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Ford Windstar Problems

1131416181983

Comments

  • elvee1elvee1 Posts: 4
    Hi I have a 99 WS with 20,000 miles. Long drawn out story which I won't go into---I surmise based on other complaints here that we're in the same boat/van! But I specifically need to know this... does the 99 LX model come with the ratcheting seat belts? My Dh and I specifically remember being sold on this, and we think we remember using them once for the child safety seat, but they haven't worked in a long time and after many complaints my current dealer (not where I purchased--that one's too far away from my home) says these vehicles do not have ratcheting seat belts. So, were we dreaming? Does anyone know about this or how I can find out whether we ought to have ratcheting seat belts in this vehicle? Thanks.

    Also, fyi my van's in the shop (sigh, again) as they try to fix the rough shift between 1 and 2 gears. I finally requested and was granted permission to drive a mechanic around in the vehicle so I could replicate the problem which they said they were unable to replicate. Ugh. How I'm driving this lovely Ford Focus as part of their required loner program. Gee thanks. ANyone else try to get 3 car seats in the back of a Focus? It's gymnastics to get the kids all buckled in! I mean, I bought a van because regular vehicles don't have enough room! blah blah blah. I promised myself I wouldn't rant today--I'm supposed to just be information seeking. So I'll stop now!

    Any advice would be appreciated. I reviewed about 75 archive messages but I didn't see anything about the seat belts so hopefully someone can help me. Many thanks..and good luck to all of us ;-)
  • 99 WS SEL has had battery replaced 3 times. Also replaced alternator two batteries ago. Dealer is nice about it but has no idea on the solution to my problem. I'm interested in input or feedback from others with this type of problem. Is the Dispute Settlement Board recommended?
  • Have had ongoing pinging problem with 99 WS SEL. Dealer claims the K & N Air cleaner I installed is contributing to the situation. The oil in the air cleaner creates a film on the Mass Air Flow Sensor and causes premature failure in addition to fuel delivery being calculated wrong. I have gone back to the Ford OEM filter and have noticed improved fuel economy and no pinging in 1,000 miles of driving. Unfortunately I have wasted a lot of gas in the 25,000 miles this was happening.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Well - got the van back this week. If they didn't "FIX" the swinging thermostat they have, at least, minimized its movement. Now it only swings between the R and M in NORMAL. They stated that there was an "air bubble" in the cooling system.

    Please, Please, Please... let this be the last time I see the service department for a while...

    Hope yours treats you better than mine does!
  • barrye1barrye1 Posts: 13
    I have a 99 WS with 42k miles. I too had the problem of 1-2 shudder and tried unsuccessfully to get the dealers to find the problem before the 3/36000 warranty expired. When at 39k I finally did get the transmission tech to see the problem, he said "oh yea you are going to need a new tranny". Ford did not back its product. They made me pay $500 for an extended warranty to replace the tranny. I am currently seeking help through our attorney general's office.

    Get rid of the van ASAP. Ford will not help you down the road. This is from someone who had owned 7 different Fords in his life and got burned on his Windstar. I have never been more disgusted at a company in my life.

    I am trying to sell the van and am not having much luck. Hope you have better luck, or can get rid of the van faster than I. By the way, the new tranny is still sometimes unsure of shifts between 1 & 2
  • joe236joe236 Posts: 1
    I need some feedback from any 99 Windstar LX owners with high mileage (90K). My brother-in-law (a good, honest, man) drives a 99WS. This is a company car that he has driven since it was new. It currently has 99K on it. He states he has had no problems with the van(he should know, his personal vehicle is also a 99WS). I can purchase vehicle from him for around $8000-$10000.
    Please reply to kjdmhesk@aol.com if you fit in the profile.
    Thanks
  • tpg1999tpg1999 Posts: 1
    I bought my 1998 Windstar in February, 1997. During the first 12-14 months, the vehicle stalled while accelerating and decelerating 5-10 times. A couple of times, my wife barely avoided an accident due to the loss of power steering. We brought it back to the dealer we bought it from 3-4 times to no avail. I went the Dispute Settlement Board route and they requested one last attempt to have the problem fixed, at the dealer of my choice. The dealer I bought it from has a decent repair reputation, but given they hadn't corrected it, I went to another dealer nearby. This was in December 1998 and the vehicle had approx 28k miles on it.
    This past Friday, the transmission died. I brought it to the dealer I bought it from and I was told the repair cost would be $2,600 !!!!!
    So here's a cranny with a history of problems, rebuild at 28k and 33k miles later, it dies and Ford expects me to foot the bill ???

