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Ford 3.8 head gasket/trans failures--"secret warranty" Part 2



  • 1 have a dead 1995 Wind star with 125000 miles. Over heated and died. Dealer replaced head gaskets. Started and ran a few books and it still over heated. Suspects cracked heads. suggest new engine to the tune of $3300 with labor.
    How many miles does the ford real/buy back go for these engines, 100,000? Is worth sticking this kind of money into this? I only paid $5000 for the van last year. Does this an have a history of tranny problems too? Thanks.
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Buyback(which I believe has expired) was 100,000 miles. And yes, the 95 Windstar has a history of tranny problems. IMHO, it isn't worth sinking another $3,300. There's a reason you were able to buy a 4 year old van for $5K.
  • Well, I finally dumped my 95 Windstar which I have had since new. I would advise anyone not to touch these things. I replaced my transmission two and a half years ago when the car was four years old and had 30,000 miles on it. A year ago with 40,000 miles on it, my head gaskets leaked and had to be replaced. four weeks after that, I needed a new engine. Through all of this, Ford said they could not do anything and bottom line was no one really cared. Finally when the extended warranty cam out early this year, I felt vindication end eventually got my money back for the gaskets and engine. the people at the customer care center are useless trained robots who just say there is nothing Ford can do at this time. When you ask for a manager, there is never anyone around and no one ever calls you back. Two weeks ago with 20,000 miles on the 2nd transmission they tell me I need another new one. When my wife went ballistic all they could say was "things break". Even when I tried to sell it, the first questions anyone asks is hows the engine and transmission.
    Well, its gone now and we just got ourselves a Toyota Sienna, even though the current windstar was a better deal.
    What amazes me is knowing how expensive it is to get a new customer, that Ford would willingly ignore all its existing customers. I will not touch another Ford ever, because our whole experience goes beyond the actaul vehicle, it goes to the whole arrogant non customer focused attitude of the organization from the dealership to the HQ.
  • I also have a 1996 windstar. What's the track record with these? It has 108,000 miles. No engine or tranny problems yet. Some misc door lock and power window problems though. Thanks.
  • I just paid $1500 for a head gasket. I have 78,000 miles & my extended warranty ran out at 75,000. My Ford dealer did not detect the problem,
    a Lincoln, Mercury dealer did. Has anyone else had problems with their gasket?? I called the Ford 1800 # & they denied any financial assistance
  • I had a 95 3.8 Winstar. If you had headgaskets done I would suggest selling the vehicle. Usually by the time the gasket problem is discovered and "fixed" the engine has suffered a lot of internal wear from the coolant being in the oil. My 95 had the motor fail at 65000 miles approximatly 1 year and 10,000 miles after the headgaskets were replaced.
  • fclspatfclspat Posts: 61
    It's been a while since I posted... but to sum up my experience my wife is the original owner of a 1992 Cougar with the 3.8. We've have no problems what so ever with the car until the summer of 2000 when the headgasket blew (98000 miles). After much debate, my uncle (a retired GM mechanic) and I replaced the head gasket (8 hours labor and $130 in parts).

    The car was never quite the same. The temperature gauge was all over the place, the check engine light came on all the time, etc.

