We have an updated look. Click here for information on how to manage your settings. If you run into any issues, please email [email protected]

Ford Freestyle Maintenance and Repair



  • catmouracatmoura Posts: 29
    isn't the traction control a push button operation?
  • yoyo123yoyo123 Posts: 33
    Check out the forums at http://www.myfordfreestyle.com. Do a search on "AWD malfunction" and you will find quite a few posts on the subject. This will lead you to do a search on CVT to find out how much it costs to replace.

    In short, I had the problem and because of it, I no longer own the vehicle. I paid $500 for a fix that didn't work that came directly out of the ford manual. The second fix was $4700, which included the differential module and everything it controls. I was in Florida when this was happening so I called my dealer in Illinois and they said they had 2 500's that had the same exact problem. They had been in contact with Ford and the determined that the CVT was the source of the problem and it needed to be replaced for a cost of $7000. Replacing it with a rebuilt CVT would be $5000.

    My suggestion would be to get rid of it while the problem is still intermittent. We were able to trade it in without the dealer realizing it had a problem. I didn't like doing it and I am sure others will criticize me for doing it. I rationalized it by buying a car from a company that was owned by Ford.

    Actually, before you go to that step, I would suggest calling Ford customer service. Eventually, if they get enough complaints about this problem, they might finally decide to help. This problem seems to start happening after 60,000 miles. I didn't have any luck and worse yet, Ford was very difficult to deal with. Not returning phone calls, giving me a different story every time I called, etc. It was very frustrating as you can imagine.

    So much for Ford having quality as good as Toyota... Oh that's right, that is only initial quality not quality at 60,000 miles. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    To be fair, I have a Focus that has 118,000 miles on it and it has no problems. Just tires, oil, transmission fluid, Antifreeze, brakes, etc. Just basic maintenance for the most part. Only problems have been a broken trunk lock because it got frozen and a small leak of antifreeze that I still need to get fixed.
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Posts: 468
    By it's very nature, an AWD vehicle adds a level of complexity that other vehicles don't have. Because of this, I think they are more prone to require maintenance and suffer more transmission issues. Probably true of most, if not all, vehicle makes.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "So much for Ford having quality as good as Toyota... Oh that's right, that is only initial quality not quality at 60,000 miles. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. "

    Not to be too harsh, but that is a 2005 FS, which was the early version. I think later models are more reliable.
  • fordwrenchfordwrench Posts: 70
    I have been a Ford technician for the past 18 years. I know of nothing on the Freestyle that "happens" at about 60k miles! Take the car to a reputable FORD DEALERSHIP and have a diagnosis done. The CVT has nothing to do with the AWD system. There are a couple of issues that are somewhat common with the AWD but none cost $5000-7000. Most of the problems I've read here are not because of a bad car design but of poor service from uneducated techs. Find a good shop & stick with them, & be careful of independent shops, they just can't keep up with the new products.
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    My experience tracks with what fordwrench is saying. The Freestyle is a low volume seller and and with the CVT a unique design for Ford the individual dealer knowledge and experience in servicing them is all over the map. Some dealers I have gone to don't have any experience servicing the Freestyle and instead of taking time to study the TSBs, etc they take an "educated" guess.For example the early 05 Freestyles were having a problem with the CD changer that had to be replaced. It was done incorrectly twice by my dealer before I took a copy of the TSB to the dealer to show them what had to be done to "reprogram" the new unit. It was done in minutes while I waited once they knew what to do. That happened to several others on this forum. You would think an audio unit would be a simple fix so you can imagine what happens when you are dealing with the complex electronic modules that control the CVT and other unique Freestyle parts.

    As much as I liked my Freestyle and the CVT, I traded for a more conventional 08 Taurus X in part to prevent those kind of servicing issues as time goes by and the limited servicing knowledge that exists today dwindles - not to mention parts.
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Posts: 178
    My '05 Freestyle is approaching 60k miles. I'm a maintenance freak because I tend to keep my vehicles a long time and am wondering about the CVT fluid. I typically go with full synthetic fluids when I can and am wondering if there is a full synthetic fluid option for the CVT or if the only option is the standard Ford CVT fluid?

