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Ford Windstar Problems



  • Hey - that would be a good story to make up! - having my transmission go out on the top of a very steep hill in downtown San Francisco - dangerously close to a cable car line - stranding me and my three children - wow, good story. Unfortunately, it was true. These cars are not just unreliable, they are unsafe!! And no, I don't work for Toyota or Honda - but I bet the person who posted that note questioning our motives works for Ford!
  • matycatmatycat Posts: 12
    I am back. Just thought for those interested, I'd share the big news. It wasn't a coolant problem after all. It is a heater core problem. The part cost is 75.00 and the labor is calculated at 325.00 making my family out yet again another 400.00! Any comments? Please respond [email protected]
  • fullsizefullsize Posts: 14
    By Wholigan:

    "Can't wait till you have to post here for what the purpose of the topic is - "FORD WINDSTAR PROBLEMS"."

    Thank you for the well wishes.

    "That must be one expensive marketing plan for Honda/Toyota/et al... "

    No, to have low level people, or even high level people, spend a minute or two trashing the competition in a nationally read forum would be an *incredibily inexpensive* marketing plan.

    By Dramamama:

    "These cars are not just unreliable, they are unsafe!! And no, I don't work for Toyota or Honda - but I bet the person who posted that note questioning our motives works for Ford!"

    Judging by the histrionics, you have chosen your moniker wisely. And no, I don't work for Ford. Nor do I think that all, or even most, of the people here, nor you, work for the competition. Some people use the site for its obvious intended purpose -- share stories to look for trends and/or answers to dilemnas. Some, on the other hand, have stories that frankly seem somewhat suspect by their hyperbolic nature.

    Personally, I liked my company car, a Taurus, so much (for the money, of course), that I bought a Windstar. Liked that so much that I bought an F-150 SuperCrew. Never have had two cars of the same make at the same time before. Cars I've owned? 1968 Camaro. 1967 VW Bug. 1977 Honda Civic. 1985 Z-28. 1986 T-Bird. 1988 Nissan Pathfinder. 1994 Toyota Corolla. 1996 Isuzu Trooper. 1997 Taurus Wagon. 1998 Honda Accord. 1998 Windstar. 2001 SuperCrew.

    Which ones were the closest to "perfect"?
    The early generation Honda. The Pathfinder. The T-Bird. (Can't say about the Windstar yet -- only have 40k miles on it -- but perfect so far).

    Which were problematic? The '68 Camaro (though it sure had a high "fun factor"). And the '98 Accord. (Nothing major, but I expect not to have to replace brakes, tires and struts, have upholstery start falling out, and rubber seals unmounting at less than 20k miles). That's it. The rest were all wonderful cars--including the Windstar.

    In sum, I think it's fair, since this site has strayed from people looking for answers to lots of over-the-top bashing, to have posted the fact that my Windstar has been excellent. And to question whether all the negative posts have been genuine (some seem awfully far fetched). But, as to those of you who have legitimately had problems, and I assume this to be the majority -- nothing but the best.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Fullsize, why do you feel the need to be a "button pusher"?

    "I think it's have posted the fact that my Windstar has been excellent". You are correct. I'm glad your WS has been good for you. I just wonder what your motive was since you are posting that message in the FORD WINDSTAR PROBLEMS discussion and not the FORD WINDSTAR discussion where most other folks have put them...

    "since this site has strayed from people looking for answers to lots of over-the-top bashing"
    Strayed??? Have you read any of these posts?!?! We are helping one another on how to deal with service managers and Ford CSRs which, lucky for you, you have not had the pleasure of. Rest assured that if you have an issue with you $30000 vehicle just after the standard warranty expires, you will feel our pain.

