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Ford Windstar Transmission

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  • Can anyone tell me if they have encountered the same problem as I've just experienced or know what the problem is. Just yesterday, we were on the highway (about 120 kph) and the van just stopped accelerating (it's as if we dropped it into neutral). No noise at all it just stopped accelerating. We have never had any tranny problems with the van at all. The van easily goes into any gear but just acts as though it's in neutral. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  • If anyone has come across this same problem or knows anything about it I would appreciate the assistance. Our brake lights quite frequently stay on (while driving and while the ignition is off). Although I am in the habit of checking this when leaving the van I sometimes forget and this of course drains the battery. So many times know our battery is toast. I would prefer not to bring it to Ford for them to bankrupt me in order to tell me what's wrong so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanx
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    I lubricated the switch at the base of the brake peddle that control the brake lights and speed control; the problem has not returned. I hope it is that easy for you.
  • Thank you so much for your input with regard to our "sticky" brake situation. Our van sits currently at a Ford dealership roughly 2 hours from home right now with a tranny problem that popped up on Saturday (of course when everything was closed, and it was a long weekend). Hopefully your suggestion will correct the sticky problem. If you happen to know anything about the tranny problem I also wrote about I would appreciate it. Thanx
  • We have just experienced the exact same problem (to a tee). Could you kindly tell me what needed to be done to your vehicle in order to correct the problem. Please tell me you didn't need a new/rebuilt tranny.........
  • yvonyvon Posts: 5
    i'm having the same light problem. it's on and off when driving. but never been on when ignition is off.
    the trans went out a year ago.
  • I am going thru the same thing right now with 90k miles. More than likely the torque converter needs replaced. Part of it that is splined to run the pump shaft is probably stipped out and not turning the pump shaft anymore. I wonder how many trannys get changed when all they really need is a converter?
  • By now you have probably taken care of your tranny problem on your windstar, but just thought i would chime in. I just fixed mine yesterday, 01 windstar cargo van with 198k miles. had the same problem you experienced in a drive through at Macdonald's. It wasn't the first time i had this issue, but it always cleared up on it's own after restarting the van.

    basically everything was either slipping or burnt or whatever, so i had a total rebuild including upgrade package to make it ready for towing, HD parts and tranny cooler. including new CV joints it came to just under $2300 American.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear, but after having almost 200k miles on it and being paid for i figured it was a bargain compared to buying a new van. I use mine for work since it has the complete Adrian Steel service van package in it so for me it was a no brainer.

    My taillights have also stuck on in the past and actually drained my battery once, I'll try the lube idea offered in the previous post.'

    Good luck.
  • Has anyone else had this happen? I have a 2002 Ford Windstar it has 92000 miles. I came to a stop then started again when I heard a loud crack I also felt something under my feet. a few minutes after I was going up a hill and it felt like my tires were slipping then it slammed into gear. I had just had the fluids changed and filled. I brought it to a garage he said the transmission fluid was down 2 qts. That seemed to fix the problem for that day. It started acting up again each day it got worse. I brought my van to a transmission garage. He said he found a large crack in the transmission he had to use a mirror to find it because it was up and behind the back. I asked him how it happened because it has been running fine and has never been in any accidents (only lots of road construction) he said it looks like faulty manufacturing. Has anyone had anything similar happen. ty
  • I have a 2000 Windstar SEL. Every couple of months, generally in the morning after the first start up of the day, sometimes on a damp day, the O/D Off light starts to flash with "Check Transmission" also on. If I stop and turn off the car, everything resets and I can drive on for the rest of the day or another month or two. On day this summer I was on a busy road and could not find a place to stop quickly and the flashing O/D Off light turned off by itself. While the light flashes the trans does not shift smoothly. After the flashing stops, everything seems to run fine. Does anyone have any ideas what is going on?
  • I had the same problem the day i picked up my car after having the transmissions rebuilt.

    They had to replace the 'neutral safety switch' and it solved the problem. Apparently this switch tells the tranny which gear it is in.