    Also, is there anything unique about changing the CVT fluid? For example, with a traditional automatic transmission you can drain and fill (which doesn't get all of the old fluid out), or you can use a machine that exchanges all of the old fluid. Which method do the Ford dealers use with the CVT or does it vary?

    Any other CVT maintenance tips since I plan to keep this car a long time?
  • yoyo123yoyo123 Posts: 33
    fordwrench: If you look around reports on the internet and you will see that there are many reports of major problems between 60-70k miles. Maybe "happens" was a poor choice of words.

    I took my Freestyle to 2 Ford dealerships and got different answers. The first one in Southwest Florida is the biggest in the area and I think I remember reading that they are the biggest in Florida. Also, the dealership in the Chicago area is one of the biggest if not one of the biggest in the Chicago area and have an extremely high customer satisfaction rate. I considered both to be reputable. I still think the one in Chicago is, but the one in Florida is not in my opinion.

    The Florida dealer said it would cost $4300 for the AWD rear assembly which included the DEM. After I requested to show me where they were getting the information, they showed me the manual from Ford. They said they believed the problem to be in the DEM, but you couldn't buy only the DEM. You had to buy the whole rear Haldex AWD system. With labor, the cost was $4700.

    The Chicago dealer had said they were talking to Ford about 2 other vehicles (500's) with the exact same problem as mine and that Ford had told them that it was related to the CVT. The dealer didn't figure this out on their own; they got the info from Ford. Why would they lie to me? They knew I wasn't going to pay for the fix and was either going to try to trade it in on a non-Ford vehicle or Ford was going to help me out. They wanted the vehicle because they felt it would give them more leverage with Ford. I took the other route after Ford customer service treated me poorly (not returning phone calls, giving a different story every time, etc.); I traded it in on a non-Ford vehicle. Considering, I have buying Ford's on A or Z plan for 18 years, you can only imagine how angry I was at Ford to buy a non-Ford vehicle and forgo the A plan pricing.

    Also, from my reading of problems, the 2005 2 wheel drive Freestyle should be a great car and I wish I had purchased that instead. The 2 systems in the 2005 Freestyle that are the most expensive to fix and most likely to fail are the Haldex AWD system and the CVT. Ford has removed the CVT from the design. I think that speaks loads to its problems with longevity. I am not aware of any redesign of the Haldex, but its problems could have been related to its integration with the CVT so I hesitate to criticize it by itself.

    Fordwrench, other than asking if they have techs certified on the Haldex and/or the CVT, what else can we do to make sure the dealers have techs that are certified? I was told by both dealers that they had certified techs, but I have no idea if they were telling my the truth and no reason to doubt them.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "It was done incorrectly twice by my dealer before I took a copy of the TSB to the dealer to show them what had to be done to "reprogram" the new unit. It was done in minutes while I waited once they knew what to do. "

    Ditto that here. I wanted to get DRL on my 2006, and I knew it was just a matter of changing a setting in the software. I had to take in the detailed description of how to do it before the dealer was able to turn on my DRL.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    " Ford has removed the CVT from the design. I think that speaks loads to its problems with longevity."

    Nope, from my reading it was a matter of cost. The steel timing belt was made in Germany - actual German steel - and it was very expensive. When GM and Ford decided to joint manufacture a 6 speed AT, it just wasn't worth the $$ for Ford to continue with the CVT.

    There were other issues - the CVT wasn't rated to the full HP of the 3.5L engine, so they would have either had to de-tune the engine or re-design the CVT. Either was a less economic choice than simply shifting :P to the 6 speed that had already been developed.
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Posts: 468
    You hit the nail on the head stevedebi. Those are exactly the reasons. But I don't think you meant to say "timing belt".
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Posts: 178
    Right, it is actually a drive belt. All of the power from the engine is going through that belt before it gets sent to the drive wheels. The belt rides up and down conical shaped cylinders to determine the engine and drive speed for any given situation.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "You hit the nail on the head stevedebi. Those are exactly the reasons. But I don't think you meant to say "timing belt"."

