2005 Ford Freestar

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Looking at possibly purchasing this van. It has 74000 miles, 3.9 L v6. 2005 Ford Freestar SE. My previous vehicle was a 2000 Chevy Venture. Great van but it was totaled a couple of weeks ago. Can anyone tell me first hand anything in particular about this engine. Is it a good one? Do they use it in other models? In searching online and here I don't find much information about history, common problems, what to look out for. I have a small stockpile of YB and Shell 5w30, but noticed this van had 5w20 on the oil cap, so guess I'll have to finish the 10w30 I have left in my Maxima. Thanks in advance for any information. Richard
 

JTK

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It's basically the same internals as the late model Windstar 3.8L with a different upper intake manifold design. Old school 90deg-V, pushrod, etc. Ford also used a 4.2L version on the higher end model IIRC. As far as I know the AX4N trans was carried over. They are nice vans. BIG, comfortable, decent MPGs. Nothing fancy. I loved our 2001 Winny. My BIL has a 2005 Freestar. They've had it a few years and love it. Joel
 
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I believe Ford made some significant changes when they introduced the Freestar in 2004 including the engine changes (we all know about the 3.8L "head gasket eater"...what a nightmare that was...and they just kept cranking them out by the thousands year after year...can't imagine how many people swore off Ford due to that issue). The transmissions were also prolematic in the earlier Windstars...not sure if improvements were made (I assume so). Like anything else, it's somewhat of a [censored] shoot. The advantage to the Freestar is it did have quite a few improvements (although hardly the "all new" van Ford touted at the time)and owners seem much more satisfied with it than the troublesome Windstar. I'd be looking for a good price as they haven't held their value very well. You might check owners reviews on Edmunds to see how they've fared.
 
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I had a 2004 and ended up getting rid of it after 2 years. Coming home from the beach (loaded down and a hot day), it would ping so bad I literally thought at times there was no way we would make it home. And this was after having 2 dealers check it out and while running premium gas. I did like the van and it really did drive well but ended up trading it for a new Sienna. If you do some research, you will notice they are still well known for transmission issues.
 
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Having driven a 2006 Freestar SEL 4.2L and our old 2000 Windstar LX 3.8L back to back.... not much improvement. The van was quite uncomfortable the whole way to Atlanta. I would dare say that the Windstar was more comfortable. I would honestly pass. Ford pulled out of the minivan market for a reason.
 
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It all depends on whether you can get it at a good price and you don't mind that it is not as 'refined' as honda or toyota. Bugs were worked out by 1998. Could be one of the better bargains out there. Change the transmission fuild every 40k miles and run the legs off it as it will last 250k. And make sure it was not a rental car and gently driven. Our '98 has 150+k miles on it, running strong and I am conflicted as to whether to turn it in under the cash for clunkers program.
 

richdea5

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Thanks for all the replies. So far the only information I have is it was a fleet vehicle for a medical company. The dealer that has it now purchased it from the usual auto auction. I did get a Autocheck full history and it shows no wrecks. I have his best price at 5900 +tax. So far in my looking around for a decent minivan they seem to be much more expensive with that amount of mileage (74k). Richard
 
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 Originally Posted By: richdea5
Thanks for all the replies. So far the only information I have is it was a fleet vehicle for a medical company. The dealer that has it now purchased it from the usual auto auction. I did get a Autocheck full history and it shows no wrecks. I have his best price at 5900 +tax. So far in my looking around for a decent minivan they seem to be much more expensive with that amount of mileage (74k). Richard
Hmm, reading my reply again makes me feel dumb. I missed the point. Reliability of our Windstar was solid. Our uncle still drives it (some 5 years after we sold it to him). The fluids are changed religiously. For your family, it will be safe, reliable and move them around reasonably well. For that price, you cannot beat that.
 
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My company work van is an '06 Freestar with that engine. It only has around 40k on it. Overall, its been reliable but not something I would have purchased if left to my own choice. As someone mentioned, the engine is way underpowered and pings badly if you even look at a hill. Plus, even with the lack of power, it still gets particularly bad mileage. I typically get 15 to 17 mpg on mixed driving. Oh, and the brakes tend to get warped rotors very quickly. I've tried OEM and premium aftermarket, no difference. I'm at three sets already.
 

JTK

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 Originally Posted By: oilmaven
I believe Ford made some significant changes when they introduced the Freestar in 2004 including the engine changes (we all know about the 3.8L "head gasket eater"...what a nightmare that was...
Like said, there was no significant changes to this V6 below the intake manifold Also, head gaskets were a problem up to about 1998 on the Winny 3.8L. On 1999+ it was the plastic upper intake manifold that was prone to leakage from it's attachment bolts or from the O-rings that sealed it to the aluminum lower intake manifold. Plugged EGR ports/jets were somewhat common. Joel
 
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Took a 110 mile round trip yesterday in the company 2006 Freestar. I still like the way they drive but they are really crude compared to a Toyota of Honda. I had to turn the radio WAY up to drown out the pinging. I don't know what kind of pistons Ford uses in these things but they must be tough to handle that kind of detonation.
 

OVERKILL

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 Originally Posted By: Brett Miller
Took a 110 mile round trip yesterday in the company 2006 Freestar. I still like the way they drive but they are really crude compared to a Toyota of Honda. I had to turn the radio WAY up to drown out the pinging. I don't know what kind of pistons Ford uses in these things but they must be tough to handle that kind of detonation.
Sounds like the MAF was contaminated.....
 
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I bought an 04 S new also. I had it for about 2.5 years. It was good to us. It got decent mileage, and had excellent torque. It did ping quite bad under light load and hot days (like a like of old Ford pushrods). A shot of seafoam every 3-5k mi, or a tank of premium would mask this issue.
 
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 Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
 Originally Posted By: Brett Miller
Took a 110 mile round trip yesterday in the company 2006 Freestar. I still like the way they drive but they are really crude compared to a Toyota of Honda. I had to turn the radio WAY up to drown out the pinging. I don't know what kind of pistons Ford uses in these things but they must be tough to handle that kind of detonation.
Sounds like the MAF was contaminated.....
When I had my '04, I cleaned the MAF a few times but it didn't seem to help.
 

OVERKILL

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 Originally Posted By: Brett Miller
 Originally Posted By: OVERK1LL
 Originally Posted By: Brett Miller
Took a 110 mile round trip yesterday in the company 2006 Freestar. I still like the way they drive but they are really crude compared to a Toyota of Honda. I had to turn the radio WAY up to drown out the pinging. I don't know what kind of pistons Ford uses in these things but they must be tough to handle that kind of detonation.
Sounds like the MAF was contaminated.....
When I had my '04, I cleaned the MAF a few times but it didn't seem to help.
Odd, they shouldn't ping.... Did you try 91 octane in it?
 

OVERKILL

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 Originally Posted By: Brett Miller
I was running 93 and it still pinged. Also put in colder plugs and it didn't help.
That is just bizarre!
 
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