    Hope this helps.
  • I have a 1997 Ford Windstar with 127,000 miles on it, if that matters. It doesn't want to shift when it is cold out, 60 or below. I have to let it warm up for about half an hour before it will shift right or just drive it and it will eventually kick in. It will only get up to about 20mph then it sounds like I am reving it in park. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  • Hi there,
    I finally took my 2003 Ford Windstar into have it looked at this past Thursday. Sadly I was told that there was a crack in the torque convertor (basically it blew apart) and caused all kinds of damage. Both my husband and I find this odd because when it stopped engaging (at 110 km) there was no sound whatsoever, it just stopped moving forward. There was no clunking sounds when shifting into any gear and no previous slipping or problems with the tranny. I've had many people reply and my feeling is that the Windstar model has tranny issues. To make a long story short, I pick it up today and the bill is $3,259 plus tax. Roughly $3,700.00. I would like to think they are only repairing what needs to be. Good luck.....
  • I just had my converter and tranmission changed for 3200 bucks, after having my vehicle for 10 mins. the oil light came on then I checked the oil , there was antifreeze in the oil took it back and they said because of the milage it was my fault. They now say they are going to change all the seals at their cost for labour but I have to pay for parts ( 979.00) What do you think.
  • kweltykwelty Posts: 10
    I have a 2002 Fors Windstar LX, 174,000 miles. We had to have oxygen sensors and intake manifold gasket worked on to pass emissions the past two years respectively. And the tie rod replaced last year when I also bought new tires. These things didn't really disturb me. I DID notice I lost my cruise control. I don't use it often, so in my mind, I thought it may have become disabled when they worked on the tie rod, not knowing anything about it. I don't use it often, so I didn't look into it at the time. (This is important later)

    Last May, out of the blue, it would not start. My battery was cracked. We replaced the battery. I drove it and a few days later the OD light came on temporarily. The manual said when you replace the battery, the OD has to replace itself as the battery stores the OD settings. Since it never came back on, I assumed it was something to do with that process.

    What I DID have a lot of problems with, was my brake light and ABS light coming on randomly. Then I began running low on brake fluid while the brakes looked good. We replaced a lot of good brake pads and kept adding brake fluid.

    Then it began to sometimes have an issue where I felt more pull than I should going up certain hills.....but that seemed to go away and only happen occassionally and to a lesser degree.....and I couldn't get my husband to listen to me about this issue and it never seemed to happen when he was driving. I couldn't get him to take me seriously, it never happened to him, so I was a crazy woman of course! :)

    Okay.....so I drive with the kids without the husband to IL for my sister's wedding 5 hours away. There is hilly terrain on 24E north of Nashville........and my van didn't feel right. At one point it seemed the transmissions was doing something it should not and for about 3 minutes I thought I would turn around and go back home and call my sister and say "SORRY!" But it passed and I drove the 5 hours there, drove the entire weekend back home, and drove back to Nashville with no furhter incidents. I get off the interstate on the home stretch (yes, I know I am lucky) and the OD light begins flashing and stays flashing all the way home, maybe 2 miles from the interstate? It doesn't come back on after I shut the van off and tell my husband what happened for him to go check it. Again, I'm a crazy woman who doesn't know anything.

    Next morning, I have to drive the kids downtown to school.....I'm fine until I take off from a red light and I feel a horrible clunk when it should have shifted from first to second and the OD light comes on at that very instant. I continue on cautiously to school and it shifted really rough between 1st and 2nd the rest of the way, but not as hard. My husband tells me to try to get back home. I stop to get coffee in case I break down along the way back because it's a chilly wet morning. When I get back in and restart the light is off. It isn't clunking between first and second anymore. I drive very cautiously on side roads towards home. The OD light came on one time I got over 45 or 50. I stopped and shut it off and it was off. My husband calls me back and tells me to meet him at the garage. I make it to the garage.

    The diagnosis (which made me nervous because they had not even LOOKED under the hood) was we needed a new transmission. The van is long paid for, the $1800 transmission repair, we were assured, would leave us with a very good, dependable van if we kept up the maintenance and we would have a 12 months warranty on that transmission.

    They had the van over a week. I get it, the brake lights start coming on again, but that's not new. Everything seems fine until one after noon on a cold start from my house, it seems to go into neutral rather than second. I pull over, let off the gas and reapply a few times and it goes. I don't have any other issues the rest of that day. The next morning, however, again another cold start leaving my house, it does it again. It drives fine the rest of the way to take the kids downtown to school. I take it straight back to the garage and ask why my brand new transmission would be doing this.

