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Ford Windstar Electrical Problems

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  • WHEN WE FIRST BOUGHT THE VAN USED EVERYTHING WORKED FINE INTERIOR LIGHTS STOPPED WORKING AND WOULD POP THE FUSE A DAY OR TWO AFTER U REPLACE IT WE'LL LIVE WITH THE INTERIOR LIGHTS NOT WORKING ........ BUT JUST RECENTLY HAD PROBLEMS WHILE AWAY FROM HOME THE FUEL PUMP RESET SWITCH NEXT TO THE JACK WAS GIVING US PROBLEMS HAD TO PUSH ON IT WHILE SOMEONE CRANKS THE CAR AND SOMETIMES IT WOULD SHUT THE CAR OFF WHILE GOING DOWN THE ROAD VERY DANGEROUS GOT THAT REPLACED AND A NEW BATTERY ABOUT 2 MONTHS AGO THE TRANSMISSION WOULD BURP WHILE GOING UP A HILL CHECKED THE FLUID AND IT WAS A LITTLE LOW PUT SOME IN IT N SEEMED TO FIX IT TEMPORARILY BUT GUESS IT FIXED ITSELF NEVER DONE IT SINCE LATER ON WIFE SAYS WHILE GOING DOWN THE ROAD DOOR LOCKS WOULD GO CRAZY AND THATS WHEN THE DRIVERS SIDE POWER WINDOW STOPPED WORKING AND THE BACK WINDOWS WONT OPEN EITHER AND TODAY THE ALTERNATOR DECIDES TO GO OUT ALL THE TRACTION CONTROL LIGHT FUEL LIGHT ABS LIGHTS COME ON IN THE DASH I REPLACED THE ALTERNATOR AND EVERYTHING IS FINE EXCEPT FUEL GAUGE ISN'T WORKING ANY SOLUTIONS TO FIX MY PROBLEMS?? ALL HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED
  • the other day my daughter left her dvd player on and it drained the battery i tried to start it and the hazards and interior lights came on all by them selves and started flashing is this normal? also we jump stared it and was unning fine for a day when i got in it yesterday the battery light wouldnt turn off and it was saying check charging system has any one came by this and if so what do i need to do to fix this
  • the same thing happened to me a few years ago...the dvd player. I had to buy a new alternator and battery because it killed 2 cells in my battery and it caused the alternator not to charge properly. When the cells in the battery are bad it sends weird signals to the computer in your van and thats why things start flikkering. Its a windstar thing. If you look at all my post and replyies you will see all the crap i have been thru...good luck
  • Your dvd player kept the computer on your windstar active preventing it from going to sleep. This drains the battery quickly. I have been through 3 alternators with this van. I bought a lifetime alternator the 2nd time. Just had it prepaired last week for free. My GPS was causing my battery to drain.
    I also have a E350 2008 van that kills the battery if I leave my GPS pluged in.
    Ford needs to address this problem.
  • This may have been addressed already, so forgive me if it has. I could not find it.

    First I have a 200 Windstar SE, and replace the tie rods and front wiper motor every year or two.
    A sensor between the firewall and the engine failed, keeping the service engine light on.
    The ABS is intermittent, but usually on, but functional as a system.

    Now I have issues that I have to believe are related.

    First to fail were the heated mirrors and side view mirror controls.
    Then the Side Door Buttons between the visors, became intermittent.
    Then The DS Rear Window fails to open or close at times.
    Then the Door Locks started functioning sporadically.
    Then the Side Doors stopped opening consistently, seldom close all of the way to lock, and the DS Side Door only opens a foot.
    and the newest to my troubles are:
    The Backup Alarm and Back Up Lights do not work at all.

    Sometimes some days are better, but usually not. Any advice, guidance or direction will be appreciated, short of directing me to the dealership.
  • I have 1999 Windstar. A few years back the driver's window stopped working. That winter it started working again and now I can guarantee that the first real cold snap will leave the window working all winter long. But come spring, let the car door sit in the sun and the window stopped working again.

    I tried a different panel switch but the window still wouldn't go down. Two days ago, a mechanic replaced the motor and the window worked for a day. After a day of sitting in a parking lot with the sun shining on it, the window doesn't work again.

