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Ford Windstar



  • Kartman7 I believe the headgasket problem was reduced drastically by 97 or 98. The transmission is still a concern of mine. FORD has made "changes" over the years but I believe the transmission is too light for the weight of a Windstar. Regular transmission maintenance is a plus.
  • I am responding to the person who says he's been having problems filling his gas tank and the inside of the van smelling like gas. This has happened to me the last 2 times I have gotten gas. The inside of the van reeks! But this time I also noticed as I was driving away that the $10.00 that I put in didn't even budge the gas needle which was almost on empty. The gas smell makes me very afraid, especially with a 2 year old in the van and a baby on the way. Also been having a problem with a terrible grinding/crunching sound as soon as I start the van in the morning. It happens as soon as I've turned the ignition on and nothing else. On occasion it has also happened while driving. Has this happened to anyone? I am really beginning to dislike this vehicle and am sorry I saved some money and didn't go with the Honda Odyssey.
  • barrye1barrye1 Posts: 13
    OK, I read all of the reviews, but a year ago, I thought that the Ford Motor Company, that I have known and loved for many years through 7 different great cars, trucks and suvs, would put out a good van.

    Ignoring all of the problems that the Windstar had, I bought a used 99 Windstar with 28,000 miles for $15,000 just before my wife and I had our first baby.

    (Thought it was a good deal. It was off our local ford dealership rental lot)

    Three weeks after I had it I noticed the tranny was acting up, took it in. Nothing was found to be wrong. Before the warranty ran out, I had it check four times, three of them I had invoices to show that the tranny was checked but never was anything found. I couldn't get the transmission to act up (hard shift and shudder from first to second). Low an behold, at 39,000 the tranny started to act up on command. Then when I took it in, of course Ford said you do need a new transmission. So I brought my invoices and Ford said, "oh were sorry. Because the problem was not identified until after the warranty ran out, your out of luck."

    After dealing with both the dealer and Ford Customer Service (Not) help line, They gave me a 5 yr, 75,000 warranty, but I had to pay $500 for the warranty. This is ridiculous. I have talked to our attorney general to get my $500 back and am trying to sell my van as soon as possible.

    For those of you who ask this site for input on buying a Ford Windstar. DON"I DO IT. I did and ignored the what I thought were just a "few" bad posts, and now I am regretting every buying this piece of... Well you know.

    Serves me right!

    DO NOT BUY A FORD WINDSTAR. FORD WILL NOT SUPPORT YOU AFTER THE WARRANTY RUNS OUT. They do not care about the customer, only about money.
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    Hi...I just traded in my 2000 Windstar for a 2001 Odyssey, but I did have that grinding sound you described whenever I would start my car when it was not used for more than one day.
    Of course when I brought it into customer service they could not find anything wrong. The only time mine would make that sound was if I did not use the van for at least a day, and then the following morning start it up.
    By the way...I had a 98 Windstar, 2000 Windstar(was given to me by Ford in a buyback Lemon dispute) and now that I have my Odyssey for 1 day - I will never go back to Ford again.
  • I had problems with my 95 Wind star's door ajar alarm too - they fixed the sensor on the side door a few times and then I think they actually disabled it...
  • my 2000 Windstar gets a grinding or crunching sound too - like several seconds after it's turned on - either it doesn't happen all the time, or I just don't notice it all the time, but it doesn't seem to be due to not being used for a day, since I do know it has happened many times when I'm leaving the work at the end of the day - so only a 10-11 hour stretch. I guess I wondered about it the first time I noticed it, but then got too busy to think about it, so I've never mentioned it to the service people - haven't been in to see them in quite a while anyway...
  • Here in Colorado the snow usually melts but finally had 2 storms in a week. The ABS gets a work out and I have found that you have to push with more than normal force on the brake to engage.

