Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The Freestar was introduced in 2004, but it was essentially just a rebranded Windstar. While there was a redesign of the interior and exterior, the Freestar still inherited some of the design flaws of its predecessor.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
98,944 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Ford Freestar drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Ford Freestar Owner Comments (Page 12 of 13)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Jun 012010

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 101,000 miles


Driving down the road at 15 mph, the transmission fails. Cost $3700 to fix. The new transmission stinks. Nothing is right about this car. One piece falls off after another. Nickel and diming me to death!

- Mcsherrystown, PA, USA

problem #28

Sep 022011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
While driving at 45 mph my van's transmission stopped working as if it was in neutral, but it was in drive. While hitting the gas the RPM's increase but the van does not move. The road was crowded and I was almost rear ended due to the loss of power. Several cars had to honk and slam on their brakes to avoid an accident. Luckily my 3 kids and I were not injured due to this malfunction. The failure is the transmission torque converter according to the mechanic. I could only imagine what the results would be if I were on a major highway during rush hour traffic. I have read of hundreds of other failures on the internet using a simple google search. Please hold Ford accountable and recall this failure before someone gets hurt due to this failure. It is a safety recall and there are already class action lawsuits pending.

- Pine Hill, NJ, USA

problem #27

Jul 032011


  • 138,000 miles
While traveling on very busy highway with three children and infant aboard, transmission suddenly failed. All drive power suddenly lost.

- Weirton, WV, USA

problem #26

Aug 122011


  • 72,000 miles


Traveling on interstate in far left lane and the transmission suddenly failed leaving us without ability to accelerate. Only because there was not much traffic at the time, we were able to coast to the right hand lane.

- Dayton, OH, USA

problem #25

Aug 082011


  • 66,000 miles
When slowing to make a left turn at a traffic light the van suddenly lost power. I found myself stuck in the intersection for several moments as I attempted shifting to neutral and back but there was no response. I narrowly avoided being hit by traffic coming from the other direction and was able to coast into the parking lot next to my office building. I contacted my Ford dealer and had the van towed there for repair. The torque converter had failed and I had it replaced.

- Birmingham, MI, USA

problem #24

Aug 052009


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. The contact stated that while driving 15 mph, the vehicle would stall in the middle of the road. The contact also stated that water was getting into the power train control module. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who replaced the power train control module. Upon receiving the vehicle from the dealer, the contact also replaced the wiring harness that connected the power train control module. The failure continued and water constantly entered the chambers of the module. The dealer was notified and the contact was informed that there were no recalls or warranties addressing the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 80,000 and the current mileage was 120,000.

- Elberton, GA, USA

problem #23

Oct 132010


  • 117,230 miles


Van stopped dead in traffic and would not move. Was towed into Ford dealership. Torque convertor replaced, on 10/13/2010. Now transmission at the same dealership was diagnosed as defective, on 07/11/2011. Replacement of the transmission is needed. The original repair cost was $2264.14, and this time the repair will be at least $3100. The mileage on the van on the first occurrence was 117,230 miles and now about 127,000 miles.

- Weston, WI, USA

problem #22

Oct 132010


  • 117,230 miles
Van stopped dead in traffic and would not move. Was towed into Ford dealership. Torque convertor replaced, on 10/13/2010. Now transmission at the same dealership was diagnosed as defective, on 07/11/2011. Replacement of the transmission is needed. The original repair cost was $2264.14, and this time the repair will be at least $3100. The mileage on the van on the first occurrence was 117,230 miles and now about 127,000 miles.

- Weston, WI, USA

problem #21

Jun 242011


  • 85,960 miles
We were driving East on the pa turnpike just past hershey exit and the vehicle was set on cruise at 65mph. All of the sudden the engine went into a high rev and the tach shot up to 5000 RPM. I hit the brake to kill the cruise and then stepped on the gas and it just revved up, as I was continually losing speed. I pulled off the highway, thank god there was a pullover so I didn't have to stay on the shoulder of the road. I was dead in the water, no forward or reverse at all! no warning it just happened out of no where. I was taking my girlfriend to her doctor appoint at U of penn childrens hospital for her disease, she is severely disabled and we need the van for her power wheel chair. I am very disappointed Ford will not own up to the failures in this particular transmission. There are complaints all over the web about this model and it's failing transmissions at 70 to 80 K miles. We are both disabled and now have no transportation and no way to pay for a $2500-$3400 transmission replacement!

