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Ford Aerostar

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  • Does anyone know if I should be looking for something specific to go wrong with my sweet 94 Aerostar at 133k? Please e-mail me if you do! I want my daugther to drive it this fall so if anyone knows of a weak link - please let me know!
    ---------------------------------------------------

    These vans are tough, I have my 94 Aerostar with the standard 3.0 Liter V6, automatic transmission. She has 133,000 miles with all original parts. I have changed all the filters on a regular basis and plan on driving it til she drops. Too bad they don't make these girls anymore! Not bad fuel economy either for a baby V6 - plus, I have heard horror stories about Dodge and Plymouth Caravans where they self-destruct at 100,000 miles - transmission/engine issues.

    Lovin the beast in NH!
  • jwm271jwm271 Posts: 27
    Our 93 XLT Extended 3.0 Has been great. Replaced A/C compressor with new style in 1999. Still gets 22 MPG at 75MPH on trips. The inflatable lumbar support on both front seats make 500-600 mile trips no problem. Currently has 210,000 miles.
  • rejoycenrejoycen Posts: 1
    Im wondering if anyone knows why after driving for maybe 2 solid hours on a trip, the clock/radio light comes on? Then I get to my destination and after a few starts its gone again, until the drive back. Very strange, because if it was wiring it would happen at different times. Plus cigarette lighter wont work, cell phone you know,, checked fuses. IT's at the shop as we speak for a new ac compressor. A thousand bucks seems like the average amount Ive read on here. But I am going to go for it, because I do love how this van moves on my 4 hour trips back and forth from CT to ME. Thanks all.
  • Hi There,

    I am a newbie to this message board.
    I own a 1993 Ford Aerostar 4.0L V6 AWD.
    It runs fine except when going up hills if the
    outside temp is above about 65F. Depending on
    the steepness and length of the hill the engine
    temp will get steadily hotter eventually to the point when it will overheat (I have not allowed this to happen so far).

    I have changed all of the fluids, and flushed out the cooling system and installed new coolant.

    It is strange as the engine temp is fine on the flat, even on really hot days. So I am assuming that it is the extra load the engine is under going uphill. Surely this should not happen unless the van is fully loaded and the external temp is really hot?

    Any help would be most appreciated as I really like the van and it is otherwise mechanically sound.

    Thanks,

    Mark.
  • h8winterh8winter Posts: 1
    I just had to read through some of the posts on this particular board for Aerostars to see the feelings of other Aerostar owners. After having mine for almost 6 years (bought it in '96 with 56,xxx miles) and traded it in last night. I just have to say that aside from the typical maintenance (brakes, etc.) it was a pretty darn good vehicle. The last few months, the power steering began leaking, the exhaust pipe was going to have to be replaced, and who know what else would have had to be done, it was time to let it go. It was pretty much mechanically sound, got me where I needed to go, but it didn't look nice anymore; rusting like crazy on the bottom. But then, living in WI with all the salt they throw on the highways, doesn't help.

    Oh yes, and like the other posts; my A/C had been history for the past 4 yrs. It didn't bother me tho' - I don't find much of a need for it unless it's like near 90-degrees and it's terribly humid.

