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Ford Windstar Problems



  • The problem with the interior lights not going off is common and is often related to the vehicle thinking that the door is still open. So first, is the "door ajar" light on the dashboard lit? If not, I don't know what to tell you. If yes, you may pursue the following theories, all of which I have heard:


    1. The contacts are dirty. Clean the contacts (little silver circles) on all the doors with WD-40.


    2. The rear hatch (or perhaps one of the other doors)has become slightly misaligned or bent probably from being slammed shut too many times on something that was sticking out farther than it should've been. The result is that the contact on the hatch/door and the contact on the body aren't in alignment or aren't touching. Open the rear hatch/door and jiggle the hatch side to side and try to close it correctly. You have to play with it a bit. Do the same with other doors. Experiment a bit. I've heard it suggested that you can get in the car, turn it on and pull on the closed doors from the inside to see if you get a different result.


    3. The car has an electrical gremlin of some sort -- take it to a dealer and get out your wallet because he will replace the electrical "switch" or somesuch.


    4. The car has a defective door sensor. Dealer will replace the "sensor". Wallet is again involved.


    5. Give up on a solution and remove the interior light fuse from the fusebox and get used to getting into your car in the dark.


    My own '96 WS has had this problem on and off for several years. I've sprayed the contacts and played with the hatch and slammed the sliding door. Sometimes it makes the light go off, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the light and door ajar indicator go on and off in rapid succession while driving (with the door ajar chime sounding each time) for an hour or so and then stops. Currently, after six months of being fine, it started doing it again the other day and then stopped after a week. My wife believes that the problem is related to changes in the weather -- humidity? contraction-expansion of metal due to temperature change? She might be right as we had our first subzero temperatures followed by a rebound to the 50s followed by the door light going on.


    Good luck and remember you could (and probably will) have much more serious problems with this vehicle.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Basically, the dealer did everything perfectly. The intake gasket and valve cover replacement were correct procedures. No, I wouldn't worry about it. Don't dump it, you've already assumed the biggest risk by buying it. ;)
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075

    having just checked out how much the darn thing is worth now, its almost not worth trading in! At least it will be paid for in 3 months! I'll keep it till it dies, or my teenager destroys it while she is learning to drive!!:-)
  • fmilymnfmilymn Posts: 13
    Manual sliding door rattles over bumps like the rollers are worn or the tracks have been expanded. REAL annoying. 2000 SE, 60,000 mi.. Anyone else?? Also..........banks 1 & 2 lean, paint chipping/peeling here and there. I have the interior light problem rarely also.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    My 2000 SEL is working on its third set of front wheel bearings. Each set lasted about 25-30K. Why does this Windstar eat wheel bearings?




  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Take some sticky velcro and place it inside the female side of the plastic guides at the the top and bottom of the door. You will need to replace the velcro about twice a year. This will stop the rattle.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Not sure about the door, maybe check all the rubber bump-stops to makes sure they're contacting. Banks 1+2 are usually vac leaks from bad intake gaskets or PVC lines. May need replacement valve cover, but I'm not sure on the year. Interior lights are usually rusted door sensors. Check the side door and hatch. Read past posts for more info on Windstar lean codes or just do a Google search for "Windstar bank lean".
  • bobv6bobv6 Posts: 4
    I had this problem with my 95. Its the back latches, you have to spray them with wd40 or if they are really dirty and gumed up with carb cleaner, just don't get any on the paint. Once you soak them, they will not stick and the lights will go off. Hope this helps Bob
  • I have a 2002 van with an odd noise nobody can track down. It sounds like a noisy moaning or whining power steering pump. It seems to be from the rear of the engine near the bellhousing and EGR valve. Heres what has been done to locate it:


    Transmission shop thought it was a faulty converter (they just rebuilt the trans) so they installed another new one and the noise was still there.


    They took out the trans again and tore it down, going over everything again and it all checked out ok. Put it back and noise still there.


    They put a bell housing shell on and started it up and it still made the noise.


