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Ford Freestyle CVT Transmissions



  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    A little late there, coldcranker...My 06 Freestyle sits in the shop as we speak, waiting on a remmaned trannie because whos' got $5600 for a new one and why in the ##$$ would I want to give FORD another dime of my money?

    So, no....I am not fine.

    And if FORD dealerships/service advisors don't know about one of thier own products, then everyone on this thread needs to be extremely concerned.

    I have had my oil changed every 3k miles, without fail and have kept up with all the maintenace on my freestyle. I should NOT have learn about CVT's. I am NOT a mechanic. I am a consumer who EXPECTS the manufacturer of a product that I worked my butt off to pay for, to have just a clue about it and it's problems.

    Besides, I'm just a bit miffed ,coldcranker because I was almost in what would have certainly been an awful accident because my freestyle just stopped running. No acceleration, NOTHING and I had a semi coming my way. So, yes, I hold FORD accountable...

    The bottom line is that there is a right and a wrong and people ought to know the difference.

    CVT-VTi....yes, different makers---German vs Szentgotthard, Hungary. End result ??? The same !

    GM settles lawsuit over faulty Saturn transmissions

    Automotive News
    September 11, 2008 - 6:00 pm ET

    General Motors has settled a class-action lawsuit involving early transmission failures in the more than 90,000 Saturn vehicles carrying its VTi continuously variable transmission.

    The settlement, which has preliminary approval from a federal judge, could cost GM more than $100 million, said Rob Schmeider, a plaintiffs' lawyer from the Lakin Law Firm of Wood River, Ill.

    The settlement applies to owners of 2002 to 2005 Saturn Vues or 2003 or 2004 Saturn Ions with failed VTi transmissions, which cost around $4,000 to $5,000 to replace, Schmeider said. The percentage of individual plaintiffs' expenses that will be paid depends on the mileage of the vehicle when the transmission failed, and whether owners purchased the vehicle new or used.

    If the judge grants approval, all people listed on qualifying vehicle titles will receive claim forms for past and future expenses related to failure of the VTi transmission before vehicles reach 125,000 miles. The settlement applies to VTis that fail within eight years of the model year.

    U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb has scheduled a hearing Feb. 17 in Sacramento. Calif., to weigh final approval of the settlement.

    GM could not release details or comment on Thursday, a spokeswoman said.

    The VTi transmission, which Saturn discontinued after 2005, uses a steel belt and adjustable pulleys to keep the engine running in its most efficient rpm range. GM touted it as 7 percent more fuel efficient than the automatic transmissions Saturn was producing at the time.

    The transmission, designed by GM Powertrain, was made in an Adam Opel AG plant in Szentgotthard, Hungary.
  • Wife had an 02 Civic EX.......under warranty and the transmission slipped. Guess what? Honda Replaced it- didn't fix it. Transmissions (unless its a good old GM 4 spd), are complex these days. They have grade logic, 6-7 heck even 8 speeds in a car that costs more than my condo value.......(BTW, Honda transmissions are not GM 4L60E - they are $$$)

    Go buy a Porsche, or a Jaguar, even take a look at the equipment that I purchase for the company I work for - you have to buy the parts available (made by the manufacturer because of economies of scale and patents). We pay absurb amounts for maintaining the equipment we own because its not like a Dell computer that needs a new keyboard - can't just be replaced on a whim. Parts have to be ordered, made, etc........We save a ton on buying used equipment though :)

    Ford dropped the ball on the CVT in terms of dealership training. They use the word "tranny flush" - which is sac-religious in terms of a CVT fluid change...

    Every manufacturer has their problems (Honda transmissions anyone?), and Ford did a good job, all things considered with the CVT. It wasn't a major disaster :)
  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    Ford did a GOOD job, all things considered ? Then why don't you go ahead and pony up the $5600 to have mine replaced whilst I search for a ride to work everyday, waiting on the parts to come in.

