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Ford Windstar Problems



  • I have a '99 LX and because I live in New York City and a good portion of the driving is carpool, we only get about 9 MPG in the city. I thought there was something wrong with the car - but when we drove up to Montreal, I was getting over 23 MPG on the highway.

    It seems that the van is just not optimized for the city and I have no idea what city they printed the window stickers in.
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    No wonder they gave us such big tanks.
  • After transmission problems, rear brake cylinder problems, rear hatch locking mechanism problems, rattle in left front side and finally a front coil spring just breaking as the car sat in a garage, I'm trading this lemon.

    Can you imagine a front coil spring just snapping while the car sat there doing nothing! Had to be towed 65 miles. If anyone owns a Windstar better get 'AAA PLUS' It has saved me a fortune.
  • jasdmwjasdmw Posts: 118
    We test drove an '01 SEL on Saturday. We are trading a '96 Voyager LE. Noticed the W/S is quite a bit noisier on the highway. Can hear exhaust exiting the tail pipe on acceleration. Also, engine noise greater than in Voyager. Plus, noticed the W/S "wallows" or floats up/down and side to side. Any current owners notice the same? Are these normal for the van? Anyone know of aftermarket suspension mod that would tighten up the suspension?

  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    I find the van to be a little loud, but the performance seems to just fine. It cruises at 90mph with little effort, rides like a limo, and plays my passengers favorite movies in complete surround sound, while providing seats as comfortable as any Lazy-Boy. About the only complaint I have heard about the van is GETTING OUT.
  • kioukiou Posts: 1
    Bought the 95 Windstar LX just before Xmas. I was not aware of the recall and the many problems. The sales manager of the Ford dealer told us that the van had a new engine replaced because the head gasket had problem and convinced me that this was a good deal. A week after driving it the over drive light would flash intermittently. The mechanic at the Ford dealer could not diagnose the problem and told me to bring it back when it occurs. Three weeks later the remanufactured engine failed. There was a lot of noise coming from the cylinder head and the engine had no compression. The van was towed to the same Ford dealer and was later told another new engine would be put in it. After 2 weeks of waiting we were told we had to wait for another 2 more weeks because the engine had not been shipped. We asked for a loaner but received a NO answer. We also asked for our $2500 downpayment back and was told NO. We asked that the downpayment be applied to a new Ford but was told that the dealer would buy back the van from us for $3000 less than we paid for it 4 weeks before. We said No. We contacted the Better Business Bureau and they said they would look into our complaint. So far no answer from them. We decided to wait for the new engine to arrive and it took 5 weeks before we got the van back last week. Now the over drive light flashing problem has started again. We took the van back to Ford with the light still flashing and the mechanic said he didn't know what's wrong and he would have to open the transmission to look at it. We are to call back again next week for an appointment. My wife love the van but the 2 months since we've bought it spent more than half of the time in Ford's garage. NEVER again will we buy a Ford vehicle!! We would love comments from others with similar problems.
  • My daughter just bought a New Windstar. IS ford Still having Head gasket and other major mechanical problems with this model???
  • kjclowkjclow Posts: 29
    Check out my post on the other Windstar site. I will not buy another Ford, unless I can find a 64 1/2 ragtop Mustang. But that's another story.
  • cbeldacbelda Posts: 2
    I've already had to replace the engine at 38,000 miles. Now the transmission is gone at 50,000 miles. What is the secret warranty or buyback program. The Ford dealer here is playing stupid. Any information would greatly help.
  • Should have checked this website back in August when the transmission on my 95 Windstar went out on a steep hill in SF!.....this was the culmination of many problems with this car - had the tranmsission replaced at about 30,000 miles, the engine replaced at about 50,000, the transmission replaced again at 90,000 - now it has 120,000 and obviously needs another transmission.... After it died in SF I had it towed to a Ford dealer - they agreed that the car had had a lot of problems (!) and felt they should at least replace the engine for us (oh yeah, there were engine problems, too...) When they called Ford, however, they were denied - so the car sat on their lot for many months - had a rental until the fix-it was denied and then just had to get a new car so went out and got a Sienna (much smaller, bur drives so much better....not to mention it's reputation for reliability - let's hope). The Ford dealer finally called and said I had to get the car off their lot - and why didn't I just donate it to charity. Thought about that - but would really like Ford to cough up something for all the money I put in this car - and the time and aggravation it cost me. So, someone tell me more about the buy back program, please. I already have a new car - so, don't know how that would work. This car was a lemon from day one - what can I do about it? It is sitting in my driveway like a big hangnail - advice please!
  • ericmiericmi Posts: 1
    What is the story with the Ford Windstar? I just paid cash for a '96 WS GL 3.0. It has nearly 80,000 miles so I purchased a 3yr/36000 mile warranty from Carmax. Have I just made a big mistake buying this make and model? I've been a very satisfied Ford owner in the past with a '88 Ranger XLT that was still running strong @ 160,000 when I sold it. From what I've read the problems run the gammit. Should I return to Carmax (I have 5 days)or keep my fingers & toes crossed?
  • drfulmdrfulm Posts: 5
    Based on my experience with a 1995 Windstar run - don't walk to any other brand. My van will be dumped as soon as I:

    1. Fix the ABS that has gone out.
    2. Fix the transmission that is going out
    3. Fix the ignition switch that is going out for the second time.

    This is on top of the head gasket problem (covered under extended warrentee) and the timing cover gasket ($600) problems that left me without a vehicle for two weeks last year.

    Do yourself a favor and buy something else.
  • fullsizefullsize Posts: 14
    Got around 40k now on our 99 LX. Not one single problem yet.

    Plus, I also own a Honda Accord with 40k miles. New brakes and tires, new catalytic converter.

    I really, truly, have to wonder, due to the fact that I also know of lots of other WS owners who've never had problems -- is there something funny perhaps going on with these boards? As in -- if I worked for Honda, or Toyota, why *not* send some low level marketing guys to trash Fords on Edmunds? Oh, of course not. That's too far fetched. ;>)
  • weslwesl Posts: 53
    The 3.0L V6 in your Windstar is not nearly as unreliable as the 3.8L in other Windstars. The only real sore spot with your van will be the transmission. Unfortunately, it is almost as bad as the transmission on the 3.8L. It may last longer, because the 3.0 does not blow head gaskets and overheat the transmission in the process like the 3.8. Other than that, only the usual Ford problems apply. Hope this helps, Wes.
  • barscottbarscott Posts: 1
    It seems my problem is minimal compared to many listed here but here it is. We have a 98 WS with a 3.8L engine and a 25 gallon tank. the fuel gage reads empty with the light on and when we "fill it up" it will only take 16 gallons. That is a pretty hefty reserve. The gage has been replaced twice and the tank once. Does anybody know the actual fix for this because the dealer obviously does not.
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    Still waiting...............Oh, is that a rattle?, No honey it's just a cassette in the door. Ok then, but they said we would have nothing but trouble with our van. Our van?, are you reading those posts again? No honey, you know I only look at the pictures.
  • ranger47ranger47 Posts: 32
    You mentioned having the gage and tank replaced, but it would be my thinking that the sending unit mounted on the tank would be the device that would control what the gage read. They may have used a different sending unit when they changed the tank or maybe not. My '98 WS GL doesn't have any of the problems that so many relate to in this thread. I have the 20 gallon fuel tank and it is hard to get completely full. I can squeeze another couple of gallons in after the pump kicks off on low. A slow process but I like for the gage to register completely full and of course for the tank to be completely full.
  • matycatmatycat Posts: 12
    Wow, after reading everyone else's posting, the good news is, I am not a minority, the bad news is you all have suffered as much as I, if not more. I can write a book on my problems with our wind star (worst case was being stranded on a trip from as degas to Port land,OR with four children. One being an infant.) That was because of a "speed sensor control", and wiring harness. (Even though that too was a recall. Of course this was a second wiring harness so this was our expense.) Is there a class action suit going on, if not, anyone care to tell me how to get one going? I am ready to take Ford to court. I asked my husband about making a day where all owners of Wind stars show up at the dealership and start honking their horns until Ford gives in. How about April Fool's Day, since we were such fools in buying this product? I can't believe one of the posting suggested that we are some low-lying marketing peps from another company. Whoever wrote that, honey, I have receipts up the kazoo to prove it's true! I don't think other dealers would stoop that low for business. Here is a list so far of just some of our problems.

