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Ford Windstar Problems



  • jay238jay238 Posts: 13
    My 95 Windstar is approaching 181,000 miles. Hopefully, I can reach 200k and show my friends it IS possible with a first model Windstar. No problems on it except for the head gasket recall and some minor interior things (vents, knobs) breaking. Power steering pump making some noise, may need replacement. Continues to do city, highway driving and hauling stuff. I know many of you hate 95s, but I gotta reach my goal of over 200k!
  • flackoflacko Posts: 13
    My 1998 Windstar had a similar ABS problem. At first just a pulse as you come to a stop. I had the right rear wheel speed sensor replaced and adjusted. Problem was gone for about 20 miles, then the ABS light came on (1st time). Brake shop could find no problem. They tried adjusting the wheel speed sensor again with no luck. I took it to Ford and they said the ABS computer is bad.....After re-ordering the computer 3 times and 10 days later, Ford "fixed" it to the tune of $1400. (Thank God I had bought an extended warranty). Keep in mind I was in the process of trying to sell the Crapstar when this problem started. I went to pick up the van at Ford and the pulsing started again within 10 miles. They re-adjusted the gap on all wheel speed sensors again, and that problem so far has been fixed. Still trying to sell it...dropping the price $500 every week with no lookers. My wife drove it the other day and the O/D light started flashing and the engine light came on without any driveability symptoms (runs great!). Autozone scanned the computer and it is a fault with the turbine shaft speed sensor. I'm going to try and put this on soon. I've given up trying to sell it. We'll just keep it as a backup....we never had any problem with it until I tried to sell it at 93K miles.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Beware of the dealer who quickly pronounces your ABS module (computer) dead. They love to replace those things, but they're rarely the cause of the problem. Ford ABS modules run anywhere from $500-$1000 new. Most often a wheel sensor is broken, misadjusted, or has a wiring short. Like flacko's situation, the $1400 ABS module replacement didn't solve the problem, it was just an easy guess for the dealer. Only after they "re-adjusted" the sensors (which probably meant re-inspected more closely and actually found the problem) did his problem go away.
  • flackoflacko Posts: 13
    Yes, I agree...the ABS computer most likely was not the true cause. Ford claims that they could not get the ABS computer to communicate. I do consulting work for TRW (where they make the ABS computers) and I was at that plant about a week after I got the van back from Ford. My contact there said ABS computers rarely fail. He even offered to give me one practically free if I ever need another one in the future. Well at least I had the warranty and it only cost me $50 (at Ford). I spend about another $200 at the first brake shop. If I hadn't been trying to sell the van, I would have just lived with it. One of my other vehicles is an 86 Dodge pickup, with a carburetor, no ABS, no computer..runs good only 50K miles. I love that vehicle because I can still work on it easily and it's not $250 to $800 every time you have to fix it.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,984
    CNN is reporting a recall concerning rear seat latches. Wouldn't hurt to check your latches until you get your letter.

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  • flackoflacko Posts: 13
    The on-going saga of my 98 windstar that did not develop any problems until I tried to sell it. Less than 20 miles after getting it back from the Ford dealer who fixed an ABS computer problem, the check engine light came on and the O/D light started flashing. The van however, seemed to drive normally. Took it to Autozone to have the code retrieved. The result was code 0715 referring to the turbine shaft speed sensor on the tranny. Bought the shop manual and used diagrams from Alldata to find that sensor. After removing the left front wheel, I discovered the two wires leading to the sensor had been cut right where they snuck through the side of the wire bundle. Interesting because it looked like a clean cut. Note that the van had only been driven about 6 miles home from the Ford dealer, parked for 2 weeks, then driven about 5 miles before these lights came on. I called Ford to see if their tech could've have accidently bumped it, of course they claim no. Anyway, I spliced the wires back together (solder and shrink tubing) and the problem is fixed. My Alldata subscription for $20/year paid off because it showed me the exact location of that sensor. How the wires got cut still remains a mystery because I had no lights come on when I drove the van home from Ford.
  • I'm planning a long trip in my '95 Windstar and would like to be able to plug in a 9" portable T.V/VCR combo, and a PS2 Game System, using a "Whistler 400 Watt DC to AC" Inverter. Can the car take this or do I need to get some accessory to handle the extra electrical load that these two devices working together will require? I'm planning to simply plug the Whistler converter into the DC outlet that's located down and to the right of the center console and then plug the two devices into the converter.
  • flackoflacko Posts: 13
    I have a 98 Windstar, and I've used a PS-2 and a 9" TV plugged in to an inverter. I think we used the lighter plug in the left rear (middle row) and it worked ok. If the fuse blows, then I would try one inverter in the front lighter and one in the middle row since they will be on two different circuits.
  • The power steering fludin on my 1998 Ford Windstar is getting dirty. I had it changed and the steering is not as easy as it used to be. I was wondering if steering problems are common and what the cause is or if this is just something that happens. Thanks.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Check for leaks and listen for unusual noises when turning the wheel while stopped. Could be something as simple as a loose drive belt, or a pump that's going bad. I don't know of "common" steering fluid problems with the Windstar.
  • I have a 1996 Ford Windstar with just under 88,000 miles on it. I really started noticing a clunking in the front end about 1 year ago. I'm not sure if it's the front end suspension or something with the steering. I just spent $850 for all the front end fluids to be changed, filters changed, the tie rod ends and ball joints changed (the mechanic said it was a common problem). He showed me the parts when done and they were in some real bad shape. The noise was back after 2 weeks of operation. Two weeks ago, we had a cold weekend in which the van sat all weekend but when I went to start it, it started very rough, the check engine light was flashing and now it's on constantly. The battery is less than 2 years old. I also noticed that I could smell some antifreeze since the work was done but there's no indication of any leaking (no dripping under the van) and I'm occasionally hearing a "whining" noise when the van's running. Any thoughts anyone?
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Guess what folks, it's head gasket weather. First cold snaps of the winter and those gaskets that have been slowly leaking all summer finally shrink, pop and give up the ghost one cold November morning. Back to that in minute.
    As far as your clunking problem, when exactly does the clunk occur? Turning, stopping, applying power, etc. Could be anything from an engine mount to loose strut towers.
    OK, back to the bad news. I would bet money your rough running, check engine light, and anitfreeze smell are from blown head and/or intake gaskets. Have you been losing coolant for a period of time? Check your engine oil dipstick for discolored yellow/green/milky deposits. Even if it looks OK, I would have the oil analyzed just to be safe. You can also have a pressure test done on the motor to isolate leaking cylinders. If you do end up having to get new gaskets, you'll need new head, intake and timing cover gaskets plus head and intake bolts. That job plus the front end repairs will darn near come close to what that van is worth, and that's assuming the engine is worth salvaging. I hope I'm wrong and it ends up being something simple, but if I'm right you might consider how much more $$$ you want to sink into that Windstar, man. Good luck. BTW, do a search for "Winstar head gasket" on Edmunds for more info.
  • I have a 1995 Windstar LX. The problem I have is, the van fog’s up, even if I set the controls on defrost, I have to put the blower (Front and Back) at the max setting and it still takes forever to defrost. I have looked at the AC compressor to see if it comes on when the switch is moved to the defrost position, and it dose, but it looks like it might not stay on long enough. Any ideas

