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 4 of 25)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #435

Apr 182011


  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. The contact stated that while driving approximately 65 mph, the vehicle suddenly stalled and she couldn't accelerate. There were no warning lights on the instrumental panel prior or after the failure. The driver then coasted to the side of the highway. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who advised her that it might be the transmission. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance but they advised her that there were no recalls on the vehicle. The failure and current mileages were approximately 70,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Lowell, MA, USA

problem #434

Apr 132011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
I was driving down the highway and the transmission just suddenly went out. It was like the vehicle was stuck in neutral. I have no power to the wheels; forward or reverse.

- Baton Rouge, LA, USA

problem #433

Mar 172011


  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. The contact stated that the vehicle would surge forward between one and two rpms. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they replaced the ball bearings and hoses. Six days later, while attempting to decelerate, the contact noticed that the check engine, battery, and oil warning lights illuminated when the vehicle stalled. She was able to restart the vehicle; however, it stalled again and she was unable to place the vehicle in reverse. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic who performed a diagnostic test which determined that the torque converter and vacuum had failed. The vehicle was towed to a dealer. The current and failure mileage was 85,000.

- Cary, IL, USA

problem #432

Mar 192011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles


I was driving at 35 mph and went to speed up coming out of town. When I went to accelerate, my rpms revved upto 5 and my speed drastically declined to where I had no power and could not go in drive or reverse. I had T call a tow truck to take van back to town. Have been told torque converter is bad and that transmission needs to be replaced. No signs of anything leading up to the car not driving.

- Tuscola, IL, USA

problem #431

Mar 202011


  • 159,750 miles
2004 Ford Freestar transmission has gone out again. Second transmission trans was replaced by Ford just after we bought it. This is the second time it has left us stranded.

- Fowlerville, MI, USA

problem #430

Feb 222011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. While driving approximately 10 mph, she heard a loud bang. The vehicle lost all power and would not accelerate. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where the torque converter was replaced. In addition, five other unknown components that failed due to the torque converter were replaced. The failure and current mileage was 73,000. Updated updated 5/2/11 updated 05/13/11

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #429

Mar 102011


  • 121,000 miles


Had transmission fixed in Jan 2010 and my transmission just went out again March 10 2011... I have had nothing but problems with this vehicle ranging from broken motor mounts, tranny, A/C, radiator, spark plugs 02 sensors and so forth. This is the 5th time I have reported on here. Please do something before it kills more people. On top of this, I was driving and the dvd player fell out of the ceiling landing on my child's legs causing bruises.

- Jacksonville, NC, USA

problem #428

Mar 052011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles
On 3/5/11, my husband, myself, and 2 of our children were traveling uphill on route 79 in upstate NY. Suddenly our 2004 Ford Freestar minivan acted as though it were in neutral. My husband pushed on the gas pedal, the engine revved, but the car just wouldn't go. We had to coast backwards down the hill and into someone's driveway. Fortunately, it was the driveway of a local mechanic who quickly diagnosed the problem as transmission failure. Upon researching this issue, I found on www. that hundreds of others had experienced the exact same problem at about the same mileage (ours is approximately 72K). I was hoping to find that this would be a recall issue, but apparently hundreds of complaints just isn't enough.

- Lansing, NY, USA

problem #427

Apr 242010

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 68,500 miles
Bought van with 68,000 miles and a week later with 68,500 miles the vehicle lost power while driving with no warning...had to replace transmission $2900.......I would like all of that back....and so would everyone else that has had this happen to them....thanks

- Hatboro, PA, USA

problem #426

Feb 272011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 88,000 miles
My 2004 Ford Freestar had a catastrophic transmission failure while I was on the freeway with my family in the car. My car has only 88K miles and gave absolutely no indication of anything mechanically wrong prior to the failure. I have since learned that this is an extremely common problem for Ford Freestar owners; I am appalled that the N.H.T.S.a. has done absolutely nothing about this. Ford has made a lemon with an extremely dangerous safety issue; we were fortunate to have made it across five lanes of busy highway before our car came to a complete stop. This is unacceptable. Ford needs to make restitution to its owners. It is unacceptable that you, the entity that is supposed to protect consumers, is doing nothing.

- Lake Elsinore, CA, USA

problem #425

Apr 032008

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles


April 2008. Driving home from sisters wedding in Canada to North Carolina. Torque converter came apart and damaged the transmission, (97000 miles). New transmission install at aamco in manchester, ct. 65000 miles later (November 2011) that transmission fails. Had it checked out and water was getting into the transmission. No visible signs as to how.

- Merry Hill, NC, USA

problem #424

Feb 252011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
Driving to work the transmission in 2004 Freestar with only 78,000 miles catastrophically failed without any warning, stranding the vehicle in the southbound lane of traffic on a rural highway creating traffic hazards for myself and other motorists. The vehicle had to be towed to a private transmission repair shop for replacement of failed transmission components and a complete transmission rebuild. The local Ford dealer could not accommodate repairs because they did not have the necessary parts available due to "national backorder" of the parts. Several phone calls to transmission shops and a google search revealed that the 2004-7 Ford Freestars are well known for" sudden catastrophic failures" due to inferior torque converters, input shafts and pumps. This is clearly a design defect since most automobiles and vans in this class do not have histories of large numbers of sudden failures, especially at such low miles. Ford needs to accept this design flaw and honor recall repairs to customers.

