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Ford Windstar



  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45
    My 1995 Ford Windstar GL 3.8L V6
    Problems, Defects, Recalls

    * Defective factory Head Gaskets at 60K miles. White smoke, coolant in engine oil. Replaced under Ford Recall but I still had to pay $200 for "fluids & environmental fees".
    * "Hood Separation at high speeds" Recall. Dealer applied more Glue to the plastic hood!
    * Gas Tank (plastic) needed Reinforcement for hot weather climates. Recall. They installed redesigned straps on the plastic gas tanks.
    * Sliding Door needed reinforcement/welding.
    * Transmission Oil pan leaked constantly since vehicle was new at 0 miles. I was original owner.
    * Engine oil pan started leaking at 10K miles.
    * "Check Engine" light came on ALL the time! Usually on long drives or change of altitude. Dealer could never explain, and refused to fix it as there was no "problem".
    * Hesitation/Jerking/Loss of power at certain temperatures, elevations, engine speeds. Dealer could never reproduce problem so refused to fix.
    * Trim, body panels, weather stripping falling apart. (20K miles)
    * Radio buttons and knobs falling off. (20K miles)
    * Windows came off their tracks (30K miles)
    * Defective rim that leaked Air! There was an Air Leak in the steel Wheel right from the factory! Dealer refused to replace, they said it was a Maintenance item! GRR..

    I sold my Windstar last year at a loss for $3000. It only had 67K miles on it, yet everything was falling apart. I took the money and ran while the vehicle was still 'running'.
    I was the original owner and maintained that vehicle religiously, changing oil every 3K, tranny fluid flushes, air filter every 10K, coolant flush every summer, etc.

    Bottom line; DON'T buy a FORD!
    In the end it will end up owning YOU!
    I will Never Ever own another Ford vehicle again!
  • gandalf17gandalf17 Posts: 348

    Appreciate your feedback. Sounds like you got stuck with a really horrible vehicle. You probably should have pursued the lemon law on that one....

    Although your words alone would not influence my decision at all, I have decided not to purchase this 1998 Windstar. I have done quite a bit of further research, both here and independently and there isn't a chance I would pony up the money for a vehicle with a problem plagued history such as this. I find it exceptionally troubling that years went by and the same issues kept re occurring in the same vehicles. It reinforced to me why i will never buy a car from a North American manufacturer. I have owned Honda's, Mazda's and now a Subaru WRX for the last 10 years. I have never had a major mechanical issue or malfunction in all of that time. I have only had to have regular maintenance and a few minor problems fixed under warranty such as squeaking seats and loose window trimming.

    Steve Host,

    Thanks also for the feedback on pricing. I was planning on using this vehicle almost exclusively as transport to my boat which i have docked about an hour north of Toronto. The extra carrying capacity and the fact i didn't have to put mileage on my wife's Mazda Protege ES or my WRX intrigued me. I'm sorry, but the potential for costly transmission and engine repairs just isn't worth it for me.

  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45

    Agreed... after spending so much time/money/effort on that Ford, I realized that it was a lost cause.
    (Note: just the other day I received yet *another* Recall from Ford for defective front coils springs on Windstars! Unbelievable! I forwarded the recall letter to the new owner, hehe, not my problem any more)

    I contacted the Ford complaint dept MANY times; they just offered their condolences, reiterated some old safety ratings, and offered me a 'coupon' on my next Ford purchase. I told them there Wasn't going to BE a next Ford purchase and that they can shove that coupon up their &$%!

    With all the time and money I put into it, I could've just started out with a Toyota or Honda to begin with! Some things are just not worth cheaping out on.
    Especially now with all the competition and low interest rates amongst all the automakers, us consumers shouldn't have to put up with 3rd rate crap! My hard-earned cash will be going to automakers that will give me Reliability and Quality... not Recalls and TSB's.

