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Ford Freestyle Rear Brakes



  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Thanks! Coincidentally, I was looking for a chart like that and you saved me the time to hunt it down. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • curtisc63curtisc63 Posts: 10
    I really do love my FS - even with the front spring replacement (TSB), gas tank recall and door latch recall. It is a great vehicle that has not been discovered.

    At 20300 miles my rear pads on my 05 FWD SEL need replaced "immediately" according to the dealer. Yet inspection of the braks @ the 15K check up showed the rear brakes in the "green". Dealer won't do anything about covering costs. Ford CS was a waste of time - kept me on hold for ~10 minutes only to come back and say he could not find any TSBs and that they were a consumable covered by 12mnth/18K. 10 minutes for that? I hope he enjoyed his coffee...

    Unlike others, I won't throw Ford to the wolves for this. I will negotiate hard with the dealer (and others in the area) to have the repair covered. If I am not successful I will replace the pads myself with a better quality part and keep an eye on them. I just wish Ford would come clean and admit a problem and offer a true solution. THEY have to know what is going on - hanging calipers, sticking E brake, poor material choice, whatever. Admit to it and fix it.

    Leave Ford forever over this? Not likely, but I will probably shop a few brands next time instead of just heading to the blue oval. It's a shame. :(

  • ragtop262ragtop262 Posts: 58
    Saabturboid's post is a pretty good analysis of this issue. Ford's TSB indicated the root cause of the problem as dragging brakes after being parked for long periods. Their solution is to put in longer life brake pads. While this may extend the life of the brakes, it doen't do anything to correct the underlying problem of dragging brakes.

    It would seem that there's a problem on a certain number of vehicles that most likely involves the caliper and/or parking brake mechanism. (Those are the primary parts that actuate the brakes - the pads won't drag unless something is forcing them against the rotors.)

    Most likely Ford knows what the problem is - but they have decided to bandage it by putting on longer lasting pads, rather than to actually correct the underlying problem. That may or may not be an acceptable solution - each person can make their own judgement on that.

    It would be great if someone here noticed their brakes dragging and immediately brought it to a brake expert to diagnose exactly what the cause was. Then they could share that info with the rest of the forum. (I know - thats asking a lot.............)

    FYI - I don't currently own a FS, but I'm looking at buying one later this year to replace my Buick Rendezvous. I'm an engineer and a backyard mechanic, so I do know something about these kinds of things. I consider this brake problem to be an issue, but this alone will not prevent me from buying a FS. If you read through the forums, almost every vehicle has some common problem (yes, even Toyotas and Hondas). On the early Rendezvous, it was BCM computers, AC condensors, and wheel bearings.
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 130
    There was a TSB on the rear brakes. I don't think it covered much. I put ceramic pads on the rear at 15,000 miles to avoid rotor damage. Dealer said there was something like 2 or 4mm left on rear pads and something like 4mm on front. Nobody at FORD would own up to the fast wearing rear pads at this point. I have an 05 FWD. I love the vehicle so far. The in town gas mileage is 19.6.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    All modern floating caliper disc brakes on all automobiles are designed so that the pad is always in contact with the rotor. If this wasn't the case, the brake would never grab on the first push of the pedal.


    I do not believe that the premature brake wear has anything to do with brake drag. It is related to Ford's use of a cheap pad material, combined with a higher than usual rear brake bias to prevent nose dive and bad luck.

    The bad luck is the driver who may not realize that they should try to brake sooner.

  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    It is related to Ford's use of a cheap pad material, combined with a higher than usual rear brake bias to prevent nose dive and bad luck.

    But that doesn't explain people like me, who've only had 20% wear at 15k miles.

    I still think it relates to the parking brake sticking.
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Posts: 468
    "I still think it relates to the parking brake sticking."