    I'm thinking some wire or mechanism must be expanding/ shorting in the heat and when it's cold, it must contract and not short. But I have no idea what it could be (not an electrician) and when I go to a mechanic to explain what's wrong, they rarely listen to a woman trying to explain it - and they don't believe me when I say it works in winter but not the rest of the year.

    So, any help someone can give, I'd be obliged.
  • I had very similar issues with the driver side window, and a mechanic friend of mine took the door panel off, lubricated all the parts of the mechanism that moves the window up and down, especially the plastic bushings that slide in the rails. He also lubricated inside the rails that the actual glass window rides in on the sides. He also loosened the bolts that hold the rails that the bushings ride in a little, put the window all the way up, and then tightened them down again, hoping to keep it from binding at the top. It has been about 3 weeks in August in Louisiana and it has not failed yet. He used a marine type of grease for the rails with the bushings and a spray like WD40 in the rails with the glass.
  • Recently, while driving my 2003 Ford Windstar on the road with the AC on, the cold air suddenly began blowing out of the defrost vents and 15 seconds later it began blowing out of the lower air vents (near the accelerator pedal). The cold air does this weird cycle every 5-10 minutes. The air also changes speeds (high and low) while this is happening. At the same time all the gauge needles are bouncing back and forth and all the lights (check engine, abs, brake light) turn on. My right front door window stopped working also. I hope someone can help me trouble shoot this problem. Thank you.
  • Alternator and or Battery. Gauges bouncing back and forth are a tell tale sign.
  • Thank you. I replaced the battery six months ago and the alternator two months ago. The alternator was refurbished though.
  • jennetjennet Posts: 1
    I own a 2002 Ford Windstar SE, I just recently started having problems with it. My front windows stopped working so I replaced the driver side one with a new window motor, it worked for about 5 months then stopped working again, when u push the window button it makes a clicking noise under the dashboard, now my air doesn't work, after that my radio went out and now my rear windows don't work.the engine light stays on, I took it to Advance Auto and they checked it and said it needed oxygen sensors so I replaced all 4 of them with new parts and it still stays on, every once in a while my brake light comes on, I cant afford to buy another car, can someone plz help me.
  • I've seen many posts on here about elictrical problems I've heard from people I talk to that some or all of these problems can be caused by the front or rear body control module if your batttery is drained and have to get it jumped by other vehicle or give someone else a jump start that the body control module can go bad there are two of them a front and a rear and a friend that does body work said one time that the headlight dimmerr switch caused it to shoot fuses for interior lights I have not tried either of these solutions this is only suggestions to fix or a possible lead to fix problems
  • oyokidude1oyokidude1 Posts: 20
    edited October 2011
    First off. The window problem, just happens..

    Regardless, the clicking you hear is not under the dashboard its behind the radio. Basically it is an actuator with a bunch of gears that adjusts a trap door that controls the amount of heat/ac coming out through your vents. The "AC BLEND DOOR ACTUATOR" as it is called is known to fail.
    The clicking you are hearing are gears in that actuator not catching...

    There are directions on how to fix that on this website..
    http://www.lifeasbob.com/CategoryView,category,Cars%2B,%2BWindstar.aspx

    Scroll down to where it says NO HEAT..

    The check Engine light is most likely the MASS AIR FLOW SENSOR which can be found in the air box where the engine air filter is located.

    Try cleaning it...
    http://www.berrysweb.com/clean_your_maf.htm

    If not research the specific codes that ADVANCE AUTO PARTS is pulling up with their device!

    Your brake light coming on is probably due to low fluid, also you should have had the cruise control deactivation switch recall repair completed...