    Unless wheels spins different rates it will not engage. But then the noise and vibration tells you it is working. A downhill curve a block away is a good test.
  • I too have a 1998 windstar which pulls to the right even after 3 wheel aliengments! the dealer did attempt to do a ''camber adjustment'' at no charge (even though it was out of warranty). They continue to say ''pulling to the side '' is normal, NOT!!! I say. Oddly the front right brakes on rotors were replaced twice within 5 months of being repaired. Dealer said this was not a warranty issue, so I was forced to pay a private auto repair shop to fix it, since more money had to be put into a van which FORD says ''No problems found''why should they take anymore money from me. Anyone with this pulling problem out there? please reply!
    signed, Burnt in Cali. JC>
  • see my post earlier this month. We are having the same problem with duplicating what happened. We have started an insurance investigation as we had an accident. We are refusing to sign off on the repair and have requested ford buy back the car. They basically laughed. We will not drive the car again and have left it with the dealer. We called ford motor credit and stoped our payments. Ford Motor must be used to it, they have given us a 60 day extension to work out the buy back. We would like to know how you are making out.
  • I have a 1996 Chrysler Town and Country as well as a 2001 Ford Windstar Limited. If you would read your owner's manuals, I think you will find that it the ABS system does a test when the vehicle is first started and then again as you drive. During this time you may here the ABS motor engage which makes a grinding noise.
  • I have a 1996 Chrysler Town and Country as well as a 2001 Ford Windstar Limited. The skidding of the front tires is perfectly normal for a minivan. Most minivans have soft "Luxury" suspension which when you take off the wait shifts to the back resulting in easy spinning of the front tires. My Town and Country will spin the tires with only rain on the ground or while turning the corner even slowly.
  • Someone has given our school a '95 Windstar. It needs an engine.
    Everything else is working fine.
    Is there any reliable engine that can be installed in this vehicle other than a rebuilt
    Ford engine. I'm worried about the blown gasket problem.
    Thanks in advance for any help on this.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    This might be a good time to do a little research. Although I'm not certain of this, I'm pretty sure the head gasket problem is a direct result of using an aluminum head with a cast iron block. The head expands faster than the block causing the gasket to wander around. Supposedly, the problem is reduced by using a newer, multilayered gasket.

    Supposedly, Ford "fixed" the blown head gasket problem mid 1996 model year. This to me suggests they have gone to a different gasket; maybe there is an aftermarket supplier that makes a good gasket for the 3.8l engine.
  • I have 1996 Wind star which have shown many problems in the last 6mths. I have 50K miles on it.
    1) Speedometer - cost $500,
    2) Mass Air Flow sensor and Oxygen Sensor - $600,
    3) Power Steering Pump - $300.

    All this in a span of 6months. Its becoming very expensive to maintain this car. Its becoming more of a liability, then a asset.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Presently has 79000 miles on it.

    Replace Battery $70 (it was actually fine, more preventative than anything else)
    Replace PCV Valve and hose $89 to diagnose about $35 for parts and labor
  • My mechanic is waiting for your reply to my question. Sounds sensible and very good.
    I will find out what I can. Thanks for the information. If we can get some mileage out of
    this car everyone at school will be indebted to you.
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    I have a 2000 SEL with 16k miles. I have been pretty happy thus far, but this week my wife noticed a whirling noise coming from the passenger-side engine compartment. This only happens when the van is moving. It is a low whirling/rumbling noise that ceases once the van stops. Sounds like it might be the beginning of a transmission or wheel bearing problem.

    Has anyone had a similar experience?
  • I Bought a 1998 windstar 6 weeks earlier I am quite pleased with it however twice during braking or slowing for a stop sign and a rail crossing the engine has surged and the van jumped forward. After the last experience I spent the next day trying to duplicate the problem but it did not. My concern is the engine will surge when I,I braking in traffic and cause me to rear end someone. I am taking the car to the ford dealer for them to check it over . Has anyone else experienced this problem ??..
  • I have now nearly made it through two winters with my '99 windstar se. no major problems other than rusting of the chrome inserts on the door mouldings. ford replaced them (under warranty)last year. This year I have cleanered and waxed them several times. but to no avail....they still rusted. the chrome inserts on the bumpers don't have any rust.....can you say plastic chrome. why they didn't use that everywhere is beyond me. i have had similar problems with the chrome wheels on my sable. i'm guessing they just use an inferior product and process for chrome these days. any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.
  • 2000 Windstar, purchased 3-17-2000. When it was about six weeks old, I noticed what looked like rust on the rocker panels. There were many rust spots, some of which were larger than 1mm. They were not through-rust. They were too big to be the metal rusting out (in six weeks). They looked like raw steel filings had fallen into the top layers of the paint and had formed rust, but that is only a theory. Has anyone seen this? Would anyone care to hazard a guess of what it was? A Lincoln-Mercury dealer gladly did repaint this. I suppose they sanded the rust off. The problem did not reoccur--yet.

    I also noticed the gray primer showing through the white top coat on the tailgate, tailgate frame, side door frame. The dealer repainted these to be white. Any other such observations?
  • I brought a Ford Windstar in June 2000,first it was the rear window it would not close,then the right slide door was making a bubbling noise,then on top of that,I started hearing a popping noise in the front end of the Van. could hear the noise when I was turning and backing the van. want some help on how I can get my money back and give them their lemon back before anything else happens.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    I'm BBBB AAAA CCCC KKKK! And Oh, how I hate to be here... Nothing against you folks; we are all just part of a club that nobody wants to be a member of... Nonetheless, the 95 WS has bitten me again!

