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Ford Windstar Problems



  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,015
    The price sounds pretty cheap, even if it were in US dollars. I assume no one bought it at one of their auctions (why would the auction house not try to sell it at auction - that's what they do)? Maybe you can get the auctioneer to tell you what's wrong with it.

    US TMV for dealer trade is ~$5,700, so even if it needs a new tranny or head gasket, it may be worth it to get it and dump 2 or 3 thousand in it (engine or tranny work could be double that though). Probably a better deal for a wrench turner.

    Let us know what you decide.

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  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45
    My 1995 Ford Windstar GL 3.8L V6
    Problems, Defects, Recalls

    * Defective factory Head Gaskets at 60K miles. White smoke, coolant in engine oil. Replaced under Ford Recall but I still had to pay $200 for "fluids & environmental fees".
    * "Hood Separation at high speeds" Recall. Dealer applied more Glue to the plastic hood!
    * Gas Tank (plastic) needed Reinforcement for hot weather climates. Recall. They installed redesigned straps on the plastic gas tanks.
    * Sliding Door needed reinforcement/welding.
    * Transmission Oil pan leaked constantly since vehicle was new at 0 miles. I was original owner.
    * Engine oil pan started leaking at 10K miles.
    * "Check Engine" light came on ALL the time! Usually on long drives or change of altitude. Dealer could never explain, and refused to fix it as there was no "problem".
    * Hesitation/Jerking/Loss of power at certain temperatures, elevations, engine speeds. Dealer could never reproduce problem so refused to fix.
    * Trim, body panels, weather stripping falling apart. (20K miles)
    * Radio buttons and knobs falling off. (20K miles)
    * Windows came off their tracks (30K miles)
    * Defective rim that leaked Air! There was an Air Leak in the steel Wheel right from the factory! Dealer refused to replace, they said it was a Maintenance item! GRR..

    I sold my Windstar last year at a loss for $3000. It only had 67K miles on it, yet everything was falling apart. I took the money and ran while the vehicle was still 'running'.
    I was the original owner and maintained that vehicle religiously, changing oil every 3K, tranny fluid flushes, air filter every 10K, coolant flush every summer, etc.

    Bottom line; DON'T buy a FORD!
    In the end it will end up owning YOU!
    I will Never Ever own another Ford vehicle again!
  • gandalf17gandalf17 Posts: 348

    Appreciate your feedback. Sounds like you got stuck with a really horrible vehicle. You probably should have pursued the lemon law on that one....

    Although your words alone would not influence my decision at all, I have decided not to purchase this 1998 Windstar. I have done quite a bit of further research, both here and independently and there isn't a chance I would pony up the money for a vehicle with a problem plagued history such as this. I find it exceptionally troubling that years went by and the same issues kept re occurring in the same vehicles. It reinforced to me why i will never buy a car from a North American manufacturer. I have owned Honda's, Mazda's and now a Subaru WRX for the last 10 years. I have never had a major mechanical issue or malfunction in all of that time. I have only had to have regular maintenance and a few minor problems fixed under warranty such as squeaking seats and loose window trimming.

    Steve Host,

    Thanks also for the feedback on pricing. I was planning on using this vehicle almost exclusively as transport to my boat which i have docked about an hour north of Toronto. The extra carrying capacity and the fact i didn't have to put mileage on my wife's Mazda Protege ES or my WRX intrigued me. I'm sorry, but the potential for costly transmission and engine repairs just isn't worth it for me.