- Mechanicsburg, PA, USA

problem #20

Jun 052011


  • 109,000 miles
I have 2004 Ford Freestar van & have been having problems with it suddenly loosing power and loss of acceleration. I had to have the transmission replaced at 68,000 miles and van seemed to run fine for while then about 2 weeks ago with 109,000 miles I was leaving work after late shift at hospital & van would not get any power or accelerate. I was left stranded in downtown area that is known for crime and homeless. I was able to get ride home & had van towed, after over $300 van was running again. I was on way to work on 6-5-2011 & same thing happened to van, no power or accel, late in evening, woman by myself on street where many hoodlums frequent. I was very fearful of my safety. I was able to get tow from aaa & ride to work. I'm still without my van after 2 weeks. The mechanic who originally fixed it can't get it to keep running again now, some defect in van is apparently causing coil packs to go bad and melting fuses into fuse box, this is somehow making computer system malfunction & sending various error codes that clear when fuses are replaced but fuses aren't able to be maintained and continue to blow and melt into fuse box repeating cycle, therefore van is not drivable at this time. It has been sent to another mechanic who is currently trying to fix it. I work about 30 miles from my home, I have young children that I have to take places, & have to drive to get to any stores for food &/or supplies. I am fearful if my van is fixed that it will break down again & I won't be as lucky as the last few times and me &/or my family will be injured in accident or worse. I hope this information is helpful.thank you.

- Choctaw, OK, USA

problem #19

May 092011


  • 61,444 miles


Driver was at a full stop at a traffic light preparing to make a left-hand turn onto a major 4-lane divided highway. Once the light turned green, the driver accelerated from full stop to about 10-15 mph and put the vehicle into a left-hand turn. After the initial acceleration, driver coasted through the actual turn. Coming out of the turn into the straightaway, the driver pressed down on the accelerator to continue accelerating into the travel lanes of the 4-lane divided highway. No response from the vehicle other than hearing the engine rev higher with depression of the gas pedal. No acceleration, no forward momentum other than the vehicle coasting. Driver was able to coast safely to a stop on the shoulder of the road. When trying to diagnose the problem, driver noted that the shifting gears did not result in any detectable gear shift noise or vibration, even when going to park or reverese. Pressing the gas pedal only resulted in revving the engine - this was true for all gear positions, including reverse. No acceleration was noted at all. Vehicle was towed to the nearest Ford dealership for diagnosis and repair. Dealership investigated and noted that the transmission had failed. When speaking to the service rep it was mentioned that the torque converter had failed and there were broken off metal parts in the collection pan of the case. The entire transmission assembly had to be replaced. It is fortunate that the failure occurred at low speed in a controlled intersection on a clear road without approaching traffic. With no ability to accelerate, the driver only had a small amount of forward momentum to work with to clear the travel lanes safely. If this failure occurred at highway speeds the outcome would not have been as positive.

- King George, VA, USA

problem #18

May 062011


  • 98,400 miles
Driving down rural highway, sudden loss of drive ability to vehicle, vehicle coasted to stop on shoulder of highway. Engine still had power. Towed van to Ford dealership, result of diagnosis and repair: Torque converter failed causing severe damage to transmission and radiator. Damage required new components to be installed.

- Madisonville, TX, USA

problem #17

Feb 042011


  • 81,587 miles
While turning left in a busy intersection, the engine lost all power. When I pressed the gas pedal, the engine revved, but would not engage. I coasted to the right side of the road and I put the vehicle in park. I tried all gears and the vehicle would not move. After having it towed to the nearest repair shop, the diagnosis was a failed transmission. The mechanic put in a new turbine shaft, pump assembly, pressure regulating solenoid and replaced the torque converter, transmission filter and fluids. It was a $1900 repair. Several auto mechanics I spoke with were well aware of the problem. This seemed unusual to me. They all said that this is a widely known problem with Ford Freestars at about 80,000 miles. I contacted Ford Motor Company. It denied any knowledge. I began researching. After reading several auto blogs and message boards, I learned that NHTSA had opened a investigation into this possible transmission defect.

