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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey



  • I'm about to take the plunge and purchase a 05 Freestar but have a question on seating fitment. All 4 of the Freestars on my local dealers lot only have the
    2nd row bench... but my wife really wants the captains chairs. (1 S, 2 SE's
    and a SES 2005 leftover)

    I have seen Freestar captains chairs I can purchase at for very
    reasonable prices, but neither the dealer or salvage yards can answer if
    the stock bench mounting holes will work with the captains chairs.

    Any Freestar owners know the answer? I would like to keep my purchases

  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    The captains chairs on our 04 SEL have 4 mounting holes per seat, for a total of 8. I would guess that the bench seat only has 4 mounting holes. I don't know if there are 4 extra mounting holes hidden under the carpet or not. If there are, it might work. If not, you are out of luck.
  • Thanks for the quick reply! Anyways, the dealer was able to find an available
    Freestar from another state, and got it for me.

    I love it! I tried out the Chrysler/Dodge minivan, Honda, and Toyota equivalents...
    and all had their merits, but did not justify the 4-5 thousand difference with the
    incredible employee discount and $6000 rebate ford has.

    Overall the Freestar is not the best in every category (Power, Fuel mileage, interior
    fir/finish, noise level, ride comfort, space, etc.. but it was well balanced throughout)

    Another satisfied (and recent) Ford owner. I also just purchased a 2005 extended cab Ranger 4x4. Funny that I now have all American cars after owning a Subaru, Toyota, BMW, Porsche and Lotus.
  • pdenni1pdenni1 Posts: 1
    We purchased at 2005 SEL (4.2L) last month and although the sticker says 18/23, we have taken two road trips over 400 miles each and at strictly hwy driving we got 26.8 on the first trip and 29 on the way back (strong tail wind all the way home). On both of those trips the trip computer only registered 22.3 but keep in mind that that is a running average of idle time, drive time etc. If you want an instant reading, hit the reset button when you are out on the hwy. and it will give you an instant reading. I did that with the cruise on 75 on a flat stretch of road and it came back at 26.1. In town is another story though. The best we have done is 19 but that is average among all minivans. This is my 4th ford and with each of them, the good gas mileage doesn't start until around 10,000 miles. It seems fords have a longer break in period. My 2004 Taurus which has 110,000 miles on it (company car) started at 19 mpg hwy and now I am getting nearly 30mpg. Ok, I rambled enough but hope i answered your question.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Wow, $6K rebates! It's about time. Too bad we missed it when we bought our Quest a month ago. We would've really considered it. The Freestar was so over priced that $6K merely brought it to the same level as the competitions. I priced out an SEL on carsdirect with similar options as our Quest, and the Freestar still came out $1K more expensive :confuse: :mad: The Freestar is a decent van, but just too expensive.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    I remember we tried to get a barebone Freestar for less than $17K. Of course it was impossible with the small rebates Ford had at the time. Now it's entirely possible. We could've ended up with a Freestar.
  • One of the Lincoln-Mercury dealers in Madison has a loaded Monterey Premier on the lot for $25,500. I'm a real penny pincher, but the thought of that van for only $25,500 really has made me thinking about trading in my 2001 Quest SE.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Actaully the Monterey version has the largest incentives currently going, I believe it's about $9K off. IN total it should be priced at $20,400 roughly...
  • Yeah... $6000 in rebates on top of the Family plan pricing which reduced it another $3580.
    So in total for my 2005 Freestar SEL with Power side doors and DVD option was $32,6XX, but after the rebates and Family plan reduction took it down to $23200.

    I took all of the competitors mini vans for a test drive and remarkably... they were so
    close to each other in comfort, fit and finish, ride quality, etc... none really stood out.
    But when the Freestar had over $9600 in discounts removed from their price. I quickly picked up the Freestar. Your right TAMU2002, if it wasn't for the substantial reduction, I probably would have bought a Quest also. My dealer threw in a 100 month/100k mile
    Ford backed powertrain warranty to close the deal too!
  • Maybe some day Toyota, Nissan, or Honda will build their mini van to beat the Freestar or its previous Windstar in either the Insurance Institute ot Government Crash test which both Ford models always had. (Was designed to be safer from the beginning... NOT a afterthought like Toyota, Nissan, Honda)
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    There were other deal breakers about the Freestar besides pricing. I thought the 3rd row was REALLY narrow and low; and the seating lacks flexibility compared to the Caravan's stow-n-go and the Quest's fold flat 2nd AND 3rd row. But in terms of safety you gotta hand it to Ford. Anyway, enjoy your van! :)
  • The Monterey I saw was discounted about as far as possible. The list price was slightly over $37,000 with a discounted price of $25,500. This thing was LOADED. And, as someone stated, it is possible to get the dealer to toss an extended drivetrain warantee in for good measure.

