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 21 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #95

Dec 252008


  • 69,645 miles


On christmas, my husband, 3 year old and I were driving on the freeway to visit family an hour away. 20 minutes into the trip we decided to stop at a gas station to get a snack for my son, but once we pulled off we realized it was closed. While heading for the drive to get back to the highway, the engine suddenly just revved, not sending any power to the gas pedal in either drive or reverse. The car directly behind us luckily avoided rear-ending us. As we were stranded in a driveway with curbs on either side, we had to get out and divert several others to back away and use a different drive. Another van had to physically push us back down the drive into the meter parking lot so we were out of the way of more traffic. We then had to call my father (interrupting his christmas celebration) who lives 40 minutes away to pick us up and drive us back to our house so we could switch to our other car. We ended up getting to our christmas celebration over 2 hours late, and had to entertain a confused and tired 3 year old during that entire time! overall, we're thankful that we decided to pull off the freeway or else it would have blown while we were driving 70 mph--and who knows what might have happened. Our Freestar is only at 69,000 miles, and will need a new torque converter and rebuilt transmission, estimated at $2200, plus towing fees. Since this happened over the holidays, when garages are closed for many days, we also have to pay for a rental car for 2-3 days until our van is done next week. When my husband initially talked with our Ford dealer on 12/26, the service guy admitted that this is very common with this model. When I called the same place today (12/31), someone else told me curtly that he is "not aware that there are a high number of vehicles with this problem." He said that the Corp. Won't do anything for a car with "this kind of mileage" since we don't have the extended warranty. We're frustrated that this has been allowed to happen so often.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #94

Dec 282008


  • 66,000 miles
While traveling in our 2004 Ford Freestar minivan at 70 mph this past Sunday on I-95 N in Virginia, the transmission completely let go with no warning. Vehicle mileage is 66K. We were 1 hour into day 2 of our return home to boston after spending christmas week with relatives in Florida. We were on fairly flat terrain when I heard a high pitched whine. I looked down at the tachometer and realized the engine was revving to 6,000+. I thought maybe it had simply slipped out of gear, so I let off the gas, slipped it into 3rd, then 2nd. Nothing. I coasted across 2 lanes to get to the breakdown lane. Myself, my wife and three children waited for 1 hour for a tow truck. The weather was clear but it was on a busy, curved section of the highway. We all rode in the tow truck and spent the night in fredericksburg waiting for a mechanic Monday morning. We got home in a rental car last night. Repairs will be $2,500+ plus the cost of the rental car and extra hotel stay. The mechanic said it was the torque converter that failed, and that several Ford have had that same problem.

- Medford, MA, USA

problem #93

Dec 202008


  • 40,175 miles
Wife was driving the vehicle, with no warning the transmission stopped working.this required a rebuilt done costing $2,100..out of warranty at 41,000 miles.

- Commck, NY, USA

problem #92

Dec 202008


  • 64,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. While driving 35 mph, the vehicle lunged into gear and then stopped. The vehicle sounds as if it is in neutral when attempting to change gears. The failure occurs with any gear. The vehicle was taken to a repair shop and they stated that a new transmission was needed at the cost of $2,000. The VIN was unknown. The failure mileage was 64,000.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #91

Nov 222008


  • 80,000 miles
My 7 year old and I pulled out of a grocery store parking lot onto a busy road and the transmission completely died with no warning. Up to this point had no trouble. I was able to quickly coast us into the turning lane before being hit from behind. The repair work has not been completed at this time. I was informed a piece in the transmission is broken, and that it was a common problem with the vehicle. The cost of repairs will be 3500.

- Saint Pauls, NC, USA

problem #90

Dec 102008


  • 87,500 miles
Our 2004 Ford Freestar transmission just stopped, as if it were in neutral, as we drove.

- Charlestown, IN, USA

problem #89

Jan 182008


  • 44,000 miles


We own a 2004 Freestar that has had the transmission replaced in Feb 2008 with less than 43,000 miles on it. In July 2008 we spend $450 on repairing part of the breaking system, and this week the van would not go into reverse and did not have any pull to it when it finally did after several attempts. Once I got out of the parking space, I got an estimate of a block and onto a busy highway, only to have the van stall on me, almost causing a wreck. The dealership and Ford paid for the transmission to be replaced, we paid for the caliper, drum, rotor, and break pad to be replaced on the front driver side brake. When having the van checked out this week, we were told yesterday that they did diagnostics on it, and the only thing that came back was a cam sensor and that there was probably moisture involved that would cause the stalling. Nothing was repaired, and this could happen again, esp during the winter months, when winter driving is already dangerous. There is also an issue with the track control. It works most of the time but not all of the time. The light comes on at least 2 time per month. The reason can't be found for it. Ford needs to be made to do recalls on these vans for the safety of the owners.

- Tell City, IN, USA

problem #88

Dec 242006


  • miles
Does anyone read these? my daughter posted a complaint over a year ago. I just read through a number of complaints about the 2004 Ford Freestar's transmission problems. My son-in-law purchased this van for my daughter for mother's day of 2006 because they were expecting another son and outgrowing their Jeep Grand Cherokee. In the winter of 2006 it started acting up. We had to go get them on christmas eve as they were broke down on the side of a country road on their way to our house for christmas. It was diagnosed a crank shaft sensor. After coming up with the money to replace that, it worked fine for a while. Started again. They were told they most have got a faulty crank shaft sensor and replaced it again. Some time later, it started again. They took it to a transmission specialist that replaced some more sensors. It ran fine all summer. Winter of 2007 started again. Replacing more sensors. Again this winter, it is doing the same thing. This time it was diagnosed as the ABS box on the undercarriage of the van. $400 for the part alone. My daughter was so excited because it ran better than it ever had and they thought they figured out the problem. Now it is doing it again. It sometimes will not go in reverse. Acts like it is taking off in 3rd gear. Stalls out. This is their only vehicle. He is laid off. She is on the verge of losing her job due to attendance as a result of transportation issues. They are struggling like the rest of us to keep their home our foreclosure and their utilities on. The sad thing, they are still paying payments on this van! someone have a heart here! do something! it is the first Ford they have ever owned. My son-in-law says he will buy foreign from now on. I own a Ford also, I will never own another one either. They have contacted the Ford dealership as well as the manufacturer and got no response. This is how they treat their customers. I guess they deserve to go in bankrupt in this economy!

