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Ford Freestar/Mercury Monterey



  • FWIW, I was told just today by a Mercury salesman that $2000 was the current incentive.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Freestar pricing is live here. Including invoice and TMV.

    Steve, Host
  • I have been reading your very interesting discussions on the Freestar for the pass three months. Found them not only interesting but very helpful. You see this spring our 2000 Windstar was totaled by some driver who went through a stop sign. Thankfully my wife and I weren't killed, we owe that to the construction of our Windstar. I order the new freestar at the end of June and my dealer let us use a loner at a reasonable rate until delivery of the Freestar. The Freestar was built on 9/29 and DELIVERED this passed Friday. We were about to leave town for a couple of weeks when the dealer called about the delivery. We were very excited and told him we would stop by his dealership to look it over. We checked the 3rd row seat and it folded very neatly into it's well and there weren't any damages in transportation.
    WE ordered the limited and let me tell you, my wife and I looked at the interior and thought it was beautiful the car overall in our opinion is handsome. I'm anxious to drive the vehicle. I will except it this Friday. I honestly don't expect to be disappointed.Ive owned one Aerostar two Windstar's and now the FREESTAR.
    One more note, there is only a $1,000 rebate, until 12/01/03
  • Richard, that is great news. I have one on order and it was built on 9/29 as well. We expect it in Calif this week. Glad the finish was ok, I saw an early one and the seat did not quite close. We have an SEL coming. We have had 4 Windstars, so we are ready.

    Good luck,
  • Randy; Some time back I remember reading your #49 posting where you mentioned your build date and the expected delivery. Knowing mine was being built the same day as yours and the expected delivery date, I talked with my dealer that on the expected delivery on or around 9/10 we were leaving town for a couple of weeks, left a number we could be reach at and that if it arrives while we were gone,let us know and we would drive back to town to except delivery. The rest you know from my last posting. Just wanted you to know that your dealer info was right on.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Come on guys! You got your Freestar? Please write something about it, how do you like it? How is it in comparison to the outgoing Windstar? Is it quiet, in your opinion? How is the ride & handling, fuel mileage, seating, and so on...

    Please let your voice be heard!
  • We'll pick up our Freestar Friday afternoon. We'll spend the week end at home (have a wedding to attend Sat.) Sunday we'll drive back to our vacation spot,about 150 miles, so I should be able to give some kind of a review.
  • pwierpwier Posts: 11
    In the New York Long Island Area, with the current incentives - what do you think I could purchase a 2003 Windstar SE model for. Does $22,000.00 sound low or in that range. Also, should there be any Windstars left into the new year, do you think Ford will continue the current offer of $5,000.00 off or will they increase it to free up their lots. Freestar came in on the high side. Kia looks real nice, any comments on that one.
  • I read my posting #197 and saw that the numbers were not correct. tried delete. Don't know if I did. The following should be correct.SORRY.....

     I'm sure the SE your looking at has a number of options, which should make that $22,000 a good price. The base invoice price for that car is $28,053, beside the $5,000 rebate there are $500 loyalty rebate + $1500 if you finance though Ford,s FMCC. If you qualify for the $500 + $1500 and their are a number costly options, go for the $22,000, if it's basic, offer them $21,000. Waiting for further rebates is a gamble you'll have to take.
    Good luck.
  • jvp06jvp06 Posts: 12
    As many reviews read, the Freestar seems like a pretty nice car, but to me it seems like a sorry excuse for a minivan. Wow, a third row seat that sinks into the ground. Toyota, Honda, nissan and Mazda already have that, plus Toyota's is split. A power liftgate- dodge, toyota and nissan already offer that too. Don't forget that 4 speed auto. Everyone else is gotta 5 speed. And dont forget that creative name. The aerostar, the windstar,and now the freestar. WHy are they keepin this star. Not to mention, you know that by next year owners of this car will already have been swamped by recalls. And who's thikin it's gonna be any better then the dreadful windstar. Sorry Ford, but you have offically sunk as low as it gets!
  • How could you, after reading all the posting on the stars, come to the conclusion that they were a sorry excuse for a Min van. Have you had an experience with a Star that made you so bitter? I've looked at the vans you mentioned and found them to be except able, like all vehicles they have their pros and cons I've had good experience with an Aerostar and two Windstars so I bought a new Limited Freestar. Glad they came out with the third seat that folds into the floor,another reason I bought the Freestar was because of the reverse sensing system. I'm enjoying my Freestar. I now have 265 miles on it without a recall.
    By the way what are you driving?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Unfortunatly many come to that conclusion, even before a test drive is administered. Granted, even I would have wanted more out of the development of the Freestar, but because of NUMEROUS issues, this is the result given the senario that was presented.

