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Ford Freestyle Transmission Failure



  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    the CVT is and always will be the mileage champ

    Then why does the 4-spd Five Hundred get better gas mileage than a similar equipped CVT Five Hundred?

    I'm pretty sure that's the case, as a friend of mine pointed that out to me.

    We never did come up with a good reason that the CVT should get worse mileage, though.
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Posts: 468
    There has never been a 4-spd. Five Hundred. The 500 was initially available with either an Aisin 6-spd. or the Ford/ZF CVT. But you are correct.. the CVT equipped 500 did indeed have a lower EPA Hwy. rating than did the 6-spd. I believe that this was due to the vagaries of outdated EPA testing procedures that were never intended to test accurately the efficiency of a CVT equipped vehicle.

    I know of no reason why a Hybrid vehicle would have to use a CVT. I've always believed they were used so that the vehicle would get the best possible fuel mileage, which is the whole point of building the hybrid to begin with. Cost of production was always a secondary consideration, allowing for the additional expense of the CVT.
  • Also consider that there is a milage difference, with cruise control on, between the same vehicle with a CVT and with a conventional transmission - the former is significantly better. There is a non-trivial synergistic milage effect between the CVT and fully computerized cruise control.

    A properly "tuned" CVT's milage advantage over a conventional transmission is somewhat masked by human operator variations, compared to operation by cruise control.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    I believe that this was due to the vagaries of outdated EPA testing procedures that were never intended to test accurately the efficiency of a CVT equipped vehicle.

    I suppose it's possible that the type of EPA testing would favor the 6-speed tranny (4-speed was my bad, thinking of my Taurus LOL) over the CVT, but I'm not sure why it would be that way.

    And I stand correct on the CVT requirement for a hybrid. It seems that the Honda Insight has/had the option of a five-speed manual transmission or the CVT.

    PS: No need to convince me of the CVT's "goodness". I love mine (on the Freestyle and Five Hundred). But, I didn't get it for any mileage differential, that's for sure. I got it because I love the way it behaves. I can't see why ANYBODY would prefer the herky-jerky of a typical automatic.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    The CVT is required in Full Hybrids because only the planetary gear set CVT used by Ford and Toyota allows two separate power inputs going to the same drive shaft as in a full hybrid.

    Honda and GM hybrids are mild hybrids with both motors mounted in series when ever one motor is turning the other is turning.

  • A couple of questions:

    Were the cars with exploding trannies (see first post in thread) AWD models?

    Mark, you seem very knowledgeable, one of the few people here who seems to base his statements on actual information. Are you a Ford tech or something? I am considering buying a used Freestyle but like others am concerned about the seemingly unproven Ford CVT. Is my concern misplaced in your opinion? Is there any data on the percentage of Freestyle trannies that go bad?

    Generally I don’t like the government meddling in people’s (or businesses’) lives, but since it’s already got its nose deep into the car business, I wish it would require car companies to keep track of warranty repairs – their frequency and nature – so that people would have good info on which to base judgments about reliability.

    Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • fordenvyfordenvy Posts: 72
    Maybe I wasn't clear enough for you passat. I meant the power of the 6-speed to be the strength of a six-speed compared to a CVT, i'm not retarded i know the power comes from the engine, i also know exactly what a CVT does. Maybe I should have said I don't like Fords CVT transmission compared to ford's six-speed transmission. When the six-speed is stronger and more efficient. Not saying CVT's are bad in every company rather just Fords. Also the CVT requires maintenance whereas the six-speed does not. What do you think of that huh? Do your research.
    Sorry passat when everybody disagrees with you dosen't mean we are all wrong, just by reading the other responses i come to this conclusion.
  • fordenvyfordenvy Posts: 72
    I can make a reply to that. The CVT was proven unsuccessful in the Freestyle, also the AWD system was not the best quality either. So I would say just wait until this summer for the Taurus X in which these 2 systems get replaced. Wait even longer if you want it used. I have no statistical information on occurences, but if Ford is replacing them then there is a reason.
  • fordenvyfordenvy Posts: 72
    The six-speed the CVT's are out the door.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    Also the CVT requires maintenance whereas the six-speed does not. What do you think of that huh?

    I think anybody who believes any transmission doesn't need maintenace (believes it enough not to bother maintaining it) is probably going to need a new tranny some day. ;)
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    "The CVT was proven unsuccessful in the Freestyle, also the AWD system was not the best quality either. So I would say just wait until this summer for the Taurus X in which these 2 systems get replaced. Wait even longer if you want it used. I have no statistical information on occurences, but if Ford is replacing them then there is a reason."