    Check to see if you have open recalls
    http://owner.ford.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Owner/Page/RecallsPage
  • So, is my problem the scds or the rem? About 1 1/2 years ago we replaced the altenator. About 10 months ago we replaced the starter and then the battery only to find out that the wiring harness wire that goes from the battery to the fuse box had been bent right as it goes into the fuse box and caused a short. I bought the wiring harness and replace it myself about 2 days after spending all that money for a mechanic to replace the starter and the battery. Drove fine, other than than having to replace the power steering pump and pully and charge the a/c.
    Now, last week, I went to put some rack & pinion conditioner in the power steering and realized I was out. I closed the hood and finished the yard work, but while I was mowing the back yard, my wife went to the store and I had left the cap off the power steering fluid. What a mess, but now I had room to put a bottle of conditioner in it.
    That helped for a couple of days till my wife called and said that the van died. The lights flickered and the a/c stopped working and it completely died when she stopped at the bank. She waited a few minutes and it started so she drove it back to our church. This was on Tuesday.
    On Wednesday, after Church, I got in it, started it, high rpms idling, left the parking lot, kept a/c and radio off, headlight on, gauge lights started to dim, still running high rpms. about a mile down the road the gauge lights were really dim and then the headlights and taillights went out. I made the right turn, then the left onto my street. Drove about 1/8 more mile and the engine finaly quit and I coasted into my driveway. The gauge lights were very dim, but would not go off even when the key was out and I opened the door. No locks or lights worked so I had to manually lock the doors.
    Any ideas? 106,000 miles, but we have babied this thing.
  • We are having the exact same problem with our 2002 Windstar SE. Our van only has 65,000 miles. I picked her van up 30 minutes after it broke down and was able to start it and drive home. Took it home and it sat in the garage for 3 months. Went to start it, everything was dead. I disconnected the battery completely from the car and charged the battery. Van has been driving good for the last 2 weeks, however passenger window still will not roll down and engine light did come on a couple of days ago. Still hear the clicking noise in the drivers side window when pushing the buttons. I don't want to put this in the shop until I can really clarify what the issue is. Please let me know if you find anything out.
  • Well, I just got mine back from the shop yesterday. It was the alternator, or so they say. They checked the battery and it was still good. I told them to make sure they did not bend the wiring harness connector at the fuse box. I got the previous alternator at Oreilly's with the lifetime warranty so I only payed for labor. I had them check all electrical connections on the wiring harness because I did that myself about 10 months ago. This van seems to be very sensitive with the electronics. Make sure your alternator is in tip-top shape or it will kill your battery again and cause other electrical issues. I am still going to replace the REM and the sensor that others have talked about.
  • oyokidude1oyokidude1 Posts: 20
    edited October 2011
    Our alternator goes out basically 1-1/2 year intervals as well. I replaced the harness that goes to the (battery/starter/alternator/fuse box/ground) . I also got a brand new battery and Alternator (not re-manufactured) with a lifetime warranty.
    at the same time a little while ago

    Our 2001 SEL has 221,000 miles and counting..

    Oh and a major fail on your part!!

    FORD WINDSTARS TAKE ATF (AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID) in the POWER STEERING.

    SO IF YOU HAVE POWER STEERING FLUID running in it, PLAN on purchasing a new RACK AND PINON
  • Luckily, when I went to get power steering fluid when I purchased the new power steering pump and wheel, the guy at Oreilly's told me that it takes Automatic Transmission Fluid. Thanks goodness there are a few people that work there that know what they are doing. I have never had to put power steering fluid (I mean ATF) in it, but I'm wondering what they do when they top off my fluids at the Qik-Lube when they change my oil? Do they know what they are doing? I think I will start doing most of the routine maintenance from now on. I've learned more than I've ever wanted to know about cars from this Windstar than any other vehicle that I've owned.
    It was almost 1 1/2 years ago when we replaced the alternator last, so you are saying this is what I probably have to look forward to every 1 1/2 years? Great!
  • LOL, good thing you didnt put P/S in that. I had thought I one point that my P/S system was shot.

    I drained out the P/S reservoir and put new Ford ATF (whatever was recommend in the manual.). Anyways it initially would growl and be hard to turn. Topping off as I was turning the wheel back and forth, it hasn't given me problems.

    Anyways...

    My rear windows stopped working. The passenger window broke AGAIN after it was fixed a few years ago. (we owned another 01' Windstar where the Passenger window did not function either)

    The door lock actuators have basically crapped out, the front cheaper and easier to replace. The back actuators are a PITA to replace.

    Overall we got 220k miles out of that van and it is still there....