    If it were up to me, I would have preferred a "maxi-minivan" on a RWD or AWD DEW98 Platform (basis of the Lincoln LS, Jag-Stype, Tbird) throw in the 4.0L SOHC V6 as standard, 4.6L OHC V-8 as an optional engine. BUT reality is, that can't be the case given the investment and development needed for such a vehicle. As was mentioned before, every vehicle has it's pros and cons, that is why there's so many different products in the market, each to suit someone's preferrences as closely as possible.
  • The Freestar came to market with a heavily reworked four speed automatic. I am confident that Ford has fixed the many maladies that afflicted the previous generation of this unit, despite the doubts of some on this board.

    My question for you is this - why did Ford choose to go with a four speed instead of a five speed transmission. Does Ford even have plans for a five speed front drive transaxle or are they banking on the development of CVT technology for their next generation of passenger cars (Futura/500).

    I also noticed that the F150 came to market with a four speed unit. Why hasn't Ford developed a five speed for the F150/CV/MM/TC/Expedition? Are they waiting to introduce their six speed automatically shifted manual boxes?
  • jvp06jvp06 Posts: 12
    To answer your question, i have just ordered a toyota sienna after test driving it many times. The results are much better then with the Freestar. And by the way I own a 99 windstar right now- it sucks!- It pings like crazy, even after many repairs, the brakes sqeak- after many repairs and to top it all off the transmission jults when it downshifts when u dont make a complete stop. Does that answer ur concerns- o and by the way- 265 miles- ut hink thats alot????- just wait and c- u'll be seeing that ford letter with a recalll in it many times to come.!
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I would discount the opinions of one who posts who cannot use proper punctuation, spelling or grammar. I seriously doubt if this person ever test drove a Freestar and I would also doubt if they own a Windstar either. Just my opinion......
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Good question, I'll try to explain it as simply as possible, if anyone has any more questions relating to these answers, feel free to ask if I must clarify.

    When transmissions are developed/engineered/designed,
    their are 3 main factors to consider. If their application will be applied to RWD, FWD or AWD-4WD configurations, the power/torque output of the engine it'll be coupled with, and overall vehicle structure/load/stress.

    As you may have read on here, the 3.8/9-4.2L Essex engines will be dropped in the future, therefore they received limited changes (as well as their coupled tranmissions the 4F50N ). If we search thru Ford's parts bin of other engines and transmissions available, the CLOSEST combo they could have used might be the 4.0 SOHC V-6 found in the Explorer. Issue? It's configrued for RWD/4WD, not Freestars FWD layout. Let alone, the Freestar's structure would have needed additional re-engineering to accept it.

    I mention that engine (nicknamed Cologne after the city in Germany it's built in), since it's power and torque outputs are closest to the Essex engines. The Freestar is a heavy vehicle, so torque is much more of a priority. Placing the Duratec 3.0L V6 found in the Taurus, might WORK for the Mazda MPV since it's much lighter, but definatly not on the Freestar since it's transmission would NOT have been able to sustain the extra weight the Freestar possesses over the Mazda MPV. The Cologne engine would also require additional plant re-investment in Germany, whereas the Essex engine plant in N.A. needs the work because of U.A.W. contract issues.

    Closest to that, Ford really doesn't have any other V-6 engine with a higher torque output, and closest engine along the power line would be Ford's Triton 4.6L SOHC V8. I'm purposely NOT mentioning the 3.9L DOHC V8 found in the Lincoln LS, since it's quite an expensive engine, and Ford will keep that engine design exclusively for Jaguar.

    IN another senario, Ford could have opted to place "an extra gear" in the 4F50N tranmission. But in reality, it's benefits would have only been gained on maybe an additional MPG on the highway run. Let's not forget, this is an OHV engine design, where it's output is maximized down low, therefore having the extra gear, might be only beneficial on highway cruising at that. (take note, the Cologne engine brings a 5/Auto). A OHC design engine would benefit much more from a 5Speed automatic, since the majority need to climb up on revolutions, for decent output.

