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Ford Freestar Transmission Problems



  • You are not the only with the transmission problem, My family and I were on our way to a campground last weekend. While on our way we lost the transmission. When we pulled the van over we noticed the engine smoking, we all got out of the vehicle safely and the van caught on fire. We lost everything in the van including, car seat, stroller, cooler, food, clothes and etc. Now what do we do, It seems like no one care that there is a problem and they don't want to fix it. The bad kicker is we just bought the van in 2008 used and here it is a year later and its gone completely. Now we are down a vehicle and out of our items, luckly I have homeowners insurnace that will take care of that, but the cost of van is totaled. This really bits, wheres the goverment when we need a class action law suite against FORD.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    The only way anyone is ever going to get Ford to do anything is through NHTSA.

    You have to ask for a hearing under Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, Motor Vehicle Safety, Part 557. This section covers the following: reasonably met its obligation to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a safety-related defect or failure to comply with safety standards or to remedy such defect or noncompliance. This part also establishes procedures for holding such a hearing. Application: Any interested person."

    Under this provision, I was able to get them to open an investigation. If you go to the web page and search under the defect investigation by NHTSA action number DP09004 . Look at the document search and you will be able to read the PDF file. website: 09/DP/INOA-DP09004-35346.pdf

    "A Defect Petition will be opened to assess whether there is evidence to support opening a safety defect investigation concerning the alleged defect in the subject vehicles." Also, if you search google for the engineer, you can find his email address on one of the pages.

    I personally lost five thousand dollars on that vehicle, but it was not worth the risk of being rear ended or being killed in that vehicle. You may want to look into the air bag situation. They may not employ if the vehicle does not have battery power for five to ten minutes. This makes it a much more dangerous situation because of the risks with these vehicles. If you have children, please get them out and safely away from the vehicle if you can.
  • shocked1shocked1 Posts: 85
    they're doing an investigation onmine also. Investorgator notified me on e mail. EVERYONE needs to report their freestars.
  • d_nagyd_nagy Posts: 1
    My wife has been having issues with our 2004 Freestar.

    One of the gears in the transmission has been struggling for several months. The check engine light, emission light, and check tires light have been coming regularly for a the past 6-9 months.

    Recently we had our mechanic look at the vehicle. He said it was the transmission and it will be about $2500.00 - $3000.00 to repair. This is ludicris since the van has 49000 miles. We had the transmission fluid replaced recently hoping that would solve the problem. The mechanic said there was an unusually large amount of metal shavings in the transmission fluid reservoir. (There is a magnet in there to attract small metal shavings).

    Who has $2500 - $3000 in this economy to throw away in vehicle repairs that shouldn't have been an issue in the first place...

    What suggestions can you share with me since you are a couple months in to this process?

    Best Regards,

    Dominic Nagy - [email protected]
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    Thank God no one got hurt. Please report your incident to NHTSA via their website in addition to the excellent steps that you already are taking. NHTSA is the key to it all, however. They can investigate and force a recall.

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    I am actually almost 2 years into this fiasco. I will not let this go until Ford steps up and issues a recall or NHTSA forces them to. That said, you are in a bad position. Based on the experience of everyone on this site and mine, specifically, I would have the transmission fixed. The alternative is simply not acceptable-waiting for it to fail, leaving you or you loved ones stranded in the middle of the road, highway, or intersection, and possibly hurt or even killed. You will have no warning when it happens. It will simply fail. In the meantime, contact NHTSA via their website and also your local representatives at all levels of government. At some point, someone is going to take notice and hold Ford accountable. Keep us all posted as to your progress.

    Jim Genovese
    Annapolis, MD
  • jdy899jdy899 Posts: 1
    I have a 2007 Freestar and the other day my husband was driving home from work and he was stopping at a stop light when he lost all gears. We have never had any problems with our van it has always ran great. So we where shocked that with out warning it won't move. It is setting in park, it will start and all but won't move, will not shift into any gears. We have been told that this is not typical when transmissions go out, so I thought I would see if any one else has had this problem or knows of anyone who has, and if they had to replace the transmission.
  • lhatchellhatchel Posts: 15
    I have a 2004 Ford Freestar that the transmission just quit working. I was going 65 miles an hour on the interstate and then all of a sudden the van's RPM's were reving up but my van was losing speed. Luckily I was able to get over to the shoulder of the road. The car's engine was fine but any gear shifted into would not allow the vehicle to move.