    We've debated whether to just get rid of the Cougar (or donate it) as it was just too unreliable. We'll, we've been put out of our misery as a NY State Trooper just totaled the car while it was legally parked (he tried to avoid a double parked car and hit the Cougar). Once the insurance is settled I may end up with $3000. Which is about $2500 more than I could've sold the heap of trash for!
  • I bought a 98 Windstar Limited from an Acura dealership on January 31, on February 2 the transmission would not shift. But, of course wouldn't duplicate the next day for technicians. The van has only 26,200 miles on it and is in factory warranty until Nov. 6, 2001 (or 36,000 miles of course). I'm curious to know if they've fixed the problems in the old transmissions and if a new transmission would do the trick. Any comments?
  • 6 months ago I bought a'95 Windstar. I immediately experienced slipping of the trans.I had to go thru 3 people only to find out the vehicle had not even been prepped before I drove it off the lot. I was told I needed a new trans. I was very upset (to say the least) and the manager said he would take care of the problem. However rather than charge me the normal $100 fee for warranty work they charged me $200 because I had gone over the initial 1000 miles the warranty covered and I did not buy the extended. Now (7000 miles later) I am smelling a fluid burning and have taken it back only for them to tell me there is no leak and the trans is functioning properly. Now that I have read the dead Ford stories concerning head gaskets I will have that checked out(by my own mechanic). Thanks everyone
  • Yes, we too stupidly bought a new 1995 Windstar LX. In addition to various, annoying electrical glitches, at 37k the head gasket blew. Ford fixed and no major problems for the next 45k miles (yes, after the car was paid for and the warranty expired). Then at 82k miles, blew head gasket again. Under the extended head gasket replacement plan, Ford repaired. Of course, we never were told of the "secret" warranty offering $$ in lieu of repair. One month before, we bought a 2000 E150 conversion van - even though I swore the WS was my first, and last, Ford. Anyway, within a week of picking up the "repaired" Windstar, the oil pressure light came on. Seems it needed a new short block. Again, Ford paid for it. Ever since the new short block, the car stalls out frequently when leaving a light/stop. The local Ford dealer claimed it was various things, which cost us about $1100 over 3 different service trips for the same problem. Guess what? It still stalls out and they refuse to buy the car outright and do not seem interested in fixing the stalling problem! Guess the local Service staff hasn't read the corporate mission statement from their franchise's web site!!

    Anyway, cannot feel right about selling to some unsuspecting buyer, so we'll take what we can get in trade on a Toyota Sienna. Hope the E150 fairs better.

    Finally, if you're in the market for a used mini-van, avoid the 3.8L Ford Windstar at all costs!!
  • Hi everyone,

    Here's my question: I've got a 1993 Sable with 111k on it(its a 3.8, original HG too!). Anyway, the transmission has been showing signs of failure for quite some time now, since before the 100k mark for sure. When going from first to second theres a significant amount of slipping and it often shifts roughly. I was wondering if I should try to convince Ford to buy me a new tranny since this one will probably go in not too long. My argument is that the tranny began showing signs of failure related to the defective part within the warrenty. Think i've got a chance or should I not even bother?

  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Since the car would be 8 years old and over 100K miles, I doubt seriously that Ford would give you a new transmission, nor do I think you would prevail in a court case. Consider yourself lucky on the head gasket...consider yourself a statistic on the tranny.
  • fsgffsgf Posts: 1
    I traded for a 1999 ford Taurus (my first and maybe my last)with 23,000 miles this last July 2000. It has been in the shop several times -1. replacement of factory bent wheels, 2. oil smell-it had been a couple of weeks since the dealership had changed the oil,3. wouldn't start Christmas day and 2 more times in the next couple of weeks it failed to start-dealership replaced the battery, 4. several times while running the heater I have smelled an antifreeze smell-3 times in the shop-3 times they have tested it and found no leaks-(I guess they think it is my imagination?). What's next? They tried hard to sell me their extended factory warranty!!!
  • clt1clt1 Posts: 1
    I am considering purchase of a 2001 Windstar. I have read the posting and the horror stories of Windstar owners. However, they relate to earlier model Windstar, not 2000s or 2001s. I have been told at the dealer that Ford did have lots of earlier problems but that these problems have now been taken care of. Is this true? Does anyone have knowledge of 2001 Windstar problems?
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    well I don't know what has changed from the 2000 to 20001 but I suspect not a lot. My 2000 SE has had to have a new sliding door latch to fix a perpetual squeak. The real problem is that with only 6K on it the gear shift interlock went crazy and had to be replaced. Ever try to drive and not know what gear you are in as looking at the dash may say you are in R when you are in D! Also the accelerator pedal housing assembly had to be replaced. I noticed a vibration in the pedal which didn't seem right and when I complained enough they looked and found bits of plastic just lying in there!
    Otherwise its been just fine except for the 2 recalls so far!
    When my tranny goes or the head gaskets in 30K then I'll really complain!
  • dardidardi Posts: 2
    Does anyone on Edmonds have information on the class action suit filed a year ago on behalf of Ford owners of vehicles with 3.8L engines. I have a 94 that is now requiring a "THIRD" engine because of blown heads (only 105k miles). Ford will do NOTHING -- which is about what I have been reading on the web about this engine and "FIX OR REPAIR DAILY." I would like any info on the law suit, or I'll have to file myself. Only the latest of too numerous repairs on this car. Anyone who buys a Ford product after all I've read on the web and the tire disaster is making a very unwise decision. This is a company that makes lousy cars and has even worse repair facilities. Please let me know. Thanks.