    And that in turn is more likely to occur in a colder climate area. My pet theory.
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    a bad batch of pad material could also be a culprit
  • ragtop262ragtop262 Posts: 58
    "a bad batch of pad material could also be a culprit"

    Not likely, since the problem is spread over multiple model years - A bad batch would be isolated to a certain range of build dates.
  • richfig23richfig23 Posts: 15
    I agree with Mark. The brake problems is a combination of the higher than usual rear brake bias to prevent nose dive without the use of a bigger rear rotors and better pad materials to compensate for this. Simply a bad design. If Ford realized that they needed more rear brake bias, then they should have addressed the fact that the smaller rear rotors and pads would not hold up. When you have rear pads wearing so early, and way before the fronts, something is not right. F.Y.I. I have a black 06 AWD limited and I am happy with this vehicle, even though I just paid $200 for the ford dealer to replace the rear pads at 21K and my mileage is not the greatest (avg. 18mpg). I just wish Ford would own up to the problem and come up with a fix for the read brakes.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    Just a thought, but I was wondering if there might be any correlation between premature pad wear and poorer mileage due to drag. It would be interesting for those who have had premature wear to report on their mileage experience. As of now, when my FS is in the garage, I don't engage the parking brake, especially if it is going to be some time before i use the vehicle again.
  • theapemantheapeman Posts: 13
    re brake drag/mpg
    our 05 awd ltd has gone through 2 sets of rear pads in less than 20,000 miles. the dash info usually shows around 16.5 mpg in local driving, much lower than others here have claimed. we've had 24mpg on highway trips. of course the awd cars suffer from higher weight and extra driveline friction compared to fwd. i would like to blame binding caused by the parking brake system for the excessive wear, but i would think overheating, smell, and even smoke would be evident if that were the case. i don't know what to think. the dealer installed and paid for new pads and rotors the first time. i installed akebono ProACT Ceramic Pads the 2nd time; so far they have not produced the terrible dust the original pads left on the rear wheels.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    If it's truly a "Design Flaw" involving pads (instead of the parking brake design), then it must only affect those who "ride the brakes hard" . . as I certainly haven't had any issues with it.
  • dnashdnash Posts: 35
    I guess a follow up question to those with and without rear brake issues is whether or not you had a "dust" problem on the rear wheels? I am at 32k and the rear brakes are still OK, but I haven't had a lot of dust on my wheels either. This might be a good indicator for those who might need to have them checked a little more often.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I've had more dust on the rear then on the front by far. I currently have 43K miles on the original rear brakes on my '05 SE FWD, but I'm getting ready to replace them since they're at 3mm. Front ones are at 5mm.
  • theapemantheapeman Posts: 13
    the suggestion by some that some of us are rushing up to stop signs and red lights and 'riding the brakes hard,' thus causing premature wear, is ridiculous. i have never seen another car with dust-covered rear wheels (4 wheel disc, we're talking about). it is always the front that gets the dust, since the front must do the majority of the braking - front brakes are always larger than rear, and front rotors are usually ventilated, while rears are solid, same reason. this is also why some cars have disc front/drum rear brake systems - they put the good ones on the front. as you suggest, dnash, if you have heavy dusting on the rear, the rears are wearing heavily - check them. which leads me to this - could the problem actually be with the front brakes? what if the fronts are not doing their fair share of stopping the car? the rears would then be overworked as they make up for the lack of stopping power at the front. there would be no drag from stuck rear brakes; just faster wear.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    the suggestion by some that some of us are rushing up to stop signs and red lights and 'riding the brakes hard,' thus causing premature wear, is ridiculous.

    But you need SOME mechanism to explain why the issue isn't affecting almost EVERY unit, if it's truly a "design flaw".

    Obvious choices:

    1) the "design flaw" has something to do with the parking brake not releasing . . thus, those who bought the vehicle with the parking brake released, and who never use it, wouldn't be affected

    2) the "design flaw" only affects those who "ride the brakes hard" . . those who are more efficient users of brakes (and I definitely am, as is evidence by over 90k miles with less than 50% brake wear on my last vehicle) might simply not encounter the issue . . or, it'll affect them at 50k miles instead of 10k.