    Brief history:
    JAN 1999 - 47000 - New Transmission (warranty)
    MAY 1999 - 52000 - New Transmission (warranty)
    MAY 1999 - 52000 - New Head Gaskets (warranty)
    MAY 1999 - 52025 - New Motor (warranty)
    JUL 1999 - 53000 - Replace O2 Sensors (warranty - $50)
    OCT 1999 - 56000 - New Transmission (warranty)
    JAN 2000 - 59600 - New Blower Motor (et al - only $400!) - Extended Warranty is about to expire...
    FEB 2000 - 61000 - New Front Brakes & Rotors ($225)
    APR 2000 - 63000 - New Inner Tie Rods ($300)
    At EVERY oil change from this point forward, I indicated to the service rep that we were constantly smelling coolant....

    Luck Me! What now! We are at 75000 and guess what?! We need another engine again! Oh yeah! You'll even give me a rental car? Why? It is going to take 10 days to get another engine! Wait a minute... Isn't there a buy back program? That program for 95WS ended in October.

    I cannot believe this... I'll keep you posted...
    2003 Honda Odyssey EX-LRES - Midnight Blue Pearl
    2004 Honda Accord EX-L Graphite Pearl
    2007 Honda Civic EX - Atomic Blue
    2013 Honda Civic LX - Crimson Pearl
  • Wow!
    I am amazed at the number of transmission problems on this model.
    Our WS 98 has 56K.
    Here's its dirty laundry list:
    1. The Tracking bar has been replaced at 25K - Warranty.
    2. The Windshield developed a growing crack for an unknown reason - replaced windshield via insurance, beyond 36K warranty.
    3. Door Handle on sliding door coming loose. I have to push in on the handle to get it to work. Dealer estimated $250 to fix. - beyond 36K warranty.
    4. Right passenger side mirror coming loose at base that attaches to door ( not the glass itself ). Dealer estimated $250 to fix. - beyond 36K warranty.
    5. 12V DC power socket on center console blew a fuse. Replaced fuse and it worked. 3 months later the same socket stopped working again. It might be a blown fuse. I haven't bothered checking it since I've become accustomed to things breaking in this car and really wish it would go away. If it is a blown fuse again, might this indicate an electrical short somewhere that could cause a fire?
    6. After a wheel rotation, the car started pulling right. I have to turn the steering wheel 5 degrees left of center to keep the car going straight. The pulling seems worse when accelerating or when the engine is pulling at a high torque.
    First Try: Dealer rotated tires ( back to the original position ), checked alignment to be good. They must not have test driven it because the car was still pulling.
    Second Try: Dealer rotated tires, adjusted alignment with a greater attention to detail. I was told that it was test driven, and I believe them, as I requested the dealer to pick up and drop off the car at our house. The pulling was less severe, but it was still there. Service manager said it was "radial pull" ( tires ) or shocks. Using the old fashion "bounce" test, the shocks did not appear to be a factor.
    7. The rim covers keep coming off. I replaced missing covers twice( at $50 - $75 each ). I made sure the metal tabs were bent out enough to grip the rim to the point it was difficult to get the cover on. Regardless, I am down to one rim and don't plan on replacing any more. Oddly, that last rim is holding tight.
    8. The last straw. The transmission made a grinding noise that grew Louder over a week, and was most prominent when accelerating. Finally, while driving it the day before I was to take it to the shop the transmission seized up on a hill. If this happens to you, - get behind the wheel, shift it to Neutral and have some one else rock it. Eventually it will break loose and roll back down the hill, so be ready to move out of the way.

    I've owned 4 different cars over the past 18 years, each from different manufactures. A couple I have kept over 5 years/100,000 miles. Personally, I have never seen a car develop so many problems inside of 3 years and under 56K miles. 3 years ago this was a $29,000 car and I was expecting $29,000 worth of quality.

    Does anyone remember when Ford's motto was "Quality Is Job #1" ?
    Is it a coincidence that they don't advertise that any more?
    Instead, "Built Ford Tough" implies "Tough" to maintain one.
  • I had a clunk in mine when I first got it that went away right before I took it in to the dealer. This winter the front end started to shimmy--they blamed it on going though snow banks although there was no physical evidence of this. They balanced the tires even though they were in specs. They ended up steam cleaning the suspension which took care of the shimmy but it felt like it was hitting every bump in the road had. On night it started clunking bad and over every little bump. They replaced and tightened a few bolts and it improved the ride too.
    As far as the lemon law, you need a total of 30 out of service days, or the same problem 4 times--I'm I'am the process of this. The attorney I talked to said the dealer will always make an offer that looks good to the person, but generly with an attorney they won't mess around.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    OK - I am awaiting the call from either the dealership or the FMC representative. FWIW, every Ford dealership is assigned a Regional Representative. This person works for the Ford Motor Company. This person is only available through the Service Manager at each dealership (the 1-800-392-FORD folks will NOT acknowledge that this person exists). If you feel you are not getting anywhere with your dealer, I suggest you ask for the Ford Regional Representative.

