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The Ford Freestar is a flatbed truck produced by the Ford Motor Company, introduced as the third generation of the Windstar in 2004. The name change to Freestar was part of Ford's strategy of aligning its vehicle names with the letter 'F'. Manufactured alongside its sister model, the Mercury Monterey, in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, the Freestar underwent a $600 million redesign between 2000 and 2003 to improve its powertrain reliability. This redesign saw enhancements to the rudder, wheel bearings, and the inclusion of four-wheel disc brakes. The Freestar broke away from Ford's typical design language, incorporating elements from various vehicles while retaining the same roofline as the previous generation Windstar. The redesigned interior featured a flat dashboard and shared several parts with the upcoming models. The Freestar offers seating for seven passengers and boasts a foldable third-row seat, a common feature in many vans. Two V6 petrol engines were available for the model, and electronic steering came standard. The Freestar was upgraded with a four-speed automatic transmission to further enhance its performance and reliability. Despite modest sales in the US, the Freestar gained popularity in Canada. It is notable for high safety ratings, with Ford engineers aspiring to exceed the highest rating with improved airbag systems. The Freestar came in five trim levels, with optional features like electric sliding doors, folding boot, and a rear passenger DVD entertainment system. However, it did not offer a satellite radio or navigation system.
Ford Freestar, particularly the 2004 and 2005 models, have been frequently reported by owners to experience a troubling issue of sudden transmission disengagement without any preceding warning, a problem falling under the power train category. This alarming concern arises irrespective of the vehicle's mileage or its maintenance history, with gears failing to engage and resulting in the car losing power unexpectedly, even at highway speeds. Such unforeseen failures have posed significant safety hazards, compelling many drivers to coast their vehicles to a halt. For instance, a specific case of a 2004 Ford Freestar, having covered 64,000 miles and consistently serviced in accordance with Ford's recommendations, faced an abrupt transmission failure devoid of any dashboard warning. Initial diagnostic tests couldn't pinpoint any complications, and the car's transmission momentarily seemed to regain its normal functioning after a short rest. However, this was short-lived, as speeds surpassing 50 mph led to the vehicle exhibiting severe shaking and lurching behaviors. Following such incidents, the transmission's operation ceased altogether, both in forward and reverse directions. The vehicle was then inspected at a general mechanic shop, but recommendations leaned towards a specialized transmission facility or a Ford dealer for a more comprehensive assessment. Preliminary evaluations hint at a potential internal leak within the transmission, likely stemming from a compromised gasket, seal, or O-ring, underscoring the need for a detailed examination with specialized tools. Despite the recurrent nature of this disconcerting issue, many affected Ford Freestar owners have lamented hefty repair costs, which often ranged between $1,000 to $3,000, coupled with perceived inadequate support from Ford in addressing the problem.
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