    I recently had to pay to have a power steering fluid leak fixed which is another common problem with this vehicle. There was a recall on this problem but my "VIN was not included in the recall". The part to repair the vehicle was on national backorder and only after getting Ford Motor Company involved did I get my van fixed.

    This van is a lemon and Ford needs to admit it.

    Wouldn't you know I have 1 payment left on it! I think they do this on purpose!
  • Add me to the list of tranny failures and to the list of almost being killed because of it. Driving up a four lane highway on a long hill tonight, 2004 Mercury Monterey with only 68,000 K on it pops into neutral and barely got off the road onto a small shoulder with 18 wheelers whizzing by me. Spent a half hour on the side of the road standing in the woods on the other side of a guardrail where it was safe. Called the Ford dealer I bought it from. "Can't do anything for me." Towed to a local trusted tranny shop. Waiting for him to call me tomorrow with the verdict. Thanks Ford. And by the way, before the defenders of Ford start yelling at me, the van has had all the fluid changes, even ahead of time, like about every 20,000 K instead of 30,000. Attention Freestar and Monterey owners! Throw this piece of crap in the junk yard before it gets you killed!

    Very Disappointed in Pennsylvania
  • lhatchellhatchel Posts: 15
    I have filed a complaint with the NHTSA and actually got a response from them today asking for more information. I have emailed Ford with my disgust with their product and also emailed my local TV station "Action 9" where they help consumers with issues.

    If there is a hearing please let me know and I will be glad to take the time off of work if it will get my van repaired.

    Lisa Hatchel
  • This is almost epidemic proportion and nothing is being done. Where is the media on this? Yours went a day or two before mine it looks like. And there's a guy on another Ford Forum whose tranny just went. Not to mention everyone else on this forum. These things are hitting the magic point where they're all going at one time. This is weird and just plain sad that Ford is doing this to us. Please, anyone reading this, if you're driving an '04 or an '05, please stay off interstates and be prepared for your van to just stop! I'm serious. This is scary and dangerous. I just e-mailed the NHTSA and just got a response from them too. I'll be responding later. I'll try e-mailing my local TV station too, but I have a feeling nothing will be reported. Look who's sponsoring some of your local newscasts. FORD. Stations don't want to risk losing a sponsor for a report. Sounds horrible but I have a feeling it's true. Money talks! In the meantime, if anyone has a Monterey or Freestar and you're financially able, put the thing in the junk yard today before someone gets hurt! The '06's and '07's are running ok now but I'm sure they'll hit their magic point in another year or so. Unfortunately, I'm not financially able to put mine in the junk yard yet, but when I can, it's Toyota forever for me. My van was maintained and I even took the effort to change the fluid EARLIER than I was supposed to AND FILTER since that's what everyone on those other boards say to do to prolong the life. Did nothing for me. Why did I waste $200 just the other month to have my tranny fluid changed? I could have used that $200 to help pay for the total fix about now. Ugh, I am so upset.
  • lhatchellhatchel Posts: 15
    I received another email from the NHTSA and they want me to send the parts to my transmission to them when I get it rebuilt. They even sent a shipping label. At least we are getting some attention from them.

    Ford Motor Company called me yesterday after I emailed them and asked me what I wanted them to do. I told them that I wanted them to admit that they had a problem with the Freestar. I asked them if it was my transmission what would they be willing to do. They gave me a scripted answer of "Until it is diagnosed by a Ford Dealership we cannot give you any information". She was very offended when I asked if she could go beyond her scripted message.

    So I guess I will have the van towed to the nearest Ford Dealership, have it diagnosed and then call Ford back to see what they are going to do about it.