    I just recently bought my wife a brand new Toyota truck, and I bought myself a new Honda V-twin motorcycle. We are happy campers now :o)
    I seriously considered the WRX, but most dealers were out of stock a few months ago!
    Happy motoring.
  • mikeu42mikeu42 Posts: 2
    Like all too many others, I wish I had this Town Meeting before I bought my 1995 Windstar. I've had basically all the problems written about, and got the same treatment from Ford Customer Service. See my message # 808 at Town Hall "Ford Windstar Problems." QUESTION: Can anyone out there tell me how to go about getting a decent "coupon" from Ford for all the problems and costs I still am incurring. I got $800.00 for the head gaskets I replaced (but got unfairly shut out of the $4,000 purchase incentive for same). After last years "control module?" case in California, is there anything out there for me to offset the cost of replacing this lemon-year vehicle from Ford????? Thanks USA and Canada Windstarers....
  • djacob62djacob62 Posts: 5
    Took my 98 Windstar in to the shop today. Needs a new transaxle. Only 60256 miles on it. They are replacing it with a refurbished one with a 2 year 24k mile warranty.
    Mechanic says it could've gone out due to neglect (didn't replace filter and fluid at recomended intervals) but even if it did, it's hard telling if it would've lasted or not.
    In any case, shouldn't trannys last more than 4 years and 60,000 miles?
    Do I have a case with Ford on trying to get some reimbursement for this?
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    You can give it a shot and see what they say. All they can say is no and you have lost nothing. However, this is another reason for the extended warranty. With the technology in today's cars just replacing a power window motor is $400 or so and if you keep your car as long as we do, 6 to 10 years, something major is bound to fail.

    Do you notice that if you go to the other boards it seems all the vans and cars seem to have transmission and power steering problems. I guess I am lucky that I do not own an old GM car where the thing could catch on fire.

    I do pull the routine maint on my transmission. I had a 95 Windstar (totaled by a red light runner) with 135K on it and the transmission was fine. I had the transmission power cleaned ( all fluids removed) and synthetic fluid put in and no problem. Once every 60k.
  • djacob62djacob62 Posts: 5
    Thanks very much for the link to lemonaidcars
    very good information.

    I'm taking a copy of my invoice for the tranny work and a letter to the Ford dealer I bought the van from on Friday. I've already talked to them on the phone. So hopefully they'll do something. I'm not getting my hopes up, but it wont hurt to try.
  • I bought a 97 Windstar about 8 months ago and have had numerous problems with it, although nothing serious yet. One of them continues to annoy us. The chime is frequently on for no apparent reason. There are only two factors we have been able to identify: 1) It only stays on at speeds under 20 mph, and 2) It is more frequent with the headlights on (sometimes the chime goes off if I turn my headlights off, but not always).

    Has anyone else experienced this?
  • jsiedhoffjsiedhoff Posts: 18
    I have a 2002 windstar with a squeaking driver's side sliding door. What is strange about it is that it only squeaks and rattles when it is raining. Has anyone experienced this? I had a 2000 that was a lemon and I wish then I stayed away from Ford. My '02 that I got as a replacement (after fighting with Ford for 3 months) has already had two front end alignments, three steering wheels and a squeaky driver's seat also. I will never buy another Ford product in my lifetime.
  • brunnabrunna Posts: 53
    We really want another Odyssey, but refuse to pay the premium price. Ford is now offering "cash plus" so there are really good deals to be had. Can anyone give me some good reasons to actually purchase the Ford over the Honda? Somebody must have a good long term experience?
  • ssartorissartori Posts: 15
    To make a long story short, I just bought a 96 Windstar with 47,000 miles on it... The Windstar replaces a 94 Transport with 68,000 care free miles we bought new but was rear ended by a garbage truck after the truck lost it's breaks coming down a steep hill... (Was the garbage truck a Ford also?). The only problems with the Transport were the constant warped rotors… They would last for about a year then warp out.. The pads would last forever, and the valve seals were going.. I just dropped $700 3 weeks before the accident on an ABS sensor $500 and $200 for a new Power steering line that rusted out thanks to salt and Upstate NY... The ink on the Visa bill was still wet when the Transport was totaled.. Thank God My wife and Mother weren't hurt.. That space age frame under the plastic really worked...