    They tell me it's the shifter switch (new with the new transmission but they're fickle and often break going on), they'll have to order the part, but they'll replace it for free. I go back the next day (trip #3 to the garage) and they put on shifter switch (#2 brand new one now, right?) but call me back and point out that cruise control switch is bad and causing brake fluid to drip all over the shifter switch and transmission. THAT is what caused the new shifter to go bad they say. Point out that it's already eating on the finish of my new transmission. Also note that it's the reason Ford has this big recall going on, though MY Ford is not included in that recall. They have to order the part, so I need to come back Monday because it's Friday today and they won't get it in. I ask if they should wait to put the new shifter switch in until they do that so this new one won't get ruined as well.....to which the man replies, no you might ruin the transmission if we don't replace it today.

    You remember I mentioned I lost my cruise control? The cruise control issue AND my brake light/brake fluid issue were because of this cruise control switch.

    I do some research on this recall, even call a Ford dealership. They want to charge me $160 to fix the cruise control switch, but tell me that my van will probably be recalled and I'll be reimbursed for the repair. I ask how much for the part alone and they say $90. I tell them my garage is charging me $40 for the part and fixing it for free so I think I'll go that route.

    PLEASE NOTE: Even if you are NOT having cruise control switch issues - you should have the switch disabled or replaced with the new part that came available in October! You can catch fire!!!

    So I go back Monday (trip #4 to the garage) and the new cruise control switch is put in. Again, I'm pronounced cured.

    Two days later, in the evening, the van had been on the road twice that day, but had set a few hours so I guess that would also be a cold start.....it did it again, in the exact same spot. Except this time it kept doing it repeatedly and the OD light came on - this is the first time the OD light had come on since the new transmissions was installed.

    Let me just say that I drug my husband to the garage this time and that I was was not sweet and polite and I guess the men thought I was REALLY a crazy woman this time, but I was a crazy woman with a point! Their story: the cruise control switch had rained brake fluid on the shifter switch #2 and shorted it. They kept my van, got my new shifter and put it on and had it ready by 1pm that day. Seems the heat made them work a little faster. They even checked my tire pressure and added air to my tires to try to appease the goddess. My husband thinks we're cured - I'm skeptcal.
  • kweltykwelty Posts: 10
    I'm sorry, it cut me off.......also sorry I'm long winded.........

    I refused to be asured all was well, I've been told that before. And sure enough, this morning (next morning, less than 24 hours later, THE $%^&^# VAN DOES IT AGAIN!!!!

    I stayed calmer this time. I drove the kids on to school, then I drove to my husband's place of employment. I demanded for him to open up that hood and move the part out of my way they have to take off so I can see the new cruise control switch, shifter switch #3 and new transmission. I want to see it before I take it back to the garage to see if there is any brake fluid dripping anywhere to possibly short out that shifter switch again. I also have learned that if I take my van to my husband's work where I have witnesses, I do not get so quickly dismissed. I'm sorry if this seems mean to the men reading...I don't do this unless I'm desperate, but it works! (Like six years ago when the old jalopy before the Windstar had a radiator issue he would do nothing about until I pull into his jobsite with steam rolling out from under my hood for the whole world to see. I wouldn't do this kind of thing if I didn't have to.)

    Anyway, hoods up and while he's trying to figure out how get out of moving any parts so I can see, I review the facts and why this is not acceptable JUST loud enough the other guys can hear the facts and realize I'm a ticked off woman with a VALID POINT. One of them finally gets brave and comes over. He confirms the parts are clean but also confirms MY POINT that what I'm describing should not be happening and if he had just spent that much money, he'd be raising he## with whoever fixed it.

    My husband's reply to me? Drive it home, let it cool off and we'll see if it does it again. It has done it enough times for me....but he's just not convinced yet.

    He tries to give me some kind of bullcrap explanation that maybe it's not in just the right position and it only works after it warms up and snuggles into place.....blah blah blah. My reply was that logic tells me that it's HIGHLY unlikely that out of 3 brand spanking new shifter switches they managed to not get any one of the three on their just right for it to cause this exact same problem. I pointed out that what my van is now doing, it was NOT doing EVER before they put that new transmission in. I don't give a flying flip what the computer diagnostic says, LOGIC says that it's not likely to be the shifter switch unless they are a REALLY REALLY INCOMPETENT BUNCH OF IDIOTS who should not be working in a garage putting them in. It HAS to be something else and its has to be something that was a result of them changing the transmission.

    After reading this, I see that perhaps the torque converter could be a possible issue, although it's odd that it's doing something completely different than before now.