    I will keep you posted.
  • dgrindedgrinde Posts: 3
    Please post link to NHTSA?
  • dgrindedgrinde Posts: 3
    Where is the best place to buy another tranny or buy good parts? The tranny just blew leaving my daughter stranded in the middle of a four lane intersection. I hear torque converters blow on these? Any suggesitons? Help.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    I received a response from NHTSA about my request for Freedom of Information (FOIA) about the Freestar. Here is their response:

    All of the information we have that is responsive to your request is available on the agency's website at as follows: For consumer complaints, go to the website given above. At the top of the page, click on "Vehicle/Equipment" and proceed as follows: Under "Quick Clicks," click on "Recalls, Defects and Complaints Databases." Click on the radio knob to the left of the word "Vehicle." Click on "Search Selected Type," to get to the next screen. Use the "drill down" search method in the middle of the screen, to select the year vehicle to be searched. Follow the directions to obtain the information you seek.

    For recall information, go to the website given above. At the top of the page, click on "Vehicle/Equipment" and proceed as follows: Under "Browse Topics, click on "Recalls/Defects," Under "Related Links" on the right, click on "View All Equipment Recalls,"Under "Recalls, "click on "Search for a Recall." Click on the radio knob to the left of the word "Vehicle." Click on "Search Selected Type," to get the next screen. Use the "drill down" search method in the middle of the screen, to select the year vehicle to be searched. Follow the directions to obtain the information you seek.

    I am sending an appeal because this does not provide any information in regards to NHTSA's responsibility or Ford's to report defects in motor vehicles.

    With so many complaints, you would think that NHTSA would have done something a long time ago.
  • lhatchellhatchel Posts: 15
    I had my 2004 Freestar towed from my regular mechanic who says the transmission needs to be rebuilt to my local Ford Dealer who says that it is the Torque Converter and they have seen it before. When I said something to the Ford mechanic about the Freestar having alot of problems he did not confirm it either way but had no answer. It was interesting. My Ford Dealership, Dale Jarrett Ford, is working with me to help cut the costs. They had the part overnighted at their cost and my van should be repaired tomorrow at a small fee of $1300+. I guess this is better than the $3000 to rebuild the trans.

    I cannot send the parts to the torque converter to NHTSA because they need it for a core but I am going to take a picture of the part and send that to them. Hopefully we can get some action from the NHTSA. The more complaints filed the better we will be.
  • misty10misty10 Posts: 23
    We also have a 2004 and it was the torque converter. It was mostly labor cost to replace it. Ours happened at 79,000 miles. I send these posts to Ford everytime I receive one...they know but just won't own up to it. Good luck!
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    I have posted a copy of the Defect Investigations Summary that NHTSA opened in regards to my Freestar. When I search the 2004 model, it only shows there is one complaint.

    In my opinion, you need to demand a hearing for them to open an investigation. I know that someone else on the list has received an email from NHTSA, please keep us posted as to what they are doing. Also, please ask for the hearing.
    Defect Investigations Summary
    Make: FORD
    Year: 2004
    NHTSA Action Number: DP09004
  • paintman1paintman1 Posts: 1
    We are another unfortunate family who was stuck on the side of the highway because our 2005 Ford Freestar transmission went out. We were traveling home to St. Louis from our vacation in Florida when our transmission just went out. Luckily we were going downhill in Chattanooga when it just went into neutral and was gone. I can't imagine my fear if we would have been headed uphill in the mountains. We had 85,000 miles on it and of course the warrantee was expired. It cost us a hotel night stay and $375 in U-Haul rental to tow it back to St. Louis. I really believe this transmission issue needs to be addressed by Ford because if someone hasn't died yet due to this dangerous safety issue someone may soon. After reading some of your posts I feel horrible for some of you who only got 40,000 miles out of your transmission, at least I got 85,000 miles and a rebuilt tranny for $2100.00. I'm very frustrated because I liked my freestar but now I don't know what to expect and still owe on it for another year. :confuse: :mad:
  • An update. Just got a call from the transmission shop. The torque converter in my 2004 Monterey totally blew and ruined the transmission when it sent metal splines throughout. The whole thing has to be redone and will cost me about $2,300 which is bad but actually less expensive than I'm hearing Ford dealers are charging people for the same problem. And the gentleman at the shop said that if I had Ford redo it, they'd reuse the same bad parts and I'd probably have the same problem in a few years. His transmission and torque converter is heavy duty and is warrantied for any problems. He also said Ford used the absolute cheapest looking torque converter in this vehicle and he has seen many issues with these especially on Freestars, Montereys, Windstars, Tauruses, and Sables.
  • lhatchellhatchel Posts: 15
    Well my Ford dealership called me today and told me that it was more than the Torque control and that I would need a Remanufactured Transmission. Of course I called Ford with a glimmer of hope that they may do something. Their scripted answer was "Since your 3 year/36000 mile warranty is expired I am sorry but there is nothing we can do for you". Now I am frantically trying to find $3000 to get the reman trans. I owe $378 on this vehicle. Now I will be paying for it for another 6 months. I was so looking forward to no car payment. I guess 6 months is better than 6 years. The reman trans comes with a 3 year/100,000 mile warranty. Why can they do that for a reman trans but not the trans that comes with the new vehicle. I guess because they know something will go wrong and they are going to get another $3000 out of us.