    OK Fullsize, I won't direct any more comments to you. Its not worth the time anyway...
    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
  • dambachdambach Posts: 4
    Gradually gaining back my confidence in the Ford Windstar...However, I must say that If I had read this series of posts, I probably would not have purchased a second windstar! This past week was one that I would like to forget. My new vehicle drove poorly at high speeds. After not hearing from anyone on the Edmunds Post net on my problems,I decided to take it to the dealer who originally delivered the vehicle. I purchased the 1999 Windstar SEL two weeks ago from a local town person. It has 30,300 miles on it and look in perfect condition. After putting a deposit on it, I found out that it was a leased vehicle. The deposit was transferred to the dealer.One thing I found out...People who lease don't hear those bothersome noises...they drive it as long as it runs! I guess they don't want the extra service charges...After visiting the dealership, I asked the clerk for a copy of the computer run-off of the service records of my VIN #. The clerk immediately referred me to the dealership owner and Service Manager. They gave me a copy of the service records. To date, the only service performed was brake pads at 28,300 miles, oil changes and tire rotation at 21,000 miles. I explained the existing problem, ie.,drivetrain noise, pulsating between 45 to 68 mph...and when it's extremely cold, sharp right turns resulted in a metalic scrapping noise, like a twig in the wheel well. Both the dealership owner and the Service Manager assured me that the problems would be solved. They had a tech drive with me to verify the problems, and it was hard for me to convince him that the pulsating noise was not just tire noise. I left the van and three days later, the Service Manager called me and stated that they had found the problem and in addition performed two upgrades. They were as follows:
    a- 00B51 Transmission rear lube tube
    (changed trans oil &
    cleaneded filter)
    b- 00T07 PCM re-program...Allows windows
    to be opened 10 minutes after key is
    The pulsating noise was a defective hub...They replaced the hub and bearing assembly. They also torqued the frame bolts on the front suspension, and that cleared the metalic noise. I put a few hundred miles on it last weekend, and the vehicle is quiet, like new! I was very happy with this North Jersey Dealer and intent to use them for my routine service. This is my second Windstar. My first was a 95 LX with digital dash...boy do I miss this dash! I drove the Windstar 96,700 miles without never failed me. Last week I mention to my wife that this was the most dependable vehicle I ever owned. When oil changes were performed, I always requested that the dealer do any recalls at the same time. I changed my oil every 3,000 miles and used Castrol GTX 5-30, with a quart of Rislome as an additive. This additive is used by a local Taxi Firm, who gets 300,000 miles out of a 3.8...He claims, it keeps the engine clean inside. I also had the transmission oil and filter cleaned every 25,000 miles. The 3.8 is a large block for 5 quarts of oil. The most reliable American engine, the Northstar has a 7.5 quart oil sump. Changing the oil every 3,000 miles helps to overcome the shortcomings of a small sump. I kept service records on my 95 van and the brake rotor recall was done at 20,000 miles...head gasket recall at 60,000 miles... and hood beef-up at 87,00 miles. New brake pads were installed at 50,000 and 87,000 miles...and a new set of Michclin tires installed at 87,000 miles. A new battery was installed upon donating the van to a local minister in town. The van is still like new, however, after reading the posts on the 95's, I hope I did the right thing, donating the van to a Minister. His son loved the stock JBL sound system (an LX extra).
    I will keep you posted on my new SEL. I bought it because of the 5 star safety rating. Not many Vans have this feature!
  • fullsizefullsize Posts: 14
    By Wholigan:

    "Fullsize, why do you feel the need to be a "button pusher"?"

    I don't. I think my second post speaks for itself. Questioning things that don't quite seem right is hardly the equivalent of pushing people's buttons needlessly.

    "Have you read any of these posts?!?!"

    Every one of them. That's what prompted my post.

    "OK Fullsize, I won't direct any more comments to you. Its not worth the time anyway... "

    Excellent. Save your time (and all those exclamation points) for more important purposes.
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    could anyone tell me why Ford suggests that oil changes be made every 5,000 miles instead of 3,000 miles. Oil capacity is 5.75 quarts and they suggest 5W-20. Thanks
  • fullsizefullsize Posts: 14
  • matycatmatycat Posts: 12
    Hey folks... just thought I would get the ball rolling. I have only heard from one person that an "Ameen" from Chicano is taking information for a class action law suit. However, I can't find out how to get in touch with this lawyer. (I take it fullsize will not be joining in, and that's OK) For the rest of us, I have finally contacted a lawyer myself. I am now taking information of all the problems of Windstars and categorizing them. The lawyer told me that the only way to win against Ford is to prove the parts were made negligently, faulty, etc., and that the percentage is relatively high compared to how many were produced. (Ford example, 5,000 Wind stars having transmission problems out of 350,000 that were made, would not be suable.) I could use all your help to get the word out to all/any Windstar owners. The more proof you have the better, the more receipts you have the better. Also can anyone help me figure out how many Windstars were produced for each year? e-mail me at [email protected] Hope to hear from as many of you as I can. Thanks
  • dambachdambach Posts: 4
    Note to callo...just checked my Windstar 99 SEL manual...states 5 Quarts - 5W-30. If your 2001 Windstar calls for 5.75 quarts, it looks like Ford has increased the oil sump size...certainly going the right direction. I couldn't find any mention of 5000 mile oil change in my manual, however, on the winshield, the Ford dealer placed a sticker with 3000 miles above the current mileage...possibly because he knows I change the oil every 3000 miles.
    I was fortunate to have a taxi driver take me to the airport awhile back, and because of a heavy workload, sent the cab companys Service Manager to serve as a driver. I had a field day asking questions. They have about 50 Windstars, mostly 99's. He stated that he gets 300,000 miles out of the 3.8 engine and 150,000 miles out of the transmission. He felt the 3000 mile oil change and 25,000 mile transmission oil and filter cleaning was necessary. He also stated that a Rislome or Marvel Mystery oil additive was most important to keep the engine clean. The cab company uses Rislome. I have been following this pattern with success on my last three vehicles. It's a cheap insurance policy, together with the 75,000 mile extended warranty! Good luck with your 2001 Windstar...
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    I also have a 99 (SE) and the Scheduled Maintenance booklet clearly says every 5000 miles.

