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Ford Windstar



  • cmcsandicmcsandi Posts: 2
    well, the dealer said they relaced the tie rods in January so it's back to the drawing board...but not for me, I just ordered a new Pontiac Montana and you can bet I will let the Ford rep know this when ever he gets around to calling or visiting our area, I just hope the problem is fixed within the next 4 weeks while I still have the Windstar
  • indytabindytab Posts: 32
    ...thanks for the info. Actually, it looks as if you got a very good trade-in compared to many other posts I've read. Most are in the $5K to $7500 range. Your's is the highest I've seen thus far for a WS with around 80K miles.

    By the way, how do you compare the Villager with your former WS (besides the coolant leak, ha!)? I just recently thought of the Villager as an option. Right now, they have a big rebate and 0.9% financing.
  • We've had the Villager for 3 weeks now and sofar we really enjoy it. It's a new 99 and came with the sport package including rear air. They dont have as much storage behind the 3rd seat as the WS but we also have an overhead cargo carrier we can use. The roof rack looks like the cross beams are the same size as the WS's rack. The kids like to recline the middle and 3rd seats on long trips. Hopefully with the Nissan motor and transmission we wont have any coolant leaks like the WS.
  • ryan41ryan41 Posts: 21
    Jh: I have a 1998 Winstar, the steering on this car has been terrible since new, the van has 15,000 miles on it now, the tie rods were replaced at 13,ooo miles, rear shock at 2,000 miles, just had a tranny sensor replaced last week. I would never ever buy another ford again.
  • l_t3l_t3 Posts: 3
    My 2000 Windstar has factory security system.
    Downside of their SYSTEM4 system :
    1)Unlocking the doors with your key does not disarm the security system !
    2)If system is armed while you are inside the vehicle,the only way to disarm is to use the remote . You cannot use the power door unlock to deactivate the security system.
    3)The flashing status indicator can be flashing even though you are driving. Very distracting!
    This is because you fail to start the car promptly after deactivating security system.
    4)Possibly a defect on my unit: after sytem has been armed for aperiod of time, and you press the arm button again, the security system is set off
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329

    My 1999 Windstar also has the factory security system (Perimeter Anti-Theft System - haven't heard of SYSTEM4; are they the same?).

    I have none of your symptoms. It sounds like yours may be defective.

    1) Unlocking the door with key does deactivate the system.
    2) Power door lock does turn the system off; however if the system has been armed while someone is inside and then that person opens a door, it does go off. This is annoying. It should know the difference between an inside door handle and an outside one.
    3) The flashing indicator goes off the minute I turn the key to the on position.
    4) Unless yours actually is a different system, I think yours is malfunctioning. Take it back and demand satisfaction.
  • birkiebobbirkiebob Posts: 19
    This site never fails to enlighten me. I'll be taking my '98 GL in to the dealer Friday for the squeaky steering problem too, while it's still under warranty. Thanks for the tips JH45 and Cmcsandi. Hope it's easier to pin down than the chronic radio whine I get when there's a load on the alternator(lights on, a/c on, etc.). They've tried everything for that; new alternator, new radio, new ground strap, even an after market noise suppressor kit...nothing works! The van performs great and I like it a lot, but am I going to start having problems now with 32K miles? Brakes seem to have quite a bit of pedal travel suddenly now too, but the pads look like they've got plenty of life yet...maybe have them check that too now. Thanks
  • ellecartellecart Posts: 1
    It seems a lot of folks owning minivans have reported transmission problems. Even though I have no need for a towing package, would it be advisable to add this package to my Windstar SEL "wish list" given the addition of the extra transmission oil cooler??? Will it prolong the life of the transmission???
  • hansjhansj Posts: 2
    Dear Karen S.
    Why is topic # 815 no longer available?
    There was so much valuable information in
    all the letters and complaints. Please let us
    know if we can obtain this topic again.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    In case Karen can't answer fast enough for you, I'll chime in. Its been archived. You can view all the archived Van topics by clicking on the "Archived Topics" at the top of the Van topics list. You can go straight to topic #815 using

    Also note that the Windstar Problems II is continued in topic #1295.
  • hansjhansj Posts: 2
    A big THANK YOU, bblaha, for your quick responce.
    It will be of great help in my continued fight
    for justice. hansj.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    Thanks, bblaha, for showing hansj the way!