    Well in a pinch with only $6300 from the insurance, try to find a reliable vehicle on a lot for that price.. We try to dive them for 10 years and then buy new.. Yes I have a 99 Sable that has two more years left on the loan.. The Sable has been reliable so far.. but it's still under warranty.. We found a clean 96 Windstar with 47,000 mile for $7,200.. The ride is much nicer than the 94 T-sport and everything seems to be working on it... I did need something with at least a 3.5-3.8L engine to pull out 1200lbs pop-up trailer.. I figured we went up 2 model years and dropped 21K in miles, and all I need it to do is last the next two years till the Sable is paid off..

    After reading the nightmares here with head gaskets, and trannies I cannot believe the quality of the Windstar can be this bad.. It sounds like Ford couldn't care less.. I really do love the ride of the Ford over the Transport... My last Ford was an 86 T-bird that we loved but with two little kids it was time for a van... My wife loved the idea of the power sliding door.. GM came out with them in 94... GM could of used my wife, our 3 year old and baby for the commercial.. Arms loaded and the pod in hand trying to open the door.. BTW The Transport Plastic body still looked great.. No Rust... Just don't look under the van..

    Well anyways I'll keep you posted on the Windstar... I'm hoping that (unfortunately) this may only represent .01% of the bad Windstar out there and this group is extremely vocal..
    Man I hope that’s soooooooo….
  • autolover3autolover3 Posts: 53
    When is the Windstar scheduled for a redesign? Anyone know?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    According to our FUTURE CARS link, Ford's Windstar will get "minor revisions" for the 2003 model year.

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  • autolover3autolover3 Posts: 53
    I hope they add a factory installed DVD rather than VHS (but of course that is probably low on the totem pole). Thanks for the input.
  • reds22reds22 Posts: 1
    It started around 40,000 miles. Engine light comes on. Finally after 5 visits to Ford service they replace the neck to the gas tank, input and output sensors, gas tank, and the check engine light was finally resolved. Also added another 15k trying to fix that problem. Then Ford replaced another faulty gas tank. Left front door speaker went out. Right door track broke on at window at 66k. Replaced transmission at 83k. Blown head gasket at 84k. This car has also been maintained with Ford at 33k, 60k, have had the oil changed regularly. Talked to Ford's customer service and they just told me how sorry they are that I have had this problems and just said how people have had nothing but good things to say about the Windstar, also said how safe they are. After having great luck with 72 Torino, 78 F250 Pickup, 88 Taurus wagon all maintained the same way this Windstar has been nothing but trouble and I will not recommend a Ford Mini van.
  • momx2momx2 Posts: 14
    My husband and I purchased a 2002 Windstar over the weekend. The lease on our 1998 F150 had expired and we did not purchase it because we had a new addition to the family (the truck would only seat 3). In the 4 years that we had the truck we did not have one single problem. With that in mind, we felt confident in our purchase. Ford is currently offering a $3,000.00 rebate and we also qualified for a additional $1,500.00 as a returning customer. After reading a few of the postings here I hope we did not make a mistake. I plan on purchasing a aftermarket extended warranty. I will post any problems or concerns that I may encounter.
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    Do not go aftermarket on the extended warranty!!!!! They have lots of holes in them and there are many places that do not take them. Go with the Ford plan. Most likely a little more expensive but any Ford dealer will honor it and the only up front cost is the deductible. Since you are a loyal ford owner you probably could get a discount on it.
  • momx2momx2 Posts: 14
    I purchased a extended warranty from dealer years ago. The dealer charged a premium price for it too and it would have been easier to pull my own teeth than to get the dealer to fix something that went wrong. I could only have the repairs made at the dealer in order for the item to be covered. It was a 1996 Dodge stratus and had plenty of major problems. I purchased the warranty ( recommend by edmunds for the van. You can find the link at the home page. It covers a many items, major and minor. The price was not bad, roughly half the amount I was quoted at the dealer. I will receive the paper work in the mail in a few days. I believe I can cancel with only a $25.00 penalty. Not sure until I receive the paper work. Does anyone else have the warranty?
    If so, could you please comment....
  • rmscsrmscs Posts: 6
    I have a 96 with 95k miles. It has actually been relatively trouble free except for a leaking power steering rack replaced under warranty and the check engine light that has been on for the last 20k miles. My wife likes the van and wants to keep it. We usually drive cars 150k. I am experiencing the noisy ball joints. Could anyone suggest a quality aftermarket part supplier. Any other high mileage Windstars out there?
  • rainersrainers Posts: 50
    I am interested in buying Daylight running lights relay for my van. Does anyone know where the factory receptical is located and the part number.