    My main goal of posting, besides a good vent, is give a heads up to those with the brake light issues, but really to let everyone know who is driving a Ford Windstar, that the cruise control switch is a extremely critical situation. Even if you are not having issues, it's a very dangerous fire hazard. Get it disabled or repaired ASAP. And please keep in mind that it is sitting right over your transmission and shifter switch. I can short out your shifter switch and have issues. If you are having problems, look into this before you replace your transmission. The shifter switch is a $120 part, I was told. WAY better than a completely new transmission. Make sure they take care of that cruise control switch at the same time!!!!

    I'll post back when and if I can find an answer to my transmission/shifting issue. I want to say thank you to everyone who has posted because in letting me know that this is happening to so many other people (men and women) that even though my husband and the mechanics do not seem to take me seriously, it is a real Ford Windstar issue. Thanks for letting me no I'm not totally crazy and that my frustration with the situation is warranted!
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I'm wondering how a cruise control switch problem ends up resulting in a brake fluid leak???

    BTW, what's your husband driving while you have this high mileage minivan...maybe you should trade vehicles if his is better/newer ;) :D .
  • kweltykwelty Posts: 10
    I'm not sure exactly how the brake fluid leaks. The cruise control switch is at the bottom of I believe they called it the the brake fluid pump. If I'm wrong on the brake part name, I apologize, I'm pretty sure that's what the mechanic told me.....anyway, the cruise control switch is connected at the bottom of it. Hitting your brakes is what switches the cruise control off.......so it sits there where the cruise control and brakes can cooperate. I don't know a lot about engines, but the mechanic showed this to me and took the switch loose and let me see the brake fluid come running out. In looking up info on the recall, it says the switch was sealed, but the seal can crack/go bad and that's how the risk of fire arises.

    Since what he showed me matches what the recall information gave me, I do feel I was given correct information about the switch. I did ask them if they were putting on another one of the "old" faulty switches, disabling it or putting on the new part that Ford is using to repair this. He showed me the still sealed part to look at it and read what it said. I'm unhappy with my transmission situation, but I DO know my brake lights have not come back one once and my cruise control now works.

    That part of the repair, I feel like they did accomplish.

    Newer/Better??? My husband, BTW, is driving a 03 Ford Pick Up that's full of work tooks and his junk.....I don't think I can drive a carpool full of kids in his pickup into downtown Nashville during morning rush hour and not run into legal issues! LOL It might be newer, but after being forced to drive it to the store while my van was in the shop, I still think my Windstar is BETTER! I've driven pickups a lot in my days, but I don't like how this one he has now handles.

    He IS threatening to just go get a different van for me, but he's still paying on his van. My van is paid off, and outside of him paying for his truck, I'm debt free besides a little medical bill I'm paying on. I really, really prefer to stay that way. We debated whether to repair or replace. That's the only reason I put money into repairing a transmission on this van with 174,000 miles. They assured us that with a new transmission I'd have a very good, dependable van that only required regular maintenance for quite awhile longer. I DID ask what was likely to go wrong down the road. And I DID ask if there was possibly some kind of sensor or something that could be the culprit that should be checked out before replacing the transmission only to find out later it was a sensor.

    Despite how negative my original post sounded with mechanical issues, I had absolutely NO issues with it until this past year. It has been a really good van. Even with the high mileage and money we have in it at this point, it was a good deal for us if I walk away from it tomorrow. If I could get someone to take care of what is wrong with it currently without it costing me significantly more money, I will keep it and it will continue to be a good deal. But if I'm going to have to pull over and wait until it decides to switch gears every day or so.....I WILL be looking for another van.

    I guess I can be really evil here and note that at least whoever takes it off my hands will see no warning lights and as long as I don't let them test drive it cold.....
    and maybe I can at least get the money I've just paid in repairs back on it??? Man, that was a very evil, dirty car salesman type thought I just had, wasn't it???

    Hmmmm.......okay, so maybe my husband does have some grounds to think I'm a woman who's just a WEE bit crazy. But NOT so crazy as to not know when something is WRONG with the van I drive all over town every day of my life!
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Answering myself...I always just assumed that the brakes shutting off the cruise was an electrical switch, like brake lights. Apparently, instead it is brake fuid pressure that switches it off.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    The brake fluid leak is at the bottom of your fluid reservoir. This problem has been well-documented on this board.

    The brake sensor is right below the reservoir, over time the slow leak damages the wires, sensor and switches, then other related systems are impacted.

    Once they fix the leak, and replace and damaged wires, sensors, or switches the problem goes away.

    My 2000 Windstar had this problem, but it was fixed under Fords ESP.

    I hope this helps.
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