Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Ford Windstar Problems



  • ssartorissartori Posts: 15
    To make a long story short, I just bought a 96 Windstar with 47,000 miles on it... The Windstar replaces a 94 Transport with 68,000 care free miles we bought new but was rear ended by a garbage truck after the truck lost it's breaks coming down a steep hill... (Was the garbage truck a Ford also?). The only problems with the Transport were the constant warped rotors… They would last for about a year then warp out.. The pads would last forever, and the valve seals were going.. I just dropped $700 3 weeks before the accident on an ABS sensor $500 and $200 for a new Power steering line that rusted out thanks to salt and Upstate NY... The ink on the Visa bill was still wet when the Transport was totaled.. Thank God My wife and Mother weren't hurt.. That space age frame under the plastic really worked...

    Well in a pinch with only $6300 from the insurance, try to find a reliable vehicle on a lot for that price.. We try to dive them for 10 years and then buy new.. Yes I have a 99 Sable that has two more years left on the loan.. The Sable has been reliable so far.. but it's still under warranty.. We found a clean 96 Windstar with 47,000 mile for $7,200.. The ride is much nicer than the 94 T-sport and everything seems to be working on it... I did need something with at least a 3.5-3.8L engine to pull out 1200lbs pop-up trailer.. I figured we went up 2 model years and dropped 21K in miles, and all I need it to do is last the next two years till the Sable is paid off..

    After reading the nightmares here with head gaskets, and trannies I cannot believe the quality of the Windstar can be this bad.. It sounds like Ford couldn't care less.. I really do love the ride of the Ford over the Transport... My last Ford was an 86 T-bird that we loved but with two little kids it was time for a van... My wife loved the idea of the power sliding door.. GM came out with them in 94... GM could of used my wife, our 3 year old and baby for the commercial.. Arms loaded and the pod in hand trying to open the door.. BTW The Transport Plastic body still looked great.. No Rust... Just don't look under the van..

    Well anyways I'll keep you posted on the Windstar... I'm hoping that (unfortunately) this may only represent .01% of the bad Windstar out there and this group is extremely vocal..
    Man I hope that’s soooooooo….
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    I had a 95 with 135K on it till it was totaled in the front by a red light runner. I had no trouble with the transmission and it was as reliable as could be. It is like almost any vehicle--luck of the draw. I purchased a used 99SE and so far so good.
  • quickfordsquickfords Posts: 18
    Like many other shoppers, I am trying to find a decent used Windstar. I am used to buying $1000 Subarus (a second car for my wife who drives 10-20 miles a week), but with 3 kids a Subby is too small. I found a 1998 GL with 105k miles for $4995 and it seems nice. It did have some minor body work done, but only a small area- the rest is very nice. It is that gold chameleon color. Fairly well optioned (3.8l, quad seats, rear power windows, alum. wheels, aftermarket cd radio). It does need new rear shocks, hoses and a belt. It does have an anti-freeze smell I could not trace. Is there anything particular to look for?
    It seems to be a good van for the money, even at $5k I have extra for the minor parts it needs. Any thoughts???
  • ssartorissartori Posts: 15
    Thanks 5grayhound,

    One of the problems with this type of forum is very few people who don't have problems visit or post on them.. Why should they don't need information about an issue with a vehicle or the dealer or company... When I first got my new 99 sable the only problem I had was the "99" Ford Ping problem that seems to also reach into the 99 Windstars... I took the sable back to the dealer 3x to find out in need to up the Octane level from 87 to 89+… Yes they replaced the MAP sensor and thermostat checked for Prom Updates.., Nothing… I was very vocal about this issue on this form… Here it is 1999 and they can’t get a car not to ping… I think there should be a good news thread on here also… A place where people can crow about what’s positive about the vehicle and what hasn’t had to be done… Wish there was a way to read % on number of issues vs./ numbers sold.. If you read the forum, you think maybe 50% - 75 % are having this problem, then you think the other 50-25% who haven’t posted well their vehicle is already in the junkyard from accidents or was taken by aliens for backyard sculpture on planet Nebula… J