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  • Just wanted to thank you all for the info on this site. We had a 98 Windstar. Heard a squeak in Nov/99 - had brakes checked. Service rep told me they were ready to change and as I gave him the go ahead the mechanic corrected him that he had the numbers backwards :-0 Went elsewhere to have brakes checked next time I heard squeak. Told not anything wrong with brakes. Husband drove vehicle to and from work and is a bit deaf so did not share my concern for "my squeak". This April I began driving vehicle to work and parking in underground lot. There was now a very definite squeak. 63,000 km (just over the warranty but 6 weeks before 3 years). Went to dealer and had it checked. Yup - tie rods :-) Managed to catch the mechanic between him parking the car and reporting to the service rep. "It's the tie rods, Ford has had problems with them; over warrantee - speak to the Service Manager" (nice guy :-)) Service Rep - tie rods estimate=$295Canadian. Went home because service rep made it sound as if mgr would not be any help. 3 weeks later the ignition switch broke and we were towed in. While waiting asked service rep about tie rods - he had not heard about tie rods. After waiting 2 hours for ignition to be fixed - I got mad enough to approach the manager who said yes he had handled some tie rod problems and Ford paid for it. Especially in our case where we were first owner and under 3 years and close to 60,000. They also approached Ford about the ignition. Service rep called me 3 days later and said to bring in van for new tie rods and alignment courtesy of Ford. We now have new tie rods paid 100% by Ford and the ignition paid 50% by Ford [cheque in the mail:-) ]

    Your comments at this site certainly helped give me the info and strength to beat these guys! THANK YOU! Other than those problems the windstar has been a great vehicle. We used Chevron high octane gas, changed oil regularly, belts (once last fall) brakes 67,000 km - that's it except the recall for the gas gauge 'thingy' Ford did earlier.

    But sad to say we have sold the Windstar this weekend and are buying a Dodge Dakota Quad cab - because of all the changes over the last 3 years (son away to university, daughter's family bought their own mini van, mother-in-law moved into the neighbourhood) we no longer need the van for people moving as often and wanted something to take fishing that handles a wet golden retriever better.

    PS complained to the service manager about the problems with his service rep, but he is still working there :-0 We are no longer using their services - had our brakes done (67,000 km) at a place we have used the past 10 years for our '79 Ford F100.

    Happy driving.
  • ravenrichravenrich Posts: 6
    I'm considering purchasing a 1996 Ford Windstar with 51,000 miles(LX version. Any comments? I believe the van was assembled in Canada in 5/96.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Take a look at the following:
    Look at the topics here for Ford Windstar problems (#815), Ford Windstar problems II (#1295), Ford Windstar (#364), and Ford Windstar II (#972).
    Take a look at the following links:
    (under Forums, look for the following:
    "The Windstar Report" and "Ford")

    Bottom line; do you want to take the chance at having issues with the head gaskets, blown engines, failing transmissions, and other major expenses after your purchase? Around 60000 miles is the "general" failure time.

    Ford has failed to acknowledge that there is a serious design flaw in the 3.8L V6 and the transmission that it is mated with fails at an uprescedented rate.

    Whatever you do, educate yourself...
    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
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Also realize that many of the sources above, are dealing with the 1995 Windstar. Both the 1996 and 1997 Windstars have proven to be much more reliable, according to Consumer Reports. There were changes made to the engine to handle increased horsepower, as well as a revised head gasket that improved the reliability.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Many of those links are for the 1995, however, the 1996 is "statistically" catching up with the 1995. The head gasket is only PART of the problem; Ford put an aluminum head on a cast iron block - the two metals expand and contract at different temperatures.