- Centerburg, OH, USA

problem #87

Sep 202008


  • 60,000 miles
My van started acting up at about 60,000 miles. The transmission skips heavily when driving and no one can figure it out. I'll be driving and all of a sudden is like jumps or stutters its crazy.

- East Jordan, MI, USA

problem #86

Dec 152008


  • 60,000 miles
Transmission skips or slips with only 60,000 miles on van.

- Dover, FL, USA

problem #85

Dec 122008


  • 95,000 miles


Sudden failure of the transmission on 2004 Ford Freestar at 70 mph on interstate. No prior warning. Total replacement of transmission required. Vehicle has 95,000 miles.

- Crestwood, KY, USA

problem #84

Dec 112008


  • 39,900 miles
Vehicle is on 4 years old with less than 40,000 miles and the transmission failed while driving. Lost steering control while driving.

- Lombard, IL, USA

problem #83

Nov 262008


  • 68,845 miles
1. my wife was backing out of a parking space and the van would not go backward or foreword any more. 2. this failure was catastrophic causing the vehicle to be immobile. Fortunately it occurred in a parking lot and not on the highway in heavy traffic. Vehicle was towed to shop where it was determined that the torque converter failed damaging the front pump. 3. transmission was completely cleaned and rebuilt and a rebuilt torque converter was installed. Old part was exchanged for rebuilt one. The mileage of the vehicle was 68845.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #82

Dec 052008


  • 111,000 miles
I was driving with my two small children in the car and was doing 60km and my car seemed to have lost it's acceleration, so lucky enough I got to the side of the road and put the vehicle in park and then back into drive, but the vehicle would not move, then I tried reverse but no movement, car was still running but would not go anywhere, so got road side assistance and they took the car to a garage, have been told that it is my torque converter and needs a new one, so just before christmas got a big pay out, great just what I need. But I am so upset as my car is only 4 years old and I have only had it a year and a half and this has happened, Ford will not cover me through the warranty which I am so mad about, as you are only covered to 100,000km on the power train and I have done 117,000. I have read so many complaints regarding this problem with these vehicles and am so upset, I think Ford's should do a recall on this problem as it is so dangerous, driving and then the car just stops in the middle of the road, if they do not do anything then there will be an accident one day and I hope that no one gets hurt out there. So Ford I really think you should stand up and recall the cars with this problem and help people before it is too late.

- Aylmer, 00, USA

problem #81

Dec 102008


  • miles
2004 Ford Freestar has been in to the dealer for repair 4 times since April 2008 for repair. An intermittent problem of hesitations, stalling and slippage. I had also had the car in for a tuneup at a private service company. Twice when I took it in I was told they couldn't find anything wrong. Replaced a camshaft sensor worked for a while. Today stalled was able to start but van would not go in forward or reverse. Shut the car off. Tried again was able to return home with the van chugging the whole way. The rpms were going crazy. I had it towed in once again to the dealer and I am waiting to hear from them. After seeing online the number of complaints on this vehicle with similar problems I feel I need to report as well. I think a recall is in order from Ford. The have also in this mess replaced the computer. I would appreciate your assistance in looking into this matter. Had I been driving on the highway today and lost the transmission I hate to think of what type of accident may have occurred. Thanks

- Wyoming, MI, USA

problem #80

Nov 272008


  • 87,000 miles
2004 Ford Freestar had the transmission overheat message on dash. Next thing I know, no acceleration. Engine smoking, left stranded on thanksgiving eve on I 81 with only 87,000 miles, this is not acceptable. Van needs a completely new transmission.

- Jarrettsville, MD, USA

problem #79

Nov 262008


  • 75,000 miles
2004 Ford Freestar-transmission failed @ 65 mph without any warning, just quit. We were driving on the mass turnpike ( I90 East ) @ night w/ cruise control on and suddenly the care revved to 5000 RPM. We pulled over to find that there were no gears, no parking gear, reverse or forward gears. Dealership says transmission has to come out. The fluid level was fine prior to the trip. No indication of any trouble leading up the event.

- Pittsfore, NY, USA

problem #78

Nov 222008


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. While driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle spontaneously jerked forward. The dealer could not duplicate the failure or provide a remedy. Months later, while driving approximately 30 mph, the RPM's dramatically increased. The vehicle then went into a neutral state before shifting into gear, which caused the vehicle to jerk forward again. The dealer stated that the transmission needed to be replaced at the cost of $1,400. The vehicle has not been repaired and the contact is in the process of notifying the manufacturer. The failure mileage was 30,000 and current mileage was 55,000.

- Franklin, MI, USA

problem #77

Jan 022007


  • 32,000 miles
04 Ford Freestar tranny went out at 32000 miles. Then again at 69000 miles. There are almost 400 people with the same mini van that are having the same problem. See link below:

- Franklin, MI, USA

problem #76

Nov 172008


  • 69,631 miles
My wife had just turned through a traffic signal, and, without warning, the transmission completely disengaged. Fortunately, she was able to coast off of the road and out of traffic without incident. The van had to be towed to a transmission repair shop where we learned that the converter had to be replaced because it was "stripped".

- Kansas City, MO, USA

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