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Ford Windstar Problems



  • Help!! Can anyone tell me what is wrong with my windshield wipers. They only work when it is not raining. When it rains they do not come on. Good thing I live in Arizona. Also my Windstar stalls when turning at low speeds. Any pertinent info would be appreciated.
  • Are you in Minnesota? If you were in California, I would want to link my case with yours. If not, I would keep at your dealer. Apparently, the problem is related to the remote buttons drawing excessive amps to open the doors.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    That program covered '95 model year Windstars with cylinder head problems only,.
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    I have a 98 Windstar also and my wipers are wacky too. The front wipers work okay, except when you use the windshield washer the wipers come on but usually it takes 2 or 3 pushes on the column to get the washer fluid to come out. But the rear wiper is crazy. It just comes on sometimes by itself and you can't turn it off. It's quite erratic, but I never got it checked because it would probably be $150+ fix.
  • chalkychalky Posts: 1
    We bought ours new, with the 3.8, large gas tank, rear air, etc. It has been a good car to date. However the transmission issue does scare me. It has an annoying pause when shifting from 1st to 2nd.

    Worse, my employer has been buying Ford Fleet products including Windstars. In the last 12 months, at least two vehicles locally have lost transmissions.

    I am new to this forum but is Ford standing behind their vehicles with tranny problems?


    [email protected]
  • It looks like many people have problems with Ford WS. My story is different. I have owned the WS since May 1994. It has 105,000 miles on it. It has been in the shop twice. Once to change the head gasket and another time when a spark plug broke in the cylinder. The latter cost me about $200. MY DEALER IS FLEMINGTON FORD IN NEW JERSEY. THIS IS THE BEST DEALER WITH THE BEST SERVICE SHOP. THEY DO NOT CHEAT THEIR CUSTOMERS. THEY TREAT THEIR CUSTOMERS LIKE THEIR FRIENDS/FAMILY. THEY ACTUALLY REFUSE TO "OVERSERVICE" THE VEHICLE. I still have the original battery. It has been one of the most reliable and rugged vehicles. My other car is an Infiniti. Currently, I am debating if I should purchase the new WS or the Odyssey? I would appreciate any comments.
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    I would buy a new battery. You are definately riding on borrowed time.
  • Not only was our 95 a lousy car, Ford treated us with incredible callousness. After we replaced the computer, fixed electrical bugs, the head gasket blew (luckily recalled, which paid for the engine rebuild), then the tranny went out 3k miles beyond its warranty. I called the Ford 800 number. After explaining the history, I asked for some consideration on the tranny (figuring they should pony up at least a portion.) Although nice at first, when she found out my warranty had expired, she said "There is nothing Ford can do for you, sir", in a somewhat snobby voice, like I was no longer a member of the club. I replied I knew the warranty had just expired, but was looking for just some consideration, and asked to speak to her manager. "My manager doesn't speak with customers, sir. We have been empowered, and I tell you I have final say. And there is nothing Ford Motor Company will do for you." So I asked who the zone manager was for the Southeast. "He doesn't deal with customers, either. You're just not having much luck today." So I asked for the number of the president of Ford. "I can't give you that number, but I can give you his address, and you can write him a letter, if you like. But I tell, I have final say in the matter." "No," I said, "you don't have final say. I have 3 Fords in my driveway, and this time next year I'll have zero. And I'll never have another. That's my final say." That was a year ago, and I've dumped the WS, the Taurus, but kept the '89 Probe to give to my son, because it was made by Mazda. If they had just agreed to knock off a couple of hundred from the $1200 cranny, I'd have been happy. But, lousy car, lousy company. Back to German products, where they know how to build quality and give service.
  • bluewsbluews Posts: 1
    I bought my 96 used in 98 and had to have the speedometer repaired not long after that. This took about 3 weeks. It has worked fine up until now, when it is surging every so often, no pattern yet. One day I was on the expressway doing about 65 and the needle pegged out to 120 for about 5 minutes. Weird!

    Now I am getting a low squeeking noise whenever I turn the steering wheel. The steering fluid is full and it sounds like it is coming from the steering motor.