    Problems I have had with this van that i DIY (Living in Florida)
    Sensors
    IAC
    MAF
    DPFE
    ------
    Upper Intake Bolts/Seals
    Clogged EGR metering ports
    Intermittent working windows.
    Failing Door Lock Actuators
    ABS/BRAKE light, failure of ABS module
    Failure of Sway Bar Links (Clunk when turning at low speeds)
    AC Blend Door Actuator
    Door Ajar Warning (initially thought it was sensor, turned out to be a shorted wire in the door wiring harness)

    Spark Plugs
    Coil Pack

    Multiple
    Alternators
    Batteries

    New Battery Wire Harness

    Rock in Rad/AC fan assembly

    Pigtail tail light and turning signal connections
    ---
    Other common problems lie with Failure of Transmission....
  • Just purchased a 2002 Windstar last fall. Had all 3 recalls done on the vehicle. Had no issues before I had the recalls done. Now engine light, ABS and brake lights continually come on and have replaced batteries and alternator. Just curious if everyone's issues started after they had the recalls done on their vehicle.
  • I don't think ford techs are scheming, and causing problems. I doubt they think an owner would bring a $900-$4,500 van back to the dealership for repairs. I know for a fact an issue lies with the ABS MODULE ...
    .
    Remember you said you just purchased it..
    LET THE PROBLEMS BEGIN =D

    I live in the South so I don't have these axle snappings or rust problems...

    visit
    www.fordwindstarrecall.info
    and read about the ABS module failure. Also report this Brake issue to http://www.nhtsa.gov/
  • We just purchased our 2002 Windstar last fall too! and have replaced the alternator 3 times in 18,000 miles. All but one of the recall fixes had been done when we bought it, then the last was done. Other than eating alternators, it's a great ride but sadly, though it's been only 1K miles since alternator replacement #3, it appears the downward spiral leading to alternator death has begun again, since warning lights have started turning on and off randomly during driving.

    Here's how the breakdown goes every time: for several weeks the warning lights get intermittently wonky (brake, seat belt and ABS warning lights come on and off randomly), next there will be incidents of gauges swinging wildly, A/C turning off, electric doors/windows failing, and then soon afterwards the engine (in the middle of driving just fine) starts to sputter, then dies, with the alternator dead and battery drained. After each alternator replacement, my regular mechanic then 2 different dealer mechanics said they checked every electrical wire circuit, connection, etc., and found nothing wrong - just sent us on our way with an "all fixed."

    I know many would have dumped this van already, but we can't afford to replace it and need a way to transport elderly parents and pets who don't fit into our little Kia sedan. At this point, though, even with 11K miles left on the dealer's repair warranty, it's a safety issue to have elderly and pets on board if/when it breaks down again.

    For now I'm driving with a battery/alternator tester plugged in at all times, hoping at least I'll KNOW when the alternator fries and can get to a safe place before the engine dies. The tester shines green (good) at first, then changes to green and yellow (low) after a few minutes of driving. It may be unrelated, but there is sometimes bad radio interference for awhile after the AC fan is turned on, and lately the AC takes about 10 minutes to blow cold air.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for fixes we can try before we get rid of this van? I don't even feel right selling it, because I'm sure that's what the previous owners did, passing their misery on to us when we bought it. I don't want to do that to someone else.

    Thanks in advance!
  • Well, I understand your misery. Our van is paid off, but we can't afford a new vehicle with 3 boys, 1 car payment and mortgage. This van is how my wife gets the kids to school and child care. Sometimes she takes their cousins to school.
    As of now, the van is running great. Like you said, it rides and handles well. My wife loves it other than the electrical issues.
    We just got a new alternator installed.
    I only have a few suggestions:
    1. Make sure the wire going from the battery to the fuse box goes under the air filter box. This was the beginning of my misery. This caused the short which drained my first battery and killed the alternator. They recharged the battery and put in a new alternator, but the battery did not last long.
    2. Along with the new alternator, get a new battery.
    3. Replace the Rear Electronic Module.
    4. Replace the wiring harness if you notice any part of it that may seem burned. This is a short and will drain your battery and kill your alternator. Remember to put mechanics grease on all electric terminals.
    5. Check the timing and any other routine maintenance items (again, I'm not a mechanic).