    To me, this is the best values in the minivan market. God bless those discounts and incentives, for without them, this would be one of the worst values.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 14,896
    my in laws bought a freestar, and i was shocked that the 3rd row seat was so small. my '02 explorer has a much more practical 3rd row.
    i think it is pretty funny that most of the posters seem to like the 'star.
    another case of reality getting in the way of those car mag reviews.
    2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1, TBD
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    That is correct, the Explorer has larger dimensions for the 3rd row, than the Freestar. The Explorer was re-designed to accomodate it, specially the rear independant suspension. Whereas the Freestar which is essentially an updated Windstar, didn't have that available to it, when it was retrofitted with a stowable 3rd row seat.
  • You are absolutely correct about the small 3rd row seat... but my 2 small children ride in the 2nd row captains chairs, and only the 3rd row when adults ride along (in the 2nd row of course)

    But the clincher for me was the MUCH larger storage space behind the 3rd row. Do you have any room for groceries, shopping bags etc
    after all the seats are used up in your explorer? You can probably fit a backpack back there! That also made me not get a Chrysler Pacifica because of this. But if you need full time usage of all 3 rows of seats for adults... the seating for all 3 rows in the Explorer, Caravan, Pacifica, etc is better. BUT you have to put up with NO storage space.

    Bottom line... my wife regularly only uses the first 2 rows of seats for our kids, and folds flat the 3rd row to enable usage of the enormous space behind the 2nd row. Everyone has different needs... my wife's needed storage space above all others, but has the 3rd row (small) seats in an emergency. She's a shop-a-holic :(

    Obviously you need all 3 rows for passengers, but little or no cargo space for your needs.
  • Along the same line, a 60/40 split 3rd row would add so much flexibility to the storage problem behind the 3rd row. I hate the fact that Nissan doesn't offer that. Ford doesn't offer that either right?
  • Yup, Ford doesn't have the 60/40 or at least 50/50 split 3rd row either. But at least you have the Cool Nissan Space ship designed interior in your mini-van tamu2002!

    Looks like the perfect minivan would have the Ford Freestar chassis/frame (for safety), the cool space ship cockpit from the Nissan(Interior design), the Honda oddysy-spelling? interior (comfort and interior fit and finish), the GM parts (cheap prices and availability), Toyota built engine (Reliable engine and decent gas mileage), Chryslers stow and go seating (well engineered stowage)...
    all at Hyundai pricing and 10 year 100,000 mile warranty!

    Just dreaming.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 14,896
    "Obviously you need all 3 rows for passengers, but little or no cargo space for your needs."

    i have 2 kids. each one gets their own space, although they have to share it with some cargo, they would rather share the space with mostly their own stuff than with their sibling.
    my first priority is passenger comfort. the luggage doesn't complain. ;)
    2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1, TBD
  • "But at least you have the Cool Nissan Space ship designed interior in your mini-van tamu2002! "

    You sure seem to know why we bought the Quest ;) And a great sum-up of the ultimate minivan!
  • I have the same problem on a Freestar that started when its was about 60,000 kms. This only happens first thing in the morning when the weather is cold. The dealership says they don't hear it when I take it into the shop. Have you had any luck getting this fixed or have any other information about this problem?
  • skrepskrep Posts: 13
    It seems to have disappeared for the most part. I did have it during the colder weather but it did not make any difference whether the van was cold or hot. We'll have to see what happens as winter approaches. The dealer service department manager was aware and could hear the graon but if he was successful in his follow up he did not communicate it to me.
  • Anyone else experience a rattle / clunk in the driver's floor boards area? Sometimes it seems to be communicated through the accelerator peddle. Dealership replaced sway bar links on driver's side, but rattle/ clunk persists, esp. on rough roads.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Ford Minivans- Only one's to pass head restraint safety test.