    This year, the 4F50N tranmission was given a much improved torque converter, that allows for much better launch from stops. Also a new 5 pinion final drive gear replaced the previous 4 pinion version for better shifts. And faster hydraulics improve shift performance and refinement. I've read of 2 reviews already in which the auto journalist pointed out the vast improvement from the old system onto the new one. If someone on this board has test driven it, and noticed the improvement, let us know... I myself instantly felt it.

    In case your thinking, "Why not just design a totally new tranmission?" That is a budget issue, plus it wouldn't make good business sense since whatever transmission they would have designed for it, would have been killed upon the next generation of Ford Minivans introduced and not be able to be phased in any other vehicle.

    So ALLLLLL this I have mentioned above, hopefully will answer your first question as to why Ford elected to upgrade the current transmission, over adopting another. IN a nutshell, I hope the factors above can show you it's NOT as easy considering the numerous factors involved.

    To the next question if Ford is planning on developing 5Speed FWD tranmissions, YES that's already being worked on. There's a new line of fuel efficient transmissions that are being developed by Ford, there's one series of engines that Ford will co-design/engineer with GM (said to improve fuel efficiency 10-12%). These include 6 Speed automatics for FWD applications. (Ford has issued a press release over this, NO big secret).

    Would these transmissions be phased into vehicles starting this year? No, these transmissions will first go into Ford products that aren't with us yet, and the development of these tranmissions have started just recently.

    Ford has also announced (no big secret either) how it'll use CVT's as well. CVT's have a special world of it's own, and it's applications are somewhat limited depending on the vehicles/loads/torque outputs. But yes, we will see more of those.

    ***Side note, Ford is working with Torotrak on developing an IVT. (Infinitly Variable Transmission)...

    What makes an IVT better than a CVT? You can use it on any sized vehicle,load, output, and Torotrak is testing it's IVT in a 5.4L Expy. The vehicle cruises at 70-80MPH on/around 1000RPM's. Personally, I believe the future of CVT's, is on IVT's, but that's still being refined.

    Next question, the F-150 debuted with a 4SpeedAuto because of some factors similar to that of the Freestar, BUT you will have new tranmissions being phased in, in the first couple of years to answer this. The current/previous tranmissions in the F-150 do not have a history of issues such as the famed Windstars, therefore it might be a smarter alternative to stick to something that works, over trying something new that might distort the launch of the F-150.

    ***Side note: Ford has stated publically that it will improve vehicle components through generations/redesigns, rather than introduce totally new components. Japanese manufacture's have used this approach which is why they have been able to control their quality issues since they use a higher percentage of carry over parts from one generation to another, over domestic manufacturer's.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Ford's best minivan ever, the Freestar, is missing 2 important illuminated things which have been offered in all Ford minivans 'til now. 1) Illuminated glove box; 2) Illuminated power/volume knob for the audio. Can somebody figure out why? Ford want to save a few pennies?
  • This is a nice van overall. My wife and I each drove it alone for about 50 miles each today. This is a lot quieter than the other 4 Windstars we have had. In the review that Sam posted, it stated that there is a lot of tire tread noise. I have to agree with that, but overall, most of the wind noise is gone from previous Windstars. The interior finish is what we expected. We ordered the side canopy airbags, that being the major reason to wait for the Freestar over taking a deal on an '03 Windstar with major rebates. We paid X-plan pricing and got a $1000 rebate as well. The interior trim sure is more durable than the trim on the '04 Sienna that we drove.

    Compared to the two major contenders, the Sienna drove nice, but as I said, the trim was very weak. The demo unit we drove had 180 miles and the plastic trim on the floor was all torn up where the seats attach. Also, I cannot see the logic of using an engine that requires premium fuel in a kid hauler. Maybe the Freestar is less technically advanced under the hood, but I save 20 cents a gallon and that adds up. We tried the Honda Ody, but we are both too tall and that vehicle punishes front seat occupants that are over 5'-8" in height; we are both 6'. Also the Honda does not offer a driver's keypad on the door. As parents of small children we have locked our keys in the car on a regular basis and I don't think we are alone here. The key pad has saved us a bunch of times.