    The salesman I bought it from suggested I buy a used cranny and forget about it. Why am I not surprised.

    Any one with similar stories ?

    I'll go to the Chairman of Ford if necessary to arrive at a reasonable solution.
  • wenlitzwenlitz Posts: 4
    Sometimes when I come to a stop or pull into a parking lot I hear a "clunk" sound as my transmission downshifts (probably from 2nd to 1st). Doesn't happen all of the time and I currently have 32,000 on it.
    Does this sound like transmission problems down the road?
  • I have been experiencing a random single chime from the dashboard of my 2000 WS. It doesn't seem to correspond to any particular event. Usually just driving down the road. Sometimes accelerating, sometimes decelerating, sometimes holding steady speed. It just emits a single chime (similar to the seatbelt chime, but just one ping).

    Does anyone out there have any idea what might cause this problem?
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    Wenlitz,

    I have a 98WS 60K no problems. My transmission does same thing at slow speeds, I think it is pretty common. Highly recommend 25 to 30K xmission fluid changes on all windstars.

    TPG1999,

    There is a service bulletin out on the stalling problem, a one part replacement. Usually the stalling occurs at slow speeds while turning. Mine was done at 20K, no problems since.
  • murphy07murphy07 Posts: 2
    Checked with our local Lincoln-Mercury dealer who has an excellent rep. They do not recommend oil flushes (especially for newer models with good service intervals) and are authorized to service Windstars. Bye Bye Cape Fear Ford!!! They also recommend changing the tranny fluid at 20-25k. Thanks for the great advice.
  • elvee1elvee1 Posts: 4
    My WS has been at the shop for 7 days now and they tell me to expect it to be there, still, tomorrow. I was told that the mechanic has my transmission "in pieces" right now. Well that's not very reassuring. I wonder if he'll create more problems (like when my DH tries to fix the plumbing...you know the old joke!!)

    I am wondering why they won't just replace it. It would seem to me that since it's under warranty, it would be of lesser cost for them to replace it (mechanic time and my loaner car for 7 days and counting now.)???????

    I can already tell that Ford won't stand behind us. We've never owned a Ford before--Chrysler and GM were our last several vehicles. I thought GM did an outstanding job with customer service and honestly, we never had a problem requiring a mechanic regarding the Chrysler. I'm wishing I'd have bought the darned Caravan!!!! It was a tie right down to the finish. The "selling" point to the WS was the ease with which I could fold down the seats with only one hand...since the other was usually holding some child! *sigh*

    On an interesting note, my friend's Caravan was just in the shop for a transmission failure (2000 model!) And she experienced the same crappy Customer Service I got from Ford. The two dealers (purchase dealer vs. fixing dealer) fought over who was to give her the loaner car. She's a lot nicer than I am and she left without a loaner and went without one for 3 days!!!!! And then they put her in a Camry. She and I had a chuckle about the 3 car seats we each had smashed into the back seats of these tiny vehicles. We also both laughed because we made our oldest daughters climb into a booster seat which was already buckled, because there isn't enough maneuvering room to latch the buckle once the child is in the booster seat! (at least we were laughing...)

    It actually made me think that maybe Ford is no worse than the other manufacturers???

    I don't know what to think but I do know that I really appreciate your feedback. Do you have any idea about the ratcheting seat belts? Does your LX have them? They really make life with car seats much easier--I know this from the lovely Ford Focus I'm driving right now!!!