    Every couple of days I am checking the battery because this seems to be where my problems stem from. If your Windstar is fully loaded like mine, then there are many things that can drain the battery. I hope this helps and you can do many of these things on your own. My wiring harness was from the Ford dealer and cost me $120, I put it on myself in about 30 minutes. I put a new starter on before that, but only to find that the battery was dead (mechanic told me it was the starter). This started the downward spiral of the alternator. The battery was dead because the wiring harness was bent at the fuse box instead of coming out straight and going under the air filter box.
    Sorry for the rambling.
  • I have a 2002 Windstar SEL, the driver's side power sliding door and the rear heater both stopped working shortly after I bought it in 2008. Sometimes if we hit a bump or go through a car wash they will both start working again all the sudden. In winter time the air bag light comes on. Sometimes a warning comes on to check charging system and the lights will dim so I turn the van off and restart it and it works again. Lately its draining overnight and at first I thought it was because the passenger power sliding door wasnt closing all the way but even when we make sure its closed it will still drain overnight. Is this all one problem or multiple problems? Dont really have the money to pay 400 in diagnostic work which is what the ford dealer told me it would cost just to find out whats wrong. :confuse:
  • I don't know where you are from, but here, Auto Zone and Oreilly's both do free diagnostics. Any good mechanic would check your battery for dead cells and see if your alternator is working for a minimum charge or even free if you ask. If it is the alternator, try to get it at Oreilly's with the life-time warranty. Also, check the REM or rear electronic module. This seems to be a problem as well. Go over the wiring harness very closely looking for any signs of arching. This was the start of all my problems. 2 alternators, 2 batteries, diode (or whatever), and a starter later and I am hoping I finally got to the bottom of it. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • I should have said, I had the battery and alternator both checked and they said both were functioning perfectly, dont know about REM ill have to check that out.
  • We had the same problem with the battery draining overnight. We've replaced the battery and the alternator but it was still doing it. We've had the ABS module and wiring harness looked at because the ABS and brake lights kept coming on. Everything checked out fine.

    Our local mechanic has resolved this issue for us by installing a battery kill switch, like they use to use on hot rods. Our mechanic did not disturb the original battery cables, he ran separate cables off of the battery for the kill switch. When you are ready to park the van for the night, shut everything off (lights, radio, heater), turn the van off and then turn the kill switch key. The next morning, turn the kill switch key on and the van fires right up. We have been testing this for a week now and have not had any problems with it.

    No more headaches of having to constantly jump start it. It may be a work around for the real issue but it was a lot cheaper than continually replacing batteries and alternators.

    If you need more information on it let us know and we will see if our mechanic would talk to your mechanic but can't promise anything.
  • I also had some electrical problems with my 2004 Windstar. Something was draining the battery over night. I sent it in to the local mechanic, and after two weeks, he tells us what he found. For one thing, there is a computer set under the steering wheel that he reset and caused my locks, AC, and windows to begin working, as some of the windows had stopped. But the computer behind the instrument gauge, as my gauges would crazily spin, even after I turned the engine off, held the fuse that drained my battery. He says that there is a device in the van that runs 90 min after the van is turned off and enters into sleep mode, so he kept having to wait until that shut off before testing. He said there is a fuse, very tiny, that was draining the battery. When he removed it, EVERYTHING (except for one thing) worked normally. They tested over and over, test drove it, checked the battery for a few days, and nothing went wrong. This fuse...they could NOT find any specification in the manual or internet or anywhere that explains exactly what the fuse was for, but he said that without the fuse, the only thing that did not work was the chime that came on when you leave your headlights on and the engine is off. So we agreed to just leave the fuse out and see how it goes over the months. I get my van back today. But he said that if I want the fuse replaced that I would need a new instrument cluster...which would be very expensive he says. My dad, who is a bit savvy with working on his own vehicles but lives 800 miles away says that seems suspicious and to check with Ford parts and see if they can replace the fuse without buying a new cluster. So I'm doing some searches about this. Anyone have any thoughts on this?
  • Just to correct myself, my van is a 2003, and it was fuse 16 in the fuse box under the dashboard. But now I know what else not having it there does not work...the gauge lights.

    And my AC is not working...just blowing air, and my locks will lock everything except the driver side as it will lock and then pop up. I have to lock it manually. And one of my rear side windows still won't open. So I will have to call the mechanic on Monday and see where that goes. Otherwise, it's running good now.
  • fredtechfredtech Posts: 1
    edited November 2011
    frazzed5, by using the kill switch, your vehicle's PCM Keep Alive Memory (KAM) is being erased every time the power supply to the vehicle is cut off. When the ignition key is turned off, the vehicle's computers still require voltage to keep their memory alive. The drain on the battery is minimal. The PCM's OBDII monitors will have to be reset or test complete every time you do this. Any DTCs (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) stored will also be erased. DTCs are very helpful in diagnosing performance problems your vehicle may develope. You also lose freeze frame information that shows the precise data that the PCM was receiving when the malfuction occurred. Your mechanic is sacrificing much of value to fix your electrical problem. You may want to ask him about this.
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