Howdy, Stranger!

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

Ford Windstar Problems



  • bigdadi118bigdadi118 Posts: 1,207
    Try to push & hold the shift lever more to the left of 'P' during starting. It may do the trick. The starting sensor may treat the shift lever in 'R' and not yet in 'P' so refuse to start. As you know the car can only be started in either 'P' or 'N'.
  • sobilosobilo Posts: 1
    I'm so confused if I should or shouldn't purchase a 2003 Ford Windstar with 19,000 miles on it. Should I or shouldn't I?

    Can you direct me to reviews only on this year?
  • jtk152jtk152 Posts: 139
    Years 2001-2003 are essentially the same. I think you'll find that you get the most van for your dollar with a windstar- provided you stick with an "LX" model. IMO- SE/SES/Sport models are WAY overpriced. The windstar is no less reliable than any comparable domestic van.
  • phatbunsphatbuns Posts: 20
    My '98 Windstar started making a front end clunk at 90,000 miles. I jacked it up and found the sway bar swaying, so I figured it was banging against the undercarriage causing the clunk. My local Ford dealer replaced the right sway bar link and bushings, handled better, but still clunked. I returned it to the dealer, they said that the strut rod bushings on the Windstar had a tendency to elongate and crack, and suggested welding it. I said sure, try it, it was only $225. The service invoice reads "welded strut rod bushings (sleeves)". No more clunk, no more problems so far.
  • phatbunsphatbuns Posts: 20
    My steering is making a squealing sound whenever the wheel is turned toward the right, no sound on turning left. The power steering fluid looks dirty. I noticed someone had this same complaint a few months ago, any suggestions?
  • ramouramou Posts: 84
    The airbag light on my 99 Windstar LX has been coming on and staying on. I checked with Ford and no recall, it has over local ford mechanic scanned it and said he thinks it's in the steering assembly and he would have to take it off to see if a wire is being pinched or loose....did anyone else had that problem..? thanks.
  • nyorkernyorker Posts: 2
    when i go from park to reverse to get out of my driveway it makes a banging sound as i switch , what can this be? i bought a 2003 windstar lx 2 days ago... it drives fine but the banging sound from park to reverse upsets me.. when i test drove the car at the dealership i didnt hear it, also im parked slighting on an angle can that be it?
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    if you are parking on an incline I hope you are setting the handbrake before putting the transmission into P. having that little teeny weeny steel rod in the tranny keeping you parked on an incline is an invitation to tranny problems down the line if you don't have it already.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I agree. Anytime you park a Ford on an incline, you need to apply the parking brake before shifting into park. Don't let it rest on the parking pawl.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    only a Ford?

    With any vehicle, you should always set the parking brake when parking up or down a hill. Car companies even recommend to always use the parking brake while parking, just a pre-caution if something goes wrong with the transmission in the middle of the night.

    I have a '02 Windstar which shifts out very smooth from Park to Reverse or Drive.
  • nyorkernyorker Posts: 2
  • rossross Posts: 17
    I have a 96 Windstar with 121,000 miles on it. I have had numerous problems, but not as serious as many of the posts. I have had to replace several O2 sensors, passenger door actuator, rear hatch actuator, turn signal assembly, and speedo head(it stopped working again, but I am not paying $900 to fix it). Now the rear air conditioner blows hot air when the front control is on A/C. The dealer said it will cost about $500 to repair. I don't want to spend $500 to repair this and want to know if anyone else has had this problem and if they know a cheaper fix?
  • laundryguylaundryguy Posts: 89
    You are entering the territory (109,000 miles) when my Windstar completely went to pot. IMHO cover your losses and ditch that thing and get a more reliable ride. That was the advice I was given when my water pump failed when I first checked out this site. I had too much pride and held on. Then the ignition control unit, a ball joint, and a thermostat failed. In the end I took a $2995 tax write off.

    The deals on new vans are exceptional. Honda's for $1000 under invoice (that would mean an LX for $21,700 plus tax). Toyotas now can be had for a bit less than MSRP. Nissans are not moving all that quickly. Caravans and Freestars (if you can stomach another Ford) can be had for less than you may have paid in 96 for the Windstar.

