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Ford Freestyle CVT Transmissions



  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I was simply responding to the point Sinder's point that I should not be recommending a Freestyle to anyone. Just because he doesn't want to recommend a Freestyle, doesn't mean that I can't. And based on the reliability of the Freestyle (including transmission), I think my recommendation holds more merit that his.

    Again, Consumer Reports shows that that Freestyle (including the transmission) has at least average reliability, so it's on par with other similar vehicles. The only "black circle" area was in the brakes, which is a problem I had (and was paid for by Ford).

    I've also read posts from folks who say they'll never buy/recommend another Honda or another Toyota because they had some big problem too with their vehicle, so this type of emotional post isn't new to the Freestyle.

    And I'm not sure if the "shark attack" analogy can be made to some bad Freestyle transmissions. It would be better to use that analogy for avoiding a recalled vehicle where the nature of the recall actually led to deaths.
  • My brother and I bought bought 2005 Freestyles as company vehicles in June 2005. I have 122,000 miles on mine and he has about 117,000. Have done no service on the CVT and have had no problems with it at all. I had to replace the alternator at about 60,000 and it was expensive - rear AC and all that - at $1,200. The problem that we both have had almost simultaneously is the AC. Mine went out in August 2010 and his went out in September 2010.

    Both our mileage is about half high congested suburbs and half highway; and we have averaged 22 MPG. We service them every 5,000 miles and haven't been particularly gentle with them since we don't have a pickup truck. Plan to trade sometime in 2011 and the only reason I wouldn't buy again is boredom. Six years and nearly 150,000 is long enough and I miss my F150.
  • Mr Cranker:
    I have the CVT in the AWD 500 ('07). bought used from nationwide Ins. Exec. In my research i found Ford was not satisfied with the reliability of the the German ZF CVT. They elected to build their own, I think they made the right decision. Take a look at the Audi transmission forums. Also don't waste your time (not you Mr rank) on having anybody but Ford "fix" your CVT. Shops just buy it from Ford and put it in. Same with the Audi tranny. Replacing with a used one would be OK from a trusted mech. Oil and filter change @ 60,000 by a Ford dealer critical. I realize some of you have had these issues before 60K. Oil is $12 per qt. and takes 10 qts. and it needs an INTERNAL filter replaced. Before purchase I talked to a transmission shop that has been in business for over 40 years. They had not (2008) had any of the Ford CVTs in for repair. or heard of any issues. 6 speed auto is Aiesen (sp?) from Japan.
  • Possibilities are infinite but the programming is not. There are a finite number of ratios in the program.
  • OK guys. Sit in your car. Look down and to your right. What is that big metal shaft that falls so readily into your right hand? Is it not a "shifter"? Does it not "shift your CVT from hi to lo range? OK that's one "gear". Ever feel your CVT "down shift" when coasting down a hill? So let's call it a 2 speed with benefits. Only Jesus and his Old Man are infinite.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Possibilities are infinite but the programming is not. There are a finite number of ratios in the program. "

    Do you have some inside source on this? Also, how do you know it isn't some kind of adaptive algorithm that changes based on driver behavior? That would kind of preclude specific shift points.

    Regardless of programming the CVT itself has an infinite number of ratios between it's top and bottom numbers.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    edited November 2010
    "OK guys. Sit in your car. Look down and to your right. What is that big metal shaft that falls so readily into your right hand? Is it not a "shifter"? Does it not "shift your CVT from hi to lo range? OK that's one "gear". Ever feel your CVT "down shift" when coasting down a hill? So let's call it a 2 speed with benefits. Only Jesus and his Old Man are infinite. "

    My current ride is a FEH, which also has a CVT. That "low range" tells the computer to lock the CVT at a particular ratio for the current circumstances. Yes, it is a "shifter" - so you can get out of park, neutral, and reverse - and artificially let the computer engage engine braking by selecting speed specific ratios from the infinite range of ratios available. But the transmission itself, unlike conventional transmissions, is not bound by 5 - 6 - or even 7 specific shift points.
  • We have a 2005 Freestyle. Under 60k miles. CVT transmission just went. $5K+ to fix or trade it in w/ a value of $5k. Car worked well for 60k miles which may be all you can expect from a Ford. Had Nissan's in the past and 200k is the norm. Like an earlier post, not happy.
  • dnashdnash Posts: 35
    “Consider this. The overwhelming majority of swimmers never get attacked by sharks but would you be as dismissive of people who recommend against swimming at the beach where they were attacked? After all, the norm is that swimmers don't get attacked. Just a thought.”