    (Also, left this message under the Taurus repair section.)
  • My 1996 Windstar Gasket just blew at 63,000 miles.I have lawyer in discussions with Ford. Somehow problem extends to 1996 even though they claim it was corrected by then. If you have a 1996 or newer 3.8 liter contact me via email at [email protected]
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    a way to jam Ford's email with every one of these posts. Do you think anyone there will do the math and add up what this has cost the company both in terms of repairs and lost customers???
    I haven't got a Ford, but I do have a GM 2.2 and have read the Neon posts re: the head gaskets failing.Every ONE of the "Big 3" WHAT IS THIS? Could this be why Domestic sales have slumped this year???
  • My husband and I purchased a 1997 Ford Windstar about two years ago. Everything was fine for the first year and a half and then we it all started. We had many things fixed but the big one was when the head gasket blew. My local Ford dealership kicked backed to us one-third of the cost of the repair. Wish it was more but the simple fact that we got anything is amazing. Don't know we if we got a good deal or just money to keep us quiet. Any thoughts?
  • I own a 95 Ford Mustang with the 3.8 L engine. At only 78000 km the timing cover gasket blew. Ford has no warranty for this and of course getting repairs done by the dealer is very expensive. Is there any way to pressure Ford to include the timing cover gasket within their extended warranty for head gaskets??
  • cbeldacbelda Posts: 2
    I have a 95 Windstar with 50,000 miles. The engine was replaced because of the headgaskets at 38,000 miles. Now the transmission is slipping between first and second gears. This is just like the headgasket problem (everybody has it). What is the secret warranty on this if any? Thanks for any help the dealer won't even admit to a problem with the headgaskets. I think there is a big cover up...
  • I am the unfortunate owner of a 1996 Windstar that experienced head gasket failure resulting in coolant leakage into the engine, overheating of the bearings and the necessity for engine replacement. (The temp gauge never indicated overheating. Further, Ford dealership servie initially misdiagnosed problem as being a "processor programming problem", charged me $150. and attempted to return the vehicle (spewing white smoke) to me. Ford then admitted the problem and after much negotiation, is only offering 50% reimbursement to replace the engine (estimated repair cost is $4000). Further, the dealership has had our car for over two months, claiming that the required engine is on back order. Ford refuses to provide car rental reimbursement covering the period that they've had my car. I brought up their buyback program because they've had my car for two months and they deny that it applies to 1996 windstars. (They actually did receive a replacement engine, installed it, and reported to me that the replacement engine was defective). The fact that Ford redesigned the head gaskets in 1997 Windstars certainly suggests Ford believed that the 1996 Windstar gaskets needed redesign. My options other than small claims court ? (small claims court in CA is limited to $5000 claims) Thank you! Any other 1996 Windstar owners with similar experience? We should share email addresses / experiences. A collection of complaints about 1996 Windstar head gasket problems with owner information / description of head gasket failure etc will be valuable should any of us need to file against Ford in small claims court. Contact me at [email protected]
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    My '96 Windstar w/3.8l engine started having problems at 80,000 miles. The 'check engine' light illuminated at random times and then would extinguish. At 86,000 miles the light stayed on continuously and would occasionally flash to no apparent pattern at which times the engine performance was terrible and the entire vehicle would shudder. At the recommendation of the dealer service manager, I replaced the EGR sensor, replaced the spark plugs and wires and also had the computer reprogrammed and updated at a cost of approx $350. This fixed the 'check engine' light problem for approx 1.5 miles after I left the dealer's service department. The dealer kept my van for two days and ran multiple mechanical and electronic diagnostic tests to try and isolate the cause of the problem. The service manager informed me that all tests came back negative, including coolant leakage tests for head gasket failure. He also indicated that he and his mechanics suspected the head gasket was leaking because the symptoms were identical to classic head gasket failures that occured on the '95 Windstars, but the leak was just seeping and too small to show up on the diagnostic tests. He recommended I wait till the problem worsened before spending the $1200 to replace the head gasket. The service manager and the dealer general manager both indicated that if "I COULD SHOW WHERE OTHER DEALERS HAD PROVIDED FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS FOR '96 OR LATER WINDSTAR HEAD GASKET FAILURES, THEY WOULD TRY AND GET SOME FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR ME."

