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Ford Freestyle CVT Transmissions



  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    You may want to check out the Ford Freestyle Real World MPG discussion.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Similar CVTs based on the Freestyle's ZF brand (German) designed CVT are in the BMW MiniCooper and some Audi cars. Volvo does not use it. The Nissan CVT is not a ZF unit. You might be thinking of the Haldex AWD system, shared by Freestyles with Volvos. And the Freestyle chassis is based on the Volvo S80 and XC90 designs. For a summary of the overall reliability of the CVT form over about a thousand owners, Consumer Reports shows the CVT to be of average reliability compared to all transmissions in other cars. Like any transmission, especially automatics of any kind, things can go wrong, but no more frequently in the CVT than in other automatic transmissions.
  • ct2ctct2ct Posts: 5
    I have an 06 Freestyle-had to have the entire engine replaced at cost of 6000 bucks-long story. However, now while sitting idle for a short period of time, maybe 3-5 minutes or more, with A/C on, the engine revs and if i don't have a solid foot on the brake, the car will dangerously lurch forward. Anyone else had this issue? I would get rid of this car, if i wasn't upside down in it. NOthing but problems. Thanks for any help. :sick:
  • baethkebaethke Posts: 8
    You should get better gas mileage with a CVT. As long as you are comparing it to use with the same size engine. But ford has had alot of problems with there CVT. But over all you will do better on long trips with it.
  • carstenbcarstenb Posts: 37
    the a/c needs some extra power from the generator hence it revs up. you are aware of the P position of the shift lever :confuse:

  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    The Freestyle CVT gets average reliability scores from Consumer Report's surveys. Some cars have less reliable automatic transmissions, and some cars have more reliable automatic transmissions. If you zero in on one owner and they happen to have had trouble with their CVT, then you can't say the entire fleet has the same problems on average. They are a sample-size of one.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    The ac does not cause surging. If everything is working properly, the computer will maintain the same rpms with or without the ac. Of course, use of the ac does consume some power.
  • baethkebaethke Posts: 8
    If it is such a small group then Ford would still be using the CVT.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Actually, the CVT is not being used by Ford because it is too expensive to make compared to a newly available 6-speed. The main steel belt on the CVT is a German ZF part that costs too much, as well as some other parts on it. Ford formed a new deal with GM to jointly develop a new 6-speed transmission recently, sharing the development costs with each other to reduce costs. The 6-speed is slightly cheaper to manufacture and very good.
  • apoind1apoind1 Posts: 1
    Had the same thing happen to me yesterday for the first time. I put the car in reverse, then had to slam on the the engine rev-ed very fast. It did it twice in a row. I had no problems going forward...and haven't tried reverse again, but will be taking it into the shop tomorrow. We have less than 30,000 miles on it. This is actually our first problem with the vehicle...but what a scary one! That's why I decided to get online and see if others have had it.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    apoind1: Report this to the government NHTSA and they might make Ford fix this problem with a recall notice. The website is: Report to the NHTSA click here

    Consider that the surging might be due to the accelerator pedual sensor (transducer) sending signals to the engine to "go" when it shouldn't. The Freestyle is a throttle-by-wire type, with no mechanical linkage as in most other cars. See jrmust post with accelerator pedal problem
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    I just checked the latest surveys from Consumer Reports (April '08 edition at the library) and the Freestyle CVT is above average in reliability. The engine was also above average, the old Duratec 3.0. The Ford 500 sedan, which used the same CVT in about half of them, was also above average.