  • mikeu42mikeu42 Posts: 2
    Like all too many others, I wish I had this site before I bought my 1995 Windstar. I've had almost all the problems written about, and basically got the same "treatment" from Ford. My biggest disappointment was the Ford factory rep telling me that I could either take my costs for replacing the defective head gaskets in cash, or apply that same dollar value to the purchase of a replacement Ford vehicle. I took the $800.00 in a flash, but later found that I should have been offered a $4,000.00 incentive to buy that new Ford replacement vehicle. Of course Ford Customer Service told me that I had no proof of anything and to go scratch. Late last year there was some sort of a California court case regarding the control module???,,, but all I can find out is that nothing is settled yet??? Does anyone out there know if I/we have any chance of recouping a little more of our losses,,, or,, be offered a "replacement" incentive?????
  • bob550kbob550k Posts: 148
    I didn't buy a windstar due to the comments on this site. Call the factory prior to any used car purchase and give them the VIN number and most manufacturers can give you a complete history of all of the repairs done under warranty to that vehicle, some will even provide a printed report. This is a great way to verify mileage and repair history. Many companies keep all of the service information available to the public including oil changes etc... It would be a big mistake not to make a simple call prior to the purchase, you might avoid a real lemon.
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    About 6 months ago, I took windstar to dealer because of a strange sound coming from engine. They said I need a new transmission-$2700.00. Since I was not experiencing any drivability problems I figured why not just wait until it dies. Well today I take it in for brakes and they tell me the transmission should be replaced and that they will put in a Ford rebuilt transmission for $500.00. Warranty period will be for 6 years/100,000 from when I bought van, which was May 1997. It has 70,000 miles so I get in effect, 15 months/30,000 miles. Now that seems pretty hard to turn down, but I'm wondering, if the replaced unit will have the same problems that the original had. Anybody have a similiar story?
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    Where do you get the phone number. I would love to have all this information.

  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    You may be better off with the rebuilt. The part that usually goes (I don't remember what it's called) is replaced w/a better unit when they are rebuilt. Ford knows about this problem but it's $$$ running the show at assembly time, save a buck on the sale make a few more after the warranties run out and customer pays for new/rebuilt units.

    Ray T.
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    I guess there's no good reason not to take Ford up on this. I would hope they would improve the rebuilt to fix whatever the problem was, but of course you never know.
  • joiner1joiner1 Posts: 1
    My '99 Windstar needs a new transmission at 37,800 miles. Everytime I took it in, I complained about the trans. It was serviced in Oct.(31K) and December(33K), both times they told me trans was ok. Dealer says they will pay half of the $3000 job. I don't have an extended warranty - Ford Customer (no)Assistance rudely told me to take a hike. Do I have any recourse here? And, if not - where did you get that $500 transmission?
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    Make sure you have copies of your previous repair orders. If you complained of transmission problems during your warrantly period, and you have the repair orders/documentation to prove it, and they said you had no problem, then you can argue your condition existed before your warranty expired. Stick to your guns and fight it.
  • jsiedhoffjsiedhoff Posts: 18
    Has anyone had any major problems with a 2002 Windstar yet? I have one that was a replacement for my 2000 that went totally dead on me. It took 3 months of fighting with Ford to get it. I am having some problems with the driver's side sliding door squeaking and rattling and some other similar noises but so far, no major problems. It only has 3000 miles on it so maybe it is too new to fail.
  • bloemiebloemie Posts: 8

    I'm not sure what is wrong with the 98 transmission. In the 95's it was the forward clutch piston. For more info and history on this problem go to:

    He won his court case against Ford

  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    You do have recourse, you have documented problems prior to warranty expiration! Contact your State Attorney Generals Office and file a complaint, then let the dealership know your not taking this lying down and that you have contacted AG's office. It will take a couple months to resolve but I think once Ford is contacted by the AG's office they will be motivated to replace your tranny at no cost to you. Stick to your guns, let us know how you make out.