    Interest rates will never be lower. I'll admit a few of these 96 Windstars have made 175k and higher with few problems, but they are few and far between.
  • mikejojomikejojo Posts: 7
    I've posted previously about some clunking noise in the front end of my 1996 Ford Windstar. Recently, I've noticed that my temperature gauge seems to fluctuate a lot. I noticed the problem and have kept a much closer eye on it. I noticed the other day that while leaving work, I was 7 minutes into my ride (not even 3 miles away)when the temperature gauge spiked near the top of the "hot zone" without going "into the red" and then went back down towards the cool end of the gauge. The gauge does fluctuate while driving. We recently took a 2 1/2 hour drive (120 miles) without any problem at all. Any suggestions? My van is due for it's yearly inspection in July and I already know that the front rotors are going to have to be replaced as well.

    FYI, I did have the entire front end fluids changed in Sep 03 (roughly 4,000 miles ago). My last oil change (at a different "quick lube shop") 2 weeks ago, the shop recommended replacement of the power steering fluid and transmission fluid.

    I have a bad feeling that my van is probably on the way out.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148

    This sounds like the classic "air pocket" in the coolant... If you are losing or burning coolant (over time) - it is VERY possible there is a "bubble" in the system causing the temperature gauge to spike. Since the temperature sensor is on the top of the engine, when the fluid level falls to a lower level an air pocket can rise to the top of the cooling system - close to the temperature gauge - showing a spike in the engine temperature.

    The more important question is: Where is your coolant going?

    Start by checking your coolant levels...

    And YES - The temperature spike was the beginning of the end for my WS...

    BTW - the THUNK in the front end is the inner or outer tie rods. another regular repair on the WS - About $350. Enjoy!
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    You need to confirm the temp gauge is working first, a mechanic can do this with an infrared sensor.
    My guess is an intake or head gasket leak. If you catch it early it can be repaired, if you wait too long it will ruin the engine. Have you been adding coolant?
  • mikejojomikejojo Posts: 7
    Thanks wholigan & wijoco. I did remember something else after I posted my message....I recall when I first noticed the problem, that my wife & I tried to turn on the heat to help alleviate the engine overheating and recall that on 2 separate occasions (one time we had been driving for 20 minutes)that with the heat set as high as it could go, the blower was cold not hot. Other times, since those two instances, it's been blowing hot.

    When I had the oil change done 2 days before our trip, the lube shop indicated in their paperwork that the level was checked (OK? - did not indicate that anything was added)I'm going to take a look at the coolant levels next time I get a chance when the engine's cold. I'm also going to see if there's any indication of a visible engine leak.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    May also have a thermostat failure. Lost of things to check, but most likely somewhere in the cooling system. Good luck, that stuff can be tricky.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    Hi everyone. I am new to this board. My friend here in the office (in Toronto)has a 2000 Windstar with 80,000 km (50,000 miles) and the tranny is starting to give out. He uses it for his small family but has never towed with it and has it serviced at the local Ford dealer according to the service manual.

    He has the extended powertrain warrantee. How have the experiences been out there with getting Ford to pay for this. I see from some other Ford boards that the company has not supported many of its customers with this defect, which I understand to be a common one in this vehicle.

    He has been happy with this vehicle otherwise but is concerned about the safety of his vehicle,
  • laundryguylaundryguy Posts: 89
    Agree with earlier posts. When head gasket went - I could get no heat out of the heater, which was the symptom to a $940 repair in 1997. The second time I got no heat, it was the thermostat, which acted irregularly. This was $94 parts and labor to replace. My Windstar clunked to the bitter end of my ownership, even after several tie rods. Live with it, if you value money to any degree as replacing them is expensive. If you do have them done - replace inner and outer together. Have ball joints inspected before you dive into this. It may influence your decision to hold onto the Windstar. My Ford Windstar "lifetime" ball joints were just about shot at 115k miles each. I replaced one, and got rid of it before replacing the other which was essentially shot when we part ways.

    If you have the financial resources and your Windstar is at or near 100k - unload it. The real financial agony is just around the corner. Neighbor's had the power steering system gearing snap in half - $600 - ouch! at 96k. Interestingly, as I drove by the local transmission shop, three of the nine cars on the lot were Windstars, and since they aren't 30% of the population of all cars on the road, I would believe this to be a bad sign.

    Best of luck in whatever you do.
This discussion has been closed.