    I'm not particularly comfortable going that long though...
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    thanks guys for the info. I happen to have a day off and I think I'm going to get that service at 3875. I've checked with other 2001 owners (not Wind stars) and they have the same mileage schedule. the super premium oil is more expensive, but how much is to be seen. I'll keep you posted.

    bblaha- how many miles on your van? Also, do you follow the maintenance schedule?

    dambach- those taxi stories are some of the most encouraging news regarding our 3.8's.
  • bdemasbdemas Posts: 51
    matycat: This is from a little over a year ago:

    Clifford W. Horwitz or Richard Daughtery at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates at or by calling (312) 372-8822.

    They were working with ConsumerAffairs. Also, used to have a list of VIN's of 95 windstars that had the head gaskets replaced. It is gone now, maybe someone here will know where it is.

    Also, have you tried Chuck Catanese's web site:

    A little dated now, but very good resource. Try Joseph D. Ament 200 N. LaSalle St. - 2100, Chicago, Ill. 60601 or fax to me at 312-621-1750 ([email protected]). He was working a transmission lawsuit.

  • matycatmatycat Posts: 12
    bdemas- thank you for the info. I have responded to those sites and am getting help... thanks a million!

    just to update- we are having tie rods be the explanation of our squeaky sound, I know a lot of you have posted same complaints. We are getting work done for the heater core, fixing the tie rods, and having them fix our power lock that went out on us. Ament is taking info. still, so please, please, please, e-mail him (look at msg 378 for address)
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    I have a 2000 EL I/17k miles. Last month my wife and I noticed a noise coming from the passenger-side engine compartment (starting at 25mph and getting slightly worse a higher speeds). It sounded like road noise from a bad tire, so I rotated the tires, but the noise was still there. I am also having a hard time getting the dealer to understand the problem. Does this sound like the same problem you experienced? Can you tell me what parts and actions need to be taken to fix this problem?


  • dwarren3dwarren3 Posts: 1
    I have read through several messages and didn't see any problems with sliding doors. I have a 1999 Wind star EL - top of the line, fully loaded. This van has been at the dealership 5 different times for the same problem. The first time was 3 months after I had it. The doors will not open automatically by pulling on the handle or pushing the buttons (front console, buttons by the doors or remote key less entry). At any given time most of these don't work. I have been told that Ford did not have experience with these doors so, therefore, they do not know how to fix them. I am not suppose to park on any kind of incline because they will not work. The ignition has to be off for the doors to work. They have told me to do everything but stand on my head! Obviously, nothing works! The dealership has replaced the switches in the door, the contacts, and several other parts. I am taking it back in one more time before starting the Lemon Law process, which I am sure will be a long and drawn out ordeal. The last straw was when the dealership service manager wanted to know why I pulled on the door handle and didn't just use the remote key less entry. My response was it should work no matter which way it is opened. Obviously he has never carried a diaper bag and a wiggling 2 year old while trying to push a button. It just doesn't work sometimes, it is easier to pull the handle. If anyone has any information on the doors and could maybe point me in the right direction to getting these fixed please let me know. At this point and time I would rather have my Town & Country back and we won't go into the problems I had with it.

