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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
105,947 miles
Total Complaints:
44 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford needs a recall (12 reports)
  2. replaced with rebuilt transmission (8 reports)
  3. replaced with rebuilt transmission $2800 (8 reports)
  4. not sure (6 reports)
  5. replace transmission (3 reports)
  6. minimum: replace torque converter. maybe rebuild tran (2 reports)
2004 Ford Freestar transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Freestar Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #44

Apr 042016

Freestar Limited 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 217,000 miles


I have a 2004 Ford Freestar Limited 4.2. This has been the worst vehicle I have ever owned. From day one is been a headache. I was taking my 5 year old son to school and a light stated flashing. I was later told it was a gear light. Once we entered the school line it wouldn't go. It would only go in reverse. We had taken the van to have the transmission fluid changed about 3 to 4 months before this and the guy at the shop said the fluid in it looked very good. But we went ahead and had the filter and oil changed in the transmission.

Ford had forever lost my business after this vehicle. Worst purchase in my 44 years of life. Some people can't afford to fix a vehicle ever 3 months and unfortunately I'm one of them.

- , Lexington, GA, USA

problem #43

Jul 022007

Freestar 4.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

The vehicle on it's 3rd transmission. The original transmission gave out in July of 2007 with 102000 miles on the odometer, and a rebuilt installed thereafter at a cost of $2000.00. This 2nd transmission also gave out in Apr. of 2013 with 184800 miles on the odometer. Again, back to the shop, only to be told that the transmission had failed. The economy being what it is, we could not afford a new or take the chance on purchasing a used vehicle. Therefore we opted for the repairs once again. Bad decision on our part, as the transmission again gave out at 207000 miles in June of 2015. The cost this time was $2015.00 for the rebuild. Transmission now chatters, clunky between 1st to 2nd and 2nd to 3rd. ALSO, will not go in gear in cold weather (below -10 degrees C). I will not have it repaired anymore. That's it. I will drive it until it dies. No more long distance runs.

Obviously, I will never purchase or endorse another Ford product.

It is stressful driving under this condition not knowing if you'll get home or more importantly get home safely.

Thank you for venting my frustrations.

- , Riviere Rouge, QC, Canada

problem #42

Dec 012015

Freestar S 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 220,000 miles

I have owed this vehicle since new. Previously I owned two E-150 conversion vans with no problem at all. This is the THIRD transmission this car has eaten. The factory installed one died completely at 80K miles, the second lasted 65K miles, cost me $1800 to replace, the gears would slip when I accelerated normally. For the third transmission I opted for a every expensive one that had a three year and 100K mile warranty. Well, it has died at 3.5 years, 80K miles, and a $3100 price tag. I keep fixing the vehicle because it has been very well maintained and it's cheaper to fix it than to buy my son a new car (he inherited it 10 months ago). What is going on and does anyone know if Ford will do anything for owners like me. Seriously. This is UTTERLY RIDICULOUS.

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #41

Apr 122015

Freestar 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,105 miles


Nearly 2 years to the day after having recall performed on torque converter, the transmission has completely gone out. Van has less than 12000 miles since recall work. Ford dealer told me the repair was a "one time fix, no warranty". Should have never had the recall done as there was no problem with the vehicle at that time. Needless to say, I won't be shopping for a Ford next time around!

- , Clinton, MI, USA

problem #40

Feb 152015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,476 miles

We have had problems with the torque converter for months and it is still not fixed. Each time we take it in to the dealership it's a new problem and more money to shovel out. The van will not go in gear or it stalls or it will not go when in drive or reverse. This is the last Ford we will ever own. I have read many more complaints with the same problems we are having. I think it is time for Ford to recall.

- , Radford, VA, USA

problem #39

Feb 152015

Freestar Sport 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,566 miles


- , Lockeport, Nova Scotia, Canada

problem #38

Dec 252014

Freestar SEL 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles


I bought my Freestar in 2011, summer of 2012 I had it to dealership for a torque converter recall after having major transmission issues such as not going into gear from park and loss of gears while driving down the road. Less than two and a half years later ( a few days ago) on CHRISTMAS day, I go to leave with my family and nothing it won't go into any gears yet again! I call Ford and raise hell and they quickly inform me I am 3 months outside of their two year recall warranty window, convenient right?

