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Ford Windstar Problems



  • breezygbreezyg Posts: 2
    Last mo. my husband surprised me with a '00 OD EX NAV so we sold our '95 Windstar for $7500 to our best friends who were in dire need of a larger vehicle (their "family car" was a Suz. Swift htchbk- not quite big enough for the 4 of them.) After reading just a few of these posts I'm afraid selling it to such good friends was a mistake even though it had served us with 58K trouble-free miles. My question is this - is the ext. war. covering the head gasket problem transferable to the new owners? I'm fairly confident I read/heard somewhere that it is, but I was just wondering if anyone knows for sure.

    Thanks in advance.

    P.S. Love the Odyssey and would definitely recommend it (or the Sienna) to those of you who will soon be parting with your current van due to reliability issues.
  • civis1civis1 Posts: 1
    I'll keep this short because the whole subject infuriates me. I'm taking my '95 WS to Car Max this weekend. My second transmission is now going out after only 26K. Then there's the head gasket that blew 2 days after I replaced the first transmission; and of course the starter and continual brake jobs. Then you add in the horrible treatment you get from Ford in general (as I experienced at several dealerships AND through their National Hotline)... You've got be nutz to want a Ford when there are much better choices out there.

    My second vehicle is a '92 Honda Accord that has 240,000 mi. and I've never had a major problem, and hardly even a minor problem. I'm sorry to say, but generally I've determined that while Ford (WS in particular)is clearly at the bottom of the barrel, domestic cars in general can't stand the reliability tests that Hondas and Toyotas can. I will probably never own anything else again other than a Honda or Toyota.
  • cherylw1cherylw1 Posts: 1
    Our transmission went out at 60,000 miles in August of 1999 and they had to rebuild ours. Now, this month it went out again. Supposedly, it was a sensor in the transmission. And its supposed to be fixed. Now we're wondering what to do, if we should unload it now. It looks like trade-in is about what we owe on. We're considering a 1999 Sable. Better gas mileage. I commute to law school and have two years left to go so we're looking at a couple of high mileage years ahead. Any thoughts would be appreciate.
  • kc_flynnkc_flynn Posts: 45
    A new tranny at 60K on a 98 and you're thinking of getting a Sable? Are you a glutton for punishment?

    Read Post #45. Do yourself a favor and go with either a Honda or Toyota. I have a 99 Accord and an 89 Camry. The Camry is rusting away, but it takes licking and keeps on ticking.

    Spend the extra $$ on a Honda and Toyota and you won't have to worry anyomre about replacing transmissions and worrying about headgaskets.
  • HCLEMOHCLEMO Posts: 19
    Thanks to Chuck Catanese for the EMAIL that he sent everyone on his list about now what appears to be Ford's acknowledgement that the transmission on the 95 WS has a much higher failure rate than normal. Apparently, they knew this from earlier Taurus/Continental/Sable models with the 3.8L engine and transmission.

    Chuck's EMAIL notes that Ford has an internal document about transmission failures and that presently they are compensating transmission victims on a case-by-case basis.

    Further information is available at:

  • nancyc1nancyc1 Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 Windstar and both myself and my daughter experience knee pain after long driving sessions. This happens espically during stop and go driving. We figure it has something to do with the position of the gas pedal. Any comments?

  • hengheng Posts: 411
    I think it is the brake pedal. It is too high off the floor. The tendons on the top of my right foot got enflamed.

    What I had to do was to make sure the seat was as far back as possible to comfortably work both the gas and brake pedal. This allows me to work the brake pedal without pulling my right foot up excessively to get the brake pedal. I pull my foot up at the ankle therefore working the tendons in the top of my foot. You probably lift your whole leg therefore working your knee. Stop and go traffic causes you to work the brake more.

    I had to compensate for the seat position further back with a more upright seat back (than I usually like) to maintain the proper arm position.

    The car manufacturers raised the brake pedals higher off the floor than the gas pedal so that the idiot drivers wouldn't get the 2 pedals confused (ala Audi 5000s remember).