    Personally, it is the right size for my family. I love the roominess and it has a decent ride. However, after living through the repair process for three replacement transmissions, the head gasket job, and an engine replacement, I would say that I am very well educated on how Ford is treating their customer. Need I mention the quality of their product and services (all done at Ford dealerships?). This has not been a desirable position.

    Again, whatever you do, educate yourself.
    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
  • avidmarcavidmarc Posts: 4
    My wife and I are lloking into buying a mini van for the family. Looking at the Windstar, MPV from Mazda and Honda's version. If anyone has any useful information (problems/concerns or praises) regarding any of these please feel free to let me know. Thanks. I view this board as a major tool in purchasing a car.
  • c1054c1054 Posts: 5
    I have a 1999 Windstar SEL that I bought last April. My wife and I (and kids) like the vehicle. The front seats are confortable and it's enjoyable to drive. The biggest problem we had was a rattle in the right sliding door, but that was fixed. The reverse sensor is a great option, and well worth the money. It costs less than most insurance policy deductibles, and it's already saved me from bumping into things. If you can get the 0.9% financing, it pays to finance as much as possible. We saved over $2,000 by financing every penny.

    My brother-in-law has a 1999 Odyssey. He likes it and has not had any major problems. I think that the inside of the Odyssey is a bit Spartan and not as nice as the Windstar. Honda cut corners on things like the luggage rack; in the end, I believe that the Windstar gives you more bang for the buck, although Honda's disappearing rear bench is a great idea. The good news is that they are both nice vans, so you can't go wrong. Good luck.
  • rmblwindrmblwind Posts: 1
    We recently (last week) traded up from a 97 GL to a 2000 LX. We did this for one reason, and one reason only, that being the two rear bench seats in the 97 did not have head restraints - not a problem when we bought it, and our children were smaller, but a safety issue now that their heads extended over the top of the seats.
    We never had any of the problems described elsewhere in this group with our 97, although the Anti-Lock Braking System started to engage with routine braking at about 21K miles (and a few weeks past the 3 yr. warranty - the Extended Warranty took care of it, minus $100.00 deductible). Also, on our way from Long Island, NY to Florida this past April, the “Check Engine” light came on in Georgia. As we were driving it to a dealership in Fl to check it out, the light went out, so we never took it in. On the return trip, it came back on (again, in Georgia!), and stayed on until we went to take it to a local dealership, so we again did not take it in. (Who knows what THAT was about!) So if it wasn’t for the rear head restraints issue, we might not have traded up at all. Based on our fairly good experience with the 97 (and a 0.9% finance program!) we went for a new Windstar. The dealer, Country Ford, in Levittown, NY, which I contacted via the internet, made an offer that was within dollars of what I had estimated as a fair price - same with the trade in - kudos to them, a no hassle buying experience! (Of course, maybe we just didn’t drive the 97 enough - at 38 months we only had 24,650 miles!
    But at less than 150 miles on the new Windstar, I have noticed a few items that no one has addressed at this forum. First off, I miss the slide out storage bin that we had under the front passenger seat, the Windstar just doesn’t have enough storage up front without the center bin (which we didn’t order, because we thought the under seat bin was standard equipment, and we like to be able to get to the back without climbing over a center bin, or exiting the van!)
    Second, the big space at the bottom of the the front console used to have a rubber mat to provide some traction for the items stored there. Our new one doesn’t, so things just fly out when we accelerate! (Does anyone else have a mat here? I’m thinking of cutting up a computer mouse pad to fit in this!)
    But more worrisome, is distortion on the front windshield! From the driver’s seat, anything from center to my right side is “wavy”. If I sit in the front passenger seat, the distortion disappears - but I now see it if I look to my left at the driver’s side! If you exit the van and look through the cab from driver side to the passenger side, and you look at, say, the parallel lines caused by the vinyl siding on my house, they split into shallow “z’s”. (It’s the same in the other direction, but not as dramatic.) In other words, the distortion increases with the distance. Is this a “bug, or a feature”? Has anyone else experienced this? - if so, did you bring it up with the dealership? What did they say? Should I be concerned? Any feedback would be much appreciated!
    Other than that, we are quite happy with this new van. We would like to hear from other owners of a 2000 Windstar LX, for their comments and/or experience - negative or positive. Thanks for this forum where consumers can exchange information.
  • philhyphilhy Posts: 1
    (wholigan) writes:
    "Ford put an aluminum head on a cast iron block - the two metals expand and contract at different