I take the car to transmission shop that's accredited with BBB and they inform me that the torque converter that Ford replaced was the exact same part as the defective converter they recalled and showed me the matching part numbers! $1400 to rebuild some crap that Ford supposedly had taken care of. I will NEVER buy a Ford again EVER.......and of course Ford denies and basically tells me tough shjt. Thank you Ford for ruining my CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

- , Bloomfield, KY, USA

problem #37

Sep 152012

Freestar 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

The vehicle started shifting badly, shaking and loss of power. Brought to a mechanic and he said that there was water in transmission, so we had no choice but to rebuild it at a cost of $2200.00. That worked for a while and a few months later the torque converter started shiming and making noise. Had that repaired at a cost of $300.00. Then about eight months later the transmission started up again. Brought it back to mechanic and he found water in it again. Had to rebuild it again at a cost of $2700.00.

Then in July 2014 the transmission would shake and finally not shift in reverse. Brought van back and this time had a brand new transmission installed from factory with 3 year 100,000 mile warranty. I also had the radiator and transmission cooler changed with a total cost of $3400.00. Had van back less than one day and the gear light on dash comes on indicating trans-axle problem. Brought it back and mechanic says that the PCM is getting wet and causing these problems. After investigating further we found a TSB Technician Service Bulletin indicating that these vans have a factory defect and the cowl panels need to be replaced and sealed under windshield to keep water from running down on PCM computer.

So called Ford Dealership and asked about this problem and if I could bring in to have it fixed since it is their product and defect is from factory. I was told NO and if I wanted problem fixed it would cost me an additional $165.00. Well Now I really lost it!!!! How can Dealership know about this and not have a recall on THEIR product. FORD DEALERS YOU SUCK!!!!!!!! They told me if there is no recall they weren't liable for any damages or costs!!! I SAY BULLSHIT!!!!! It is your product from factory and your just not going to do anything about it!!! Costing people money they do not have to fix your F**KING problem!!!! Wow, now that is customer service right there!!!

I WILL NEVER BUY A FORD PRODUCT AGAIN!!!! And will let everyone I know about this and hopefully discourage them from making the mistake I did. So, to have the cowl panels sealed it was another $85.00 out of pocket!!! Thanks Ford Dealer for the ROYAL SCREWING!!!

- , Sulphur, LA, USA

problem #36

Jun 122013

Freestar SE 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

Does not shift into gear. Does not happen all the time.

- , Arkansas City, KS, USA

problem #35

Feb 012014

Freestar V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

I'm so upset and stressed !!! I have lost a lot of time at work because of issues with my mini van. Not starting or starting but not going into 2nd gear.I have put so much money into the mini van.just to get it up and running so I can work.My saving is gone and my mini van still needs more work done. "The Ford Freestar" is not the mini van I thought it was.