    Regarding your urge for me to sell, I must confess that I've been having the same feeling. My DH is not equally inclined (yet) *sigh*

    Thanks and good luck to you!
    Lori
  • wenlitzwenlitz Posts: 4
    Just got the xmission fluid/filter changed. Have you ever heard any brake noise (squealing)?
    Like my 99 alot. Going out tonight to look at a 2001 SEL though.
  • yehudayehuda Posts: 1
    I recently became another victim of the Ford Windstar ('96 with 75K) blown head gasket and tranny. Upon viewing the messages I came across references to a "Secret Warranty". Could somebody please enlighten me about this warranty. Are there any options available to me. My car is presently by my mechanic for the head gasket waiting to be repaired. The transmission was all ready replaced several months ago at a transmission place.

    Thank You in advance for your advice.

    Yehuda
  • pking1pking1 Posts: 2
    Just bought a 2001 Windstar SEL. It makes a slight grinding sound at about 10 miles per hour as it's shifting from first gear to second gear. It only does this the first time it shifts from first to second gear after you start the van. There is no grinding the rest of the trip, even if you come to a complete stop several times. But if you shut the van off and start it again the same thing happens - first time it goes from first to second gear there's a little grinding noise.

    I was afraid it was a problem with the transmission and brought it back to the dealer so the service department could look at it. They told me the grinding sound was an ABS (antilock brakes) valve, not the transmission, and that there was nothing they could do about the noise. As a matter of fact they told to be worried if it doesn't make the grinding sound because then there maybe something wrong with the ABS.

    Has anyone had a similar experience? Does the dealers explanation sound reasonable?
  • Geez... it's seems like it's been yrs since i've been back here and it's only been a week and a half. And don't ya know it, my van is back in the shop again as of tonight. I don't know what happend tonight, but I was on my way to work when i was hitting the average bumps and dips in the road and this awful clunking noise was coming from the front of driver's side front end. It felt the vibrations under my feet. I was terrified the wheel was coming off or something really big was going to fall out from under the hood. I drove right into the service bay of the dealership and demanded a loaner and the van fixed once again. They really don't like me there. They were trying to put me in a escort....hahaha. Not with a family of 5. I got another windstar. Same one i've been driving each time I go in. I think i drive that one more than mine. Anyway i requested that a mechanic drive with me, so they couldnt say they didn't hear or feel the problem, he felt it. Also, the gas gauge is really screwy now. I have no idea how much gas is in the van when it hits 1/4 a tank. I get a different reading everytime I turn it on. One day I can drive for hours on below empty with the light on and then turn it on again, and the light is off and there is 1/4 of gas in it again. The driver side window is now loose and out of track, I still have a leak (still dont know what that is), when they replaced my tires, they bent up my hub cap and now it wants to pop off. I feel like they do more damage, than what it was taken in for. The great news is I have had over 800 hits on my homepage!!!!! Lots of emails, and even some insider Ford emails. Well I will be in touch once again to let you know what they find this time.
    Lisa
  • barrye1barrye1 Posts: 13
    Lori
    I bought my Windstar last April, two months before my wife and I had our first child. I bought it because of the safety record. Little did I know that the safety was because it sat at the dealer while being fixed so much. I did buy it used off the dealers lot, but it had been a dealer rental and had been titled at the dealership from day one. I was able to see the entire records of everything that had been done to the van before I bought it. The only problem that occurred was replacing one of the lifts for the rear door. I though I was getting a great van. Its the crimson red with the alloy wheels- looks good.

    I have had problems with the following things-
    1- wind noise from the windshield- dealer could never find the problem. After I took one electrical tape and put around the molding around the windshield it stopped. So I took so epoxy glue and put under the molding. All of my noise was gone.
    Dealer- Not fixed Me- $2.99 for glue.

    2. Rattles- I knew that the van would have rattles but it sounded like I was in a popcorn machine. Solution- Dealer said they adjusted the rear doors and it should reduce the noise. It did just a little. But what really worked was taking the fuzzy side of velcro and putting it on the doors male/female interlocks about 3/4 up the door. Stopped all of the rattles completely ever since.
    Dealer - Not fixed Me $.59

    Many wheel alignments, - dash rattles- fixed with velcro at point of attachment, fuel gauge stopped working- had to pay $100 after warranty ran out and was fixed the same time as the tranny; It was because of a faulty fuel sending unit; Three different plastic covers, 1 on rear door, black one one drivers side door at the side view mirror and one of the floor covers that just came apart; Seats that are coming apart at the seam- noticed after the warranty ran out; Speaker in the rear side door that sound like its blown. Ford said it was because of bad connection. They fixed and it went away, has re appeared six months later; All but the main cig lighter works. I have replaced the fuses three time and only have use the lighters three times for cell phone plug in. I could go on.

