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Ford Aerostar

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  • Sounds very familiar; about every 6-12 months, my 92 awd will backfire at startup (ususally when cold or slightly warm), and then run like crap, if at all. The backfire blows off all the vacuum lines so the manifold sucks air. You have to reach up along the top of the engine, towards the back to re insert the lines. There are three or four on my van, and one is real difficult to connect because it is at a sharp angle, and under all the others, but if you do not get them all connected, the van runs badly.
  • I have a '92 AWD. Yes, I've replace the tranny, the AC (front and rear) the brakes, front tierods, shocks all around, etc.

    I don't believe repair costs are that much higher than other vehicles. If you are going to shops that bill at $80-90 an hour, charge "book time" and sell you parts at full retail, it will seem expensive. Probably doesn't mater what car you drive, actual repair costs will be similar. (But maybe not frequency.)

    If you paid 800 for a major brake job - you got screwed. You can buy new rotors, pads and drums for $360 and it takes 2 hours MAX to do in your garage. (If they didn't replace the parts but turned them, take off 200.)

    A few items are pricey on the Aerostar. Some labor charges are higher for a van due to access.

    BTW, Who explained the AWD requires "syncronized" tire replacement? The tire salesman I bet!!! Sounds like non-sense to me. Some story about tire size and differentials, huh?

    Any 8 to 10 year old car will begin to fail. Even minor items will be as expensive as a new vehicle. Why would one expect that a brand new part for a '90 car is less than a brand new part for a 97 or 99?! Labor to install is the same also.

    I couldn't afford to drive the vehicles I drive if I didn't do most of the maintenance and minor work myself. (Q45, F250, Aero, Dakota) I am amazed at how folks are ripped of for their repairs....
  • I am considering purchasing a used '92 Aerostar XLT exteneded. The odometer is falshing between the mileage and the word "error.3". Does anyone know what this means and what it takes to correct it. I'd prefer an answer from someone who has been there, than the Honda dealership trying to sell it.
  • rbmrbm Posts: 3
    Our '91 extended Aerostar at aprox. 150K miles, has a dead tranny. Problems started with a bucking or hunting between 3rd gear and overdrive. Sometimes overdrive would not engage at all and the van stays in 3rd gear at hiway speeds. Reverse would take a few seconds to engage. A few weeks ago sometimes reverse would not work at all and first gear would lurch when stepping on the gas. On the last trip I heard "rumble strip" sounds even though I was on smooth pavement. The whole process took several months before it became truly undrivable.

    Now it sits in the driveway needing a $1700 overhaul. I think I will cut my losses and sell it for parts or a handyman might want to get it going again.

    Overall it has been a great vehicle.
  • My wife drives the 92 van & she said tranny was slipping.
    Duuhhh, I waited 2 weeks until it was almost undriveable to look at it. Low 2 quarts fluid.
    Didn't see any puddles. In fact maybe a couple drops in garage(plywood on floor). Anyway, it sorta fixed it. But had 120K miles so decided to have filter/fluid changed. Brought it to a mechanic I had used once for inexpensive tuneup. I wasn't gonna try those plug changeouts!!!!!
    He is a trasmission specialist(oooh-wow!right?)
    Ok, he's very low key, toyota specialist, but said he could do no problem. But warned me that in this situation changing fluid/filter might help, not make difference or make it really worse.
    I said, hey, do the maintenance($55) I'll take the chance(had only done trans/fluid once before, not complete torque/convert job.)
    It ran fine as when I left it with him. A month later it's slipping a very little very seldom My wife takes to get engine oil change. They check tranny fluid , and they say "tranny fluid is brown! burned, needs changed." I told them the story, they say ok we do full fluid change, suck out ALL the fluid in tranny and torque converter and do filter again. $100.00. "OK, I say do it"
    (better than new tranny!)
    last week (2 weeks later) it's almost a quart low but not slipping.
    Moral of the story?????
    Have your tranny fluid checked often, keep it full. CHANGE TRANNY FLUID/filter every 20,000 miles!!!
    Tranny specialists say your tranny should last forever if you do.
  • moper1moper1 Posts: 2
    Recently purch a 1996 Ext AWD Aerostar. 58,000 mi Bought it for the cargo room. Love the space inside with all the back seats removed, runs great !