    Thanks, Dwarren3
  • dambachdambach Posts: 4
    Message addressed to SEL3, requesting drivetrain or road noise information:
    It sounds like you are going through the same sequence of trouble-shooting. I first had two new Michelin Symetry tires installed on the front and balanced critically. This was done at a Michelin Tire Dealer. I was told by the tire dealer that the Michelins were quiet in general. However, when reading one of the roadtests, it was mentioned that the Symetry tires give off some road noise, especially on cement road surfaces. This was not my problem...I could live with a slight tire road noise. My noise was pulsating on and off, from 45 to 68 mph. It also came from from the passengers side and was much louder than the normal tire noise. When I took it to the Ford dealer, I had difficulty proving to the technician who was test driving the vehicle, that it was not tire noise. His final words was that he would try another van, same year and compare the sounds. That didn't go over to well with me! Thank God that the Service Manager and Dealership owner had some faith in my description of the problem. They replaced the hub and bearing assembly. Now the bothersome pulsating noise is gone...critically listening however, I can hear slight tire noise as it runs up to 70 mph, as you do in all vehicles. Have your dealer send out a tech with you, to verify your problem. I think after reading all of these Windstar complaints, we are becoming extremely critical...I know I am! If the sound is pulsating, it's definitely the bearing. Today,I road with a buddy in a Lexus 400...the tire noise was tremendous, but continuous. When I questioned him, he said they were low profile tires and this was normal noise. Those tires would be off in a moment with me! Good luck with your noise problem... I know how you feel... Ken
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    Thanks for your follow-up comments. I will contact my dealer and try to resolve the issue.

  • Hello all, i'm back!!!! My last post was pulled, and its been about two weeks since I last posted. I will be careful not to say anything too bad.:)I have calmed down some, so this should be pretty simple. for those of you that dont remember here is a little refresh... bought van in Dec of 2000 (1995 windstar), two weeks later was in for a new engine, 5 mins after picking it up drove it back for a coolant leak and loud sqeaking noise. Was told the push rods and rocker arms were sqeaking due to breaking in period and they didnt see a coolant leak. In shop again a week later as sqeaking noise would not go away and engine was surging while at a stop. Special lubricant was ordered (nobody makes this anymore, they found it in a garage of a former worker) (this was a TSB related issue, but like I said they dont make it anymore). two days later in the shop again for a coolant leak and engine still surging. This time they claim coolant was getting in the compartment and required another engine (two weeks after the replacement of the first one). Surging was due to air intake hose loose. I have not seen my van since.. Feb. 21st. and don't expect to until the person before me is serviced, who is also waiting on a engine. I have this in legal right now as they were aware of this problem in 1998, but placed the van on the lot for sale without checking it over first. I was told the coolant on the engine was from a overspill from refilling, when I bought it. Stupid me, I fell for it. But the evidence out-weighs my stupidty that they knew what they were doing. Stupid them. I am also with legal rights in my state (VA)planning a picket in front of this very well know dealer (a Ford dealer) for late April. Also with legal right's, placing signs all over my car's that this particular dealer sells lemons and provides very poor service. I get to drive around and basically state my complaint for the drivers to see. What a great way to allow other potential buyers to be cautious. If they wont refund my money, then I will try my hardest to make others aware. If you live in virginia (fairfax area) get in touch with me and we can all picket together. Lets protect our rights as consumers. We spend alot of money on vehicles, some of us... even struggle to pay for a car. We should at least for the amount of money, be sold a reliable van or car. I think if the tables were turned, they would not be at all happy either, and wouldnt settle for anything less than a refund for a non working, defective purchase.
    Hope this doesnt get pulled.
  • cruzer3cruzer3 Posts: 1
    I had the transmission re programmed at about 50,000 miles. Now at little over 60,000 miles (warranty just ran out) Service engine Light ON and ABS light ON. I was told it was an oxygen sensor for the Engine light and changed them and nothing. As I was underneath the win star changed the sensors I noted my OIL PAN gasket was off and oil was leaking. How can this be?? It never leaked before and then all of a sudden it started. Well I loosed up the bolts on the OIL PAN and slide the gasket back and tightened them up and the leak is fixed.
    Since I was last at the dealer I asked them to give me the part number and diagnostic report that I paid for and NO RESPONSE. I am going to be going to the DEALER and asking of the MANAGER on this one and let everyone know what happens.
  • kjclowkjclow Posts: 29
    Note to post 371
    They must have greatly increased the oil pan size and sump. My 97 only has a 4.5 quart oil fill with changing the filter. I assumed that this was due to the 3.8 being built in Canada, so the pan held an imperial gallon.

    Only major complaint I have is that the brakes wear out entirely too quickly. We have replaced fronts three times and rear twice in 86,000 miles. Fronts are probably due again. I had to replace the speedometer head at Christmas. Around $500. I have never liked the way the thing shifts but am always told that it is normal. So far, knock on wood, no problems with the headgasket. I must have gotten lucky.
  • Just had a front coil spring break... while van was sitting in a garage. NTSB sites have a few similar problems. Cost me $ 600 to have both coil springs and struts replaced not to mention a tow of 65 miles to my dealer by 'AAA. That 'AAA towing option is great.... no charge.

    Ford called and said to save my receipts in case they have a recall on springs. NTSB has one open and one closed case file on spring breakage recalls. No action yet.
  • Once again with some revision done to this page I made up. Thank you all for helping out.