    Has anyone experienced either of these problems and have suggestions? Other than this, the van has been very reliable and I have enjoyed driving it.
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    I have a 98 WS and last year when I turned the steering wheel it made a rubbing noise. It turned out to be the tie rods. It is my understanding that this is a common problem with the WS.
  • 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!!!
  • My husband and I bought a 95' Windstar in Aug. 2000 and have had the worst ever with it. We just had to get the head gaskets replaced. I've heard about the buy back program but know little about it. Can anyone give me some info with it. We're stuck with a peice of junk!! HELP!!
  • I have read many of the comments on this van. I would like to share some of the most common problems I am experiencing.
    1.Those of you who have whining in the power steering there is a problem with the rack and pinion, Also the return line has a designed flaw. Ford knows about this but it took a few trips back to the dealer before I was made aware of this. They have since replaced my rack and pinion and the return hose.
    2. I had a problem with my transmission not down shifting causing my engine to lug to the point of pinging. At first they said they re programmed it but that did nothing. After complaining at least 5 times Ford replaced my transmission.
    3. Electric side doors Don't GET THEM. They have been a constant problem. They open back up all the time. And intrermittantly the rear switches and door handles don't activate the doors.
    4. The electrical system shorted out twice telling the fuel pump to shut off and the dash cluster to malfunction.
    5.I have have had numerous little problems and my van has spent 86 days in the shop. I know what you are thinking and the lemon law papers are already filed.
  • In response to Snachimson post. I recent purchased a 2001 SEL in November for my wife. While I was driving I noticed the same noise. It only occurs when the van is cold. I plan to take it in at 3000. I currently have 1700. If you find out anything please let me know.
    [email protected]
  • i bought the van new in has about 90k on it, but it has had new front brakes on it once a yr sense we have had it. first set put on at 26k.has any one esle had this problem.when we took it back with 26k on they said it was normal.
  • I am new, this is my 1st message. I have been reading all of your messages and even though it feels better knowing that I'm not alone with my piece of --- I'm still furious! We have had to replace the head gasket 2x under 100,000m. I too have no faith when I get into this vehicle. I too got nowhere talking to Ford. They were sure well rehearsed how sorry they were that they couldn't help me. I was willing to let the other "minor" problems(windshd. wars, hatch not latching, radio buttons permanently stuck,side mirror falling off etc..)go but I am outraged how ford took my $ and refused to back their product up. For 10 years I was a solid Toyota person (Corolla 180,000m NO Repairs other than routine maintenance and still driving it--got van for kids) I am kicking myself right now! I WILL NEVER BUY A FORD AGAIN!!!!!!!!
    PS.. I wish there was some way we could join together and fight for our $ back or at least a fair deal.
  • Vehicle has 78K miles. Hard 1-2 upshift. Dealer says they have to drop the trans to figure out "what's sticking". They say they might as well put in a rebuilt trans, since they're in it. (i.e $2300). I've read a TSB regarding replacing a solenoid, overpressure sensor, and valves. Do they have to pull the trans to do this? Is Ford offering any assistance with trans trouble yet?
  • This is my first message on this board. My 99 Windstar has been nothing but problems since day one. I thought I had done my homework looking into all the pros and cons on minivans. It only has 13K+ miles and it sucks. Everything from flashing interior lights busted speakers and the latest, the rack and pinion. I'm driving around with a case of power steering fluid. But at least you guys have someone to complain to. I'm in the military and about a year ago moved to Italy. Talk about having your hands tied. Unbelievable. And Ford is so evasive. No one can help. The Ford Italy said they have nothing to do with Ford USA. In fact, they don't even sell Windstars over here. There's only one mechanic who speaks English and who honors my warranty but it has taken forever to get anything done. I feel that Ford has short-changed me $26k.
  • 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.
  • We've had so many problems lately, but the newest is a grinding with the brakes. Front and back are new, so we took it in to see what was the problem. The first garage couldn't find a problem. Then the Ford garage said the spindle was bent causing the abs sensor to activate. Will need new spindle, sensor, wheel bearing and alignment for approx. $540. They had a hard time finding it.
  • My 96, which I've had for exactly 4 years, has 84000 miles. Blew the head gasket. Ford says only the 95's had problems and that the 96's were fixed and aren't having any trouble. Guess they don't talk to their customers much or read this website. I'm thinking about getting a 2001 Windstar, thinking surely that all those highly paid engineers have had enough time now to get it right. Perhaps Chrysler can share its head gasket technology and Ford can share its transmission technology and between the two (FordDaimlerChrysler?) things might finally work. Just be glad these companies don't make airplanes!!
  • Here is a brief summary. Transmission problems, hard shifting between 1st and 2nd. Also failed to move after highway driving even though it was in gear. Result a $ 2,500 fix to transmission. Had rattles in right front side. Cost me $ 250 after market repair because Ford used two different metals when press fitting the front wheels. Did a front brake job at 45,000 but had to replace the rear pistons. All were leaking.
    Another $ 150 fix because the motor driving the tail gate lock blew its 'PLACTIC' gears. No more Fords for me.
  • macodymacody Posts: 18
    Every once in a while I "peek" in this forum to see how many people have hit the "60000 wall" with their Windstar and had the head gasket or transmission fail. We put lots of miles on our cars (about 25000 a year) so experienced the pleasure of both the head gasket failure and transmission failure within a 6 month period in the 4th year of ownership (@63000). I can't say I'm surprised to "read" the outrage in posts regarding the poor customer service Ford has and how horribly they treat their customers.

