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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
106,900 miles
Total Complaints:
18 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (10 reports)
  2. replaced torque converter under recall (4 reports)
  3. replaced torque converter (3 reports)
  4. replaced the torque converter spline drive (1 reports)
2004 Ford Freestar transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Ford Freestar Owner Comments

problem #18

Aug 112017

Freestar SE 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


I was driving home from work when the van surged forward then lost all power and died. I was able to start the van again immediately, but it surged forward and died two more times. It also does not go in reverse right away. I have to put in reverse and hit the gas a few times before it will move in reverse.

- Tiffany B., Duluth, MN, US

problem #17

Aug 012016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Ford has a recall on the 2004 Ford Freestar torque converter, but my vin# is not covered. I contacted Ford online through chat and was basically told too bad. They had no interest in researching further why maybe my vin# should be included also.

- Cheryl J., New Carlisle, OH, US

problem #16

Apr 122013

Freestar SEL 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

Ford replaced the torque converter in Nebraska where we got stranded. We then had to take a trip to Texas stopping at 2 different dealers. telling them that something was wrong. Trans axle light came on, then off, got home and took it to the dealer they could not find anything wrong. They told us just to drive it, we did, big mistake , it went over the warranty miles. Now the van is our problem. thanks FORD!!!! .will you buy it back please, great van till the torque converter went out then Ford got their hands on it. Spent countless hours researching this van and other same like complaints. Now the van has no power to the drive, it acts as though it is lacking the spirit it had when we first got it.. Ford could not fix it....please buy this van back it is a lemon.

- Steve S., Faribault, MN, US

problem #15

Oct 052015

Freestar Limited 4.2L. V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,253 miles


I purchased my 2004 Ford Freestar in Feb. of 2006. I had 48,000 miles and we loved in despite that it loves gas. We bought the extended warranty and had several things repaired. The van now has 140,000 miles on it and at 128,000 the torque converter was replaced by recall. Prior to that the van had no transmission issues. Now the transmission slipping and has metal shavings on the dip stick. I'm not happy with Ford and now I have a broken Freestar. Its driveable right now but don't know whether to replace it or have it rebuilt. I wish Ford will do something about this issue.

- Denon H., Cleveland, NC, US

problem #14

Jul 012015

Freestar SE 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,000 miles

I love my van. I got a recall for a bad torque converter. I was driving down the road when all of a sudden it was like I put it in neutral, no power. I got it over and checked things over and the trans fluid looked like muddy water brown color. I got it to the Ford dealer, he put a new one in. Now on the way home it started knocking really loud. The dealer told me it would take about 700 dollars to fix it. I should have ignored the recall HUH ? NOW ITS PARKED. Any help on what can be knockin'?

- wwjbdo23pa, Hanover twp., PA, US

problem #13

Jan 232013

Freestar Limited 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,128 miles

2004 Freestar Ltd was running well. Got the Ford recall notice re: torque converter in Jan of 2012 but local dealer would have no parts until March, no June, no October, well, no December. Dealer would only fix one Van a week due to no parts. Reshuffled my appointment to give other less fortunate repairs sooner and I waited until Jan of 2013 to get my torque converter replaced. I should have trusted my gut and left well enough alone. Immediately upon replacement of the torque converter I noticed a very loud drone at 40 kph 60 kph and 80 kph that came up through the floor and was felt in the front seats. This drone and a shudder at these shift points were not there before the tc replacement. I took van back the next day and dealer said it was my exhaust (give me a break!) and that the torque converter needed to be "broken in" so drive it for a while. Took it to my exhaust guy and he drove it and told me there was no way the drone/shudder was from the exhaust, that is/WAS from the transmission and that Ford was getting crappy torque parts from China and that he had heard from insiders that transmissions that were fine before, were now burning out because of poor manufacture of the torque converter parts.

The RPM at idle before torque converter replacement was 500 and after was at 1000. Gas mileage plummeted from a low of 9.5 l/100 kms before replacement (best) to 13.5 l/100 kms after. The Ford dealer wanted to charge me $300 to take apart what they had just done in order to check to see if they had done the work properly. That was no solution. I drove the vehicle for a year, with the shudders steadily getting worse at the shifting points and the noise/drone never went felt like the transmission was slipping at the shift points. I drove it until Dec 2013 when it stalled dead as I was turning into traffic. I rolled along and reefed the wheel to get it to a side street and then restarted it. I got it around the corner to my house and then it stalled again. I asked my husband, who used to be an auto mechanic in the 70's, to check it and he started and drove it about 10 feet and it stalled. He put it into revers and it would not reverse. He started it a few more times and determined it had to be towed back to the dealer after Christmas vacation.