    Ulp, how can I get out of this one. Maybe the engine does use a steel timing belt on the OHC? :surprise:

    Oh well, yeah, I goofed, I meant drive belt. :blush:
  • baethkebaethke Posts: 8
    I have an 05 AWD Freestyle that is used for delivery on a daily basis. It has 134k on it and for the last 30k it will just stall for no reason. It can be stopped or moving at any speed or in park and just stall. No bad idle or chugging just stops. I have changed air and fuel filter and plugs with no change. But problem is random. It might do it several times in a day or not for several weeks. And no trouble lights come on or code on computer. After stalling it starts back up like nothing is wrong??
  • hypnosis44hypnosis44 Posts: 483
    Sounds like the engine management module is failing intermittently. This is identical to a problem it took me months to isolate on an older Ford model. This happens to other cars as well.
  • ct2ctct2ct Posts: 5
    I have 2006 FS. 40,000 miles and it needs to be replaced. Long story. :sick: Obviously out of warranty. Dealer states they can replace for $6,000 and that a big chunk of that is that it takes abour 25 hrs of labor. Can anyone tell me if $6000 is out of line for pricing? Can i do better?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    A friend of mine got a crate engine for his older F-150 a few months ago. It's a Ford crate engine and came with a 5 year warranty. He got an independent garage to install it and the total was around $5,000.

    The garage had a non-OEM crate engine they would have have put in for $4,000, but the warranty on it was one year (don't recall the details but I assume it was one year/12,000 mile warranty on the aftermarket and 5/60 on the Ford one).
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Posts: 468
    Good grief man. What did you do to your engine? These 3.0L Duratec's are pretty darn good powerplants.
  • baethkebaethke Posts: 8
    Do I have to go through ford to get an engine management module? And does anyone know how much it might cost?
  • hypnosis44hypnosis44 Posts: 483
    They can be pricey, and I don't know of any after market sources. Someone else here may have better info. Some people have done very well by finding a salvaged module, as they do not fail in large numbers. Compare the prices of new and used and any warranty on the salvaged item. You can usually get a warranty that is long enough to determine if the salvaged module has any intermittent problems.
  • lanbabalanbaba Posts: 45
    I have the 05 AWD model and the the turn signal assembly quit on me, well, not totally. The problem is that the high beams will not stay in the position (I can still get the high beam, but have to pull the switch all the time, instead of lock itself in the second detent). Anyone know what the part number is for the assembly? I tried google and has little luck. And does anyone have clues on how to replace it, like steps? :sick:
  • ct2ctct2ct Posts: 5
    The oil did not get changed for 10,000 miles. It is a Freestyle CVT V-6 engine. That is what happened to the engine, supposedly. I am having a hard time believing that but that is what the dealer is saying. Also saying it will cost $6000 for the replacement engine and take 25 hrs. An independent shop said it will take about 10 hrs. Not sure who to believe.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "The oil did not get changed for 10,000 miles. "

