noises, etc. Had it towed to my local shop thinking it has to be something as simple as the linkage or the shifter cable (since it happened so quickly). Not that lucky. My shop called and said the transmission was shot. Has anyone had any luck with Ford as far as some kind of compensation goes? Of course, my warranty ran out about 1000 miles ago. I guess it's would be worth a shot to contact them.
  • Thank goodness nobody got hurt. You can start the long process with Ford as far as trying to get compensated however; since you didn't have the work done at a dealership, the chances of this happening are about zero. That said, what you can do that will help our cause is to report this incident to the NHTSA website. They are the government entity whose sole purpose in life is to protect consumers like you and me from defective and dangerous vehicles like the Ford Freestar. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they are sitting on this one. If, however; the reports of failures keeep piling up, eventually, something will have to be done. Also, spread the word locally. You would be surprised how prevalent this problem is and how many people have had the same thing happen to them. Also, stay tuned to this forum in the coming weeks....

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • With regard to the fluid, it is CRITICAL that you use only that which the manufacturer recommends. Transmission fluid, unlike motor oil, is not a "universal, one size fits all" kind of thing. Also, have it done at a shop that has the capability of COMPLETELY flushing out the old before the new goes in. As for the rest, stay tuned...
    Annapolis, MD
  • Good luck with that. The only way Ford will come off of this information is if they are forced to have a recall. In the meantime, assume yours will fail and plan accordingly. Unfortunately, you won't know until it actually happens so, be prepared to take evasive action.

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
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