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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey



  • I have a cd jammed in my cd player, I know on some cd players there are certain button combinations that will eject the cd. Does anyone know if the factory cd player that comes in the 2004 ford freestars have this? Or can someone give me some advice on how to eject the cd. Thanks a bunch!!
  • gliugliu Posts: 1
    I'm thinking of buying an american van (because of the huge 2004 rebate)

    Just wonder how reliable freestar is. I bought a 2005 new car buying guide (2 months ago), it just said 2005 freestar is redesigned, and there's no reliability data for older freestar models).

    Do you know when freestar first came out?
    Average reliability for which year?
    Any idea of the bottom price I can get?

  • The first Freestars were built September 2003 (2004 model year). So they have been on the road only 15 months or so.

    Reliability is likely (at best) average, though it will take another year to know for sure (as reliability data has not come out yet to my knowledge).
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    There are actually 2 different 2005 buying guides from CR. The one I'm talking about is a small book (I'll call it book #1), which you get in the mail if you are a subscriber (which I am). In this buying guide you have information on many products, not just cars. In this book it says Freestar is recommended.

    Today I was in Walmart, and there I found another book (Book #2 - $5.99 or 6.99) which is available at magazine stands only, is colorful, and is for cars they tested only.

    Book #1, for example, also have information on new cars (like Honda Odyssey, Chevy Uplander), and only gives you some basic information which almost everybody knows already. Book #2, OTOH, will not list cars only if it has been tested by CR. It gives you much more detailed information, acceleration, braking, ride, handling, emergency handling, crash test results, and reliability data from the past years.

    In book #2, the Freestar does not get the 'recommended' (check) symbol, but it does state that reliability is average. I have no idea what's the difference.

    For me, CR data is not so reliable, and therefor not 'recommended'... I found some ratings not true, for example, they state that the Freestar has better acceleration and braking than the Chrysler Town & Country, and many other details. But I would say they're 80% true.

    And folks, I don't want to start a new fight about CR's reliability here. We had enough from that stuff in the past.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    I took Ford up on an offer to test drive a Freestar and was very disappointed also. There are no significant improvements over my 2000 Windstar SEL. There was a slight improvement in power (bigger engine), but nothing to get excited about. I agree, this van will make an excellent addition to the rental car fleets.

    Too Bad!
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I rented a Freestar a while ago. There was more than just a 'slight improvement in power' over my current 2002 Windstar.

    The transmission is much smoother, the ride is more smooth and controlled, much quieter inside the van (not outside, though), much better designed interior, rear seat folds into floor (but uncomfortable for adults, though), better stereo (especially the bass is much better), steering feel, and more.

    I agree it's not up to competition, especially with the engine which is very unrefined, and achieve bad mileage, but comparing to the Windstar (not to Toyota Sienna) it's a big improvement.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Since you drove the van for more than a few minutes, your points are valid.

    The Bottom Line is:

    This van is not very exciting and does not entice me to trade my 2000 SEL for a new Freestar. If it had some more features like the Town and Country or Sienna etc... then maybe I would be interested. This van is good basic transportation, but it may be over priced considering what is being offered by other auto makers.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Hmmm, have you tried a Freestyle instead?
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,918
    sterling22 - At those prices the Freestar would have stayed on my list. But for what we were looking for and the prices they wree offereing were way way too high. Good luck.
  • 1997montez341997montez34 NJ, USAPosts: 202
    We drove a Freestar and loved how comfortable the ergonomics were. I thought the ride was not as smooth as the Dodge and the engine was really "gravelly" sounding.

    We ended up leasing a Dodge GC SXT, but had Ford had a quieter engine and a power tailgate available we might have gone with the Freestar.
  • th35th35 Posts: 6
    i hv a 2004 limited with 4.2. i hv never seen 22 mpg on it. i hv never seen 20 mpg on it. my 2001 windstar got 22 consistently on road, 18 in city.