    Also, you asked about fuel economy in the Freestyle vs. TaurusX: Freestyle easily beats it.
  • My Freestyle just starting surging like you are describing. I am around 30,000 miles and will have to take it to the shop immediately because I have a 16 year old and it could cause him to wreck. We just replaced the battery last week because the car would not start and have a rattle around the front tires when I turn. What other problems do I have to look forward to.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    tennessemom, apoind1, ct2ct,
    Let us know what the diagnosis is. I'm wondering if you all have the accelerator pedal transducer sensor problem like jrmust did. Could be something else. I've had zero problems with my '05 Freestyle at 43,000 miles now, but am looking for weak design features to watch for in the future.
  • My husband and I purchased a Freestyle when he worked in parts at the Ford dealership. We loved our car, but while it was under the original warranty it left us sitting along the interstate due to a throttle problem. We managed to get that fixed and just as we entered our extended warranty, the power steering pump went bad. Now, just at the end of our extended warranty, at 60,000 miles, our transmission went out as we were, once again, traveling on the interstate and passing another car in the left hand lane. We heard a pop and a squeal, and thankfully, we got to the shoulder of the interstate where we sat for nearly 2 hours waiting on a tow truck!!! My husband works for the same automotive group, but is now in service at Chrysler. I hate to say it, but I wish I hadn't purchased this car and can't wait to trade it in for another one. It still isn't fixed and I'm not sure if it is fixed if I'll be able to trust it again. What do you think?
  • Well, guess what? The yellow wrench is back and transmission is bucking. Back to the dealer, bad codes which don't coincide with the yellow wrench. Ford wants the dealer to drive the vehicle to "catch" the codes. My luck, Iowa Lemon law limits to 2 years or 24,000. First yellow light----25,000 miles and I get hosed because the car's worth has gone south. Waiting for the dealer and ford to decide. Can't trust this car now. With the floods, heat and coming winter, the Freestyle was suppose to be our go anywhere vehicle. Appears now that it's going to be our around town vehicle only.
  • pisexton,
    Could you write back with what they found failed in the transmission? Sounds like the inner cones cracked or the steel belt broke (guessing).

    I don't know if I would single out the Freestyle for reliability problems. A friend of mine bought a Honda Pilot a couple of years ago and he was saying he bought it because it was predicted to be reliable. Then he had a cylinder bank head crack (serious stuff), and 3 months later his transmission failed. Still, like the Freestyle, you can look at the total population of Freestyles and Pilots out there and see they both do better than average than other models out there. I think we're seeing normal random failures, part of the chance we take when we own vehicles of any kind. I do hear and see in Consumer Reports that Chryslers fail at a higher rate than any other make of vehicle.
  • My fiancee is leasing a 2007 Ford Freestyle. She has 50k miles on it. The engine was idling noisily. The noise got louder when she accelerated, so she took it to the dealer and was told that it was outside the warranty. The diaganosis? Transmission failure; the price? $7,000! We've been loyal to Ford for years and have about 20 Ford vans in her company's fleet. The dealer and Ford absolutely suck when it comes to addressing the problem. No wonder so many people are staying away from Ford. I wouldn't buy a cotton ball from them
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "My fiancee is leasing a 2007 Ford Freestyle. She has 50k miles on it. The engine was idling noisily. The noise got louder when she accelerated, so she took it to the dealer and was told that it was outside the warranty. "

    Lesson learned. One thing I ALWAYS do when leasing is to ensure that I have a warranty that will last the length of the lease, even if that means buying an extended warranty. With a lease you don't have any choice - you have to fix the car, or they will charge you for the fix when you turn in the lease...
  • The lease is for 3 years. The warranty is for 3 years or 36,0000 miles. The tranny failed at 50,000 miles. The vehicle was used for personal transportation. No towing. No way the tranny should fail after 50,000 of normal operation. It must be due to a defect, but Ford's stance is "tough luck. It'll cost you $7,000" While my fiancee is a loyal Ford customer, I have never purchased one because, when I first started driving 30 years ago, my dad told me that FORD stands for "Found On Road Dead" I guess not much has changed in the last 30 years at Ford.
  • $7,000 is crazy talk for a transmission rebuild. Are CVTs really that expensive to rebuild or are we paying three times the cost of a traditional transmission rebuild because CVT owners are stuck without any other options? I was under the impression that CVTs were rather simple transmissions without many parts (at least compared to a standard automatic). This should translate into a less expensive rebuild process, not more.

    As far as Ford acronyms go I prefer Finest Operating Road Device or First On Race Day. Fortunately your transmission problem is not common and Consumer Reports rates Freestyles as better than average for reliability.

    - Chad
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "The lease is for 3 years. The warranty is for 3 years or 36,0000 miles. The tranny failed at 50,000 miles. "

    As I recall, the FS has a 5 year, 50K warranty on the engine and transmission? This is different from the overall 3 year 36K warranty. You might want to check if the car was actually in warranty. If it was only a little past the warranty, contact the regional or national Ford representative and see if they will offer to cover part or all of the problem. After that, find another dealer, because THEY should have thought of that.