    The Transmission/AWD Haldex unit were not replaced due to them being "unsuccessful" they were replaced due to cost as they are both better solutions to the driveline(the Haldex works just fine on the Volvo XC90 and the CVT has not had that many failures. And if you "have no statistical information on occurences" why don't you keep your SPECULATION to yourself. Ford is simply trying to cut production costs for this vehicle.
  • fordenvyfordenvy Posts: 72
    Alright, I don't completely understand why they did away with the AWD system, but I did make it clear that there was a reason and I was going on logic. For the CVT it was unsuccessful without a doubt, and for the six-speed transmission it does not need any maintenance for 120,000 miles, except the occasional checking of the fluid, longer than any of you will keep a vehicle. Thus, the life of the vehicle.
    Don't like my speculation then skip over it and don't read it, but it is going to keep coming.
  • barnstormer64barnstormer64 Posts: 1,106
    and for the six-speed transmission it does not need any maintenance for 120,000 miles

    And the CVT doesn't theoretically need a change until 60,000 miles, either. But I'm not gonna wait that long.

    And then there's that 100,000 mile radiator fluid, too. I won't be waiting that long for it, either.
  • bohemia1bohemia1 Posts: 33
    Ours was a 2005 FWD.
  • bohemia1bohemia1 Posts: 33
    First of all, my Ford Taurus had 180,000 miles on it when I sold it to purchase the '05 FWD Freestyle. My S10 Blazer had 196k miles on when I gave it to my son. You really should not generalize since in my case 100k miles is just the break-in level and not the lifetime.
    As for Trans. maintenance, yes they need maintenance, but they should not need maintenance and fail at 15k miles either, as CVT did.
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    "but they should not need maintenance and fail at 15k miles either, as CVT did."

    Correct, that would be the exception rather than the rule as I don't think 100k+ CVT's in Freestyles on the road have all failed. If you look around and see some posts from Ford tech's you will see statments that they are more reliable than most.
  • summewesummewe Posts: 14
    My 2005 has started a whining sound in low gear until shifting into higher gears then stops. No other symptoms. Has anyone else encountered this problem?
  • volfangaryvolfangary Posts: 105
    Your Logic = Your guess.
    No one really knows why the CVT was discontinued.
    But I do know I have a friend that has been a Ford mechanic for 25 years and he states there have been far fewer Freestyles come in for CVT repair than compared to the average number of transmissions for other models of the same years. ;)
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    For COST reasons. The dollar is crap verse the Euro and the chain Ford uses comes from Luk in the Euro zone. This combined with its limited torque handling ability and lack of significant fuel savings when compared to the 6 speed developed with GM served to kill the CVT.

    P.S. Nissan's CVT rocks.

  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    "Nissan's CVT rocks"

    so does ford's, that's a big part of the reason we bought ours...the lack of developing it is a function of the moron beancounters, not the engineering...
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    The CVT in our FWD is the most intelligent transmission i have ever owned. By comparison, the 4 spd. in my Marquis is not cooperative. The new Ford-Gm 6spd.. will be used everywhere and that saves bucks. I,too, have driven the Nissan CVT and it's a winner.
  • bohemia1bohemia1 Posts: 33
    I recall that our Freestyle also was whining before the CVT totally failed. I have no idea if you should be concerned or not.
  • bohemia1bohemia1 Posts: 33
    OK, we now have 10,000 miles (25k total) on the replacement CVT in our 2005 FWD Freestyle. Another 5,000 miles to go to equal the 15,000 miles when the original CVT failed.
    We really like the design of the FS so are hoping for the best.
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Posts: 178
    We're at 41,000 miles on our original CVT and it is still going strong.
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    I've even heard of a 100k cvt out there still constantanly variabling away on one of the other forums I visit...keep it up...
  • After reading some of these posts, I'm wondering how many have had the same problems I have had with my Ford Freestyle '05?
    We loved it when we bought it NEW but within the first year started having problems. It wouldn't accelerate, wrench light came on, putting noises, etc. Took it to the dealership where we bought it, they hooked it up, (Of course, wrench light wasn't on then) so according to the dealer, no problem! The light came on again and the dealer "fixed" it. Worked fine for a few weeks, drove it OUT OF STATE, wrench light came on, engine light came on, barely made it off the road. Took to a dealership, ran a diagnostic, transmission problems! No, transmission person to fix it for 2 weeks! Dealership assured me it would be fine to drive back to my state to get repaired. Had to drive 50 mph the entire way since it wouldn't go over that! Next day, wouldn't accelerate over 25mph - made it to the dealer I bought from. Huge hassle, it was just over the 12,000 mile warranty. Had to negotiate to have dealer even pay partial for it to be fixed. Suppossedly, it was taken care of....
    11 months later,(now) the wrench and engine light came on again, wouldn't accelerate over 50 mph. Took to original dealership, told us the brake light wasn't working, then managed to hook it up properly to the diagnostic machine - transmission had major codes coming up! (They didn't have a transmission person there to fix either) The service manager said they couldn't help us, the regional mgr wouldn't help us since they had already fixed it twice before! They said they could offer us a trade in????? They wouldn't give us the printout of what was wrong with the transmission. We had to take it to another Ford dealer who finally told us that the entire Transmission needed to be replaced for $5000. (At least they offered to pay for our rental car since it can't be fixed for a week!)

