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:
3 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
77,610 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Freestar Owner Comments (Page 17 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #175

Jun 072009


  • 69,989 miles


I have 2004 Ford Freestar. This minivan was traveling 72 mph at highway 75. I was surround by fast highway traveling cars and trucks. This van without any warning lost propulsion. The transmission was not working suddenly at highway speed. I almost have an accident. The transmission repair cost $2748 to fixed.

- Chattanooga, TN, USA

problem #174

Nov 152008


  • 101,000 miles
I was driving on the highway with my 2 children in November 2008 and all of a sudden with no indication of a problem my van came to a stop. No lights came on or no wired noises happen to let me know that something was going on. I had to have my transmission rebuilt. In which I paid $2300 for.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #173

Aug 222009


  • 120,000 miles
Driving my 2004 Ford Freestar and it suddenly lost drive. The transmission would not engage to drive forward nor in reverse. Was traveling at 40 mph and the vehicle quickly started decelerating and had to pull over to side of road due to no engagement of the transmission going forward or in reverse.

- Merrifield, MN, USA

problem #172

Oct 282008


  • 66,643 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. When attempting to place the vehicle in drive it stalled and the contact was unable to drive in reverse. The check engine light was illuminated. The dealer inspected the vehicle and stated that water was leaking into the PCM. The contact is responsible for the repair cost of $873.23. One month later, while driving 5 mph the failure recurred. The dealer stated that water and oil were in the main connector air box caused the failure. The contact was responsible for paying $888.27 to repair the vehicle. One month later while driving the vehicle stalled. The third duplicate failure, the technician determined that when the vehicle was repaired it was not done according to the service bulletin stating that the cowl gill would have to be replaced. The contact was responsible for paying $751.23 to repair the vehicle according to the service bulletin. The manufacturer stated that there was no current recall and no compensation would be offered; however, the contact received a refund for the first two repairs. The failure mileage was 66,643 and the current mileage was 75,000.

- The Villages, FL, USA

problem #171

Aug 132009


  • 63,000 miles
Without any warning, the transmission stopped working on an average drive to wal-mart. While driving in traffic using the cruise control, the engine speed increased and engine seemed separated from transmission (no power to wheels). The van coasted into nearest parking lot and was towed to sanders Ford in jacksonville nc. The dealership is currently working on the transmission, but doesn't know if our extended warranty will cover it! this failure came with no warning during good weather on a short drive. 2004 Ford Freestar with 62000 miles. This is unsatisfactory reliability and is a safety hazard.

- Camp Lejeune, NC, USA

problem #170

Aug 162009


  • 47,000 miles
I was driving my Freestar on the highway, August 16 about 1:30 P.M. coming back from a camping trip. I had four children with me. Friends of ours were driving ahead of us in a second car and my husband was on a third car a few cars behind me in the middle lane. I was driving 60 mph when all of a sudden I felt the car was loosing speed. I noticed the RPM needle jumped from 2 to 3 & 4. I knew something was wrong and immediately put my emergency lights on and pulled over to the side of the road. My husband had just passed our car, and pulled over as he saw my emergency lights through his rear mirror. As soon as I pulled over, my van came to a complete stop. I changed my gear to park, waited a second, placed the gear on drive, and pressed the gas paddle but the van didn't move. Our friends in the first car came back around to assist us. After ½ hour of phone calls and trying to figure out what to do under 90 degree weather, I switched cars with my husband and drove the kids home. My husband ended up renting a U-haul with a trailer and bringing the van home, approx 90 miles, which was much cheaper than renting a tow truck. A friend mechanic came to see the van yesterday, Aug. 17 and said it might be the pump or shaft of the transmission (van has only 47,000 miles). We are in the process of contacting shops to service our van--don¿T even what to think what this is going to cost us.

- Whiting, IN, USA

problem #169

Aug 162009


  • 44,000 miles


I purchased a 2004 Ford Freestar from rosen Nissan kian in milwaukee, wi in March of 2008 with 15,000 miles on it. On Friday, August 14th,2009 I received a warning light that flashed indicating a transaxel problem. My owners manual stated that if this light remains on to take it in for service immediately. Because it did not remain on, I was going to take my vehicle in on Monday. However, on Sunday, August 16th 2008 my vehicle would not move. I had the car towed to a Ford dealer where they informed me that my transmission was gone and the repair would run $3,500.

