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Ford Freestar Transmission Problems



  • This week My 2004 Freestar did exactly what I am reading.It stopped working at highway speed and automatically thought transmission as no dashlights came on and rpm guage worked when I stepped on gas but to nothing.As it turns out it is the torque converter.The dealer said they only ever saw this happen once.Apparently this is a much larger problem geographically.If this is such a problem it should be recalled.A bad accident could have happened in my case.I need to let Ford know this is B.S.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    Read Ford's responses to NHTSA concerning the transmission and the PCM. They state that,"Ford's review of customer complaints found them to be highly influenced by the cost of the repair.", and "only 2% of customer complaints express any safety related concern with the vehicle."

    I am writing my response to this, and I am going to include video response, too! Let them travel roadway where no should exists, or bridges under construction without safe places to get off the roadway.
  • can anyone give me advice, where is pcm and how difficult is it to reseal to keep water out. thanks john
  • Nadine,
    God bless you for keeping the cause going and keeping the folks informed. I can't wait to see your response to Ford. I cannot believe their arrogance and blatant disregard for the safety of their customers.

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • henneberry,

    File your complaint with NHTSA, via their website, the Center for Auto Safety, via their website, and of course, write to Ford. Don't stop there however; contact ALL of your elected representatives, both locally and nationally, and also your local media outlet.

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190

    In post 888, I linked the web site for, but not surprised to see the site has been taken down. You can find the entire TSB on the government web site:
    You may need to click on the "document search" and then choose "TSB06-14-10 DATED 7/5/2006 ENGINE/TRANSMISSION DRIVEABILITY ISSUES" second from the last.

    Also, in post 910, there is link to a flickr site. Only two of the photos are "all rights reserved", but you are able to see them and view what the PCM looks like after three years of water damage. The other photos give a good detailed shot of where the PCM is located, and some directions for correcting the problem.

    Good luck. The dealership could not seem to fix our vehicle.
  • Looks like I am going to add myself to the growing list of people stranded by Ford. Our situation is very similar to every other posted. We were returning from visiting our son who is serving in the Military. We were traveling home on Wednesday (Thanksgiving eve) on I-10 in the Florida panhandle when suddenly our transmission quit. We were able to coast to the side of the road. We were 5 1/2 hours from our home near Tampa and had to call my father who lived in Gainesville to make a 3 1/2 hour trip to pick us up. Fortunately the small repair shop was friendly and stayed well past their closing time to wait for us to be picked up. My wife and children frequently travel to the Florida panhandle carting many youths from our church group. I am very grateful this didn't happen to them on one of those trips. I now have to deal with this remotely and then make the 10 hour round trip back to the panhandle to pick up the car and PRAY that I make it back home.

    I will be contacting the NHTSB to add myself to the complaint file against Ford.
  • I too am adding myself to the list of stranded Ford owners. This past weekend I was returning from Gatlinburg and on a bridge on the 240 going around Asheville when I became a large soap box derby participant - hoping to make it across the bridge with my momentum. I was assisted by the wind of the other travelling motorists as they did their best to miss my coasting mass of helpless medal. I made it to an exit ramp and came to stop in a repair area of a shopping strip mall. We were 3 and 1/2 hours from home in unfamiliar surroundings on Thanksgiving Sunday afternoon. AAA came through with a quick tow and the driver left us off in a park where we could wait until our friends could come an get us.

    Having just talked to the mechanic, the bill will be a few cents shy of $3300. Pretty close to the articles explaining this failure.

