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Ford Freestar Transmission Problems



  • Hi,
    I too have a 2004 Freestar I bought it used with only 21,000 on it from Capital Ford in Raleigh NC on Feb 20,06 and just this past Fri night driving on a straight rd with absolutley no warning the transmission just went. It was as if someone threw me in neutral and it wouldn't move. We spent $150 for towing back to Ford and found out that the warranty had expired of course and they gave me two options..either replace the whole transmission for $3400 or just the tourque converter for I believe $1200. I have 7 kids and needed my car back and opted for the $1200. The whole bill came to $1500. The problem I'm having with Ford is that they don't stand behind their products. I only owned the car for 1yr and 9mos. This is a factory defect and it should've been replaced with no charge. I pd $18,000 and even tried trading it in only to find out that the book value now was only $8800. The salesman wouldn't even consider helping me being that I still owed $15.000. Cars today are not cheap and as soon as you drive it off the lot..the value goes way down so they get you in repairs because they know you're stuck. We Americans are so stupid for allowing this to happen to us. Don't waste your time with Customer Relations because they only laugh at you...they hear this all day long from people it means nothing. I will report it to Better Business and Clark Howard is also good..but I also tell everyone I know and see...DON'T BUY A FORD! They do need to be accountable.
  • Jim,
    I know its been a while since your post. what was the outcome with Ford? We too have just had the same exact problem and, of course, Ford is distancing themselves from the problem. The Customer Relations Center is absolutely dispicable in the way they treat people. The last person I spoke to, Deon, if that is even his real name, was extremely arrogant and basically laughed at me. We had already been turned down for any assistance from Ford when we saw that another family who experienced the same exact problem a week after we did, (11/22/07), received over $3000.00 in assistance with just 1 phone call to the Customer Relations Center. I demanded to know why this customer received assistance and we didn't and they refused to say why or to divuldge the criteria that is used when deciding who gets assistance and who doesn't. We are not going down without a fight, however; and are looking for others who are willing to join a class action. we will not rest until we get our money back and Ford issues a recall on these death traps on wheels. We have already lodged a complaint with NHTSA and the local Attorney General's Office and are filing suit locally. We urge everyone who is experiencing or has experienced the same problem with their Freestar transmission to report it to NHTSA so that they will conduct a serious investigation and force a recall of these vehicles. This vehicle was marketed as a safe family vehicle and is anything but safe. We'll see how that goes. :mad: :mad: :mad: :lemon: :lemon:
  • We would like to sue Ford Motor Company to force a recall of the Freestar/Monteray van. Our transmission failed without warning at 45000 miles in the middle of an intersection with my entire family on board. They were sitting ducks waiting to be hit until some nice people realized something was very wrong and pushed them off to the side of the road. My wife and kids, (17 months-15 years old) had to walk home. Ford has denied us financial assistance that they have given to others who had the same problem before we did and literally a week after we did. They gave the last people over $3K and refused to give us a dime! They refused to tell us why or tell us what the criteria is that they use to determine who gets help and who doesn't. If you have experienced this problem please report it to NHTSA via the NHTSA website. If enough people report it, hopefully they will force a recall. Of course, Ford will not do it on their own. I guess they will wait until someone gets killed when their transmission fails without warning on a busy interstate or something. It is entirely possible that this has already happened and the link just hasn't been made yet. Part of the research for the lawsuit will be to review all accidents involving these vehicles to see if they can be linked in any way to the failure of the transmission. Again, please report any and all transmission problems with your Ford Freestar or Mercury Monteray to this website as well as NHTSA. There is strength in numbers and it just might actually save someone's life.
  • does anyone know how to go about presenting a petition to FORD-If so I am sure we can get the signatures online .Something needs to be done about FORD not standing by the produst especially the costs of the van..
    My van is still sitting and It won't move and I owe 3 more years on this van
  • I think we have to find an attorney who will do a class action suit for all of us. Of course Ford doesn't care...just think of all the money they're making on all the new transmissions we have to keep all of their mechanics in business. We just can't let this corporation get the best of us. I will look into in tomorrow and see what I can come up with.
  • We are off to a good start. We cannot let this drop. We really need to keep the momentum going. It is easy to get discouraged when you are on your own but, as we can all see, we are not alone. There is strength in numbers! In the meantime, it is a fairly straightforward process to bring a suit against Ford Motor Company locally, wherever you live. You do not have to go to Detroit to sue Ford. Go to your local government website to find out who the resident agent, (RA), is for Ford Motor Company in your area. Then, go to your local courthouse or their website and research how to file a tort claim in your local version of small claims court. The paperwork can be served on the RA for Ford Motor Comapny in your region. It should be fairly easy and not too costly. I have done all of my paperwork myself and my attorney is looking it over before I file it. My total costs will be less than $200.00. Lets keep up the pressure until either Ford steps up and accepts responsibility or NHTSA forces a recall. There are many ways we can do this in addition to filing suit. Contact your local media; radio, television, and newspaper. Contact your local representative. Ask other Freestar owners if they have had the same problem and encourage them to take action if they have. Never give up! That is what they are counting on.
