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2004 Ford Freestar
8 Defect Investigations from the NHTSA
NHTSA Defect Investigations for the 2004 Ford Freestar
The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2004 Ford Freestar, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:
Service Jack Failure NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE11033
Summary: The subject vehicles (SV) are all automatic transmission, front wheel drive vehicles with hand actuated mechanical park brakes. The investigation focused on allegations that the service jack failed and caused the vehicles to fall. The subject scissors-type jack appears to fail at the slotted hinge joints where the jack screw is located (bends at mid-point). The failures occur while the jack is in use, and vehicle movement (forward or backward) is typically reported coincident with the failure. Ford reported that most MY 2003 Windstar and all MY 2006-2007 Freestar/Monterey also use the subject jack, an additional 223,246 vehicles.NHTSA has received six consumer complaints (VOQs) involving three injury incidents and a fatality.Ford reported 26 complaints for the SVs involving an additional 4 injuries. In the fatal incident, the van fell on a person working on the engine under the otherwise unsupported vehicle; ODI was unable to determine whether the vehicle was adequately chocked or the park brake was properly set. Reported injuries include a broken arm, head and hand injuries, arm and rib bruises, and muscle strains. NHTSA has received just one new report since opening this investigation. The complaint trend in ODI and Ford data is flat if not declining.Ford provides instructions and warnings in the owner's manual, on a placard placed with the jack, and on the jack itself. These instruct consumers to put the vehicle gear selector in Park, properly set the parking brake, chock the opposite wheel, use the jack only for changing a tire, loosen the lug nuts prior to jacking, and to not get under a vehicle supported by the jack only (NHTSA also recommends that jacks only be used for tire changing).In the VOQs, roughly half the consumers were using the jack for something other than tire changing, half had not chocked a wheel, and half had not properly set the parking brake. ODI notes that since the front wheels are drive wheels (with an open center differential) the Park gear cannot provide vehicle stability (longitudinally) when a front wheel is raised. All NHTSA complaints and most of the complaints to Ford involved failures while a front wheel was raised.In response to ODI's inquiry, Ford conducted testing on a 2004 Freestar. Ford's tests showed that when a front tire was raised the service jack held without failing under various scenarios except when a rocking force was applied and the parking brake was not properly set. Based on its testing and its analysis of field data, Ford concluded that the type of jack failure evidenced in this investigation (bending at mid-point) was likely caused by vehicle movement due to an improperly secured vehicle, or other misuse of the jack. Ford notes that rates in this investigation were similar to those in another investigation (EA91-049) which ODI closed. ODI also analyzed jack data for MY 2003 and newer vehicles to compare to the SV population. To assist with this analysis, ODI requested data from the jack manufacturer (actually its successor company) who provided limited data but did identify other models using the same design jack. ODI was unable to identify a significant difference in the incidence of jack failures (including those involving bending failures) between the SVs, other vehicles which used the same jack, or other vehicles where the jack type was unknown or different.A safety-related defect has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted.Accordingly, investigation PE11-033 is closed. The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist and ODI reserves the right to take further action if warranted by the circumstances.The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification (ODI) numbers:10247506, 10330290, 10389720, 10398164, 10423688 and 10437970.
NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE11033 »
Engine stalling NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP09004
Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Control Module (Tcm, Pcm)
Summary: On May 6, 2009, NHTSA received a request for "a hearing through Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, Motor Vehicle Safety, Part 557." the request was in reference to vehicle owner complaint, 10266067, filed with NHTSA on April 20, 2009, which described a problem with engine stall in a model year (MY) 2004 Ford Freestar minivan due to water entering the PCM.Part 557 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations establishes procedures for holding a hearing to determine whether a manufacturer has reasonably met its obligation to notify owners of a safety related defect.Because a safety related defect has not been determined regarding the alleged defect in MY 2004 Ford Freestar vehicles, the Office of Defects Investigation interpreted the request as a defect petition under Part 552 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.In response to the Information Request letter sent by ODI for DP09-004, Ford indicated that a variety of symptoms could result from water intrusion into the PCM, including no start, rough idle, engine misfire, transmission performance degradation, lack of transmission engagement, illumination of the check engine light, and engine stall while driving or parked.Ford stated that it believes that the overall complaint rate for engine stalling is low and comparable to other similar stalling related investigations that the agency has recently closed.Ford stated that the water entry into the PCM is a customer satisfaction issue.ODI has granted DP09-004 and opened a Preliminary Evaluation, PE10-033, to further assess the scope, frequency and potential safety-related consequences of the alleged defect.
NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #DP09004 »
Transmission Torque Converter Failure NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA09016
Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission
Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Torque Converter
Summary: On January 4, 2012 Ford Motor Company submitted a Defect Information Report (NHTSA Recall No. 12V-006) to NHTSA regarding a defect in the performance of the transmission torque converter for approximately 205,896 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey vehicles.The supplier of the torque converter manufactured converters containing a pump shaft spline that did not consistently meet the specified heat treatment requirements.In normal use, the spline may wear excessively and eventually fails without warning.If a torque converter malfunctions due to a sheared pump drive spline, the vehicle will abruptly lose motive power.This problem affected model year 2004 and 2005 Freestar and Monterey minivans.During the investigation NHTSA identified 532 complaints alleging incidents of vehicle stall while driving due to torque converter failure.These failures were sudden and without any prior warning.Of the 490 complaints that reported the speed at the time of the failure:218 (44%) occurred at or above 55 mph; and 344 (70%) occurred at or above 40 mph.Of the 382 complaints that reported the position of the vehicle relative to traffic after it came to a stop following the loss of motive power: 122 (32%) alleged that the vehicle came to a stop in the flow of traffic and remained in the flow of traffic until pushed or towed out of the way; 225 (59%) reported that the vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the roadway and remained there until towed; and 35 (9%) reported that they were able to maneuver to a location away from the flow of traffic, such as a parking lot.Two crashes were allegedly caused by torque converter failure, including an incident in which a Freestar suddenly lost power in 65 mph traffic in an area where there was no shoulder available.As a result, the Freestar stopped in a travel lane and when trailing traffic maneuvered to avoid the stalled vehicle, a four vehicle collision occurred.In these types of circumstances NHTSA believes the defect presents an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety and so advised Ford.In its Defect Information Report, Ford refers to its response to NHTSA's Preliminary Evaluation information request, which stated that "a vehicle that loses motive power due to torque converter malfunction remains readily controllable; the vehicle will coast during which it can be safely maneuvered and stopped because the engine continues to run.Because the engine continues to run, steering and braking are unaffected, and the vehicle's electrical system and directional signals remain functional."In view of the foregoing, NHTSA does not agree with this statement.This investigation is closed based on Ford's recall.
NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA09016 »
TORQUE CONVERTER OUTPUT SHAFT FAILURE NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE09033
Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission
Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Torque Converter
Summary: ODI has received 227 owner complaints alleging a sudden and unexpected loss of motive power due to an internal transmission failure in the subject vehicles.of those complaints, 124 can be attributed to the torque converter output shaft splines stripping causing a sudden loss of power to the drivetrain.the remaining 103 complaints experienced a loss of motive power but the specific internal failure cause within the transmission is not known.ODI has upgraded the investigation to an engineering analysis (EA09-016) to continue its assessment of the scope, frequency and safety-related consequences of the alleged defect.
NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE09033 »
Corrosion of Third-Row Seat Attachment NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE11039
Summary: ODI has received 18 complaints on the subject vehicles from the salt belt states that allege severe corrosion at the rear wheel wells.Additionally, ODI identified 4 similar reports from Ford's response to the investigation.Ford submitted a total of 10 reports to ODI (6 of 10 Ford reports are duplicates of ODI reports).The complaints indicated difficulty or inability to latch the rear seat as some of the complaints reported the entire anchor plate completely detached from the vehicle (rear wheel well).The first report of this condition was received in March 2011 and subsequent reporting frequency indicates a potentially increasing trend over time.ODI seeks to evaluate the potential occupant safety risks resulting from structurally degraded seat anchorages.In addition to the subject vehicles, ODI also will collect and review information on MY 2005-2007 Freestar/Monterey vehicles that appear to have a seat design identical to the subject vehicles.To date, ODI is not aware of any similar complaints on the MY 2005-2007 vehicles.ODI also will collect and review information on Freestar/Monterey vehicles used outside of the salt belt states.This Preliminary Evaluation has been upgraded to an Engineering Analysis (EA12-003) to further assess whether a safety defect exists in the subject vehicles.The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed online at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification (ODI) numbers: 10454977, 10453826, 10452933, 10450587, 10450559, 10450295, 10446564, 10442809, 10441641, 10441489, 10440616, 10438529, 10436592, 10433928, 10424850, 10420028, 10410491 and 10399896.
NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE11039 »
Corrosion of Third-Row Seat Attachment NHTSA Engineering Analysis #EA12003
Summary: Ford is conducting a safety recall to repair the third-row seat's latch mechanisms in approximately 196,667 model year (MY) 2004 through 2007 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey vehicles (see NHTSA recall 13V-081 for more details).The recall covers vehicles originally sold, or currently registered, in the "salt belt" states or high corrosion areas of the United States: Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.Approximately 100,000 remaining MY 2004-2007 Freestar and Monterey vehicles--those vehicles that were not originally sold, or are not currently registered, in salt belt states--are not included in the recall action. Although these vehicles are the same as the ones described above, they experience significantly lower failure rates because of reduced road salt exposure.ODI is currently aware of only one complaint on vehicle outside of the recall scope.ODI will monitor complaints and take further action if warranted by the circumstances.For owners of vehicles that are outside of the recall scope but exhibit the defect condition, owners (and affected Ford dealers) can contact Ford to request the recall repair.This Engineering Analysis is closed.See attached report and associated recall file for additional information.The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed online at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/owners/SearchNHTSAID under the following identification numbers: 10399896, 10410491, 10420028, 10424850, 10433928, 10436592, 10438529, 10440616, 10441489, 10441641, 10442809, 10446564, 10450295, 10450559, 10450587, 10452933, 10453826, 10454977, 10455545, 10456985, 10457423, 10457910, 10458738, 10459042, 10460511, 10461074, 10462910, 10463126, 10463262, 10463366, 10463600, 10464243, 10467003, 10467680, 10468429, 10469188, 10469200, 10470216, 10470510, 10471280, 10471520, 10471813, 10471978, 10472514, 10473087, 10473159, 10477025, 10477387, 10477954, 10478449, 10479247, 10479758, 10480611, 10480665, 10481054, 10481412, 10482213, 10482236, 10482613, 10482620, 10487872, 10489445, 10490515, 10490641, 10490663, 10490744, 10491495, 10492220, 10493470, 10493572, 10496348, 10497631, 10497976, 10498310, 10498433, 10499681, 10499861, 10500495.
NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EA12003 »
Stabilus Rear Liftgate Struts Failing NHTSA Equipment Query #EQ12010
Component(s): Structure:Body:Hatchback/Liftgate:Support Device
Summary: Please see the attached closing resume summary.It has been attached to this document as a PDF.
NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #EQ12010 »
Engine Stalling NHTSA Preliminary Evaluation #PE10033
Component(s): Power Train:Automatic Transmission:Control Module (Tcm, Pcm)
Vehicle Speed Control
Summary: The subject vehicles suffered from a design issue whereby water could run down onto the cowling under the hood and located in the area of the windshield wipers and then drip onto a computer module, the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), which could be manifested in a variety of symptoms depending on which part of the circuit board became wet or which of the connector pins shorted out.In addition to causing an engine to stall, which may or may not then restart, the water intrusion could also cause the transmission to shift poorly, the vehicle to have erratic power, a malfunction indicator light to come on, or result in an inability to start the vehicle, an inability to shift the vehicle into either forward or reverse. Also the problem could cause a higher than normal idle RPM in Park, or for the radio to malfunction, or the interior lights to stay on.During this investigation ODI was concerned with the effect of the engine stalling or a drastic and sudden loss of power either of which may create a safety risk.In reviewing the actual number of these types of incidents, collectively referred to here as engine stalls, the number was found to be below what would be considered a defect trend.For example, the number of engine stalls identified in Ford's warranty claims for the model year (MY) 2004 subject vehicles, the MY with the most failures, was 200 out of population of 125,865, for a failure rate of 0.16%.The one crash recorded by a complainant to NHTSA, VOQ 10311522, alleged that the engine stalled, due to water intrusion into the PCM, while the road was turning causing her to go off the road and according to the police report the vehicle then hit an embankment and a tree stump. Ford reported in their response that there were three alleged crashes but none of these were validated as being caused by a problem with water intrusion into the PCM causing a stall.Accordingly this investigation is closed.The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist.The agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information relating to the alleged defect in the subject vehicles and take further action in the future if warranted.
NHTSA: For detailed information & supporting documents, see the official NHTSA page concerning investigation #PE10033 »