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Ford Freestar Transmission Problems



  • I had the same experience this past Friday but luckily without my children in my van. You described it exactly. My estimate is $3,000 right now. I'm interested whether or not Ford is covering these - I'll find out tomorrow I think because my dealer has gone back to Ford.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    Was it raining when it happened, or had it rained at some point?
  • My story... just like everyone elses.

    After stopping at a traffic signal, I was accelerating onto the ramp for the 70 MPH Dallas North Tollway in Frisco, Texas. With absolutely no warning sign(s) before failure, I lost all drive power. Fortunately, I had enough momentum that I was able to coast to the side of the ramp, and was just barely able to avoid becoming a traffic hazard.

    I could rev my engine, but there was no power transferred to the wheels, no matter which gears I tried... forward or reverse. It was like being in neutral.

    I later learned that my fluid levels and seals were OK, but that the torque converter had completely failed, and required replacement. The transmission required complete rebuilding. Total cost = $2484.

    Ford should be ashamed of themselves for knowing that this problem exists, and not repairing such a dangerous condition, or even notifying owners, (their customers), of the potential for this sudden, unannounced failure. And, why hasn't our government taken steps to get this situation corrected?

    The positive part of this experience... I had just dropped off my 5 month old granddaughter just a few minutes before this happened. Thank God I was alone! I'll guarantee you two things, my grandkids will never be in that car again, and, I will NEVER buy another Ford!
  • After reading your note to my husband and we talked about it, sounds like this, (the RPMs) is our only warning that something is deffinately going wrong. The RPMs are surely jumping back and forth and it does not engage the way it is suppose to, consistantly. We are working on a plan to get rid of our van somehow. It is just too dangerous to have 3 little kids in it when it breaks down for a third time. Thanks for your expertise.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    What a shame that there are so many afraid to have children in these vehicles!

    I would cover yourself by either having the dealer or if you sell it privately, sign something that you disclosed this defect.
  • No, I don't think that's my responsibility. I had the transmission rebuilt. The car runs fine, But I just don't trust it. That is simply MY feeling. After all, I have no official documentation to support that belief.

    If there is a design problem, then I think it is up to Ford, or our government, to officially notify the current owners of a product defect, not me.

    As I previously stated, I will NEVER buy another Ford product. Does that mean that I should notify all Ford owners that they may have defective cars? No... I don't know if all Ford's have defects, but my feeling is that I can't trust any Ford enginnered products.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    I agree with you! There is not any official documentation (but there should be), and Ford does need to be held accountable because they are VERY aware of the safety issues. I, too, will never own another Ford product because of their lack of accountability here. This is not a new problem with this vehicle. When they became aware of the issues, they had a responsibility to take steps to correct the them instead it appears that they have chosen to ignore them, or selectively cut the cost of repairs for some.

    The other dilemma here is that the government agency that polices these companies is either asleep at the wheel, turning a blind eye to the situation, or severely understaffed. A state senator once told me that our states Department of Transportation will not take any action on a dangerous intersection until there are three deaths. I think that NHTSA needs to fine companies that do not take corrective action in these situations.

    Anyone know how NHTSA proceeds with their investigations?
  • I see that you are asking susanb5 this question, but I found it interesting and wanted to respond that it had been raining when my trans went and it was misting at the time. Why do you ask?

  • I own the piece of CRAP from FORD also......And, I'D NEVER SALE MY DEATH TRAP TO ANY AGE HUMAN!!!!!! I think FORD'S accountable to all us owners!!! I have 2 grand kids I still HAVE to have in this death trap.My tranny garuntee's up this NOV. :cry: And was told it WILL goout again. WE NEVER GOT ANYKIND OF WARNING. Our RPM was fine TILL that moment. NO WARNING.
    come on ford fess up!!!!!!! :mad:

    F-O-R-D = :lemon:
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    I ask because there is a TSB (technical service bulletin) about water and the PCM. Our mechanic thought this was our problem so we spent money after the dealer suggested to do this on getting the window sealed for any leaks, the engine checked and reset by the dealer, the PCM replaced by the dealer, the vehicle towed to the dealer, the cowl redone by the dealer, the engine codes reset by the dealer, the vehicle retowed to the dealer, the engine lights coming on again, and having many arguments with my spouse about this vehicle.

    My belief is that the PCM and the transmission problems are all related. There are so many design flaws in this vehicle. I found two articles that prove that Ford rushed this vehicle out of production way to soon. I've copied and credited the source.

