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



  • csjkcsjk Posts: 2
    As I have read this appears to be common. Harsh shifting like being hit from behind. I have had it in 4 times with no trouble found. I am looking at going down the Lemon Law path. Anyone have any luck??
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    With all due respect sir, what does the average individual stand to gain from a class action lawsuit? A coupon from Ford towards the purchase of another vehicle?
  • judi_njudi_n Posts: 5
    I had my van checked out this past weekend. It has NO obvious leaks and the oil is fine. I can have it analyzed but the coolant has to be going somewhere !
    Has anyone had this happen? Where can it be going?
  • pina_apina_a Posts: 1
    After loosing my Trans in my 91 VOYAGER w/ 163K on it. I've been looking for used van for the wife.

    I've been looking at buying a used 98 Wind star w/ 3.8. After finding this board I am at odds. Do the 98 and newer 3.8s have the same Head Gasket Problem and Trans problem as the 95s or have they been corrected. I can not afford to make a bad choice......... HELP
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    The NHTSA database for consumer complaints shows no more than the average number of head gasket complaints for the 3.8 Windstars. There are 136 complaints for the automatic transmissions in 98 Windstars. Compare that to the 98 Caravan with 24 complaints, and everybody seems to dis Chrysler on their transmissions. I don't know what changes were made to the 3.8 since 95/96. You can do a more detailed search by going to, clicking on "problems and issues" and clicking on "consumer complaints". That takes you to a searchable database that can give you a feel for potential problem areas. To find Windstar, you'll need to specify the make as "Ford Truck". If you really like the van, you might pop for the Carfax report on the VIN. Personally, I'd shy away from the Windstar, but that's just my opinon.
  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45
    If you cannot afford to make a bad choice, then stick with the "Big 3" Japanese automakers. They're hella reliable, not that much more expensive, and you'll be proud of your ride.

    If you buy American, you'll be stuck with Endless problems!

    With the Ford 3.8L's the fundamental problem lies with the aluminum cylinder heads on cast iron engine block. The 2 different metals have different properties; thermal expansion, etc. which literally rub and sheer the head gasket making it rupture.

    General Motors has this problem to a lesser extent on ALL their 2.0L, 2.2L, 2.8L, 3.1L engines with aluminum heads (my sister's Chev Cavalier 2.2L blew its head gasket after only 37K miles!). And also Dodge Neons have this problem.

    With Ford it is a general lack of quality control and using Cheap parts! The Ford AXOD automatic 4-speed overdrive transmissions used to be built with aluminum shift plungers which wore out very quickly! The fix was stainless Steel plungers

    Check out this website...:

    Punch in various Makes, Models, and Year of vehicle. Check out all the recalls. You'll find lots of recalls on Ford and Dodge, a few on GM. But almost NONE on Toyotas or Hondas. And if there is a recall for a Toyota, it's for a lightbulb.

    You'll notice that Ford is the WORST! I punched in a few 2001 models like Ranger, F150, and there are 4-5 RECALLS on Brand NEW 2001 Ford models! and we're not talking just Lightbulbs! we're talking Serious stuff like: brakes, airbags, seatbelts, tires, hoods flying off while driving, cooling systems, etc! In fact there is a Recall right NOW on 2001 Windstars for defective Airbags!

    These are Recalls from Ford, Not TSB's (technical service bulletins), and Ford doesn't usually help consumers unless forced to do so by government agencies.

    My '95 Ford is in the dealership garage as we speak now!, with a blown head gasket.

    If you want a Reliable vehicle for your wife, stay AWAY from FORD!
  • dhoffdhoff Posts: 282
    Just wanted to make a comment, not looking for a confrontation or debate...

    There is no fundamental problem with using aluminum heads on cast iron engine blocks. Many, many engines have this design and don't have problems. The Ford 3.8, obviously, is not one of them.

    I can't disagree with the rest of your post.