- Saint Francis, WI, USA

problem #168

Aug 172009


  • 77,769 miles
We were driving in the outskirts of town at about 40 mph or so, getting ready to slow down when I tried to accelerate but I couldn't. at first, I thought I had not brakes but I was able to brake. I parked the vehicle and tried to shift the gear in reverse to see if it would work. The vehicle was running but I could not drive or reverse. I turned the vehicle off and I restarted it but it wouldn't budge. My husband & I had to push the car to the side and wait for someone to tow us back to town. The engine was still working as we left the air conditioner on due to the heat outside. We had recently had the alternator repaired, now the mechanic we had look at our vehicle stated that the transmission is no longer working. This vehicle has 77769 miles. There was no warning that the transmission had given out. No noise or warning to let us know that it would leave us stranded in the middle of nowhere. From what I have read online, we are not the only people who this has happened to. Our vehicle is now no longer under warranty. I have the vehicle parked and it will probably remained parked until I can afford to purchase a new transmission. I am still paying for this vehicle.

- El Centro, CA, USA

problem #167

Aug 112009


  • 106,000 miles
I was driving my 2004 Ford Freestar van 55mph on busy highway when all of the sudden transmission gears apparently disengaged--my foot was on gas pedal, but vehicle would not accelerate though engine revved. After coasting a mile or so, I was able to pull safely off the road (I had my young daughter in van with me). I phoned a friend who contacted mechanic shop and dispatched tow truck. Upon investigation by mechanic, it was determined that torque converter had failed. I was informed that this was a common problem with Ford vans and trucks, and proceeded to investigate myself and found hundreds of complaints on the internet by consumers who had experienced the same problem, some of whom were extremely fortunate in that they were not involved in what could have been serious accidents. I feel that this is a serious problem which demands immediate action to ensure that other Ford van/truck owners are informed of potential problem with torque converter/transmission and dangerous outcome. Thank you.

- Chadbourn, NC, USA

problem #166

Aug 102009


  • 78,000 miles
Driving out of town yesterday and 4 miles from home with young grandchildren in car I accelerated slightly after exiting a curve and the engine just revved up like I put the trans in neutral. We coasted to a stop, unable to move frontwards or backwards and had to sit in the sun and wait for the tow truck in 95 degree heat. I drive like a grandpa, never accelerating hard, never braking hard unless its an emergency. I've never even had the accelerator to the floor, ever. I don't know what part failed yet as it is in the shop being tore down but the way it acted I would have to guess the input shaft, especially after reading many of the Freestar forums with people describing the same instant failure. The problem sounds like an underenginered part, not hard enough material to handle the torque of the motor but it is being repaired with the same weak link which is just going to fail again and again. I will know soon when an adjustor looks at the problem to see if it qualifies for esp warranty. The van has 78000 miles with coverage until 2012, 106000 miles.

- Kirkland, IL, USA

problem #165

Aug 032009


  • 94,000 miles


Transmission 2nd and 3rd gear slipping.

- Rock Hill, SC, USA

problem #164

Aug 092009


  • 60,000 miles
Late last night, my family and I were driving home when my 2004 Ford Freestar went from 45 mph to 0 mph. It would not go into gear. My husband and I sat on the side of road at 1 a.M. with our three small children waiting for a cab. From what I have read, this is a common occurrence. Please do something about this. I can only thank god my husband was driving and knew what was going on. Had it been me, I may have panicked causing an accident.

- Valparaiso, IN, USA

problem #163

Feb 202009


  • 101,750 miles
Transmission failed. After reading a lot of post this is a issue that Ford knows about and will not do anything about. I took it to the local Ford dealer and was told I needed to flush my fluid. I did and it was still acting up and they said they could find nothing wrong. A couple of moths later the transmission went out. I was able to drive it to the shop and the guy said he was surprised it was even driving the way it was. Fluid was full of metal and had water in it. They question if the Ford dealer even did the flush because it was so bad.

- Greenville, MI, USA

problem #162

May 222009

Freestar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,300 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. While at a stop light and proceeding to accelerate, the vehicle failed to gain speed. In addition, the vehicle drove into reverse without being in the reverse position. After switching into the drive position, the contact managed to get the vehicle to move forward. He did not notice any lights illuminated or warnings prior to the failures. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop and the mechanic stated that the power train control module was failing due to water damage to the system. The vehicle was repaired at the cost of $186. The following day, the check engine light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and they stated that the transmission temperature sensor was failing. The vehicle was repaired at the cost of $507.84. One month later, the wiper washer motor failed. The contact repaired the vehicle himself at the cost of $100. The manufacturer stated that no compensation would be provided because the vehicle was out of warranty. The failure mileage was 52,000 and current mileage was 53,000.**mileage is 5,300, smch 8-10-09 updated 8/24/09 water entered the PCM. There were 2 codes on the vehicle that could not be cleared; which was the transmission fluid temperature sensor and the output shaft sensor. It was determined the tft sensor was bad. Water entered into a module that should have been sealed at the factory. The water may have shorted out the sensor and module. Water may also have entered the wiper motor which caused it to malfunction. Updated 08/26/09