    Automotive News. 78.6062 (Oct 13, 2003): Ford Division President Steve Lyons likes the new Freestar minivan he is pushing but wishes he could have delayed its debut until next year. It seems a reversal of the get-it-out-faster philosophy of product development, but Lyons knows what he wants. "Frankly, if I had a chance to go back in time and replan it,'' he says, "I would have done the Ford Five Hundred first and let this go another year.'' COPYRIGHT 2003 Crain Communications, Inc.

    "Product help. " Automotive News. 77.6045 (June 23, 2003)
    Full Text:COPYRIGHT 2003 Crain Communications, Inc.
    Ford Motor plans to produce 10 nameplates off the Mazda6 car platform. Here are 7 of them.

    Vehicle calendar year Debut

    1. Ford Futura sedan 2005
    2. Mercury sedan 2005
    3. Ford sport wagon 2006
    4. Lincoln sport wagon 2006
    5. Lincoln sedan 2007
    6. Ford Freestar minivan replacement 2007 or 2008
    7. Mercury Monterey minivan replacement 2007 or 2008
  • There is most likely a connection between the PCM and the transmission issues. As I mentioned in my earlier post, my transmission had to be rebuilt for the same reason everyone else has posted. A month later, the van stalled out on the road. My mechanic then followed the instructions provided in the service bulletin regarding the PCM and we have not had any problems since then (which was about 9 months ago). I filed a complaint with the NHTSA on the transmission and they have since asked me questions regarding the PCM, so hopefully they are investigating both issue together.
  • I had the same thing happen to my transmission about 8 or 9 months ago. My wife was heading to work and the rpm's jumped real high then nothing, it was like it was in neutral. I had to have it towed to the dealership. When I got there they looked at it but before that, they told me what the problem was, or what they thought and it was. I asked about the warranty and they said it was not covered. They also went on to tell me that this was a common problem and ford knows about it but wasn't going to do anything about it. I am married with five kids and one is handicap, this was not an expense that I could afford at this time. We had to take out a loan to pay the $2,500.00 it cost to fix it. Now with the van and the loan we pay almost a $1,000.00 a month and for what, the biggest piece of s**t ford has to offer. I have owned ford's my whole life and now I can say with all honesty the ford freestar will be the last ford ever in my driveway. I can only hope ford will stand up and do what is right by the consumers. To bad they would not take them in as cash for clunkers cause that is what they are. And by the way, I only had about 36,000 miles on it when it happened.
  • Our mechanic looked at our car yesterday and said it is for sure the Torque Converter. He said he may also have to replace a pump, but won't know until he pulls it. Said this is a 9 hour job to fix the problem. My repairs will cost around $1K, but with the tow at $285, another tow to the shop and a rental at $250 I am out some money. I want to file a complaint with the NHTSA as well. Is that an easy process via their website? This is crazy. My husband does not feel safe with the driving myself and our child in it anymore, but I would like to suffer through a little while to get it paid off. We are so close!!!
  • I have a 2004 Monterey. The transmission failed and was replaced at 7,200 miles! No problems since then except for the transaxle light comes on after I drive 40 miles or so and there is hesitation when I take my foot of the gas -this occurs only when the transaxle light is on( this has been going on for a couple of years). The dealer has found nothing wrong. After reading through this forum I am worried that it is only a matter of time for the transmission to fail on me again. I have 3 kids and just started traveling 40 miles one way to soccer game every weekend. Yikes!
    I'm not sure if have the basis for a formal complaint or not, but it seems like the more the better.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    This article may be helpful. It also has a link to NHTSA.

    What is NHTSA?

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • Filing a complaint on the NHTSA site, (, is a piece of cake. Here's the link.
  • Here is a similar problem on earlier model Fords with Torque Converter problems (Code 1744);


    Publication Date: MARCH 30, 1998

    FORD: 1996-98 TAURUS

    Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) P0741 or P1744 may be stored in memory. This may be caused by the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) unsuccessfully attempting to engage the torque converter clutch 5 consecutive times. The torque converter clutch may not engage if one or more of the following conditions exist:

    Stuck converter regulator valve
    Stuck solenoid regulator valve
    Stuck bypass clutch control valve
    Worn pump shaft or damaged seals
    Incorrect Torque Converter Clutch (TCC) solenoid
    Incorrect or damaged internal wiring harness
    Incorrect gear ratio

    Refer to the following Diagnostic Procedure for details.