    As for cost, the entire reason that Ford went away from the CVT for the Taurus X was the cost of the transmission parts. So I'm not surprised it is expensive.

    I am sorry for the cost you have incurred. The question I have is if there is an issue with the CVT as a design or if this is a problem specific to your car. I think yours is one of only 2 or 3 reported as being a problem in the Edmunds forums. There is a fair possibiltiy that it is just a case of mechanical failure.

    I was simply making a suggestion for future leases with any car company. When I lease, I'm very careful to accurately estimate the actual miles to be driven, and then get an extended warranty to cover those miles. My last lease was 39 months, and I had a 45K, 42 month extended warranty, so that I would be covered for the duration of the lease.
  • 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.

    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.

    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.

    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. 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 mirage 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.
  • It was previously said "...$7,000 is crazy talk for a transmission rebuild. Are CVTs really that expensive to rebuild or are we paying three times the cost of a traditional transmission rebuild because CVT owners are stuck without any other options?..." has the CVT going for $5,000 (just the part), retail. Give generous labor and a few other small parts totaling $2,000, and you've got a dealership making more money off car repairs/parts than the profit on selling new vehicles, a scenario typical around the U.S..... It is probably true that the cost is extra high because other tranny repair shops won't go near our CVT, from what I've heard. I'll check Aamco to see if they will repair it.
  • Consumer Reports contacted hundreds of random Freestyle owners, and they say collectively that the CVT is failing at lower rates than the average automatic tranny out there, so that does corroborate what the Ford mechanic is saying. Our CVT has above average reliability. When it does fail, people suddenly naturally feel motivated to call Henry Ford a jerk on forums on the web. When the CVT does just fine, it is ignored and there is no motivation to write about it on forums.
  • I am having similar problems. The car seems to run at very high RPM but only goes 40 MPH. It also bucks. The yellow warning light comes on that shows a slippery road with a car. That's probably just from the bucking but not sure. The Ford dealership has had my car 5 weeks with still no resolution. My car is from a Lease company as this is a company car. The lease company though told me that it is covered under warranty because the powertrain warranty is 60,000 miles. I have 54,000 miles on the car. That may be a special deal for the Lease company but I would double check to make sure it isn't covered under warranty. Call somebody else besides the dealer. I found the dealer lying to me on several itmes so don't trust what they say.
  • I checked FORD website and they list a warranty of 5 year 60,000 miles on 2007 and on 2006 with a $100 deductible. Seems to me you shouldn't be paying the $7,000 as it is in the coverage area. Go higher on the food chain at FORD.
  • We went around and around with the dealership and with "customer service" representatives at Ford regarding the tranny failure at 50K. I suddenly realized that we have a 5 year 60K warranty on the powertrain. We faxed the new vehicle sticker to the dealership (Thank God my fiancee kept it) and the dealer is now (hopefully) repairing it under this warranty. I am thankful that we didn't lay out 7 large to fix it, and then have to go after them to get it back. A lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth could have been avoided if the dealer or the cs reps just said "Oh, you're covered under our powertain warranty". We haven't gotten the car back yet, so I'm reserving judgment until then
  • I would watch that dealer. Probably they were going to charge you 7K and then turn around and enter a warranty claim with FORD and get another 7K. They work that deal all of the time. Glad you don't have to shell out 7k. Good luck on the car. I'd sell and buy a Chevy.
  • I apologize for the length but if any can share any info I'd truly appreciate it.

    My 05 SEL FWD has 57,750 miles on it. A week ago I got the wrench light. I pulled over shut down and looked up the meaning of the light in my manual. It says to contact my dealer immediately. I turned the car on and the light was gone I did a system check and got the message that the transmission was OK. Drove it like that for 2 days then the light came on again but the car drove fine - no noticeable problem with power, noise, or vibration. I took it to a buddy with a code reader to diagnose it but we could get any info. I made an appointment with a dealer in the town where I work and before I could get it there the light came on again this time accompanied with high engine revving and a noticeable loss of power. I had it towed to a transmission shop closer to home and they got a reader for a "turbine speed sensor". Apparently the sensor can't be replaced because it comes attached to a valve cover that it can't be separated from. So I need to buy a part and was quoted a price of $1000.00

    Anyone out there ever heard of this? Also, if previous posts are true and they're not using this transmission anymore are they going to make the replacement parts when this happens to me/or someone else again?

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