U.S. agency investigating Ford Freestar gearboxes
The U.S National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating hundreds of reports that the 2004-2005 Ford Freestar and rebadged Mercury Monterey minivans have defective automatic transmissions that could fail without warning. The uproar is over the fact that many of the transmissions reportedly failed at highway speeds.
According to most complaints, the engine will suddenly surge and then all power is immediately lost. The driver is forced to coast the van without power to a safe spot out of the flow of traffic. Angry owners have flooded internet message boards to report incidents of transmission failures which leave them stranded and looking at repair bills as high as the equivalent of Dhs 10,000.
To date, there have been 654 customer complaints and 2,791 warranty claims. However, according to the 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 has not yet released an official statement regarding the investigation.