    I cleaned up the van, cleaned up each spark plug, and disconnected the battery for 2 minutes to clear the computer. After reconnecting the battery, the light was off and the van was running great. I took it and traded it in on a new truck from a 'reputable and reliable company'. I got a very good trade-in figure for my van since 'it was in such good condition and running so well'.

    Ford issued $8000 bonuses to every assembly line worker at the end of 1999, and then issued $6700 bonuses to the same employees at the end of 2000. At the same time they issued these generous bonuses, they turned their backs and ignored their customers and refused to accept responsibility for faulty and defective products (lots of defects, not just defective head gaskets). 'Quality is job one' and I will not own another Ford for a VERY LONG TIME!!!
  • I post on the Windstar problems, but thought I would also give this to you all here. Please pass this site onto as many ford owners as possible. I made it up to pull together a picket line. and also to let my dealership know how many people are reading it by the counter. Hopefully, this will scare them into taking care of more people a little better. Thank you all for your support.

  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Is still available. It's at . The site was designed mainly for 1995 Windstars, but there are numerous posts from many others who have had your problem. There are also links to valuable documents that you can use. You can also seach the NHTSA complaint database at to get a listing of problems for 1996 models.
  • snubbenssnubbens Posts: 1
    I bought my '95 Taurus new and now have 90,000 miles on it. I have replaced the transmission twice and its in again to replace a seal that went bad. Does anyone know of any recalls or anything with the 3.0 taurus regarding trannys?
  • melissamelissa Posts: 27
    To all,

    I'm the Director of Town Hall at ABC is interested in doing a story about "secret
    warranties," where automakers notify dealers but not customers about quality issues. ABC news would like to speak with consumers who have experienced the above scenario. It sounds like many of you have! I particular would like to find some people in the Southern California area. If you are interested, please email me. You can find my email address in my profile. Thanks ahead of time.
  • We have a 1996 Windstar that at 81000 miles just had the blown gasket failure that I have read so much about. It seems to me that this is becoming a more frequent problem with the 1996 model as well. Does anyone have success stories about getting Ford to pay for this repair in 1996 Windstars?
  • for those of you that have been keeping track... I am the one that made the homepage about my problems with the dealer and vehicle I bought (95 w/s).


    Here is the latest update...

    Ted Britt took my loaner away from me after they had found that I had contacted an attorney. when the general manager called to tell me he wanted his loaner back immediately, I said well.... guess now I have you for false advertising as well, on top of the original charge of Fraud and consumer Law Violations. He hung up.

