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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating hundreds of reports that 2004-2005 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans are fitted with defective transmissions that could dangerously fail without warning. Most alarming is that many of the transmissions reportedly fail at highway speeds. In a common complaint, the engine will suddenly surge and then all power is immediately lost. The vehicle is forced to coast powerlessly to a safe spot out of the flow of traffic. Angry owners have flooded message boards to report incidents of transmission failures which leave them stranded and stuck with $3,500 repair bills.

To date, there have been 654 customer complaints and 2,791 warranty claims. However, according to NHTSA, as many as 205,000 vehicles may be affected. The investigation, expected to take a year, will focus on the torque converter output shaft which drives the wheels. Ford Motor Co. has not yet released an official statement regarding the investigation.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now, I am not a genius with automatic gearboxes... but doesn't the torque converter output shaft drive the gearbox input shaft, which uses gear ratios to drive a lay shaft, which then drives a differential, which has two output driveshafts to the wheels?

      There is a whole lot between the output of the torque converter, and the wheel hubs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, I caught that too.

        "...The torque converter output shaft which drives the wheels."

        Not right, needs revision.

        Do they have editors or just bloggers?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You say you had a SVX, but don't know about automatic transmissions going bad?

        Sadly, that's not right...
      • 5 Years Ago
      So, Matt..Are you a Ford technician, ...Matt? Do you have some sort of clairvoyance to see what I see on a daily basis, Matt? We sell a ton of AWD Mercs and Lincolns here and the incidence of failure is very very low..definitely lower than mid 90's Toyota sludge mobiles and rotten Tundra frames. Why don't you crawl into whatever import pile of excrement you own and shut the hell up.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So how many miles are on all these vehicles that are failing? The vehicles affected are 4-6 years old, so I'd imagine plenty of them had failures out of warranty. No one offered to repair my transmission for free after the warranty expired.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What i had read back when this was heading was that it was happening between 40-50k miles. Which for a 5-6 model year old vehicle isnt high
      • 5 Years Ago
      Man, NHTSA sure is busy these days.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Strange that "da guberment" never rescued all the Chrysler owners with transmission failures at 40-60k
      • 5 Years Ago
      What i had read back when this was heading was that it was happening between 40-50k miles. Which for a 5-6 model year old vehicle isnt high..

        • 5 Years Ago
        Did you forget to add to this? Thats my comment word for word from page 1 and even with the mistake in the middle of it that i forgot to edit.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ford has completely exited the minivan business.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a 2005 Ford Freestar, which had the transmission go around 80K....I had it fixed. Now at 120K it's the transmission speed sensor. When the transmission went....I was driving on the highway...no warning...it just stopped and I had to coast to safety, push it off the road and be towed. With the sensor...I drove it to work, then I went to leave and it started, but wouldn't go into gear, forward or reverse....it just started up and was broke! I hope one day I can recover the money I spent fixing these issues, because it's well over 3,000-4,000 in total.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ok, so I reviewed some of my posts on the Freestar Forum. Here's a partial list of what we had repaired/replaced in the roughly 15 months that we owned it.

      Brakes were worked on at least five times. Rotors turned at least twice.

      Replaced: ABS sensor, multifunction switch, control module, rear seat stow handle, AC blower motor (twice), wheel sensor.

      We also had a water leak in the cargo area.

      Plus it got terrible gas mileage (14mpg city).

      We traded it in at about 45K miles and only 3 years old.

      One lady on the forum had to take her Freestar to the dealership 32 times in about a year of ownership.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is anyone surprised that Matt appeared like a herpes flare-up just for this post?

      You shouldn't be.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I like Fords, and own one, but in the case of the Windstar, it's justified.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fords with bad transmissions. Who knew?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Seriously. Can any of my family's three Windstars whose transmissions failed at around 55k get some money now?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Windstar/Freestar/Monterey minivans are probably the worst minivans ever made. The transmissions were atrocious, and the 3.8l V6 engine is legendary for its head gasket and intake gasket issues. My former boss once owned one, and the tranny on it failed during a family trip to New Mexico. He also went through the ordeal with the V6, and finally got Ford to pick up most of the tab for a rebuild. After that, he promptly sold it.

      I'm always advising people to either avoid buying one, or if they own one, to sell it.

      Just go to the Ford forum at flatratetech.com and do a search on Windstar. The horror, the horror...

        • 5 Years Ago
        I think GM's minivans were worse. Maybe not in the transmissions, but in all the other ways they sucked big time.
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