    Recently took a road trip, checked the oil level day before, and because the way the dip stick smears the oil when stick is removed, it is difficult to read level accurately. Thought level was OK. 1 hr into trip, a knocking sound starts & progressively gets louder. Never imagined it was the valves tapping. Stopped for gas & had attendant check oil, it was DRY ! It took 2 1/2 qts ! The noise went away. 2 questions:
    #1 Did I do permanent damage ?
    (I went about 50 miles until next gas station)
    #2 How can you tell if you're burning oil ? (short of checking fluid level every other day)
  • oldmooldmo Posts: 1
    moper1, I have also noticed that it is difficult to get a good oil level indication on my 93 Aerostar with 4.0L engine. I always turn the dipstick over and look on both sides. And then I usually repeat it twice. However, my Aero has a yellow Low Oil light on the instrument panel that comes on when it is only about 1 qt low. The waring light is actually a nuisance sometime because if you stop on a hill or incline it comes on even with adequate level.

    If yours only took 2.5 quarts then it wasn't dry, as they typically hold a total of about 5 quarts (depending on engine size). However, if the low level condition did cause the noises you heard, and you drove it 50 miles that way, then I'm surprised it still runs at all. When an engine makes noise due to inadequate lubrication, damage is being done. Time will tell how significant the damage may be. Good Luck.
  • I have a 1993 Aerostar with 73,000 miles on it. It pings so loudly that I dare not drive it abouve 55mph for the sake of my ears. I have many coplaints about this car. Its very noisy (well, my galant is too but atleast that has a decent stereo to cover up the noise, it gives very poor gas milage, and it is the most un reliable POS ive ever owned. Fords do not know how to make engines..... Every for ive owned had head gasket problems, this car is no different. Im on my 2nd head gasket with only 70K miles! My galant was far superior and had 120K miles on it. It never had to have anything done to it. I would still have had that car but resale on aerostar is so horrid , I thought I'd trade in my galant for the car i really wanted.... a spanking new tampa bay blue Mitsu Galant ESV6. Another complaint about the aerostar is the lack of power. My new Galant ESV6 would smoke that van infact it would take longer for my van to get to 60mph than the Galant to get to 100mph.
  • I purchased a '95 XLT, 4WD, 4.0L, D-A/C with 96K on it. It now has 130K on it. The engine uses NO oil (I feed it Mobil1, 5W30), tranny excellent, very minimal rust, runs like a top (original O2 sensor), the engine is so dry (no oil seepage) things are rusting on it. My radiator had a micro leak causing 2" puddles the next day directly under the plastic sides of the radiator. I'm told this is a "thing" with plastic/brass radiators (expansion rates). 1 pellet of Stop-Leak and no more leaks! I'm proud to say that my lifters are still silent, even in super cold weather upon startup.
    The only service I've given it (for upkeep/repair) is a new belt & thermo at time of purchase, new 1CV boot change and 1front axle replacement (boot tore and sand ruined joint), new flex piece for the exhaust (muffler now starting to have small leaks), tires, rear shoes, battery, tranny filter change, brakelight switch, F,R diff fluid change and new plugs and wires. Everything else is original and frequently maintained.
    Shortly before purchase, the transfer box and driveshaft were replaced due to some Ford recall TSB. Also, it has had it's Ford recall for the dashboard accessory wiring harness.
    It was NOT fun changing the plugs and wires. If hauling weight often, recommend TRUCK shocks and swaybar for rear (1"+). The PS pump makes a WAAAAA noise when turning, which I've heard on other Aero's. Once in a while in the summer, upon startup the engine will puff out a small cloud of smoke--failing O2 sensor? (miles, probably), worn valve seals? (oil consumption is unmeasureable). My mileage isn't too spiffy. 17~18mpg (summer), 14~16 (winter-snow). It doesn't matter where or how I drive (empty or loaded). It's best mileage is at 50~55mph. The tranny or rear end's gearing is to blame. The engine spins pretty fast in top gear (est. ~2500rpms@55~60mph, close to 3000 at 70mph).
    I find the benches to be the heaviest things on earth. I love the utility of this van. I've hauled 32 sheets of 7/16" OSB (40~50lbs each) with the door shut, not to mention other more massive loads. How many OTHER 4WD vans can do what the Aerostar can? These new mini-vans with "car parts" just don't come close. The Aerostar is a TRUCK. scottbartholomew@hotmail.com
  • Hi we have a 92 aerostar.110k and not to many problems unless you count heater hoses A/C doesn't work.The heater core just went out on it too which is not good now it is winter we have been told it is an expensive job to replace it?
    Other than that the van is good we like it..
  • axle59axle59 Posts: 28
    I had to replace the heater core in my '91 last year. The core wasn't that expensive, only about $20 if I remember right. The hard part was trying to find the special tool to release the quick connect hose fittings from the core. I called everyone to see if the had the special tool and the only ones who could get it for me was a ford dealership 100 miles away and it would take two weeks to get in. What I finally ended up doing was removing the core cover and bending the core back and forth until the tubing broke, then pulled the broken tube through the firewall and used a screwdriver to release the clips. If you have any other problems with it just let me know and I'll try to help.
  • We have a '91 Aero star van that has had more work done on it than any of the other messages I've read here. We bought it new and it currently has 108,000 miles on it. Our current problem is with the brakes. They went out all of a sudden (and we'd had a fairly recent brake job done). The brakes will stop the van, but just barely. There's plenty of fluid, no indication of leakage and everything seems just fine, except the brakes don't work. The only reference I found in this thread is to a "Brake Proportioning Valve". Could this be the problem? Any guesses at parts and repair costs?

