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Ford Windstar Problems



  • The check engine light and O2 sensor going off is the early sign of head gasket leaking. Have dealer add dye to coolant then return a month later. If they pull a plug and shoot "black light" at it they should be able to detect the leaking gasket. All the standard "FORD" tests did not find my leaking headgasket. The dye test I requested did. But be ware I had the headgaskets on my 95 Windstar done at 55,000 miles. The engine failed a year later at 65,000. I believe it was do to the coolant in the oil which caused premature internal wear of oil lubricated parts. Good luck. Hope you have warranty coverage. If not I recommend selling it.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    I bought tires this past weekend...

    OK, it is my family we haul around so I didn't skimp too much - OTOH, I didn't go crazy either. After talking with a couple of shops I got the impression that the cheap tires (35000 to 40000 mile tires) have softer sidewalls that would not last very long on a 4200 pound vehicle.

    I went to the local Fleet Farm and picked up a set of four Duron Vertex IV. They are a 75000 mile tire made by the Dayton Tire Company. They were on sale for $49.95 each and for the month of March they had free mounting, balance, and valve stems. $212.79 later I took the tires to their Auto Service Center and they had them on the van in 45 minutes. I asked them to do an alignment as well. It turned out I didn't need one. After they put it on the rack they showed me that all four wheels were within spec. Sooooo... They charged me $6 to dispose the old tires and $10 for the alignment "check".

    That is the least amount of money that I have spent on service for this van since I bought it in 1998!
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    I went all out and got Michelin X-One tires. Yeah, they cost a lot, but how much does an accident cost? But a really good low priced tire is the Dunlop. According to Consumer Reports, Dunlop makes some fine tires and you could probably get something in the $55-65 range for a WS.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Well, I really thought the dealership had this one licked...

    I got my 95WS back from the dealership at the beginning of March... That was for engine number three. Put new tires on it last weekend... Now the temperature guage is "swinging" between the O and the L in NORMAL...

    This sucks... Why do I believe them?
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Man, I have to say this. A lot of people like to vent their frustrations and end up saying things that I personally feel are somewhat exagerated.

    I like your posts though because you seem to generally be trying to get things resolved, and don't get too carried away with rhetoric. Good luck with your difficulties. We have 30k miles on our 99, and I can't say its given us any problems. It hasn't, and my wife loves it (she won't even entertain the idea of letting me get her a 3 series as a daily driver). But I empathize with you.
  • Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington DC, emailed me that his organization is considering going after Ford on behalf of 1996 Windstar owners who have had head gasket problems if his organization receives enough complaints. His organizations actions, as well as a class action law suit, certainly contributed to Ford being pressured into their extended warranty settlement program (1999) on head gaskets with 1994, 1995 Ford owners. I am urging that all 1996 Windstar owners with head gasket, engine, transmission problems to register their complaints with the Center For Auto Safety. Their address; Clarence Ditlow, Center For Auto Safety, 1825 Connecticut Ave, NW Suite #330, Washington DC 20009-5708. Please copy me as well on your complaint:
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    I have had this vehicle since April 1998 and started running into issues in January 1999. I learned early on that the Ford CSRs won't deal with, ahem, "strong attitudes" (which goes against every Irish bone in my body)...

    Nonetheless, I have been through two service managers and two Ford CSRs. The latest CSR seems genuinely interested in resolving the issue and is much more apologetic than the last. This still does not change the fact, however, that the servicing dealership she is a liason for has not been able to get the vehicle to run for more than 20000 miles without something major happening. The part that I don't get: as a customer, I don't care if the problem lies in the hardware (the parts supplied by FMC) or in the maintenance (the servicing dealer). I just want the issue resolved. This is how car companies lose customers - there are too many competitors with comparable products.


    OK - off the soapbox.

    One thing that you might be interested in... The Ford CSR explained to me that the engineering team 'incentive' program has JUST (for the 2001 model year) been modified to measure the quality of their designs. In other words, if an engineering defect occurs, no bonus. So far, from what I have read, it looks like the 1999 "issues" list is pretty short.

