Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Did you get a great deal? Let us know in the Values & Prices Paid section!
Meet your fellow owners in our Owners Clubs

Ford Windstar Problems



  • 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
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    I must say after reading all of these posts, I am a little nervous about our new van. My wife and I chose the Windstar for the five star safety rateing and settled for what it had to offer. So far we have been very pleased with all the options of the 01 SEL (except the price). I will keep my fingers crossed that the problems Ford has been having will not show up in our production vechicle. But if not, I will keep everyone posted.
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
  • This post is mainly to reassure "call_" (#334). I have owned my 2000 SE since January 2000 and currently have 27K miles. We take 3-4 trips from Atlanta to Chicago every year and my wife drives it about 45 miles daily. I have experienced no major problems. The only minor inconveniences to date:

    1. Blew a fuse on one of the front Power Ports. (dealer replaced fuse)
    2. Plastic cover for rear seat belt assembly came off (dealer has ordered entire new assembly!)

    I can verify the slightly raucous nature of the 3.8L V6 engine, but I will also verify that it really moves this van! I have hauled 6 adults averaging 200 lfs with no noticeable difference in power or acceleration. And I've surprised many an unwary driver at a traffic light with the acceleration from a standing start.

    For prospective buyers of the 2001 edition, the rear seat is heavy. Unless you're used to lifting heavy weights and have long arms, it takes two people to remove it. But the trade off here is comfort - it's almost like your sofa at home (especially if you have a 19" TV running off the power ports).

    One note - in the interest of "not taking any chances" I only use Mobil 1 synthetic oil, Mobil 1 filters, and Amoco Ultimate gasoline.