  • matycatmatycat Posts: 12
    sorry guys, I don't know what I was thinking, please check posting #374 for Joseph Ament's e-mail address, I was told he was the one pursuing a class action lawsuit.
  • I am also receiving similar noises from my 2000 Wind star (a somewhat loud humming noise), best described by someone else on this board as if I was driving on concrete. It started out only being noticeable when I let off the gas when approaching a stop light. Now I hear the noise both when I accelerate and decelerate. I took it to the dealer and they hear it, but have no idea what's causing the problem or how to fix it. The van runs smoothly, has great power, but this noise is killing me. In order to listen to the radio or talk to someone in the car, the volume must be high. I know that it's not the tires because I had no problems in the first 6 months. From what I'm seeing on this site, it could be the hub or bearing assembly. Any other ideas?
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    A new hub and wheel bearing seem to be the most logical way to solve this problem. Just like you, I am not having any trouble with the engine, transmission, or tires. The items listed above are all that is left to consider. I have not had time to take my van to the dealer, please let me know if replacing these parts fixes the problem.

  • Well, I set up my homepage...


    and lo and behold, I got a call from the General Manager at Ted Britt Ford (Virginia) while I was on my way to work. It wasnt what I thought it would be though..... He stated that since I have decided to take legal action, he wants his loaner back immediately!!!!! he said he is not going to pay $30 a day to keep me in a car, when I made this choice. What about my $8800.00 and three car payments when I have only had the car one month since Dec. ?????? He claims that if I want to sue anyone, it should be the manufacturer because this is there problem. Yes, it is the manufacturer's problem, however they did not sell me the car. so end of conversation was that I was to bring the loaner back tomorrow, which now leaves me without any transportation with 4 children. He wouldnt tell me when the third engine would be put in, but since it was at the shop they would still fix it. (reminder.. they have had it since Feb. 21st). Also while at work tonight radio station 97.1 wash fm, advertised that Ted Britt Ford sells nearly 300 used cars a month, and when you buy a used car, they will allow you to have a loaner for life. This was not active when I bought in Dec. Does anyone know if what I am doing is worth all this???? If you need more information as to what has happend to me ith this van then go to the site above, and it goes into great detail. I just want to know if i'm wasting my time. I just need some really good cheering up right now. Thanks.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    You need to find out WHO is paying for the loaner - the dealership or FORD. If this is a FORD dealership and they have offered to replace your engine, it is FORD paying for the loaner (this is part of the engine replacement program) NOT THE DEALER. I would suggest that you get in touch with the FORD Regional Rep for that dealership. They are the person that authorized the initial buy-back you were offered. Explain that regardless of the differences between you, the dealership, and Ford, you were offered a loaner for the duration of the repair and you expect that part of the bargain to be upheld.

    Don't get me wrong when I say this... You are partly to blame as well - the engine/transmission reliability of the 95 Wind star has been WELL published on the WEB since 1998. This is the research that you need to do BEFORE you make a purchase.

    Having said that, and being the not so proud owner of a 95 AS with 3 tranny replacements and just returned (3/7) from the second engine replacement, "I feel your pain". The frustration in dealing with Ford is just amazing. They know they have a problem with this car (the 95 WS and most other Ford 3.8L V6 engines). I personally think they are "biding their time"; come 2002, the seven year window closes releasing FORD of liability for the car.

    BTW - I think you should pursue the legal action. Especially the salesman and sales manager - they are WELL aware of the issues with the 95WS and should have disclosed that to you. Further, I think this works by state, I thought you had 72 hours to rescind any car purchase? I find it awfully ironic that they had they vehicle during that window - forcing you to make a decision. I think you do have a case; and I would not pursue it as a small court claim.

    I really do wish you the best. Let us know how things go. GOOD LUCK!
    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
  • hawk505hawk505 Posts: 8
    My Anti-lock brake warning light had been on for a few months. I topped off the brake fluid and the light has not come on for weeks.
  • hawk505hawk505 Posts: 8
    Msg# 197 mentions he had cracks in paint of the roof channels. I have them too. I pointed them out to my dealer and he says my paint warrenty is void because the van has been repainted! I am the only owner and this van has not been repainted. I told him I've seen 3 other 99s in parking lots that have the same problem, he didn't care. Called Ford, they stand by the dealer. Does anyone else have this problem? Maybe we could share VIN numbers. If I call ford and say here are some other vans that have the same problem maybe they would listen. Any other ideas. I can't contact the poster of msg#197 cause he doesn't show his email. Mine is: [email protected]
This discussion has been closed.