Broke & Mad

- , Parrish, FL, USA

problem #34

Mar 012014

Freestar Limited 4.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles


so I got my first van in 2013, last one on the auction line, didn't even know ford mad a van this good, had it checked out, worked fine, no engine lights, no problems, started driving in 8/13, found out the dipstick for the transmission was missing, no big deal a few $$ at the dealer. Car drove excellent, no problems at all, couldn't ask for anything more for a work car which eventually became my personal and work car. I started to notice a jerking feeling when I was switching from D to R, and vice versa, didn't think anything of it, stopped after a while, I assumed that who ever owned it previously has not driven it much. in Nov 2013 I found out that there was a recall on the torque converter, now at this point there was no problems with the car, I assumed that this jerking noise was because of this part, so I took it to the dealer, they told me that that part has already been changed by the previous owner, but it was still under warranty until 11/20/13, so I figured what could be wrong? I bring it in under warranty and have it checked out, but I have to pay the diagnostics fee of $145, I figured what could be wrong, if there was a problem, they would fix it, if not I didn't mind paying the fee. in all my years of owning a car I have never taken my cars to the dealer, they quoted me $760 for a tune up, did it myself and saved about $680! yey! so I brought the car down to have the recall done, now aside from the torque converter, there was something on the rear of the car that was also on the recall, not exactly sure what it was, all I know is that from now on I had to add a quart of oil every week, the oil was going somewhere, had mechanic check it out 3x, even had the engine cleaned, still cant figure it out.... so I get the car back from the dealer, and I know fords have a delay in resetting the computer, like after a tune up, the check engine would go on, and then go off 2 weeks later, I assumed that the same would happen here. btw, have the limited model so it has the mirror markers on it. so I get the car back, and everything seems ok, and I leave, as I begin to signal, my mirror markers are not working, and then I see a small orange gear light in the lower left hand corner, and it was blinking, I once again assumed that ford put the car on their system and they did something and that it would reset soon, don't forget this light was never on until I brought it to ford, I should've went back that same day, but I didn't, there was no way to prove that the light wasn't already on when I brought it to ford, I came back 2 weeks later and made a complaint, I asked them if they keep records of all repairs done, or anything that gets hooked up to the computer for diagnostics, and they couldn't answer me, they instead told me that I had a misfire, and with after market plugs, "tests showed faulty coil" btw that recall on the rear was "3rd row seat latch striker corrosion repair 13s01" im guessing this has something to do with oil??? anyways after about a few days of going back and forth, they agreed to take the car back and do another diagnostics test for FREE this time, not admitting that they messed up the car, I had my mechanic do a diagnostics on the car as well, now don't forget these codes were never there until the I got it back from ford: P0733 gear 3 is not shifting properly, now since my mechanic cleared it before I went back to ford, the p1000 code came up as well, that just means that the system was wiped clean. now this small gear light as stated in the manual is called the trans axial, don't know what the heck that meant, eventually found out it was the transmission, if its blinking, its ok, but if it goes solid, BAD NEWS! so on the 2nd time at ford, I came back to get my van, guess what they did... usually you would have the mechanic bring the car and the keys to you at the return section of the dealership, now I knew there was something up, when my car was left outside the gates, and the service advisor called me outside to give me back my keys, I told him this was wrong, and the car had not a single problem until I brought it here, he knew it, but he also covered himself because I didn't come there right away to report it, but even if I did, what proof did I have? that's why I was asking for the technician paperwork to see if the light was on, or off when I originally brought in the car. well its now almost end of march, and I now feel the heavy jerking of the car and I know the transmission is shot! im not going to pay for a new one, its about $1800, too rich for my blood, I paid $2300 for the car, id be buying a whole new car. so I did the next best thing, I went out and started to look for a 3rd party warranty company that would cover me on the main components of the car and got the warranty, it wont kick in until may of 2014, so until then I just have to drive it till it stops! I will update once I have new transmission done, or better yet, I do forget, so you can contact me from here, and ill let you know when I got the new install. and ill never go back to the dealer other than to buy parts, my shop does excellent work!

- , Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #33

Aug 052013

Freestar SEL 4.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,419 miles

Having had the vehicle recalled last yr. for the torque converter, the last thing I expected almost a year to the day the day was to have the transmission fail and leave me stranded in a main isle of a shopping mall.

The vehicle has been maintained according to schedule, and most all of the miles are highway miles to Florida and back. The vehicle has never been abused and still looks like new since it has never experienced a Canadian winter. The check transmission light came on during a short trip downtown and went out before I got home. Never the less I checked the fluid levels and it looked fine.

The light never came back on and then it just let go without warning. It would go in reverse but not forward. I was given the usual three options repairs, or replace with rebuilt after market or a ford transmission. Seems to me with all the problems being reported about this same vehicle and transmissions that it is an obvious defect that Ford should be taking care of.

I am still waiting for the repairs to be finished and as a senior on a fixed income had to rent a car in the interim to add to the repair costs.

Not a happy camper with Ford over what has otherwise been an ideal vehicle.

- , Orleans, Ontario, canada

problem #32

May 072012

Freestar ES 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

scond time replaceing transmission in less than two years 2010 and present . water gets into transmission and causes transmission failure .nobody seems to known how this promblem accures.

