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Ford Windstar Problems



  • Never had a real complaint till around 35,000 miles, thats when the emissions light came on. Took it to the dealer to have checked out. They said that the problem was the gas tank or a part that was connected to the gas tank. So they ordered a new tank and said it would be a couple of weeks to get in, but there was no danger in driving the van in the meantime. Well, this is where it got really weird. My wife who has put every mile on the van had an experience that has shattered our faith in the safety of the vehicle. She was driving at about 40mph, when the van started to excelarate on it's own. She said that the gas pedal sucked its self to the floor, when she tried to brake she found the brake pedal was as hard as a rock. She could not stop the van, and there was traffic stopped in front of her. As a last ditched effort, she threw the van in park(OUCH!!!)and was able to avoid an accident. She started the van again to move it off the road, only to have the car wind up to redline. She turned the van off and had it towed to the dealership. They ran all the tests they could and came up with the conclusion that the floor mat was stuck under the gas pedal, but could not explain why the brake pedal was as hard as a rock. Again they released the van to us. The work order showed that they removed the intake and ran a bunch of tests. Oh, yea their is now scratches on the front bumper,where it looks like something or someone ran in to it. Oh well, stuff happens. I, who have paid big bucks for a van that was advertised as a safe vehicle, have very little faith in this vehicle, and will probably count my loses and get rid of it. I might add, I read these postings from time to time only to feel lucky that our van was running great. Now my bubble has been bursted. Oh yea, they did replace the gas tank too. Happy Trails
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    Something is broke on my 2000 Windstar SE!

    My front heater is not working properly, now that cooler weather has arrived! My rear heater warms up just fine. I think the problem is related to the air path for the heat. When I adjust the cool/heat selecter, I can hear a ticking type of noise in the dash. But now I only hear 1 tick instead of maybe 6 or so.

    Any suggestions?
  • Our 2000 LX has just over 61,000 miles on it and we are getting ready to go to our third set of tires. The OEM's were out after about 25,000 miles and the latest top of the line TOYO 800 Ultras are showing lots of wear, plus the wife had the left rear blow yesterday as if someone shot at it. All is well, but we are concerned about this vehicle and how it seems to wear out tires. We have done rotations every 5,000 miles and have had four front end alignments done. I have never been overly impressed with the handling of this vehicle (wallowing and such). Any suggestions?
  • I had michlens on my 95 and they lasted 90K. The OEM tires now are load range B vs A as earlier fords were. Saves ford money since they are cheaper. I have a 99 SE now with originals on it and I will be happy to see 50K. I know you know this but:
    1: inflate to max or near max PSI.
    2: rotate
    3: Buy some Michlens next time.
  • Hey, I'm seriously looking at a 98 Windstar (61k miles) for $6,800. It sounds like a sweet deal. But do they have the chronic transmission problems? It has the AXAS4S transmission which I've heard is a better redesign from the 95's.

    Thanks for your help!!
  • Hello everyone. I have a 96 Windstar, about 109k. I haven't had many problems other than is "normal" for a car with a lot of miles. But I have noticed that my speedometer is out of whack. It started acting up only when it was in Cruise Control, and the needle would swing wildly in a 20-40 mph range, but otherwise was fine. Now it is almost always off. Some days it may swing slightly, or get stuck at one spot, or jump all of a sudden up to 30 mph higher, even if I haven't accelerated. I have no idea how to tell if it is telling me the right or even close to the right speed. Has anyone else had this problem, or does anyone else know what to look for? I have checked in my Haynes book, but there is absolutely no mention of a speedometer cable or even close. The only thing I can find listed is the sensor inside the engine that controls the Cruise Control. Please help!! Oh, and I also have a problem with a squeaking/whining noise coming from the passenger side under the hood. I think it may be the pulley on my serpentine belt, but I'm not sure how to check or fix that. I had it replaced a little over a year ago (both the belt and pulley). The noise was first only noticeable when I had the air running, but now is all the time, except if I'm accelerating. If I'm coasting or idling, it makes that very annoying (not to mention embarrassing) noise. Any advice? Thanks!
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    That problem is endemic with the Windstar. My understanding is that the speedometer head will need to be replaced. Dealer cost was about $500 a couple of years back, probably more now. A lot of people with that problem have gone to aftermarket rebuilders to correct it.
  • A way to check the pulley is to put a screwdriver on the case around the pulley or some place next to it. If you feel an unusual vibration the bearings are getting ready to go.
  • Do you have to disconnect the brake line on a Windstar to change the front pads?I have changed pads on gm vehicles and you just release the calipers and change the pads without disconnecting the brake hose and having then to bleed the brakes.
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    I changed the brake pads myself at over 50K on my 2000 SE. The hardest part was getting the pistons pushed back in so the calipers would fit on the wheel. (I didn't have the appropriate tool, but I managed w/o damaging anything.)

