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Ford Windstar Problems



  • Alain Batty
    Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd.
    The Canadian Road
    P.O. Box 2000
    Oakville, Ontario

    Dear Alain,

    On Saturday June 16th I received a message in response to my earlier concern ( see attached), on my answering
    machine stating that “we would like to resolve your concern” and “we want to talk to you to see how we can assist
    you with this problem before you consider leaving the Ford family”. I responded to the message and the
    representative informed me that she was able to handle the call ( even though she had not made the original call).
    After a lengthy conversation with the representative I was told that there was nothing Ford was prepared to do about
    my concerns. I enquired as to why Ford had called and indicated a willingness to resolve this problem, and then
    told me there was nothing you were prepared to do. The Ford representative told me that “ I am sorry that our
    original message gave you the impression that we wanted to resolve this problem”. To say the least I was
    disappointed that there is no willingness on Ford’s part to engage in some positive dialogue regarding my concerns.
    It was clear that the representative had not read my letter and I am still baffled as to why the representative called to
    waste my time.

    Since my last letter I have spent an additional $2,222.76 on a transmission repair to this vehicle, the forth major
    repair on this component.

    My original letter stated that “ I would like to give you the opportunity to respond to this letter before I send a copy
    of this letter to the Lemon Aid buyers guide in order to advise others to look elsewhere for a reliable vehicle.”
    Today I am sending the Lemon Aid buyers guide a copy of both of these letters as well as the rude response I have
    received from Ford. I have also registered a internet domain name which I am prepared to tell the world my
    concerns about your products and customer service should the outcome of our next contact not be a satisfactory
    resolution to the problem. Further to this I am considering taking the matter to small claims court.

    As I stated in my original letter, I am dissatisfied with the reception I have received in talking to Ford staff
    regarding this problem I still look forward to having some positive dialogue with Ford regarding my concerns.

    Please instruct your representatives to be polite and look for constructive ways to deal with this problem.
  • HCLEMOHCLEMO Posts: 19
    I read post #551 that Ford may have extended the head gasket warranty on the 95 WS 3.8 L engine to 7/100. Is this true? Can someone post a link to more information about this? Is there any information about hidden warranties on the automatic transmission in the 95 WS?

    I still have my 95 WS--it is driven on weekends and when I need to haul more than 5 people locally. I have the AAA plus membership which includes flatbed truck transport for 100 miles and carry my cell phone at all times when I drive this vehicle. (useful when you are stuck on the side of I-95 on a 100+ F day with a blown head gasket!) I have offered my 95 W/S to a number of colleagues for use as transportation, vehicle to teach their kids how to drive, storage locker, target for whatever, etc. but they have all turned me down (they know the history of this thing!)

    I have had 2 head gasket replacements, one transmission shift cylinder repair and then a factory rebuilt transmission at 6 years/60K ($2500!). At least the 2 headgaskets and first transmission repair were covered under the 5Y/60000K extended warranty. At 7Y/65K, the vehicle shifts rather abruptly and the engine surges at times. The aftermarket roofrack system and bike/canoe carrying attachments that I bought for this vehicle now are worth more than the vehicle itself! The kids seem to be attached to the WS and get upset when I mention getting rid of it. When something else major blows, I am going to junk it. I am not sure whether I can inflict this vehicle on anyone else!

    We have adapted to my wife's Subaru Outback for long trips--you just have to pack efficiently. At least I do not have to worry about drivetrain/engine problems!
  • We bought our 95 LX new in 6/95. Had the usual (for the 95) problems: the interior lights that would not go off, gas tank gauge problems, interior trim that fell off, and exactly one week after we received the head gasket extended warranty notice from Ford our head gasket went at 40K (June, 1998). We now have 74K on it, and had to take it in to our local Ford dealer for a grinding noise when braking, the ABS light was on, and I noticed a small coolant leak on the garage floor. The brake problem was a bad left ABS sensor ($209.00). The coolant leak was a timing cover gasket leak. The Ford dealer refused to fix it. Their suggestion: new engine (we pay for it) or trade in. They cited the high milage at 74,000 as rationale for their refusal for fixing the timing cover gasket leak. We declined both the dealer's suggestions. Luckily we knew of a great, honest mechanic that is fixing it. There is no coolant in the engine oil, and no signs of engine failure, just a small exterior coolant leak. We bought this van after a horrible experience with a chevy suburban. I refuse to buy another new vehicle. The Ford Motor Company should be ashamed of themselves for the mediocrity of this product and the dealers are... well.. words cannot describe their worthlessness.
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    Regarding the warranty extension, the following is from a previous post:

    According to all posted information, Ford's extended warranty for 1995 Windstars covers 7 years or 100,000 miles. The service campaign number is 00M09 and this was an addendum to campaign 98M01 which only extended 5 years and 60,000 miles. Original AND subsequent/current owners are covered and it INCLUDES rebates for any costs you incurred for repairs from an independent (non-Ford) repair shop. See the following web sites for additional info:

    The following excerpts comes from an Edmunds site (no longer a current site):

    "The last type of service notification would be a warranty extension, which is just that: an extension of a part or whole of the vehicle's warranty. In any of these service notifications, it does not matter if you are the original owner or if you purchased the vehicle used; the service notifications go with the vehicle and not with the owner."


     "...program 00M09, which basically extended the original program from five years or 60,000 miles to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurred first, covering the same vehicles as the 98M01 program. Letters to consumers for this program went out in March of 2000. Ford obtains a current list of owners from R.L. Polk and several other sources".

  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45
    for Blown Head Gasket repair under the (00M09 & 00M10) 7yr/100,000mi gasket replacement program
    Call Ford at: (800) 392-3673 to find out more.

    Initially when my head gaskets blew and i contacted Ford they warned me that *I* would have to pay a $70 "Diagnostic Fee", and if the dealership felt that my vehicle had enough "symptoms" to warrant gasket replacement under 00M09/00M10, then my $70 would be reimbursed.
    I said "listen pal, 2 weeks ago all my warning lights came on, my engine was hesitating, chugging, knocking Badly, felt like it was running on 3 cylinders, was burning white smoke out the tailpipe, was consuming 1 gallon of coolant per week, and now it is sitting on Jackstands in my driveway waiting for the Tow Truck to tow it to the Ford Dealership!! How many more symptoms do you Need??"

    Also, the dealership said all the Courtesy cars were already taken by Other owners with blown head gaskets! and they Refused to cover a rental car!

    Anyways, the total cost of repairs was $1300 and took TWO weeks! But the "Extended Gasket Warranty" program only covered $1050!
    The dealership said *I* had to come up with $250!! I said WTF?!? WHY do I have to pay $250 for FORD's defective gaskets Scewing up MY engine??!!
    The dealership said the Warranty *only* covered gaskets and installation, but I was responsible for things like corroded spark plugs, block flush, oil, coolant, and waste disposal fees!!
    I just about got in my Ford and crashed it thru their dealership window!
    But decided to drive it home and put a For Sale sign on it instead... at least now that it was running again.

    Over the years of (unhappy) ownership i have spent Thousands of dollars out of my own pocket for parts & service not covered by the recall/warranty, rental cars!, towing, time taken off work, etc.
    So with the Thousands of dollars i've WASTED i could've just bought a Toyota, Honda, or Nissan to begin with!!!
  • JustinlJustinl Posts: 13
    Mini Van ('98 LX - 3.8L) Starts fine... drive it down the street... notice the O/D indicator on the gearshift lever blinking. Within less than 200 yds, the "Service Engine Soon" light goes on.

    So what do you think?

    Am I up the proverbial Windstar creek? Or could I get lucky and have it be something small and inexpensive (less than $100).

    Any bets???

    BTW - Brought it in to the dealer, they checked the codes and found no "Crisis" messages. Scheduled the van in to service on Thursday. They re-set the trouble lights.... no issues for about 20 miles... both lights are now back on.