    Does this sound familiar to anyone else?? Should this be happening on a car that is only 2 years old? :lemon: ?
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Posts: 468
    Not enough info pixie.

    1) What is the total mileage on your Freestyle?
    2) Did you buy it new or used?
    3) If you purchased used.. what was the mileage at the time you bought it?
    4) Was the vehicle within it's 3 yr. 36,000 mile warranty when the transmission first needed repairs?
    5) Ok.. here's the big one. Do you have the vehicle's entire service records from when it was first put into service. (When it was first titled.) It really helps to have such records.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Huge hassle, it was just over the 12,000 mile warranty. Had to negotiate to have dealer even pay partial for it to be fixed. "

    Huh? The mechanical warranty is for 36K, three years. There is 12K mile limit to fix minor issues like squeaks and rattles. Any transmission repair (including entire replacement) should not cost a penny unless the dealer could prove owner negligence in maintenance. The warranty is for the CAR, not the owner; even if you bought it used the original mileage and years apply.

    You need to contact Ford corporate on this issue (and find another dealer).
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    Basic: 3 yr. / 36,000 mi.
    Drivetrain: 3 yr. / 36,000 mi.
    Roadside: 3 yr. / 36,000 mi.
    Rust: 5 yr. / Unlimited mi.

    if you bought new and are within the above limits you should not be paying dime one as it is a BUMPER TO BUMPER warranty with no exceptions
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Basic: 3 yr. / 36,000 mi.
    Drivetrain: 3 yr. / 36,000 mi.
    Roadside: 3 yr. / 36,000 mi.
    Rust: 5 yr. / Unlimited mi."

    I thought they went to 50K miles on the drivetrain for 2008?
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    OP with problem seems to have an '05, since they referenced having it for 2 years, hence the numbers I quoted seemed appropriate. Not sure why they are mentioning a 12k warranty number in their posts which hasn't been clarified.
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Posts: 468
    The poster seems confused about a lot of things. Typically, these people will post just once (in order to vent) and then are never heard from again. I think that's going to be the case this time too.
  • iandogiandog Posts: 2
    Your story sounds EXACTLY like ours,except it was our transmission light that came on. We have had our car at a Ford dealership for 3 weeks and they are replacing the transmission (death nell for the car). It is unfortunate because we really liked the car. I still do not believe that the transmission was gone after 50K! I see a foreign hybrid in my future!
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    because foreign cars have no problems... ever...

    have you noticed lately ford has beat toyota in initial quality and buick has beat lexus in some of the popular rankings...

    while it's unfortunate you had your problmes, a cvt failure is still a rare exception considering how many ford produced rather than a rule.

    so when you foreign hybrid has some sort of failure will you be on that forum posting "I see a domestic hybrid in my future".

    there are no guarantee's with any manufacturer and to not give credit to the domestics for raising there game is just shortsighted...
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    The Foreign Prius and the Domestic Ford Escape Hybrid use the SAME eCVT trans from the SAME factory.... Now what will you buy.

    Future trend for all manufacturers is to push more component production to outside supplies to save costs. The foreign/domestic built distinction will get even blurrier.

  • Yesterday I noticed a slight vibration through the steering wheel of our Freestyle and when I rolled down the window I heard a whine that seemed to increase and decrease relative to the speed of the vehicle. This concerned me greatly.

    We arrived at our destination where the car sat for 2 hours. Afterward on the drive home there were no such symptoms. I can't say for certain it was the CVT but it seemed likely. No warning lights came on. It was very hot, so not sure if it was temperature related. Anyone else ever experience this? The Freestyle is an '05 AWD with 42k miles. It seems to be fine again today.

    - Chad
  • Interesting. I have the exact thing with my car. I'm wondering if the whine and vibration are different issues? The car is also an '05 AWD, 25K. I've only had it about 3K, but it's been this way since I've had it. It only happens when the car is hot, after driving it for at least 30 minutes.

    There's a noticeable whine at low speed (like parking), and vibration through the steering wheel. The vibration is more pronounced when turning (though you can feel a bit when not turning at all).