    So the answer your question, no, you do not have to disconnect the brake line. One thing to note, make sure you can get the metal clips that go on top and bottom of the pad when you get your new ones. When I took the old ones off (should be a total of 8, 2 for each pad), I was missing 5 of them. I think they help prevent the brakes from squealing too much.
  • jpc13jpc13 Posts: 1
    I have a Windstar SEL 2000 and noticed severe pinging around 65,000. Pinging was not the only problem that popped up at the same time. My mileage averaged between 20-22 dropped to 18-19. I read the articles posted and asked my service person what they thought. They tried new plugs, and some other things. I tried different octane without much success. We then discussed the Ford TSB# 8233 and they went ahead and performed the change. Also, they cleaned / soaked the heads to remove carbon build up. At this point (about 1 month, 3000 plus miles later) I have not had any pinging and my gas mileage went from 18-19 back to 22-23. I made one trip since the change where I did 25 mpg. At this point I would say it seems to have fixed it.
  • Can anyone help me diagnose a stalling problem I have with my Windstar. It will periodically stall when making right hand turns. I have heard of others having this problem, but cannot remember if there is a cure.
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    There is a TSB on this and the dealer should know about it. Good Luck.
  • I realized I had an alignment problem within a few days after I drove my new 02 Windstar home. Don't ask me how I didn't notice it on the test drive. It was bad to the left. Took it right back to the dealer and they said they did an alignment on it. Took it home - same thing. Very noticeable pull to the left. It was about this time I also noticed the trans 'slipping' from 1st to 2nd. Thought I was going nuts. Only when accelerating from a stop then letting off the gas slightly then accelerating again it would slip and almost clunk into 2nd. Dealer said they checked it and found nothing. They also said the checked all my tires and did 'another' alignment. Well I drove it home again and after several thousand miles on it I couldn't take it any more. It was still pulling to left and the trans still felt like it was slipping. Not all the time but just under certain circumstances. Well I brought it back to the dealer and took the service manager for a ride to show him the problems. I can create the slippage in the trans as explained above and the pulling to the left was obvious. So they had the van for almost a week and they had to remove front cowl and remove welded camber caster settings & reset left rear camber and toe. Their explanation' for the trans was that it is computer controlled and I'm fooling the computer when I let up on the gas after just starting to accelerate. Obviously these guys don't know stop and go driving. So I pick up my van and drive it home and feels like they finally got the alignment right (after 10K miles - should I ask for new tires?) but when I turned into my driveway the right front strut is now knocking. So I take it back AGAIN and this time make them give me another Windstar to drive while they have my van so I can check the 'computer controlled' trans to see if it is the same on another Windstar. Well I've had it for 2 days and it's like night and day. The loner doesn't drive at all like mine. I'm gonna call them in the morning and tell them they can keep mine until the trans problem is FIXED. I'm just about at the limit for our state Lemon Law also.
    Wow what a hassle after having a great experience with a 96 Villager with 96k until it got wacked by deer - no problems and they cancelled this vehicle?
  • I've been thinking about a German
    I'm not sure if I accidentally deleted this, so, if I did, here it is again: My '96, with the 3.8, has had its check engine light diagnosed by AutoZone to be a fault in one of the banks of the catalytic converter, or something to that effect. I've been told an option is to replace the entire catalytic converter, but I'm not sure if that's my SOLE option. As doling out many, many Washingtons isn't on my "Things I wanna do to make me a happier man" list, is there a simpler way to remedy this problem? Thanks in advance. Luke:)
  • You didn't happen to mention in your post what the mileage on your vehicle was. This happens to be important because the EPA mandates a warranty on all vehicles in the US since 1995 on specific emissions related components. If your car is a 1995 or newer model (you said your Windstar was a '96) and has fewer than 80,000 miles you qualify. The replacement of the catalytic converter, the labor to replace it (including ALL associated costs), and the diagnosis of the problem are covered completely. See the sites below for more information regarding this warranty.

    Good luck to you.

  • I believe I qualify for no warranty coverage with 170,000 miles on my van, but even so, I should be glad it's lasted this long, huh? More advice is always appreciated, as was the previous post. Thanks, Luke:)
  • jotbbjotbb Posts: 1
    I have a '98 Windstar that I bought about two years ago; it had about 35k miles then, and is now up to 80k. Luckily (by the tone of these posts), I haven't experienced anything out of the ordinary. As a matter of fact, it's been a pretty damn good vehicle so far. My only complaint is how harsh the tranny is - the van shudders when shifting up or down at lower speeds, and has done so since I bought it. At first, I thought there was a serious tranny problem, but after taking it to the dealer, I was told it was normal. Well, I got burned on a '94 Plymouth Voyager tranny three years ago, so I was paranoid. But again, after two years and 45k miles, the tranny has held up, as rough as it is.

    Now, I just got a 2003 Windstar LX as a company car last week (in addition to my '98, although I'll likely get rid of it soon). I've only driven it a couple hundred miles, but guess what: the tranny feels the same! It shudders at low speeds just like the '98, although it's a pretty smooth ride once you get going on the highway (although I agree the engine is noisy).

    My question: Is the '03 tranny the same as the '98, and are others complaining as well?
  • mjngamjnga Posts: 1
    Same problems as the prior posts reporting this - Engine pinging very bad. Dealer has worked on van 2 different times and problem goes away for a little while only to return. My Ford Dealer stated to use the cheap gas and not the high octane gas ( Carbon Problem ) - he also mentioned that gasoline distributors from the northern states use a additive do to the cold that gives these fords fits, and sometimes this gas gets delivered to the southern states where I live in the spring in turn causing my problem? Bottom line I was told there is nothing they can do that will keep this from happening again and this is just a characteristic of the motor and will not hurt the motor.
    At this time my van still has the problem and the warranty has run out. (58000 miles) I have all my paper work reporting the problem to the dealer in the past. Can anyone tell me exactly what I need to do or say to Ford to get this problem taken care of. Do I go through the dealer or to Ford Customer Care? Thanks for your help. MJ
  • I saw a 97 at a used lot. Only 90,000km (55,000 mi) They are only asking $8,500.00 Can. ( approx $4500.00 US) It has the 3.0 and not many options but would work well for me and my family ( wife, 2 kids and dog size of horse). The question is do I avoid it like the plague or not. Most of the complaints seem to be about the 3.8, trany on this one seems to shift smoothly, no power door, no ping ( but its winter here now). Don't see many postings about the 97's but I don't know if thats because they are all dead now. lol Anyways any feedback I can get would be much appreciated as my wife is already in love with it and if we don't buy it I better have a good reason why.

This discussion has been closed.