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Ford Windstar Problems



  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    Welcome. Lots of us discovered Town Hall "after the fact".

    Not everyone has trouble with their van, but the ones who do are more likely to post.

    Here's a good review to brighten your Monday (yeah, it does sorta read like a press release....)

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  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    You are right, does sound like a press release. I have another question for Windstar owners. My van has the 2 passenger bench seat in the middle row. It looks like the seat can be moved from side to side, allowing easier entry to the back from any side you may choose. It also looks like I cannot put bucket seats in this middle row even if I could find some in a junk yard. Is this true. I would like to have the option to upgrade to the buckets at a later time, but I may just be out of luck.
  • Davids1 -- I believe the spacing on the middle row anchors is the same as individual buckets, so you should be able to put buckets in later. Also, the rear seat can be put in the middle row.
  • It's been a while since I last posted messages but after reading some others, I have had similar problems. Please see messages 589, 590, 591, & 595. I do not remember the # of my previous posts. I purchased my van in October of 2000. I have had some minor problems that seem to have been corrected (finally). They were mostly squeaks/rattles on the passenger side sliding door but there were also problems with the parking brake cable making noise and it took the dealer 4 tries to fix it (after numerous visits to the shop for diagnosis). My van now has 10003 miles on in and I just returned from a hellacious trip to Florida from Illinois. I had my wife, sister in law and my 18 mo. old son with me. We drove to Decatur Alabama on the way down (the Sunday before Labor day) and spent the night. The next morning when we were continuing to Florida, the van stalled in the hotel parking lot. After several attempts, it restarted and we drove about 3 miles and it just died. We were able to coast into a gas station and the van would not restart. I called Ford roadside assistance for a tow. Since it was now labor day, we could not find a dealer that was open so we could get a loaner car. We luckily reached Enterprise rent a car and the manager just happened to be there even though they were closed and she answered the phone. She brought us a Chevy Suburban to continue our trip. (great vehicle)! The next day, I called the dealer in Decatur where my van was towed to and they told me the computer and a relay had to be replaced and that it was fixed now (they also fixed the latest recall items). We headed back to Alabama on Friday to get the van. The dealer did not leave the key locked in the van as I suggested but I had my spare key. Well, the key would not start the van because of the chip (since the computer was replaced). The dealer made no mention of this. We spent the night in Alabama and I picked up the van on Saturday a.m. While driving back to Illinois, the van hiccuped and the check engine light came on while driving down the interstate. After coasting for a couple seconds, it kicked in and kept going. We made it to Illinois (about 50 miles from home) and the van went totally dead. It would not restart. I called for roadside assistance and had major problems with them (another story). Anyway, after 2 and 1/2 hours stranded, the tow truck showed up and I was towed to the nearest dealer where my van now sits. Also, the dealer in Alabama that fixed my van the first time told me they fixed the same problem on another van at the same time. Interesting....... I will post a follow up when I find out what is wrong this time. Any advice I can get will be helpful. I am trying to ghet Ford to buy back the van or overcompensate me for all of the trouble and danger my family and I were in.
  • you should read my post #597 for advice. ANYONE WHO WANTS TO GET FORD'S EXECUTIVE PHONE NUMBERS AND GET A REACTION, READ MY POST. #597 !!!!
  • Has anyone had any problem with their wipers? I replaced the ones on my 2000 WS and it is still horrible.
  • Just a suggestion, keep on it at the exec's office. I know it's long distance, but keep at them, try telling them what you expect them to do. It worked for us to some satisfaction, I sincerely hope it will help you too. Like I've said before however, if EVERYONE starts calling that number, they might take us all seriously.
  • I just called the dealer where my van has been for almost two weeks now and they finally received the new computer (pcm). They replaced it and they are still having the same problems I have already experienced twice before. They told my that an engineer was called in and he is currently looking at the problem now. For some reason that they cannot determine, the computer is not communicating with the rest of the car. I have informed the dealership where I purchased the van and they know that I will be trading out of it asap whether it is fixed or not. Even if they think they have fixed it, I told them I am not comfortable with it and I will not drive it.
  • I just purchased a 99 Ford Winstar. Where can I find a complete list of all recalls so I can go to the dealer and have the fixes done?


