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Ford Windstar



  • Am looking to purchase a Win star in next couple of days, either DE (I/leather)or EL. Wife wants the power doors (EL), but I have heard they are slow, unreliable and a pain in the patooty when in a hurry. I would appreciate your feedback.

    Thanks and Happy Holidays.

    P.. Thanks for the messages about where to find financing info. Even though on -Plan, helps to make sure all the numbers add up.
  • Sorry about the spelling, wasn't that way when I posted?????? I think you can still make it out.

    Dazed and confused.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    If you do a search on "power sliding door", there you'll find several forums under "Vans - Archived blah blah blah" where power sliding doors have been discussed.

    I personally didn't want them (we have a 99 SE with 2 manual doors) figuring they're just one more thing to go wrong.

    People that do have them though, really like them.
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    If I have a 2000 Windstar LX that I want to trade in, but has been in an accident, how do I find out how much would be taken off the blue book value of the van when I go to trade it in? It is perfect condition(now after being fixed after the accident), but I would rather not drive it anymore.

  • Hi! I have a 99WS-LX since new the transmission seems to be harsh shifting from 1st-2nd and visa versa more noticeable in slow traffic, to the point you would think that you are getting hit from behind it is that harsh(Trans. Kick).In Sept. dealer put in new tranny,this one worse than original,I suggested that problem might be a component rather than trans.Dealer finally said no fix.It's probably my driving habits,I have tried other WS and trans smooth. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks---Pink.
  • Pleased with our 2000 SEL to this point, although we are experiencing the power steering grinding problem. Any comments or solutions to that problem would be appreciated.
  • famarkfamark Posts: 1
    It stinks! I had not driven our 2000 Windstar SE prior to a trip to California for Christmas. It only has 6,000 miles. We discovered that the heater/defroster system smells. Sort of dirty, musty really ugly! My sweetheart says use the word 'something burning' too. We find no pattern to when or under which specific settings. Before we go to the dealer, does anybody have any experience, information or advice for us?
  • dnj2dnj2 Posts: 4
    To Steve or Drew: I'm finding the new listing format a bit cumbersome. I used to look for Windstar data by the Forum numbers which I had noted and quiclky got where OI needed to be. Now, no more numbers and the random, non- alpha listings make the search slower. Suggestions? and thanks for your good work here.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Well, if you go to Preferences, you can sort alphabetically--there's only one current Discussion that discusses Ford (Great Minivan Debate: Sienna, Odyssey, Chrysler, Ford, etc.) that would fall out of sequence.

    It's better, I think, to go to your favorite Discussions (like this one) and hit the Subscribe button. Then you can use the Check Messages button or the Message Center to keep up with new posts.

    You may want to follow New Software! Your Questions Answered... for a while to see how other Town Hallers are learning their way around. It's helped me a lot:-)

    Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • We bought our 98 Windstar GL (3.8L) in the spring of 00. So far we really like it but after reading a lot of these posts I'm getting a bit nervous. Anyway it has 46k on it now and twice in the last 4 weeks my wife has been driving it when the ABS light illuminates but other electrical devices like dash lights, radio and turn signals go out (luckily the headlights stayed on). In both cases she pulled in to a parking lot, shut the van off and then re started it and everything was fine. This last incident was yesterday, so today I'm going to try and poke around a bit under the hood and see if I can trouble-shoot anything. I'm kind of guessing it might be an alternator or voltage regulator problem. Anybody have any ideas?
  • flj168flj168 Posts: 12
    Item #308, famark
    I had the same problem with my '95 Ford Wind star, the same musky smell. I took my van to the Ford dealer to resolve this problem for a few times-unsuccessful!. Then I tried turning on the A/I onto with the fan on high, and sprayed approximately 1/4 can of Lysol spray into the outside air vents. The smell went away. Try this method, repeat in a weeks if you still have the musky odor.