    I too will be writing to Ford and to the NHTSB. Good luck all.
  • greetings and hopefully some good news for fellow victims of soggy PCMs and power loss and transmissions that won't go into reverse and $1000 fixes that don't work.
    I too experienced all of the above, had the PCM removed and the Ford service fix for the problem installed only to get 350 miles and be stranded by the same problem.
    Mechanics were at a loss to figure out the source of the water infiltration and the next step was to be a new wiring harness. turns out the new repairs were more than the "trade-in" value and I was reluctant to dump it on an unsuspecting private buyer.
    So I figured if I was going to junk it I would just try to find the water source myself.
    I followed the instructions for getting to the PCM by removing the wiper arms, special puller required, about $15 at most auto stores,don't try to pry, you'll wreck the pivot arm, removing the outer cowling, couple of screws and pops off the windshield side, removed the inner cowling, 10 screws. you'll have to remove the wiper fluid lines and connector to the wiper motor to get good working room and lift off the whole assy. just take your time and don't make things worse. or give this fix to your mechanic.
    sounds difficult but actually only takes about 30 minutes if you have all the metric sockets.
    now the PCM is locate under the dash on the passenger side. there is a 40 pin connector that has a mounting bolt that you can see from the engine compartment. carefully remove that bolt and the connector will back out so you can remove it. mine had water dripping out. Its not a good thing but don't panic yet.
    there are 2 nuts that hold the boot cover over the PCM. you'll need a deep well socket or nut driver to remove them. 7/16 works but its 10mm metric.
    pull off the cover and the PCM will pull out of its bracket. my replacement had water in it too. shook it out and gently heated witha blow dryer on low.
    now carefully, reach inside the hole where the PCM bracket fits and feel if there is any moisture on the interior above where the PCM was installed. if it's wet I know your problem. The tubular cross member that supports the firewall is full of water.
    Ford uses foam like Great Stuff to fill that tube, probably for sound deadening.
    on my vehicle, both ends were foamed and the middle was not.
    I removed the clips that hold down the outer cowling and there was an inch or so of water in the tube. the clips are not water tight and the gasket on the cowling make a nice dam to hold water on the clips and over many years the tube gradually fills until its gets to the cover plate over the PCM and you get stranded..
    I pulled back the insulation in the middle of the cross member. drilled a 3/8 hole at the bottom using a cordless drill to keep from being electrocuted. and watched the Ford fountain spew out. I drilled holes on both sides as well and used them as blowout holes with my compressor. water blew out everywhere. I put a small heater on the areas and after 2 days and several blowouts the chamber is dry.
    you'll need to dry out the PCM and connector. not too hot just drying it out low blowdryer. check the gasket around the pins on the PCM and make sure it is around all the pins. this is the seal to prevent moisture from getting into the connector.
    to test you can just slip the PCM in the bracket, install the boot and carefully install the connector and start the car. My trouble lights all cleared and the car ran fine.
    if all is good reassemble in reverse order.
    I purchased new clips from Ford and siliconed all them in. I thought about filling the member with foam but opted to just leave the middle hole for drainage.
    My thought is that the crossmember was supposed to be entirely filled with foam.
    There would never had been the internal leak if it was filled.
    I think some were and some were not would explain why we had the problem and others think the Free Star was the best car ever.
    Best to all.
  • Please read my recent post. It may help solve your problem.
  • Please read my recent post. Water in the PCM will cause all these problems. It controls every function of the engine and trans.
  • you are right about the water problem thought I discovered that the TSB 06-14-10 was a white wash of the actual problem I experienced.
    see my recent post on my real fix.
  • Hi, new to forum. posted my observations and fix on my 2005 freestar. could this info be useful in pursuit of recall? I found the Ford fix to be ineffective and got water in anyway. I think the infiltration is from inside as a result of poor quality control when insulating the cross member.
  • My problem with my "Free Junk" is totally different. They say trannsmission was made too small for engine . And the Torque Convertor breaks & "blows up" the plantarium. I, as the rest, had NOOOO warning of tranny not pulling. Just came off 270 in ohio. God was with us, all I can say.
    SO, COME ON FORD OWN UP & HAVE A RECALL ON THESE DEATH TRAPS!!!!!!!!!! We can't EVEN take Grand kids in this crap to see Christmas lights!!!! :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
  • Well, after $2300+ we got our van back & the torque converter pump shaft was the culprit. Our transmission shop had to drop the tranny more than once due to the transaxle light coming on over and over again after a period of time driving at highway speeds. I'm thankful no one was injured in all this. I'm so upset we had to spend this kind of money on our reliable vehicle & it being so close to the holidays. Enough is enough. Complaint has been filed so all we can do now is pray that it will last & no one will get hurt from this "common" failure of these transmissions in the future.
  • Thanks for the info. We have a 2004 Freestar. Currently it is in my driveway & won't go into gear. I drove it the night before (in the rain) & it was fine. We have had pretty much all the problems everyone is describing--even the radio going on & off while the keys are in the house! I am going to give my Dad & husband your directions & hope for the best but I have questions. I am reading all this about people spending thousands on rebuilding transmissions--are you saying that we may not need to do that? Do we need a new PCM or will it be Ok after it is dried out? I saw something about a guy coating his with silicone? Like pretty much everybody else we have no $ to repair the transmission and this is my primary vehicle. I looked this up to try & find the cost for transmission repair & stumbled into this! I had no idea that my family was actually in danger! We also stalled on the highway but thought we were Ok after replacing the fuel pump. You would have thought that the Ford dealer would have given us a heads up when we had it 'fixed.' I would appreciate any advice!
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190

    The only advice that I could give you is to watch your pocketbook. The dealer and Ford could care less about your safety or your family. They only see $$$$ signs. I have found that the Ford Freestar is a Free Money pit for the dealers and Ford.