  • windowphobe6windowphobe6 Posts: 765
    The FS 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine built by Mazda, base engine in the 626 and the up-option in the Protegé. Cast-iron block, aluminum head, and very few reports of head-gasket failure. (And I once owned a Ford 3.8, but the less said about that, the better.)
  • cathy629cathy629 Posts: 5
    I am the unfortunate owner of a 95 Windstar, We bought the car about 8 mths ago and have had problems with it from the first 30 days!! We had the head gaskets replaced and within that month they blew again. This time the coolant mixed with oil and ruined our engine, so the Ford dealership told us. They told us they were going to replace the engine and that Ford would pay for it because there was some sort of bulletin put out that would cover the cost. They ended up putting in the new engine and than told us that Ford wasn't going to cover the cost anymore cause we missed the deadline or something. Well, their only offer was that they would pay for half of a $3300 engine, so we would be stuck paying over $1600. First of all, are we really responsible for having to pay for the new engine, considering "the head gaskets" were the problem that ruined the engine? Also, we never authorized the Ford dealership to replace the engine if we had to foot the bill. I need to know what I should do!! My van has been at the Ford dealership for over 2 weeks now and I am fed up with their bullcrap!! HELP!!!!
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Ford extended the warranty to 7 years or 100,000 miles. If your under 100K miles, call Ford and ask them about their extended warranty program announced on February 25,2000. If it's over 100K miles, you're stuck. Sorry.
  • cathy629cathy629 Posts: 5
    We used the extended warranty already to replace the first blown headgaskets, the van has about 76,000 miles on it. But, that isnt the problem. The problem is that Ford replaced the engine due to the gaskets and now they want us to pay for the new engine. I dont think paying for the engine is our responsibility seeing as it was ruined due to the head gasket problem. The Ford dealership is telling us that we have to pay for half the engine (half of $3300). They put the engine in and told us that it would be covered by Ford, and than once it was in they told us it was only half covered by Ford. I feel like we are being jerked around and I am sick of it. My main question is.... Are we responsible for paying for half of the engine considering it was ruined do to the head gasket problem? And also... Should we be responsible for paying considering the Ford dealership put the engine in when we thought it was covered, but than they turned around after the work was done and said we had to pay that our repsonsibility because we never authorized any work do be done on the van knowing we had to pay?
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    That may be a question for a lawyer to answer for you. Did you sign a work request that authorized the engine replacement? Did the request indicate Ford would replace the engine under warranty or did it say you would assume the financial obligation for the repair? Did the request say diagnosis only and contact owner for authorization? The timeframe for the 1995 Windstars is quickly coming to a close. The 7 year period of coverage is from the manufacture date, not the date the vehicle was purchased and doesn't necessarily end on January 1, 2002 (unless the vehicle was manufactured January 1, 1995). I know many people who have had multiple engine replacements under this warranty extension program and all costs associated are covered. You've indicated your vehicle mileage is under 100,000 miles, so check the manufacture date (should be noted on a sticker located on one of the door frames) and make sure you are within the 7 year period. If you are within the covered timeframe, you should be fully compensated regardless of what is indicated on the work request. I've added the following from a previous post as additional info that may be helpful to you:

    According to all posted information, Ford's extended warranty for 1995 Windstars covers 7 years or 100,000 miles. The service campaign number is 00M09 and this was an addendum to campaign 98M01 which only extended 5 years and 60,000 miles. Original AND subsequent/current owners are covered and it INCLUDES rebates for any costs you incurred for repairs from an independent (non-Ford) repair shop. See the following web sites for additional info:

    The following excerpts comes from an Edmunds site (no longer a current site):

    "The last type of service notification would be a warranty extension, which is just that: an extension of a part or whole of the vehicle's warranty. In any of these service notifications, it does not matter if you are the original owner or if you purchased the vehicle used; the service notifications go with the vehicle and not with the owner."