    Good luck to all of those who still have theirs. Let's face it, though - every make of automobile will have its lemons.
  • time4familytime4family Posts: 24
    We have a 93 xlt with electronic 4 wheel drive. The air was serviced a couple of years ago and worrks great. I have had to do the front brakes once. It has 138,000 miles on it and it is much more reliable than the 96 voyger we bought to replace it. The Aerostar does have a thumping that sounds like a wheel bearing ?? but the voyger has a anti theft system (Panic button on key fob) that will not reset so it just sits until I can figure what is wrong. "back to driving old faithful.
  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    Hope you already had yours fixed, but my 91 Aerostar had a bad clutch on the cooling fan. You might have that checked, as well as obviously, the thermostat...
  • kckidkckid Posts: 1
    I have a 95 Aerostar with 184,000 nearly trouble free miles. Only trouble has been in the rear transfer case, serpentine belt tensioner, and very troublesome power steering (ever since I hit that darn deer last year). Dual A/C still works great (knock on wood). The only vehicle I have ever owned that I could say was better was my old Duster, which I drove 331,000 miles, and refused to die even then. Somebody at Ford needs their rear-end kicked for deciding to discontinue this wonderful vehicle. There is no alternative out there. No one in my house is less than 6 feet tall, and we are too uncomfortable in the Astro, not to mention that they are rough and crude compared to the Aerostar. Guess I'll drive this one till it drops, and then look for another Aerostar with less than 100,000 miles.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    How in the world can one do service on an Aerostar's engine if there's no room under the hood?
  • dougd7dougd7 Posts: 71
    We have a 93 Aerostar that we bought used w/44k miles on it at the end of 1997 (4 days after Christmas). It has held up well but has been in the shop more often than my 92 Acclaim (purchased new). In the past 3 years I've replaced the radiator(leaking), cooling fan clutch, front rotors (warped), sparkplug wires (twice), exhaust(including the $90 flex pipe), water pump (twice), front tie rods, and the clockspring.

    Shortly after we took it home I had to return it because it was missing, leaking radiator and pinion seal was blown. All that was covered under warrantee. Except now the pinion seal is blown again so that will need to be fixed at my cost.

    All in all it hasn't been a bad vehicle but it is difficult to work on - no space in the engine compartment! Mine has the 3.0L V6 so it has a little more room than the ones with the 4.0L but it is still tight quarters. We took a vacation to New Orleans and back through Georgia to Virginia (home) and then on to western Pa. without major problems. I was disappointed with my gas mileage. Carrying family of six with the a/c on, luggage on roof and averaging 70 mph I averaged just over 17 mpg hwy. I thought I'd at least get 21-22 mpg. Any thoughts? I've sinced changed plugs (using platinum Autolites), and changed sparkplug wires. Before and after the trip my wife averages about 19-20 mpg combined city/hwy. It now has over 159k miles. I like it because it hauls all 6 of us with no problems - however the quality has been less than I expected. Simply been in the shop a bit more than I like.
  • dobbs2udobbs2u Posts: 3
    I have a 94 extended, 4.0L V6 auto trans, it has been great, bought it in 96 with 70k.kilometers, now has 192k.kilometers. Some minor repairs, radiator, ball joint, and regular routine main.
    I am wondering, is it possible to swap out the middle 2seater bench and replace it with the high back captains chairs? Would be much nicer on an upcoming long summer trip.
    Any info would be much appreciated.
  • pjksrpjksr Posts: 111
    My 91 Aerostar (4WD w/ 4.0L engine) never got better than 19 mpg on oxygenated fuels, introduced in the mid-90s. Previously, mileage was 21 mpg... I'd think your mileage in the South should have been higher, without the oxygenates in the fuel. Maybe it was your roof rack luggage?

    You may try a container of Techron fuel injector cleaner, to help clean up your valves...
  • dougd7dougd7 Posts: 71
    I'll try some injector cleaner. I figure I lost 1-2 mph with the roof luggage but I didn't figure on loosing another 2 mpg. Could have been the sparkplugs were worn enough to lose 2 mpg. I've lost 4 mpg on my 92 Acclaim when the plugs really wore out. Another thought is maybe the O2 sensor is getting long in the tooth and may need to be replaced. My Acclaim really dropped mpg when the O2 sensor went bad (almost undriveable). Around home our combined city/hwy mileage (80% hwy) is around 20 mpg - sometimes up to 21.

    And about the oxygenated fuels - they only use it in the winter correct? So that shouldn't have been an issue. I remember getting fuel at Texaco (a truck stop in Alabama) and other convenience store type places. In fact at the Texaco I remember getting mid-grade fuel (91 octane) and not the regular 87 octane. Didn't seem to make a difference.