    Let's just say it wasn't a disaster for YOU ! But it is for ME !

    Would you have considered HONDA to have "done a good job, all things considered" if they did NOT replace your wife's transmission and you got on the net and found all kinds of people having the same troubles?

    Not likely! :(

    The designers/engineers seem to design NOT for the road or for a repair., but SIMPLY for the assembly line.

    Why suggest buying a Porshe or Jag.....Apparrently, I cannot even own a FORD !

    Oh, and thanks for educating me on the cost differential between a computer keyboard and a FORD CVT transmission. :lemon:

    Yes, I'm a little upset.
  • sinder, The main point is that you would have had a greater chance of transmission failure if you had bought a vehicle with a normal, non-CVT automatic transmission. This is based on surveys done every year to thousands of Freestyle owners, showing the CVT is more reliable than regular automatics. See Consumer Reports at the library. I think they come out with the auto reliability ratings every April.

    Still, it may be possible to get a class action lawsuit going if enough Freestyle/500 owners banded together. A lawyer would know for sure, but it may be difficult to convince a judge to go forward with the lawsuit and/or win it, if the fact that the CVT fails less often than regular automatics is brought up.
  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    Well, coldcranker....It's NOT just the Freestyle that these CVT's are in.

    My research (and I am early into it because I will NOT let this be swept under the rug) shows these transmissions of forms of (ie TVi) in the Nissan Rogue, Sentra, Ultima, Maxima......

    All kinds of problems here as well as with the Audi, Ford 500 Mercury Montego, Ford Fiesta, Fiat Uno, Subuaru Kei.....

    So it will not just be Freestyle owners that I will be talking to. It will be as many people as I can find that have had problems with CVT transmissions.

    The "normal" transmissions can generally be fixed/rebuilt etc. CVT's cannot. The parts (at outrageous prices) must come directly from FORD who then has to "special order" them....this goes for rebuilt trannies as well. Some people had to wait weeks and even months.

    And if you read back through this post, you will find that there are many FORD dealers don't even want to work on them or don't have a clue how to fix them, thereby forcing us to buy a new or used one.

    It's a faily simple concept......FORD owns your butt if your CVT fails and they don't much care what it cost US to repair it because they KNOW the money is coming back to them. :mad:

    I still say there is a right and a wrong and people ought to know the difference. the way, after contacting the FORD Headquarters directly, they "in a nut shell" said.....Hate it for you....but here's a link to our new line of 2010 Fords.... Are you kidding me??? :lemon:
  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    I'm with you on this one nutabug, she said as her 2006 Freestyle sits in the shop waiting for a rebuilt transmission. (Naturally-NOBODY in the transmission business will touch the one IN the vehicle.

    Talk about "what if" ? I was almost in what would have been a BRUTAL accident. My Freestyle just stopped moving foward as I was crossing a very busy intersection. Pressed the accelerator to the floor ??? NOTHING !!!! No RPMs, nothing and a Semi truck was headed my way.

    I turned the car off, quickly turned it back on, put in into drive and then it BOLTS across the street (scary but thankful)

    Next, the wrench light came on and the engine lighe and I am running in "safe" mode a mile to a dealer. You know the rest... :lemon:

    I'm NOT letting this go !!!!!! :lemon: I have already contacted FORD and they have pretty much dismissed me because my warranty ran out at 60k and I have 67k on mine.

    Well, hate it for THEM, that's NOT a good enough answer. I am working hard to collect data and will push this as far and as hard as I can! :sick:
  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    Just called Hub City FORD in Crestview, FL and asked them (Brent) if I had any recourse regarding this issue. Brent reminded me that he did offer an extended warrantly and I declined it and that there is NOTHING else he will do about it. This is true. The car had 39k miles BUT the warrantly was still good until 60K.

    I told him I knew I didn't buy the ext. warranty but he touted the CVT as being the be-all and end all of transmissions. He was right about one thing.....It's the end all of transmissions.

