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Ford Windstar

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  • PLEASE see post #713 in "Ford Windstar Problems" Thank-You!!
  • jj35jj35 Posts: 283
    I am looking for a replacement vehicle for my 2000 Toyota Sienna. One feature that I like in the Sienna is that I can remove or fold half of the back seat (can get extra cargo space and still seat five people). I cannot find anything on the Edmunds new car descriptions to see how the rear seat of the Windstar is configured. Can someone with a 2002 Windstar (or any year if the seats are the same) comment?
  • bdemasbdemas Posts: 51
    jj35: The rear seat of our 2001 can be moved to the middle row. We have the captain seats in the middle, but it will also works on the bench seat variety as well. Both the rear and middle row seat backs can be folded flat. I'm pretty sure this configuration hasn't changed for the 2002 model.
  • I own a 95 Windstar with 65,000 mi. I have had all the usual problems such as the speedometer, head gasket and finally the transmission. It seems the FORWARD CLUTCH PISTON went out in the tranny and the repair cost $ 1620.

    There was a TSB issued in 1994 (1 yr before I bought the car) that stated that the aluminum forward clutch pistons were failing and if they did they were to be replaced by a STEEL version. I will be in small claims court next week. My question is: Are there any of you windstar ownwers out there who have succesfully collected on this issue ? It is technically a breach of the warrenty of mechantabillity because they sold the car with a known latent defect.
  • This is my first post...but I have been reading all the others carefully. My 96 Windstar blew its engine on Dec. 1, with 78,000 miles on it. A year ago, I had to have the timing cover gasket replaced at great expense. Right now, without expensive diagnostics done on the blown engine, the engine failure can't be tied to the head gasket. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that the poor engine design others have been complaining about is the culprit here, too. I am just beginning my complaint process to Ford. Any suggestions will be welcome. PS. Coincidentally, I just met a woman in the town next to mine, whose 96 Windstar bit the dust the very same day mine did. Just how widespread is this issue with the 96's?
  • edo89edo89 Posts: 1
    I thought others might find my experience useful when deciding on buying a new van. We bought ours in May of 1998. We selected it over Chrysler and Sienna for several reasons and have not been disappointed, overall. We did have problems though. About 2 months after we bought it had a major transmission problem; tranny had to be replaced, of course, it was covered by warranty. Couple months later, another engine related problem occured and again it was fixed in 2 days by the dealer for free. Ever since we did not have any problem. My wife loves the van - it's powerful, quiet at cruising speeds, has comfortable driver seat, is roomy, 2 AC units for front and rear passengers etc. I know how most of you undecided feel since we did the same way - searching for news, postings etc. about every van on the market, test-driving them all, being concerned mostly with reliability. 3 and a half years and 40K miles later, we are still happy Windstar owners. The only thing I don't like is the sound of the engine during acceleration, but my wife who is the primary driver does not mind it at all. The things I like the most are power, nice and thick carpets, excellent visibility, superb brakes, and the best overhead console I have seen in any van or car.
  • We leased our second Windstar in June 2001.
    We have two problems the dealer has not addressed in the visits.

    1) The power sliding door is off track and will not close properly, 3 out of 5 attempts, the door reaches 3/4 the way shut and pops back open. The problem first occurred while on vacation @ Martha Vineyard parked in my driveway. The Dealer said someone hit it or a shopping cart hit it, I disagree. anyway I was told I have to bring to a body shop, can you believe it?

    2) The Driver side front speaker is blown, seems like a simple problem, not fixed yet.

    This is my third Ford, getting a bad taste. Mostly likely will not buy/lease @ Ford anytime soon. Anyone have any solutions for the Door?
  • After reading the posts here and everywhere, why would anyone even consider buying a Ford. As for me, no more Fords or other American cars. Its going to be Toyotas, Subarus, Hondas or Nissans from here on out.
  • I own a '97 Dodge Grand Caravan with 70,000 miles and am considering purchasing a 2001 Windstar SE with leather and quad seating. The manual side doors on the Windstar seem to require some muscle to close, as opposed to my Caravan which requires the push of a button and an easy slide. Does this bother anyone or am I out of shape?

