Are you SURE I need a new transmission?!

I have a 2007 Ford Freestyle that started making a thumping noise in P and N, but as soon as it is put into gear, the sound goes away. A buddy said it sounded like a helicopter taking off. So… I googled “freestyle helicopter noise”. With some research, and then an actual diagnoses from Ford, I learned the CVT (CF-30) has a faulty input shaft and bearing. The dealer recommended a new transmission ($7,200) and one “transmission specialist” recommended the same (he had not heard of this problem, and hasn’t even seen the car, though). He offered a new one for $5,300 and 3 year/100,000 warranty. Now to my stinking question. If the input shaft and bearing are the only issues, do I even need a new transmission or can someone out there replace just these parts. I’m posting a few pictures by someone who had the same problem, but I cannot reach, to give you an idea of what’s up inside. Make that 1 picture, I’m a new user. Thanks

Ah? No!

When you see these type of components fail in a transmission, the transmission is replaced.



Even if it was possible to just replace one or two parts the labor would be so high that it would be a waste of money because you would not have any kind of warranty. And Mr. Tester knows what he is talking about. As for driving further do you really want this thing to fail in front of a Semi-truck?

1 Like

Thank you very much. Does the $5,300 sound about right to you, and is there any advantage of having the dealer do the replacement and paying about $7,300? I’m extremely car ignorant and appreciate your time . Same goes to all others who reply.

Thanks a bunch. I just needed confirmation from a couple people that know their stuff. This sucks, but not nearly as bad as if I was questioning whether or not I was being taken advantage of during the process. The car has 138k on it, but is a gem besides this issue.

Get 3 estimates, note your issues and let them do the diagnosis.

1 Like

Not a fun position to be in but it sounds like you might have a disposable car. A car without an engine or transmission is not worth much, as was told to me anyway. I think the problem may be that it’s a CVT and not a lot of people willing to open them up and repair them so they just replace. Even in a conventional transmission, its not the parts cost but the labor involved in putting them in, plus once its opened up, might as well replace all the soft parts. At any rate I doubt other options like a used one are good options so you have to look at the value of the car and would it make more sense to start over with a new car instead of repairing this one?


Nobody can get a real diagnosis from simply doing research. Only a true tranny tech with the car in his shop can diagnose and repair your problem. Yes, it is possible that the tech can repair the tranny… but just replacing a bearing assembly involves disassembly that necessitates the replacement of other parts too, as well as fluids and filters, and often finds associated damage. And there’s the cost of removing, repairing, and reinstalling the tranny, and once you ask why the bearing failed you open up all sorts of possibilities that could render all the other parts bad too… like was the tranny accidentally drained and not refilled, or did it leak and run low on fluid for a long time. Bearings don’t generally fail without cause.

Very often it’s more cost effective to simply replace the tranny with a rebuilt one. A tech can diagnose yours and give you your options.

NOTE: I strongly urge you to avoid “chain” shops, like that big name that rhymes with All Automatics Must Come Out. Ii recommend a reputable independently owned and operated tranny shop. You’ll have to pay for the work involved in the diagnosis, but this almost always is a good investment.

With a bearing wiped out that bad you can safely assume many other parts are also worn so a transmission replacement is good advice.

I’m curious about how many miles on the vehicle and how often the transmission has been serviced; if ever.

If regular services are not performed that could explain the damage. Low fluid level due to a leak could also explain it.

1 Like

Typically, CVT transmissions cannot be repaired, only replaced.

If this were a non-CVT automatic transmission, you could probably find someone who can do a repair, but it would likely come with a very short warranty that would make a replacement transmission worth the price.

If, indeed, this was caused by a faulty part, you might consider contacting Ford to see if they’ll help subsidize the cost of a replacement transmission, but if they agree to do that on an 11-year-old car, you’d be very lucky.

1 Like

@bing is right. Assuming your car is otherwise in near-perfect condition (flawless paint, interior materials, no visible wear anywhere, etc) it’s still worth only a couple hundred more than your lowest estimate to fix it - and that’s if you’re lucky.

Were I in your shoes I’d take the money that would go toward a repair and buy something different instead. $5500 is a good downpayment on a reliable, relatively recent used car.

1 Like

I have a written diagnosis from the Ford dealership. You’re right. I didn’t take my studying as “the word”, and paid a bit over $100 for them to tell me exactly what I had assumed it to be after internet studies. I do have a guy in my town of Owasso, OK with 30 years experience and now I’m reading great reviews about. He is the one who wants $5,300 to put in a new one. Thanks for your time.

138k and has been religiously serviced as far as oil changes, air filter, fuel filter, brakes, etc. The transmission…I don’t know it has been looked at until now.

It’s a faulty part, (the input shaft) but from what I’ve studied it looks like Ford has been able to get out of helping owners, because they no longer own the company that built the transmission (Batavia Transmission). They closed down in '08 after making the CVT’s for the 05,06, and 07 Freestyle :wink:

Until someone opens up the transmission to confirm your theory, it’s only a theory. As others have pointed out, you’re basing your diagnosis on nothing more than symptoms and what you found on the internet. Is that how you reach a medical diagnosis? I hope it isn’t, and your standard of proof should be just as stringent for an automotive diagnosis.

I’m not suggesting you try to force Ford to help you out. I’m suggesting you ask for their help in a polite way that makes it in Ford’s best interest to help you. Are you a loyal Ford customer? Have you bought Fords in the past? Put that in your letter. Will this issue affect your choice of brand on your next car purchase? Put that in your letter. Appeal to their sense of both altruism and greed, even if you don’t intend to ever buy another Ford. Give Ford a reason to help you and they just might.

1 Like

Thanks very much. I’ll take all this into consideration. Yes is the answer to your questions, and this is very reasonable advice. For anyone interested, here is a page on this transmission that’s helped a bit in my studies.

After only a brief search, it looks to be a common type of failure for this particular transmission. There’s also a few great write ups from people who have taken the time to R&R theirs. It’s an advanced level of DIY but something that’s not out of the question IMO.

There’s a transmission shop I know of in NH that local Nissan dealerships send their CVT tranny work to. They know how to repair them. Some CVT’s - it’s just cheaper to replace then repair, but I’m pretty sure they call can be repaired.

1 Like

I would be embarrassed to ask for “help” for a transmission with 138k and no known maintenance…but that’s just me…


1 Like

ford freestyles, escapes and 500’s are common to see on CL with bad trans. i think the escape is not a cvt trans though?