    Many thanks for any help you can offer. Aloha from Hawaii,
    Monnie Monaghan
  • I have a '93 aerostar with 3.0. On a hot day, if I stop for gas or run in a store for a minute, come back, try to start it, nothing happens, almost like an open circuit. All power accessories are fine, I put in a new battery, & starter relay on firewall. if I pop the hood for about five minutes, it cranks up. The temp gauge does not read that it is overly hot either. When I turn the key , it is like nothing happens.,After it cools off, it cranks right up. I am afraid that one day it won't! Help!
  • axle59axle59 Posts: 28
    You need to replace your starter. Heat will affect a starter or any electrical device worse than anything else. Also as they age they become more sensitive to heat. My buddy had a 77 vette with the 350 and headers that ran richt next to the starter. The exhaust gave off so much heat that he had to replace his starter about once a year. BTW it should only take about 15 minutes to replace it. It's not a real hard job on the aerostar.
  • MY TRUCK CAME WITH A HARNESS UNDER THE REAR BUMPER FOR A TOW HITCH. THE COLOR CODES ON THE WIRES ARE CORRECT FOR THE LIGHTING, HOWEVER, CANNOT GET A VOLTAGE READING. A "FORD" MECHANIC SAID, I HAVE TO CONNECT A PLUG TO GET POWER BACK THERE. A TIP TO THIS ISSUE WOULD BRING A GREAT DEAL OF JOY TO MY TOW-LESS HEART.