    I'm sure there are others . . but you need to propose one.
  • theapemantheapeman Posts: 13
    so my wife and i have been driving for over 30 years each, and driving our bmws and other cars not the way an old lady would drive, getting brake dust on the front wheels, not the rear, and getting years of service and 10s of thousands of miles out of the brakes. we get a new freestyle, and 8 months and 8000 miles later, the rear rotors are damaged because the pads are completely worn away. 11,000 miles after that, the rear pads are worn and are scraping the rotors again. did my wife suddenly start driving aggressively when she got that 'sporty' freestyle?
    as i said earlier, if the parking brake were sticking, you would have glowing hot rotors, smell, and smoke. i've never noticed anything like that. and you might then expect uneven wear. the rear wear has been even on both sides. i don't have to figure out what the problem is - ford does. and i did present another theory that i haven't seen here before - that the problem is with the front brakes, not the rear. if the fronts don't provide enough stopping power, for whatever reason, the rears will be overworked under NORMAL braking.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    Explain again how this "Design Defect" doesn't affect MY 2005 Freestyle (one of the first ones, BTW), and many others?

    Could it possibly be that I drive using my brakes substantially less harshly than you and your wife do?

    As to your "Front Brakes are Bad" theory, that STILL doesn't explain why I (and others) don't have the issue.

    What you're describing wouldn't be called a "design defect", but a "quality control" issue.
  • pnewbypnewby Posts: 277
    True, and I have also had no issues with brakes. At 28k, the local S&S tire shop said I have about 40% left on the rear and 60% left on the front. I do quite a bit of hard braking, so this is in line with past vehicles I have owned. I couldn't call it the best ever, but definitely not a large problem. It has to be due to something other than a design flaw.
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    bad proportioning valve maybe...it's the car not the driver's, too many people have had this issue and it seems to run throught the 500/montego/lincoln as well.
  • pnewbypnewby Posts: 277
    I agree, the problem is not a driver's style, but must be a hit or miss problem with some component, maybe made worse by brake pad materials. Which Lincoln though? Montego I can understand, but I can't think of a Lincoln
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I think it's unlikely that drivers suddenly start braking harder with the Freestyle than with any other vehicle they've owned. And just because some people are not having brake problems, doesn't mean that the brakes are not defective. It could be certain lot numbers of calibers, a specific run of pads, or a lot of other reasons.

    I'm at 45K miles and it's time to change my rear brakes, but my front ones are fine. Although better off than most folks with brake problems, it still seems strange to me to have the front ones at 5mm and the rear ones at 3mm. And I've never used the parking brake since owning the car.
  • pumpkin6pumpkin6 Posts: 1
    We have owned many Ford vehicles but when gas prices started going up the husband said it was time to trade in my Expedition (loved that car) and get something more economical. We decided to go with the Freestyle as it accomodated our lifestyle of hauling around kids and hockey gear and seemed like it would get much better gas mileage then the Expedition. (I used to get 14mpg in the Expedition and only get 19mpg in the Freestyle) Not a big difference in my opinion. I drive a lot mostly highway driving of course mixed in with city. I have owned my Freestyle for just about 2 years and just turned 40,000. We have also made several road trips with it as well. I have had to replace all 4 tires around 25,000 miles on them. Was told by the dealership that they where not covered by the manufacture warranty and there was no pro-rata on replacing them. They where not wearing evenly dispite rotating and balancing at every oil change. I had to replace my rear breaks which again not covered and was under 36,000 miles. Was also told that they had to turn the rotors as well. After going less then 3,000 miles from the rear brake replacement I was told now I have to completely replace the rotors because they where so badly warped! This time the dealership did say they would take care of the replacement of the rotors and all I would have to pay is a $50.00 deductible. (When we purchased the vehicle we did buy the "best" extended warranty that Ford offered.) Did the dealership do me a favor by just charging me $50.00 after I have bought 4 tires and a rear break job? (Oh, one last major replacement they had to completely replace the rear AC/Heat unit as well.) Hmmmm, smells like a :lemon:??? The Freestyle is a very smart designed vehicle for functionality but seems to have some design flaws. I'll never by another first model year vehicle again! By the way my husband drives a Ford as well.
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    4 tires gone at 25k does not a lemon make and 25k out of the conti's/pirelli's is not an unreasonable amount of miles. I keep hearing people complain about tire wear and it seems they fail to fully embrace the idea that tires are indeed a WEAR ITEM, they go bad, they need replaced as they are what keeps you alive and in solid contact with the road.

