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Ford Windstar Problems



  • We have a 98 Windstar with 46,000 miles and now need to replace rack and pinion steering assembly and the power steering pump at $1,000+. Pretty significant failure for a vehicle of this age. Dealer noted problems with rack and pinion but not this early (mileage wise). Has anyone had similar problem?
  • We finally have a permanent fix to our chronic sliding door problems....a 2001 Yukon XL w/2nd row captains seats. Same interior layout as WS with more room!
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    The original WS had a problem where if you put it into Park on any sort of slope (no matter how gentle) without first putting on the handbrake, it was very difficult to get out of Park again.
    Don't know if thats the problem you are experiencing or not. Had it in my 95 and it drove me nuts till the dealer told me the "fix".
    My 2000 has a totally different problem. The shift lever was falling apart, you could never tell what gear you were in by looking at the dash! Something had broken in the housing on the column!
  • If anyone is thinking of buying a 2000 Windstar, or any Windstar for that matter, I suggest you reconsider. I wish I had read all these posts before I bought my 2000 in March. The dealer, Koon's Sterling Ford, in Sterling, VA has had my van for 2 weeks now and there is no end in sight, there are so many engines on back order!! Plus, they have been awful to deal with. You would think that they would try to make a customer happy, especially in this type of circumstance, but it seems they are doing everything they can to aggravate the situation.
    My suggestion - Run to the nearest Honda dealership and get an Odyssey! (As long as it isn't a Koon's dealership!!)
  • Had mine in now for 29 days, 30 coming up to
    replace the sterio. Dead battery, sliding doors
    going in dead battery mode, fuel milage
    dropping-see several older models doing the same.
    Any problems i would be interested in hearing about
    as the dealer called Ford because they can't
    duplicate the problem so ford won't let them try
  • Should add that its the SELs I'm interested in since there is a recall in Stars that don't have a message center to replace the PCM even though the problems are simular
  • I have had a 1996, 1998 and now a 2000 Windstar, totaling more than 85,000 miles to date with NO warranty repairs required. The front brakes seem to wear faster than I would like, but other than that I am totally happy.
  • I have had my windstar for less than 12 hours and
    now the antitheft device is having a problem
    recognizing the keys... tried both keys numerous
    times before one of them worked and then I tried
    the other key again and then it decided to work
    also.... The problem only seems to occur when the
    vehicle is cold... ( -30c ) thats what I figured
    out so far.. she's heading back to the dealer
    tomoro would appreciate any comments on similar
  • Our '98 Windstar has only 28,000 miles on it and this should not have gone on it. Dealer said warranty expired 4 months ago! We also have gear shift problems - it makes a loud clunk when shifting especially into reverse. Dealer said they couldn't "hear" the problem! We're going to get rid of this lemon ASAP!
  • We bought a 95 GL in Nov 94 with 600 miles on it. We are relatively happy with it, currently have about 160,000 miles on it. Here goes the history for those interested : We drive it just about every day. Front brake shoes lasted about 50,000 miles each, the rears lasted 125,000. Had some transmission sensor replaced at 20,000 miles while traveling, got it fixed under warranty the next morning while waiting in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Sliding door recall (Ford paid), loose hood recall (Ford paid). Had anti-lock brake problems, took $100 to disconnect a ground wire to fix problem around 60,000 miles. Had check engine light on, took a few visits but was mass airflow sensor, problem resolved. Replaced oxygen sensors (2) with updated design at 60,000. Had the full service transmission services every 30K miles at a transmission shop. Change oil every 3-4K miles, 5W30. Put semi-sythetic in at wintertime. Coolant flush/fill per the owners manual. Water pump at 110,000 miles ($400, a [non-permissible content removed] to get to). Changed the starter myself at about 100K, had not failed yet. Had head gasket replaced under recall at 100K miles, was only leaking a quart every 6 months or so. Replaced plugs every 60K. Transmission had aluminum shift piston break at 120K, had local transmission shop rebuild and replace anything that was marginal, not just what was broke. Cost $1000 parts and $800 labor, included new differential and steel shift piston. He stated FORD sends their transmission work to his shop and only allows the part broken to be replaced, and charges the customer (or whoever is paying) the full cost of a rebuild. Maybe that is why some people have problems with their "new" transmission so soon after "replacement". EEC went out at 125K miles when traveling, about $400 plus renting another windstar to complete the trip. Put in new struts/shocks at 130K, but did not really have any problems. Put transmission cooler on and started towing a box trailer of about 1500 lbs, have about 1000 miles of this. Have five kids, they are growing, so we put in stiffer springs in the back to keep from bottoming out. Really helps. (added 1500 lbs more strength) and only added an inch or two to the ride height when empty.
    Cost of ownership : Total costs of vehicle (5 year loan, 8%), insurance, gas, all repairs, tires, normal maintenance, etc came out to $0.34 a mile. Anti-lock brakes still work, A/C still works. Min-vans work great for what we need, am looking to get a full size van next time (12 passenger Ford) but waiting for the windstar to blow the engine or something not worth fixing to kill it first. Must have gotten relatively lucky with this van. We also own a 95 Mercury Tracer (econo car) for 100K miles and the only problems were the dome light and a front wheel bearing went bad ($100). I will shut up now...
  • My power steering pump went when my 98 wind star was only 11 months old with 9,000 miles. Had the rack and pinion replaced at that time as well. Tie rods and front main oil seal went at 43 months with 29,000 - lucky I purchased an extended warranty.
    I will not be replacing this van with another wind star.
  • mroz3mroz3 Posts: 1
    I had a pinging problem with my 1999 Windstar which the dealer totally ignored. Get this, the mechanic who did a road test with me claimed he could NOT hear the pinging ! My 6 year old daughter in the 2nd row seat COULD ! Ford's position was, lets wait until something really big happens then we'll fix it.