     "...program 00M09, which basically extended the original program from five years or 60,000 miles to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurred first, covering the same vehicles as the 98M01 program. Letters to consumers for this program went out in March of 2000. Ford obtains a current list of owners from R.L. Polk and several other sources".

    Good Luck to you Cathy.

  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    There was also a "buy back" program which was to be used when a replacement engine was needed but could not be installed for several weeks. i agree, Ford should pay for the engine. If you've got ANYTHING in writing from the dealer, use it. Jvirginia is right on - you most likely will have to have a lawyer intervene for you. Keep making noise. It's the only way you will get them to act. Threats of "never buying another Ford" fall on deaf ears. The site by Chuck Catanese has good information from you. The NHTSA web site may help. You've got to repeat the facts over and over and over again, but eventually, Ford WILL listen. Good luck.
  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45
    for Blown Head Gasket repair under the (00M09 & 00M10) 7yr/100,000mi gasket replacement program
    Call Ford at: (800) 392-3673 to find out more.

    Initially when my head gaskets blew and i contacted Ford they warned me that *I* would have to pay a $70 "Diagnostic Fee", and if the dealership felt that my vehicle had enough "symptoms" to warrant gasket replacement under 00M09/00M10, then my $70 would be reimbursed.
    I said "listen pal, 2 weeks ago all my warning lights came on, my engine was hesitating, chugging, knocking Badly, felt like it was running on 3 cylinders, was burning white smoke out the tailpipe, was consuming 1 gallon of coolant per week, and now it is sitting on Jackstands in my driveway waiting for the Tow Truck to tow it to the Ford Dealership!! How many more symptoms do you Need??"

    Also, the dealership said all the Courtesy cars were already taken by Other owners with blown head gaskets! and they Refused to cover a rental car!

    Anyways, the total cost of repairs was $1300 and took TWO weeks! But the "Extended Gasket Warranty" program only covered $1050!
    The dealership said *I* had to come up with $250!! I said WTF?!? WHY do I have to pay $250 for FORD's defective gaskets Scewing up MY engine??!!
    The dealership said the Warranty *only* covered gaskets and installation, but I was responsible for things like corroded spark plugs, block flush, oil, coolant, and waste disposal fees!!
    I just about got in my Ford and crashed it thru their dealership window!
    But decided to drive it home and put a For Sale sign on it instead... at least now that it was running again.

    Over the years of (unhappy) ownership i have spent Thousands of dollars out of my own pocket for parts & service not covered by the recall/warranty, rental cars!, towing, time taken off work, etc.
    So with the Thousands of dollars i've WASTED i could've just bought a Toyota, Honda, or Nissan to begin with!!!
  • hoppychophoppychop Posts: 1
    Help, my 95 SE taurus was at a stop light and when I gave it gas it wouldn't go. I floored it and it crawled off the road. I put it in park ,after trying drive and reverse a few times it would go. I drove home, and called the dealer. I hadn't purchased the extended warranty. They told me it didn't matter where I took it . Repairs were two weeks out. I took it to a local shop who called me and said when they took theTransmission pan off there were metal shavings, and the transmission fluid looked burnt and bubbly.The car only has 59840 miles on it. It is a 3.0 6 cylinder. I bought it as a dealer demo, and I am the only owner. My family has always driven fords I. am totally shocked by this. Does anyone know of any warranty info for this car? 2000 bucks for a rebuild job is crazy!!
  • cathy629cathy629 Posts: 5
    I am STILL waiting... we dont have the $1600 to pay for half of the engine and we have made numerous calls to the 1-800 Ford number and we also have a lawyer looking into it for us. They told us that we were over the 100,000/7yr warranty and that we were 80 miles over the new gaskets warranty which is 1,000 miles. Well, I find that hard to believe considering that since we've owned the crap box we have only put 3200 miles on it and we have had the van since last Sept of 2000!!! Doesnt that tell Ford how much this car has been sitting? I dont know what we are going to do. The dealer we bought the van from (not a Ford dealer) agreed to take back the van and transfer our monthly payments to a new van off thier lot, but first we have to pay the $1600!! We dont have $1600. My father in law hired a lawyer to look into this problem for us so hopefully we wont have to pay, but meanwhile I have no car and am stuck in the house because my husband needs our other car for work.
    I had owned Chevy's before this and took a chance on a Ford and it was a mistake!! One that will never happen again!! Anyone who is reading this, dont buy a FORD!!
    And thanks to all who have given great suggestions and helpful websites.. please keep the help coming! :)
  • trompettrompet Posts: 1
    My father-in-law has been through the head gasket reclamation program. Now, the engine is overheating (without visible fluid leaks) in short distance operation, and the dealer has diagnosed a main-bearing failure in the engine, with the recommendation that the engine be replaced (for approximately $4000.00).