  • A petition is not likely to get any action out of Ford. Lawsuits work better. Especially class action lawsuits. Do you know that Ford recently gave another customer with the same problem over $3000.00 in assistance after they complained to the Ford Customer Relationship Center? You can see for yourself. Just go to the NHTSA website and look it up in the complaints section. The website is extremely user friendly and it is a very recent complaint so it shouldn't be hard to find. When you go to the website, register your complaint as well. The more complaints they get, the more likely they are to take notice of the problem and issue a recall. After all, this is a potentially deadly defect.
  • My car showed no signs of anything wrong..not even a light on the dashboard came on. I was doing about 50mph and it was as if someone threw me into neutral and the car wouldn't move in either direction at all. We were towed to Ford and they knew what it was right away and fixed the torque con. and still isn't running as good as it was before They said this doesn't mean the transmission won't have to be replaced next. The cost was $1490. The new trans was quoted as $3400. This car needs to be recalled and I'm working on it. I hate the fact that I can't trust the car and travel with it for fear of it breaking down. I'm trying to trade it in somehow on a Toyota van but for now we're stuck. Just think of how much Ford is making on everyone that has to buy a new transmission. It's just not fair...we pay alot for these cars and expect to get at least most of our money's worth out of them. Well, I hope this helps and good luck tomorrow.
  • I would be more than happy to help you. It is my understanding that Ford was aware of this problem as far back as at least early 2004 but chose to keep selling these dangerous vehicles to families like mine, all the while marketing them as "safe.' I'm sure it is the same transmission problems they were having with the Windstar, part of the reason they abandoned that moniker and rebadged it the Freestar. I don't know the exact cause, likely cheap, substandard, poorly manufactured parts combined with poor engineering, but the bottom line is this; the torque converter fails catastrophically, without warning, and the transmission basically comes apart, rendering the vehicle inoperable. Imagine this happening on a major highway with a tractor trailer barreling down on you at highway speed. You're gonna be toast. It happened to ours in the middle of an intersection. We are lucky that my family wasn't hit by cross traffic or traffic coming up from behind that had no idea why the van was just sitting there in the middle of the road. I am in the process now of researching every single motor vehicle accident in the United States that involves the Freestar and Monteray vans. From there, I will narrow those down to accidents that could have been the result of the transmission failing but were not attributed to this as the cause. I will take however long I have to, travel as far as I have to, and interview as many people as I can; accident victims, first responders, accident investigators, and mechanics at repair shops that worked on the vehicles post crash. I am also putting together a campaign to canvass every single transmission shop in the country to determine exactly how many of these transmissions have failed in this way. Based on what I know so far, it has got to be in the tens of thousands. It is no wonder Ford doesn't have the guts or even the decency to issue a voluntary recall. Unfortunately, instead of paying billions to fix their mess, ordinary consumers like you and me are having to foot the bill while they continue to profit by supplying the parts. For the life of me, I cannot understand why NHTSA hasn't issued a recall. My hope is that we can get this thing out there on a broad enough scale that NHTSA and Ford have to take notice and do the right thing which is to ISSUE A RECALL and for Ford to reimburse people like us who had to pay out of pocket to fix our family's only mode of transportation. Keep up the pressure. Lodge a complaint o the NHTSA website. It is easy to do and only takes a few minutes. If enough people take this step, NHTSA will have to stand up and take notice. They say that there is no set number of complaints needed before they issue a recall but I don't believe them. This is just as dangerous as the brakes failing and there are enough examples to indicate, if not prove, that this is an ENORMOUS and WIDESPREAD defect. I guess some poor family is going to have to get killed or maimed in an accident caused by this failure for either Ford or NHTSA to do what is right. Lets hope not, though. Please post the results of your dealings with Ford both here and on the NHTSA website. Also, take note that they reimbursed a family over $3000.00 in the last 2 weeks for the same problem. The post is on the NHTSA website. They refuse to tell me why they paid that family but will not reimburse us.
  • Please follow up on this. Do not let it drop. Post a complaint on the NHTSA website. It only takes a few minutes and is easy to do. Remember, there is strength in numbers. In my opinion, Ford knowingly put you and your family as well as mine and countless others, in danger by not issuing a recall on these vehicles. It is well documented that this problem has existed pretty widespread and consistently since at least 2004 with the Freestar. Just ask any transmission shop owner who doesn't have to answer to Ford or go to the NHTSA website. The information is out there. It just has to get into the hands of enough people who will then stand up and demand that Ford do what is right and issue a voluntary recall or that NHTSA will force a recall of these dangerous vehilces. Keep us posted!
  • Our 2004 van died with 62,000 miles on it on a freeway overpass. No warning signs at all, it just “popped” into neutral. I had it towed to the dealer. The guy in the shop told me “He had never heard about anything like it before” and then he told the tow truck driver to drop it of at their transmision shop on the other side of the freeway because “it would need a new transmission”. Nobody even looked at it before he told the tow truck driver to bring it across to the transmission shop. A half hour later I was told I would have to replace the whole transmission. I called other shops and one told me they see lots of Ford vans that need new transmissions. I decided to have the dealer replace the transmission because I wanted to fight Ford. I called there customer service hotline numerous times and lodged complaints with them and the NHSTA. They don’t care at all! The 3 or 4 different people at Ford Corporate all told me they have never heard of a transmission failing like that before. The dealer said “I guess you should have bought the extended warranty.” I told him when I picked the van up that “I would never purchase a Ford again and that you can buy an extended warranty on a piece of cr*p but it’s still just a piece of cr*p”.
  • I bought a 2005 freestar in march of 2007, I had this van 8 months. I drive it daily without any troubles, then one morning I get ready to leave for work and the motor revs and doesnt go anywhere.