  • bought a 98 gl in 4/2000. Since then we have had the transmission re programmed because of harsh 2-1 downshift. We have had tie rods left and right replaced because of grinding noise. We had the van in the shop for 30 days for brake hydraulic system failure. every part that has anything to do with hydraulics has been replaced. Picked it up last Thursday and took it back today with same problem. Service guys at the dealer have been super to deal with and have even farmed out some of the cost of this $2000.00+ repair between the dealer and fomoco. They are calling in an engineer from Dearborn to take a look at it since there is nothing else to replace at this point. I will let the group know what the outcome of this latest trip to the dealer is. I am almost to the point that I hope it cant be fixed and they offer a buy back. I have NO confidence in this vehicle any more and fear for my families life when we are in it!
  • 16641664 Posts: 1
    I am in the market for a used windstar about a 97 or 98. But reading some of these posts are very scary, and I am thinking of buying soothing in the Japanese line. Could somebody tell me if these vans are reliable, or are they major headaches? I would really like to get a windstar because they look pretty good. I just don't want a vehicle that is going to have me on a first name basis with the dealer machanic's.
  • muxiemuxie Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Windstar with 33,000 miles on it. I purchased this van with 18,000 miles. In 5,000 miles I have had 5 transmissions replaced and two tie rods. Since this van was used, it is not eligible for the CA Lemon Law. I am getting alot of resistance from Ford Motor Company via e-mail and phone. Any suggestions on how to handle this?
  • We have a 2000 wind star limited with 5867 miles. My wife slid into a tree when the ads and traction control system did not work. Dealer says nothing wrong. We are afraid to drive it. We live in PA and have ice and snow. We went to several dealers to trade they want to give us 21,500 for a car with a msrp of 34,600. We paid 31,700 for it. Kelly Blue book says trade is 26,460 no dealer wants it. Not even our local dealer. We have it on his lot for sale. Has anyone else had trouble with the as or traction control?
    Call me crazy and you would be right this is our second wind star. We took the 4000 from the 95 and bought this one. We kept the 95 figuring with a new engine and transmission it would be good for a couple more years as an extra car for our teen's It has 102,000 WRONG! Sealed oil and anti freeze also heard a I thump under driver seat so I took it to the dealer on 1/11/01 I just got off the phone from them and they claim:

    The oil pan leaking......................$390.00
    The Transmission seal is leaking.......... 745.00
    Front half axles need to be replace........460.00
    Rear frame mountings.......................535.00
    Of course none of it is under warranty since the last engine repair was only the top half at 92,000 and the transmission was at 86,000. They are willing to give me my AAA discount so it costs 1780.00 Whopee!

    So we are the unique fool to have two broken lemon wind stars at the same dealer ship at the same time. Can't wait until tomorrow. Maybe we should rent a third one as spare!
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Wow. Hope your wife is ok.

    It isn't clear (to me at any rate) why you feel the ABS and traction control did not work. Maybe details of the accident would help.

    Traction control is an aid in getting you going; if your wife was already moving, I don't see how traction control would be of any help.

    Did your wife hear the ABS come on? In the 2 years we've owned our Windstar, I've only heard ABS twice (once while breaking and once in conjuction with traction control while accelerating too quickly on gravel). It makes a grinding noise that, too someone who doesn't know what it sounds like, might mistake it for a problem and take their foot off the brake.

    What kind of tires are on it? (hopefully not the stock all season)
  • I am looking for a replacement for my 91 taurus wagon which is now about ready to be put out to pasture. I am considering a used Windstar - which leads me to this message board.

    I have consulted with my long time mechanic about Windstars, and he gave me the same advice he gave me in 1992 when I said I was looking at Taurus wagons:

    Buy the 3.0L engine only.
    Change the transmission fluid and filter every 24,000 miles.
    Don't tow anything over 1000 lbs.

    I bought my 91 taurus in the fall of 92 with 25,000 miles on it. I now have almost 234,000 miles on it. I have put a new water pump, all new fuel injectors, new fuel filter, new distributor cap and rotor (twice), and new spark plugs (3 times) in the engine, otherwise it is original.

