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Ford Windstar



  • I bought a used '96 Windstar, 11/02 with 139K miles. 3.0
    Over the years, I have replaced the brakes, had the front end aligned, tuneup, starter, transmission fluid service, with the minor adjustments when they did the oil change and find something that needs done. Faithfully have done my oil changes between 3K & 4K miles. I now have 185K miles and trying to keep the minivan running. Still running good after doing some minor work over the last few months. I noticed a slow start with the transmission - that I noticed on some of the comments of this board and also they said I have some leaks (seals) that I also have seen on this site, even though I have not seen any leaks on the ground or garage. Was just wondering about how long before (my biggest fear) the transmission goes or any other major item that I should be worry about.
    I am new to the site here and really enjoyed looking at some of the comments
  • Is the pulley on the 1999 3.0L the same as the 3.8L? i have searched hi and low for a pulley for the 3.8 and all i find is for the 3.0 will this fit? :confuse:
  • 99 keyless remote inoperable Does anyone have any ideas of what it can be? Batteries in remote are good . Does anyone have any solutions? Where is the receiver located?
  • check engine light on, van shakes, vibrates and wants to stall especially at low speed are when stopped at a red light.Does anyone have any solutions on how to fix the problem.
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    Possibly your air bypass valve. But my Check Engine Light wasn't on when my Van did the same thing. Easy to replace yourself.
  • oadkinsoadkins Posts: 1
    I own a 1999 on which this has happened to me twice. It can give you a panic attack if it happens in the wrong place. The second time it happened to me my car was in our garage but everything that I tried did not solve the problem. After cooling down I tried to think it through an came to the conclusion that the problem was one of the fact that the ignition was not registering the fact that the gear shift lever was in the "park" mode. So, the parking pawl pin inside the transmission must be fouled in some manner and not making contact.
    To try to rectify this I pushed hard on the outside of the van back and forth to try to give it a rocking motion. I then got in the van and "bingo" it started. It has not happened since but you might try this is yours should repeat.. Best regards --- OMA
  • I have the Haynes manual for my 1998 Windstar. I followed the instructions and got advice from

    I removed the nut and bolt, as described. The starter wouldn't budge. I tapped it (then pounded it) with a rubber mallet. I tried prying it. But the starter will not budge even a centimeter. I've tried everything I can think of except nukes.

    Anyone have any other suggestions?
  • I have a 2002 Windstar. It won't start, and there is a very loud clicking sound when I try to start it. Interior lights and other accessories work, and I tried jump-starting it (no difference). Could it be the starter, solenoid?
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    I have a 96 Windstar. The spare is external under the trunk and is NOT the full size. Does anybody know if I can mount a FULL size external spare? Thanks in advance
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    The clicking sound you hear is the solenoid in the starter when it tries to crank. On my 96 Windstar the solenoid/starter is all 1 unit. If your battery is bad, you may not be able to jump start it. Remove battery and take it to somebody like Autozone. Make sure battery tests OK and is fully charged and put back in. If it starts, then something is running down the battery or it is not getting properly recharged (alternator ?). If it doesn't start with a good battery, the starter may be bad. Good luck.
  • I think you can mount a fullsize spare under the rear of your Windstar. I have a 98 Windstar and I did it once. Of course you would have to be able to do this because if it really came to pass that you had a flat and you had to use the temporary spare, you would either have to mount the full size flat tire underneath on the spare's wire or you would have to put it loose in the cargo area along with its mud and grime.

    Of course if you want to be absolutely certain, just pretend you have a flat on one of your rear tires, mount the temp spare on the axle, and put the full size on the spare's wire and hoist it up. I think you will find it fits snugly within the guides. And this would be good practice for a real emergency.

