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 19 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #135

Apr 112009


  • 71,000 miles


We have a 2004 Ford Freestar that the transmission died on the highway. There was no warning and no indication that the transmission needed repair. This was an extremely dangerous situation. Thankfully, my husband was able to pull over without getting into an accident. I'm not so sure if I was driving I would have been able to maneuver as well as him. We have heard that this has happened to many other 2004 & 2005 Freestars and believe they are defective.

- Wallingford, CT, USA

problem #134

Mar 152009


  • 71,000 miles
The issue I am having is with a 2004 Ford Freestar. I was driving on I35E, in St paul, mn, at about 70-75 mph when without warning the transmission quit. I would push the pedal and the engine would rev up, but the van didn't move. I was in the left lane and had to move over to the next off ramp, while the van was slowing down. We were almost rearended twice while trying to move over. I was driving and had my 2 kids and my wife (who was pregnant at the time) in the van with me. It happened in March, so it was still cold out. I had this van for about 3 years now, and never had an issue with it. I still like the van and am still a Ford guy. I am just disappointed with the fact that they won't resolve the issue.

- Eagan, MN, USA

problem #133

Apr 082009


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. While driving 55 mph, the contact heard a thumping noise. The transmission switched into neutral and the vehicle suddenly stopped moving. The vehicle would not restart and had to be towed to the contact's residence. The dealer stated that there was no recall and they were not performing any repairs under warranty. The contact would have to pay for the repair. The dealer also stated that this was a common issue with these vehicles when they reach 35,000 miles and above. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Celebration, FL, USA

problem #132

Jan 292009


  • 39,000 miles


The transmission on my 2004 Ford Freestar with only 60,000 km's failed on a busy Iowa interstate on our trip to Florida. I had to push the van by hand to get it to the exit lane with vehicles passing by at full interstate speeds. It was fortunate for my wife and I that this incident did not end in a tragedy. The van was towed to a repair shop where the transmission was removed and sent to a transmission repair shop. A new torque converter was installed and after a 2 day delay we were back on the road. When I returned back to Canada I contacted Ford Canada in an effort to be reimbursed for the $1,500 Canadian that I spent for repairs. Ford Canada refused to honor the claim for the following reasons. The repair was not done by a Ford dealer and I failed to have the 50,000 km inspection performed on this vehicle. When I checked the internet I find that this vehicle has a bad history of failure due to faulty torque converters. This is a problem that I am sure Ford is fully aware of. The transmission shop that repaired this transmission for me used upgraded parts as they have experienced this problem on many of the 2004 Freestars. The warranty on the repaired transmission is now from another parts provider. I believe that if I had this vehicle repaired at a Ford dealer they would have installed the same replacement parts that failed prematurely on this van. I know that I am in a no win battle with Ford. What does bother me is how unconcerned Ford is towards their customers. During my discussion with the Ford service representative there was never any type of an expressed apology for the stress my wife and I experienced during this incident. This will be my last Ford.

- Esterhazy Saskatchewan Canada, 00, USA

problem #131

May 022009


  • 80,000 miles
2004 Ford Freestar transmission just died with no warning after reading a little into it there are hundreds of others that have the same problem is Ford doing something about this. My wife and I need help with this if we cant get this resolved with Ford we cant work and that would put us and our two kids on the street please help, thank you!

- Egg Harbor City, NJ, USA

problem #130

Apr 262009


  • 69,000 miles
While trying to get out of a shopping mall parking lot, the van suddenly felt like it was in neutral. I checked the gear shift needle and it was on drive. As the van slowly rolls through the lot I tried the reverse gear and nothing happened. None of the gears were working. I had the van towed from randolph, NJ to my mechanic in East rutherford, NJ. Mechanic determined the problem to be the transmission...I need a new one. It will cost me about $3200. I still owe money on this purchase. The value as of today is less than what I owe. It's a good thing this happened in a parking lot instead of the road/highway. I had my 2 kids with me plus 3 other children. How many more incidents and complaints like this need to happen before someone realizes there's something wrong with this model from Ford.

- Jersey City, NJ, USA

problem #129

Apr 282009


  • 93,500 miles


Wife was driving down route 15 from pa into md in our 2004 Freestar. As she was traveling at 55-60 miles an hour, the van suddenly seemed as if it went into neutral. She was able to get over to the birm and stopped the vehicle. The transmission, with out any warning, failed. The van had to be towed as it would not go into drive or reverse. It could have been a serious accident on a very busy highway!!!!

- Gettysburg, PA, USA

problem #128

Apr 262009


  • 49,800 miles
We have a 2004 Ford Freestar van. On Sunday, Apr. 26, 2009, while driving home, the transmission blew. Luckily, we were able to get onto the shoulder of the highway. The van will require the replacement of the transmission at a cost of over $3000. This van has less than 50,000 miles on it. Ford will not cover any part of the replacement. I have found that many, many people have had the same experience. Is Ford waiting for people to get killed in this vehicle?

- Bemidji, MN, USA

problem #127

Apr 242009


  • 67,000 miles
The automatic transmission on my 2004 Ford Freestar failed suddenly on Friday, April 24 on a busy city street. I was left with two gears: Neutral and park. After a near collision with a car swerving to avoid my stalled car, I asked the police for help in alerting traffic until I could get towed. The minivan had about 67000 miles, with no prior transmission problems. My Ford dealer diagnosed the problem as a failure of some major internal parts in the transmission. My extended warranty company denied my claim because I had not changed the transmission fluid, even though the Ford scheduled maintenance guide indicated that only a fluid level check was required. The total cost of repairs was about $ 2500. It is apparent to me that this failure has absolutely nothing to do with whether the fluid was changed or not.