    My father-in-law is suspicious, even though the engine does have 108,000 miles on it. The head gasket was replaced at 88,000 miles early last year, and the dealer charged him $2000.00 to replace the timing chain at the same time.

    The cynical observer would say that the dealer was merely ensuring its adequate compensation for services rendered on behalf of the sponsor- corporation.

    Of course, after you pass that 100,000-mile threshold, all bets are off (especially when the "expected average useful life" is published at 120,000.)

    The bottom line is that he'd rather salvage this station wagon for $4000 than even think about trading it in on another Ford product (because no one else is going to give him anything for it in its present condition).

    So, the question is -- could an improperly installed head gasket contribute to a rapid deterioration of the main airing
  • cathy629cathy629 Posts: 5
    I have been researching and have found that all the Ford 3.8 liter engines seem to have the same problem. There has been people who have got thier engine replaced and the gaskets just blow again a month later!! I have read about people who have had their engine replaced several times and it doesnt fix the problem because the problem lies with the engine itself and if they keep replacing the engine with the same crap engine than the problem will NEVER be fixed!! It is just a vicious cycle that will never end so when I finally get my van back I am bringing it to the place where I bought it (not a Ford dealer) and trading it for another van-- probably something foreign. Please check out this website I made below and pass it on to people it may help or who are having the same problems with their Fords.

    It is a real disappointment for an american car company to be such an unreliable, incompetent maker of cars.
  • huey68huey68 Posts: 1
    We have a 1995 Wind star that has had it's head gasket replied by Ford. My question is has Ford fixed the problem with the head gaskets in their 2000 and 2001 models, and are we still entitled to the buy back program since we had the head gasket fixed
  • judi_njudi_n Posts: 5
    TO: Cathy629
    Cathy can you please email me . I would like to ask you some things about your van. I too have a 95 Windstar and it is getting sick.
    You can email me at [email protected]
    Thanks and take care, Judi
  • When my 95 WS LX was diagnosed with a timing chain gasket leak in 6/01 my local Ford dealer refused to fix it, their rationale was the high milage (74K!!) and said they would only put in a new engine. I took it to a recommended mechanic (private- not Ford) who replaced the timing chain, put in a new water pump (not rebuilt- at my request since it had 74K on it) replaced all the hoses and the fanbelt for 595.00. It may be beneficial to your Father-in-law to have his Taurus looked at by someone other than the local Ford dealer. Good Luck.
  • cathy629cathy629 Posts: 5
    Ford is not only saying that they wont pay cause we missed the deadline of the extended warranty by a couple of weeks and we missed the 1000 mile new gasket warranty by 80 miles, but now they are also saying that the problem was with the "timing cover gasket" and not the head gasket so they dont think that qualifies us for the warranty. My question is isnt the timing cover gasket all part of the head gasket "family" in the engine? Is Ford once again trying to screw us over?
  • You may want to check out Post # 576 on the "Ford Windstar Problems" in the Vans section. You may find it of interest.
This discussion has been closed.