    Ray T.
  • queen7queen7 Posts: 1
    I have a leased 2000 Windstar. At under 2,000 miles the fuel pump failed several times and had to be replaced. These failures took place in traffice with a van load of kids - I lost all power - steering, brakes, everything. Now, at 2,100 the compressor "broke apart". This happened while I was on an expressway with a van full of kids - the van filled with smoke. I also have broken seatbelts. The manager of my dealership was at first quite belligrent, but after checking with the service department told me he was going to try to get me a replacement.
    My perception is that the car has other problems they are not telling me about or he would not be anxious to replace it. I want to know if anyone can give me advice as to how to make sure this happens. I don't want to put my kids in that car again.
  • wendy19wendy19 Posts: 2
    I was just about to buy a used '98 Windstar at 51K from a local Ford dealer when I decided to check the internet. I found through Edmund's Pricing I would be getting a great deal, TRADE-IN PRICE(w/ my '93 Escort at 140k). When looking at other vehicles no one comes close.

    When I test drove the vehicle it made a loud sound in the steering wheel. I took it too my mechanic (also my brother-in-law). He found it was the front passanger tie rod. He also suggested to have the surpentine belt changed and the rear brakes adjusted. The dealership has done all of this, plus a front end alignment. I test drove it again yesterday, I thought the brakes where skipping, but then again, I have never drove a van (3.8L V-6 auto van vs 1.9L L4 manual hatchback). They said to have my mechanic check it over again if I wish. My brother-in-law has told me not to buy a Ford Windstar, b/c they have a lot of problems with them (something about aluminum against ? w/ the 3.8 engine). I take into consideration he in not a FORD person, but can't help but see when I check the internet (especially the '98s), I see nothing but tranny, power steering problems and electronical glitches. I can get the extended warranty, but for an additional $1500 and 36,000 miles on 51K is it worth it, especially if it has to be in the shop all the time?

    I have had 2 Escorts both over 130K in 8-9 yrs. Not only do I run around alot, but I redo furniture and have loved my Escort 4 dr. hatchback for that reason. We also have 2 touring kayaks that we put on the luggage rack in the summer. My brother-in-law suggests a truck, but I test drove one yesterday Ford Sport Ranger V-6 manual and I hated it. I think he wants me to keep the gas mileage down plus be able to haul the stuff I do. Viewed the Ford Focus wagons and found brake problems every 20K.

    I'm going crazy making the decision on the Windstar. I have checked Caravan's and Voyager's but they just don't seem to come down in price. Local dealers are way over Edmund's dealer price. PLEASE HELP!!!!! I need to make this decision soon (they have waited 2 weeks-which also scares me).
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33

    Ask the dealership to show you the maintenance history of the Windstar. If it has a good history and the dealer fixes all the current problems, tell the dealership that you have done some research and this model has some problems with the engine and drive train. Tell them you want a free extended warranty on the engine and drive train. If not, leave your phone number and walk away! SEL3
  • wendy19wendy19 Posts: 2
    SEL3, I thought I mentioned everything. I did ask for a history record and they said they could only go back 90 days. As far as the extended warranty it would cost additional $1500 for 36K. The manager came out and told me that he had gotten it from an Acura dealer b/c it wasn't going to sell there. He said that it got lost in the shuffle when it was brought over and that's why it was put out on the lot with "a noise the the steering" which my mechanic found to be an unpassable tie rod. At first I felt good that the manager told a story about the vehicle, but now I'm thinking that he was only informed and rehearsed what to say.

    Friends tell me to go with my instincts or gut feeling, but I'm more the technical type and the gut feelings come b/c I'm too analytical. Picky as they say, cautious I like to think. But I still need your opinion.
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    Ford keeps computer records on all vehicles ask to see the warranty repair records for this vehicle. If you do not get a free, not a $1500 extended warranty for the engine and drive train my gut says walk away! When I purchased my 2000 Windstar, I told the dealer I liked the van, but was not sure of the engine and drive train. The dealer gave me a 6yr, 100K extended warranty, the dealer cost for the package was only $350. Take your time and look around.
  • jj69jj69 Posts: 1
    I just got it 3 months ago with 25k miles and I am hearing like a bee noise when I go uphill. I wonder if this is a sign of transmission problems.
This discussion has been closed.