    I was ready to purchase tomorow, but am having second thoughts due to my concern after reading the horror stories regarding blown engines and head gasket problems on older Windstars. The deal seem very good; x-plan, less $400. not to mention 0% for 60 months!

    I also have a 2001 Ford Escape XLT and LOVE IT!!
  • For the record, we purchased one of the last '98 Windstars made in June of 1998. Thought it would be okay because supposedly they had addressed he head gasket and transmission problems. However, right on queue at 3 and a half years and 55,000 miles, it now has significant coolant losses. We also had the standard problems of tie rods and radio replaced under warranty. Also the dealer went through the motions of replacing multiple sending units and gas tanks in a wasted effort to make the fuel gauge read accurately.

    So it remains the case that Ford is continuing to sell the 3.8 L engine when they know that it does not last much longer than a set of tires.
  • I have been reading through the Windstar Problems. The Head gasket leaking and transmission breaking.

    I have questions as to why. I'm considering buying a Windstar. The GM's, VW and Japanese vans don't fit my needs and I've read and had experience with the Chryslers and they don't appeal to me at all. So here I'm left with the Windstar.

    Motor:

    1. Is the head gasket failure because the gaskets are sub-standard?
    2. Is it that the motor has too much power for that size motor (3.8)?
    3. Is the Van too heavy for the motor?
    4. Does the antifreeze have anything to do with the eating a way the gasket?

    I'm planning on installing a pre-lube system for the motor and using synthetic oil. Do you think this would help the head gasket problem?

    Trans:

    I see that ford has identified a few transmission hardware problems.
    1. Would synthetic trans fluid and a trans cooler help with these transmission problems?

    I know if you talk to a dealer they'll try to make a dead mule sound like a new Mercedes so you can't trust them. So does any one know whom I can email about the Windstar problems, like an email address to a Ford Company rep.?
  • haulthault Posts: 124
    Long story short. I had a 95 and now have a 2000 Windstar. Only own a Windstar if you have it under warranty, factory or extended.
  • Mine lasted till 135k and then it was totaled by a red light runner. The trans was good to the last day. I did have the head gasket problem and had to replace the speedometer. However, from about 70K on it was routine maintance, of which I am a fanatic. On the transmission. I had the power flush done each 60K and that might be why I never had a problem. Just a guess.
    I now have a 99 SE. Good power, quad seats. It is a little loser than the 95 in the ride department and I think at about 30K I will put some after market shocks on it along with a heavier sway bar. We like it. It can hold 4 retired racing greyhounds with room for two more if need be.
  • bdemasbdemas Posts: 51
    glenn41: The head gasket failures were related to a bad selection in the gasket material, the head and block are different material and expand at different rates causing a weakening in the gasket. The antifreeze doesn't eat the gasket, though once the gasket is shot it ruins the bearings thus causing the motor to need replacement. In later years it appears they have fixed the problem and the motors have had more power, so its not power related.

    I don't think synthetic transmission fluid would have fixed the earlier transmission problems, those were caused by a part that would crack. There seems to be a lot of complaints on the newer windstars with harsh shifting in lower gears.

    We have had a 95 that blew the gasket, a 99 with the harsh shifting and persistent pinging problems and now a 2000 that had a clunking in the transmission at various speeds. They replaced the torque converter on that one. Of the 3 the 2000 has been the best. No pinging and the transmission seems better though not perfect. I don't think Ford knows how to build a decent transmission.