    I have changed transmission fluid ( 7 quarts each time) and transmission filter - 8 times. Otherwise I have not maintained the transmission.

    As I understand it, this is basically the same transmission and 3.0L engine that have been available on the Windstar. The Windstar is about 500 lbs. heavier than my Taurus wagon, which won't help the transmission life.

    I just thought I would share my perspective on the reliability of the Windstar engine and transmission components. Obviously a sample size of one is not statistically significant.


    P.S. The engine and transmission still seem to be ok, but all of a sudden, I am looking at air conditioning ( not a major issue in wisconsin this time of year), wheel bearing, radiator, and possibly brake work.
  • bblaha
    My wife is physically unhurt. Thanks for asking. The police or the neighbor whose tree she hit didn't ask.
    My wife was driving about 15 mph down a one inch snow covered road that went down hill and had a curve. As she was in the straight of the road the car started to skid to the right. She applied the brakes and their was no noise and it did not slow down the car or cause it to skid more. She could not straighten the car out of the skid. She skidded about 300 feet and about 20 feet off the road onto our neighbors lawn right smack into the center of a large 20 foot pine tree. The tree snapped and the car spun around 180 degrees up the hill. The car's air bags did not go off the abs and traction control sensor lights did not come on as the manual indicated it would and there was no abs noise while braking. We do have the stock all weather tires that came with the car However there was 3,000 dollars damage. New front bumper, air conditioner condenser coil and radiator.
    We are from new England and have driven many years in the snow. Both of our other cars including the 95 wind star have abs and have been used effectively. We have driven the 95 wind star in a lot of snow and ice and it handled well with the stock tires that came on it.

    My wife refuses to drive the car ever again and I can't blame her. We are doing everything we can to sell it and move on
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Hmmm. Did it start to slide before or after she pressed on the brake? Did the brakes actually lock up (if so, then yeah ABS failed)?

    Maybe snow tires might have prevented the vehicle from sliding in the first place? Coming from NE, you and she know how to drive on snow and ice far better than I do. At least she was going slow and wasn't injured.