    The van has ALWAYS shifted hard at lower speeds. The village idiot, ah, er,I'm sorry - Ford mechanic, said that that is typical for the vehicle.

    I think that I should have traded it in somewhere along that 20 miles....
  • pennanjpennanj Posts: 1
    Well, I just got back from my local Ford dealership, after having the power steering pump on my LX replaced at 30,800 mi. Took them two days to do the repair, after having the pump and hoses "fedexed" from Ford parts heaven (why is it that the dealer never has anything other than air filters in stock, even for a vehicle that's only 2 years old?). Fortunately, the repair was done under warranty. Unfortunately, as I drove the five miles to my home, the familiar whining returned, and I'm not talking about my kids. By the time I pulled into my driveway, moving the steering wheel was like trying to turn the Titanic. This means that I get to spend yet another couple of days without my wheels while the "experts" (re)fix the problem. The quality of this repair job also gives me a bit of pause when I consider that I just forked over almost $500 to them for my 30K "facelift", in which all "vehicular fluids" were flushed and replaced. Also, it seems like Ford has recalled practically everything on my buggy but the blue oval. I get lonely when a day goes by without one of their postcards. But my main concern this power steering problem just the prelude of more dire things to come? How are other '99 owners faring?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Sorry to hear about your problems. Sounds almost like there is a problem with the steering rack in addition to the power steering pump! I can't imagine having to drive such a large and heavy vehicle without power steering. You may also want to repost your question in the Maintenance & Repair message board here in Town Hall. Perhaps someone can suggest something that may of be of assistance to you.

    Best of luck,

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • bdemasbdemas Posts: 51
    justinl: My 99 had the hard shifting at low speeds "feature". The OD light started flashing on one of those occasions while driving in stop and go traffic. It turned out to be Cam Shaft/Turbine shaft Sensor. It fixed the flashing OD, but the hard shift feature never went away. I had read somewhere (I think the manual) about a flashing OD was a bad thing, I got the van in as soon as possible. As far as cost goes, the van was still under warranty and I don't have the paper work anymore (or the van for that matter).
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The Windstar transmission will do a hard 1-2 shift under the right conditions. Generally it is most noticeable in stop and go traffic where your speed is very low. In that case, when the car reaches the shift point, the shift is very abrupt. Under more normal conditions, the shift is much smoother.

    If you are suffering the abrupt shift at very low and gradual speeds, then it is considered normal. If you are suffering the abrupt shift while speeding up more rapidly, then it isn't normal.

    I have a 96 Windstar and it does the same thing, only in stop and go and slow accelleration. Because I hardly ever drive in that type of traffic, I seldom see the problem.
  • liebedaliebeda Posts: 13
    I have a '99 Windstar LX and recently experienced the following. The indicator on my dashboard showed that there was a bulb that needed to be replaced. I found the damaged bulb (rear - passenger side - brake light) and changed it. The warning light went away - except for when I step on the brakes or have my headlights on. For some reason the warning light seems to go on whenever the lights are being used. When the bulb was broken, the warning light would be on all the time. Anyone have any ideas what could be causing this?

  • ralmoralmo Posts: 3
    I spent some time in the mountains this weekend,as usual took the van out of overdrive. When we stopped for awhile then restarted I noticed I could not take the van out of overdrive anymore. After some checking I noticed the 10A fuse under the hood was blowing out...each time I replaced the fuse it would blow (3 times)after starting. we usually do not drive in mountains, Has anyone run into this problem or have a fix? thanks
  • bloemiebloemie Posts: 8
    We have a 95 Windstar. The head gasket was replaced at ford expense at 64,000 mi. They also replaced the timing cover gasket. Tried to charge $ 800 but settled for just over $ 200. Actually I was pleased with the support.

    Now I worry about the tranny problems. Can anyone explain the symptons of what to look for when the tranny problems start. I see a lot of people getting them replaced but very little detail on the actual problems.