  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    Recalls, Technical Service Bulletins, and Other Good Stuff

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  • I have a 2001 Windstar LX. It has 1100 miles on it. I am bringing it in for some minor items. I have been getting about 14mpg, much lower than stated. I know of a couple of other Windstar owners getting 18-24mpg. Has anyone with this poor MPG gotten better results once they brought it in for service? I am already preparing myself for grief because the sevice desk was already making up excuses. They were even questioning my math ability. So, I am going in both barrels loaded, but I am curious if any of you guys did get better MPG once you brought it in. Thanks.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,910
    In my experience with my Quest, it took several thousand miles before the mileage got acceptable (went from a low of 12 to around 20 overall). Get your concerns into the service history now, but it may just take a while for the mpg to get up there. Good luck!

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  • I have been reading all the comments. My 95 GL has been really good. No problems in the last 50K except for a ground strip that rusted through. However, I was making a left turn with a left turn green arrow and a pickup ran the red light. Well, both bags went off and I was out for about 5 minutes but except for a few lacerations from the bag I am fine. Not so my Windstar. It is totaled. I have a line on a 99 SE with 19k on it for $16,450. After dealing with my long time Ford dealer I an getting the 6 year 100k warranty for the price of an employee with zero deductible and no proicessing fee with a total price of $17,700 after Taxes. I talked with my service manager who has been dealing with me for 15 years (very trustworthy) and he said the 99 was the best one since it was the last year prior to the power doors and a lot of the problems have been fixed. With the warranty I really am not concerned but the SE is in really good shape. I guess the average miles were 6,500 for three years--not bad.
  • I picked up my 99 SE last night and everyone was correct about the engine being a little more harsh than my 95 but it does have good power. It has just over 19k on it and I drove it to work this morning. Nice drive, but floats a little more than my 95. It is nice to have the cruise buttons illuminated. No more guess work. I had all the recalls done so that is taken care of. I need to put a few extra PSI in the front tires. It has the quad seats and is really nice. I just hope it is as good as my 95 was. yes, I had a 95GL and except for the head gasket it was a really good van.
  • I got the number for the executive offices from post #597 and called. The person whose name is shown is no longer in that department. I was on the phone about 25 minutes and still don't have any satisfaction.

    Background: Our 21-year-old son (who's a college student with no job!!) drives the '95 Windstar. Well, he drives it when it's actually running, which isn't often. He has had it 21 months and at 106,000 miles, the head gasket(s) has blown. He had been losing coolant since about 96,000 miles but the dealership said they couldn't do anything until the gasket(s) actually blew. So now, here we are, with a $1,600 problem. We've already had the transmission, one fuel injector, and the computer replaced. Fortunately I have a husband who took care of the fuel injector and will replace the head gasket ... otherwise we'd just have to junk it.

    Here's what I got after speaking to the executive offices:

    They said to take it to a service department and get an estimate on what it will cost to fix it (the estimate will be around $70 which will come out of my pocket). Then we can contact a salesperson, decide what NEW FORD PRODUCT we would like to buy, and the salesperson can call and get authorization to reduce the sales price of what we want. I'm sorry, but what college student without a job can afford to buy a new Ford product???

    I started the conversation by saying that I was considering never buying another Ford product. The "executive" said if that was the case, then they couldn't do anything to help me: they could lose me for free. His tone wasn't tacky, but I understood what he was saying.

    So now, my husband is going to fix the head gasket problem, we're going to sell or trade in the van, and try our luck on another used car ... probably a Toyota or Honda. They've always been very reliable brands for us. Whatever possessed us to buy the Windstar, I'll never know!! Maybe it's that our son is 6'4" and has trouble fitting in little cars!

    Hopefully others have had better luck with the executive number!
  • The continuing saga of my van (see post # 632)....
    This is the 4th week that my van has been sitting in the dealership service department. They have no idea what is wrong with it. They got it to start once but it has failed again. Ford engineers have come out twice to look at it and I was informed yesterday that they are trying one last thing this morning to see if they can fix it. I have already gotten approval through Ford to be traded out of my van even if they fix it. There are several options for making the deal so I will still have to do some negotiating and it could take a couple more weeks. I will know later this morning if they were able to fix it and I will post what they did as soon as I find out. Has anyone else had similar issues?
  • I've got a 1997 Windstar with 59K miles on it now. It's been relatively good for the past couple years. I did have the speedometer replaced just before the warranty ran out. It was making a slight grinding noise, like the cable needed to be lubricated or something. Of course, two weeks later when the warranty was up, the sound came right back and I can't get rid of it! Now the passenger window seems to only work intermittedly. Can't figure that one out.