    There was no warning, no trouble codes. I have 52000 miles on my van, and its out of warrenty. I cannot afford the $3500 for a trans. Its currently sitting in my driveway, while im making payments on this piece of Ford crap.

    I too had the braking troubles others talk about too. I had to replace the rotors twice. the wheel tire pressure system keeps going off. this van is just the biggest piece of junk I ever bought.

    I have a engine code too, it says egr system. Im just so mad at this thing. all at 50000 miles , no wonder Ford is losing sales.

    I did file a complaint with NHSTA. :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon: :lemon:
  • The people at Ford Corporate who told you they never heard of anything like that before are LYING. I know they are lying because they have heard it from me and from others as recently as last week. Do you know that another customer got over $3000.00 from Ford with a phone call to the same place that you called? That's right, over $3000.00!!!!!!!! They refuse to tell me why they assisted someone else but won't assist us. They say they won't discuss anyone else's complaint but that they didn't assist me because I was out of warranty. I know this is a LIE because the other customer was out of warranty also! They actually had the gall to send me a survey to fill out about how I was treated by their Customer Relationship Center! I replied via overnight mail with a 4-page response directly to the person who is ostensibly in charge of that Mickey Mouse operation. She had neither the courage nor the decency to contact me herself. She had some subordinate call me to tell me the same LIES they have been telling me throughout this ordeal. What a shame. Ford used to be a decent and reputable company. I have actually bought 9 new Fords in just over 20 years. The 9th will be my last. I even make it a point to tell every person I come in contact with about my most recent experience with Ford. It is obvious to me now why Ford is performing so badly in the marketplace. I have never dealt with such an inept, arrogant, and out and out fraudulent organization in all of my life. Whatever happened to ETHICS and MORALITY in business. These people are actually LYING to their own customers every day! I am glad you filed a complaint with NHTSA. Every single person who has this problem, wether they have had it fixed already or not needs to report it to NHTSA. Hopefully they will then do the right thing and issue a recall. If they don't, it will be on them and Ford when somebody loses their life because of this problem. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it has already happened and it just wasn't properly investigated and attributed to the transmission failing. I intend to find out. I will be reviewing every accident I can get information about throughout the country involving these vehicles to see if the cause could have been the transmission failing. NHTSA should really be doing this but, since they are not, someone has to do it. Any assistance or information anyone out there can provide would be most appreciated. In the meanwhile, keep up the pressure on Ford and NHTSA. This is where it all starts. It is up to us to make sure that this isn't where it all ends.
  • Outstanding! That is what it is going to take for Ford and NHTSA to take some action before somebody gets killed because of this transmission failure. Every single person that this happens to needs to do just what you did, complain to Ford so they can't LIE to others and say they have never heard of the problem, and file a complaint with NHTSA. This is where it all starts. Don't let it end here. People's lives are at stake.
  • I have lodged a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General in my state and I encourage everyone who is having a problem with the transmission failing in their Freestar to do the same thing in your state. I believe that Ford is committing fraud by offering payouts to some but not others for the transmission failures they are experiencing. Ford refuses to say what criteria, if any, they use to determine who gets assistance and who doesn't. This is arbitrary and capricious at best but sounds like fraud to me. My goal is to shed some light on this practice and put an end to it. They should either issue a recall and pay for every single transmission or not pay anyone. Stand up for yourselves and put Ford on notice that they are accountable to their customers! Contact your state's Office of the Attorney General /Consumer Protection Division. They will guide you through the process. I will update this forum as my case progresses and will watch for your posts.
  • I bought a "new" (dealer demo) Freestar in July of 2005 (less than 20,000km) and in January of 2007 I was driving along and the stupid thing just stopped moving (less than 60,000km). I had my entire family in the van coming driving over 500km (we were less than an hour in) and we had to get a rental and leave the car at a dealer where they replaced the transmission. I had to drive the rental back and drive my van home and miss a day of work. I had purchased the premium extended warranty so all it cost me was some serious hassle and some gas in the rental.

    Fast forward to last night, when I was driving along and I felt a "tug" in the engine. It happened a few times over the same trip while driving at consistent speed. I recall it was the same sensation I felt in the minutes before the van died the last time.

    It's at the dealer now getting looked at (we have another trip planned after Christmas and I don't want it to die on me again), but first glance the mechanic didn't think I should be worried about anything.