  • Any word on 2006 Freestar availability? Went by the dealer yesterday, no brochures, no info on when they'd receive inventory, etc.
  • epinnyepinny Posts: 1
    I bought an '05 Freestar 3 months ago. I have had nothing but problems with the car (and the service dept trying to fix it). My main complaint has been a vibration in the steering wheel. After 2 rotor replacements (which didn't solve the problem), and the common excuse of "flat spots" in the tires, then calling in an engineer and determining that one of the tires had a bad "road force balance" rating and needed to be replaced, I am no better off than where I started. I'm still experiencing a vibration in the steering wheel (that Ford claims is not there), the frame of the car creaks like a haunted house when I go down a hill, my brakes are squeaking very loudly, and now my steering wheel feels like it is thumping or kind of clicking. I guess I'm headed back to service. My main concern is safety and I am almost afraid to drive the car with my kids in it any farther than locally. Just wanted to see if anyone has any suggestions on how to handle this or if anyone else is experiencing the same problems I am.
  • No problems yet. I've had it for 2 months now and no issues....
    I had originally bought it to use as my work vehicle... but my wife has comendeered it(spelling?) for herself.

    She loves the ride and cargo room, which is cavernous compared to her
    previous Subaru Impreza.

    I did have a similar issue when I purchased my BMW about 6 years
    ago(vibrating steering wheel), but I had the dealership replace the 2 front
    wheels with Khumos and that solved it.

    I have had bad luck with Goodyear and Michelins balancing properly.
    (Funny that the 2 replacement tires were actually cheaper than the OEM Goodyears, but better rated for traction and wear.)
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I went to the dealer last week and found there sitting about 4 new '06 Freestars. There are a few interior changes, the location of the door lock/unlock button which is more intuitive, and safer power window switches, but you loss the illumination.

    I don't know why, but it bothers me that all older Ford vehicles offered illuminated controls for everything, and lighted glove boxes as well, and on the newer models they're missing.

    Question to Ford: Is this the only thing you can copy from Toyota...? :(
  • beernutbeernut Posts: 329
    I've finally gotten to where I don't trust my '97 Windstar for long trips anymore (60,000 on a Ford remanufactured engine, 10,000 on a Ford remanufactured trans, countless new parts everywhere else, 112,000 on the rest of it). I am considering the following:

    2002 Windstar Limited, 50K, $10,000, no more warranty,

    2005 Freestar SEL, 17K, $19,000, extended warranty.

    What do you folks think. All thoughts will be useful.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    No offense but do you have to buy another Freestar, given the last experiences with this one? :blush: The Dodge Grandcaravan seems to be a much better vehicle in utility and reliability, if you'd like to stay with domestics. But regardless, best of luck.
  • Automatic doors open by themselves

    I’ve had a 2005 Freestar since midsummer that hasn’t had a major issue besides eating a rented copy of Dumbo that Ford still hasn’t been able to return to me from the DVD player going out… until now. The other night after the kids were in bed I took out the trash walking directly past the well closed and locked doors of the van. When I got up in the morning the rear and passenger side doors were fully open and the in and outsides of the van were covered with condensation. I peeked around to see if anything had been stolen, and nothing had been touched. I pressed the button to close the doors but they wouldn’t respond. I double-pressed the buttons on the key FOB and nothing happened. I tried to open the drivers door, but I realized the doors were all locked. I unlocked the van with the FOB and tried to close the doors again, but both of them made the sound of trying to open themselves, and on the second pressing of the button they finally closed. Both key rings were in the same place they had been the night before, from before I checked at trash time, well away from little button pressing fingers. The night was the coldest night we had seen since getting the van and the heaviest amount of condensation but definitely not the wettest. The two nights since have been warmer and we haven’t had as much vapor fall out of the air. It has not reoccurred but I look a couple times each night and in the morning expecting to see the doors standing open.

    Any thoughts?
  • beernutbeernut Posts: 329
    Well, tamu, most people (except my Father-in-Law) take cars for test drives before they buy them. I do as well, but with a little different twist. I find the exact car I'm thinking about (in this case, the '05 Freestar SEL and the '05 Grand Caravan STX) at a dealer with 20,000 miles or so on it - which usually means they came off of a rental line - and I test-drive it. I actually do this with a couple of different cars/vans in each case. Under my use, it will take two or three years to put on 20k so what I'm driving that day is what I can expect to be driving in three years if I bought a new one.