    NHTSA has asked me to send them my tranny parts and I am going to do that. Anything can help. However, until they get 10,000's of complaints there is probably nothing they can do.

    There is only hope.
  • Sounds like exactly what happened to mine. If the torque's failure is massive, it ruins the tranny, too. Some people are lucky and can just replace the torque. But in a weird kind of way, I'm almost happy I'm getting the whole damn thing redone by a true, NON-Ford pro. Maybe, just maybe, I'll actually make it to 100,000 miles with this thing like you can do with practically any imported car with far fewer problems. I'm a little concerned for you that I think you said you're having it done at a Ford dealer. From what my local guy told me, they'll just give you the same crappy, lame parts which will probably fail again in another couple of years. My guy is giving me a super heavy duty torque converter and redone tranny and I'm only paying $2,300.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    From everything that I have read, you need to get a larger transmission put into the vehicle. The original was too small for the vehicle.
  • msq1224msq1224 Posts: 16
    How did you request the hearing? My complaint was filed with NHTSA ~18 months ago, and I was told that their preliminary review indicated no further investigation was warranted. When I asked about the appeal process I was told there was none!
  • enialeeniale Posts: 2
    After replacing two sensors a couple of months ago, my torque control went out with my daughter and her family as they were traveling through Little Rock AR. last week, so they had to leave my van at the ford dearlship. They said the torque convertor needed to be replaced or a new rebuilt trans was needed. They were so high, I fortunately had a brother that put it on a trailer and brought it back to Texas!
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    Under Title 49 of the United State Code 301Part 557 addresses the issue of getting a hearing. Then, they take you seriously.

    This is a good website for law -

    A petition filed under this part should be addressed and submitted to: Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Each petition filed under this part must--

    (a) Be written in the English or Spanish language;

    (b) Have, preceding its text, the word ``Petition'';

    (c) Contain a brief statement concerning the alleged failure of a manufacturer to meet reasonably his obligation to notify or remedy;

    (d) Contain a brief summary of the data, views, or arguments that the petitioner wishes to present in a hearing on whether or not a manufacturer has reasonably met his obligations to notify or remedy;

    (e) Specifically request a hearing.
  • mgcoopmgcoop Posts: 2
    I to was stranded with my family on the way to St. Louis by my 2005 Ford Freestar. It's at a shop in Springfield, IL (thanks to my Insurance Company). The shop is saying something about :lemon: torque failure, but I'm waiting for the full report. The initial estimate is $900 I guess I'm getting off lucky. This happened on July 3rd and I'm still in a rental. Thanks Ford. :sick:
  • dgrindedgrinde Posts: 3
    The oil pump shaft spline strips out of the torgue converter. The spline in the tranny is still good, we need a new converter $300, Labor and new drive axels was $1300 with tax. Stupid bad design. The tranny guy said Ford Rangers do the same thing?