    I am debating on whether to trade it in before the 50K mile mark. I would be especially interested in hearing from 2000 Windstar owners with high mileage on their vehicle.
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    Thanks for that quick response nuceng1. We (the wife,two children, and myself) love the van. In all honesty, I picked the safety and she picked the options. She only missed the painted mirrors and heated seats. The children have their theater and daddy has a piece of mind. The performance of the van has been great, but she only has about 3000 miles on it. The motor does seem a little loud, but your right it is snappy. We find the interior very appealing (except I feel that the instruments panel is lack luster since I like gauges). The seats are incredibly comfortable, and in general we have never had a vehicle with so much luxury. If the rest of the vans life is anything like the first 3000 miles, I would recommend this van over any other.
  • I just traded my other make and model van in for a 1995 Windstar. BIG mistake. asked the salesman if he new why there was coolant on the engine... he stated it was just filled and extra was spilled. two weeks later it wouldnt stop. took it in for service, they said there was a broken head bolt and only a hand full of techs new how to extract it, so it was sent to the main center. two days later, the tech calls, tells me it needs a new engine, that the 1995's have a problem with gaskets and the engines needed to be switched out. Gee... i thought it was a broken head bolt. He ordered the engine, and meanwhile I fought with management, upper management and the general manager about even keeping it. I wanted my down-payment back. Nope, they were not budging. I just bought the thing two weeks ago. the other major problem... PARENTS ARE YOU AWARE THAT YOU ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE "H-LATCHES" ATTACHED TO THE SEAT BELTS IN THE REAR IN ORDER TO HOLD A CHILD SEATS IN?????? My childrens carseats wouldnt stay in the seat when you came to a stop, Ford knew that this was required with this year van, but didnt say anything. They wanted to drill holes in the floorboard to attach a anchor for tether straps, didnt the tech know this van already comes with 6 anchor's???? No he did not. Well after two weeks of fighting about the van, I ended up having to keep it. The new engine is in, and 10 mins later I drove it right back... another coolant leak, grinding noise, sqeaking noise, and RPM's jumping up making the car jerk forward, even though the brakes are pressed.(thanks to this, i came dangerously close to hitting a woman walking in front of my van, my husband came close to hitting the back of another car). back in for service 1 week later. The problem... the rocker arms and push rods. This is on a new engine, what in gods name is going on. The rpm's was air in the hose. They said there was a special lubricant and this was a TSB about the rocker arms and push rods. The special lubricant is NO-WHERE to be found. They called an old worker who just happend to have it in his garage and brought it in. What kind of place is this, that doesnt carry a TSB related product. After talking with several other non-ford mechanics, I was told this should NOT happen with a new engine. 1 week later I pick the van back up (yesterday) and the coolant has stopped (but for how long), however the RPM's are still going nuts, the engine is stilling ticking, and there is still a grinding noise. Not to mention when you put the van in park, drive reverse or nuetral the whole engine moves forward and backwards. I wasnt aware engines did this. The brakes are sqeaking now, the van misses, the van hesitates on acceleration, and when you come to a stop, it jerks to a stop. Called the GM again, this time he was more pleasant, and said to bring it back today and he will have a customer rep. drive with me, so i can point out exactley what its doing. This should be interesting.
    I have done extensive research on the net and found some very interesting articles on this van. Wish i had done this before the purchase. Oh and just for the record... TWO reps from the Canadian Ford Cutomer Relations Center stated that the Dealer was LIABLE for informing me prior to the sale transaction that there may be potential problems with this year engine and might require a engine switch. They did not. They are also Liable to tell any family with children that this van requires "h-latches" to ensure the safety of the children riding. They did not. Do I have a case against them... YES. I dont know how many of you have checked the internet for information, but I have printed over 300 pages of documentation that can be used as evidence in the courts against my dealership. They really messed with the wrong person this time. If I invest good hard earned money into a 5 star safety related product, I expect it to work. no... if, ands, or buts about it. Check your internet for information, it may help you win your case. I am determined to get what I am entitled to. They knew about the problem, they knew they were liable to inform me, they knew about a serious issue with the seat belts... and didnt say a word. They will be held liable. Email me with information you may have, or if you need information. Good luck to you all. And parents... please check with your local dealer about providing you FREE of charge with a required latch to hold your carseats in.
  • Some of you have mentioned the "Buy Back Program" and stated that it ended in OCT. Just wanted to inform everyone that according to Ted Britt Ford in Fairfax, Va. They have re-instated the buy back program as of two weeks ago... because of all the issues with the gaskets and engines being replaced. Mine, being one of them. The buy back program in my opinion is nothing but crap too. any money that you are ahead, MUST be applied towards a NEW vehicle on Fords lot. If you dont spend the money there, you dont get the buy back program. Alot of help that does many of us who only have some $800.00 and dont want over $400.00 payments. Especially since I just spent $3000.00 for a downpayment two weeks prior and can only afford $218.00. Bottom line.... if I wanted a new car in the first place, I would have bought one and another thing.. who says I want another Ford after all these problems and very rude service.???? Not me, EVER AGAIN.
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    My Windstar is averaging 13mpg. Not exactly what the sticker said. WasssssUp!!
  • Have been a very satisfied 1995 Windstar LX owner and just parted with it at 97,000 miles. Purchased a 1999 Windstar SEL with 30,000 miles, and I'm extremely dissapointed with the drivetrain noise... beginning at 45 mph and terminating at 68 mph. Up until 45 mph, the vehicle is extremely quiet. The Dealer Service Manager requested that I first rotate the tires, to insure that I didn't have a defective tire creating the noise. The noise is of lower frequency than the normal Michelin Symmetry Tire noise, which sing loudly on concrete surfaces. I could live with that...however, this noise pulsates on and off, which makes one want to go above the 68 mph point to achieve the quietness! Since the front tires were worn, I replaced them with two new Michelins.The noise level remained the same. Could this be a bad wheel bearing or transmission problem? Has anyone had similar problems? I would like to solve it before the warranty is up. Thanks for your assistance...
  • suzersuzer Posts: 2
    We have had our 2000 SEL for 11 months and have loved it. We have had no mechanical problems since we got the key fobs fixed (they didn't work from day one and it was a problem in the computer in the engine, it also took three visits to get it fixed because Ford wouldn't authorize the dealer to replace the part until they had tried all the "fixes" and it still failed). We are only at 12000 miles but so far so good.