    I just changed the oil/filter at 162k miles. Everything is good to go for another 5k miles.

    Also the sliding door latch needs replacing. The spring that holds the top "hook" up when the door is open has broken and to close the door one has to make sure the hook is "up" before sliding the door closed. I haven't checked with our local mechanic as to cost. Any thoughts? TIA.
  • We have just bought the van and love it. Its huge compared to our Oldsmobile. Three things I am wondering about and hope someone has come across it before.. The sliding door jams about 6 inches from closed if not lifted slightly, it comes off the runner a bit. The dealer says I may have to have the runners replaced at up to $400 Cdn for parts. Any advice to save money? Next, the front wipers don't sweep fully, leaving about 4 inches un-wiped on the drivers side (somewhat annoying) and when they go down the passenger side wiper hits the plastic cowling making an annoying tapping sound. Surely this is not normal? Lastly, has anyone found they have a line that appears on their rear carpets right down the middle of the van that seems to be coming up through the carpet. Its not greasy, is slightly tacky and has no smell.
    Other than this we love the van, the size, power, comfort and pretty good handling for a truck.
  • calvinmecalvinme Posts: 1
    We have a 93 Aerostar 3.0L 4 speed auto trans.dual air conditioning. We had the air
    repaired at a Midas Muffler shop that advertised Air work in the news paper.
    The 93 used the old type of refrigerant that's been outlawed. So when the diagnosis
    said the compressor was bad they replaced compressor,accumulator,and coil to
    accommodate the new refrigerant. We think they did their job right.
    However it cools great sitting still or going 30 mph but when you accelerate
    or clime a hill or drive over 55 mph the air shuts off till the engine is no longer
    in a strain then it comes back on. does anyone have any suggestions as to
    what the problem might be?
    Thanks
    Calvin
  • stantontstantont Posts: 148
    The air shutoff under load may be normal; most cars do it at some time. It happens because the airflow control flappers in the heater/a.c. system are moved by engine intake manifold vacuum. When you open the throttle, the vacuum drops. There is a small vacuum accumulator under the hood (a black plastic reservoir on the firewall just below the back edge of the hood, with a vacuum hose connected by a one-way valve to the engine's intake manifold). On a sustained open-throttle run, like a long climb, the reservoir runs out of vacuum. Then all the flapper doors revert to "normal", which happens to be "heater" mode; all the front cold air gets sent to the front floor vents (if you are wearing sandals you can feel the sudden shot of cold air on your right foot). The rear air goes through the rear heater core instead of the rear a/c. All this time, the a/c compressor is still trying to cool, but there is no air flow through it to get to you. As soon as the throttle is closed again (steady cruise or idle or downhill), vacuum is restored and the air flappers again send air through the a/c core.

    If your car does this whenever you open the throttle even briefly, then something is wrong with the vacuum accumulator system: either an air leak somewhere (bad vacuum hose), or perhaps a bad one-way valve. Our Aerostar does it on long climbs, where long means maybe a minute or longer; anything under that time it does not happen. Any sustained load makes it happen, so for example a long pull in D4 with a heavy trailer will do it.

    Almost every car we've ever owned would do it on long mountain stretches, though the more powerful the car, the less it happened, since the engine wasn't pulling as hard on a given stretch. BTW, a downshift to D3 or even to second on really hard pulls would often spin the engine up just enough to restore vacuum, and the a/c would cool again.