    I like the Ranger too. So maybe it will be a stick if I get one? Then you can buy a new clutch.
  • anabelanabel Posts: 21
    To add to these postings, we too fell victims to transmission failure and without warnings of any type. (Twice)

    We have a 2004 Ford Freestar Limited Edition. What a wonderful van this has been, if it wasn't for the transmission. On February of this year 2009, we broke down in Aransas Pass, Texas. We have three children 6, 4, and 3 and it is not easy getting towing help and transfers as well as hotel stay for 5 people without big problems. We had the van towed to Corpus Christi, Texas to an AAMCO Transmission Shop there about 40 miles away. The van at this point has 84, 000 miles. We needed a rebuild. Cost of $2,700.00 for rebuild. $225.00 for the towing. $150.00 for hotel and $700.00 for a rental van for almost 4 weeks of waiting for our vehicle. We are from Austin, Texas. Very expensive weekend beach trip.

    We broke down again on July 4th, 2009 of all the days of the year to break down it had to be a holiday in the Mojave Desert, North of Baker, CA with three children. It was 112 on the console temperature gauge on our van. Very dangerous conditions out in the middle of nowhere waiting for a tow truck for 6 hours. Trying to find one that didn't charge $1,000 for the tow to Las Vegas, NV 112 miles away was a challenge too. Happy to have had phone and internet signal on my cell out there, Thank You AT&T. Tow was to once again, AAMCO for service that would be under warranty from them. There was a stipulation in small print about warranty not being covered after 12,000 miles from date of service, which was 4 months ago. Our van now has 94,000 miles. They repaired it and told me sometimes the parts are defective. What a joke. No product quality control????

    We are selling and don't want to be stuck out in the cold with three kids again. This is indeed a very dangerous situation with this particular Ford transmission. At least being stranded like that with kids. No warnings of any kind. Not even an occasional slip. Just a smooth quiet ride until it desides to give up. Too Bad. Nice vehicle body.
  • amfam203amfam203 Posts: 1
    Just wondering if you have heard anymore from NHTSA. I got an e-mail today from an investigator from NHTSA asking for more info about my Freestar tranny failure.
    It's been almost a year since the failure. Also would be interested in hearing from people who have had problem since having there transmissions replaced.
  • I also received a letter from the NHTSA requesting more info about my tranny failure. It has only been 2 months but I have not had any problems since it was fixed. This included the torque converter, sealing the PCM (water was getting in it), and replacing the cam position sensor. Hopefully they are going to do something about this before someone dies as a result.
  • msq1224msq1224 Posts: 16
    Hi Jim, yes I got the e-mail too. My failure was about 18 months ago (I think my first post here is ~153). The information request was mainly about whether I considered it dangerous (that's an understatement!) and asked me to describe the situation of the failure. I replied immediately, but am trying not to get my hopes up.
    Mary Quinn
  • We bought our 2004 freestar with only 12 miles on it now it has 88000 miles. Everything has been hit and miss with this "made in America" jewel. Early on we noticed that when we put it in gear it would pause before engaging but we were assured it was ordinary and nothing wrong. Then it jerked changing gears but that was just the "type" of transmission that it was. Finally the second week of June 2009 going uphill I was rewarded for my patriotism. When it shifted for greater power it shifted into NEUTRAL--or whatever, it was like being in neutral. I finally coasted off of the road cut it off and cranked it back up and the transmission re-engaged. In fact it still works fine so long as I don't go uphill or try to pass or rapidly accelerate because if I do it goes into neutral. When that happens I have to cut it off before it will 'reset' the transmission. Estimated cost of repair $3300 dollars. Thank you UAW--all of unemployed Michigan thanks you.
  • anabelanabel Posts: 21
    I have not recieved any information from NHTSA because I don't think they have a way to get ahold of me.

    Do I just need to get on a list of some type to be advised? :confuse:

    Thank you,
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Got my e-mail from the NHTSA yesterday. Mainly wanted to know the symptoms and the conditions it happened under.
  • mtantmtant Posts: 2
    I got an email from the NHTSA asking for more information about my transmission failure. It has been over a year since I filed a compliant. That goes to show be patient, they are investigating!
  • chopps1chopps1 Posts: 3
    Please send all the information you can to National Highway Transportation safety administration.