    Our gas mileage around town is 14.7 by the computer. We live in the suburbs of SLC, UT and I do a lot of running kids here and there. I can't remember for sure but I think we get between 19 and 22 mpg on the road.

    I would recommend the late model Windstars (and in fact we did recommend it to my husband's sister and they have also loved their 2000 LX).
  • I have a '99 LX and because I live in New York City and a good portion of the driving is carpool, we only get about 9 MPG in the city. I thought there was something wrong with the car - but when we drove up to Montreal, I was getting over 23 MPG on the highway.

    It seems that the van is just not optimized for the city and I have no idea what city they printed the window stickers in.
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    No wonder they gave us such big tanks.
  • After transmission problems, rear brake cylinder problems, rear hatch locking mechanism problems, rattle in left front side and finally a front coil spring just breaking as the car sat in a garage, I'm trading this lemon.

    Can you imagine a front coil spring just snapping while the car sat there doing nothing! Had to be towed 65 miles. If anyone owns a Windstar better get 'AAA PLUS' It has saved me a fortune.
  • jasdmwjasdmw Posts: 118
    We test drove an '01 SEL on Saturday. We are trading a '96 Voyager LE. Noticed the W/S is quite a bit noisier on the highway. Can hear exhaust exiting the tail pipe on acceleration. Also, engine noise greater than in Voyager. Plus, noticed the W/S "wallows" or floats up/down and side to side. Any current owners notice the same? Are these normal for the van? Anyone know of aftermarket suspension mod that would tighten up the suspension?

  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    I find the van to be a little loud, but the performance seems to just fine. It cruises at 90mph with little effort, rides like a limo, and plays my passengers favorite movies in complete surround sound, while providing seats as comfortable as any Lazy-Boy. About the only complaint I have heard about the van is GETTING OUT.
  • kioukiou Posts: 1
    Bought the 95 Windstar LX just before Xmas. I was not aware of the recall and the many problems. The sales manager of the Ford dealer told us that the van had a new engine replaced because the head gasket had problem and convinced me that this was a good deal. A week after driving it the over drive light would flash intermittently. The mechanic at the Ford dealer could not diagnose the problem and told me to bring it back when it occurs. Three weeks later the remanufactured engine failed. There was a lot of noise coming from the cylinder head and the engine had no compression. The van was towed to the same Ford dealer and was later told another new engine would be put in it. After 2 weeks of waiting we were told we had to wait for another 2 more weeks because the engine had not been shipped. We asked for a loaner but received a NO answer. We also asked for our $2500 downpayment back and was told NO. We asked that the downpayment be applied to a new Ford but was told that the dealer would buy back the van from us for $3000 less than we paid for it 4 weeks before. We said No. We contacted the Better Business Bureau and they said they would look into our complaint. So far no answer from them. We decided to wait for the new engine to arrive and it took 5 weeks before we got the van back last week. Now the over drive light flashing problem has started again. We took the van back to Ford with the light still flashing and the mechanic said he didn't know what's wrong and he would have to open the transmission to look at it. We are to call back again next week for an appointment. My wife love the van but the 2 months since we've bought it spent more than half of the time in Ford's garage. NEVER again will we buy a Ford vehicle!! We would love comments from others with similar problems.
  • My daughter just bought a New Windstar. IS ford Still having Head gasket and other major mechanical problems with this model???
  • kjclowkjclow Posts: 29
    Check out my post on the other Windstar site. I will not buy another Ford, unless I can find a 64 1/2 ragtop Mustang. But that's another story.
  • cbeldacbelda Posts: 2
    I've already had to replace the engine at 38,000 miles. Now the transmission is gone at 50,000 miles. What is the secret warranty or buyback program. The Ford dealer here is playing stupid. Any information would greatly help.
  • Should have checked this website back in August when the transmission on my 95 Windstar went out on a steep hill in SF!.....this was the culmination of many problems with this car - had the tranmsission replaced at about 30,000 miles, the engine replaced at about 50,000, the transmission replaced again at 90,000 - now it has 120,000 and obviously needs another transmission.... After it died in SF I had it towed to a Ford dealer - they agreed that the car had had a lot of problems (!) and felt they should at least replace the engine for us (oh yeah, there were engine problems, too...) When they called Ford, however, they were denied - so the car sat on their lot for many months - had a rental until the fix-it was denied and then just had to get a new car so went out and got a Sienna (much smaller, bur drives so much better....not to mention it's reputation for reliability - let's hope). The Ford dealer finally called and said I had to get the car off their lot - and why didn't I just donate it to charity. Thought about that - but would really like Ford to cough up something for all the money I put in this car - and the time and aggravation it cost me. So, someone tell me more about the buy back program, please. I already have a new car - so, don't know how that would work. This car was a lemon from day one - what can I do about it? It is sitting in my driveway like a big hangnail - advice please!
  • ericmiericmi Posts: 1
    What is the story with the Ford Windstar? I just paid cash for a '96 WS GL 3.0. It has nearly 80,000 miles so I purchased a 3yr/36000 mile warranty from Carmax. Have I just made a big mistake buying this make and model? I've been a very satisfied Ford owner in the past with a '88 Ranger XLT that was still running strong @ 160,000 when I sold it. From what I've read the problems run the gammit. Should I return to Carmax (I have 5 days)or keep my fingers & toes crossed?
  • drfulmdrfulm Posts: 5
    Based on my experience with a 1995 Windstar run - don't walk to any other brand. My van will be dumped as soon as I:

    1. Fix the ABS that has gone out.
    2. Fix the transmission that is going out
    3. Fix the ignition switch that is going out for the second time.

    This is on top of the head gasket problem (covered under extended warrentee) and the timing cover gasket ($600) problems that left me without a vehicle for two weeks last year.

    Do yourself a favor and buy something else.
  • fullsizefullsize Posts: 14
    Got around 40k now on our 99 LX. Not one single problem yet.

    Plus, I also own a Honda Accord with 40k miles. New brakes and tires, new catalytic converter.

    I really, truly, have to wonder, due to the fact that I also know of lots of other WS owners who've never had problems -- is there something funny perhaps going on with these boards? As in -- if I worked for Honda, or Toyota, why *not* send some low level marketing guys to trash Fords on Edmunds? Oh, of course not. That's too far fetched. ;>)
  • weslwesl Posts: 53
    The 3.0L V6 in your Windstar is not nearly as unreliable as the 3.8L in other Windstars. The only real sore spot with your van will be the transmission. Unfortunately, it is almost as bad as the transmission on the 3.8L. It may last longer, because the 3.0 does not blow head gaskets and overheat the transmission in the process like the 3.8. Other than that, only the usual Ford problems apply. Hope this helps, Wes.
  • barscottbarscott Posts: 1
    It seems my problem is minimal compared to many listed here but here it is. We have a 98 WS with a 3.8L engine and a 25 gallon tank. the fuel gage reads empty with the light on and when we "fill it up" it will only take 16 gallons. That is a pretty hefty reserve. The gage has been replaced twice and the tank once. Does anybody know the actual fix for this because the dealer obviously does not.
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    Still waiting...............Oh, is that a rattle?, No honey it's just a cassette in the door. Ok then, but they said we would have nothing but trouble with our van. Our van?, are you reading those posts again? No honey, you know I only look at the pictures.
  • ranger47ranger47 Posts: 32
    You mentioned having the gage and tank replaced, but it would be my thinking that the sending unit mounted on the tank would be the device that would control what the gage read. They may have used a different sending unit when they changed the tank or maybe not. My '98 WS GL doesn't have any of the problems that so many relate to in this thread. I have the 20 gallon fuel tank and it is hard to get completely full. I can squeeze another couple of gallons in after the pump kicks off on low. A slow process but I like for the gage to register completely full and of course for the tank to be completely full.
  • matycatmatycat Posts: 12
    Wow, after reading everyone else's posting, the good news is, I am not a minority, the bad news is you all have suffered as much as I, if not more. I can write a book on my problems with our wind star (worst case was being stranded on a trip from as degas to Port land,OR with four children. One being an infant.) That was because of a "speed sensor control", and wiring harness. (Even though that too was a recall. Of course this was a second wiring harness so this was our expense.) Is there a class action suit going on, if not, anyone care to tell me how to get one going? I am ready to take Ford to court. I asked my husband about making a day where all owners of Wind stars show up at the dealership and start honking their horns until Ford gives in. How about April Fool's Day, since we were such fools in buying this product? I can't believe one of the posting suggested that we are some low-lying marketing peps from another company. Whoever wrote that, honey, I have receipts up the kazoo to prove it's true! I don't think other dealers would stoop that low for business. Here is a list so far of just some of our problems.