    Were you following the built in maintenance minder?
  • passat_2002passat_2002 Posts: 468
    Not such a long story after all. But I sincerely doubt that not changing the oil for a 10k interval just once would ruin an engine... as long as the oil level itself did not get too low. Actually, some car manufacturer's have gone to a suggested 10k interval between oil changes.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    They've been running those kinds of intervals for years (decades?) in Europe. I've gone that long a couple of times in my minivan (with 124k on it now), but mostly do the recommended 7,500 mile interval. Just check the oil regularly (like every fill-up or so).
  • arthanarthan Posts: 1
    Hello, looks like I have same problem as yours - front end rubbing sound. I will take my car to dealer this weekend. Hopefully they can at least figure out the source.
  • tim156tim156 Posts: 308
    I have a vibration sound that occurres at 1450 RPM's. Not at 1400 or 1500 RPM's only at 1450. When I'm accelerating it does not make the sound as it revs past 1450 (or I don't hear it), when I take off from a stop and as the gear ratio drops, when it passes 1450 the vibration sound happens and stops after dropping below 1450. If I drive and hold the RPM's at 1450 the vibration sound is continuous. I put the car on ramps and tightened the bolts holding the metal exhaust heat shield and it didn't stop. Then I inserted some rubber washers between the heat shield and the underside of the car and it also didn't help. I looked and there doesn't seem to be any other bolts that could be loose. Any thoughts or ideas on what's going on.
  • I did a search through the threads and couldn't find what I was looking for. It might be there, so I'm sorry if I'm missing it. I've got a 2005 Freestyle, 85K, and the best car I've ever owned. If they were still making it, I'd buy another one. EXCEPT for the 40/60 seat issue. The 60% side gets stuck in the up position. My husband is a mechanic, and he has torn that thing apart and can't find anything wrong. He can get it to work by kneeling all of the 220 lbs. on the seat and doing heaven-know-what, but he's in a sweat by the time he's done. I've taken it to the dealer 4 times, and the stupid thing works, then I get it home and it doesn't. It's embarrassing! The mechanic says his buddy's wife's Freestyle is having the same problem. It's absolutely maddening because I haul equipment, use all three rows all the time, and I can't get it to work on my own. Oh brilliant people--can you help me???
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 573
    They are still making it. Ford has changed the name to Taurus X. The engine has been enlarged to 3.5 Litres and the transmission is now a six speed instead of the CVT, but otherwise it is the same vehicle. Same size, etc.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "I've taken it to the dealer 4 times, and the stupid thing works, then I get it home and it doesn't. "

    I found that I had to slam it down, you can't just push it. Obviously there should be no debris under the latch (I always had this due to my messy offspring)! It didn't take a HUGE slam, but a definite push from the upright position.

    The darn thing wouldn't go down at all if one just dropped it gently.
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Posts: 178
    10,000 mile oil change intervals could indeed cause a failed engine, especially if the oil was not semi or full synthetic, was only the Ford recommended 5W20, was used for a lot of short stop and go driving, possibly in dusty/dirty conditions, and may have been a bit low.

    The big issue here that concerns me is Ford recommends 5W20. This is very thin oil that does not provide enough of a cushion for engine protection except for in perfect conditions. The reason Ford mandated 5W20 is because it allows marginally better fuel economy than the more traditional 5W30, but it doesn't offer as much protection. Ford swears up and down that the 5W20 oil is up to the task, but I believe there is no margin should you either have the wrong type of oil (non semi or full synthetic), or if you go beyond the recommend oil change intervals. I personally use 5W30 in my Freestyle because I know it is better for the engine and don't believe that a 1% increase in fuel economy is worth risking my engine. I also never go past 5,000 miles between changes. Those oil life monitors are wildly optimistic in my opinion. Some people think they actually test the oil, no, they just use a calculation to determine oil life based on best case scenario. If you'd rather go longer intervals (based on the oil monitor or not) that is your perogitave, however remember who foots the bill when your engine fails.