    :sick: :lemon: :lemon: Over150 people have filed complaints about the free star transmission. The D.O.T. has been in contact with me about the transmission failure and is sending me a mailing label so I can send them the torque converter and out put shaft. I’m guessing they’ll be inspecting them? The free star transmission problem has now gone from just people complaining to a preliminary investigation and information should be available on the website (Now or soon)

    Transmission failure with out warning is the problem because of a piece breaking off in the transmission running threw and tearing it up (can’t remember what piece it was)

    Just start sending Info and making complaints on the above website and hope we can force ford to make a recall.

    MAYBE we can get some of our money back… :D …??????????????????????
  • chopps1chopps1 Posts: 3
    go to their website and tell them what happened.
  • chopps1chopps1 Posts: 3
    the complaits started buiding up and more people are now involved so its more of a problem and got their attention.
  • lhatchellhatchel Posts: 15
    They also asked me to send my Torque Converter and transmission parts but the Ford dealership said that they needed the parts to return as a core. I have the invoice where it states that the inside of the transmission was full of shavings from the torque converter and shaft.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    Ford is required to release information to NHTSA under Federal law. If they have not been honest with the release, they should be heavily fined by the government.

    The risk of being injured in one of these vehicles is so great. Ford has the responsibility to correct this situation, and their lack of action in these vehicles is criminal.
  • shocked1shocked1 Posts: 85
    This is great. Im going to notify the NHTSA again to be sure they have my complaint. Thank you all for the support& information. Had to replace my tranny inNov.08.Im sooo in fear of it happenning again. Husband now retired, low $$$$, could never repair again or purchase another car. Also the way it happens is scary. NO WARNING.
  • anabelanabel Posts: 21
    Yes, I went ahead and got on the wagon. Hope they will do something about this issue. But with the ecomonic times, I bet they will stretch it as far as it can go.
    Thanks for your reply.
  • aggiemeaggieme Posts: 10
    During my travels over the weekend, I saw a Windstar and the wonderful Mercury version of this junk sitting on the side of the highway broken down. I almost stopped at the last second to leave a note on the vehicle about this site, but I did not want to cause an accident on the freeway.

    How many more before something happens? Anybody want to start an over/under?? :mad:
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    Good news. July 15, they opened another investigation.

    Summary: ODI has received 178 complaints alleging that an internal failure of the transmission created a sudden and unexpected loss of motive power in model year 2004 through 2005 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey vehicles. Sixty-five (65) complainants who provided specific information to ODI regarding the failure mode of the transmission identified the torque converter and/or the torque converter output shaft as the failed subsystem/component. For the latter, the allegations indicate that the shaft splines failed suddenly and without warning, resulting in a sudden loss of vehicle propulsion due to the engine power becoming disconnected from the drivetrain. A Preliminary Evaluation has been opened to assess the scope, frequency, and potential safety-related consequences of the alleged defect.
  • tervmomtervmom Posts: 12
    Well, I hope they look at the 2006 Freestars, too. That's what went out on me in March of this year at 46,000 miles. Dealership blamed the torque converter. All I know is I was in the middle of an unlit road at night in the rain with a car forever in Neutral. I did make a complaint to the NHTSA (or whatever the initials are...)
  • Okay...found this site while searching for more info on the torque converter for my 2005 Freestar. Just got the estimate of $1500 today. I have filed my complaints on both ODI and the Center for Auto Safety (who said I was one of only twelve complaints about the Ford Freestar). I put that I would be interested in a class action. I'm so mad about this. There is nothing like that feeling of helplessness when you are in a town that you don't live in and your family of SEVEN will not fit in a tow truck. Fortunately my husband was not deployed bc had he been, I would have been a complete mess. :mad:
  • misty10misty10 Posts: 23
    As you can see this has happened to alot of us. You have to report it to NHTSA. Something must be done about this.....hard to believe no one will help us by taking on Ford.
  • lhatchellhatchel Posts: 15
    I have also filed a complaint with the Center for Auto Safety. I was looking through the website and noticed that in March 2009 Ford paid out $425000 to NHTSA for another problem. We all need to file a complaint there as well.
  • hunter43hunter43 Posts: 1
    I appreciate the post, not sure whe the NHTSA is or does, but my 2004 Freestar just blew it's transmission without any warning on highway 35 in Jersey last week.
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