    I hate temporary spares--what do you do on the Interstate in the middle of the night when you''re halfway across Texas or someplace. You can't get the flat fixed at that hour and you're not supposed to drive very much on the temp. I have intended to buy a full size inexpensive tire from Tire Rack and have them mount it on a rim they took off a car when the sold the owner alloy wheels. Twelve years and I never got around to it. About a hundred bucks but well worth it when you think of the flexibility and safety it would give. My 2006 Toyota Camry came with a full size spare, a surprise blessing.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    "Twelve years and I never got around to it."

    Oh, exactly the same situation here. I had done that with our previous minivan, but never did get it done on the 1997 Windstar. We also towed a camping trailer and you are not supposed to tow with mini spare. Luckily never had a flat tire, until...

    My daughter was 800 miles away using our windstar, which had just gotten brand new tires and she had a flat. Obviously she was not going to drive all the way home on the mini. The new tire had come with a free 12 mo road hazard warranty, but no one had that tire in the area. She ended up getting a bald tire mounted for $30 or so, just to get home.

    Now I put the bald tire in the garage and if anyone were to go on a long trip in the old minivan, I'd just throw it in the back, so that it could be remounted to get home.
  • It's very good to see this site back in operation--it's been asleep too long. Obviously some of us have this old minivan still on the road. Mine is 12 years old with 92,000 miles and I'm going to overhaul some systems to get another 4 to 6 years out of it. First of all, I'll have the rubber hoses in the cooling system changed: two radiator and two heater hoses, with new fluid. Then I'll change the transmission and power steering fluids. The brakes and tires have already been done. A thorough safety chek. The engine runs well and she smogs beautifully. What else?

    I know people have had enough troubles with the Windstar but I've gone many a year with just oil changes needed. Knock on wood. I figure I'll put under a thousand dollars into it to bring up to snuff
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I never had many problems with our 1997, until it got up in the mileage range that you are reaching. Then it was head, intake, and front cover gaskets leaking. The only reason ours is still going is I had all that and more taken care of at a tech college, for the price of parts only, a couple years ago.

    Subsequently there was power steering pump and rack.
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    Has anyone removed the 3rd row seat on a 95-98 Windstar. I want to expand the cargo area. Are there any potential issues? Is there a recommended procedure or does Ford say you're on your own? Thanks in advance
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I've put it in and out many, many times in a '97. I just fold the seat back down, pull the two release levers and slide it out the back. It is pretty heavy and bulky, so you may want two people, though I have done it myself at times.
  • For a long trip you might consider taking the center seat out rather than the rear seat. We did that once on a coast-to-coast round trip with three people in the Windstar. That way you can put food, drinks, games and pillows in the middle where everybody can reach them. Also plenty of leg room for whoever is in the back seat. Still some cargo area left behind the rear seat. The thing I always liked about minivans is that they are like a small family room. A comfortable way to travel with more space but not more cost than a sedan.
  • I have a '95 Windstar and I am annoyed that the windshield wipers, particularly the drivers side, are nearly useless at freeway speeds - the wind lifts them so that they only clean the upper 1/3 of the sweep. Many years ago I had a VW Quantum wagon with a plastic wind deflector mounted to the arm to hold it against the windshield - I have searched all over eBay and the internet looking for an add-on for my wipers, with no luck. Maybe I'm not using the right terminology, but has anyone ever seen or bought something similar? Or found a solution to the wiper lifting problem?
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Never had that problem myself, but you might try Bosch Icons, Trico Neoform or Rain-X Latitude wiper blades. These each have a built in "spoiler". I have found this style of blade to generally perform better for longer and they are certainly much better for winter.
  • My uncle took out my after market radio to fix the heater gear in the back of the dash. when he put my radio back in, it would not turn on. But i have power to it and can put in a CD and press eject on the face plate and the CD comes out. Then After i looked at it, i tried to put my original stock radio in it and it doesn't turn on, but i can put in a CD and eject it. And also the clock shows up on the stock radio when i turn my lights on. Any help with this would be great
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    If you didn't disconnect negative battery cable before removal or during installation. it you may have subjected it to intermittent power when you disconnected it or reconnected it, The radio may have accidentally been ON when you reinstalled it.