  • Well I more than broke even on the extended warranty on my '99 Windstar with just today's bills. No hot air from the heater---broken blend door. "All day job to replace"..$1400. Also repair leaking axle seals $250. Add to that the $500 they spent on other things just 3000 miles ago, and I wonder if the warranty company would like to buy the thing from me in order to save money!
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Is there a sugary or sweet smell when the windows fog? If so you may have a leaking heater core. If the A/C compressor is cycling off too much, you may have a bad ground wire or other bad wiring.
  • My 95 Windstar door warning went off yesturday. We rechecked all doors. Not the problem. Now the lights stay on even after the engine is turned off. Had to disconnect battery overnight. My guess is that the sliding door system finally died completely. It hasn't worked without a key for awhile. What do you think?
  • I've just discovered this forum. I've done all of my own "simple" work for many years now; I am also a voracious reader & collector of tech info. Here are answers to some of the above noted comments/problems:
    wijoco & flaco: many thanks for the ABS info
    flaco & everyone: Alldata information will pay you back triple/quadruple & more than what you pay for it (US$25).
    vanwoman: when changing power steering fluid, you must use Ford fluid, Mercon 5 I believe.
    mikejojo: front end clunking is covered in TSB's 97-26-14 and 97-26-24, both published in December 1997. I also have part of a TSB here (12/22/97 which may be superceded by 1 of the above 2 I mentioned) which pin points a loose front tension strut bushing retainer in the sub-frame. I strongly suspect your problem is here. Welding a piece in place, may be necessary.
    4wheels1: 99's have a weak blend door prone to warping. Your problem could have been just the door being warped, or its little actuator (motor with an arm). In either case its not a difficult repair. Suggest your dealer replaced the whole unit.
    cgennaro: interior lights remain on-door ajar warning light does not go off! This is usually rectified by spraying the black plastic door switches (approx 3"x2 1/4")with WD 40. They are somewhat diamond shaped. 99's & above have 2 on the tailgate. 98's & older have those 2 plus 1 on the rear of the sliding door. These proximity switches have a square sliding part to them. Make sure they are somewhat clean & well lubricated with WD 40.
    Hope some of this helps someone. Cheers from the frozen North (we're having a snow storm right now)
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    just needed a new tranny in my 00, only had 39.5K miles and 3 1/2 years on it! I have the ext warranty so it wasn't a total disaster. Dealer said it cost $3800 to put my new one in. They had to do it twice as the first replacement unit didn't fit!

     I know the 95s had tranny problems, are the 00 affected by the same problem or different?

    Also, does anyone know if I can extend my ext warranty????
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
    cptplt, glad you got it taken care of without eating the full cost! You might want to take your extended-extended warranty question to our Finance, Warranty & Insurance board for advice.

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  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Best thing to do is reconnect the battery, close all the doors, then open each front door and rear hatch individually, testing each switch. To test, pull the rubbber boot off the door close switch, spray it with WD40 or similar, then manually press the button to see if the light goes out. If after testing all but the sliding door the warning never went off, you know it's the sliding door switch. How to disconnect that I'm not sure, you may have to chase some wires.
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