    1) For DTC P0741 and P1744, perform Pinpoint Test "C" and refer to Diagnostic Routines 240 and 340 in Section 07-01 of the appropriate Taurus/Sable or Continental Service Manual.
    2) Remove the transaxle lower pan and check for excessive debris in the pan.
    3) Remove the main control cover and main control.
    4) Check for pump shaft wear or damaged seals.
    5) Inspect the main control for a stuck converter regulator valve and solenoid regulator valve located in bore "A." Refer to Figure 1.
    6) Inspect the bypass clutch control valve located in bore "D." Refer to Figure 1.
    7) Clean the main control and make sure all valves move freely. Do not sand, stone, or file valves or bores in the main control.
    8) Inspect for the correct TCC solenoid. Refer to TSB 97-13-12 for TCC resistance. 9) TCC resistance should be 0.98-1.6 ohms for 1996-97 Taurus/Sable and 1996 Continental; 13-24 ohms for 1998 Taurus/Sable and 1997-98 Continental.
    10) If the transaxle has been exchanged, refer to TSB 97-23-7 .
  • Here is the address at Ford for Safety:

    Mr. James Vondale, Director
    Automotive Safety Office
    Environmental and Safety Compliance
    Ford Motor Company
    330 Town Center Drive, Suite 400
    Dearborn, MI 48126
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    You'd think that Ford would correct the platform for their vehicles if it is creating all these problems. I think I read that the Edge is based on this too. I don't understand the process for manufacturing a vehicle, but wouldn't common sense would tell you to fix these safety issues in your new vehicles? If it wasn't common sense, how about survival of the business!

    How many of us would ever own another Ford?
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    If I know anyone who is looking to buy a new or used vehicle, I tell them about my experience with the Freestar. I find it interesting that all the Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) were issued the first year that the vehicle was released on the market. I believe that Ford knew these were lemons even before they started to sell them. Fraud.

    Not only do we have to pay for their engineering mishaps, but they have the audacity to risk our lives and others. Criminal.

    Did you know that TSBs are copyrighted?

    Here is an interesting article on automobile disputes. Sort of a self-help guide.
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    Has anyone written letters to Senators, Congressman, NHTSA, or others? If you have written, did you receive any response?
  • The transmission on my 2005 Freestar went out on the interstate going 70 mph with four grandchildren on board. There was no warning except the motor suddenly raced twice. The transmission shop advises that it is a pump and the repairs will be $2K. The van has less than 60K miles so this should not have happened. Is there any action that can be taken?
  • With this many breakdowns and problems with the same issue, and NHTSA says it does not matter how many "#" people complaints they get, what is taking them so long to go forward to Ford? Could they actually be waiting until something like a fatality or close occurs before they move forward? I don't understand their hesitation on this.
  • rdg2rdg2 Posts: 1
    My 05 Freestar did the same thing as yours Sep 18. Only my transmission died when I tapped brake to shut of cruise-control. It never slipped, made noise , or ANYTHING !! I cant afford another & dont know what to do now ?? We ALL need to join the clas-action suit that is coming !! The more the better chance of getting something done about Ford getting away with selling what they know is defective brand-new !!
  • Im sorry, but im not too optimistic of FORD doing anything. Our trans. guarentee runs out NOV. 09. Been told our's will go again. Well NEVER BUY ANOTHER fORD!!!!! MMmY BRO. GOT RID OF HIS MUSTANG,and went to TOYATO. aND i TELL EVERYONE i RUN INTO ABOUT THIS CRAP WE'RE STUCK WITH!!!!!!! :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
  • You know what is sad about this? I know I got a lemon but so does ford. I have traded in many cars in my day, upside down or not but they always take my trade due to the fact they want your bussiness. I have two years left on this piece of junk freestar and went to trade it in, they flat out told me they would not take the van as a trade in. Would not give me a reason, just they wont take it. Now that tells you they know it is a piece of junk, now thats SAD......
  • nadinebnadineb Posts: 190
    We all have the right to go to small claims court and file claims against Ford ourselves. Think about how much money it will cost Ford to send legal representation to defend all those claims.

    I have found that the government has a hand in all this as well. They need to do their job and have Ford release the information. I am sure that Ford has made a plea about the hardship they will encounter if they have to recall these vehicles.

    How many of you have called the customer relations center at Ford?

    Under the TREAD Act, Public Citizen's proved that NHTSA lacked the authority to issue substantive rules under FOIA, and that releasing the Early Warning Data would cause competitive harm to manufactures. This includes all the customer complaints to them. Our government has not been protecting us as they should be, but instead, they've been protecting the car manufactures. Look how many defective vehicles Fords has been producing.
  • Bought a used 2004 Freestar in May, and thought it was a good deal. Van was traded in with a bad trans. Dealer put a used trans in it, I test drove it and bought it. Less than 5000 mles later, I have a 4000 pound boulder in my driveway. Now seeing if I can peddle it back off! Is there any info on success rates with replacement transmissions?? :sick: :lemon: :mad:
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