    Good luck.
  • I am really trying to get a handle on what is paralyzing my van before I have it towed somewhere to be 'fixed'--I am afraid I am going to be told that my torque converter or transmission is bad if that is not the problem! Can a transmission go when the van is off??? It was fine (I guess) when I drove home but now won't go into gear.
    My husband pulled out the PCM & it was dry. We plugged it back in & the problem remains. After hours of searching online my next guess is a Transmission Range Sensor/Neutral Safety Switch but I am really having trouble finding any info on this and if our symptoms truly fit since the van starts fine. (Symptoms are: Last driven in a downpour--so I was going slowly. Check engine light was on but we believed this to be because of a very quick stop on a steep hill w/ low gas (Deer in the road). Van starts and idles great. Won't go into any gear but engine revs when you press gas. Holds park but can be rocked in other gears.) BTW--engine light went out after we disconnected battery.
    Does the Freestar have a 'limp mode' that may have gotten me home that night without realizing there was a problem?
    Our Transaxle light blinks after driving awhile--should we assume the transmission will be going soon?
    We have a bit of roughness/hesitation when trying to maintain approx. 45mph/1600rpm.
    We are sooo upside down in the loan on this van--I've got 2 yrs left on it! Is there anything I can do to make it last that long?
    When I figure out what's wrong I will file a complaint--where should I do that? NHTSB? Ford?
    Any thoughts would be appreciated!
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Yes, it can appear to happen while the van is off. That's what happened to ours. My wife parked the van. Went shopping. When she got back and started up the van, it wouldn't move. No prior sign of any problems.

    To find out if it is the torque converter, which unfortunately it sounds like, a transmission shop needs to do a pressure check. If there's no pressure, then the pump isn't turning, which is what happens when the torque converter fails.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    If you want justice for the Engine/Transmission Driveability Issue (PCM), file a complaint on The Center for Auto Safety (

    Do not delay.
  • Looks like the Freestar tranmision problem has hit the 2006 year. This morning while
    my husband was driving on the highway our 2006 Freestar shut down. The engine
    was on, but he couldn't accelerate, when he did the rpm went up, but no power, the car coasted to a stop and he couldn't get it
    completely off the road. He was driving at approx. 40-45 miles per hour. We had
    the car towed to a garage. They mentioned possible transmission problems. We
    will know more on Monday. But after the research that I have done, there is no
    doubt that it is another Freestar with a bad transmission!!!

    While driving the Freestar my husband said there was absolutely no indication that
    anything was wrong with the van. He said it seemed that the van suddenly was in
    neutral and yet it was in drive. This is a very serious situation!!!!

    I decided to google Freestars and tranmissions..........OMG I was shocked and in dis-
    belief over what I was reading.

    Our problem now is.....we are making payment on a van, and we couldn't afford to
    pay for a new transmission. I now have a van and I cannot afford to get it fixed.

    I did report the situation to the NHTSA but as I understand they are only investigating

    Does anyone have any advice, we have a 2006 Freestar?

    Thank you in advance for your advice!
  • Oh yes. The 2006 model is affected as well. You probably didn't read back far enough in the posts. Our 2006 had the same problem in the summer of 2008. The entire famiy was in the car pulling out from a drive thru restaurant into traffic when it died on us.
    $3300 later, we had it back, only to have it go again 25,000 later. This failure has caused us great financial dificulty as well. We're in the same boat, owe too much on the loan and have to wait it out. We paid a monthly payment on a vehicle that was sitting in the driveway. That's not the biggest issue. Ford is going to keep ignoring this until someone gets killed. They are a poor example of American quality. Good luck with your problem.
  • Thank you for your reply, your exactly appears that Ford is going to wait
    until someone is killed, this entire situation is just disgusting.

    At this point, we are stuck, we purchased the van from a reputable local used car
    dealer, we are wondering if they knew about this problem? They mention on
    their website that they use carfax....We unfortunitly didn't....big mistake.
    I wonder if carfax would have any information regarding our vans previous
    transmission history. Did the company we purchased know about this
    problem, when they sold it to us 16 months ago?

    I wonder???