    A 5mpg gain over 2 years of ownership is significant, not sure of your math skills but you are coming out ahead on that one every day you own it.

    40000/14 = 2857gal
    40000/19 = 2105gal

    I'd say 750 gallons of gas is significant @ $3/gal

    As for the BRAKES, it sounds like the dealer did a poor job of servicing them 3k miles ago and them covering the rotors with a "deductable" was them trying to take care of it without losing face.

    Unless you have a number of other issues/failures that you are not disclosing the known brake issue and a replaced ac unit don't make a lemon. It sounds more the case you are mad hubby made you had to trade in your expedition that you "loved".
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I agree more with the pumpkin. Of course brakes and tires are wear items. I don't think you need to explain that. But if someone (like me and many others) have a history where every other car they've driven have had rear brakes good well beyond 50-60K, as well as tires that don't need replacing before 50K miles, then when you get a car that doesn't meet that normal expectation you have a right to complain.

    Same with mpg. If the person has historically received the EPA estimate or better with every car they've owned, then in the Freestyle they're getting 25% lower hwy mpg than the EPA estimate, they have a right to complain. My guess would be that the poor mpg is related to the premature brake wear...something might be dragging.

    The AC unit covered by the extended warrantee isn't good, but even with the other issues, I wouldn't call the Freestyle a lemon because of them. Not a perfect car, but not a lemon. But you do have a right to be frustrated.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    I think it's unlikely that drivers suddenly start braking harder with the Freestyle than with any other vehicle they've owned

    I'm not saying that.

    What I'm saying is this: suppose that I routinely drive my cars with much less braking than you do.

    If the design of the Freestyle is such that my braking doesn't wear out the brakes very fast, but your braking does, then that explains the problem.

    So, I say, learn to drive/brake more efficiently. :P

    PS: I still think it has to do with the parking brake mechanism dragging (slightly).
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    said it was time to trade in my Expedition (loved that car) and get something more economical

    What were you expecting? Let's do the math. You're driving about 20,000 miles per year.

    At 14 mpg in the Expedition (and assuming $2.50 gasoline), you were spending $298 / month in gasoline.

    By going to the Freestyle and getting 19mpg, you reduced that to $219 / month in gasoline (a savings of $79 per month, or 27%).

    Just how much savings were you expecting? Note that the MOST you could possibly save was the total of $298 per month. And even if you were to average 28mpg in the Freestyle (impossible), you would've only saved $149 per month.

    If you're not happy with the savings, I'd say that your expectations were a bit too optimistic for the reality of the situation . . did you actually attempt to calculate your savings before trading?
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    25k-30k is a reasonable expectation for a tire, much beyond that you are running into tires that are years old, have had multiple years exposed to weather and starting to have rubber harden and become less effective in all conditions. As I said I don't understand the expectation for a 50k tire when they are the single most important aspect of driving a car as they are what are in contact with the road all day every day in all conditions. 50k tires are made with harder compounds that will only get harder over time making them very difficult. Why would anybody want that just to save a few dollars in tires. Again tires are meant to be replaced, they wear out and I don't consider 25k on stock tires unreasonable. Her expectations seem to be out of line.