    He said there is nothing he will do for me and hung up on me. Sheesh, you'd think he'd at least offer to take a look at the thing. :mad: There you have it ladies and gentleman, that's an example of Hub-city Fords customer service. :( Pretty sad to say the least.

    Let's not leave out Mike, the Supv. of Maintenance. Thank goodness for him because it was HE that educated me that the reason there are repair shops all over the United States is because cars fail. Whew...a genius right there !
  • Lets make clear that all CVTs out there are not the same design and brand.

    German ZF: Audi, MiniCooper, Freestyle/500
    Japanese Jatco: Nissan, Chrysler
    American GM: Saturn
    Others: Mitsubishi, Fuji Heavy (Subaru), etc.

    Of all those, the only CVT design that really has durability problems at a high enough frequency of failure is the GM one specifically. The MiniCooper flavor of the ZF did have some problems, but that was in some early versions only.

    The main point here: Don't lump all CVT trannies into the same category. The GM ones are the only ones that stand out as a failure in execution. The design principles are sound, as Nissan has bet heavily on the durability, using the Jatco brand units in many of their vehicles, and Nissan knows what they are doing.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I agree. I think cost is the biggest factor that's preventing manufacturers from using CVTs, not reliability.
  • My brothers '05 Freestyle tranny dumped out on him & his family the day after Christmas in VA. It's the fourth time since he bought it in '05, all for the same reason except this time he's 2k over on his 75k extended warranty. Local Ford dealership, the place he bought it & had it fixed the three other times, are asking 6k for a new tranny or 2k for a rebuilt.

    Sucks for him. He's on vacation from NC and has to be back at work on Jan 5th. He's going to shitcan the POS and go "Japanese" ...I don't blame him.
  • My 2006 Freestyle died the day after Christmas as well. 72K miles. Same issue as above, running fine then all of a sudden their was nothing when the accelerator was to the floor. It's currently in the Ford shop after I could not find anyone else to touch it. $5700 later I am sure it will be fine. I have not been told there would be a parts issue at this point. The coverage on the new one is 100,000 miles. I find that odd since the first one was only 60,000.

    lesson learned at this point is buy the extra coverage, only buy Ford trucks. I have owned a few and they have been great. I've owned one car and is been a problem. I also work with a guy who had a CVT go out on him in a Nissan at 40K miles. :mad:
  • Hi,

    After reading all the talk about the cvt on the freestyle my question is what is the best way to get one? mine makes noise in P or N but when in gear it goes away and i can drive perfect, is obvious that is going to fail sooner than later.

    I am looking for a used one since i can have it replaced for 400 dollars and maybe finding one used for 800.00.

    I would like to see a lawsuit in reference to this since ford makes replcement parts expensive.

  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Call any Ford dealership parts department on the phone to be sure.
    Any answer given on this forum may be wrong, but I think its probably identical. Maybe.
  • icedragonicedragon Posts: 1
    edited March 2010
    The trans problem is the 3 shafts in the trans. Also have the same problem and was told they are 800.00 a piece and have to be ordered. Ford knew about this problem and thinks it is a joke. Everyone should get together and file a class action law suit against ford.
  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    Icedragon......I'm ALL in if you can get it started. Dropped $5500 on a tranny @ 67k miles. I am mad as hell !!!!
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    edited March 2010
    "The trans problem is the 3 shafts in the trans. Also have the same problem and was told they are 800.00 a piece and have to be ordered. Ford knew about this problem and thinks it is a joke. Everyone should get together and file a class action law suit against ford. "

    I'm am truly sorry for those reporting in this Forum that their transmissions failed, but I don't think any lawyer would touch this one. All Ford would have to do is point to the CU statistics showing that the FS CVT has a better reliability rating than conventional transmissions. End of case.