    Anyway, the whole Chrysler product line has no fear of ever occupying a space in my driveway, if you know what I mean.

    Having said that, and not being willing to pay the ransom to Tokyo for their offerings, I find myself looking at Ford's. I know some folks have had good service out of the 2002 and later Windstars, but don't yet feel like I'm well enough informed.

    BTW, I drove the 2002 Limited I'm thinking about to work today and it rides and runs pretty well but does make the same grinding noise that the 97 has been making for some years. I always thought it was the PS pump. Also it has 78,000 miles on it, not 50,000.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    In CR Special Guide (available at magazine stands) it states that Ford Freestar has average reliability, while Chrysler and Dodge long wheelbase vans are fallen to lower than average.

    The DCX rides a little better, has a better turning radius, and the engine is a bit more refined that the Freestar, and they also offer stow-n-go, but otherwise there is no big difference between the 2. Also mileage is about the same.

    I guess if you're used to Ford's van you should go with the 2005 Freestar. Just be aware that the '97 Windstar has very comfortable rear seats, while the Freestars rear seats are far from that, they are small and thin, and sits very low to the ground.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    "Having said that, and not being willing to pay the ransom to Tokyo for their offerings, I find myself looking at Ford's. "

    I definitely second that sentiment. We're as cheap as you ;) We looked at domestic vans first and were hoping to get a killer deal--at least $7K cheaper than the imports, to no avail. We ended up with a Nissan Quest that cost LESS than a comparable Freestar! We've been happy with our van since we had it 6 months ago. That said, I still think the Dodge could be a tremendous value. And there's no way we'll pay an arm and leg for a Oddyssaey!
  • beernutbeernut Posts: 329
    Not cheap... frugal!
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Hahaaa, ok, frugal it is. What's wrong with being cheap? :blush:
  • beernutbeernut Posts: 329
    You can be frugal for a lifetime. Being "cheap" only lasts until you become a "cheap bast*rd". Wives frown on that.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Having been in graduate school for way too long, it's gonna be hard for me to shed my "cheapness". ;) You have a good point there.
  • How about a Sedona?
  • beernutbeernut Posts: 329
    I have not considered it yet. I tow a 2500# camper trailer and have been very pleased with the 97 Windstar with the (replaced) 3.8. It tows like dream and is a great all-around camping rig. I've installed a Class 3 hitch, cargo springs and a switch to shut off all interior lights so it all works like I want it. (The interior lights automatically shut off by themselves after about 20 minutes but come back on every time you open a door so they are on and off all night. I just switched the circuit at the fuse block.)

    Tell me about the Sedona. Any towing experience?
  • Mileage wear ratings for tires (UTQG) are worthless for comparisons between different brands. The numbers only compare tire wear within each brand.
    Each manufacturer tests its own tires in accordance with the federal test procedure. The manufacturer assigns whatever number it wants to a tire. But then, all other tires of that manufacturer are rated relative to that tire, using the same scale.
    So, a tire rated 680 by Michelin should last twice the mileage as a Michelin rated 340. But a Goodyear rated 680 may last the same as the Michelin rated at 340. (just an example; you can plug in whatever brands and numbers you want)
    Oddly though, I'm pretty sure that comparisons of temperature resistance and traction ratings are useful between brands.
    Probably the best way to guess how economical a tire will be is to very carefully read the mileage warranty with all its fine print. Compare the warranties against the prices for tires which have similar heat and traction ratings. Note though, that traction ratings tell you nothing about cornering or comfort or noise characteristics of a tire.
    Rotate regularly, inflate properly and make warranty claims whenever possible to stretch your tire dollars.
  • You can buy a new Sedona with a factory hitch rated for 3500 lbs. Or your Kia dealer will install it aftermarket for about twice what the MSRP retail would have been. The cooling system and springs and shocks and transmission are the same on Sedonas whether or not they come from the factory with a hitch installed.
    I have not done much towing with mine. Just a large loaded U-Haul trailer around town a bit. No problems.
  • I replaced my 1996 Windstar with a 2004 Sedona EX. I like the Sedona better and it was cheaper with more equipment and a much better warranty. The Windstar had more luggage space behind the back seat. Overall the Windstar had a little more room, but the Sedona is significantly heavier. Neither one got really good gas mileage. The Windstar was on its second engine and its third transmission when I sold it at 58,000 miles. It was in the shop a lot. Sedona seems to be higher quality overall. No problems so far in 12,000 miles. Keeping fingers crossed.
    If you don't buy a Sedona, pay extra for an extended warranty.
  • beernutbeernut Posts: 329
    My '97 got the engine at 56k but since it was not a 95 or 96 it wasn't free under Ford's program. I paid $450 for an extended warranty and got the engine under that. Originally, I thought it was a pretty good deal to get a $5,000 engine for $450 and was extra pleased when the same extended warranty covered another $3,500 worth of misc. junk over the next two years.