    How come I feel like I'm being screwed?
  • If your "new" transmission is a rebuilt Ford product, you are likely experiencing or are about to experience the same failure. The main culprit seems to be the torque converter. I am no engineer but, having seen first hand how mine failed, I am guessing that the part is defective due to substandard materials used to manufacture it and poor engineering. This is a widespread, very common problem in this transmission. Just spend some time on the internet like have and this will become readily apparent. My guess is that, as more and more of these vehicles get to that magic number of miles, 44K +/-, even more of these failures will take place. Hopefully, no one will get killed as a result of it. Imagine riding along the interstate with your family on board with a tractor trailer bearing down on you and your transmission fails. I would not be at all surprised if this has already happened, causing a serious injury accident or worse, and the connection just hasn't been made yet. Ford has a serious problem on their hands and should issue a voluntary recall. I'm not holding my breath for that to happen. You need to report your failure to NHTSA, via their website, so that they have one more reason to take this safety defect seriously and force a recall. In the meantime, families like mine are having to pay out thousands of dollars, right before Christmas, to have these defective transmissions fixed and for rental vehicles while our only family transportation is in the shop. So far, I am out nearly $4000.00 and counting. We are lucky no one got hurt when ours failed in the middle of an intersection with traffic. Luckily, some kind strangers pushed the van to the side of the road but my family had walk the rest of the way home. Please contact NHTSA and report your failure(s). Some action on their part could quite literally save someone's life.
  • There has been yet another transmission failure reported to NHTSA in the last week or so. (Refer to the NHTSA website in the complaints section.) Again, someone's family was placed in harms way on a freeway when their transmission failed without warning at only 56000 miles. This person did the right thing by reporting it. He even referred to the complaints on this website about this vehicle. We need everyone who experiences this problem to the do the same thing and report it to NHTSA. At some point, they are going to have to do something about it; hopefully before someone gets killed. This not just about families like mine who can ill afford to have to pay thousands of dollars to replace a part that should never have failed so soon. This is also about people's lives being in danger. As of now, I am awaiting the process to begin with my state's Office of the Attorney General -Consumer Protection Division. I cannot file suit until this process plays out. Hopefully, the results will be productive. If not, the suit is ready to go and will just have to be filed at the courthouse. In the meantime, we all need to keep up the pressure on Ford and NHTSA. As more and more of these vehicles get to the 44K+/- range, more and more of these transmissions, (torque converters), will fail. The message needs to get out to these owners before their lives are needlessly put in danger.
  • We finally bit the bullet and had the transmission fixed. As suspected, it was the torque converter that failed. The splines, (fins), stripped out of it. According to my mechanic, a retired Ford technician with over 20 years of experience, the failure is definitely due to a defective product and not abuse or neglect. He suspects that inferior metal was used in the production of the part. (Probably a cost cutting effort on the part of Ford). Apparently, there are so many torque converters failing recently, that he couldn't even get one to replace mine with. He had to send mine out to be rebuilt! And Ford continues to LIE TO PEOPLE and claim they know nothing about this problem. Where is NHTSA on this? As stated previously, I think Ford is committing fraud by denying knowledge of the problem to some, acknowledging it to others but not offering a penny of assistance, and offering assistance to others - OVER $3000.00! All for the same problem! I am starting with my state's Office of the Attorney General. I will continue this cause until Ford is held accountable to it's customers, not just for selling an unsafe product, all the while marketing it to families as "safe", but also for lying about it and helping some but not others. I guess the people at the "Customer Relationship Center" have never heard of the internet.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    The transmission in our 04 Freestar SEL died the week before Christmas at 49K miles. The preliminary diagnosis is a pump failure. I don't know yet if this is related to the torque converter problems since I believe the TC drives the pump. I will find out more details when we pick it up in a couple of days. The van was in park, and when put into reverse, it moved about a foot, then nothing. No reverse, no forward.

    These problems can't be limited to just the Freestars since the AX4N transmission is used on most Ford V-6 FWD applications from 1996-2006. The scary part is this version of the transmission is the most reliable of that transmission family which originated in the early 80s.
  • You are correct about that transmission. It is/was used in vehicles other than the Freestar. Remember the Windstar and Monteray? It was also used in the Taurus. According to my transmission expert, he sees them in his shop regularly so I would be hesitant to refer to this transmission as "reliable." Based on the knowledge I have gained throughout this ordeal, both in talking to real experts who don't have either an ax to grind or to answer to Ford, and also by spending hands on time in the shop where mine was fixed, I have concluded that the issue is a combination of faulty engineering and sub-standard materials used to manufacture the parts. Both issues are, undoubtedly, a result of cost cutting at Ford. Unfortunately, it is now becoming the problem of working families like mine who are left holding the bag. Speaking of working, I have to get to work right now however; I would lioke to leave you with this request: PLEASE REPORT YOUR FAILURE TO NHTSA. It is easy to do via their website. It took me about 15 minutes. Mabey NHTSA will wake up and recognize this as the safety hazard that it truly is and force a recall.
  • Wouldn't you think that there are enough of us that have had problems that Ford would to a Recall?? Our Monterey lost the transmission a year ago. Over $3k to fix, and of course, 5K out of warranty, and Ford did nothing to help. :mad:
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    Our Freestar is back on the road today. The transmission shop said that the splines on the torque converter stripped out, spreading metal throughout the transmission. Needed a total rebuild to the tune of $2100. There was another Freestar at the shop for the same problem. I'll submit my problem to the NHTSA later today.

    It would be interesting to know if other Ford models (ie Taurus and Sable) that use this transmission are seeing similar problems. Maybe they use a different torque converter than the Freestars and are okay, I don't know. Then again, maybe this is only limited to certain model years.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    Thank you so much for responding. You would think that Ford would do the right thing with so many of us, (THOUSANDS OF US!), having the exact same problem. The reality of it is however; that they refuse to step up and do the right thing. Sadly, it is a rarity for a manufacturer to do so without being forced to do so. In this case, the agency that could force Ford to do a recall is NHTSA. To that end, please take the next step and report your transmission failure to NHTSA via their website. It is remarkably easy to do. My hope is that they get enough reports that they wake up and recognize this problem for the safety defect that it is and force a recall before someone gets killed in one of these things. Check your repair bill. Undoubtedly, it is the torque converter that failed. Also, you need to know that Ford paid another customer $3097.00 to fix theirs with the same defect in late November 2007. They had their failure exactly one week after ours. They got assistance and we didn't. Ford refuses to say why. Right now, I am working my states Office of the Attorney General to hopefully compel Ford to either pay up or divuldge the criteria that they use to determine who gets assistance and who doesn't. My guess is that it is anything but objective. My suspicion is that those of us who got a rebate when we purchased our Freestar/Monteray are the ones who are being turned away by Ford. I will never accept a rebate from another manufacturer if this is the case without first getting a promise in writing that it will not affect my ability to get coverage for a repair such as this. Further, if this is the case, I think this is out and out fraud. How can they justify paying some and not others? Spread the word. There is strength in numbers!
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    Thanks for the reply! The problem you had is the exact same problem that I and THOUSANDS OF OTHERS had. My transmission guy says that he has seen it in all model years of this van. The reason they changed the name from Windstar to Freestar was to dodge all of the bad publicity from this transmission problem. Please follow up and report the failure to NHTSA. My guess is that with thousands more of these vehicles attaining the same magic number of miles, (+/- 44K), that we will be seeing more of this problem. Please refer to the rest of my postings for more information. Spread the word! There is strength in numbers and it just might help to save someones life. (Ours failed in the middle of an intersection with my entire family on board). Needless to say, this could have been tragic.
  • Hello,

    Monterey 2005 with 49k.