    We did find a few flaws with the unit once we got it home. We ordered the power side doors but we did not get the key fob that operates the side doors. That should be an easy fix. Another possible problem is with the side canopy air bag. The icon on the dash annunciator panel shows front airbags only. We can see the side airbags, but it appears that maybe the wrong icon is programmed or is the side canopy not enabled? We will get that one looked at as well. The driver's door seems twisted in that the rear seam is not parallel front or rear to the next door/panel. It seems off about 3/16" top to bottom. The problem that really makes me mad is the paint quality. We ordered the Arizona Beige Clearcoat. We found one paint flaw with dirt on a horizontal ledge under the rear windows. The service guy at the dealers said they would repaint that area. Once we got home, without looking too hard, I found 10 more paint flaws of dirt, paint "boogers", or drips in the clearcoat off the back door corners. Ford has a real problem here with quality. On top of that, whoever filled the unit with gas at the dealers gouged the paint inside the filler well. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense for us to endure a repainted vehicle, so we will be talking to the dealer tomorrow.
  • Thanks for the response ANT. I appreciate your thoroughness.

    I really don't have a problem with the use of the pushrod 4.2V6 - as long as Ford fixed the head gasket problems that afflicted the previous generation of this motor. In fact, I was glad to see Ford touting torque as an important aspect of engine output unlike other manufacturers who continuously brag about horsepower.

    No doubt Ford fixed the shift quality of the transaxle used in the Freestar, but did they solve the durability problems that afflicted the previous generation? I know you referenced several modifications, but are you confident that these will do the trick? There is a saying we use around the office - "You can't polish a turd". I hope this doesn't hold true for the 4F50N.

    Given your message, we shouldn't expect to see a five speed automatic or a different engine option in this generation of Freestar, correct?
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Yes the head gasket issues of the past 3.8L were addressed right after, and it's been some time since that engine has continued to be produced with the modifications implemented to fix it, and so far no issues pertaining to it therefore the alterations worked. It effected certain years, and Ford was able to resolve what the issue wasn't. Not a design issue, just a part issue which was rectified.

    The 4F50N transmission has been improved upon, I'm sure it's durability will be vastly improved with the modifications implemented. Upon the design of the Freestar, Ford was fully aware of the faults in the prior Windstar, and the engine/tranny wwere certainly addressed to be much more durable.

    "Given your message, we shouldn't expect to see a five speed automatic or a different engine option in this generation of Freestar, correct? "

    No, if you turn back some messages (probably the first few pages of this thread) I shared where the next generation of Ford minivan's is going. Don't expect much "work"/investment on the current model aside from some trim level changes and packages groups switched around. Maybe a new toy here and there to stay competitive.
  • jvp06jvp06 Posts: 12
    It's an internet posting. Who cares how ur(excuse me "your" grammar is. Plus I do own a Windstar 99 LX. But you know whats really funny. Im only 15 years old and I know this all. My parents own the Windstar and they just ordred a Sienna. I've seen our mail come in, and the recalls have plowed in. And as for our Winstar probelms, I am in the car every day, I think I know what goes wrong with it. O yeah and my grammar- it's called internet talk- you know- u=you lol= laugh out loud u'd=you'd and we are on the internet.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    15 years old....I should have guessed. Why are you, oh excuse me "u" not in school? I knew a lot when I was a teenager too, and my parents knew so little. Funny how much smarter they got as I got older.

    Anyhow, I got a brief look at a new Freestar last night when I had my Taurus in for a 30K miles transmission fluid and filter change. Looked a bit spartan inside compared to our 1996 Caravan SE sport, but was acceptable. Exterior they certainly didn't make distinct from the Windstar, I really had to look close to discover it was a Freestar, not a leftover Windstar.

    We looked at Windstar back when we bought the Caravan (short wheel base version), but my wife didn't want a minivan as long as the Windstar, and also didn't like the parking brake next to the seat where she likes to set her purse(not my problem but was important to her). The Caravan has done us well, so no regrets, and no transmission problems either. Only major expense to date has been AC repair. I see the parking brake is still on the floor on Windstar, and there is still no short wheel base version, so the decision would have been the same today as it was when we bought the Caravan.
  • Glad that you finally received your Freestar.
    Sorry that you had those few flaws. I must be lucky because my last two Winstar's had no defects on delivery. I now have 275 miles on my Freestar and I agree that the cabin noise has been reduced considerably. I have the Limited and expect I have a few more bells and whistles to get use to. One thing that may have been over looked is that my message center monitors all the the systems mentioned in the owners manual except my oil system. I e/m my dealer and said I'll stop by tomorrow on my way home from Door County, maybe I'm not doing something right
    If my message center is correct I'm getting 19.4 m/g. Never did get better mileage until I reached 20,000 miles. The head lamps and the interior were improved nicely and I won't have a car without the reverse sensing system,so my wife and I are well pleased. Good luck to you.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Is the engine noise quieter than Windstar? On my test drive last week on a Freestar SEL when I started the 4.2L Engine it sounded really roaring loud (like a F-150 pickup truck from which it comes) - it was even worse than my Windstar!