    Hope this helps!
  • stantontstantont Posts: 148
    I just reread your note. The air shutoff I described should NOT happen at steady cruise at any speed; if it does, then there is definitely a vacuum leak somewhere. Since this just began after a/c work, I suspect some vacuum hose was either disconnected or plugged back into the wrong place, or has hardened with age and split when it was moved. If all else fails you could buy a bunch of vacuum hose and sytematically replace all the vacuum hoses on the engine. But do get a good diagram before you start to be sure all the hoses are put in the right place; I would definitely NOT assume they are all correct now.
  • We have owned the 93 Aerostar Aerosport with the 4.0L engine for approx. 6 years. It has been a very dependable van. We have almost 300,000km's on it at present, when we purchased it there was almost 100,000km's on it. The body is still 100% rust free even with it seeing heavy winter use. We do oil spray it regularly. Aside from the regular maintenance and parts replacement, brakes,tires, etc, we have found little to complain about. We are still on the original power steering pump and air conditioner, both still work great.
    There is one thing however, I have been noticing the last couple of months. When I drive over rough road sections, such as railway crossings, I get a loud rattling and thumping noise. I have had the front end checked out by two reputable service centers and they claim everything is fine. There is nothing to indicate that the shocks may be bad as they seem to work fine, no front end diving or bouncing. The steering also appears to be tight, as there is no excessive steering wheel movement or wandering on the road. Any thoughts by anyone would be appreciated. I would like to fix this annoying noise as we plan to keep the van on the road for some time yet.
  • You might have the shop check out the inner and outer tie rod ends; our '95 EXT with 130,000 miles needed them replaced this year. Steering felt just a tiny bit loose (less than 1 inch play at steering wheel rim), but it was enough to cause a rattle, and after the change, the steering felt noticeably more precise. Slow wear like that comes on gradually, so you tend not to notice it. For us, we suddenly noticed it when we got another car (a new Accord), and realized it's steering felt more precise than the van's.

    BTW, Consumer Reports pans Aerostars for reliability, but ours has been excellent. The only repairs (other than normal maintenance) have been two sets of front brake rotors and pads, shocks, and a thermostat. And an annoying switch in the tailgate that kept telling us the tailgate was open when it wasn't. I finally cut the wire rather than spend money on an annoyance.

    All else is original: a/c, steering, auto trans, engine, etc., etc. Paint is still excellent. And NO rust anywhere. The van has done yeoman's service, pulling a 2800-lb boat trailer and occasionally a very large U-Haul trailer (4500 lbs?). And I once carried 1700 lbs of building materials inside for a project at home....
  • Just wondering, do you have the Aluminium Ford wheels with the removable centers?
    I was just driving our '94 Aerostar and while passing over a set of railway tracks the front wheel centers rattled very loudly.
    Just a thought.
  • Hello! I've got a 93 Aerostar with 200,000 miles on it, still going strong!
    I bought the van brand new, but I've been driving it since last year, when I bought my wife a brand new Toyota Sienna. Now, the Sienna runs great, believe me, but I'm starting to think that I should have just bought a newer used Aerostar for her, instead of a new car!

    Anyway, my question is: Does anyone else have trouble changing out their alternator serpentine belts on their Aerostars? I've changed mine out 4 times, and each time it's been an extremely tight fit. In fact, I have to take out the idler wheel bolts and let it hang down in order to get the belt around it. I then tighten the three bolts one at a time. Does anyone else have this problem?
  • if you put a socket on the tentioner,the nut in the center of the pully,turning right(tight), the spring tentioner loosens the belt..
    ..a new belt can be tricky,as it's gonna be tight.
    follow the serpentine belt guide under the hood,i've had no trouble!..sounds like you're dissasembling the tentioner,where ,all ya gotta do is release the tention..
    ALSO.. after you remove the snorkel hose to the air filter(two clamps,one plug for the m.a.s.,)
    it's fairly easy to get to the belt..
    the plugs and wires are the most difficult ones i've ever replaced!!the only way to change the passenger side one's was to remove the wheel,and go in through the wheel wheel..another tip,get a stubby(one inch) wobble extention ,..i think the engineers do stuff like that on pourpose,but,just a socket and ratchet are just a hair short..??
    my -91 w/a 3.0 with 210,000 still flashes the "check engine" light..maybe it's the o-2 sensor..but,whitch one?? at $40 bucks each,i'd rather know than guess..guess i'm just cheap..
    guess i'm drivin the right truck!! it keeps starting and running!!luck to all with their's!!
  • navyairnavyair Posts: 202
    My flashing check engine light was an O2 sensor in the exhaust pipe. Cost me $21 and took about 10 min to change out. First came on only going through mtns and under load. Then came on steady. Ditto, the no problems starting/running.