- Hendersonville, TN, USA

problem #126

Apr 152009


  • 61,919 miles
Was traveling from New Jersey to South Carolina and stopped in stanton, va. Approx 400 miles from home.after getting fuel, the van would not accelerate in forward or reverse. Had van towed to a Ford dealership and was informed the transmission needed replacing at a cost of $3000. The van only had 62K miles on it and is maintained regularly. The fluid was changed at 37K miles as per Ford recommendation. Did not have any prior warning up to that point of any problem.

- Jackson, NJ, USA

problem #125

Apr 222009


  • 79,000 miles


My 2004 Ford Freestar suddenly wouldn't go into gear. The transmission was bad. I have taken excellent care of this vehicle and there was no indication that anything was wrong. It just suddenly wouldn't go into gear, even though I had just driven it 15 min. Before with no problem! I have read many complaints about the Freestars and other Ford vehicles and hope that a recall will be issued.

- Columbia City , IN, USA

problem #124

Apr 202009


  • 121,000 miles
I was driving to work, and without warning, my car went into neutral. I was on a major highway and was lucky I didn't get rear-ended. I didn't have any warning signs! the transmission fluid was even full. I was able to coast into the median, but my car was over 50 miles away from home. Towing it is going cost me about $200. I am so frustrated!

- Amanda, OH, USA

problem #123

Apr 042009


  • 58,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. While driving approximately 35 mph on normal road conditions, the idle speed increased and the vehicle accelerated unexpectedly. Suddenly, the vehicle stalled. The engine restarted and resumed normal operation. In addition, the vehicle failed to operate intermittently when shifted into reverse. The engine warning light illuminated on the instrument panel and remained lit until the engine was turned off. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for inspection and they stated that water was leaking from the front windshield, which damaged the computerized system. The vehicle was repaired. On a separate occasion, the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and independent mechanic for identical failures. The vehicle is in the process of being repaired. The failure and current mileages were 58,000.

- Milddletown, DE, USA

problem #122

Jul 202008


  • 76,000 miles
While driving on straight and level highway at @ 50 mph experienced sudden transmission failure in 2004 Ford Freestar; basic symptom was sense that transmission was suddenly shifted into neutral. After pulling off highway and coming to full stop was unable to get transmission to respond in any gear setting. Was required to call a tow truck; repair required full transmission replacement.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #121

Apr 042009


  • 90,000 miles
At freeway speeds of 60 mph, transaxle light begins to flash on and off on my 2004 Ford Freestar. Ford service told me that if the light only flashes and does not remain lit, don't bother bringing it in because they will not be able to diagnose a problem. On two occasions, the vehicle lost power of acceleration. Rpms increased to 4,000 but vehicle forward motion slowed to a stop. Both occasions were on the interstate.

- Fort Mill, SC, USA

problem #120

Apr 102009


  • 149,000 miles
I was driving down the highway and the transmission in my 2004 Ford Freestar dropped into neutral. Towed it to Ford dealership and they said they transmission was gone. I have done some research and it seems that there is a problem with the transmission that Ford is using in these Freestars. There are to small and the vains on the torque converters are shearing off, due to the strain on them. I do not understand why this is not being investigate by NHTSA. This a legal complaint and it seems that you all are just closing your eyes to the matter. It shouldn't take someone getting killed before it is investigated, but I guess that is what you all are waiting for. I know there has been several complaints filed about the same problem. I hope NHTSA is not being bought off by the car manufacturers.

- Thomasville, GA, USA

problem #119

Mar 292009


  • 74,562 miles
My 2004 Ford Freestar van with about 75,000 miles on it stopped working while I was driving about 55mph. The car did not die but it just would not drive and started making a wining sound. There was no warning, no light on the dash. It just stopped. Had I been in traffic or on the interstate, there could have been a major accident. Ford will not pay for the problem because the warranty is out, but I am not the only one driving a Freestar with this problem. I believe a recall is needed on Ford Freestar vans made in 2004.

- Abbeville, LA, USA

problem #118

Mar 202009


  • 82,000 miles
While accelerating onto the freeway, the transmission failed completely. We were forced to coast off of the freeway into an abandoned weigh-station. The transmission was completely inoperable as no gear would work. Vehicle towed to the dealership where it was purchased, and we are forced to replace the entire transmission unit at a cost of $3500. Vehicle has just over 82,000 miles on the odometer.

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #117

Mar 132009


  • 70,000 miles
This is the second time in two years that the transmission has inexplicably gone out in my 2004 Ford Freestar van. This time it had been parked overnight in my driveway and my wife started it and tried to leave for work and the vehicle would not engage any forward or reverse gears when moving gear shift lever. Early morning, cool and dry.

- Missouri City, TX, USA

problem #116

Mar 162007


  • 38,000 miles
Van had 38,000 miles at time of incident. Traveling on vacation with family and had been driving non-stop for about five hours. Weather was cool and dry, night time, and cruise set on 65 mph. Dropped out of overdrive to pass a vehicle and transmission felt like it slipped into neutral. Coasted to stop and could not shift into any forward or reverse gears. Towed vehicle to Ford dealer and replaced (what I was told) entire transmission. Service advisor told me that transmission pan was full of metal shavings and torque converter had sheered all the blades. Problem recurred almost two years later at 70,000 miles when shifting to reverse while parked in driveway... but that's another complaint. Dupliate to 10262072*smch

- Missouri City, TX, USA

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