    If you live in the Vancouver BC Canada, steer well away from dealers that sound Rich. Better still steer well away from automobiles that seem to need fixes or repairs almost daily.


    p.s. I assure you I am NOT a Ford competitor !
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    I have a 2000 Ford Windstar LX. I posted last month that my van was in an accident and we were thank G-d fine. The question I have is about my van after it has been fixed. The van was fixed by the body shop(the whole front end was shifted over to the left), and after they fixed it, attempted to drive it, and it would not drive. They put it on the comptuer and it showed a problem with the transmittion. They opened up the tranny, and there was a crack in the aluminum wall of the tranny, and the gears were all shifted forward. They now put in a brand tranny(they said it is brand new from detroit, and not rebuilt). The shop said the tranny (and everything in my front end that was fixed) is now guaranteed for as long as I own my van. Is this how it works? Will my van work as well as it did before the accident now that I do not have the original trans. in it?
    I am really upset, because the body shop guy said that if the original adjuster saw that there was damage to the trans. they probably would have totalled it, and I could have had a brand new I am stuck with this one, because they did the work already.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    I'm surprised that they didn't total it in the first place, especially after such a serious accident in a brand new vehicle. After an accident (even a fairly minor) in which the frame of the vehicle is compromised, the structural integrity/crashworthiness will never be the same as with a brand new vehicle. Hopefully your powertrain will be about as good as new though.

    Best of luck!
    Drew Townhall co-host
    Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories conferences
  • I have about 17000 miles on my '99 Wind star (3.8/200 hp). I have been having intermittent transmission problems similar to those described in prior messages. When I try to enter traffic quickly... not a jackrabbit start, there is sort of a 1-2 second hesitation between gears (2-3...I think) and then it sort of slams into gear, the whole van shudders. (The sensation is similar as if I was spinning on ice, and then hit bare pavement.)

    About two weeks ago, the dealer had my van for a week replacing seals... the suspected problem. This did not solve the problem. I've seen other posting with similar problem described, but I don't believe I saw a fix... has anyone ever actually gotten this problem resolved?

    Thanks in advance for whatever help you provide!
  • kjclowkjclow Posts: 29
    My wife was rear ended last month. She was parked at the curb and pushed about 10 feet after contact. About $4000 damage to our 97 Windstar. Now, while on our Christmas trip, the speedometer has gone crazy. It will change from 40 - 120+ while the van is on cruise. Has anyone else experienced this problem? I tried to look through the postings, but there are too many and too little time. The dealer says that he needs at least two days to fix it. Is this a "normal" problem or something that could have been caused by the accident?

    Also, I have been getting some moisture on the carpet between the front seats. Does anyone have any sugesstions as to what to look for? I have about 84000 on it and have no major problems to date. Is this just the tip of the iceberg?

    As for the problems of load noises when shifting out of park on an incline, I think that I have finally figured out how to avoid this. From a previous post.... Come to a complete stop. Set the parking brake. Ease off the brake until the van is fully engaged to the parking brake. Push the brake pedal back down and shift to park. When starting, push the brake down, shift into gear, relate the parking brake and go. Seems to help

    Thanks for your help.
  • I have had this car just over a year and the power sliding door had given us a problem. Sometimes it would not close once it was open and sometimes it would not open. Trying to close it manually when this happens is nearly impossible. The dealer said they would order the "part" and when it finally came in and I left it for them for two days they said they needed to order another "part". Finally after they "fixed" it I had trouble again with it while on vacation. Also there has been a terrible "sucking" sound occasionally when starting the car. They looked at that three different times and could not find any problem. They finally said it was normal and was the choke. Why doesn't it do it all the time? One other thing, the plastic trim on the passenger front seat broke and they claim we must have jumped on the seat in order for it to break. I am not impressed with the dealership or with Ford over this vehicle. I doubt I will buy another Windstar.
  • We have a 1999 Windstar with 42000 miles with major transmission problems. There was no prior warning. We are now looking at a $2700 bill to replace the transmission and whatever the rental car expenses total. My dealer tells me its my problem because the warranty ran out at 36000 miles. Anyone with ant similar experiences please respond.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Yes, that is a fairly common problem with the Windstar and Taurus. You mentioned that it happens when you are on speed control, does your actual speed remain constant, ie are you moving at about the same rate, does your tachometer seem to remain steady?

    Apparently the speed reading is electrical, not mechanical. You might try looking under the dashboard and wiggling/reseating the wires to the speedometer. I had a similar problem about a month or so ago, in reaching back to feel I had jiggled the wires, the problem has not come back so far. From other reports, to replace the speedometer head would run about $500.
  • kjclowkjclow Posts: 29
    Thanks, crkeehn
    The dealer quoted a price of 475 plus tax to install a new head. I'll play with the wires on the back this weekend and see if that fixes, or temporarily solves, the problem. I hate to part with that amount of money just after Christmas. Especially since we have to replace the windshield, too. Rocks and/or kids throwing things off an overpass. Best price on Windshields, at least in Charlotte, NC, was $250. We may end up trading the thing in this weekend on an Olds Silo, if I can figure out where the money is coming from.

    To answer your other questions... The tach remained fairly constant and the driving speed did not change. Just what the speedo said we were doing. It's fine on the highway to run by the tach, but I haven't paid enough attention to where the tach runs for the lower gears to try to use it in the city. I sure don't want to support my local law enforcement agencies, not that way at least.
This discussion has been closed.