Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Ford Freestyle Maintenance and Repair



  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    One more thing to add:

    I communicated this question to the son of the engineer who led the original development for the basic ZF design, and he is asking his dad about this. I'll post his answer later should I get it and compare it with the brainiacs who might answer this here. I'm certainly going to learn something here, and hope you all will too.

    From the Mini Cooper CVT transmission article PDF file to download here..., page 21

    "Pressure is supplied to the secondary pulley to ensure that there is always adequate clamping force onto the belt for all load conditions. A solenoid valve influences the secondary pressure control valve, optimising the pressure and hence the clamping force.
    Optimisation of this pressure improves fuel consumption.
    The working valves in this area are the secondary valve, the exhaust secondary valve, and a PWM solenoid secondary valve."
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Posts: 178
    Ok boys and girls, my '05 Freestyle is almost to 60,000 miles. Typically I don't go to the new car dealers for service unless I have to, but I've decided for the 60,000 mile service I had better go to a Ford dealer because of the special nature of the CVT, which requires a fluid change at 60,000 miles.

    One of the reasons I eschew dealers for these types of services is they tend to pad the list of things needed to be done so you walk out of there paying for things the manufacturer doesn't even call for.

    Would anyone who has had their 60,000 mile service be willing to share what was done and what the total cost was? I want to go into the dealer armed with as much accurate info as possible because I suspect they may try and slip a few extra services past me.

    Thank you,

  • jrmustjrmust Posts: 17

    Just got a call from my Dealer on the stalling and cutting off issue. According to the data recorded information I collected, the diagnostic tests show that just a split second before the incident happens, it loses a connection/contact with the sensor in the accelator causing it to either stall or shut off all together. Unfortunately not covered by my warranty but in this case the cutting off and stalling is far more dangerous for me and my family than a few hundred bucks. In the 18th months I've had this Freestyle and had this issue, this is the first time I've had to fork out money. Thus far, the instrument cluster, and 3 coils have been replaced trying to resolve this issue all on Ford. Hope this resolves my issue.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    The Edmunds Maintenance Guide will estimate what your service should cost for your zip code.

    And you can always tell the dealer to do the things on your list - if you say "do the 60k service", you'll wind up with a $1,000+ bill, summer air in the tires, shiny new lug nuts, waxed headrests and a headliner cleaning!
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Here's all you need: Change the transmission fluid and fuel filter (you can do the air filter yourself). Now where you might get ripped off is when they do their free inspections of everything else and tell you that something else needs replacing. But it should cost more than $150 to get the transmission fluid and fuel filter replaced.

    Change transmission fluid and high pressure case filter (CVT)
    Inspect automatic transmission fluid level (if equipped with underhood dipstick)
    Replace fuel filter
    Replace engine air filter

    Perform multi-point inspection
    Inspect and lubricate all non-sealed steering linkage,ball joints,suspension joints,half and drive-shafts and u-joints
    Inspect brake pads/shoes/rotors/drums, brake lines and hoses, and parking brake system
    Inspect complete exhaust system and heat shields
    Inspect engine cooling system and hoses
    Change engine oil and replace oil filter (Up to 5 quarts of oil. Perform at specified mileage interval or every 6 months, whichever occurs first)
    Rotate and inspect tires; check wheel end play and turning noise
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Posts: 178
    Thanks bobw3 and steve. By the way, my local Ford dealer is having a special this month on re-calibrated piston return springs and re-packed muffler bearings. I'm just glad they said they'll top off the blinker fluid for free.... ;)

    - Chad
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Does anybody out there know if it is easy to drain and refill the CVT fluid DIY-style? Also, is the CVT filter easy to get to and replace? Somebody with access to a Ford CVT shop manual might know.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Shouldn't they fix it on warranty? You have had this problem for over a year (assuming your mileage was under 36,000 when you first reported it), and they have been fumbling the diagnosis since. I would ask the Ford zone office for consideration in paying for this. The new non-mechanical, all electric throttle pedal is to blame (if that is the case), and it is Ford's fault for not fixing it sooner when you first reported it.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    i would not attempt to service the CVT myself. The procedure is much more complicated than a regular automatic. Get the complete procedure from Ford and you will see. And more than the filter and fluid must be changed and specific tools are required. I even have doubts about Ford dealers under the current conditions, but that is your best bet especially if you go to a dealer who has done it.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Anybody out there have the shop manual steps for a CVT fluid+filter change (the 60,000 mile service one)? I hope they didn't make it difficult.