    Now, trainboy and lyonsden: If you had Windstars before, what do you think about the 2 un-illuminated things I wrote about above? No more lit glove box, and so is the audio power/volume control knob - they both used to be lit in the Windstars and even in the old Aerostars. Does that not bothering you?
  • I wanted to wait until it got dark to check this stuff out. The radio volume knob is not illuminated as you say, however all of the radio controls are on the right side of the steering wheel and they are illuminated. I think Ford is saying "keep you hands on the wheel". As far as the glove box light, that is so low on the priority list for me. It is rare for me to open the box, so that is no biggie. Now you have something to look forward to on the '05 model. Look at it this way, you lost the light, BUT you gained a new place in the dash to store things like change and garage door openers.

    As far as the starting noise, if you were at the dealer, were you in an enclosed area or packed in with other vehicles where the noise reverberated? I don't hear any real difference between the models. Once I am going, it is quiet>>>>..... If you want to spend more money, the Honda is probably a bit quieter when starting.

    Good Luck,
  • ANT14ANT14 Posts: 2,687
    Glovebox lights aren't prorities for some people, I myself have just a tube of those "Wipes" to clean hands, and maybe some air freshner's.

    But as compared to many other vehicles, Ford's generally have much better lighting overall. Even back in the 90's, many Ford had illuminated powerlocks/window switches. And even their steering wheels might have illuminated switches/buttons as well, NOT many manufacture's can even claim that. As well as the exterior puddle lamps which are now becoming quite common.

    Let's take a look the Honda's for example. Majority of their window switches aren't even illuminated, if anything maybe the driver's window switch if your lucky. Or the buttons behind the steering wheel (like the power sunroof which has an odd location there), and a few other's.

    So if we were to look at other vehicles out there in comparison, then we might appreciate Ford's a bit more.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Yeah, BECAUSE Ford was always the best in lighting (the only car with stepwell lamps and baby sleeping mode - I love that!) and so many other minor lighting Ford offered, signal mirrors, and what not? and now, they claim it's the BEST minivan ever! That just does not make sense in my eyes.

    The illuminated glove box is also not a big issue for me, but when going with my wife she uses it all the times. She has there special glasses for night, candies & gum many flavors, and a few more useful items. We are so used to the light, that we can't think of buying a 'better' minivan missing this.

    BTW, Toyota Sienna's glove box is also not illuminated, nor do they have illuminated controls for cruise, power door locks, windows & mirrors, and they copied Ford with the sliding door stepwell lamps - but no baby sleeping mode. So Ford is still better than others in this area.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The nice thing about English (American?) is that it's malleable and there's no society of linguistic scientists cramming officialdom down our throats, like, say, the French government. With little bitty text screens on cells, we best get used to new words and contractions. It's about communicating, not parsing common usage, especially conversationally.

    Lyonsden1, I think it's a good practice to keep track of a few tanks of gas manually to double-check the message center. Please keep us posted.

    Steve, Host
  • So I talked to my sales rep today and he said to bring in the van. All in all, we found 24-25 paint flaws on every panel but the hood and roof. The local Ford dealership offered to fix all of the paint, which I realize that is what they are supposed to do. The body shop manager said he was against repainting a new vehicle and I agree. They weren't sure if the flaws were in the base coat or the clearcoat. Only 2 flaws, door drips on the back door corners, were obviously clearcoat. The rest of the flaws they said that they would need to sand them out and fix as necessary.

    My wife and I are totally against that because the repairs are guaranteed for the original period of 3yrs / 36K miles. My wife's unit doesn't get much use; the old one was 8 years old with 83K on it. I don't want to have to deal with paint warranty in 4-5 years. I told the dealer he would have to do better than fixing something this new. He said to call on Monday. I also called Ford Customer service and give them the same info and asked to speak to a person who can resolve the paint issue.

    Richard, on your new unit, how is the paint on that? Most of our flaws were around door handles and on the horizontal ledges under the windows. We also had a big nick inside the gas door next to one of the screws, like the tool hit the new paint. Does your unit have power side doors? If so, did you get a key fob with 3 buttons or 5 buttons?

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