    THANKS IN ADVANCE
  • My 1992 areostar has been surging on the first start in the morning, then later stalling and re starting while I driving. Does this sound like the O2 sensor or fuel filter. Unrelated to this I also have the hemp gauge pegging with the oil pars. dropping to 0 but the van ran fine. Any suggestions before I take it in?
  • axle59axle59 Posts: 28
    When I put the trailer hitch on my '91 I just spliced directly into the tailamp wiring. Have not had any problems with it yet.
  • I have a 95 Aero 4.0 and pretty much overnight it went from 1500 miles per quart of oil to about 80 miles a quart and it has everyone puzzled because it does not have any leaks that we can find(Ford dealer put Flourescent dye in oil to check) and it does NOT smoke at all and coolant is a pretty green(no oil in it) is it possible that it is just burning it up? Everyone says it should be smoking something fierce.We recently made a 502 mile trip and it took 7 quarts. The van runs great - gobs of power, starts great even at -20 degrees, any ideas? Thanks.
  • There are fuses located in a compartment on the driver side at the rear of your van.You have to remove a plastic cover for access. These fuses are for your wiring harness. Check to make sure now have blown. Sometimes moisture gets inside your plug and shorts out.(I assume you have the factory extension harness which you connect to an appropriate style of plug required for your trailer.)
  • hanno1hanno1 Posts: 1
    I am looking to replace my '88 Grand Voyager that has 176,000 miles on it. I am looking at a '93 AWD Aero star XLT extended van with 93,000 miles on it. Consumer Report said the AWD version was more sure footed than the 2WD version but I'm trying to get away from front wheel drive vehicles but I also realize that I still will have some front drive problems with the AWD version. What input can you guys give me?
  • I have a 91 AWD Aerostar. The all wheel drive is invisible. It's almost impossible to spin your tires on a wet road. (I can generally beat any 2 wheel drive off the start on a wet day. You will not have any of the front wheel drive problems. The transfer case has viscous couplings which distribute the power if a wheel should start to slip. This happens so fast, traction is always 100%. It also improves handling if you're towing.
  • No doubt about it, you risk getting a big fat lemon when you buy an Aerostar. On the other hand, you can get lucky. My Aerostar is a 1992 with AWD and 133,000 miles, and has been mostly trouble-free, except for a transmission overhaul at 25,000 miles (under warranty) plus miscelaneous problems with UNDER heating in the winter (consequently no heat in the cabin) and...well actually, that's about it except for occasional, ahem, fender straightening. When I bought it in '93, I feared I was being a total idiot to invest hard-earned dollars in an American-made AWD, however on the whole, the Aerostar has been more reliable and longer-lasting that a couple of my Toyotas. Right now you can't get a van that matches the Aerostar in important respects, i.e., 3 rows of seats PLUS cargo space behind the 3rd seat PLUS all-wheel drive PLUS trailer hauling capability PLUS a decent ride and handling PLUS being small enough to parallel park easily. Considering the odometer reading, I really should trade off my Aerostar this summer...but for what? Maybe I'll just overhaul the motor and trans and keep the dang thing a few more years. Either way, for the time being, the concept of "winter" holds no fear for me.
    I would be dubious about purchasing any car with 93,000 miles on it. On the other hand, you could figure if the car was junk, it would have been scrapped a long time ago.
    Ragsalion
  • We purchased our Aerostar AWD new in '94. So far only 73000 miles. The transmission needed a repair at around 30000 miles, oddly enough the first and last time my 16 year old son drove it(alone). Other than that it needed a MAF sensor at 69000 mi and front CV joint boots and lower ball joints at 70000 (not unusual for any vehicle in my area). It leaks about a quart of oil every 1000-1500 miles. I bought an extra set of wheels and mounted up 4 studded snow tires the first winter I owned it. Icy roads are not noticed at all. I've pushed through snow drifts so deep I was worried that the air bag would be set off. I get around 22 mpg on the highway, not bad for a vehicle of this weight with the aerodynamics of a barn. The only thing I don't like is knowing that some day it will have to be replaced, and I won't be able to buy another new one.
  • I have a 1991