    Well, it is now after 3:30PM and I was supposed to hear from them by 3:00PM. I have called the 1800 number again. Another rep (LeRoy) is taking all the information (again). It is just amazing to me that that all I seem to do is repeat the story - over and over - the reps do all they can to keep you from getting upset. Which is probably good. THey have all the history of calls that I have made. Funny, I asked them to send a copy of that infomration to me, however, they wont send anything?! They say that their "system" cannot do it...

    Nonetheless, FORD has dished out a LOT of money to keep this car running. WHY? I have asked, once again, to get the same offer that was made under program M010. While he has not stated so,
    I am under the impression that this program is over. I still can't get confirmation on that. It is now 4:10PM and I have been on the phone since 3:40PM.

    At 4:10PM the Service Manager FINALLY joined the phone conversation. His name is JEFF. Turns out, he knows NOTHING about this! It appears that TERRY, the Parts Manager, was the person who spoke with the the Ford contact yesterday! This is absolutely screwed! Jeff has claimed complete ignorance to this issue. I have asked that Jeff talk with Terry and the Regional Rep to review the situation. Jeff stated that he will call tonight. I'll believe it when that happens...

    More to come...
    2003 Honda Odyssey EX-LRES - Midnight Blue Pearl
    2004 Honda Accord EX-L Graphite Pearl
    2007 Honda Civic EX - Atomic Blue
    2013 Honda Civic LX - Crimson Pearl
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Well - I tried... Just got off the phone with the Regional Rep for Ford. I'll give her some credit - she was much more compassionate than the last one; nonetheless, the buy-back is not in my future. According to her, the buy-back option was NOT a part of the head gasket program. It was an addendum to the program because the demand for rebuild 3.8L V6 far outstripped supply. As part of the program, they were offering a rental car for the time that you would be out of your car. Unfortunately, they found that some waits (the combination of getting the motor and having it installed) were running in excess of four months. It was more cost advantageous to buy those people out of their vehicle. According to what she said, for the region that I live in, she had to use the addendum in June, July, and part of September.

    Whatever the case, I did find out one VERY interesting thing... The first motor replacement (in June 1999) did NOT include the re designed head gasket - as I was told...

    Soooooo, tomorrow I get a rental and wait for a motor to be installed. I can't wait for the Customer Satisfaction Survey on this one...
    2003 Honda Odyssey EX-LRES - Midnight Blue Pearl
    2004 Honda Accord EX-L Graphite Pearl
    2007 Honda Civic EX - Atomic Blue
    2013 Honda Civic LX - Crimson Pearl
  • I too have the same problem. I have 1995 with MANY problems and just bought it Dec 2nd. I came dangerously close to hitting a woman walking in front of my car as I was pulling out of her way and the van jumped forward. My husband came very close to rear-ending another car when he was taking a turn at a light. I took it to service and they said the air intake was loose and they tightened it. When I picked it up and drove it again, sure enough it did it again. Is the problem fixed... NO. Two days ago the GM called me and said to bring it back yesterday to have someone ride with me to point out all the problems, I have yet to hear from him. HAS ANYONE WATCHED THEY'RE ENGINE WHEN YOU PLACE IT IN PARK, DRIVE OR REVERSE????????? Mine literally shifts forwards and backwards, it rocks in the compartment. I have never seen an engine do this.
  • Help!! I have a 98 GL that is in need of an exorcism. We are having problems with the door open chime coming on whenever it feels like it and stays on until it gets ready to shut off. I noticed the other day that it seemed to happen fairly regular when the brakes were applied and it would stop when the accelerator was applied. Another problem is a growling sound in the steering when making a turn, it is much worse in colder temperatures. The car is 13000 miles out of warranty. Any help would be appreciated.
  • 2000 WS SEL - Does anyone know how to turn the seat belt alarm down a bit? Yes, I'm real quick to get my seat belt on, but it's still unusually load.

    Also, how is everyone's MPG? We do a lot of local driving and get 13 MPG. (What's the criteria for the gas guzzler tax?)
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    Our computer is saying 13 in the city also, 19 on the highway.
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