    Its probably a good thing that the airbags didn't go off. At that speed, they may have done her more harm than the accident. I forget exactly, but I think they only go off in frontal collisions that exceed 20mph.
  • I am replying to djacob62. I had the same problem. ABS light in dash came on and off at times. Then it just came on after starting up and it remained on....forever. The Ford dealer tested it thoroughly and finally determined the test code showed the "Hydrolic Control Unit" was bad. The is about a 700-800 dollar repair job. But this is a safety issue, because this sensor unit (with the wheel sensor units) is what keeps your car brakes from locking up in a skid if brakes are applied hard during a rainy day on a wet road. If not replaced, then the brakes lock up just like the older cars would before ABS (Anti Skid Brake System)was designed. Good Luck, tell the dealer to test it and see if the ABS is inoperable or not.
  • at times door ajar lite comes on and idiot bell rings telling me my doors are not shut....but they are. The dome light even comes on as if the door is opening...but it is not opening. Driving me cant find the
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Try cleaning the contacts on the frame for the sliding door. There should be 4 silver spots on the doorframe, use something like a pencil eraser. If that doesn't cure the problem, the other offending switch is usually one of the ones on the tailgate, they are actually built into the latches.
  • I've had my Windstar since last May. Bought it with under 12,000 miles and it's been in the shop at least 5 times already. Have already had transmission repairs, tie rods replaced, sliding door lubed, hood latch repaired, etc. Last time I took it in, I told them that the brakes were grinding especially during slow speed, light braking (such as when slowing down in a parking lot). They did not find anything wrong---just adjusted the brakes. Since then the grinding noise has gotten worse. In addition, the brake light comes on often for 4 to 5 seconds when pulling away from a stop sign or stop light. This has been occurring more frequently during the last couple weeks. Has anyone else had this problem? The brake fluid is fine. The 3 year warranty will be up on Feb. 10 and the van is going in again on Feb. 1. I have also noticed that the brakes appear to stop functioning if you hit a bump in the road while applying the brakes. The combination of traction control and anti-lock brakes is also very scary. I recently slid right into the middle of a busy road when the van went into traction control and ABS. I felt like I had no control over it at all. Today I elected to turn the traction control off completely on the snowy roads. Any feedback on these problems would be greatly appreciated!!!
  • nostopnostop Posts: 1
    On at least 5 occasions since we got our Winstar in May, 2000, my wife and I have had problems getting the Winstar to stop. Each of these occasions was somewhat of a panic stop. In each case I put the brakes on hard and the van slowed down to about 10MPH, then the engine seemed to rev up and the vehicle crawled along at 5 to 10 miles an hour for maybe 100 feet. One time I crawled through an intersection, one time I dodged a car in front of me, one time I slammed the transmission into park and it stopped. Each time I had the brake pushed as hard as I could towards the floor. My wife and I have had several cars with ABS brakes and have never experienced this. We took the van back to the dealer who could not duplicate the problem and acted like we were crazy. Has anyone else had this problem and possibly found a solution? We are very leery about driving the van, which does seems to stop fine in no-panic situations.
  • I've had similar problems as those that I have read here. Just recently, I brought my 98 Windstar in for service because of a grinding noise. They re-did my front and back brakes (for the second time in two years), but it obviously was not a problem concerning the brakes since I still have the grinding noise. The noise seems to be worse in the cold weather. A few months ago, we decided that would should try to trade it in since we were racking up the miles on it. Unfortunately, we were all but laughed at when we mentioned that we would like to get what we owed on the van, or at least a few hundred dollars less. One of the salesmen we spoke to offered us $3000 less than what we owed. We now feel like we're stuck with this thing, and the cost to keep it up is skyrocketing.... and not even fixing the problem.
  • Have 12 mth. old 2000 Windstar LX, 11,000 miles, ABS, no traction control, good studded snow tires, 3.8 eng. REside Oregon with frequent slippery conditions Traction with front wheels terrible - much worse than previous Taurus wagons. Rear traction not good either but ABS keeps straight. We removed rear seat for more space, reducing rear weight. Dealer suggests 75 lb. sand bags and says he hasn't heard this complaint before. Main concern is front traction. Considering good weight, front wheel drive, cautious driving, studded snow tires, etc, seems should be decent traction. Is this typical of Windstars?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Studded snow tires are not necessarily better since the tires have less surface contact than the normal non-studded tires do. Except for really icy conditions, I seem to recall that tests have shown that good studless winter tires (ex. Bridgestone Blizzaks, Michelin Arctic Alpins) actually handle better!

    If you have to travel uphill, much of the advantage of the traction advantage of FWD is lost since the weight transfers back. That's why one may see cars spin their front wheels on wet roads (uphill) from a dead stop. I know I certainly do and I beat all of them with my AWD minivan :-) I remember seeing a Swedish winter rally where the co-driver was literally jumping up and down on the Saab's front bumper to try to add more weight/traction to the front drive wheels.

    I think the Windstar's rear (3rd row) bench is about 100lbs, so removing that made your vehicle's weight distribution even more disproportionate. The 75lbs bag of sand should help. Just try to place it directly over (and if possible centre) of the rear axle.

    Drive carefully!

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  • I'm contemplating the purchase of an '01 Windstar with the 3.8 liter engine, however the previous posts leave me a little nervous. Does anyone know what, if anything, Ford has done to correct the head gasket problem? Did they modify the cylinder head or head gasket? If so, what year was the change made, and how is the reliability looking so far?

    The local dealer tells me that "only the '95 Windstars had a problem with the head gaskets, and the transmission has been improved on the '01 model."
  • dadof5dadof5 Posts: 1
    Well, if misery loves company, you have it! My door ajar light comes on only occasionally. I believe on mine it is the sensor for the driver's door. Interestingly, my brother (who also has a '98 windstar) has the same problem. I will try cleaning the contacts that was suggested later. Any other help will be greatly appreciated.
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