    If the radio makes some noise, but no stations received, it may be the antenna wire is not installed or connector/wire got damaged during process.

    If its real dry and you've experienced any static shocks lately, google the web for ESD precautions when working with electronic devices. Your typical consumer electronics for your home is designed to eliminate this problem, but when you are doing your own technician work, things are different.

    Look for a replacement radio on the internet.
  • My '95 Windstar with a 3.8L has a power steering pump that moans - mostly when doing low-spped turns or when turning the wheel while not moving. It has plenty of fluid, and works OK, and other Ford products I've had also moaned - should I replace the pump, or just let it moan? Its not real loud, but sometimes is makes itself known when accelerating in a strainght line.
  • my engine coded, and will be fixed this week but i would like to know why the light would flash and not come on steady like i have seen?
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    As I recall, the owners manual says something like the flashing light means there is a significant problem and you should stop driving immediately to avoid damaging the engine.
  • Has anyone put snow cables/chains on the standard 225/60R16 Windstar tires? I have a trip planned that might need chains but I see that the owners manual specifically says not to put chains on these tires. Indeed the clearance between the tire and the spiral metal suspension component inside the wheelwell is very tight. Presumably you are supposed to fit smaller tires, e.g. 215/60R16, but that's a pain.
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    You might want to consider a pair of "winter" tires for the front. I used to live in Pa. and before front wheel drive, chains were very common. With fwd all the weight over the tires improves traction. If fwd+snow tires doesn't make it, chains will probably not make it. Take a metal shovel and a bag of sand. Your biggest problem might be that the Windstar does not have much ground clearance.

    One drawback of chains is that the main roads might be clear and then you'll have to take them off.
  • I live in the SF Bay Area so only need to carry chains for the pass over I80 to Reno. When the CHP imposes chain controls you are not allowed on the road without chains or 4WD. I'm pretty sure I used chains on this vehicle way back in 2001 but they were installed for a fee by one of the professional chain installers. To me it looks impossible given the clearance. What I am assuming is that the chain (cable) probably rubs against the pad at the bottom of the steel coil but doesn't do any damage. Annoying as I just has new tires installed and I could have got 215/60R16. It pays to read the manual, although I am amazed that a US company would outfit a vehicle with tires that cannot take chains.
  • I purchased a 2003 Winstar SEL about a year ago. I have done the usual mechanical stuff to the van. Tune up, oil changes, etc. But I have been having some major problems with it. Started about a week after we left the lot. Have taken it to several mechanics and they have not been able to figure it out. The auto slidding doors wont unlock, open when you push the button, or close when you push the button. Does not happen all the time but most of the time. The interior lights flicker on and off at all different times. When I am at a stop light the motor sputters like it is not wanting to stay on. Kind of like it is not getting gas but everything flickers, radio and headlights for example. Can someone help please.
  • rwengrrwengr Posts: 177
    I don't know if this helps but I was working on my 96 Windstar and had to remove and reinstall alternator. The control wire was loose and during test drive I began to notice weird electrical symptoms. Vehicle will try to run off battery if alternator not putting out sufficient current. In my case it quit before I got home. Recharged battery and secured control connector. It was OK.

    If you really like it(engine/ride/trans/paint OK) one option is to replace alternator and battery and go from there. Alternator problems can be tricky. On my Windsar, alternator is easy to get to. You will need a special tool to remove serpentine belt.

    I've owned 2 Fords. Each had power window or power lock actuators replaced. If a button control assembly is bad you can get one from a salvage yard. I use a body shop. I'm a DIYer but not for doors,locks, and windows.

    Always disconnect (-) of battery before working on any electrical system.
  • i have a 1999 Ford Windstar SEL and was having the same problems my overdrive would turn off when i was goin down the highway to. the problem is a throttle body module. I got one for fifty bucks at a salvage and havent had any more problems
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