    Transmission dropped into neutral.

    I am now gathering info and would like to thank you all for posting your similar transmission problems.

    I am also getting the run around from Tasca Ford dealership. The dealership people are all acting as if this is the first time a Monterey transmission needed repairs. I even followed the maintenance schedule. Which included transmission fluid change. The fluid used in the replacement automatically gave a 150,000 mile warranty. I am now finding out that if the fluid company feels it is a defect the fluid companies warranty may not be applied. I now begin the struggle to actually get the transmission opened to see what is wrong. Only I can not get the transmission fluid people to open the transmission. I have to pay $650 to the dealership to open the transmission.

    My transmission gave no warning signs prior to breaking. No slippage, clunking or rough shifting at all. It simple dropped out of gear into neutral on a main road at 40 mph.

    As I read this website I began to actually see the dangers that transmission failure could actually represent in different traffic areas.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    Thank you for your post! This is what it is going to take for Ford/NHTSA to step up and take this issue seriously. We as consumers cannot let up the pressure on either Ford or NHTSA. This is not just about very expensive repairs that working families cannot afford and should not have to afford. It is about SAFETY. Please keep us informed and updated on your situation via this website. Also, PLEASE REPORT THIS FAILURE TO NHTSA via their website. It only takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and is the only way that NHTSA will take notice of the issue. Also, make sure you post your complaint with NHTSA by indicating BOTH the Powertrain-Automatic Transmission component and also the Automatic Transmission-Torque Converter component. (Self explanatory when you go through the steps to report your complaint). Again, Thank you for your post. Spread the word. There is strength in numbers and it just might save someone's life.
  • On December 15, 2007 while driving at approximately 40 mph the transmission on my 2004 Mercury Monterey went into neutral. No warning, no nothing. Luckily I was able to coast onto a smaller side street and call my husband for help. My van has just over 46,000 miles on it. I had the van towed to two different Ford dealerships. Both refused to pay for the repair even though I purchased the "Easy-Care Gold" extended warranty. My husband changed the transmission fluid at 30,000 miles just as the warranty called for. The dealership wants proof. How do you provide proof of maintenance performed at home? And after the research I have done regarding this particular problem there is absolutely nothing the owner can do to prevent the transmission from failing. Of course neither dealership said a thing about this being an ongoing problem. Does anyone know what I can do to get Ford to pay the $3500 for the new transmission? Also, shouldn't there be a recall for these transmissions before someone is hurt or killed? I filled out the complaint form with NHTSA. Is there anything else I can do to help get some action?
    Thank you.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    If you did the transmission fluid change yourself, your only proof would be the receipts for the filter and fluid. If you don't have those or Ford won't accept them, then it you're stuck in a difficult situation. The sad part is the problem is not related to the condition of the fluid, but a design or manufacturing defect in the torque converter. You probably don't need a new transmission, however. When the torque converter fails it can spread metal throughout the transmission. The transmission need to be disassembled and inspected for damage. It probably only needs to be cleaned out, overhauled, and reassembled. If you can't get anywhere with Ford, I would take your vehicle to a reputable, independent transmission shop. They will probably do a better job for less money.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    Thank you for your post! It is a good thing when people with a common cause can communicate so readily and effectively. First let me say this; The dealership cannot deny you coverage for not performing a RECOMMENDED service. The 30K transmission fluid flush and fill is a "recommended", not required, service in your vehicle's manual. Further, the simple fact is this; this procedure would not have prevented your transmission's torque converter from failing. Period. My transmission expert is going to testify for me as to this fact. The failure is a result of a manufacturing defect in both the engineering and the materials used in the torque converter. Also, you are absolutely correct when you characterize this as a safety defect that should trigger a recall. To that end, you did the right thing by reporting it to NHTSA. Hopefully, NHTSA will do the right thing and issue a recall before somone gets killed in one of these vehicles. Ford is obviously not going to step up to the plate and do the right thing in this instance because it will cost many millions of dollars which, apparently are more important to Ford than the lives, let alone the loyalties, of their customers. All we can do is report the defect to NHTSA, lodge a formal, written complaint with Ford, contact their Customer Relationship Center, (the number is in your manual), and contact your state's consumer protection division. Mine falls under the Office of the Attorney General. Report this situation to them as a case of possible fraud. I say this because Ford has paid out money to some customers with this very same problem as recently as late November, 2007. $3097.00!!!!! How can they pay some but not others? Sounds like fraud to me. Also, contact your local television station that has a consumer advocate reporter. My local station is following my story and hopefully will feature it as my case progresses. Finally, you can sue Ford as well as the dealerships that turned you away in your state's version of small claims court. It is remarkably easy to do and very cost effective. Mine is costing me about $200.00 in filing fees and the cost of having the sheriff serve the papers. All of the information you need to do this is on your state and local government's website. The bottom line is that there is strength in numbers and together, we will make a difference. We may actually save a life in the process! Don't get complacent and let this drop. Spread the word to every single person you see at your child's school, your church, the grocery store, etc., who drives one of these vehicles. I am convinced that this type of grass roots effort will pay off in the long run.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    Once again, Ford has given financial assistance to one customer but not others. (See the NHTSA website). While I am happy that this family was at least partly compensated, it is infuriating that that they assist some but not others and REFUSE TO SAY WHY or what criteria, if any, is used in making this determination. I guess this is just one more brick in the wall that is my lawsuit against Ford. It's no wonder that Ford is losing market share. I'll bet Toyota, (now number 2 instead of Ford), treats their customers alot better than Ford. Keep spreading the word! There are hundreds of thousands of these vans on the road that are about to reach the 44K threshold where most of these failures are taking place. Mabey NHTSA will wake up and force a recall before someone gets killed in one of these things.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    I wouldn't bet that Toyota is much better than Ford. Remember all the fuss a couple of years ago about Toyota engine failures after the warranty period was up due to sludge build up. Toyota contended that it was improper maintenance on the part of the consumer. Consumer and government pressure eventually got Toyota to extend the warranties on the engines that had the problems. Toyota never admitted to any problems.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    I hadn't heard about that one. At least some action was taken to help the consumers. Ford and or NHTSA need to step up and soon before someone gets killed in one of these things. Not to diminish the inconvenience/headaches endured by Toyota customers, but sludge build up in an engine is far different than a transmission failing on an interstate. Am I the only one who has noticed the common threads/themes in all of our situations? Ford/Ford dealerships continue to deny any knowledge of a problem at first, then, miraculously, without even opening up the trannsmission or putting it on a lift, the customer is told that they are on the hook for a new transmission/torque converter. I am very anxious to meet with my Office of the Attorney General representative. I would like to get an expert opinion as to the fraud/criminal negligence angle in all of this. It seems to me that Ford has known about this problem since at least 2004 with the Freestar/Monteray and long before that with the Windstar. yet, they continue to put these vehicles on the road, knowing there is a problem. Now, hundreds, (those reported anyway), are dropping like flies in all sorts of scenarios from interstates to neighborhood streets, to urban environments. They still continue to deny any problem exists even though their service departments know right away what the problem is when these vans come in for service. It is just a matter of time before someone is killed. How are they going to defend themselves against that? Sounds like criminal as well as civil negligence/liability to me. I, for one, will not let this drop until something is done, either voluntarily or through government action or through litigation,( Class action lawsuit?) Ford, are you listening?
  • A few weeks back, I was driving six children from my son’s hockey team back to Minneapolis from a tournament in Eveleth when my van went into neutral on interstate 35. Luckily, we were all seat belted in because we were going down a hill about 75 mph at the time. A smaller car ended up rear ending my van. All of the children were fine and the couple in the car was fine. Our vehicles’ were not so lucky though.