- Tampa , FL, USA

problem #161

Jun 302009


  • 92,032 miles
I'm a single mom of 4 children and one on the way. I am considered a high risk pregnancy. I bought a minivan from the malloy dealership in manassas a little over a month ago. A couple days after I bought it I took it back up to the dealership because of a problem with hesitation in the van and one of the doors as well as the window. I had also told them about the crack in the windshield and a strap on the backseat that was broken. The comment I received from one of their sales managers was if I wanted a new vehicle I should have bought a new one. I took the van back up there again for hesitation and the man said that he found nothing wrong with the van, they checked the spark plugs. Today I took the van back up there because of the hesitation, miss in the transmission or wherever the problem is coming from. I had went shopping for a trip me and my kids were to be taking in 2 weeks to West Virginia, the van kept hesitating, shook and then locked up on me. The steering wheel locked up to where I barely got it off the highway. My kids were screaming and myself and my mother were scared to pieces. I gave these people cash for my vehicle, so I paid it off when I purchased it. I should not have to worry about me and my families safety in my vehicle, but am afraid to take it even 3 miles down the street. They are saying they found nothing wrong with it, but the van kept acting up today all the way home from the dealership. I don't know what else to do about this situation, I even had to replace the windshield that was cracked when I bought the van. I used my money I had received from a settlement from being permanently injured on my job almost 2 years ago. Please is there something you can do to help? I wanted to take my kids on their first vacation ever but am so afraid to drive the van that I just paid over $8000 for that is a piece of junk. I am out my money and the vehicle is unsafe to drive myself and my children around in. The dealership has been no help.

- Manassas Park, VA, USA

problem #160

Aug 012009


  • 70,983 miles
2004 Ford Freestar, 70,983 miles, regularly serviced. I was stopped at a stop sign, went to accelerate and the van went about 30 feet and the transmission failed, then engine revved as if it were in neutral. There was no power or engagement of the transmission in either forward gears or reverse. There was no prior warning/signs of potential issues with the transmission or drive train. Fortunately, I was able to coast to a sidestreet and put my family out of harms way.

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #159

Jul 132009


  • 108,000 miles
Transmission failure. Fluid levels were ok but overheated and stopped working properly. Cost $3800 to repair at a dishonest shop in poughkeepsie, New York.

- Powder Springs, GA, USA

problem #158

Jun 302009


  • 61,000 miles
There were no events leading up to the failure. The transmission of our 2004 Ford Freestar minivan traveling at highway speed 65 mph, during rush hour with three young children inside, simply disengaged. The engine continued to run but the van wouldn't engage in any gear. This had never happened before, and the consequence is that the care in not running. The van is currently in the repair shop and we are looking at repair costs between 2 and $3,000.

- Cottage Grove, WI, USA

problem #157

Jul 192009


  • 98,200 miles
We were 500 from home when our 2004 Ford Freestar had to be pushed off of a highway. With no warning, it would not move..right in the middle of the roadway it was like we slipped into neutral forever...had to have it towed from the roadside.. after two weeks we're still waiting to hear how much the torque converter/transmission repair will cost.

- Fremont, OH, USA

problem #156

Jul 182009


  • 65,223 miles
I own a 2004 Ford Freestar minivan. I was stopped at a stop sign and when I stepped on the gas, the van went approx. 30 feet before the engine revved up and the van wouldn't go any further. I had just gotten off of the freeway right before this happened. This could have been disastrous if it would have happened on the freeway. It would not engage in any gear at all. I had it towed to the nearest Ford dealer and was told that the torque converter had to be replaced. I only had 65,200 miles on it and I just had the transmission fluid changed at 62,000 miles. I looked on-line about this and I found alot of other complaints for this exact same problem on these vans. How many complaints do you guys have to receive before you realize this van is a lemon and a danger to it's owners? Ford should be made to put out a recall on these vans. Ford is ripping people off right and left and they should have to pay for their defective vehicles.

- Mt. Gilead, OH, USA

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