- , Crestwood, IL, USA

problem #31

Jan 152013

Freestar 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I have a Ford Freestar 2004. The Ford company fixed its torque but they didn't want to fix the transmission. We lost the power a few times and i called the Ford company and they said they would charge me $2800. This is very bad. I paid $6000 for my mini van and i don't want to pay any more. if any one else know if there is a recall for the transmission, please let me know i would i appreciate it. Thank you very much. I wouldn't recommend buying a Ford. My email is

- , Salem, OR, USA

problem #30

Jun 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Bought in 2004, and I noticed first day the transmission was sloppy when putting into reverse, and switching from reverse to drive. But I thought since it only had 9,000 miles on it it must be the way it is supposed to be. Last few years while driving, could feel the transmission slipping occasionally. Then started to happen more often. in winter, wife would say I was hitting patches of ice on the highway. Finally, while we were both in car and it was warm out, she agreed it was transmission and not ice on road. Thanked our lucky stars when the torque converter recall went out. Had to wait 4-5 months (while van sat) for the "parts to come in". Torque converter finally replaced, and van runs just as bad as ever. We picked up from local dealer, who we bought the van from and has been absolutely no help at all, drove home, and van has sat in driveway since. We cannot drive it without taking the risk of it puking on us. Was told by my local mechanic, who I have taken my autos to for 25 years, it needed transmission and would would run about $3,000. Ha! Can't even trade the darn thing in now! The torque converter being bad certainly caused damage to the transmission (how could it not?). So, I figure I have what should be a $4,000 van (to me), that I can't drive or trade, that is worth nothing. So, it sits while we wait for a recall on the transmission. Van had nice ride to it, and was well maintained, and would still be being used as a daily driver. I am trying to get the balls up to have someone follow me while I drive the van to the local dealer repair shop, and park in their parking lot so it is there when the recall is issued. Taking up space in my driveway. Every day that passes is another day I get more entrenched in the attitude of never another Ford product. Too bad though cause I like what I see and hear of the Ford Fusions. But alas, customer service and standing behind your product is worth paying out more dollars for a Toyota Camry. And I love our Camry!!

- , Marietta, OH, USA

problem #29

Oct 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

In January, I was going to work and backed out of my parking space at home. Put my van in drive and could not move. Everything was gone, no drive, no reverse. I called a tow truck and had it towed to a transmission shop. It was there for about 3 months, because I had to have a new transmission put in. I had to save the money to get it put in. The mechanic and I both checked for any recalls available for this problem. Neither of us found one. About a month later I heard about a recall that Ford would be sending out on a torque converter. I contacted Ford and was told that my van was not included in that recall. I replied that they should be thankful that I was in my parking space at home and not out on the highway when the vehicle stopped and if it happens again who is going to be responsible for the damages and medical payments if it happens out on the highway and micracuoulsy my van was included in the recall. I was told I would be notified when the part became available. It is now October and I just got my van back from the shop with a new (hopefully) torque converter. The dealership where my recall was handled had my van for 3 days and I had to rent a car. I was told by the dealership that Ford would not give me a loaner vehicle to drive while the van was in the shop. That was another $300 expense. I was also informed in the recall letter that I received that I would not be reimbursed for the transmission I replaced in January. I do believe that this is unacceptable and I hope that I can get some advice or help in recovering some or all of my expenses for this problem.

- , Clarksburg, WV, USA

problem #28

Sep 012010

Freestar SEL 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

I want my money back from Ford. It took them till this year to admit they have a problem,,,and now not even have parts in stock to repair current workload.

Bastards ignored me 4 years ago when it happened. And they think I will ever forget how they treated me? Not hardly....

My wife and children in van pulling into very heavy "Atanta"traffic having total trans failure.............listen to the recording on e Ford Hotline ........."not a dangerous situation"........but in whose minds?

- , Hoschton, GA, USA

problem #27

May 162012

Freestar SE 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

Well it is a frustration that I was not expected when I was deriving and suddenly the van would not respond as it was before.

I see a few mechanics but they seams to be guessing, While ford motor company knew of the problem all along, And quiet themselves OFF for their failure to pay for a good work in the transmission company WHAT WE CALL CUTTING CORNERS TO SAVE MONEY SO THE CEO CAN GET HIS UNFAIR SHARE OF BONUSES.

- , Glen Ellyn, IL, USA

problem #26

Nov 092011

Freestar SE 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,311 miles


- , Ovid, NY, USA

problem #25

Sep 012010

Freestar SE 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 137,685 miles

was driving down street car cut off everything stop. Cut car back on, car start but would not go forward or backward. had to have car push out of street. Then had car towed to my house. Had a mech check car out and he said that i needed a trans. Car had no sign that trans was going out. The Brake lights keep going out everytime i put a new bulb in it.

- , Chicago, IL, Cook Islands

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