    ford aerostar that I bought three months ago with 153,000 mileson it. It has a hum in the front end that get louder as speed increases. Local Ford dealer thinks its the front differential and estimates that repairs could run from $800 to $2,500 (OUCH). Anyone else out there had similar problems that you could tell me about and what the cost to fix was.
  • In a couple of weeks I am planning on picking up a 96 Aerostar XLT AWD with 50,000 miles. Dealer claims to have done an inspection and repairs "as needed". Also comes with a 12 month 12k miles powertrain warranty. My neighbor has a 93 model with 100K miles that has been "trouble free", but i read here that there are some people have had some trouble even with relatively low miles. I don't have a lot of time to check out the vehicle before deciding for sure to buy ( I live in a small Alaska community and am going to Anchorage to purchase). What should I look for, or ask about before signing the check?

    thank you

    Joe
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,132
    My buddy in Anchorage has had good luck with his (don't recall his year or whether it was the 4x4). General info on pricing and overall reliability can be found is here. Start at Ford and drill down to the '96, etc.

    You may also want to check out the sidebar link on the above page for a comprehensive guide to buying a used car. Good luck!

    Steve
    Host
    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • wedcwedc Posts: 1
    My 1990 XLT Ext Aerostar has been virtually bullet proof. It has 179,000 miles and still going strong. Used it for towing, hauling home improvement material, hauling kids to practice and even a cross-country vacation. We bought it new in 89 and have never pampered it. Although, I did perform regular scheduled maintenance and repaired what would be considered normal wear items. But now the rust is finally taking it's toll (Northeast). We will eventually have to replace the Aerostar, but don't want a "mini van". The only other option is a GM's Astro/Safari or a full size van. Not at all excited about GM products and the full size vans would be too cumbersome for our life style. Does anyone now if Ford has plans to introduce a van to fill the niche between mini van and full size van?
  • I currently own and drive this vehicle daily. It has @ 118,000 miles and I have owned it for about 4 years. It's had its share of problems but nothing major and it has never left me stranded.
    I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this vehicle. If your interested in buying one, here are some things you might consider: *The 3.0 is a very durable motor but not powerful or economical. It uses oil and only God knows where it goes. *The Aerostar aint pretty to look at and most are rear wheel drive only so you should be able to get a good deal no matter what. *Avoid models earlier than 92 unless you want a leaky rust bucket. *Transmission can be a weak link so find one that was treated with care (was serviced and not used for regular heavy towing) Look for a transmission cooler mounted in front of the radiator. *Keep an eye on the motor oil pan. Mine has a tendency to bubble and rust. The best thing about the Aerostar is that it is very heavy duty (for a "minivan"). Its actually more like a truck. Whether your hauling kids or sheets of plywood, the aerostar handles both with ease. Good luck!
  • splinxsplinx Posts: 1
    We have a '93 4.0 Aero star Extended that we purchased about a month ago. We fixed pretty much all that was mechanically wrong. Although we know the AC/Heat will be needing work, it seems to be a pretty good vehicle.
    Well, we hadn't had rain in our area for a long time, until yesterday. We discovered that the van leaks along the drivers side. It showed no evidence of leaking when we bought it. The funny thing is that it seems to be leaking on the drivers side door (the carpet there on the edge is wet). It also leaks from the 2 rear windows on the driver's side. It's kind of a rolling drip on the inside. Has anyone else had this problem?
    I was wondering if maybe there is some sort of drain tube that might be clogged? Or am I stuck with replacing window seals??
  • flyer172flyer172 Posts: 1
    I just picked up a 1997 Aerostar XLT with 28,000 original miles. The van belonged to an older couple that barely used it and had it garaged. It pretty much looks overall like it came out of the dealer. I really like it considering all the negatives you hear about the Aerostar. It's relatively big but at the same time its small enough to call it a minivan. I am quite pleased with it in all respects and I feel like my family is protected in it when we travel. For whoever is interested in buying a mid-sized van, dont overlook the Aerostar. Regards, Flyer172!
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