    These are things that I guess could qualify under lemon laws, but nothing really that major except the tranny.

    All of this with less than 40,000 miles. Would you like to buy mine. (speaking of this, no dealer around would give me more that $11,500 for trade-in because of all of the problems WS are known to have. All books have around $14000 for trade in value)

    In regarding the ratcheting seat belts, I am not sure what you are talking about. I know that we have not had any trouble putting both our infant seat when our son was born and we just changed to the child seat with no problem. I believe that all seat belts in the Windstar have a tension latch, or where the seat belt male uses tension to hold the belt in place, much like the center of the back seats in the WS and most cars have. The new thing out in the LATCH system, which the new caravan's have. It a three point tether system.

    When my Windstar was in the shop it took two weeks. The dealer said, to help me with the costs (only because I was fuming mad) they were just going to replace the tranny and not tear it apart. That would take even more time.

    Whatever you do, don't call the customer service line of Ford Motor Company to get help. Go straight to the regional ford manager. the customer service representative at your dealer should be able to give you his name. The 800 number that they give you for Ford detroit customer service and also in the back of your owners manual are just people who don't have anything to do with ford. The buck stops there or so they say, and when you don't like what they have to say, they do not answer to anyone, so you get stuck.

    I wish you all of the luck what ever you do. Ford has lost my business I hope that they discover, which they won't, that the most important part of business is customer satisfaction. Something that Quality Job 1 isn't doing.

    Good Luck
  • reecerhreecerh Posts: 2
    Greetings!

    Ford extended the warranty for the head gasket problem to 7 years or a 100,000 miles. They sent out letters but your dealer should also have the information. Our 95 experienced the problem at 30K and was covered. The only problems we have had other than the head gasket is a oxygen sensor replacement and ABS brake circuitrity replaced each at about $150-200. The ABS problem returned but since the 95 is mainly used for cargo I decided to remove the fuse to eliminate the ABS braking (Car brakes fine but of course I can lock the wheels in a fast stop since the ABS is disabled). We also have a 99 but have had no problems with it so far. Rick
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    I have periodic squealing of my 98WS brakes. More so when backing up. This is not uncommon to many cars. Most cars I have owned had this problem. Again, the problem is mainly when backing up, not coming to a stop sign. It may be dust or just inherent in the brake design.
  • hansorihansori Posts: 2
    Sorry, some typos in my previous posting.
    The spell checker here doesn't seem very good.
    Here's a correct version of the message.
    ----

    pking1,
    I also own a new WS SEL which I bought only a week ago.
    I, too, noticed the slight grinding sound when the van starts to move. I "always" hear the sound when I shift the gear from P to D and the van starts moving.
    The sound is so slight that you could miss it, but it always happens.
    I assumed that it was because of the AS checking itself and I thought it is explained in the ABS section of the owner's manual.

    I haven't driven the van much, only 180 miles since I bought it. I bought it mainly because its safety and interior feature. I considered Ody but didn't want to pay the arrogant dealer MSRP. Whenever I read the posting here, though, it makes me kind of scared. However, there's nothing I could do about it now but to enjoy it.
    Enjoy yours too.
    Thanks.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,817
    i deleted your previous message. Remember that you have 30 minutes to make any changes or fixes after you post a message. Just click on the Edit button that follows your message after you post it. Thanks (sorry about that spell checker).

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  • mbaronasmbaronas Posts: 1
    We originally test drove a Windstar and loved everything about it except for a consistent squeak coming from the right rear interior when travelling over small crests and dips in the road. We assumed it was a quirk to this particular van.

    We purchased a '01 Windstar GL and had no squeak intially. Now we are hearing the squeak in the same exact spot as the test driven van. I can't believe that this is coincidence.