    Is there any peventive maintenance that can be done to minimize the potential threat of tranny failure ?

  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Being that I am on my fourth transmission (not to mention my third motor), I guess you could say that I am somewhat "experienced" with the traditional 95 WS Failures...

    Nonetheless, here are what I noticed-
    Original Tranny Failure: Not shifting from 1st to 2nd. When it did, it was VERY HARD.
    Replacement #1 Failure: Flashing overdrive light and tranny was not using overdrive (no shift from 3rd to 4th/OD).
    Replacement #2 Failure: Same as original tranny failure with flashing overdrive light.

    Note that there is no "leaking" fluid, however, I have been told that the tranny fluid can "smell burnt" and be a darker color red than normal.

    Hope that helps!
  • gheckoghecko Posts: 6
    Last year we bought a "program" '98 Windstar (3.8l, "northwoods package") from CarMax. Got a great deal on the vehicle and everything seemed fine for a while. I'd sworn off of American cars but we needed a mini van and the Hondas and Toyotas were way to expensive on the used car market.

    Anyway, we're taking it in to CarMax to have the transmission looked at.

    I think we have the hard 1-2 shift problem (although it seems more like a 2-1 downshift) when we're a making low speed hard left and giving it even a little gas. The van will actually lay a small patch of rubber - after nearly a full second of hesitation. I haven't tested it enough to be sure but this doesn't seem to happen when we make hard right turns.

    Is this the "hard shift" problem that is supposed to be normal?

    As an aside, has anyone purchased extended warranties through CarMax - specifically with Ryan Industries? The Ford dealership said they wouldn't even look at the van because they anticipated problems with the warranty company...

    Thanks in advance for help on either issue.

  • bloemiebloemie Posts: 8
    Thanks for the info on the transmission failures. Sorry you had so many. However, our symtoms are different. When we stop the trans seems to go into neutral. Then when you give it gas it may kick in. If you give it to much gas it kicks in at to high an RPM and the tires actually squeal. I have been shifting to 2 cnd to get going and then shifting into high gear manually.

    It's going to the transmission shop Monday. No more Ford dealer repairs.
  • haulthault Posts: 124
    I need a copy of FORD program 00M10. I have 00M09. You can E-MAIL me or post. Thanks.
  • bloemiebloemie Posts: 8
    Well the transmission finally failed at 67,000 i. The aluminum forward piston went out and was replaced St a steel piston. Cost $ 1620.

    Has anyone had any luck getting Ford to pay part of it ? The dealership would not contact the area re sing I had to go thou the Ford 800 number. It seems to me that since this is the same piston that was failing in 1993 ford transmissions and had extended warranty's against it, then had a service bulletin put out saying that after three versions of the aluminum piston the need a steel one for the transmissions to survive, Ford should pay at least 1/2 the cost.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    My 95 WS has driven me to the line (three transmissions and two motors before 80000 miles will do that to a person). The tranny is acting up again. Here are what I think my options are:

    Sell it to someone uneducated about the 95 WS.
    In good conscience, I will not do this.

    Trade It
    I am not sure what the going rate is; KBB says $5000 and Edmunds had $4907 - Neither of which I believe. I still have a problem with this as it would likely be sold to another unsuspecting consumer...

    Donate It
    The nice thing about this is that I would be able to deduct the full trade in value of the vehicle. Since I fall into the 28% tax bracket, that translates to a tax credit of $1400.

    Any other ideas on what to do with this vehicle would be greatly appreciated.

  • rikhansonrikhanson Posts: 1
    I am the "proud"(?) new owner of a 2001 wind star, I recently discovered that when the automatic door shuts it could nearly take an arm off. I did contact my dealership who said that there is nothing they can do and the best I can hope for was a recall from ford. Will Ford feel the same way if my 5 year old breaks her arm in the door. I can not believe that after all of their problems that a MAJOR safety issue is ignored. The door has so much force it could crush a small child, the force it takes to retract the door is enormous. Has anyone else complained about this??
This discussion has been closed.