    even if i drive 65-75 on hwy i might get close to 19. how fast were you driving when you got 22?
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    We have an 2004 SEL, 4.2L with about 2500 miles on it. On the 3 highway trips greater than 50 miles that we have taken with it so far, we've seen 19.5, 21.0, and 22.5. All with the cruise set at 70. The 19.5 was on hilly terrain (enough to get the tranny to downshift to 3rd to maintain 70 with the cruise on some hills) and into a strong headwind. The 21 was on the return trip with a light wind. The 22.5 was seen on relatively flat terrain. All mileages are from the trip computer. So far, it has been 0.3-0.5 MPG lower than the manually computed mileage. In mixed highway/suburban driving we are getting 17-18 MPG.
  • Usually, there is a tiny hole (big enough for a paper clip get through!) somewhere around the facia of your CD. Look close, you will find it, just stick a paper clip (straight it before hand) into it it will release the CD.
    Hope it helps,
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    It was a while back shortly after we purchased the van. We had taken it up into the White Mountains of New Hampshire for a short vacation. We stayed pretty much on I-93 which is mostly 2 lane travel each direction with a hilly terrain. When I drive the mini-van with my wife and children I usually drive carefully and probably do 5-10 miles over the posted speed limits. It's my wife's van so I will ask her to track her next several tanks and I'll repost current figures. I keep track of my V6- Ford Escape and that currently is getting 21mpg and I drive that a little more aggressively. My 66 Mustang however with a 289 gets terrible gas mileage usually around 14-15mpg, but I drive like a nut with that. No tickets though. I'll repost once my wife goes through a couple tanks. She absolutely loves her van.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    I just finished a week of driving a T&C. Although it was a basic model, the engine and drive train were superior to the Windstar or Freestar. I am not big on Chrysler products (I owned one in the past) but once you add all the neat features in the top of the line model to this van, they seem to have a good product. I wish Ford would be a market leader and not a lager.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I agree. That's why I picked now a '05 Dodge Grand Caravan to replace my Windstar (my lease just expired). I was not sure what to pick, since I'm used to the Ford minivan, but the more refined and powerful engine with better mileage, plus the 60/40 rear seat made me go with the DC van.

    But I still saying that the Freestar is a big improvement over the Windstar. But DC vans are much superior.
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    I can't speak about the T&C mini-vans because I never test drove one. However I can say that my wife and I both took two Chevy vans for a test drive and we both agreed that it was lacking power and was not quite family designed for our needs. I remember almost breaking my neck trying to get to the third row seats having to step over the second row seats that only flipped in half. I'm not a mini-van type of driver, but I consider the Freestar a very comfortable, very responsive, family friendly, and what I would consider a family mini-van should be. My wife loves the fold away third row seat. Again never owning a mini-van prior I can't say that I ever had to remove one for storage, but I'm sure the average driver would find that a bit much. Calling Ford a lager is a bit harsh, but everyone has had their own past experiences and need to find the best product for their needs. When I have driven the van I have found it very easy to navigate. All controls are easily accesable. Merging into traffic, it has plenty of power. The vision I have while driving the van is fantastic. One thing I don't like is the inside door trim you see from outside of the van, and I hate where they placed the oil filter underneath. Ford needs to design oil filter locations better. My Escape is also in a terrible spot where oil leaks all over the exhaust pipes and no matter how good you clean it you still smell burnt oil for 500 miles after. My 2 cents worth.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I finally decided on a Dodge Grand Caravan to replace my '02 Windstar. I was undecided first whether to take the Freestar SEL or Dodge Grand Caravan SXT - both similar good equipped and cheapest priced on the market.

    The 2 main decisions that made me go with the Caravan is the better engine in the DC vans with better mileage, and 60/40 split rear seat. Otherwise both have highs and lows, and if you want to read the whole story, you can find it at the Dodge Grand Caravan 2005+ discussion board:

    samnoe "Chrysler Town & Country and Grand Caravan 2005+" Dec 6, 2004 8:48pm
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    The Minivan Ranking board has been reopened for as a overall comparison topic. Please check it out.


    Steve, Host
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Have all the prospective buyers of the Freestar decided to get the Freestyle?

         Ford Freestyle vs Freestar is a significant change compared to Chevrolet Uplander vs Venture. Ford builds tough trucks but the Taurus transmission and head gasket failure of the Ford 3.8L V6 engines have had a seriously negative impact for Ford.
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    The head gasket issue affected only certain year models, not all. As well as the Transmission, and this about 10 years ago. There's more choices in the marketplace now, competition is tough, and the market itself is going down a bit. Other vehicles are coming into play such as the Freestyle, that might address many people's needs, without the minivan connotation.
  • The time had come, as out 1996 Windstar began losing power and I did not want to shell out any more $$ to fix it. As you know from my previous posts, I had been looking at new minivans for 3+ months in preparation for this moment. I had narrowed it down to the Freestar/Monterey, Sienna, and Odyssey.


    I previously ruled out GM (no side curtain or side impact air bags) the Quest (poor initial quality in 2004 model and one had to get leather seats to get the front side airbags), DC (no front side air bags available, and power sliding doors needed for side curtains).


    I had 3 main requirements: 1) rear AC, 2) bucket seats (not a bench seat) in the 2nd row, and 3) side curtain and front side air bags. This left only Ford, Toyota, and Honda.


    The base model CE from Toyota did not offer the air bag options, So the next model up (LE), with an option package had an MSRP 27K ... likely could be had for 25K. Honda's 2005 base model (LX) had all 3 features, and MSRP of 25.5K, likely could be had for 23K. Ford offered the Freestar SES (had to add side curtain and rear bucket seats options) at MSRP of 30.5K. After test driving a left over 2004 Ford (built in Jan 2004) that had 20 miles on it, I was told I could have it for the mid 18's as I walked away. I suspect it could be had for 17.5K. This price includes 7K in rebates (6K + 1K FMC).