    - Chad
  • catmouracatmoura Posts: 29
    We had the same problem with the 60% side of the seat not wanting to go back to the upright position. After a few times to the dealer, it was found to be the insideportion of the mechanism not the outside part. Have your husband check that out. Oh and the part was replaced.
  • Yes, it is the same car, kind of. I love the CVT/smaller engine combo because I think the gas mileage is better. I'm trying to squeeze every bit out of it that I can at these current gas prices. I never felt like the car lacked power, not for my needs, anyway, so don't want to sacrifice mileage. Could be utterly wrong about this, of course.
  • I actually have the opposite problem: it goes up just fine, but then I can pull on that handle so hard that I wonder it doesn't break. I weight 120 lbs. and have wrist problems, so this HAS to get fixed somehow. I've actually hurt my wrist pretty badly trying to get the bugger down. My husband is very strong and he can barely do it by kneeling on the seat, facing toward the back of the car, yanking on the seat back and pulling the handle at the same time. Yeah, like I can pull that off!
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    There might be a fix for the problem, but I have found the second row seats in both the Freestyle and Taurus X need to be forcefully slammed down to latch properly before the seatback can be put in the upright position. I always thought they required a little too much force but thought it was designed that way for safety reasons. The force required might explain why the mechanics at the dealership can get it to work, but female driver might not be able to without slamming it down hard.
  • bruneau1bruneau1 Posts: 468
    While the T-x has more power than the Freestyle, its steering is not as good, the CVT is more responsive than the new 6-spd. The best thing about the Freestyle is its CVT, despite the increased engine roar. You are right.
  • fordwrenchfordwrench Posts: 70
    The big issue is not the use of 5w20 oil!!! Ford and Honda along with other manufactures recommend 5w20 for various reasons like fuel millage but also for cold start protection where something like 80-90% of wear takes place. That Freestyle that needs an engine has a bigger story to tell. One oil change stretched to 10k miles does not break an engine, and there are probably 10s of thousands of police and Limos that use 5w20 exclusively with upwards of 300k miles with no major wear. The bigger problem comes from too long a TIME between oil changes. I've seen cars that only go 5k miles a year and get one oil change in that time, those are the ones sludged up & knocking & burning oil. Not because of the use of 5w20 oil.
  • jjlrn1jjlrn1 Posts: 5
    I found this information about the 5w20 recomendation:

    "Nay-sayers of 20 weight oil's ability to protect engines should note that typically, 30 weight oils shear down into the 20 weight range anyway. Most engine wear is during start-up and warm-up period, where the thinner 20 weight oil's flow is desirable. Overall, lab test results of the wear metals contained in used oil samples show low or lower wear with 20 weight than 30 in applications it is specified for."

    from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_oil#Multi-grade
  • fordwrenchfordwrench Posts: 70
    That's what I was trying to say!!! Thank you.
  • saabturboidsaabturboid Posts: 178
    "30 weight oils shear down into the 20 weight range anyway. "

    If this is true (which I don't believe it is with full synthetic oils) then what makes you believe that 20 weight oil doesn't shear down into the 10 weight category? Would you rather have a little extra protection or not enough? I'm on the hook if the engine fails so I'll take my chances with the higher weight oil.

    "Most engine wear is during start-up and warm-up period, where the thinner 20 weight oil's flow is desirable."

    This statement shows that the author doesn't know what they are talking about. The first number in an oil weight signifies the viscosity at startup, while the second number signifies the viscosity when the oil is hot and under pressure. A 5W20 oil has exactly the same startup properties as a 5W30. Only once the engine is warmed up does the latter number come into play. A 5W30 oil has more "viscosity modifiers" than a 5W20 oil which provides a thicker film between moving parts when under pressure, which is exactly when you want it.

    "Overall, lab test results of the wear metals contained in used oil samples show low or lower wear with 20 weight than 30 in applications it is specified for."

    This statement is meaningless. Unless you test your exact vehicle, under your normal driving conditions, with both a 5W20 and a 5W30 oil there is no way to make an accurate statement. As one who has performed oil testing on my own vehicles I can state that I have always had excellent results from the full-synthetic 5W30 oils I use so I will continue to do so.

    - Chad
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    A friend of mine is one of those Amwa...er, Amsoil dealers, and he told me one time that Amsoil's molecular tails shear in about 3,000 miles.