    Let us know if that works.
  • nohornnohorn Posts: 5
    I have a 1999 Windstar and began to notice a worsening pinging problem at around 16k to 18k miles. It's most noticeable when cruising at 40-50 mph under light load with hot engine and hot ambient Tucson temperature (rattles like a jar of marbles). Took to dealer at around 20k miles and they "solved" the problem by replacing a "bad" mass-air-flow sensor; however, there was no improvement in the pinging. Took back to dealer and they did a caustic soak to remove what they "suspect" is carbon build-up in the cylinder heads. Said it was due to "bad gas". This too resulted in no significant improvement. On the same visit they also reset the computer and loaded what they described as an "octane-corrective setting". Sent letters to Ford customer service but so far have not received a viable explanation nor a satisfactory fix. However, they did get in touch with my dealer and, as the latest shotgun attempt to solving this problem, suggested that the dealer remove the heads to de-scale the "suspected" carbon deposits. This sounds awful fishy to me. Why would they op to go to this extreme to remove suspected carbon??? I believe there is something more fundamentally wrong which Ford is not yet willing to reveal. I'll keep you informed as to the progress and if anyone has had a similar experience or knows what the real problem is, please inform me!
  • nsimonnsimon Posts: 1
    Just purchased model SE 4 nights ago & are already experiencing problems. My greatest concern is while the car is idling waiting at stops I noticed that the drivers seat & steering wheel vibrate!! This is very irritating and pray there is a solution, or is this just the nature of the beast? Other problems include the manual sliding door doesnt disengage properly & makes a squeaky noise while trying to release it when locked in the open position (the int. trim around the door is coming apart--most likely related). Didnt realize the difference in height of the brake/gas pedals which make them uncomfortable and am also unable to to find a comfortable driving position. Lastly, there are numerous scratches on the surface of the body paint and window glass. Unfortunately, all these items went unnoticed during the test drive. Has anyone else experienced these problems and how were they resolved??? With all these problems right from the start I fear we may have purchased a lemon. Thanks for any and all suggestions!
  • lanny3lanny3 Posts: 4
    We have a 2000 Windstar and have recently at about 2700 miles noticed that occasional grinding sound when shifting from park to drive or has happened 3 times so far....we plan to check with the dealer...has anybody gotten any feedback as to the cause?

    We have not had any problems at all with this van and love everything about it otherwise, but this grinding noise is something we will be checking into!
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    I had originally posted that I also had a grinding sound when occasionally starting the engine, and today it happened when shifting from park to drive. I notice that it happens mostly when the car has been not started in over a day. Actually that is the only time that it has ever happened.
    I brought it into the dealers shop, and they seemed very interested in what I had told them, but they could find no problems. If you bring it in, and they do find a problem, please post it, so that I have something more to go by. Thanks!!
  • lanny3lanny3 Posts: 4

    I will post if I find out anything about the noise.

    Mine also has only made the noise when it has been started after sitting for a day or so.

    Also it has only happened three times and I noticed the last two times it was rainy...very humid...I don't remember about the first time it happened...maybe a clue?
  • Hello all:

    Anyone else with power doors having difficulty with their shutting completely on their own?

    Our 2000 was driven by the "dealer's wife" for 1K mi prior to our purchasing it and that was one flaw the sales person and ourselves noticed on delivery. We were told a part had been ordered. Five weeks later, we called the dealer and scheduled the service. Got it back today. Door was "adjusted" but the problem remains.

    Our own diagnosis shows that the door does fine anytime the van is NOT completely level. Otuside our garage (on an incline) it closes fine. Inside the garage (on a level plane) it closes and backs itself out an inch or so. Enough to keep the interior lights on and the door ajar readout lit.

    Requires a firm push by hand defeating the purpose of the buttons.

    Curious to knwo if anyone besides the guy in the Toyota Sienna topic area is experiencing the same.

    Thanks in advance. Need dealer service confrontation ammo.
  • valerietvaleriet Posts: 1
    We bought our 99Windstar in October. At first, the gas mileage was good--27mpg. After about 2,000 miles, it dropped to 20. Now with 9,900 miles on it--the gas mileage is 15-16mph. Dealer says nothing is wrong. Also, there is quite a bit of vibration at 62mph. Any solutions or same situation??? Thanks. P.S. Driving conditions are unchanged.
  • stevendstevend Posts: 1
    I had the exact same problem when I took delivery of my 2000 SEL. All it took was just one adjustment and I have never had the problem again (12K miles now). I would recommend another person in the body shop try the adjustment.
  • yamanyaman Posts: 113
    We had a windstar for 3 and a half years and averaged about 17 mpg the whole time. 27 is pretty amazing.Something was probably wrong then!
  • I have a '98 GL and get around 23 on the highway, around 17 in the city.
  • amp3amp3 Posts: 3
    Currently looking at a WindstarLX---been reading all the troubles w/gaskets, buzzing sound, transmission, etc...Reliability has been a past problem for these vans, but people still seem to love them. Can anyone recommend a 2000 or tell me any positive things about having a Windstar?? I know the Odyssey is better, but the wait around here is 6 months, and you can't beat the 0.9% financing for the Windstar!! Help!
  • amp3amp3 Posts: 3
    I have seen almost nothing positive about any Windstar or Ford for that matter. Does anyone have a good story to share, or should I stay completely away from Ford and the infamous Windstar???
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    on one simple condition. It would have to be
    manufactured by someone other than Ford. I love
    the size and ride - But if you have a problem, Ford is, without question, the most difficult
    automobile manufacturer to deal with. Further, and this is just my experience, but it seems to me
    that Ford dealer service is very expensive compared to the service I have had with my Mazda,
    Oldsmobile, Nissan, or Saturn.

    As an example of what I meant... if Nissan would take the Windstar body (they already have a relationship with Ford in the Villager) and put in their own engine and and transmission, that would be very attractive...

    Just my 2 cents...
This discussion has been closed.