    However the following day called to tell me to please return to the dealership and pick up another loaner, because what he did was very wrong and he apologized with three phone calls. I lost a day of work because of that one.

    Yesterday late, I got a call from the Tech. working on my van. He called to tell me that the new engine was in and it was running great, and that the problem with the brakes was going to be taken care of per the General Manager. They were going to put new tires on, new pads, and new rotor's and they were going to cover the cost. I guess making a web page makes some people take care of things for fear that it will damage the customer's coming in. As I sent my page to mostly people in the Fairfax area. I have had 205 hits so far. I am assuming that he is thinking I will pull the page since he is taking care of things not covered under warranty, and believe me, I am very thankful. The problem still exsist's though... I am stuck in a loan for 6 yrs, my warranty is just one year, and with all the problems I have dealt with in just the first two weeks of ownership, I am extremely fearful of what will happen in the next 6 yrs. It shouldn't be this way when you purchase a vehicle. I am still going to continue with legal action, still keep my page up and still post on auto boards. This does not change my mind at all about the quality of this van that Ford sold me. Thanks for all your support with my page. I will keep you posted as to how the new engine is running as I am suppose to pick it up today.


  • I bought this one Brand NEW, I still own this car. Unforunately she spends more time at the SHOP then being in my driveway.
    I have had alot of problems with the front suspensions, arranging from the rack n pinnon, struts, and staberlizer Links.
    Through the numerous repairs and replacements, I brought this matter to the attention of FORD MOTOR CO, they had given me a premium care warranty up to 5 years or 75 miles Bumper to Bumper, I am in that warranty know, But I am still using the shop. I am very disatified with this car, it has had more go wrong with this FORD, then any other ford we have owned.
    I am not buying another Taurus. But I want to know if anyone else out there has problems with alignments on their 96 model taurus up to 99 model taurus.
    I have had 2 sets of complete tires go BAD do to the alignments going out on my car to often.
  • Is this what you are referring to as Ford 3.8 head gasket I have had my oil pan gasket replaced numerous times for leaking, but just a year ago my 97 Taurus tranny was slipping, untill I had the tranny flushed out real good. But then it stopped slipping the way it had done a year ago, but every now and again it will slip, but not as often or as bad as it done before I had it flushed out.
    The Oil pan gasket seal and the door sensors on my Taurus are a common replacement problem on mine.
  • One thing I have learned through my mess with my taurus, that if you are respectful when telling them your problem, they really help. In my case Ford Motor Co helped me. Most of my bad luck was the Dealer that had been repairing my car. It was not Ford's fault, but Ford did work out the problem with us, and paid for the car to be taken to another dealer, where Ford Motor Co, and that dealer treated me like a QUEEN.
    Sometimes you have to take it out of the hands of the dealer, and go directly to FORD themselfs. Unforunately there aren't to many good dealers out there, but I know I found a bad one in Oklahoma.
    My situation I took it directly out of the hands of the Bad Dealer and when to FORD on my problem. As it turned out, either this bad dealers mechanics was un experienced or it was simply intentional. My case in OKlahoma left me where there was no Lemmon law to protect us consumers from dealers like the one I encountered.
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    I was most respectful in my attempts at dealing with Ford about the head gaskets in my 93 T-bird. The result was a phone call saying "Sorry", and a letter (unsigned and addressed to "Dear M&M Young") saying that my car was out of warranty. However, they are most polite and very accomodating in court.
  • prev1prev1 Posts: 1
    Need a little feed back ASAP.

    I have been scrolling through Edmund's Town Hall. Very impressed with feedback. I have an opportunity to purchase a 98 Windstar GL with 3.8L V6, with 48K mile, in absolute cherry condition, with known maintenance history. Were the 3.8L head gasket and transmission issues solved by the 98 model year, or is this still a concern with the 98 model year? Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    FYI, We were a devoted Ford family for generations. The last true 'Ford' product that I owned was an '84 20th anniversary edition Mustang GT. It was built on a Fri afternoon at 4:45. Quality was NOT job 1! The dealer was horrible, totally technically inept. We owned one Ford badge since, A Probe, which is really a Mazda. It was a great little car.