    I was not saying the brake issue was not something to be happy about, I just had my rotors turned and pads updated on my '05 due to the fact they were shot at 17k(very unacceptable). It sounds like she got something over 30k on hers while not great is still better than myself and some around here. I agree on the rear brake wear issue being out of character after so many of us are used to rears lasting 2x fronts but it seems those days are over as manufacturers are dialing in more rear bias to make the rears work harder and managing front end dive during braking. I'll take improved braking performance at the expense of rear pad life. Our VW Passat seems to have a similar thing with it but not to the extent of the FS. I got lucky our dealer was what I thought fair in that it only cost me $100 to get the rears done in light of them being gone at 17k. Free would have been better but it seems we were handled better than some around here on the boards.

    As for mileage she stated her mileage was 19 mixed and I'm assuming over the 40k miles she has on the car which means she is seeing her epa numbers on the FS. Maybe she does more city than she lets on keeping her numbers lower like mine are. Maybe she has a heavy foot after driving the big and ponderous expedition she said she owned where she had to bury it just to get it to move. The FS as we have seen around here has a sweet spot in speed where it can indeed return better than epa numbers and maybe she just hasn't caught on to that yet.

    As for the AC not its not good but someone has to get the bad one when ten's of thousands of them are being installed thats just the unfortunate nature of statistics, manufacturer's aren't perfect(even the vaunted toyota) as much as we expect them to be.

    I'll hold to my speculation that she's just not happy hubby made her "downsize" from the much more socially accepted expedition because the other soccer mom's are asking her ford free-what, oh that's the mini-van isn't it??? she's bitter, just not because she got a lemon...
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Posts: 468
    Three thoughts:

    1) Those who complain the most about the lifespan of the stock Continental tires on their Freestyle are likely those who know the least about tires in general.

    2) People don't seem to realize that the EPA fuel mileage figures on a vehicle's sticker are only useful as a guide for use when comparing that vehicle against another. Your driving habits and the conditions under which you drive are never going to match up exactly with the EPA's testing procedures. That's why it also says on the sticker... "Actual mileage will vary...". Only a delusional person would consider the numbers to be some sort of guarantee.

    3) Most all automotive fuel now being sold in the U.S. has upwards of 10% ethanol mixed in with it. Ethanol does not have the energy in it that gasoline does. The EPA's tests are still based on 100% gasoline. That will change (finally) with the 2008 model year vehicle tests.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    If the design of the Freestyle is such that my braking doesn't wear out the brakes very fast, but your braking does, then that explains the problem.

    Bad logic as my braking style hasn't changed but my brake life has only for this car.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    BRAKES. Obviously, some Freestyle are having very premature brakes failure. Something is wrong with some vehicles. Also, the quality of the brakes pads is probably inferior, generally giving shorter life with all . Freestyles. EPA ratings: the new ones will show a drop in mileage of 2-3 mpg for every vehicle, and will be more realistic. The current ones are not based on any form of reality. They are produced in a lab without the air conditioner== for comparison only..
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    Bad logic as my braking style hasn't changed but my brake life has only for this car.

    My logic is fine, but your reading comprehension skills might need a bit of work. ;)
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    I got 31mpg @ 65mph, I don't see that as a drop from the epa, while I agree the testing could/should be revised as noted it's just a standard set of circumstances to compare vehicles equally as to how they might perform in terms of fuel efficiency... you mileage may vary...
  • pnewbypnewby Posts: 277
    And My AWD at 27 MPG would also be in the sticker range. What's not right here?
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    MILEAGE. I suppose you are using the computer's instant readout at a steady 65. Ok, but that is not a realistic way of measuring mileage. Fill the tank and take a trip or drive around town and then check the results either the old-fashioned way or by car computer. There is no way any Freestyle can achieve 31 mpg in any varying driving situation.
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    Hate to burst bubble, but I did it... and I didn't state in mixed driving, I said at a steady 65mph and you can surmise out on the open highway from there.