    The squeak only seems to appear during cool, dry weather. If it is raining outside, or moist, we don't hear the squeak. Could it be coming from a shock or spring in the rear wheel well of the van?

    Anybody else hear squeaks in the same spot?
  • elvee1elvee1 Posts: 4
    First, Barrye1--thanks again for your input. I think you may have helped me to define my seat belt complaint. Ours do not have the tension similar to the middle seat's lap only system. We must use the old fashioned locking clip. These are such a pain when moving seats around between the second and third seats, whereas the tension belt system (I think it's called ratcheting in the book--I must have heard or read that SOMEwhere!) makes car seat installation so fast!

    Also since you ran down your list of problems, I'll do the same...just in case anyone out there has similar problems. Yours and mine couldn't be more different! I wish we could think of a velcro fix--how ingenious!
    1. the passenger sliding door closes on a SLIGHT hill posing quite a danger to the little fingers of my 5 year old who tries to help mommy by getting herself into the van without help. We;ve been to 3 dealers for this and NO FIX yet (hopefully it's being fixed this time as I dragged the service manager out for a demo and clearly showed him how the door is not horizontally aligned, perhaps causing the roll)

    2. The vehicle got stuck in Park several times over several days when very new (under 2,000 miles) and I had to do some thingie with starting the vehicle in neutral rather than in park and then I was able to shift into drive or reverse or whatever I needed. The vehicle wouldn't act up for the mechanic and weirdly enough, the problem disappeared. I believe that everyone, including my DH thought I must have made a mistake but I am sure it wouldn't shift out of park!!!! (and yes, my foot WAS on the brake pedal--at one point I was on a hill, getting my mail and I stupidly put the thing in park and had to go through the neautral thing again to get up my driveway).

    3. In December, with the van fully loaded for delivery of LARGE items to my sister's house, I went out to warm up the van and it started, but wouldn't stay ON when I relaxed the key.. My kids were sobbing that they wouldn't get to see their cousins, my husband was working a double shift and I had no other vehicle and it was about 4 degrees outside. And it was my birthday and I was really mad at Ford that weekend!!!! That turned out to be a bad fuel pressure regulator valve.

    4. This transmission problem started after that spisode in the Ford garage. I took it in two weeks ago to have that (and the door) fixed and they gave it back to me stating that there was nothing wrong with either the door or the transmission.

    That's why this time I dragged the service manager out to show him the door problem and I demanded (nicely) that a mechanic ride with me while I reenacted the shifting problem. I received a call today that the vehicle is finally ready! yippee! Except I can't get to the Ford garage until tomorrow afternoon because we have sick kids ( I swear, I can always count on needing to get to the pediatrician when my van breaks. Could my kids be feeling the stress??)

    Also, I laughed right out loud about your safety rating comment. I made the same one myself to a friend and I had thought I was both funny and original...great minds, so they say!! :-)

    Finally, thanks for the tip about the toll free people. I wish I'd known that last year. I spent 45 minutes of precious little of my free afternoon one day detailing with great documentatino and clarity, all of the service problems and lack of thoroughness. Now I know why the person didn't care!!!! ugh.

    So, Wentitz...Based on your comment, I'd have that tranny looked at. I'd insist on taking a mechanic with you to feel it. Drive as long as you have to in order to make it happen. This is what (after two trips to the service bay) seems to be finally working for me. My problem was a shimmmy when upshifting from 1 to 2. It also was inconsistent and at first my DH even thought I was confusing the feel of the tires slipping on icy roads. Once I had to really pin down the description to convince him, I was able to be very specific with the mechanic. Mine ocurs when the vehicle is warm, not cold. It progresses in severity as the vehicle gets warmer. It ocurs in an upshift from 1 to 2 and varies between starting at speed 15-20 or 20-25. It occurs only once the vehicle comes to a complete stop. Slowing to say 10 miles and then speeding back up will not replicate the problem. Perhaps if you can get some specifics like this you could also convince your mechanic about it. Good luck.