    My understanding is that the electric motor on the CVT exhibits a 'whine', and that's how it is...

    As far as the vibration, I actually wonder if it's the power steering pump? I took the car into a dealer once to have an issue with the rear seat checked out, and I figured I'd pay the rent by having them change the oil. That experience left me afraid to go back to that dealer (seat not fixed, crank case under-filled an entire quart), so bringing in a car that exhibits a symptom that only happens when hot probably isn't going to go to well, at this dealer at least...

    Honestly, the 'vibration/whine' issue doesn't bother me in the least, though I too wonder if something is wrong/about to break. Since I have a 6 yr/100K extended warranty, I'm not overly concerned, but I would be curious if anyone else has had this issue, and if it lead to something catastrophic, or if that's just how it is.
  • iandogiandog Posts: 2
    That will be a long time. I have actually owned Ford and Jeep vehicles for many years; however, the hassles that I have gone through with the service of this car are amazing. Let's face it, the domestic auto producers have failed miserably and getting Tiger Woods to hock a car just isn't going to do it. The quality control and attention to service that I have experienced from Volkswagen and Toyota puts Ford to shame.

    Domestics still haven't raised their game enough and remain minor league.
  • vicenacvicenac Posts: 229
    2005 SEL
    in the first 1600 Mi on highway 12 MPG - front brakes replaced and rotors resurfaced.
    Transmission died in the middle of freeway at 7500 M.
    After 30 in service there is very inconsistent engine breaking and the alignment had to be done 5 times.
    at 10k the rear brakes were done. < 1mm.
    19k Transmission dies again, also rear brakes are done again.
    In hot weather (100F +) the idle is going up and down, especialy when pressing the brake pedal. Try driving in slow traffic!
    Ford bought the vehicle back.
    A few problems were never "verified" by the dealer, like doors not opening with remote, fast blinking signals.

    We test drove different cars to replace our Freestyle, and sadly, nothing drives as safe as it did. Mazda CX7 comes close, but the 08 Toyota Highlander is a disapointment. Oh, what to do.....?
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I'd say the same thing. If you really like the FS, just get another one because the problems you're describing are not common.
  • dnashdnash Posts: 35
    I would agree. But I don't think I would shout it.
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    wasn't shouting, didn't realize i was typing all caps till i was done...
  • hfm123hfm123 Posts: 2
    I had a bad wheel bearing that gave me similar symptoms.

  • dnashdnash Posts: 35
    I was just kidding. I have read a lot of your other stuff that probably would have fit more with shouting than that.
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
  • vicenacvicenac Posts: 229
    Thank you for all the replies...
    I'm sure I would not get one as bad as this one, But...
    The main problem was the dealers. Like in many other stories here, they limit their investigations to reading the codes. I tell them "the engine's idle speed fluctuates in 100F+ heat". It's 80F outside; they still connect the computer and tell me there is nothing wrong.
    I'm sure there is a pressure sensor in the intake manifold that could be malfunctioning, there is an electronic throttle that could be flaky in extreme heat. They should test for these things...
    Did I tell you that for my first three visits I had to show the tech how to read the odometer?
    I took once a Honda Accord to a Honda dealer. A tech came out and told me a bunch of staff about my car that I did not know. Then proceeded with a quick investigation and told me what was going on about my problem.
    I'm afraid to buy another Ford because of their dealerships. Hmmmm maybe I'll lease one, and if it works fine I'll buy it, how about that?
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Ever try servicing it an a Lincoln-Mercury or even a Mazda dealership?

    But it's true that if you can get good service after the purchase, then that will have a big impact on making a purchase.
  • freealfasfreealfas Posts: 652
    i just tried a L/M dealer for service that's close to our house for our FS and came away impressed. as soon as warranty and 4 remaining free oil changes are done with the Ford dealer we bought from are through we'll be switching full time with no regret as the original dealer hasn't been anything special.
  • bohemia1bohemia1 Posts: 33
    2005 FWD FreeStyle SE 27,500 miles (12,500 on replaced transmission)
    8/30 drove daughter to grad school in New York City. Supposed to be a 3 hour drive but really took 5 hours with stops to eat, and 90 minutes to cross Geo Wash Bridge - 162 miles total one way. FS was totally packed with just enough room for a driver and two passengers.
    FS ran great. Did not miss a beat at 70+ miles per hour for long stretches. Then totally bumper to bumper crawling city traffic. FS had no issues at all. As you can tell, I am totally happy with the vehicle on this trip.
    I cannot really comment on Ford service as my wife usually takes it in for routine service. I did get involved with the transmission failure and found our dealer's service department to be knowlegeable and sensitive to our needs. :)
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