    If you're not convinced the Ford techs are good enough, similar ZF-brand CVTs are in Audi and Mini-Cooper (BMW) cars. Those dealerships should have the best mechanics around, and could likely service the Freestyle version of the ZF-designed CVT.
  • jrmustjrmust Posts: 17
    Hi coldcranker

    Thanks for the tip. I called the Dealer to remind them the problem started under warranty and would appreciate anything they could do to have that covered. They just called and it's ready for pick up at no charge. I just hope that this fixes the problem. Will keep you posted.
  • tpbctpbc Posts: 13
    My Brakes on 05 FWD Freestyle are degraded. My Meinecke (high quality tech) found seepage inside the rear calipers. I am "outside" the 3 years on my warranty but inside the 36,000 miles as I am at 29,988 miles today. I assume the seepage and slight drag on rear brakes was caused by the exposure to moisture during manufacture that was explained by Ford's letter received last year. (BTW-Ford dealer tech checked my brakes in October 2007 after I received letter from Ford and apparently checked just the pads (7 mm) but not the interior of the caliper)

    Does anyone believe that the leakage inside the caliper was caused by anything other than the "exposure to moisture" detailed by Ford letter of 2007?

    I do not want to spend $400 on rear brakes at under 30,000 miles.
  • jjp1118jjp1118 Posts: 1
    I am having the same problem. I found today that the bracket on the right side of the engine is busted. I called ford and they cannot get me the part till September. They say that there is a problem with the mfg. And the part is on back order. I do not know if this will help you. If you get any answers let me know please.
  • tim156tim156 Posts: 308
    Responding to my own question, the flex pipe was bad, had it replaced yesterday and the rattle/vibration sound is gone. The flex pipe attaches to the Y pipe and allows the exhaust system to move preventing stress on the manifold. Work was done under warranty.
  • The awd malfunction alert has started coming on just recently. There is also a clunk when cornering and over small bumps. Can these 2 things be related? Is it steering, suspension or somthing else? Anyone have any ideas?
  • I've had mine for 2 1/2 years now, with no problems, and just routine maintenance. I'm loving the extra MPGs the CVT gets me now.
  • heltonhelton Posts: 56
    I have had my 2006 FWD Freestyle for two years now, and aside from a middle seat problem, there have been no mechanical problems. On the other hand, the car only has 15,000 miles on it. We have a 2007 Honda Accord Hybrid that gets most of the use in our family. The Honda gets great gas mileage, looks good, it’s comfortable and fun to drive. The Freestyle gets good highway mileage when driven between 55 and 65 mph. Otherwise, the mileage is about the same as my old 1996 Explorer.
  • My 2005 has 84K on it now. I just had the fuel filter replaced today (third time--I figure it can't hurt), have kept up with my oil changes and use synthetic oil (not to open a can of worms :P ). I have the middle seat problem, too, and someone got stuck in the way back last week--not good. Fortunately, the person was nimble, so he could climb out the back hatch. We have tried everything to fix it, and nothing has worked, including slamming down really hard on the rare time that we could actually get the seat down. It's maddening and is affecting my ability to use the car the way I need to. Frustrating, but still the best car I've ever had. My MPG is 27 highway, 23 around town. Not bad, considering all the space and comfort we have. If the seat would just not work, and keep on not working, that would be easier to get the dealer to fix it than the intermittent problem it is now (doesn't work about 80% of the time). My husband has better luck with it, but not much.