Dealer ran the codes and told me the transmission pump may be broken and there was water in the transmission ?!. Then they tell me they don't fix transmissions any more but send them to AAMCO. So $4100 later I have a new transmission from AAMCO installed and a backflow protector so that water from my "new" radiator AAMCO installed doesn't get pushed into the transmission. Great but why would the transmission rings show burn only 1 year after replacing the torque converter? 4 weeks later, (Mar 3rd, 2014) I start driving along the highway and press the gas but cannot go over 40 kph. I pull over, shut it down and then try to restart. Engine light goes on. Battery turns it over but nothing engages. I can't start it. I get it towed back to dealer and they run the codes and tell me the Throttle positioning sensor needs replacement and the Intake Manifold Runner Controls are sticking. This costs me another $810 to get fixed. We'll see how it runs over the next few weeks. I feel cheated and "hosed" by Ford because they likely replaced a torque converter that didn't need replacing and this caused my transmission to go. I feel cheated by my dealer because they charged me far too much to replace 4 plastic clips and a TPS.

Guidance, if it ain't broke and there's a recall don't give it to them to fix.

- D V., Toronto, Ontario, canada

problem #12

Dec 262011

Freestar SEL 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,903 miles


Since our van would not move without the repair, we had it done and picked the van up on December 29, 2011. The van has performed excellently since then.

I was notified of the recall on the Freestar vans in March 2012. I called the dealer's service manager in April 2012 and was told to bring my receipt and recall letter in May and they would tell me what to do to get my refund. I did that on May 4, 2012 and was told that the manager had called Ford and that they would be getting back to me in June.. They have had my money almost five months.


- William G., Byrdstown, TN, US

problem #11

Jul 102013

Freestar SE 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles

Purchased a 2004 Ford Freestar. This vehicle has put me through hell. Had the torque converter fixed and now my van is stuttering and still doing the same crazy sh*t. It is acting worse now than before. The dealership that replaced the torque converter promised that any complications due to the recall would also be covered but that was a lie. I do not believe this is fair to vehicle owners when the issue is the fault of Ford.

- ieisha, Evans, GA, US

problem #10

Mar 052012

Freestar ES 4.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,040 miles

The good news is that the dealer told me that a notice had just recently come around to Ford dealers which allows the repair to be done at no cost to me, and they will cover my rental and my tow. Other Freestar owners (2004 and 2005) need to know this. A recall letter is going out.

However, why did it take a class action suit in the United States in 2010 to make Ford so 'gracious' to it's customers? If this had happened to me a couple of months ago, I would have been out of pocket at least $2,000.00. I was doing 110 kph in the passing lane on a freeway with traffic all around me when the tranny went into neutral, the engine rpms doubled and I lost all drive gears.

- Lawrence K., Kemptville, Ontario, canada

problem #9

Sep 072012

Freestar SEL 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Transmission slipped and then died suddenly. Had torque convertor recall so was towed to dealer. Dealer informed me that the torque convertor was basically welded to the transmission,would not come off,and transmission would have to be replaced at my expense.Contacted Ford. Ford acknowledged that the part to be recalled had failed causing the issue, but they would not offer ANY assistance other than replacing the recalled torque convertor....(Which cannot be performed since it cannot be removed from the transmission).

- zcarnut, Elizabeth City, NC, US

problem #8

Nov 112010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


Ford will not make right on the 2004 Freestar Recall. They will not pay me what I paid to have it fixed. The they said they will give me a portion of what I paid to have it fixed (by a Ford dealer mind you) -OR- they will replace it. I told them that they replaced it with another torque converter that was recalled so they should pay me what I paid to have it fixed AND replace it. They told me "no, it's one or the other". Not right Ford! Here is a facebook page for anyone having the same problem. Perhaps if we join forces Ford will have to make right on their recall.!/pages/2004-Ford-Freestar-Recall-Issues/195977853868935?created