    I believe the problem with this analogy is the availability of the sample size from which to gather opinions from. I can probably find 100 people to ask about going to the beach in Florida and it would be very unlikely that I would talk to one of the 73 that were attacked by sharks there in the last three years. So I probably end up with 100 positive opinions (at least in relation to shark safety) and can make a logical decision. To get a similar sample of Freestyle owners, the only place I am going to find that number easily is on a message board like this where someone is much more likely to post when they have problems rather than just to say I have 100k miles with no issues. If I could get a random 100 Freestyle owners, I believe that I would here a rosier picture.

    On another note, to help with the sample, I am at 100k miles with an AWD and the only problems I have had are a bad rear liftgate shock, a need to add some power steering fluid to eliminate whine, and the rear brake issues (which is why I am on here now after a couple of year absence). I get 24-25 on the highway at 70-75 and about 18-19 around town.
  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    Consider this:

    When you do run into that once enchanted beach lover that WAS attacked, please be certain and return here to post.
    Let us all know how difficult it was to NOT stare at a missing limb, missing flesh, massive scars, or obvious permanent disfigurement as you listen to their story of THAT day. Let us know if YOU felt lucky not to be in the water that day.

    And if you get a chance, let us know if you were able to talk to anyone that witnessed the attack. How were they affected, how might it have changed them.

    Of course, this is ONLY if you get the chance because some of those that WERE attacked by the rare shark are not alive to talk about it.

    What a crappy analogy!
  • The day after Christmas this year we made the same trip in the same freestyle that we did last year when the transmission decided to die. Looking back at the incident a year later I came out of it with a little more knowledge.
    1. I am not a car guy but will be more educated about what I buy in the future. After talking to a car guy or two the weight of the freestyle is to much for that type of transmission, in my oppionion.
    2. Although at the time I was focusing my disgust at Ford and the dealer my dealer has treated me very well through that process as well as through others. I will probably buy there in the future or at least look at what they have to offer.

    Did this issue really affect me other than the time I was out of a car? It did cost me about $6K that I certainly could have put towards paying off a credit card so its hard to say no it did not affect me but I guess I am fortunate enough that it didn't affect me more.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    I think the CVT was adequate to the size and weight. One reason they dropped it was that they could not add a more powerful engine with that CVT. So they went to the six speed. The other reason it was discontinued was cost - the steel chain at the core of the transmission was German made and very expensive.

    Also, I think people just didn't like the CVT - they missed the shifting of the normal transmission.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Your FEH does NOT use a CVT in the traditional sense. The PSD it does use is completely different conceptually and mechanically.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    No, the FreeStyle is unusually large and heavy for CVT use.
  • cab2005cab2005 Posts: 1
    edited February 2011
    The transmission in my 2005 Freestyle went two days ago. $5,500 to fix it or $1500. trade in value. I'm sick to think my car with 66,500 miles is basiclly junk. With just 6000 miles over warranty, there is no recourse. Are cars becoming disposable now too? That's a lot of money for me to cough up for a repair. I'm mad as hell and feel stuck dealing with Ford.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    Sorry for your trouble. Is yours fwd or awd? Did you have the transmission serviced before the failure?
  • I own a 2006 freestyle with 11800 k miles on it and I had no problems out of the car now, I am haveing problems with the transmission makeing a tapping noise and the dealer said that the inside of the transmission is falling apart and it would cost me 5800 to replace, I have checked around with some transmission shops to have it rebuilt and everyone perty much walks away so good luck with yours and I hope you dont have any problems anyone know of a good transmission shop in the DC area
  • Our 2005 freestyle went down. Out of 5 local transmission shops only 1 would do anything. We got a salvage tranny installed for $3000K. After 6 months no problems.
  • paullpaull Posts: 2
    I would like to change the CVT fluid at the 60,000 mile interval on my 2005 FS. Where can I get the dipstick required to check the fluid level after changing it?
  • queetqueet Posts: 1
    I own a 2005 freestyle and having the same issues with transmission, the same nocking noise and the out put shaft was bad. I have been searching just about every where to get parts for this transmission and cannot find them, I even bought a used trans. for core and the dam parts were bad in it. So my question is can you tell me where and from whome you got the parts from, I would love to get this car fixed, I have been dealing with this for 2 months now. Any help would be appreciated
  • brmeadowsbrmeadows Posts: 1
    Another CVT problem with the 2005 Freestyle transmission. The car blew a 7" hole in the transmission on the Interstate out of Colorado Springs. It was a wonder that we were not killed in the traffic as the car stalled and began to smoke. Quotes to fix the problem from nearby dealerships were in the neighborhood of $5000 to $5500. We called the Ford main customer service #1-800-392-3673 to no avail. Even though this transmission was discontinued after only one year, they would not stand behind their product as being defective, or even deserving of a recall. Members of our family have been loyal customers since the 1940's. In my opinion, customer service and quality assurance of these Ford vehicles sold today are not goals that they aspire to and value as an important part of their present day business plan.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    Actually, I believe the CVT was used for three model years, 2005-2007. The 2008 model went to the 6 speed because it was cheaper to produce.
  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    @ brmeadows -- I ended up paying $5,800.00 to have mine replaced and with a remanned one because they don't make them anymore.
    I called Ford directly and they could really care less. I tried everything to hold them accountable to no avail.