    And you can keep you "supposing" to yourself...I mentioned this to illustrate the fact tha epa numbers can go both ways, in some circumstances you can actually see better that documented epa figures and 31 is significantly better than 27 for my fwd fs.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Maybe so...try this...the fact that my rear brakes need replacing at 45,000 miles and my front brakes do not need replacing has nothing to do with my braking style but rather to do with the braking components of my vehicle. Some folks may have both front and rear wearing out at the same time, but I’m sure some people will say that’s the driver’s braking style…maybe they’re leaning the seat too far back!

    Bottom line is that the service manager at the Ford Dealer told me that a lot of the earlier year Freestyles had brake problems and were being serviced for free if brought in before about 22K miles. So for folks with rear brake problems, it’s the car and not the person, so it’s something to watch out for.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "There is no way any Freestyle can achieve 31 mpg in any varying driving situation."

    I have achieved 31 MPG as well, but it is only on pure-highway driving, at approximately 65 MPH on flat terrain.

    Mixed driving is around 23.5 for me. If I forget to drive for mileage I can easily "achieve" 18 MPG around town.

    My FS is a 2006 FWD.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    So touchy.
  • tim156tim156 Posts: 308
    I was just checking the NHTSA web site for TSB's for my 2007 and Ford has issued a TSB for: SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC: FOUNDATION COMPONENTS: DISC:PADS Summary Description: REAR BRAKE DRAG, NOISE, DUST. AND/OR PREMATURE PAD WEAR.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    You wouldn't happen to have a link to that would you?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • tim156tim156 Posts: 308
    Vehicles & Equipment tab
    left column: Vehicles & Equipment
    left column: Recalls/Defects
    Related Links: View All Equipment Recalls
    Service Bulletins
    Type of Search: Vehicle
    enter: Vehicle, Year, Make, Model
    Retrieve TSBs
  • sleep7sleep7 Posts: 2
    I brought my Freestyle in for an oil change at 11000 miles. When I got the car back the bill had a no charge repair of the brakes. It said that the customer stated that the brakes were low. I did not complain of any brake problem when I brought the car in.What does everyone think of this. The brakes felt fine to me.
  • carstenbcarstenb Posts: 37
    same happened with our FS 1.5 years or so ago at the 15k service. i did not "feel" anything wrong with the rear brakes (and i would not expect to notice thin pads without actually looking at them) but the pads were low on one side and gone on the other. pads and one rotor were replaced for free and without us asking for it. i guess that "customer stated..." sentence on the bill is required so the dealer can declare it as a warranty repair. be happy that you have such a great dealer, others here paid quite a bit for the fix.

  • passat_2002passat_2002 Posts: 468
    It's a bit disconcerting that there is such a wide range in how dealer's are treating Ford customers over this issue. You shouldn't have to live next to an above average dealership to be treated fairly.
  • drpcfixdrpcfix Posts: 1
    Check out www.freestyleclassaction.com and register your freestyle with brake problems. Maybe one at a time we are powerless but together we can move mountains.
  • catmouracatmoura Posts: 29
    So do you have any information on the class action that you can share with us?
  • joe5636joe5636 Posts: 1
    This week we took our 2006 Freestyle into the dealer for an oil change. They said the rear brakes were almost gone. The car has >19,000 miles on it. When I asked how that could be he indicated that it was how we were driving. Later that day I discovered that a TSB had been issued by the NHTSA Office of Defect Investigation. Our dealer won't pay for it, and the limited warranty on the brakes -- conveniently -- has expired. I filed a complaint on the NHTSA website. Everyone should. My wife and I made a solemn vow to unload our car before the 3year warranty expired and here we are, only 1 year later, throwing money into the Ford moneypit! :lemon:
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    talk to another dealer or get them to do a parts only deal, mine only cost $100 for pads/rotors resurfaced, not great but better than others around here. Print out some of the posts here saying dealers paid or dealt with owners as well and see if that helps.
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