    I left Ford in '92 when I purchased a Dodge Caravan SE, with 3.3L V6 and 4 speed OD auto trans. Ford did not have a FWD offering at that time, and I was not impressed with the Aerostar. We have experienced motor and trans problems with the Caravan, with the motor developing a knock around 68K miles. This was covered in full under Chrysler 7/70 warranty. The trans bit the dust at 80K miles. Like Ford, Chrysler had a known problem that they would not immediately acknowledge. I did a little homework and leaned on Chrysler a bit. I got a factory rebuild (to higher 1996 standards) and guaranteed trans for $400.00. Chrysler took care of us.

    As an enginner, I can understand, to some extent, that design erros occur. However, I cannot relate to NOT addressing a known problem, much less making any effort to correct it.

    Await your replies. Best regards.
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    The head gasket issue was addressed and apparently resolved in the 1996 model year, although a few appeared to "slip thru" for that model year. NHTSA complaints about head gaskets dropped dramatically for the 3.8 engines after 1996. The problem was with the 3.8 engine, and I believe that Ford made the 3.0 standard in 1996 as well. If the van you're looking at has a 3.0, the head gasket was never an issue. If it's a 3.8, the problem "should" have been corrected.

    I also am aware that 1995-96 model windstars had transmission issues. I do not know if it has been addressed in 1998's
  • hedmanhedman Posts: 1
    The last two cars I have owned are a 1991 Ford Taurus and a 1994 Sable with 3.8 engine. The 91 had a 3.0 engine and was great through 132,000 and the next owner is still driving it. The factory replaced the transmission no questions asked at 78,000 miles long after the warranted expired. the transmission was fine one day and so bad it could hardly make it home the next. Then we bought a Sable used with 52,000 miles. I did not know then about the infamous 3.8 engine. Around 64,000 miles the head gaskets went, but I had a extended warranted which was good because Mercury was not fixing them at the time. It cost me $379 in extras but not too bad. Then at 75,000 the transmission went. Funny how close in silage to my 91 Taurus. Again the extended warren tee covered all by $50. Now at 79,000 the head gaskets started leaking again. This time the dealer will fix now charge under their new program. What is wrong with a company that continues to build junk when they know it is a problem. By the way if you have a problem with your brake lights, cruise control or digital clock, they are all connected and are the result of a $10 sub wiring harness. which admittedly is made from too small gauge wire and burns out regularly. I am told that taxis and police cars really have a problem with this because of the frequent use of the brakes in around town driving. What can be done to further spread the word of this miscarriage of justice on the part of Ford and Mercury??? By the way, what is a good car to buy today???
  • lase329lase329 Posts: 1
    I have been shopping around for the past four months on what my next car purchase will be. I have a 93 Taurus that I have owned since June 2000, didn't have any problems until January--I have to put another engine(EXPENSIVE.)