    Take care
  • ssartorissartori Posts: 15
    Of course I maybe in denial.... :-)
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    Then when it craps out on you, you can talk to 5grayhounds and he can tell you what a wonderful Ford he has.
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    Now be nice. I can only use my own experiences to draw from. However, if you compare the number of posts on this board to some others, including the Honda board, this board is not really that big. I think the Honda board is up to 1,500 by now. As I said above, I can only go with my own experiences and that is both my Stars have been reliable. The 95 only left me stranded once when the ground wire rusted at 100k but it happened in my garage. I have a neighbor down the street that has a 95LX with over 150k and it still runs just fine. As I said, sometimes it is the luck of the draw.
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    I think you might have managed to get one of the few good Windstars that have been made. As I've said before, if you look at all the Ford vehicles that used that 3.8 liter engine/tranny combo it has been a huge catastrophe. And the problems are all similar; Head gaskets, timing cover gaskets, failed trannies, etc. The only Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles that are still using that dreaded drivetrain are the Windstar and the mustang. People would be well advised to stay away till a more reliable drivetrain is offered in those vehicles rather than hope for a lucky draw.
  • selasela Posts: 5
    I bought this '95 van in '99; sold a paid off honda (which wasn't the dream car it was supposed to be), but anyway, I sold it because I needed the room of a minivan. The ws has given me lots of room. It has also provided me with a few other unexpected delights: my town has an enterprise rental car place that I didn't know about, and the workers at the Ford dealership know the number to it without even using the phone book; my apartment was right on the bus line and I didn't even know it; the folks at the family owned small garage/repair shop are some of the nicest people in our area--daggonit! they're like family now; that "head gasket" rumor turned out to be true; doing without a vehicle during the most important week in my career was something that I could indeed survive; that leaky transmission fluid portends that the tranny is likely to go very soon at a cost of $2K (steep since I haven't even got this van paid off yet). Here is my situation: owe 6 more mths. on this van, with 102,500 miles. It needs new tires again, I am afraid the head gasket could go again, and this time out of warranty (I no longer live on the bus line), and the transmission is likely to go soon. I can't get another Ford--I just can't. I've narrowed my search down to a new Sedona, which is giving me that "new vehicle fear", or a used Sienna. Safety is my main concern, but the darn thing has to work too. I would love to hear your thoughts. What would you get? (PS--teehee, I have to share: recently we had our new house inspected before we bought it. The inspector talked about the house for about 20 min., but he went on and on and on about the horrible luck his family had had with their ws, which looked exactly like mine. Jeez! This knowledge made me nervous in the middle of a home purchase; and it is accurate, mine is going quickly as well.) HERE'S A HECK OF A THING: This vehicle isn't even 8 years old yet. Can't Ford do better than this?
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,956
    At least you've been able to keep your sense of humor during all your van troubles. Good luck in your search.

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • skip32skip32 Posts: 2
    My 2001 came factory equiped with General Ameri GS60 tires.I now notice after about 14,000 miles the sidewalls have bumps in them. Its almost like a bubble is starting to form.I now have begun to check other Windstars in parking lots and I notice I am not the only one plagued with this. Each tire has at least 3 or 4 places that the sidewall seems defective.I do not know what the side I can't see looks like. Does anyone else have this problem, check your tires. If anyone has approached Ford or a tire dealer about it I would love to hear the response.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,956
    Depends on why you mean by bumps and bubbles. I noticed "bumps" on some brand new Kirkland Tires (supposedly made by Michelin) - the Costco guy said they were just mold marks and that every one of them in his stack were the same. (I was getting some X Radial Ones at the time to replace the OEM Generals, btw - the Generals wore poorly, bumps or not).

    SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Just curious if anybody else got the Brake Safety Recall for the 95/96 Deathstar... Looks like they are finally going to reimbuse me the $150 to fix the brake line that nearly killed my wife. In July 2000, she was driving on Interstate 94 through Wisconsin and wanted to stop for a pop. After she got on an exit ramp, the brakes went to the floor and she didn't know what to do. She went through a red light and nearly got clipped by a state trooper. After letting off the gas, downshifting, and getting help from the trooper, she got the van to a truck stop. A brake line had rusted through and all the brake fluid was drained. Paid a mechanic $40 to cap the line (it was the passenger front brake line that rusted through), filled up the system with brake fluid and managed to get home to Minnesota. Got it fixed the next morning.

    Just another day in the Deathstar... Happy Motoring!
  • mslmnmslmn Posts: 13
    I run the carfax history on a 1999 used Ford Windstar SE with only 24K and no problems were found. The dealer is asking $16,500. I saw the van and was very happy with everything it has including color, until I went to the discussion board and saw how many problems the Windstar has. Should I forget about this van or give it a chance? It has some warranty left (I do not know which kind). All your recommendations are very appreciated.
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    My 2000 SE is starting to show some strange symptoms with the dash lights. I had mentioned before about my oil light not turning on for a moment. No one here has responded to it, and even the dealer has told me nothing is wrong with it and showed me 2 other WS with the same symptom.

    So I have been living with it by waiting about 2 seconds (2 beeps from the seatbelt chime) in ON before i move it to START. The oil light would show for a few seconds and go away like I expect. Just recently, it seems to have a harder time starting (sounds like the battery is weak) and the oil light will not turn on, and the head lights blink on for a split second. So I have now waited 3 seconds for the oil light to show before I start it, and nothing funny happens.
    Another strange thing that happened yesterday, I think if I start the van in about 1 second, the THEFT light blinks quickly. It looks like how it would behave if I did not use the correct key. But it drives just fine. It has a blinking pattern of like 2 slow blinks, 5 quick blinks. After a few cycles, it goes away completely.

    I have been able to reproduce the 1st problem easily, but not the second. My only (and hopefully correct) idea of a problem is that the battery is just old and needs replacing soon. Any worse and I may have an expensive repair bill on hand (no more warranty for me). I did have to jump start about one month ago. (Stupid me, I left the radio on while I spent about 4 hours cleaning the inside of the van. Obviously too long!)

    Anyone think that the battery really is it?
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    Funny, your situation is just like mine. I had a 95 WS with 135K and it was totaled by a red light runner. This past Sept I picked up a 99SE with 24K on it for $16,400. Love it and my 95, except for the head gasket, never gave me any trouble.
    However, I think you are paying to much. There are a lot of 99s coming off lease so there is a glut. Since I paid $100 less than you did 8 months ago you should be able to get it for around 15K to 15.4K. 16.5 is to much. Also, go to NHTSB and look up the recalls. There were 5 of them. None were really bad but they should be done prior to you buying it.
  • mslmnmslmn Posts: 13
    Thanks for your input.
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    If you ran the carfax what more do you need?
  • mslmnmslmn Posts: 13
    ... am loving it! What a great ride and security. I test drove a Mazda 2002 MPV and it felt like a feather comparing to the handling of my new/used windstar (it kind of says, "I am here to stay!"). About running the carfax, since this is the first time I educated myself to the limit, I just don't know what the carfax could have missed... May luck and God be on my side. I will let know if I run into any problems. I am going to researching any recalls and digging as much as I can about any 1999 windstar problems.
  • rejohnson1rejohnson1 Posts: 1
    We have the same tires and they have the same weird looking lumps in the sidewalls. They were there early on, and I put it on the list of stuff to do for the first or second service visit. The Ford guys basically said to take it up with the tire people. I got lazy and didn't do that, and they still look the same but nothing has happened. But these tires do look bizarre.
This discussion has been closed.