    Only set of wires leading into plug on your exhaust near rt front wheel, as I recall. I did have to put a cheater on the wrench to break it loose, though. Easier if you can get it up in the air on a rack.
  • I've seen a 1996 Aerostar van that I'm thinking of buying. I'll be getting the VIN number from the owner and will do a Carfax check on it. The van has 115k on the clock...owner says she's had a new transmission put in it, but can't remember when that occurred (owner out of town right now and all paperwork is at her house). The van appears in great shape - everything seems to work properly and there's never been any bodywork, never in an accident - it looks clean! Does anyone have any thoughts/comments about things I should look out for? Potential nightmares waiting to happen? Any ideas on how much it should cost to replace timing chain and major belts and pulleys? Owner says high mileage is due to her regular trips between NYC and Miami - lots of highway driving. It's been a family van, used to haul kids, skiing and camping equip. Does not appear to have suffered any abuse! I really like it, but I don't want to buy myself a headache.
    BTW, I will have a full pre-purchase check done by my regular car mechanic, but your comments & suggestions will be most welcome! Thanks!
    phil
  • dougd7dougd7 Posts: 71
    I have a 93 Aerostar that now has 180,000 miles on it. Which engine does it have? The 3.0L V6 get better mpg but strains when really loaded up. THe 4.0L is good for power but the mpg is lower. We've had to replace the water pump twice in the past two years. Guess it was bad luck. This is not an easy vehicle to work on. Changing belts, oil changes are a pain. If you can you are better off letting a garage do the normal maintenance (tune-ups, oil changes, changing belts, hoses, etc).

    Our Aerostar has served us well but has always seem to have some little problems along the way. Biggest disappointment is the interior. Several of the screws holding the interior covering on the sliding door have come off (despite constantly retightening them). That is probably my biggest pet peave. The engine and tranny have held up well. Caution on tune ups - Almost everytime I've had to replace the sparkplug wires as well as the sparkplugs because the the boot is on the plug so tight that the wire or boot ends up getting torn trying to get it off. Even my local mechanic has had this problem. They are just hard to get to. Otherwise our van has done its job well hauling two adults, two teenagers and two younger ones (5 & 8). Good luck!
  • I am not a Ford guy, but I have a '92 Aerostar that has been in our family since new, via In-Laws and now mine and I really like this vehicle. Recently I had the rack&pinion replaced, steering column bearings and shaft replaced and all was fine. Last week I had the intermediate steering shaft replaced because of a clicking and popping in the steering column but this work didn't help. Ford says they find no reason for the noise, and it's okay to go down the highway at 75 mph. Not willing to bet the farm on that statement. Anyone had this clicking/popping problem? Thanks
  • 68torino68torino Posts: 4
    A good trick when changing plugs and wires is to add a little dab of neverseize to the plug's threads before installing. Add a little dab of spark plug wire grease(pick up at parts store) or silicone grease to the inside of the boot that goes over the plug. Next time these will be easier to remove. Doesn't help the first hard time but after will be easier.
  • 68torino68torino Posts: 4
    Also check the exhuast system. I had a rattle that drove me nuts till I found the heat sheild for the cat was loose. I also had a rattle once that ended up being a loose caliper. So when looking for rattles check everything. Right now I've got a click that ends up being a bad shock.
  • 68torino68torino Posts: 4
    I noticed a post from Canada that mentioned oiling their Aerostar to prevent rusting. Could I get more details on this? Currently if I have a vehicle I like I undercoat the wheel wells but I'm always interested in new or different methods of rust control.
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