    I was told that I needed a new transmission and had to pay $3300 for it. I also had to pay an insurance deductible of $1500 for the accident repairs. My Ford dealership claims no responsibility for the transmission failure. I have already written a letter to Ford complaining about this problem and I will file a complaint with NHTSA.

    I am a single mother and can not afford the $4800 that this is setting me back. I wish I would never have bought this van. It has been in the shop once or twice a year since I bought it. I had to have the heater replaced (under warranty) about two weeks after I bought it and then I had some kind of brake thing where I had to replace all the brakes and some other parts (not under warranty), and now this.
  • As I read all of your posts it makes me sick. We bought our 2005 Ford Freestar in February 2006. We haven't really had much trouble with it until two days before Christmas this year. It has 46,000 miles on it and the transmission indicator light came on. Ofcourse we had no idea what it meant until we looked in the book and discovered there was a problem with the transaxle. This shocked me because the mileage was still very low to be having these kind of problems. We took it to our local Ford dealership and they ofcourse asked me had we had the transmission serviced at 30,000 miles. We did not because I know some people who never have their transmission serviced and never have a problem. To make a long story short it is going to cost me over $1,000 to have the shifting solenoids replaced. As I read your posts I realize that the problem had nothing to do with us not having it serviced. I am reporting my complaint today. What address should I send my complain to Ford?
  • Hello,
    I just talked to the Virginia Attorney General's Office and they are sending me the form to get this thing going. The guy in the AG's office was very familiar with Ford's horrible customer service record. He had not heard of this particular problem yet but he is getting ready to look into it.
    I called back to Tysons Ford and all of the sudden the really nice guy "Adam" has an incredible attitude. I asked him how I knew the problem was the torque converter since I know nothing about cars and transmissions. Basically he told me how great the extended warranty was and that the reason nothing would be paid for was that I screwed up by not getting the transmission flushed at 30,000 miles. He said he has never run across this problem before with any Ford transmission. How does a class action suit get started? I can tell that I am going to need power in numbers to get this situation corrected. Anyone with any knowledge on where to go next please let me know. I do not intend to pay these crooks a penny.
  • I will help you do this! I have posted a couple of messages on this board. I am getting so screwed. I would love to get a class action suit started. Count me in! Please feel free to respond to me and we can get this going asap.
  • sunburnsunburn Posts: 319
    For those that have had transmission problems and Ford doesn't want to pay for them because you didn't do your 30K mile transmission service, check the scheduled maintenance booklet that came with your van. In mine (2004 model year) it lists the tranmission models that require service at 30K mile intervals, the AX4N transmission in the Freestar/Monterey is NOT one of them. Of course, Ford and their dealers know the average person doesn't have a clue what transmission model is in their vehicle. If this is a misprint, then Ford should have mailed out a new maintenance booklet to all the owners. Just another piece of ammunition to use in the battle....
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    You need to start by calling Ford at their, get this, "Customer Relationship Center." The number is in your manual. Don't expect much though because the whole thing is a scam. The people who answer the phone are just call takers who pretend to care about your problem and read from a script, trying to lull you into complacency. It got so bad that I begged them to put down the script and talk to me like the intelligent adult human being that I am. It was no use. They deny that they are scripted and when you ask to speak to a supervisor, they lie and tell you that one is not available but that they will call you back within 2 days. The idea behind this tactic is that they know that the average person can't sit around and wait 2 days before they can have their car fixed and will have to just bite the bullet and pay for the repair. My advise to you is to report your failure to NHTSA via their website. When you do, make sure you put as much information in there as possible. Also, make sure you request that a recall be issued. That way, if someone should get killed driving one of these things, they can't lie and say they didn't know about it. Also, contact your local Office of the Attorney General. I believe Ford is intentionally and knowingly misleading it's cutomers. This amounts to fraud and, if someone does get killed, could rise to criminally negligent homicide. Also, the excuse that you didn't have it serviced at 30K is BOGUS. This service is recommended, not required, and would not have prevented the failures that are occurring-period. It is just another roadblock that Ford has built into their system to distance themselves from the problem that they have know has existed for years. In fact, if you did have