    Glad you are enjoying yours and the mileage works out for you.
  • heltonhelton Posts: 56
    There is a Ford technical service bulletin on the middle seat thing. I took a copy of it to my dealer and they fixed the problem. The TSB number is 06-26-3. A copy of it is posted at:
    Good luck.
  • Thank you so much! I did a Google search awhile back, and the actual one didn't come up for some reason. This is perfect, because it's dated Dec. 2006, but the dealer here gives me the deer-in-the-headlights look every time I tell I bring the car in. It's now out of warranty, but it sure wasn't when I started bringing it in. My husband is going to take the TSB in (because these guys swear it doesn't exist) and demand they replace the mechanism. The young man getting trapped in the back was the final straw. I have a car seat in the 40 side, so getting him out that way, while doable, was not optional. I'll keep you posted, and thanks again!
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    Interesting that the TSB is only for the 60/40 back seats.

    Maybe that's why I haven't noticed an issue (I have the captain's chairs in the back seat).
  • jsr1jsr1 Posts: 5
    OLD NEWS: My back brakes were completely shot at 42 000 Km (26 000 miles) and were replaced. The rotors were also changed as they were in bad shape and couldn't be "turned". All that was later paid by Ford.
    NOW only 1 year and 2 months later at 65 000 Km later (40 000 miles), only 23 000 Km later (14 000 miles), my back brake pads are again finished and had to be changed. That was bad enough (Ford did not help at this point) but the dealer also replaced my rotors!!! I'm no expert, but is it normal for rotors also to wear out in one year of driving at about 23 000 Km (14 000 miles)?
    Please help...
  • tpbctpbc Posts: 13
    Someone with mechanical expertise may be of help. My guess is that your Brake calipers are faulty (Ford sent me a letter that my 2005 Freestyle rear calipers may have been exposed to heat and damaged. When my mechanic said "there is a slight DRAG" on my calipers and seepage, I assume he means that the caliper is gripping the pads prematurely and causing premature wear on the brakes. I am outside the 3 year warranty and trying to decide what to do. Ford is almost bankrupt. There is a rear brake caliper repair kit out there. Does anyone know if this kit might be useful?
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 130
    I had an 05 since new. I put "ceramic" pads on rear at 15,000, when original pads were down to 2mm. I now have 36,000. I checked the pads prior to trip and they had over half of pad left. My calipers/rotors are still original. I highly recommend the "ceramic" pads. Of course the rear tires wore as fast as the fronts, do to more braking being done by the rear ie."swollen original pads" according to Ford. I won't know for sure until I see how long the ceramic pads last, but I have 20,000+ already. The Freestyle with the CVT gets good gas mileage around town not as good on the highway. Very few problems to date(3 years.)
  • tpbc,
    Have you noticed a drop in MPG? I'd think those all-too-common problems with the rear brakes on some Freestyles cause some vociferous complaints of poor fuel economy that we hear of once in a while. I'm keeping an eye on mine, but I think they are good.

    For all you Freestyle owners out there, you rear wheels (of 2wd freestyles anyway) should spin freely when you jack the rear up. This is a test.
  • tpbctpbc Posts: 13
    I get 22.5 miles per gallon in mostly town driving-40 mph. I guess that is still pretty good. I would expect closer to 24 mph on highway but have not used it much tht way. The car has been very good with the exception of the rear brake issue.
  • Thanks for your suggestion RE: that blasted seat. I'm glad yours is fixed. My husband has checked out every moving part. My husband is bringing a copy of the TSB on it from Dec. 2006 and is demanding that they do what the TSB says. We'll probably ending up having to pay for it, even though I started bringing it in way before the warranty was up. They denied any knowledge of a TSB, even up to two weeks ago. It has really affected how I feel about the car. I had my family in it and we had to crawl out the back hatch. That's been a big part of the problem: it's intermittent, but it has gotten so much worse. The reason I'm driving such a big car around is so I can haul my family around, and all of my student's equipment. The 60% side HAS to work. Jeesh.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    but is it normal for rotors also to wear out in one year of driving at about 23 000 Km (14 000 miles)?