    1. Wiring Harness/speed sensor (1500.00)
    2. Reverse drum had a hairline crack (1700.00)
    (on-ford mechanic says that was a manufacture defect, ford didn't do squat about it.)
    3. Power locks, windows are kapoot.
    4. Head gasket fixed (recall)
    5. Speed sensor again.
    6. Wiring harness trouble. No protection of wires from heat and ruined part.
    7. cassette player/lighter went out
    8. coolant leak (current problem)
    9. cranking noise from steering rack.
    This is not to mention hotel costs from being stranded, towing costs, being without a vehicle while being fixed. And, would I be one rich woman if I got a penny for every tear I shed from the stress and trouble my family and I have been through. Please, again, any info on this class action? Forget the buy back, I can't afford brand new, and don't want another Ford anyway. Please e-mail me at [email protected]
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    I think I got this right.
    95 WS had engine warranty extended to 100K miles. If you had a head gasket replaced at your expense after the usual 36K warranty, Ford will either pay you back for that cost, or they will give you 4K towards another Ford product. They will also buy your car in certain circumstances, but I can't remember the details on that.
    Never heard of them doing anything about the transmission problem. I had to have a rebuilt one put in at 50K too, cost 1250 in MN.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    FULLSIZE - You obviously have not been here very long... If you READ the other posts, most of us have been talking 95-96-97 models. Further, while this topic dates back to August 1999, the original topic CRACKED HEAD IN 95 WINDSTAR (see: mglisson "Cracked head in '95 Windstar" Feb 11, 1998 11:35pm ) was started in February 1998! That must be one expensive marketing plan for Honda/Toyota/et al... Can't wait till you have to post here for what the purpose of the topic is - "FORD WINDSTAR PROBLEMS".

    BUYBACK Info...

    Please see the prior post:


    In a nutshell, 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 may not even 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. Ask them to discuss your options under programs M009 and/or M010. The bottom line - THIS REPRESENTATIVE is the person that has the decision making power as to whether or not FMC will be involved in the repair of any Ford vehicle (the 3.8L engine is a MAJOR sore spot for these representatives - even they are not overjoyed with how their company has handled the situation). According to what the rep told me, the buyback is not really a program as it is another "option" under the M009 program. This does not obligate FORD to do ANYTHING with your vehicle. This "option" was implemented when demand for rebuilt engines far outstripped supply. It was not cost effective to put people in rentals and then repairing the vehicle in question. Again, keep in mind that this is just another OPTION - They are not obligated to invoke this option. One last note; I have yet to read about anyone SUCCESSFULLY getting the buyback in 2001. It appears that enough engines are back in the supply chain to continue the engine replacement process (over the buyback anyway). If anyone has, I would like to hear about it (more importantly, I would REALLY like to talk with the FORD rep that authorized the buy back...)

    My story - I just went in for my second motor in as many years (between Jan 99 and Oct 99 I got three transmissions). I fought tooth and nail to get them to buy the damn thing back - even offered to buy another FORD (why I would even consider such an option is completely another story - worse yet, the explanation is no longer in the Edmunds archive!)

    I am STILL waiting to get the van back...


    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
This discussion has been closed.