    If y'all want to get down to the molecular level, you may want to take this over to Engine Oil - A slippery subject Part 2.
  • riddybearriddybear Posts: 3
    HELP! Hi, I have a 2007 Freestyle and can not figure out what is going on with it. I have two seperate issues. The first is when I put it in reverse, it will surge then I have to slam on my brakes and the car dies and the service engine light comes on, but when I restart it, the service engine light does not stay on. When I start driving, there is absolutely no acceleration in the vehicle. The second is when I am at a stop light or sign, if I take my foot off the brake, it takes off on its own. It is incredible scary. I have read the posts and it always happens on level ground, so thats not it. On some days, when I go to start my car, I hear a load roar when I turn it on. I have 51K miles and I have an extended warranty until 60K, but Ford can't get it to do it again. They said if they can't get it to do it again, they can't fix it. I have taken it to them six times. HELP please.
  • jogumojogumo Posts: 8
    It may be an issue with the transmission (CVT). When during the day and how often do the issues occur? Does it usually occur when you first start it in the morning? If so, leave it overnight at the dealer and have them test drive it first thing in the morning. It's critical they identify it within your warranty period otherwise it will cost you thousands of dollars to fix. The good thing is that it's on record that you let them know the issues within the warranty period. You may want to have it checked at a different Ford dealer.
  • jrmustjrmust Posts: 17
    I've been having identical problems. You are describing my 2006 Ford Freestyle perfectly. Mine started at 28,000 miles. (when I bought it) Same issues randomly stalling at any speed or in park. No bad idle or chugging. Dealer has had on and off for the last 18 months and can't find anything. The instrument cluster has been changed and a new PCM but has not fixed the issue. They cannot get it to duplicate. They had it for 2 days and nothing. I picked it up and drove 11 miles and it cut off. There is a data recorder in it now and am trying to get images. Again no trouble lights or codes. Would love to have an update on your progress. I read posts #1128 from hypnosis44 and immediately faxed the info to the Dealer. The Engine Management Module is the next thing we are going to try.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Isn't the Engine Management Module the same thing as the PCM you mentioned you already replaced? PCM stands for Powertrain Control Module, meaning it is a computer that controls the engine and transmission together.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    And you can get the PCM changed for free under the emissions warranty that goes for 80,000 miles.
  • lanbabalanbaba Posts: 45
    My 05 freestyle started to leak at the sunroof area after heavy rain, and the car parked at an incline. I took a look at the leak place and notice that the water is coming out of the third row seatbelt harness area (driver side). I did some research and found out that there is a TSB out there: 07-03-6. The reason is the rear drain hose is not routed properly. Anyone know where I can find the detail about this TSB, if I want to do it myself, since it is already out of warrenty. Here are some links I found:
  • jrmustjrmust Posts: 17
    Yes, apparently the PCM and EMM are the same thing. I guess now we will have to move to a ground fault or bad sensor causing the issues. I was able to collect images with the data recorder that the dealer installed in my car. So, hopefully they will get a good read or some kind of error code and can correct the problem. Any other ideas or suggestions anyone can offer to this "stalling" issue are appreciated.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    This almost certainly has to be the CVT transmission's problem, just hearing the evidence so far. Since problems happen when you put it in reverse, and the loud noise you sometimes hear, and the lack of acceleration sometimes, that indicates to me there is something wrong with the CVT's torque convertor clutch controls and/or hydraulics associated with that. The CVT uses a small torque convertor with a clutch to control launch from a standing start, until a direct mechanical link can be established with the CVT cones acting as continuous gearing. Also, remember that the OBDII problem codes mostly have to do with engine/emission problems, and there are no OBDII codes illuminating the way here, so it seems to indicate even more that this is a solenoid, sensor, and/or hydraulic problem in the CVT, not the engine.
  • coldcrankercoldcranker Posts: 877
    Doing some research on our Freestyle ZF-designed CVT, I ran across a statement about the Mini Cooper version (a PDF file posted online that came from ZF) that said fuel economy depended somewhat on the main belt tension being correct. As an engineer myself, that makes sense to me. How is tension controlled precisely? Would Fordwrench know the answer to that? I am wondering if a CVT owner such as myself depends on a mechanic setting the tension (or hydraulic clamping force on the belt), or if there is some sort of automatic, internal method used to get just the right tension from the belt without human intervention. Is the tension set at the factory? Can it be checked? Occasionally, on Freestyle forums, someone writes about unusually low fuel economy on a CVT Freestyle, while most of us get excellent fuel economy. This may be something to look into. fordwrench, or anyone else know?
    The referenced CVT article (to a similar ZF CVT on a Mini Cooper) is at Click Here for the PDF file...., page 21
Sign In or Register to comment.