    I wouldn't go beyond the 3yr/36k mile factory warranty without getting an extended warranty. The torque converter replacement was right at 36k miles.
  • mjsumjsu Posts: 2
    I had a 95 Windstar. It lived at the dealership with numerous electrical problems and recalls. It blew head gaskets at 35,000 miles and 77,000 miles, which Ford stood behind eventually ( the second occasion destroyed the engine and a factory rebuilt was provided). The liquid filled motor mounts were shot at 77,000 and cost about $500 to replace. Fortunately I had an aftermarket policy from an excellent company which picked up the cost, minus a $25 deductible. Unfortunately, my Ford dealership in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angels lost my car the day all the repairs were completed. The vehicle had been inspected and I was told it was in top mechanical condition, with no other problems. The dealership was in the habit of parking cars with keys inside and leaving the lot entrance unattended. It was stolen, recovered six weeks and almost 2,000 miles later, with the interior stripped and over $13,000 damage. The interior panels, seats, radio, tow bar, never used Michelin spare tire and jack were stolen. The radio wiring harness was cut, the body damaged and the transmission severely damaged. Negligence was clear in this matter. After telling me what needed to be done to properly repair my vehicle, my Ford dealer turned the matter over to their insurance company, which screwed me - beware if you deal with "F" Insurance. I was underpaid the loss sustained after a year long dispute and orignally being low balled. The dealership was totally indifferent. They would not repair my vehicle because their insurance company refused to pay the cost. I attempted to talk to the owner, but got no closer than his son, who felt no responsibility for their blunder. I have a new vista on how this dealership treats its customers. I eventually disposed of the defective van for salvage cost plus the pittance provided by the scum insurance company. I called Ford Motor Company, but they said they have no control over what their dealers do. Does this sound like the kind of company you want to deal with? I am now looking for a late model Toyota Sienna. I have had it with Ford.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    As we all know, it is worth more as an insurance reimbursement than anywhere else!

    BTW - you have a very clear case of negligence (seeing that the van was stolen from the Ford Dealership with the keys left in the vehicle by their employee) on your hands. If you did not recover the blue book value of your van, I think it is well worth the small claims $50 filing fee...
  • Could you tell me how you were able to determine that it was the forward clutch piston? We have what sounds like the same trouble. Did you have to tear down the transmission? What was the cost and who did you have do it?
  • excelent3excelent3 Posts: 197
    Purchased Aug of 2000. Has had 3 recalls since. Poorest paint job I have ever seen. We are Fords attempt to "win us back" as a valued customer. Our '95 Taurus LX wagon blew two headgaskets. Ford purchased it back for $6300 + $3000 coupon and 0.9% interest for 5 years. It was a good deal at the time. Took delivery on the Windstar, first thing I noticed was all the small particles of hair and dirt in the paint. Left year quater panel had a piece as big as a pencil eraser! They offered to paint it. I said I did'nt want it. They said I would lose the 0.9% rate if I didn't purchase by following Monday. They put us in a corner, found out later I could have got the rate on a different unit, because they could'nt deliver a satisfactory product. It goes on further with problems with service dept. Never, EVER, will I buy a Ford again. Purchased a new Kia Sedona minivan totally loaded for $22,995 last month....no comparison...great van...great warranty for the money and a first rate paint job!
  • Paula,

    When I took my windstar in to the dealer I allready suspected the forward clutch piston based on what I had read. The dealer confirmed it was the piston when they called me back. The repair was $ 1620. They did replace the aluminum version with the steel part. I asked them for the part they took out and it is aluminum.

    I have sued the dealer under the Michigan consumer protection Act. By issuing a TSB in 1994 Ford in effect admitted they knew the part was defective. In dealing with your Dealership you can get all the info you need from the following site. www.magma.ca/~jheinze It just has a ton of history, pictures, small claims court info, ect.

    Maybe you can get Ford to chip in and stay out of court. Good luck

    Bloemie
  • Robert,

    Not to be stupid, but again I ask, HOW were they able to tell it was the forward clutch piston? Did they infact tear the transmission down? The dealer found metal shavings in the burnt transmission fluid. I wish now that we had gotten an answer from them about what the shaving were. Feel free to answer at my e-mail address.
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