    What a shame about all of this. I really liked the vehicle and it it never occured to me we'd have such trouble. Meanwhile the worst part is that I live in the country and EVERYTHING is a drive away...can't even get to a neighbor's without packing a lunch if we're walking! My only nearby relative is 15 minutes away and she and her DH drive only Honda's (you know the types--"Honda and nothing but a Honda") and I can't even call them for help. I can't bear to hear "You should have bought a Honda" one more time!!! Ugh!!

    Anyway..as I think I've said before, good luck to all of us. And thanks so much for your help.
  • pking1pking1 Posts: 2
    Hansori,
    I checked the WS owners manual as you suggested and sure enough, under the ABS section, there is a couple of lines that describe what has been happening to me. The manual says the brief "mechanical" sound you hear when you start to drive is normal.

    I'm relieved it's not the transmission. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

    Pking1
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    Has anyone else (besides dambach) had any luck getting the their Ford Dealer to replace the hub or wheel bearing assembly?

    Thanks,

    SEL3
  • tam16tam16 Posts: 1
    OK folks, I posted here last year when the head gaskets blew- now 14,000 more miles(we're at 89,000 now) the head gaskets blew again. This time we have a new service manager and he can't believe this happened twice! Yeah-me either. They were a lot nicer this time and gave us a rental car. Wonders never cease. Have finally decided that the closer I get to 100,000 miles the scarier this becomes and in a couple of months this baby is history. Just thought I'd let you all know that it can happen more than once.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    FYI - There are two upcoming items that we all need to know about and I wanted to send out a reminder...

    1. The 7 Year/100000 mile Head Gasket Program Warranty Extension will end after seven years from the vehicle's original purchase date.

    2. The legal liability period (this is the time window in which you can sue) will also end after seven years from the vehicle's original purchase date.

    If you are seeing symptoms and are within the window, have your vehicle looked at!!!

    Tam16 - second and third head gaskets/engines are not uncommon (I am on my second replacement engine and third replacement transmission - all since January 1999). Many HG repairs done by Ford in 1998-1999 DID NOT USE the STEEL REINFORCED head gasket. They were using the OEM part - that is the part that seems to fail...

    Now I am leaking oil (new engine in March 2001)... Like I said before - this SUCKS!
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    FYI - There is an issue with the front passenger side brake line that has been discussed here before (my wife found out the hard way 200 miles from home). Have the brake lines inspected at your local CarX. My bet is that the line has rusted through very close to the junction where all the brake lines are routed through - this is mounted to the firewall. Since the front brakes do 70% of the work, this is not something you should mess around with.

    Nonetheless, I wish you great luck in getting rid of it - I took it to one Toyota dealership that refused it on trade! Looks like I'll be taking a tax write off when the time comes... Enjoy!
  • After many emails to the General Manager and a homepage that was not nice about the dealership. The General Manager has asked me to return the van and will provide me another vehicle!!!! 4 Months of pure anger and frustration has paid off. I have no idea what they are going to put me in, but the General Manager is doing the deal himself. I am going today at 1pm to take this step and will let you all know what I have accomplished and what the new van or car will be. My main gripe with him was that I was not at all confident driving the van with my children in it. That I refused to travel no more than 60 miles at one time for fear of something going wrong. I just got it back out of the shop yesterday for the sway bars breaking. Now even though it is fixed, i still don't want it. The gas Gauge I was told was another issue with the 1995's. that you will get a incorrect reading below 1/4 tank, which really you have no idea what amount of gas is in it. According to the tech. this is a tsb related issue as well. Well wish me luck!!!!! and I will keep you all posted.
    Lisa
  • My best friend's wife is currently looking for at these two mini vans. She is always asking me the big question, are these vans reliable? I've never owned a ford or chrysler so I really can't say anything about the reliability. I know chrysler had tons of transmission problems but now Mercedes-Benz is working with chrysler so I think that it would be slightly better now. Then the Ford, That 3.8 V6 has had the biggest problem with its head gaskets! And now I hear the transmissions are acting up! I just don't know which is better? Don't get me wrong both are decent vans but the Ford seems to be the better bang for the buck. Has anyone had any big problems with the new re-designed wind star and caravan? Write back and tell me if they should wait next year until the bugs are worked out or if they should buy now. Bottom line they want a reliable van.
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