    We use the van to pull a large popup camper and it tows pretty well with the 200 HP engine. I wish I got the quad seats because the bench is a real bear to remove when I need to load up the van.

    Gas mileage in mixed driving only averages 16-17 mpg. On trips with no towing, we can manage 20-21 mpg. I think the gas mileage has been the biggest disappointment of the van. Other than that, we have no major complaints and hope to keep the van for a couple more years.

    PS - the driver's seat has been the most comfortable of any vehicle I've driven on long hauls. Last year I drove 5 1/2 hours straight without stopping. Thank goodness for a 25 gallon gas tank!
  • Ford is buying my van back. The Ford engineers still do not know what is wrong with my van (see posting #640). They have replaced the instrument cluster thinking that would help but it made things worse and they also replaced the Passive Anti Theft System and that did not help. This van is apparently not fixable. I am waiting for word from the regional service rep on exactly what to do next. Just thought everyone might want to know (or maybe not). This 2000 Windstar has been about as frustrating as the 95-96's with the head gasket problems. I will be glad to see it go and I am glad they cannot fix it because I do not want to see it sold to some other poor soul and have them go through the same problems and safety concerns.
  • bmaigebmaige Posts: 140
    My wife and I bought a '95 Windstar new in 1995, as well as a new Mustang the same year with the 3.8 liter engine for our son. His Mustang blew a head gasket, for which Ford finally agreed to pay the cost of replacement, but our Windstar, for which we were given an extended warranty to 100,000 miles for head gaskets, did fine--until it reached 94,000 miles. Because of the head gaskets we were watching the coolant level and noticed we were losing it, but didn't have "muddy" oil which would have indicated it was a head gasket and coolant was getting into the oil. There appeared to be a coolant leak on the passenger side front under the engine. We took it to our local Ford dealer, they checked and said it was a leak around the timing chain cover, which is in the area the leak appeared to be. The design of the engine, believe it or not, includes a timing chain cover that can leak coolant. That was repaired, due to the problem of getting to that area, I had a new water pump put on, and they changed the oil and filter. My wife was driving it home a day or so after we got it back when the dash lights went nuts and it cut off on her. I went to it, checked the oil, the level was fine, but it smelled like burned rubber. We had it towed to the dealer, they checked it and said we had let it run hot. The van did run hot--when it was brand new and the hose blew off the radiator--but that was 80,000+ miles ago and never since.

    The verdict was we needed the engine rebuilt. I got a price from the Ford dealer, but got a better one from an independent I trust. We discussed buying rebuilt engines. He had a company with a 12,000 mile 12 month warranty that he used and had good luck with the engines. I had found a company that gave a 3 year, 100,000 mile warranty on their products, but our mechanic said he had rather have a good engine than a good warranty, that he had used some of those engines and had problems with them. I couldn't get my hands on the actual warranty of that company, so I found it on the internet and printed it. Once I read it I told the mechanic they didn't even have a good warranty. It didn't cover head gasket failures, which I was most interested in with that engine, and it appeared the limit of their liability was one half of what their customer paid for the engine. In addition, the customer had to put the cash out up front to have the engine work done if a failure occurred, send them the alleged failed parts, with no mention of who paid freight, and they would determine whether they would cover the problem or not--with no limit as to how long they could take to make that decision and reimburse the customer.

    We went with the engine our independent recommended. Oh, one other factor. We live in a small town, so any problems with a company get around fast and results in an immediate economic pinch on the offender, so they can't hide in the masses of similar companies. The result is only the honest ones stay in business long.

    Question. Does anyone know why new oil in an engine would smell like burned rubber? The problem we had came so quickly after the work done at the Ford place that I wonder if they didn't get some sealant or gasket material in the timing chain area that got into the engine and stopped a vital oil channel up, causing our failure.

    We have had absolutely no problems with this van since we bought it, other than the radiator hose not being put on properly at the factory, the interior is still in good condition, AC is still good, and the transmission is still working fine. I expect that to be the next thing to go, but if it does we'll put another one in and keep driving this van for a few more years. My wife loves it, and I can stand putting a few thousand dollars in an engine and another transmission better than I can buying another vehicle--especially since she would want another Windstar.
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