the service done, they would make you go through the transmission fluid manufacturer for coverage! Good luck getting reimbursed that way! Also, to add insult to injury, they actually do pay some people. One family, as recently as late November, 2007, got OVER $3K!!!! There is no rhyme or reason to it. It is totally arbitrary. One way or another, DON'T LET IT DROP! There is strength in numbers and great power now that we have the internet as is indicated by the posts on this site alone. Wait until you see the NHTSA website. It will literally give you the chills - especially since they have been aware of this problem for so long and still have not issued a recall. We have got to keep up the pressure on Ford and NHTSA. I am ready and willing to join a class action lawsuit. My own individual suit is on hold until my local AG has completed their investigation. Hopefully, when they are done, Ford will step up and do the right thing and legal action won't be necessary. I'm not holding my breath for that though.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    First, thank goodness nobody got injured. This is a nightmare waiting to happen. Second, thank you for following up with NHTSA. We cannot let them off of the hook either. Nobody should have to pay for these repairs. This is a problem that has been known to Ford for some time now. If your dealership told you that they know nothing about it, they are lying to you. A recall needs to be issued TODAY before another scenario like yours plays out with a less favorable outcome. The fact of the matter is, it could already have happened and we just know about it. I am researching this angle. It is going to take a while though. Stay tuned to this forum. In the meantime, contact your local Office of the Attorney General and report your experience to them. In my opinion, this shaping up to be a clear cut case of fraud on the part of Ford and it needs to be investigated as such. Also, contact your local media, radio, television, and print. Most stations, networks, and newspapers have a consumer advocacy reporter that might take an interest in your story. We have got to keep this story going and keep the momentum and pressure against Ford and NHTSA going as well.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    I am working on it on my end. In the meantime, any tips, advice, support from the others in this forum are appreciated. Also, keep up the pressure on Ford and NHTSA and keep us updated on your case.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    "Adam" is lying to you. He is trained to lie to you. Ask any transmission shop owner who is not beholden to Ford about this transmission and the answer will be the same - THIS IS VERY COMMON, WELL KNOWN, AND WIDESPREAD PROBLEM. Believe me, Ford knows about it. They have known about it for years. Also, the 30K mile transmission fluid flush and fill excuse is a non-starter. First, the service is recommended, not required and second, it would not have prevented the failure - period. It is just a clever scam by Ford to distance themselves from the problem and trick you into letting them off of the hook for the cost of the new transmission. Your are right. There is strength in numbers and the power of the internet is immense. Keep us posted on your progress with Virginia AG.
  • I found another website to go to lodge a complaint.
    They also have a place to check off on your complaint if you would be interested in a class action lawsuit. Although they are located in Washington DC they seem to be less polically driven than NHTSA.
    I am going to talk to a couple of friends tomorrow (attorneys) regarding who to speak to about getting our own class action lawsuit going.
    Hell hath no fury like a stay-at-home mom with extra time on her hands whose sole means of transportation is being screwed with.
    Thanks to all of you for all your invaluable input. I have learned more about transmissions and Ford in the past 48 hours than I ever thought I would need to know. Now let's all just keep it going!
  • boydoboydo Posts: 1
    I'm a father of 4 with a stay at home wife. The second week in December of 2007 my transmission went out on my Freestar while i was at work. I had 49,000 miles on it and I got it brand new in 2005. I didn't know what to do so i had my uncle (who is a mechanic) look at it and he told me I would need a new transmission. It was so close to Christmas so I didn't have the money to pay for a new tranny so he found me a used transmission for 850 dollars. It was from a used freestar. So he went online to try and find a transmission repair guide and he came across this forum. Now hes skeptic to replace my transmission because the used tranny has 20 k miles and it might go out at 40 k. So here I am making payments on a van i haven't been able to drive in 2 months and after reading all of your stories that are just like mine in that the transmission just goes out without warning it makes me sick to my stomach. I hope they do a recall on these and i would love to help in making that happen.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    Outstanding information. My next step will be to lodge a complaint with AutoSafety and I encourage everyone else with this issue to do the same. Please post your input on a class action. I'm thinking that we are almost to that point. I think the key is going to be communication, organization, national exposure, and momentum.