    I wish you luck, and, once again, Thanks!
  • Hello all remember me... the mom who is really tired of all the problems with my 1995 w/s and made a homepage about the dealer that sold it to me. Well, here I am again, just one week into my second engine since December. And my poor parking spot looks awful. it has new puddles, old puddles, dried puddles, all kinds of puddles... This latest leak I cant figure out though, I think it may be transmission fluid. I was going to place a paper bag under it today to get a accurate spot but it is raining and cant do it. The investigator from my consumer division called me on Sat. to state that he got a letter from the General Manager. This is what it says..
    "Through our efforts and partnership with Ford Motor Company, we were able to install a new (rmp) engine at no cost to Ms. Abrahams while providing her with comparable loaner transportation at no charge. At this point in time I believe she is happy with Ted Britt Ford."
    First of all... I am not even close to happy, Second, They did'nt do this out of the goodness of they're heart like he is making it sound. They have to replace the engine, and they have to provide me with a loaner, Its there policy. Remember they took that loaner away from me at one point because I made them really mad with my homepage and contacting an Attorney. And i'm happy???? I don't think so. Now there is some other leak, and just yesterday I did my own little test for the van missing and it's not a pretty thing. Place a glass of water on the top of the dash, put the car in park, nuetral and drive and watch the water in the glass, if it jumps around like a dancing bean then you got problems. Mine was doing flips in the I have to make funny on this at times, otherwise i'll drive myself insane.
    Oh and I wanted everyone to know that I ordered two bushels of lemons and when I picket the dealership in April, the lemons will be handed out to passer by's with the dealers name on them. Maybe this will show just how happy I really am.
    Thanks for all the support!!!!
  • hawk505hawk505 Posts: 8
    I also have some sort of pulley sounds. So far the Pwr Steering pump, serpetine belt and some pulley has been replaced by dealer. It still makes the sound, but it's intermitent. Some days it fine, some it's not. I wonder if it has anything to do with how the AC/Heat controls are set? I will investigate #407's
  • any ideas why my ws door ajar light remains on and the "chime" chimes.. it starts when you decelerate to 15 mph and then stops when you accelerate past 15 mph.. any ideas would be most appreciated. thanks
  • jims15jims15 Posts: 1
    Hello all, I am the proud owner of a 99 WS. I recently got a taste of what it sounds like a lot of other WS owners have already had. I recently had a problem with the idle (thought it was bad gas) and an engine light on. I took it to my dealer. I was told that the problem was a valve that needed replacing and oh yea by the way the front cover gasket was leaking and needed fixing. $415 later ($236 for labor) I was told that the front cover had to be replaced because Ford had a bulitin that said if the cover gasket developed a leak, the cover had to be replaced. None of this is covered by Ford of course. I wrote Ford and so far have heard nothing (surprise?). I currently also have a 94 F-150 with the old in-line 6 that has 94000 on it. The only repairs on the truck were tires, belts, hoses, and brakes. I still have the orginal exhaust on it and I can go the 3000 miles between oil changes without loosing any oil. But guess what, they don't make these engines any more, hummmm kind of makes you wonder doesn't it? Well I think I'm stuck with the WS until the payments run out and then I'm trading fast before more problems come along. I hear the Toyota's and Honda's are excellent. I will let you know.
  • mlraymlray Posts: 1
    Everybody seems to be talking about the 1995 Windstar in here. All I need to know is, does anybody out there have a 2001 WS and experienced the same problems? Has Ford fixed this problem? Doesn't the Mustang have this same 3.8L engine? Is the Windstar worth the money?
  • I had to replace the transmission at 49,000 miles which was covered by warranty and then again at 75,000 which was not covered under warranty. Two transmissions in this length of time does not seem reasonable to me.
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    No problems at all (5381 miles). Thanks for asking.
  • sharonlpksharonlpk Posts: 37
    Hello! Does anyone reading here have these? Have they 'worked' when supposed to? How easily are they replaced?

    So far we like this 2001 (SE Sport, had for a week now, ha!) We bought the 7 yr. extended warranty after all of the problems we had with our '95 (had the extended warranty then too) even tho I don't expect the same problems *knock on wood*!

  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Troubles with the 1995 Windstars occurred quickly, in some cases within a year or two and 30-40,000 miles. That was true with both the transmission and head gasket problem. The main cause of the transmission problem was a piston which in 1995 was made of aluminum and prone to fracture. During 1996 the piston was changed to steel, which seemed to have reduced transmission problems, at least in the 1996-1997. The head gasket was supposedly redesigned also, it certainly delayed the onset of failure. Some of the 1996 models are showing head gasket failures, however at a much higher mileage and after 4-5 years. The bottom line.... It's probably too early to tell how durable the 2001 vans will be.

    Unfortunately, a forum like this also tends to attract those who are dissatisfied and seeking redress. It is hard to judge from this sample as people don't tend to write "I have a Windstar with which I am well pleased". Having said that, I have a 1996 Windstar with 82K miles on it, it has been relatively reliable. It is a comfortable van, great for trips and hauling.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    I have a Windstar with which I am well pleased.

  • tl12345tl12345 Posts: 1
    i've just put my 95 winstar, which i bot new into shop for a new engine via head gasket problem... (see #396) for details. has anyone recently gotten a buy back offer. my dealer told me it ended dec 2000. i'm very concerned i'll be stuck once the "extended 7 yr (2002) or 100K warrenty runs out. its quite depressing reading all the problems with the 95 WS, this is my first awareness of the depth of the problem. thanks. any advise on
    1) buy back?
    2)loaner car for duration?
    3) any way to get rid of this minivan before more problems arise?
  • distecdistec Posts: 9
    cost is estimated to be $4500 from private garage. Ford has refused to pay even part of it. Would it be best just to cut my losses and just buy a new van? I don't want to have to deal with the gasket blowing again in a few thousand miles, although another used van would cost at least $9000. What would the best thing to do?
  • I was offered the buy back in early January, but it was not cost effective for me. I don't even think they offered the right amount according to the internet. My dealership offers the loaner for life with new and used cars now, for the duration of the service which always took about a month if not more with mine. Beware though... if you do what I did, and hired a lawyer or made a homepage, they took it away from me, then realized they were in the wrong. I lost two days of work for that one. I don't know if you have a "carmax" where you are, but they offer a pretty good amount on them as long as they dont have frame damage. This was still not effective for me though as I just bought mine in Dec 2000.

    #439 How many miles are on your van? Ford has to pay for it as long as it is in the extended warranty period, within the 100,000 miles.

    Make a page like I did and send it to the dealer and you may get some things done. I have gotten new tires, brakes and rotor's at no cost, however I am still putting up a fight about a refund of $3000.00 for the down payment and I really don't want the van at all. Here is my site... Hope you have good luck with what ever avenue you choose.


This discussion has been closed.