    I too could have been killed because right while I was accelerating to cross a busy road, the wrench light came on and I stopped moving. I pushed the accelerator to the floor and NOTHING. I shut the car off and restarted it quickly and it BOLTED across the intersection.

    It is pretty sad they fewer companies stand behind their products. Especially with Ford....which ftr is likely the ONLY place that can fix this for you.
  • gajedigajedi Posts: 4
    :sick: I have been so pleased with this vehicle since we bought it. The CVT was new, but we gave it a shot and loved the way it performed. The service center at our dealership has been great. This is the first time we have been comfortable going to the dealer for regular service.

    :sick: We got the EasyCare for what was supposed to be 7 year/120K miles, but the paperwork got screwed up and was only written for 100K. We had the CVT serviced at 90K, and now, at 102K, the @$@% thing started whining. Took it in, and now they say the "internal planetary" is failing, and have quoted up a cost of almost $6,000 to replace the tranny. The service writer we have always worked with has "gone to bat" with the service manager, but they have only gone down to just under $5,000. I'm still paying on this thing, and this is really starting to turn me off.

    :sick: We are trying to figure out if there are any other options/programs out there to help. That is the cost of a used car, which we were hoping to get as soon as this is paid off in 10 months, but if we have to spend that NOW, there is no way we will be getting another car there, or anywhere else, for another 2 years. Anyone have any ideas what we could do, who we could talk to? If Ford would stand behind this and acknowledge that a tranny should not be failing at the point of the engine's first expected tune-up, we would be willing to stay. I would love it if they would jut say, "Yeah, that is not right." and let us trade it in. I'd even be willing to get two cars if they would give us a good trade value, but it sounds like they won't give anything...

    :mad: Very disappointed...
  • gajedigajedi Posts: 4
    No, it is not a "shifter", but a "selector" to "select" the driving mode for the transmission (Drive, Park, Neutral, Reverse, Low...)

    just chiming in to vent some frustrations at the moment...not personal! ;)
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "No, it is not a "shifter", but a "selector" to "select" the driving mode for the transmission (Drive, Park, Neutral, Reverse, Low...)

    just chiming in to vent some frustrations at the moment...not personal!

    facebook connect


    I don't really care what it is called, Selector is OK by me.
  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    Sadly, you are stuck like the rest of us. I was close to paying mine off as well, until I had the $5,800.00 tranny replacement.
    FORD could care less. I went as high up the corporate ladder as I could. I had hoped they would stand behind their product especially when this "event" is terribly dangerous. :sick:

    I always kept my vehicle serviced as well. Now the a/c has gone, the top motor mount needs to be repaired and I will need my 3rd set of brakes.

    Hell, I could be driving a Mercedes for all I put into this FORD product ! :lemon:
  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    A class action lawsuit was filed in May against Ford regarding the throttle body issues on the Freestyle...hoping they also tack on transmission issues...both have caused accidents. You can go to for more information.

    The more the attorney hears from us the better the chance they will add the transmissions issues to the suit. They are expensive to repair and parts makers are no...
  • stickman4stickman4 Posts: 2
    I'm beginning to think that I'm the only one with a 2005 Freestyle that has not had transmission trouble. We have two of them - bought new in June 2005 -with about 130,000 on each and the CVT's have never been serviced. Still knocking about 22.2 MPH for mixed driving.

    I do plan, however, to have it towed to the dealer for trade in on another vehicle when the CVT does go out. Doesn't make much sense to but $6,000 into a car with this many miles.

    Not on this exact subject, but I had a 1992 Ford F150 with about 100M when the dealer serviced the transmission. The transmission AND rear end went out within 2,000 miles. Coincidence?
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