    I'd have to say NO, given that I have over 25k on my Freestyle (and another 25k on my Five Hundred) without having had rotors go bad.
  • Our '05 Freestyle hit 60k miles so it was time for the CVT fluid and filter change. I do most of the other maintenance myself so all I had the Ford dealer do is change the CVT fluid and filter, and the fuel filter. I figured at most this would cost about $200 even at dealer prices. I was in for a shock when my bill came to $433. In my opinion $433 is highway robbery for changing fluid and two filters. Here is how the cost broke down:

    2.5 hours of labor (yeah right!) @$70/hr total $175
    $96 for the CVT fluid
    $97 for the CVT filter
    $65 for the fuel filter

    I understand the dealer needs to make a profit on service, but this all seems way overpriced to me. Am I off base?

    - Chad
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Edmunds says the 60k Freestyle service should cost $423.53 in my zip code. That includes an air filter, cabin filter, oil/filter change and some inspections.

    So, yeah, that's a bit high.

    The Edmunds Maintenance Guide

    I got burned a bit last month on some service when I didn't get the price nailed down good first, including excessive parts mark-up. I haven't decided whether to dispute the charges on my VISA yet - the owner didn't bother to return my phone call when I left a message with the service writer. Maybe a trip to small claims court would be a fun, educational experience. :P

    Meanwhile, Dealer Ratings and Reviews is going to get a nastygram about them from me in the near future.
  • steve,
    The BBB is a good way to go if you think you were charged for things you did not actually get or ask for. Otherwise, they can charge you whatever they want, when they have no agreement or contract ahead of time that you authorize items.

    Like steve's experience, I'm afraid they can charge whatever they want to. Need to find out what prices are before going in there. Many dealerships will call you after they have a list of parts/labor to clear it with you. They are not trying to make friends. There is more than one Ford dealership around. I plan on shopping between 4 Ford dealerships to see what their prices are for the 60k mile service. Since our Freestyle has the unique CVT, with its own fluid, we have to buy that from Ford, and they know it. The parts departments at Ford dealerships will charge whatever the market will bear.
  • saabturboid,
    I got curious and looked up a Fram fuel filter for an '05 Freestyle, and a Fram G8018 goes for $11.34 plus tax. I recently got a set of Ford's Shop Manuals and Wiring Diagrams for the Freestyle, so I'm going to try to crawl under the car, under the front passenger seat, to change that filter. I'm thinking of pulling the high pressure CVT filter as well. However, I doubt if we can get CVT fluid anywhere but at a Ford dealership, unfortunately. Lets see if I can do all this without injuring myself...

    Looking further at Checker Autoparts website (also Kragen Autoparts and Schucks, I think) I see a high-pressure CVT Motorcraft filter & O-ring kit for $64 at
    CVT high-pressure filter/ring kit Motorcraft part.

    You know, a trick that makes the dealerships upset, but is fun to do, is to just get the parts yourself on the open market (Motorcraft brand is acceptable to Ford dealerships) from or your local discount autoparts store and tell the dealership to "Put these on my car, and what labor charge is that?" I've done that in the past, and in the rare case they won't do it (seldom), just go to another dealership until one bites.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    I never had much luck with the BBB. Tidester has, but I'm leery.

    Some states are better at consumer protection; over in Washington for example it's a specific violation of their consumer protection law to low ball a repair procedure (which is essentially what happened to me after I was given labor and parts estimates over the phone). Idaho pretty much leaves you up to your own devices when a business screws you over.
  • I've had OK luck with the BBB. You'd like to think that oral contracts are binding, being somebody's honesty at stake, but a written estimate is good, and then tell them to call you on the phone if the actual cost looks like it will be more, and then cancel the work. Nothing foolproof here. Trust is an issue.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Well said - I've lost trust in this shop. Already found another guy who comes highly recommended, and he even took a short ride with me to listen to a brake rub I had the other day and didn't charge a dime. He's also booked through mid-September.
  • I read this posting on CVT transmissions as well as others. I was buying a used Freestyle with 20 k on it and was concearned of the negative bloggs. I decided to see if this many complaints where happening with this trans along with other complaints. :sick:

    I went to someone I know that is a mechanic for Ford at a big dealership. I asked him whats the deal with CVT breakdowns and he said up front that they really dont get many problems at all on the CVT in fact he does not re- call any major problems as of yet in his shop. Thats in Northern Jersey. He did say they recommend changing the trans fluid every 30k of two years( Ford every 60k) Runs about 200.. He said the fluid thats changed is dirty black so it makes a difference and Ford is the only place to get the fluid. But he said they seem to be holding up fine as far as he can see. :confuse:

    He said they had break problems that they where changing breaks and rotors and fixing the problem a while back. But Ford was picking up the bill for the work done. :D

    Then I went to a high performance tranny place that is a specialist on high tech trannys, A top rate place that deals with foreign and domestic and race cars.
    I talked to the owner about my concerns the CVT. His 1st reaction was that is a great tranny system and said as long as you change the fluid every 2 years you will be fine. He said he loved the entire CVT concept and it makes so much more sense for millage and less MOVABLE parts to breakdown. He went on to say only Ford is where he can get the trans fluid. His shop does the change for 175.00
    So thats 2 direct exact answers. Then he went on to say he just got back from Fords unveiling of the 2009 F150s . He said Ford REPS said they will be implementing the CVT in other cars in the near future. ;)

    He did say failures can be caused by people not being trained and using other type fluids cause failures. He said some mechanics should not get into areas they have no idea of the tech that makes them work. Anything new will start people talking negative. He said everyone will be going to CVT in the neat future because the great marriage with gas milage that can't be over looked . Nissan going 100% in all their cars now.
    I love the Freestyle and I do get a honest 28 to 29 mpg hwy and 24 on country roads for which I drive on. I will as I do keep up on maintence and run mobile 1 and change the fluid in the CVT with Ford CVT fluid every 2 years.
  • carstenbcarstenb Posts: 37
    the service manual says they should be replaced at 60kmls. I know that technology advanced but i was surprised when i first read that. But i haven't owned a gasoline powered car for... 20 years or so and on my motorcycle i need to replace them much sooner.
    Question, did anyone have them replaced earlier and did it make a difference in e.g. gas mileage? Is it a DIY job? Looks like alot of stuff needs to be removed to get to the rear bank.

    Thanks, Carsten
  • carstenb,
    The Freestyle uses platinum plugs good for 100,000 miles, although in severe service you might replace them at 60,000 miles. Severe service is defined as idling a lot, or just taking short trips at low engine revs (cold engine too much). On my last Ford vehicle with a front drive transverse V6, you had to go under the car to reach the firewall side bank of plugs, using a special extension on the spark plug socket wrench that most mechanics are accustomed to using.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    He did say they recommend changing the trans fluid every 30k of two years

    I plan to do mine every 30k. But once every two years seems a bit excessive?
  • Warranty work on my brakes is great. Proper wear and tear on them now. Changed the tranny fluid at 42k (based on suggestions here) originally going to cost $159, but the kicker was an $80 filter that "must be" replaced when fluid is changed. (they told me after the fact). Not sure if I was "taken" or not, but it is done. Original tires were changed out for Michelin Hydroedge (getting about 2 mpg better now) at 35k for just under $500. A lot less road noise than the Continentals.

    Had them check a slight issue with minor engine revving when placed in drive from park...turns out it is designed to do that.

    Freestyle is otherwise awesome and continues to hold my best car purchase ever award (I've owned a me).

    There are deals out there. Very lightly used 2008s can be found at some pretty good price points on another web site.
  • For those of you thinking of doing the CVT fluid change yourself, here is what is on my bill:

    Varnish & gum in v/body, t/converter, pan, filter, lines & cooler. Remove old fluid. Replace fluid & conditioner. Parts Kit #BGTFK2.

    Installed 5F9Z 7B155 Y - filter for $80.15
    Installed XT 7 QCFT: fluid [email protected] = $82.08
    labor was $82.82

    They did a multi-point inspection as well (I guess that's where they look to pad the bill) and found nothing else wrong. BTW
  • Thanks danallan for sharing your experiences and giving us details. I agree with your opinion that the Freestyle is a winner.

    You were not taken by the dealership as far as the filter they put on (more on that below). It is a normal part of the 60,000 mile service. Your experience compares to post #1192 in this forum above.

    A bit of a mystery what all they charged you for, but most of it sounds good. Dealerships are notoriously odd about charges. Sometimes dealerships don't communicate well either.