    PS I think the fury of a father of 6 who's wife and 5 of 6, (1, 4, 6, 12, and 15 years old), of my children were on board when ours failed in the middle of an intersection may run at least a close second to yours. I bought this van based on Ford's marketing that it was safe for my family. I will never trust Ford again and had been a Ford loyalist for 23 years! I guess that loyalty doesn't mean much to Ford. I think I see a Sienna in my driveway just as soon as I can unload this Freestar.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    Welcome to my world. Our Christmas budget, (wife and 6 kids), was decimated when we had to replace our transmission just before Christmas. The kids new something was amiss but they are good kids and understood. That said, I would not put a Ford transmission in your van. It is far better to have your existing one rebuilt by a qualified mechanic with high quality parts. Even the replacement transmissions are nothing but re-manufactured Ford junk. There are several things you can do to help make a recall happen. First, report your failure to NHTSA via their website. It is remarkably easy to do and is the best way to get the message to the goverment entity that is supposed to be looking out for us. Also, when you post your complaint on their website, be sure to check off both the powertrain/automatic transmission, and powertrain/torque converter components. This is critical so that NHTSA cannot say that they didn't connect the dots. Also, when you post your complaint, make sure you emphasize that this is a safety issue and demand that a recall be enacted. This way, they cannot say that they were not put on notice. Also, lodge a complaint with AutoSafety as indicated in the previous post. It will also be productive to go to your local Office of the Attorney General. I believe strongly that a case can be made for fraud against Ford based on several aspects of this situation, primarily that they continue to deny a problem exists yet magically know what the problem is when these vans get to their shop. They then blame the consumer by indicating that the consumer's failure to have an unecessary "recommended" procedure done at 30K miles caused the failure. This procedure would not have prevented the failure of the torque converter-period. Also, to add insult to injury, they pay some customers but not others. The assistance has ranged from $800 to over $3K so far! They refuse to say what, if any criteria, is used when making thie determination who gets assistance and who doesn't. I think it is arbitrary and capricious at best but I have a hunch that the reason is much more nefarious than that based on the fact that Ford knows how much you paid for your van, whether or not you got a rebate, how much they soaked you for in the financing department, etc,. More on that later.... Keep this going. Spread the word. tell everyone you know. Tell everyone you don't know who you see driving one of these things; other parents at your child's school, the grocery store, church, etc,. You just might save their life!
  • misty10misty10 Posts: 23
    I was just on the Clark Howard website and noticed a page on cars. Someone asked what's the best minivan to buy and of course I wrote...never buy the Freestar. They said I should complain to the VP in marketing and the CEO at Ford. I figured it was worth a try and will do that. I'll let you know how it goes. We must get the word out against this car and the Ford Co for not helping us out with this problem.
  • jgenovesejgenovese Posts: 220
    Welcome back! Haven't heard from you in a while. You are absolutely right, we need to get the word out. Not only that, we need to keep the pressure up on NHTSA and Ford using every available means. As more and more of these vans reach that magic 44K +/- miles, they are going to drop like flies and put more and more people in danger. This is not only a tremendous financial burden on working families, but also a very real and present danger. The good news however; is that there really is strength in numbers, especially when utilizing the power of the internet and forums like this. Don't forget your local Office of the Attorney General as well. This is looking more and more like fraud every day. Just read the posts from people all over the country and you will see what I mean. I would love to get my hands on any and all internal memos from all levels at Ford because I am certain that they will prove every theory I am in the process of developing. In the meantime, keep up the networking, keep up the pressure, and warn every family you know that drives one of these vans that they could be in real danger.
  • I talked to "Eddie" at the Ford Customer Service Office today. He took my information and then asked "What do you want?" I told him a new transmission. He asked "What do you want Ford to do? I told him "I want Ford to pay for the transmission." He put me on hold for about three minutes and then came back and said he had to do some research on this and he would be back to me by tomorrow (1/9) at 5:30. I am not expecting much but I will keep everyone informed if and when I hear back from Ford.
  • rt1966rt1966 Posts: 9
    Where to begin........... back in April of 2007 we first experienced problems. Van would not go anywhere. took to local dealer and said they found a mouse on wire housing and fixed wires. Two weeks later same problems happened. found nothing. a month later same thing happened. dealer had it for 3 days and even had to call ford to give direction on what to do. they replaced the torque converter this time. thought they had the problem fixed!!!!!!! on Christmas night 2007 on the way home from my parents house ,again with absolutely no warning whatsoever, (as was the case each time) the van spit and sputtered and finally shut off. i coasted into a parking lot and got the van to start but it would not move. occasionally the tach would suddenly rev high then sputter to where it almost shut off. this was the case each time. got it towed to the dealer yet again. thank god for AAA!!! after 2 days they came to the conclusion (your gonna love this one) that water leaked in from somewhere i don't remember and made the computer malfunction. they dried it out, sealed the "leak" and sent us on our way. fast forward 2 weeks later and on January 8th guess what............ same old same old. spitting sputtering and barely moving. this time as was also the case the 3rd time a dash light that looks like a gear came on for about 2 second then went out and stayed out. after a loud clunk the van seemed better. we drove it this time to the dealer which is a good thing since AAA only allows 4 tows per year. after the 4th and 5th times i filed complaints with nhsta. enough is enough. something needs to be done about this before people get killed!!!!!!!!
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