    Any transmission can have parts go bad, perhaps during fabrication or assembly. Ford issued a free brake fix when it discovered that the pads had gotten wet in storage, resulting in premature wear. So they do respond when they know there was a problem in the vehicle. But there has been no wide-spread transmission failures among the FS fleet. We need to remember that this forum will attract those with problems, and is not representative of the entire FS community. I, for example, did not have any trouble with my 2006 FS.

    I'd still be mad if I HAD encountered any problems, and maybe I would not have bought another Ford product, but there it is, numbers don't lie.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    edited March 2010
    I agree that trans problems are horrible. However, it is true that the percentage of trans failures in Freestyles is lower than average across all 2005-2007 makes/models for comparison. The only way a class action lawsuit can succeed is if the failure percentage is high enough and Ford had a design flaw. I don't think thats the case here. I still would like to know what makes some of them fail. I'm an engineer so I have an odd curiousity about things like that.

    When icedragon says the problem is the 3 shafts in the CVT tranny, do you know what is going on there? Are the shafts themselves breaking? Metal parts can fail when a few (small percentage) have metallurgical flaws introduced during forging or casting. I wish we had a good failure analysis on any weaknesses the tranny might have.
  • zipper4zipper4 Posts: 1
    I also have a 2006 freestyle and my trans went out at 64000 miles ,4000 miles after extended warranaty ran out. I have seen all the posts and i agree ford should take care of this problem.Then 2 weeks after mine went out my mother-inlaws neighbors went out at 59000 miles.There must be a problem since Ford stopped putting in cvt trans in there 07 models. I'm in for a class action if we can get enough owners.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    edited April 2010
    "I also have a 2006 freestyle and my trans went out at 64000 miles ,4000 miles after extended warranaty ran out. I have seen all the posts and i agree ford should take care of this problem.Then 2 weeks after mine went out my mother-inlaws neighbors went out at 59000 miles.There must be a problem since Ford stopped putting in cvt trans in there 07 models. I'm in for a class action if we can get enough owners. "

    Did you read the entire thread?

    - They stopped putting in the CVT transmissions because they developed a cheaper 6 speed transmission in cooperation with GM.
    - The CVT has been more reliable than conventional transmission of the same years, according to Consumer Reports. This makes a successful lawsuit unlikely.
  • 06 Freestyle going into dealership this week, stalling, lunging, shifting rough. Wrench light is on and off. After reading a few forum sights, it sounds like its going to be the transmission (so many complaints on the CVT). Had throttle body replaced last year after it kept lunging. Called Ford today to be on record before I go into the dealership, will reply if they say its the transmission.
    We have an 04 PT Cruiser, had 98 Camry, and 89 Jeep Cherokee all with over 100,000 miles and never had to replace the transmission, not buying a Ford again.
  • Hi,

    I have a 2006 Frestyle FWD with 110200 miles. i purchased the vehicle used and it develop a loud noise on the trans. I took the vehicle to ford and they dignosed to be a main bearing or imput shaft but that it would take complete dissasmble of the trans to complete(about 900 dollars). for a soft rebuilt with no hard parts 2800.00 dollars and for a remanufactured one 5600 dollars, well i paid for the vehicle 6600.00 dollars hehehe. I went to a shop that i know since i am in the use car business and they charged for labor 900. plus parts and they show me what had gone bad on the trans, bearing and output shaft with the planetary. I purchased with a dealer discount the planetary 487.00 dollars, rebuilt kit with steels included 225.00, 10 qts of fluid and bang brand new transmission. $1700.00 dollars they even serviced my a/c for the price and detailed the car since one of their mechanics painted a bumper and got overspray on mine.

    i have the part that went bad and also i have documents of parts that ford had to dispose in the past due to improper packaging and some of those parts ended in transmission, so maybe after all ford has made mistakes and we are paying for it.

    if anyone wants their service to fix their transmission let me know. you can ship it to them and they will fix it and ship to you. also that upper torque mount that breaks on all the cars but just the rubber soon i am going to have an idependent manufacturer make just the bushing for a fraction of what the entire mount cost.

    keep in touch.