    1. Wiring Harness/speed sensor (1500.00)
    2. Reverse drum had a hairline crack (1700.00)
    (on-ford mechanic says that was a manufacture defect, ford didn't do squat about it.)
    3. Power locks, windows are kapoot.
    4. Head gasket fixed (recall)
    5. Speed sensor again.
    6. Wiring harness trouble. No protection of wires from heat and ruined part.
    7. cassette player/lighter went out
    8. coolant leak (current problem)
    9. cranking noise from steering rack.
    This is not to mention hotel costs from being stranded, towing costs, being without a vehicle while being fixed. And, would I be one rich woman if I got a penny for every tear I shed from the stress and trouble my family and I have been through. Please, again, any info on this class action? Forget the buy back, I can't afford brand new, and don't want another Ford anyway. Please e-mail me at
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    I think I got this right.
    95 WS had engine warranty extended to 100K miles. If you had a head gasket replaced at your expense after the usual 36K warranty, Ford will either pay you back for that cost, or they will give you 4K towards another Ford product. They will also buy your car in certain circumstances, but I can't remember the details on that.
    Never heard of them doing anything about the transmission problem. I had to have a rebuilt one put in at 50K too, cost 1250 in MN.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    FULLSIZE - You obviously have not been here very long... If you READ the other posts, most of us have been talking 95-96-97 models. Further, while this topic dates back to August 1999, the original topic CRACKED HEAD IN 95 WINDSTAR (see: mglisson "Cracked head in '95 Windstar" Feb 11, 1998 11:35pm ) was started in February 1998! That must be one expensive marketing plan for Honda/Toyota/et al... Can't wait till you have to post here for what the purpose of the topic is - "FORD WINDSTAR PROBLEMS".

    BUYBACK Info...

    Please see the prior post:


    In a nutshell, every Ford dealership is assigned a Regional Representative. This person works for the Ford Motor Company. This person is only available through the Service Manager at each dealership (the 1-800-392-FORD folks may not even acknowledge that this person exists). If you feel you are not getting anywhere with your dealer, I suggest you ask for the Ford Regional Representative. Ask them to discuss your options under programs M009 and/or M010. The bottom line - THIS REPRESENTATIVE is the person that has the decision making power as to whether or not FMC will be involved in the repair of any Ford vehicle (the 3.8L engine is a MAJOR sore spot for these representatives - even they are not overjoyed with how their company has handled the situation). According to what the rep told me, the buyback is not really a program as it is another "option" under the M009 program. This does not obligate FORD to do ANYTHING with your vehicle. This "option" was implemented when demand for rebuilt engines far outstripped supply. It was not cost effective to put people in rentals and then repairing the vehicle in question. Again, keep in mind that this is just another OPTION - They are not obligated to invoke this option. One last note; I have yet to read about anyone SUCCESSFULLY getting the buyback in 2001. It appears that enough engines are back in the supply chain to continue the engine replacement process (over the buyback anyway). If anyone has, I would like to hear about it (more importantly, I would REALLY like to talk with the FORD rep that authorized the buy back...)

    My story - I just went in for my second motor in as many years (between Jan 99 and Oct 99 I got three transmissions). I fought tooth and nail to get them to buy the damn thing back - even offered to buy another FORD (why I would even consider such an option is completely another story - worse yet, the explanation is no longer in the Edmunds archive!)

    I am STILL waiting to get the van back...


This discussion has been closed.