- Amber L., Trevor, WI, US

problem #7

Aug 082012

Freestar LX 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,847 miles

After reading some of my fellow Freestar complaints,having purchased mine only last week,I decided to call my local dealer to find out if I was a part of the recall. Customer service representative told me that it wasn't really official yet but that by my serial # I am part of the torque converter repair recall related to my trany. So he asked if the truck was running and I said yes but until when who knows. He said he is waiting for parts and should get them in soon and that he would call me to set up an appointment and to be prepared not to have a vehicle for 2 days.I asked him how i was to get to work is FORD gonna give me a ride! No way he said FORD has not provided for a temporary rental only the repair will be covered by the recall.So here I am proud new owner of my 2004 FORD FREESTAR soon to be riding my bike to work.Anybody sewing know a good cheap lawyer I'm talking contingency type cheap got all my money in tied up in FORD. Never buy a FORD ever again!!!

- freestar, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

problem #6

Jul 022012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,000 miles

While driving on the highway, my Freetar will just shut off! 4 times his has happened and 2 of those times my wife and 3 small children were stranded. Every mechanic give me a different reason and no fix! To date, I have spent over $1,500 and the damn thing still is not fixed. Ford really need to fix this issue. I am currently looking to trade it for another mini van that's not a Ford. Heaven forbid my family is hurt b/c of this annoying problem, It is going to take Ford a week to finish putting the zeros on my check.

- c2sit, Colorado Springs, CO, US

problem #5

Jul 112011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

We had the torque convertor go out, which then sent shreds of metal thru the transmission. We then took the vehicle to AAMCO and paid for a rebuilt transmission.We had learned not to trust Ford with repairs. Now I hear of a massive recall coming in April 2012. Why should thousands of people who have experienced this exact problem and already payed out of pocket have to wait until April to have their money refunded? As a further insult we have gotten two "offers" from Ford to give us extra money to trade in the Freestar because of a "need for minivans". Of course this offer expires before the recall goes into effect. Someone please tell me how to sign onto a class action lawsuit against Ford for these arrogant business practices.

- Robert B., Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, US

problem #4

Aug 172011

Freestar 4.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Was backing into my driveway. Failed without warning. No forward or reverse.

Lucky that we were not on the road.

Had it towed to our local transmission repair shop (the one that the dealers use).

The splines on the torque converter were stripped. Replaced with a better quality aftermarket unit.

- William D., Greenfield, IN, US

problem #3

Jan 102012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

My wife and daughter were driving home this past Tuesday Jan. 10 when she rounded a bend on an uphill curve, in the rain, the transmission just stopped working. They were lucky they weren't hit from behind. This morning Jan 12, while I was waiting for the wrecker to come and pick up the van and take it to the transmission repair shop I decided to see how much the this is going to cost and do some research on the problem. I was surprised to find this recall. After calling the dealership and explaining the recall to them( they had no idea of the recall) I rerouted the wrecker to the dealership. Now after dealing with the dealership all day I can explain what they are doing. They are checking to make sure that the torque converter is the problem and if it is they will replace it. They told me something odd though, They aren't going to replace it if it is not bad even though it is recalled, makes no sense to me. They told me that if the torque converter was not the problem that I would have to pay $810.00 for them to disassemble and reassemble the transmission while not changing the torque converter. They said that they are 95% sure that that is the problem but they won't know until they disassemble it. They also said that if it is part of the recall that they should allow for a rental while they are working on it. They learned all of this from the customer service at ford. I hope that this information helps somebody else. Right now I am in a wait and see holding pattern hoping it is the problem stated in the recall. Oh by the way this is the second transmission in this vehicle.

- longhunter, Columbus, MS, US

problem #2

Sep 132011

Freestar SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I purchased my 2004 Freestar new. Two years ago I had the tourk converster replaced. Yesterday I was driving down the highway when the car accelerated then felt like it went out of gear. I had the van towed to the shop where they stated it was the torque converter AGAIN!!! How many of these do I need to replace? If the part is bad fix it!! All we do is keep replacing a bad part with one that will go bad again.

- Kristine R., Jupiter, FL, US

problem #1

Jan 012009

Freestar SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

I was driving on the highway and my car lurched forward and suddenly stopped. I was able to coast to the side of the road where I had to call a tow truck to take my car to the repair shop to have the torque converter replaced. If I was unable to get my car to the shoulder it would have caused a serious accident.

- Kristine R., Jupiter, FL, US

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