    They then removed the serp belt and the damn noise was still there!


    They were really great with me as they put 20+ hours into my van under warranty at no cost.


    Took it to the ford dealer and they went over it for a few hours with a steth and tried to say it was the trans after I told them it made it without one! Then they just threw their hands up... They had never heard it before and couldn't pin point it... well worth the diag fee.


    Anybody have any ideas or heard of this??? It is quite annoying and came on all the sudden. Does it at idle and it varies with engine speed. I just don't want to have something suddenly fail.


    I did also just change the oil even though it didn't need it hoping for a stupid fix... no change


    Thanks -Joel
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,964
    The techs in the Got a Quick, Technical Question? discussion may have some ideas too.


    Steve, Host
  • Good idea! Thanks seloo. You have this problem too huh?
  • Hey wijoco. Thanks for the info. Did the replacement valve cover thing last year. I believe you were right about the sensors needing some shiny metal showing through. I just can't believe the paint on this thing! One miniscule chip with a pebble and there goes the process of the chip getting larger and larger. Touch up paint won't stop it either. PITIFUL! If is wasn't for having 3 kids this thing would be gone. I knew I should have bought a Honda.
  • haulthault Posts: 122
    What years were affected by the valve cover design? Does Ford replace them for free? What is the cost and benefit of new design valve cover? I have a 2000 w/ 40,000 + miles. Few problems so far, but I have extended warranty.
  • Mine is a 2000 model. The cost is on us. The original cover lets the pcv valve suck oil mist into its passage ways eventually causing a clog. Pinging occured in mine. Engine light appeared. Intake had to be taken off & cleaned out. A quite common problem according to my mechanic. A simple design flaw directly under the pcv valve. No recall on it though.
  • what was the shudder problem? i have a 2002 and it seems to be haveing transmission problems too. looking into it my self and testing, i think it might be the transmission range sensor (TR). can you help me? thanks
  • Had the tranny rebuilt at 62,000 miles. Now my check engine light is on (at 62,500 miles) and I need a new intake gasket and valve cover. Another $500. Anyway, the van has sounded like a truck when slowing down to stop. There is a loud humming sound that seems to be coming from the front of the vehicle. Could this be the brakes (no sound from the brake sensors yet), or maybe the wheel bearings? Is it easy to replace either if they are bad? I can't afford any more repairs!
  • Bought an 02 WS Certified with 32K miles. One month shy of the 36/36 warranty -- but 1000 miles OVER the limit, my odometer, lights, and all electrical started acting like something from Poltergeist. Barely made it to my usual mechanic, who found an overcharging alternator and EXPLODED battery. Now, two days after picking up from service, my brakes failed while driving... completely! Managed to stop safely and, when I started moving again, the brakes feel like they are not power brakes (remember the old "pump to stop" on your 70s car?). Called dealer - not much they can do, of course, but may be able to get the brakes fixed under NY Lemon Law.


    Am concerned because my pregnant wife uses the car to haul our two other infants -- is all this left wondering what will the next week bring...


    Can I pursue with Ford to get back the $600 for the alternator? My mechanic says its unusual for a car with only 37K on it -- but doesnt seem so unusual for a Windstar, according to you folks!


    Any suggestions or advice are REALLY appreciated. Sorry for the ramble.


  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Lemon Law won't apply in your case. Unless you had the repair done at the Ford dealer, it's unlikely you'll get any financial assistance. Unfortunately you'll probably have to pay up and hope for better luck. If i had to guess, the previous owner probably traded it in because of the mystery problems and you got stuck fixing them.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I don't believe Ford uses the noisemakers some manufacturers llike GM use on their brakes. If you're hearing grinding noises, the pads may have broken and cut into the rotors, especially if you haven't had pads replaced in a while. Have them checked.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I think it was 98-00, but it may have been 98-99. You can probably find it on Google. You can pull the PCV andcheck it and the hoses for oil soaking. If they're OK you probably have the updated design.
This discussion has been closed.