  • dairedaire Posts: 35
    Well, my FS has 128,000 miles and I still LOVE the CVT. Maybe we are living on borrowed time, but I really like the CVT technology.
  • sindersinder Posts: 37

    Nice that your transmissions has remained solid for you.

    For those of us that have been put in dangerous situations because of tranmission failures,....we're not so thrilled at this particular technology. :sick:
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    daire said: "Maybe we are living on borrowed time, but I really like the CVT technology."

    Every transmission, of all kinds, CVT or not, has us living on borrowed time. There is always a chance that a regular transmission (aka, "conventional" automatic) will fail, too. I've seen them do it a lot. Take some solace in the fact that our particular CVT fails less often than conventional automatics.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    sinder, Your particular failures are real and sad, not to be dismissed. I hope you will just admit that you are not completely safe with any kind of automatic transmission. ..... My story: I was merging into L.A. traffic one day with a car and the conventional automatic just disengaged, dropped out of gear, quitting right in the middle of an acceleration attempt to merge, putting me in danger. Now, do I say that I'm not "thrilled at this particular (in this case a conventional automatic) technology", as you put it above, or do I admit the truth and say that there is a chance bad things will happen, and its a roll of the dice every day with anything to do with a car. All you can do when choosing a car is to pick one with a lower chance of failure, thats all, and the Freestyle has a CVT with a lower chance of failure.

    I recommend the book: "Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart " to explain Bayesian logic and common sense thinking about statistics and odds so that we make sound decisions in life.
  • sindersinder Posts: 37
    No..... Coldcranker - I will NOT admit to not being safe with "any kind"of automatic transmission and I don't need to read a book on logic and common sense.

    What I am stating are the FACTS as they relate to me and my FS. It damb near got me killed - period. That is a fact. It cost me $5,500 to have a car with 67k miles on it repaired. That is fact. Many other FS owners have had the very same problem--Another fact.

    I get that we roll the dice every day from the second we wake up... that's just life. Things go wrong, accidents happen. However, there should be a "FIX" for this particular problem.

    During my court appearance, it was noted by the dealers that when this problem happens with the 05-07 FS tranmissions, they replace the damaged one with a remanned one.....Why you ask? They will tell you because they do NOT make any NEW ones.
    Now, common sense would dictate there must be a reason they are not making them, and please spare me the "cheaper 6 cylinder" out.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Now, common sense would dictate there must be a reason they are not making them, and please spare me the "cheaper 6 cylinder" out. "

    If you mean "cheaper 6 speed", then you are correct. It was too expensive to buy the German steel based CVT, and they were in development with GM on a common 6 speed (now used in many vehicles, although the programming different between GM and Ford.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Yep, the conventional automatic 6-speed which replaced the CVT is common with GM (except for minor control algorithm differences), and is cheaper than the CVT. Also, and this is puzzling, another reason Ford decided to ditch the CVT is because people were already familiar with "shift-shock" on old conventional automatics and they actually missed not feeling distinct shifts in the CVT. Also the steel belt in the CVT would need to be upscaled to handle the bigger new Duratec V6 3.5L's torque, and that would have added even more cost. Reliability of the CVT has been above average, so I say buy an above-average transmission: the CVT.
  • ande2960ande2960 Posts: 2
    I read another post with similar issues... 06 Freestyle wrench light and traction control lights come on periodically. Have it in the shop and they are having issues diagnosing with the vague codes. They came back and said the valve body needed replacing, but then the next day told us to wait because the CVT specialist from the trans shop will check it out. It could be bindings that have worn down and metal shavings could be touching the sensors which is why the lights come on and off, or also could be something with the ABS. After reading a lot of these posts, I sure hope it isn't the entire transmission at $5,000+ to fix. Sounds like there are many issues with the 06 CVT.
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