The Dreaded CVT

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The Dreaded CVT

Post by Bee » Mon May 27, 2019 1:34 am

I have a 2007 freestyle with 158k miles and in less than a month, it went from running a little louder at idle to full on helicopter mode. I did some research and was sure it was CVT related and after taking it to a transmission service shop for diagnosis, I was told the CVT is actually sound and it's just the input shaft bearing and potentially the pulley.

First off, I was quoted 1500 minimum, up to 2200 depending on whether it was just the bearing or the pulley as well. For those more mechanic savvy than me, does that sound pretty average for parts and labor?

Secondly, as I've read more, I'm seeing a lot about the fix being as simple as a missing or damaged o-ring? Is it really that simple?

What are some specific things to know and make sure my mechanic does to make sure this vehicle is in good shape to be a regular, if not daily, driver? I hate to give up the freestyle as my last one saw me through an alarming accident without a single scratch. Is it worth mentioning a specific cvt fluid, washer, seal, etc? Or is that just stepping on the mechanic's toes? I know that this is a big undertaking, so I want it done right.

Thanks 🐝

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Re: The Dreaded CVT

Post by fuxxy » Mon May 27, 2019 5:57 am

Helicopter noise is a sign of damaged bearings around the input shaft. There are 3 bearings to check, all of which require complete dissasembly to inspect.

The root cause for the bearing failure is not certain. Some say the OEM torque convertor has a design flaw where the input shaft piloting surface is too thin, causing the O-ring at the tip of the input shaft to blow off. Others have suggested the transmission does not supply oil flow to the input shaft bearings in Park and Neutral. I feel like the faulty torque converter is the culprit.

Some users have reported that simply replacing the O-Ring at the tip of the input shaft fixed their noise. I would argue that if you're hearing noise, your bearings are already damaged.

On mine, the damaged bearing also damaged the mating race on the Drive Pulley, so that had to be replaced, too.

Doing the work myself, Ive summed up the following costs:
Rotunda 2005D2 tool set - $1000
Junkyard Donor trans (for Drive Pulley and Input Shaft) - $150
Rebuild kit with frictions and steels - $300
New Torque convertor - $185
Replacement bearings - $35
New Filters (pan and high pressure) - $80
Motorcraft XT7QCFT CVT fluid - $135

So far, not counting incidentals and tools, the rebuild has cost $885. This is doing the work myself. I've not included labor or costs to refill Power Steering, Antifreeze, and Air Conditioning systems that will need to happen if engine is removed.

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Re: The Dreaded CVT

Post by ds32928 » Tue May 28, 2019 6:07 am

So with the post in mind where a recent rebuild just introduced another, maybe? fixable problem, I would decide if I liked this specific vehicle enough, with the mileage it has, to have a used transmission put in it. Before I do that I would see what Freestyles in my area are selling for. Not all Freestyles have/had CVT failure. With your vehicle making the noise your trade in value isnt much. If I could find another one, with lower mileage, spend the $3000 to get another. You check it out by driving it, and seeing if any DTC's are stored in the computer before you buy.

Used transmission from junk yards are anywhere from $1000 to $1700, add $1000 to have it exchanged. Some of them have a 6 month warranty, but if you need to use the warranty, you have to pay the remove and install fee again, so in a way, its a crap shoot. If you go that route, tell the mechanic to only use Ford CVT fluid, when he properly drains and refills it. Put in a new Ford high pressure filter and a Ford pan filter, no exceptions.

You ended up with a Freestyle the CVT failed in. If I was in your shoes, I would do one of these choices:
1 replace the Freestyle with one Ive checked out, you drive one, so you know what it should run/drive like
2 have a used CVT put in if I really love that specific one I own
3 have the CVT rebuilt and hope the mechanic who does it even has a clue about what he's doing, or just sees you as money in his pocket
4 buy something else like a Taurus X that has a 6 speed trans, but has engine problems where a internal placed, failed water pump, could damage the engine beyond repair.
5 buy another vehicle in your price range, and count the CVT failure as bad luck with a Freestyle

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Re: The Dreaded CVT

Post by Africa_FS_07 » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:27 am

i would just put a good USED CVT in it "IF" the noise has already graduated to a helicopter noise.....if i could remember well, i think the savable point is when when the noise is at just a whine (not so sure now as its been a while).

from my experience with ours back then, noise went from WHINE to HELICOPTER to nerve wracking STEEL GRINDING/CRUNCHING noise.......then, death.

all 3 stages took a while though, and car was drivable in each stage, so no issues with moving from place to place, save for the embarrassing noise in stage 3.
i wonder who "Voodoo Bob of the Dead Poets Society" is hounding now.....:mrgreen:

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