- North Port, FL, USA

problem #16

May 012011


  • 59,000 miles
I was traveling on the New Jersey turnpike, heading North bound in the middle lane. I felt a sudden thump and then notice the mini van started to rev up to 4500 - 5000 RPM, which it has never done. I pull to the emergency pull off. The car would turn on and shift however, it would not move in forward or reverse.

- Waldwick, NJ, USA

problem #15

Apr 042011


  • 88,842 miles
This is the second issue I have had with water getting into the PCM(computer). The first occurrence (03/10) I had the car towed to the Ford dealership and was advises per the obdb scan codes that the transmission needed an overhaul. I told the dealership that I had just pulled the car out of my driveway and had no reverse and had slippage in other gears, it was raining very heavily that day- I asked the dealership if it could be an issue of moisture getting into PCM(computer), the dealership said that that was not the issue. I then had the car towed to a reputable transmission repair shop, there I was told that my car was the third to Freestar to have been brought in with an issue of water getting into the PCM(computer). The owner of the transmission shop was able to let the PCM dry out for three days and reinstall with no transmission issues. The second event (04/11) happened after several days of rain; while driving to work the instrument panel displayed the following lights: Check engine, brakes, ABS, fuel, battery, and trans axle light. The vehicle stalled out in the middle of traffic, and I had the car towed back to my mechanic who advised that the fuel pump and fuel pump module was defective and replaced. However, the trans axle light was still appearing intermittently. I took the vehicle back to transmission shop for second time, and through careful trouble isolation, they determined that the pcu was telling the torque converter to shift into fourth gear while coming to a stop. They allowed the pcu to dry out, but then determined that the transmission module had shorted out and that it need to be brought to dealership to reprogram pcu. I contacted the dealership who stated that they are not aware of any moisture/water issues with Freestars and I advised them that I am filing a complaint NHTSA and will also forward letter to Ford Motor Company.

- Cheltenham, PA, USA

problem #14

Apr 132011


  • 88,820 miles
Repeated problems with moisture/rain getting into PCM(computer). Car is back at transmission shop again due to car stalling during braking. I have had fuel pump/module replaced in error, due to false check engine codes due to moisture/rain getting into PCM, owner of transmission said issue is with water in PCM causing torque converter to engage during braking.

- Cheltenahm, PA, USA

problem #13

Jul 192010


  • 92,397 miles
Pulling away from a stop, there was a sudden lose of power to the wheels (the rpms started to climb, but there was no power to the wheels). After coming to a stop, tried to move the van in any gear ( forward, reverse or any lower gear), in any direction, but there was no movement. While there was one sound at the lose of power (a thump), there was no warning sounds, vibrations or other indicators of this coming problem. Torque converter was replaced by maker dealership (at owners expense).

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #12

Dec 262010


  • 74,136 miles
During normal operation of the vehicle, without warning, the vehicle lost all power as I pulled off the road. Ford diagnosed and recommended replacing the transmission. Transmission is currently being rebuilt by aamco transmissions.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #11

Nov 262010

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 106,000 miles
Coming into town in busy traffic, our vehicle suddenly slipped out of gear and then would not switch back into gear above 20mph. We were 30 miles or so from home, so we went at low speed out of town and down highway continuing to see if it would kick into gear. It did not go over 20 to 25 mph until about 10 miles from home, we stopped for gas and then when we started up again it shifted as normal into gears as needed for highway travel. Took it to mechanic and ended up needing new transmission. A rebuilt one cost us almost $3000. Would love to know if this will be a recall and our money refunded from Ford?

- Princeton, IN, USA

problem #10

Nov 212010


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The contact stated that the gear shift selector remained stuck. The contact called the dealer who offered no assistance. The manufacturer had not been notified. The vehicle had not been repaired. The current and failure mileages were approximately 62,000.

- Rocky Comfort, MO, USA

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