    The trans, struts, blah, blah, blah, for another $3500 came out of my pocket. Overall, I have $16,000 invested, NOT INCLUDING the purchase price.

    It runs well for today, though. :shades:

    I will look at the Sedona
  • similar to my story. I'm not sure who ended up paying for my motor or transmissions
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    Last winter my wife refused to drive her van when it snowed. She claims whenever she touched her brakes it would go into a skid. I brought her van this past Monday to a local tire dealer and he could not get over the wear on these tires. It came with Goodyear tires new and the outsides were almost bald. I never had them rotated, but will on the new Toyo's @ $140 a piece. Had them do the front end alignment also so she should be all set now. Should I have brought the van back to Ford before replacing the tires? Their gone now so it's after the fact, but is there a problem with wear on these vans that I should be concerened about? I will keep a close eye on these new ones. :confuse:
  • beernutbeernut Posts: 329
    Interesting.... I just looked at a used '05 Freestar at a Ford dealer on Monday. It was advertised as the usual "program" car with 27,000 miles on it. What a bunch of misleading garbage that is. "Program Car", "Executive Driven", "Demo"... its embarrassing that in our politically correct society these days we can't call that what it is... "lies". The van was "Program" because Ford built it in Canada "gave" it to Budget Rental in California who "gave" it back to Ford who sent it to auction in Michigan who auctioned it to a Ford dealer in Virginia who was trying to sell it to me. It never left Ford's control, so its "Program" - my butt.

    Anyway, back to the tires, the salesman said it had new tires... big RED flag to me if the odo only says 27k. Something doesn't fit. Is the odo true? Is there a suspension problem? Was there damage? When I got there, I found that only the fronts were new. The rears were not new and had a lot of tread left but were so badly cupped that it could easily be seen and easily felt in the steering wheel.

    Most times, the dealer will BS about front wheel drive, heavy engines, blah, blah, blah, and how the tire wear is "normal". Everything is "normal" when it comes to something breaking on your $30,000 car. I remember a friend of mine dying some 25 years ago. Another friend thought it was abnormal for a healthy, 22 year old guy to suddenly be dead. I said, "Not really. He was shot in the chest three times." So what's "normal" for a Freestar? 27K tires?
  • If the tires' shoulders, both inside and outside had a lot of smooth wear on them, you need to increase the air pressure in the tires.
    If the shoulder wear is only on one side of the tread, you have an alignment problem.
    If the wear is only on one side and is not smooth, you need to balance the wheels and check alignment and shocks and springs.
    Sounds like a maintenance problem to me.
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    The wear on them were on the outside edge on both front tires. The rear tires were fine. The air psi was to what is stated on the door jamb. I believe it says 35lbs. I check tire air psi every 6 months, usually summer and winter. The tire dealer asked me if it had been in a front end collision. Being the original owner I know it hasn't. They did say the alignment was out slightly. He wasn't able to give me too much info because they have never sold tires to a Freestar yet, I was their first. He was quite suprised by the size of the tire Ford put on this van. He claims the size 235-60\16 are normally the size they put on large SUV's and not mini-vans. Thanks for your input, I am going to keep a close eye on these tires, I purchased the premium bumper to bumper warranty from Ford when I bought my wife the van.
  • Camber is out of adjustment most likely. Could be toe problem but camber is 1st guess. You need an alignment. Try another shop. You can put a little more air in your tires than what the label on the door says if you find the center tread is not wearing as fast as the outsides. But inside and outside of each tire should wear evenly.
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