- Westfield, MA, USA

problem #423

Jan 132011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,576 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. While accelerating from a stop light at approximately 5 mph the contact heard a clanging noise in the front end of the vehicle and then it stalled. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where the contact was told that the spline was stripped and the torque converter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 82,576 and the current mileage was 86,000. Updated 03/24/11 the dealer found the transmission pump shaft stripped out of place. Updated 05/05/11

- Luck, WI, USA

problem #422

Feb 172011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 93,682 miles
2004 Ford Freestar transmission failure. Ford service manager stated a substance -appears to be water-enter through transaxle vent. Vent is suppose to be cover by a cowl grille panel. Loss of power while driving and unable to shift into any gear, although engine running. Transaxle light came on back in June 2010 taken to bangor, me Ford, transmission drained, flushed with bg flush machine and refilled. Feb 17, 2011 transaxle light again came on.was able to get safely back into driveway when all transmission power loss. Unable to shift into any gear. Towed to Ford dealership again in NY where I live. After tranny torn down ($450) Ford service manager stated a substance -appears to be water-enter through transaxle vent. Vent is suppose to be cover by a cowl grille panel. Found tsb06-04-10 report that identified that water may leake into PCM and or transaxle vent if the PCM connector cover is not properly seated and allows water to leak into these two areas. In Nov.2006, I incurred a failure of the PCM. Three scary loss of power on a major highway and three attempts to fix the problem before Ford hotline contacted by technician and tsb bulletin used to install new PCM and install cowl panel fix described. This panels seal may have failed allowing water to enter the transaxle's vent. Ford's consumer's 800 line refused to help and denied any responsibility for repairs as did my warranty company. They said that water intrusion isn't covered. Ford needs to recall these vehicles as there is a large number of complaints (many that could have ended in tragedy on highways. Any number of google searches will show hundreds of complaints. Please NHTSA help us get these vehicles recalled. Remember the denials by Toyota. They are paying for that fatal accident that killed a family of 4.

- Bethel, NY, USA

problem #421

Feb 242011


  • 95,000 miles
Was traveling in the vehicle and all of a sudden lost all power to the transmission. Was very concerning as it occurred in traffic at highway speeds.

- Waterdown, 00, USA

problem #420

Feb 052011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 87,000 miles
2004 Ford Freestar transmission failed.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #419

Jul 152009

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
During normal operation of our 2004 Ford Freestar, the vehicle ceased movement due to a catastrophic failure of the automatic transmission, requiring removal and replacement of the transmission at approximately 75,000 miles. The maintenance garage (a Ford dealer) could not determine the exact cause of the failure, but noted the presence of a significant amount of metal shavings within the fluid evacuated from the failed transmission.

- Amesbury, MA, USA

problem #418

Feb 052011


  • 134,250 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. The contact stated that when trying to accelerate from a stop, the vehicle did not move. The contact shifted into a lower gear which allowed the vehicle to accelerate slowly but the failure occurred again. The vehicle moved fine in reverse but not in the drive position. The vehicle had not been inspected or repaired. The failure mileage was 134,250.

- Lima, OH, USA

problem #417

Jan 302011

Freestar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,300 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Ford Freestar. The contact was traveling down the highway with the cruise control activated at 78 mph up a hill, when suddenly, the engine began to rev and the vehicle started to decelerate quickly. The contact was able to get to the side of the highway with no acceleration because the transmission had just seemed to disengage. The vehicle was taken to the dealership. Upon inspection, it was determined the transmission pump and torque converter had literally sheared off without cause. Updated 3/11/11 updated 04/29/11

- Gillette, WY, USA

problem #416

Dec 172010

Freestar 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I have a 04 Ford Freestar that continues to have transmission problems. It started early around 40K. Fmc service stated ¿just a leak¿. repeat complaints equaled ¿nothing found, etc, etc¿. beginning last year it would lose power and backfire while the transmission would not engage and almost caused my wife and daughter to be broadsided when she tried to pull out in traffic and the van did not go forward. The transmission would slip and not engage to second gear. I took it to aamco and paid $1800 to have it fixed. They said they had to basically replace everything. Now, a year later and it is doing it again, but this time by not engaging into second gear, it caused a person behind me to get hit in the rear because he thought I would turn as a normal car would, but I couldn't accelerate due to the trans. Additionally now it will shudder, shake and lose power at 40 to 50 mph. It is not even drivable as I tried to go out to the store today and it made terrible noises and shook like crazy when put into reverse. Tried to go up my driveway and it shook even harder and made terrible grinding noises in drive, 3rd and 1st gear. Does not matter what position the shifter is in, it has problems. Looked at the dip stick for the trans and it is rusted showing that obviously now some type of water is in the system too. I am disabled and on a disability income and do not have the funds to have this repaired again. Ford will do nothing for it unless of course I want to pay to have it rebuilt at $4000. This van is a danger to all on the road and luckily no one has been killed as a result of it not pulling out into traffic as it should. Please force Ford to buy back these vans and refund the expenses of people who had to pay to have it fixed. For me, it looks like it is going to be a double trouble problem. I do not know what to do, I know it will just break down again if I do have it fixed. The van needs to be taken to a junk yard and crushed to save lives.

- Zephyrhills, FL, USA

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