    This has been a very common practice in the automotive industry for quite some time. The fact that Ford might have screwed this particular engine up not withstanding, this fact alone should not deter anyone from buying a vehicle with a similar engine. I would venture to say that probably every competing minivan has the same aluminum heads on an iron block. In fact, it might even be correct to argue that the Japanese manufacturers did this first.

  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    This is only one example of engineering issues with the Ford 3.8L engine. It is obvious that technology is moving engines toward lightweight aluminum (the Honda 3.5 is an "Aluminum-Alloy"), however, why is it that Ford is having SO MANY problems while other manufacturers are not? What is causing the head gaskets to fail? Why is it that most of head gasket failures occur around Cylinder #4? Why is that so many front main bearings fail after the head gasket is replaced? Not to mention the Timing Gasket failure... Did I mention the transmission? Oooops; we were talking abount engines ;-)

    Anyhow, thanks for the clarification!
    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
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    My own 2000 SE doesn't have that problem or any number of LXs I have driven at work. Must be a manufacturing defect. Make the dealer check it out or show you others in his lot who have the same problem.
    I had a problem with a replacement windshield on another car, I got a headache anytime I looked straight ahead! Somehow my brain must have gotten used to it because it doesn't bother me now unless I try to look for the "defect"!
  • w_harrisw_harris Posts: 5
    Does anyone have experience with the factory entertainment system in the 2000 Windstar? My dealer has never seen it and does not know much about it.

    Also, are there any changes expected in the 2001 Windstar? My lease is up in August.
  • bdemasbdemas Posts: 51
    w_harris: The system doesn't have a TV tuner. It does have a remote, a set of inputs for video games and 2 headphone jacks with headphones. It flips up from the back of the floor console. The console and viewing screen cover are all plastic and feel kind of cheap. The console also sticks further back into the second row then the normal floor console. My kids have kicked the normal console multiple times and I'd be afraid of them breaking that part of it.

    We were thinking of getting this option, but chose not too (besides, the van that had it was the wrong color). We talked with a couple of dealers and both recommended buying an after market system. Hope this helps.
  • I just bought a new 2000 Windstar LX and edmunds report of a floaty ride are true. My wife said she got sick driving the first one home. We took it back the next day and drove 3 other Windstars which she reported all drove differently. We wound up taking home a Windstar with 16" aluminum wheels and the ride on this vehicle was superior to the other three. She said that after driving all four vans, she could rate the ride different for each one. My advice , if you are interested in getting one of these vans, is to take it for a long drive to see how it handles. We really wanted an Odyssey, but we couldn't wait the 3 to 6 months delay in delivery. Now we really like our Windstar.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    You might want to go over and read thru topic 420 - Minivan Entertainment Systems.
  • lanny3lanny3 Posts: 4
    We have a 2000 Windstar with about 3000 miles on it and have recently heard a grinding sound on three occasions when shifting from park to drive or reverse. It is a loud and disturbing sound. Has anyone else had this problem and any ideas on the cause?
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    I have the same problem that you do. My 2000 windstar makes a grinding sound intermittently when starting, and/or shifting out of park. I've
    noticed that it only happened when the car has not been started in over a day. I brought it into the shop, and they could not find anything wrong. If you bring yours in, and they find something, please post it, so that I can bring it in with some information. Thanks!!
  • lanny3lanny3 Posts: 4

    I will post here if I find out anything.

    Ours too only makes the grinding sound after car has been sitting for a while, and we noticed the last two times has been in damp humid weather...don't know if there is a connection.
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