    Any info would help
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    I presently have a 99SE but prior to that I had a 95GL and it was totaled by a red light runner at 135K and never had a ball joint problem.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    this is a very negotiable item, you should be able to get at least a 1/3 to almost a half off the "list" price easily with some hard bargaining (have done that for a windstar, venture and two subarus).I usually negotiate a price for the car, then I tell them I'm walking out unless they give me a big discount on the warranty, works every time! if you don't get a big discount go shop around, the dealer who sold you the car does not have to be the dealer who sells you the warranty. some car makes even have dealers selling cut price manufacturers warranties on the internet. its easy money for them, just some paperwork!
    generally speaking manufacturers extended warranties are less hassle in terms of getting approvals and also knowing the company is still around when you need it, a big problem with many after market ones in previous years- they are out of business when you need them. you are however stuck going to a dealer with a manufacturers warranty though. most dealers nowadays have their service computer systems set up so that if you have an extended warranty and work covered is necessary, it automatically tells the service manager its covered, gets approval electronically from the manufacturer etc etc expediting things quite a bit. also, at least with the subarus (the windstar and venture are still new enough- 2000 models - not to have had to invoke the extended one yet) I have had the dealers cover non covered items as good will gestures. have had one experience with non manufacturer warranty before - for an audi, big hassle getting approvals always necessitating another trip back to get the work done (and if you think a windstar is trouble - I had a 95 too - ok I'm a slow learner!, audis in the 80s were garage queens!).
  • shorneshorne Posts: 1
    MOMx2 refers to a return customer rebate of 1,500.00. Anyone have any info on this rebate?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I wonder if the return customer one is in addition to the ones shown (in my zipcode) for the Windstar on our Incentives and Rebates page?

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  • kelleyokelleyo Posts: 182
    worst quality I have ever seen in a vehicle. It has only 20,000 miles on it. We have had it in numurous times with Service Engine light. The last time they had to replace the gas tank to fix the problem.

    The Low Tire pressure warning light stays on constantly. I keep the tires set at 32 to 35 lbs and reset the light and within an hour it comes back on. Dealer has never been able to fix.

    We have a gasket leak around the drivers side sliding door that has never been fixed.

    We have had many (4 ?) recalls.

    It is now leaking oil like a sieve. They replaced the oil pan gasket but it has started leaking again.

    I would not recommend this car to my worst enemy.
  • monty2222monty2222 Posts: 48
    Regarding the passenger captains chair seats, is there any year of Windstar where these can slide together to almost form a bench seat? If Windstar does not offer it, can anyone tell me which makes/models do? Thanks. (reason is, sometimes I want the kids together, sometimes apart).
  • autolover3autolover3 Posts: 53
    I have been researching vans (don't own one yet), but to my knowledge, the Honda Odyssey has what you want (at least the 1999+ models). The middle row can be two separate captain chairs or can fit together to make a bench. I have never seen anyone mention this as a feature of any Windstar model year that I know of. Hope this helps.
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    The MPV has what they call "slide by side" middle buckets. True, it is smaller than the Odyssey but then again it also has the fold away rear seat.
  • monty2222monty2222 Posts: 48
    I think I saw it on the Kia Sedona, but have to go look again. One thing about their middle captains seats, even seperated, there is very little space to squeeze between them into the back. I also do like the fully reclining rear seat in the dodge caravans, fold back like into a bed. Not on Windstar, correct? Here is another seat possibility for you. If the vans have an option for bench or captains chairs in the middle, and I buy it with one type, could I buy the other type seat froma junk yard and have both so I can exchange in as I like?
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