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Ford Windstar



  • Bloemie: I once owned a '95 Windstar for two very painful and expensive years. Bomb of a van, Bomb of a car company! My Windstar needed the transmission overhaul because of the cracked forward shift piston. The classic signs of failure is that the vehicle fails to go into gear after you come to a complete stop. Transmission fluid is supposed to build pressure behind the piston causing the piston to move forward and shift the transmission back into gear. The crack which occurs in the aluminum pistons allows the transmission fluid to leak thru and it never develops enough force to shift into gear. So, you roll to a stop (like at a traffic signal) and sit there waiting for this harsh thumping action (feels like you are gently rear ended). Sometimes, you can get it to go into gear by downshifting manually to 1st gear. Eventually though, the beast will leave you stuck in traffic. The ford dealerships I dealt with played "Possum" with me. I had to contact a good independent transmission shop that soon as I told him what I had, and what it was doing, he knew exactly what the problem was (it took all of 30 seconds for him to figure out the problem). This transmission has been produced by ford since the 1985 Taurus's and this is a classic problem of the AXOD transmission.

    All I can recommend is unload the beast soon as you can. I sucked it up and took a beating cost wise, but picked up a 2000 Chevy Venture. It has 26,000 miles on it now and is a Great van, good mileage (25 -26 mpg), good performance, good seating (8 passenger-comfortable) and drives like the Oldsmobiles I've always driven for 250 K miles. It will be a cold day in hell before I ever go back to another Ford. I'm pleased to see them hit hard times now. But, as W.C. Fields said " A sucker is born every day". Based on the windstar experience, it's a few more then one sucker per day! Good Luck
  • Hi, I am here because of a problem with our 2001 Windstar. We traded off our 95 Windstar on the 2001. It seems we have had problems since day 1.
    Ford has not fixed the issues we experienced with the 95. This week we took it to the bank and signed it over to them. We don't need more Ford headaches.
  • I have had my 2000 Winstar SEL for over two years now. This vehicle has been the best vehicle I have ever owned. In actual fact I have not had one problem with it. In my line of work I meet with many different people each day and we often discuss vehicles. From my conversations it appears that Ford has better quality in their manufacturing of the SEL than the cheaper models. ONe client of mine bought two Winstars, one was for his business and the other was a top of the line SEL. My client told me that his SEL was perfect but the cheaper model Winstar he uses in his business is junk. I have also noticed the same thing with the chrysler minivans. My clients that drive the Town & Country have a wonderful expereince owning their minivan. But, the ones who buy the cheaper models have trouble. One could probably conclude that auto manufactuers put more quality in their higher margin vehicles, because they want to ensure their customer comes back. On their lower priced and lower margin vehicles their view of their customer is much different.
  • This may very well be true. We did not have $40,000 to spend on the van. At $30,000. we figured it should have some quality to it.
    The trans shifted the same as our 95 and we were told by a Ford man that the trans in the 95 needed to be replaced.We had only 7000 km on the van, the thing should have been perfect !
  • The Windstar's brochure states the third seat can be moved up to the second row's area. Can a second row's captain seats go in the third row area? (reversed--but would still allow seating for 7). Would ideally like captain seats in the second row but would like the option of putting a toddler in the middle seat on a bench behind the driver (for safety)and still hold 7. Thanks in advance.
  • bdemasbdemas Posts: 51
    autolover3: The captains seats cannot go in the third row. There are only 2 sets of slots in the back row for the bench seat. The spacing in the middle row allows the bench to be positioned in the middle. The captains seats have arm rests on both sides, maybe that will give you the added safety you need.
  • Thanks, bdemas. Still can't decide between second row captains or bench (with a toddler). Captains would be nicer in the long run.
  • Posting this here as well as the "Windstar Problems" board (which hopefully will provide different perspectives).

    The Windstar has been around for a long time. I read a lot about problems but seems mostly in "pre-2000 models" (totally unscientific seat-of-the-pants guestimate). Is this true? If so, is it just that the newer models haven't been driven as much yet?
  • We had a 2001 Windstar with less than 7000 km on it. It was nothing but a problem from day 1. Just last week we told the bank to come and get it. We had enough problems with Ford. After paying just over $30,000. for it and trading in our problematic 95 Windstar, we were not about to do it again.
  • Thanks candlemaker. Sounds like it was a dud. I've been through a similar, but not quite as painful experience with another manufacturer's car.

    Question is: are these duds as common in the recent models compared with the older ones? This may be impossible to say for sure, but maybe someone has some insight. Certainly, reading the "Problems" boards here makes me want to buy a skateboard! ;)
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    How can you tell the bank to come and get it? Did they take it off your hands and give you the remaining balance of your loan? Do they in turn force to manufacturer to take it back?
  • I don't know how the bank will dispose of it. We only made 3 payments on it and told the bank it was a lemon and we would no longer pay for it. It is called voluntary surrender.We don't have to pay the balance. When we bought the 2001, we traded our 95 junkstar. We owed 10,000 on it (95)since we just bought it. We feel we did the best thing getting out of it before all the headaches we had with the 95 drive us to our grave. !
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    Wow, that's awesome. That's lemon law on another level. Will that have any affect on your credit rating? Very interesting!
  • Yes it will but only for about 6 years. It would have taken that long to pay the loan off and we would have had all the headaches to boot! We figure on getting a cheap used car and save up for whatever we decide to buy. I could not fathom paying $639.02 a month for 6 years for that junk !
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,016
    Seems a bit extreme, but whatever works. I bet you could put a letter in your credit file with the big 3 credit companies to explain your actions, and that may help your "Beacon" score.

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  • Does the 2002 Windstar have this? In case I'm using the wrong term: you can't put the van out of Park without first stepping on the brake.

  • Thanks to those who responded. We are just glad to be rid of the van and the debt.
  • tlahayetlahaye Posts: 81
    This is our third Windstar. Its a Limited, and drives like a dream. Its smooth, no wind noise, no road noise, etc.

    It's the third one we've purchased the ext. warranty on. They've been expensive, as most repairs were done in first 36K.

    Yeah, the regular stuff you see on the problems board----transmission replaced on the 98, steering rack replaced, tie rod ends, etc. These problems are a hassle, but it seems all vehicles have them. My wife drives the Windstars, and loves them, so we buy more.

    Someone here observed that they've "cut costs" on the floor mats. Boy is that ever true---! The 95 essentially had two layers of carpet. The 98's mats were skimpy, and the rear was vinyl (I missed the two-way visors too). The mats on our 01 Limited are a joke. Dealer tells us there is no rear (cargo area) mat for the 01's, even in the Limited. Is this true?
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    I know what you mean about the carpets. I had a 95GL that was totaled last year at 135K and picked up a 99SE. The carpet of the 95 was so much nicer than the 99. As to routine problem I agree. Every board here has transmission, steering and other problems in each one.
  • gandalf17gandalf17 Posts: 348
    Prices are in Canadian Dollars. I may have an opportunity to purchase.





    APPROX. 91,000 KM
    3.8L 6 CYL ENGINE
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