    Thank you and my sympathies go out to everyone invovled in this disgusting
  • The torque converter (TC) normally takes the place of a mechanical clutch (found in stick shift cars). The TC allows the engine to spin independently of the transmission. More fluid is pumped into the TC the faster you go, that is one reason it takes more pressure to stop the car. Where the turbine output shaft connects to the stator, with a spline connection, is where the failure I believe is occuring. So when it is repaired, a new spline shaft is installed with the same design and one is set up for a repeat failure. What needs to happen is a more robust design/or redesign of the spline shaft needs to be incorprated for it to properly hold up.
  • I am sorry to hear that our club has another member. Once again, it by the grace of God that no one got hurt. It is only a matter of time before this failure results in a fatality.

    Please follow up with NHTSA and demand that they expand their investigation to include the 2006 model year. Of course, it won't be long before the 2007's start failing as well.

    In addition to NHTSA, please register a complaint w/ the Center for Auto Safety. Also, contact ALL of your elected representatives, your states Office of the Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau, (Ford is a member), and of course, write to Ford and also call their Customer Relationship Center. This is a joke because they will act like they never heard of the problem before, blame it on you, treat you like a 4-year old, and hope that you go away but it is a step you can take.
    I am sure they have a log of the calls somewhere so, ultimately, it will be easy to prove that they did know about it all along.

    Finally, tell everyone you know, especially other Freestar/Mercury Monteray owners about this dangerous and potentially deadly defect. You just might save a life in the process!

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • Jim, I appreciate your reply, I have contact the NHTSA and filed a complaint yesterday
    afternoon. I will follow your advice and contact everyone you had listed. At the
    present time the van was towed to our local garage. I am going to have the mechanic
    check the situation out, but not do any repairs. After learning about the risks and
    price that is involved, I cannot afford either. I am stuck as many others are!!!

    I am also contacting my local bank and their headquarters, where I have a loan
    for the car. I realize this might be a strange angle of attack, but they approval a loan on
    an unsafe vehicle, they are somewhat involved too!!! They might be
    repo-ing a unsafe vehicle.........I hate to ruin my perfect credit but I am not having
    my family ride in an unsafe vehicle! Just not sure what to do???

    Does anyone know if enough people with car loans complain to their banks would make
    much of a difference??? Just a though

    Everyone with Freestars please stay safe.

    Thank you
  • Interesting: Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't the FORD FREESTAR been marketed
    for families???? Usually but not always, the mini-vans are marketed to
    women who are activitely running their children to school, daycare, children
    sporting events etc.....

    FORD obviously doesn't give 2 hoots.....about the parents who purchase these vans,
    this has been made very clear, buy their refusing to corect the thousands
    PCM/transmission problems.

    and they don't care


    Ford has marketed these mini-vans towards women and families,
    it is time for them to step up to the plate and fix our minivans!!!

    If FORD is going to
  • I am trying to determine if I have an orginal transmission in my 2006 Freestar? I
    purchased my van used with approx. 37,000k mile on it. I am interested in knowing
    if the transmission is orginal and if the previous owner did the (recommended!)
    did transmission fluid change at 30k miles?

    I have a list of numbers from the transmission, but I don't understand them?

    Also, carfax has 9 reports on my Freestar van, and another company has 16
    reports on my van. I haven't paid them for any information yet. What information
    do these reports about my car? Would they have any information about my
    transmission, like if it had been replaced?

    Thank you in advance for advice and information!

    Again thank you
  • You are right to be outraged. Ford marketed this van based on it's SAFETY rating. Further, Ford touted the "Bumper to Bumper Warranty" in its advertising. Is it a coincidence that the transmissions all seem to fail remarkably close to when the 36K mile "Bumper to Bumper" waranty expires? I think not. Also, you are right, by their very nature, these vans are "family" vehicles.

    Also, Thank you for following up on repoerting your failure. This is how we have gotten this far with NHTSA actually conducting an investigation. We have been at this for over 2 years now. I suspect we will be at it for at least another 2 years as the 2006 and 2007 models start to experience the same problem.

    Finally, watch out everybody; Ford is getting ready to reenter the minivan market next year! Can you believe it?

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    I'm not positive, but I don't think the report would include that kind of information. They check service records, but that mostly pertains to routine maintenance. These reports would tell you if the van has a salvage title, odometer rolled back, accidents, flooding, etc.

    This is from CarFax site, however, I wouldn't count on there being the kind of info included that you're seeking.

    Potential owners see detailed records of routine maintenance, such as oil changes and tune-ups, along with more extensive information like damage repairs and parts replacement, when available. The service history displays the name, location and Web address of each shop that provides maintenance information to Carfax.

    You might want to take a look at this Edmunds article.

    Which Vehicle History Report Is Right for You?

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

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