    Having come to these sites has helped me so much I recommend looking at the Saturn messages, a lot of people are pretty happy with the cars-- I have been looking at the Nissan Altima, 01 Taurus, and the Grand Pix (had an awful experience with Toyota and won't ever go there again or reccomend them!!!!) So far the Saturn isn't fancy but it is practical and I really enjoyed my visit at the dealership, it is very customer oriented. I have gone to the dealerships to test drive these cars and get a look and feel of their interiors. And all I can say is that Saturn is the only place that did not hound me in getting the car NOW! like the other dealers did, or try to pre-qual
    B-4 test driving. They even let me bring home a Purchase agreement with all the additional costs itemized(TT&I & other charges) so that I can figure out the total cost. None of the other places were willing to do that, and I tried. Well, GOOD LUCK.
  • jhawaiijhawaii Posts: 2
    My 95 Windstar blew its heads off in 1998. repairs were made free of charge. I have 110,000 miles now and again it blew its head.
    This car has always been serviced by a Ford dealer. You would think that they would keep track of its warranty and issues regarding the head gasket. Sadly the new warranty expired 2,000 miles ago and Ford wont blink an eye in helping me out . The dealer wants $1,300 for a new gasket, $3,700 for a new engine, but also wants to sell me a new Windstar. Am I unreasonable in asking Ford to help out with the repair? Do I really want to Buy a new Ford? Help me out here. Should I buy a new Windstar after they refuse to help out? Would You?
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    Ford would have you believe the head gasket problem was resolved in '96 but that is not true. In '96, the head gasket material was changed, in '97 the HG material was changed again and the bolts were changed to a higher torque design bolt. These changes have delayed the onset of problems but not solved the problem. If the problem were truly resolved, we would not be seeing people today still needing 2,3,and 4 engine replacements before finding an engine that works without coolant leakage problems. Besides, how would Ford have known to 'correct' a HG problem in '96 & '97 models if the problem didn't become evident till late '97 as they have indicated? The problem has been there for a long time and they just lied to cover it up. Thank the internet for allowing the truth to be heard.

    Also, the 3.8 has been the standard engine in the Windstar since '96. Ford has not switched to the 3.0 as it's standard. The 3.0 engine would be very undersized in the Windstar, making the vehicle difficult to get out of it's own way.

    Ford vehicles are plagued with defects, mostly gasket and transmission. They currently have the following outstanding gasket issues in the 3.8 engines: head gaskets, timing cover gaskets, front cover gaskets. Stay away from Fords unless you enjoy major challenging repairs.
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Which show significantly fewer complaints from 1996 on. Also, the standard engine in the Windstar was changed from the 3.8 to the 3.0 in 1996.

    The problem was evident long before late 1997. Follow this link:

    and notice the "other applicable articles". You'll find that they issued a TSB in October 1994 and an earlier one in January 1991 concerning the "coolant loss" problem.

  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    I was mistaken and you are correct in citing the 3.0 eng as standard for the WS. However, I still believe that eng to be undersized for the van.

    The problem with the 3.8 HG was evident to Ford for a very long time, I agree with you. Ford has only publicly admitted to problems in the '94 and '95 model years as requiring a warranty extension.

    The above site provides much information concerning problems with Ford's 3.8 engs, automatic transmissions and a chronology of events. Most of the HG failures occur within 3-5 years and within 60,000 miles of use. I believe you will see the numbers rise significantly for later model years very soon because as I said, the changes didn't resolve the problem they only delayed the onset of problems.

    My '96 WS started showing signs of HG failure at 80,000 miles and I got rid of it. A co-worker is currently on his 4th engine and second transmission in his '96 WS. A family member is currently on her 3rd engine and 2nd transmission in her Taurus sta wgn. Another family member incurred over $2000 in damage repair from failed subframe mounting assembly in her Taurus before Ford anounced a recall. She was informed she is not eligible for any refunds.

    I am aware of the TSB's and the other articles you mention in your reply. I would still recommend staying away from Ford.