    Got rid of the Windstar when the transmission went out the 2nd time. Fixed it and immediately took to the dealer for trade in (drove from the repair to the Honda dealer in fact). Have never regretted it for ONE minute. I let everyone I know in on the Ford story of poor customer service and poor quality.

  • I have a 97 Windstar GL w/ 66,000 miles on it. I bought it used. First warning was the documented service records from the previous owners. Cylinder heads were rebuilt. Second warning was a vibration when shifting from 3rd to overdrive. It progressively got worse. Third warning was a "Whistle" from the driver side behind the front wheel. Took it to the dealer and Ford said this was normal!!!The mechanic said it needed the valve body replaced. Sounds like I should dump it.
  • While deciding whether or not to fix the spindle before we get rid of our van to buy an odyssey, our 1998 Windstar's transmission died at 77500 miles. Recently fixed a head gasket too. Also had sensors for engine light go bad twice. Also had the problem of dome light coming on. And never could fix rear heater which you had to turn off and on 10 times to get it to work. The dealer and Ford do not want to hear it. This was one of the early 98's made in Jan 97. Not to mention how often we've changed the brakes. A week berore the transmission blew, had it at Ford for the engine light being on. They replaced an air filter(which was new) and blew out the throttle. This made the light go out. A week later, no transmission.
  • 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 AS 98 has 56K.
    Here's it's 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 attached 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 beg left of center to keep going straight. The pulling seems worse when accelerating or when the engine is pulling at a higher torque.
    First Try: Dealer rotated tires ( back to the original position ), checked alignment to be good. They must not have test drove it because the car still was 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 a missing cover 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 Louver 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 in only 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 bought my 1997 Ford Windstar brand new while living in Arkansas and have since moved to Georgia. Last June while driving from Atlanta to Missouri, the transmission went out completely right at 50,000 miles. This left my family and I stranded somewhere between Chattanooga and Nashville at 5:30 am. After discussing the problem with the Manager of the Ford service center where this was towed, I was told that even without him looking at the vehicle the transmission would have to be replaced. Interestingly the Manager said that this was a "rare" occurance. Later when I talked with a mechanic at that same shop he mentioned that they regularly replace transmissions in these vehicles. After reading about the number of others Windstar owners plagued with similar Transmission failures, it seems to confirm that this truly is not a "rare" occurance. It also leave me with serious doubts about Manager and his misleading statements.

    Without having obtained an extended warranty, Ford did not provide any assistance with the cost of the transmission replacment. This cost me roughly $2,300. The rebuilt transmission was only warranted for 10,000 miles which has now since expired. In addition, I had to pay several hundred dollars for a car rental in order to complete our vacation plans. This was also paid for out of pocket.

    In addition to the transmission failure, have I also had to leaks develop in 3 of the 4 wheel rims during the first 24 months. The entire rims had to be replaced. Although covered under warranty, it was a tremendous inconvenience since one incident also occurred while on an long distance holiday trip during an ice storm. Sounds like I should have taken the hint and started thinking about getting rid of this vehicle sooner.
  • 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
  • I own a 95 p.o.s Windstar. Have had all the same troubles tarns at 30,000 headgaskets at 60,000. Hell I even had to replace the A/Crs evaporator coil inside the dash. A $300 part and a$600 in labor job. How does that part go bad? Anyway now I'm at 80,000 miles and I cannot get the @#$%%^&;
    thing out of park. I can start it but can't shift gears. I now have to put the key in the acc position to take it out of park. Then put it in neutral to start and shift from there. Oh and it has a rod knock now also. Its like a action movie you never know whats going to happen. Any info if that buy back still applys please send em-ail to [email protected]
    ps: Don't ever even think about buy a Ford ever! If you do think about it and don't believe these post, then go ahead.But lease it so in two years you can give it back. If you buy it, We'll be waiting to read your comments in say 24,000 to 30,000 miles
This discussion has been closed.