    We drove the Ford 15 miles. It drove OK and my Wife was interested (though she was hesitant about buying another Ford). The engine was loud and rough (I swear there was a loose part on it in the parking lot). There was a piece of trim loose on the bottom of the steering column. Otherwise the big drawback of the Ford is how low the 3rd row seat sits. It reminds me of a jump seat or rumble seat (in other words, something that was meant to be used twice a year).


    Then we were off to the Honda dealer, and we both thought it was a big step up from the Ford, both in terms of power, handling, and styling. At this point we ruled out Toyota ($2K more) but I talked my wife into driving the Mercury (twin of the Ford) next since I had seen ads that the mid trim level Monterey could be had for $20K (MSRP $34K). The base model (MSRP 30K) did not offer the airbags. We drove a Mercury that had leather and power everything and heated seats. But it did not ride and drive as well or as quietly as the base model Honda.


    I never tried to get a final price on the Mercury but I told the manager that I was looking at under 20K. I had been to the same dealer 3 months earlier and they still had the same seven 2004 Monterey's on the lot!


    We ended up buying the 2005 Honda base model (LX). Sure there is no power doors/seats and no leather, but the rear seat is "full size" and also had 60/40 split Vs no split for the Ford. The engine has 255 HP vs 200 for the Ford, and better gas mileage too. The design of the interior on the Honda is a notch above the Ford. It is clear that Ford designed the Freestar on a budget (old engine, only a partial interior re-design).


    Who should buy the Ford? If you have small children (none over the age of 7 when you buy it) then the Ford could be the price leader. There is no reason you can't get a leftover 2004 Ford for $15K or $16K (S or SE model) or 17.5K (SES). But no teenager or adult could ride in the back for more than 15 minutes (knees in the chin). The Freestar line is priced 5K too high (MSRP wise) and even then it is still over priced.


    Who should buy the Mercury? I suspect no one. At the higher price, the Toyota and Honda out class it, and Mercury is no longer known for minivans. I predict Mercury will drop the minivan before Ford does, simply due to being a low volume model in an already low volume name plate.


    Good luck to all!
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I have a 2004 Freestar SEL with the 4.2 V-6. The van currently has about 5000 miles on it. Over the past month I've noticed a light to moderate pinging under moderate to heavy acceleration. The temps right now are only in the 20s and 30s and I'm concerned that it will get worse as the temp warms up. I'm currently using 87 octane gas. Has anyone else had any pinging problems with their Freestar?
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    "There is no reason you can't get a leftover 2004 Ford for $15K or $16K (S or SE model) or 17.5K (SES). "

    Very informative post. Can you enlighten me on how you arrived at these prices. They're lower than invoice-minus-rebates. BTW, can one do better than invoice-minus-rebates on the 05's? I know there's the hold back, but how does the dealership make money if they gave you that?
  • I'm glad you asked about the pricing I gave.

    The 17.5K for the SES was my estimate of what I could get the SES for that was offered to me at "mid 18's" while I was standing in the parking lot. I did not try to get the best price since I was not planning to buy. The S and SE pricing are estimates of what these lower trim models should sell for (in my opinion) given the SES pricing. In retrospect, the pricing on each 2004 trim model would depend on how many were leftover in your area, and your negotiating strategy.

    I have no info on 2005 pricing. I think very few are being built given the glut of 2004s.

    In visits to 4 dealers I never saw a 2004 that was built later than March 2004 ... did they shut down the factory for 5 months? And every 2005 I saw was built in Sept 2004.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    We looked at the Freestar a while ago, but didn't notice what year model they were. But the sales person seemed very eager to deal. Price is the most important factor for us now.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    In our area, 2004s are going for the mid to upper teens. Our 2004 SEL listed for over $31K, but purchased for just over $18K. Some dealers are still advertising 2004s.

    We had started looking at 2002-2003 Grand Caravans, but needed the quad seating. When we found one, the dealer wouldn't go below $17K. So, a 2004 Freestar for just over $1K more, seemed like a decent deal. The Freestar is not without it faults, but for the price we can overlook them. Now, if I was buying a 2005, the price difference between the competition isn't that large. In that case, we would probably be driving a Grand Caravan or Odessey.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Wow, that doesn sound like a terrific deal. Any chance the 2004s will still be around this summer?
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I doubt that there will be many (if any) 2004s left by summer. I would think that the choices would be getting pretty limited by now. If you have to wait, wait until fall and pick up a left over 2005. They should be more heavily discounted then.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I wonder if Ford will rush themselves to redesign the new minivan, after the big disappointment with the Freestar.
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