  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    I have stayed away from Ford. My T-bird had a pretty catastrophic HG failure - I am hoping to trade the Windstar this year, and the 98 Taurus is still doing okay - it may be around a while. So - I'm going from 3 Fords to 1 Ford. It doesn't seem to matter to them, my replacement for the T-Bird was going to be a Lincoln LS, but after they refused to do anything for me with my T-bird, I went elsewhere.
  • Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington DC, emailed me that his organization is considering going after Ford on behalf of 1996 Windstar owners who have had head gasket problems if his organization receives enough complaints. His
    organizations actions, as well as a class action law suit, certainly contributed to Ford being pressured into their extended warranty settlement program (1999) on head gaskets with 1994, 1995 Ford owners. I am urging that all 1996 Windstar owners with head gasket,
    engine, transmission problems to register their complaints with the Center For Auto Safety. Their address; Clarence Ditlow, Center For Auto Safety, 1825 Connecticut Ave, NW Suite #330, Washington DC 20009-5708.
  • Hello all remember me... the mom who is really tired of all the problems with my 1995 w/s and made a homepage about the dealer that sold it to me. Well, here I am again, just one week into my second engine since December. And my poor parking spot looks awful. it has new puddles, old puddles, dried puddles, all kinds of puddles... This latest leak I cant figure out though, I think it may be transmission fluid. I was going to place a paper bag under it today to get a accurate spot but it is raining and cant do it. The investigator from my consumer division called me on Sat. to state that he got a letter from the General Manager. This is what it says..
    "Through our efforts and partnership with Ford Motor Company, we were able to install a new (rmp) engine at no cost to Ms. Abrahams while providing her with comparable loaner transportation at no charge. At this point in time I believe she is happy with Ted Britt Ford."
    First of all... I am not even close to happy, Second, They did'nt do this out of the goodness of they're heart like he is making it sound. They have to replace the engine, and they have to provide me with a loaner, Its there policy. Remember they took that loaner away from me at one point because I made them really mad with my homepage and contacting an Attorney. And i'm happy???? I don't think so. Now there is some other leak, and just yesterday I did my own little test for the van missing and it's not a pretty thing. Place a glass of water on the top of the dash, put the car in park, nuetral and drive and watch the water in the glass, if it jumps around like a dancing bean then you got problems. Mine was doing flips in the I have to make funny on this at times, otherwise i'll drive myself insane.
    Oh and I wanted everyone to know that I ordered two bushels of lemons and when I picket the dealership in April, the lemons will be handed out to passer by's with the dealers name on them. Maybe this will show just how happy I really am.
    Thanks for all the support!!!!
  • naive2knaive2k Posts: 1
    We just (hours ago) bought a 2000 windstar from CarMax. Wish I had read some of y'all's discussions earlier. Still, I have read good reviews about safety. I knew the reliability was not the greatest, but engine and transmission stuff sounds pretty serious. We have 5 days to return it. Any advice?
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    The 3.8 engines prior to 1996 had head gasket problems. I don't believe that it is a problem in 2000 models. The 3.0 has been the standard engine since 1996, so you may not even have the 3.8. I don't know about the transmission. The transmission in the Taurus/SAble/Windstar has been suspect for many years. The head gasket problem was around for about 8 years before they finally got the real fix. Did it make it to 2000? Good question.
  • tlc88tlc88 Posts: 3
    Does anyone here have problems with their aligments on the 96 model to 99 model taurus.
    I am consently out on my tow on this car, its had numerous repairs in the front end. But the tire wear and the tows are pretty common on my car. anyone with some advice. I was given a top of the line free ford esp on the car.
  • jhawaiijhawaii Posts: 2
    Have you checked out edmunds extended warranty section? Have you looked into extended warranty? If you own a windstar you should.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    thanks jhawaii.....the Extended Warranty info is here:

    Extended Warranty

  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    The following excerpt comes from Edmund's website concerning Ford's 3.8liter engines:

    "...Now let's look at the changes Ford made for the 1996 model year in an effort to correct the problem:

    Cooling system flow - change to series flow - front-wheel-drive models only

    Heat-treating the cylinder heads - front- and rear-wheel-drive models

    Head gasket design - heavier bore grommet and rebalanced face and bore grommet loads - front- and rear-wheel-drive models

    In 1997 one more improvement was made:

    Head gasket design - multi-layer steel head gasket - front- and rear-wheel-models.

    The head gasket used since 1997 represents new technology not available when the 1994/95 head gaskets were developed. The current service replacement gaskets are also different, with higher-density carbon and/or graphite, and are a denser gasket with heavier bore grommets."

    I don't know if that answers your question but I hope it helps.

This discussion has been closed.