    The BGTFK2 kit you mentioned is the only mystery here, the rest is good. I know that Ford, in my Freestyle maintenance schedule and also in the official Ford (Helm) Workshop Manual, says don't pull the pan and don't change the pan filter in the CVT. Only the high-pressure filter is supposed to be changed, not the pan filter. And, there is no flushing procedure available for the Freestyle. In fact, they specifically warn against flushing it since the fluid is so unique (can't risk mixing). Also, when I run the BGTFK2 number in google, I can't find anything in anybody's catalog. Therefore, what in the world was accomplished there?

    I'm thinking about making copies of the CVT 60,000 mile service procedure in the Ford Workshop manual for the Ford dealership before I go in, telling the Ford dealership to ONLY do that work and nothing else extra unless specifially authorized by me. Those guys can try to do unnecessary things.

    The 5F9Z7B155Y for $80.15 is also known as the Ford Motorcraft CVT High Pressure Filter/O-Ring Kit FT178, so that is the familiar correct part, and the FT178 can be purchased at or (Checker/Schucks/Kragen comprise partsamerica) for much cheaper. Dealership prices on parts are always high. Again, the separate pan filter should not be changed, only the FT178 high pressure filter should be changed.

    I've never seen the "per quart" price on the special CVT fluid, so thanks for communicating that ($13.68 and you used 6). Dealerships are the only place we can get that.
  • tpbctpbc Posts: 13
    Is that CVT fluid a "synthetic"?
  • "Is that CVT fluid a "synthetic"? "

    Probably is. Don't know. Special stuff only sold at Ford dealers. That stuff has to do it all: Lubes the big steel chain in there, and also the cone-pulley bearings, runs the hydraulic ratio shifting mechanism, and churns inside the low-speed torque convertor. Whew! I do not envy the engineers who designed the specs for that fluid.

    cartenb: Thanks for the CVT links. glencof in those other forums did what many of us did and got the official Workshop Manual. Its available on (search for Freestyle Workshop Manual and some will pop up). Its a 2 volume set, at least for the '05 and '06 model.
  • I believe I know what the "BGTFK2" is, It is a product sold by B.G. that is a trans precleaner and post flush additive. IT SHOULD NOT BE ADDED TO A CVT TRANS!!!! The dealer I work at uses these products but only on correct applications. The name B.G. is from their old co. called Bearings & Gears. They sell a whole line of additives including oil, trans, fuel injetor,cooling system, diff. and battery services. I have done many trans services on the CVT. The cost is about $300.00, 4-5qts. of the fluid, the filter and 2 hours labor. The left trans mount must be removed to gain access to the high pressure filter, hence the 2 hours labor.
  • Since I know where to put the gas and how to change an air filter completes my knowledge of working on a car....assuming you are correct that the Ford dealer in fact did use the trans cleaner and post flush when he should not have.....what do I do now? If I go and tell him he should not have done it...what then? Any recourse?

    I do appreciate your help....
  • danallan, I admit that fordwrench may have a better answer for you, but I would say go to the dealership and ask the dealership to admit their mistake and open the CVT drain pan again and replace whatever fluid drains out with new CVT fluid, at their expense. Then, make copies of and document the fact that they might have put the BG cleaner/post-flush additive in there, and send one copy to the Ford zone office for recording. Then keep a copy for yourself, and if the CVT ever fails, then pull it out and make a claim against Ford and the dealership, and in small-claims court if it goes that far. For not following Ford's recomendation they could be liable. Actually, with another CVT fluid change, it will probably be OK, so nothing bad will necessarily happen.
  • There are actually two possibilities as what happened here. One, the additives never actually made into the trans;if this is the case then the trans is ok and you just need to collect your money back. Two, if the additive was actually used I would follow what the last post suggested and document everything. Back to the first scenario alot of times the "menu" pricing will put the additive on the bill and the tech would be smart enough to not use it, that is I'm hoping for you in this case because the CVT is very sensitive to the fluid & if the additive was put in that trans I would say failure is not if but when!
  • You guys (I assume you are male...) are awesome help. I'll let you know how it pans out (pun intended..)
Sign In or Register to comment.