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



  • The check engine light and O2 sensor going off is the early sign of head gasket leaking. Have dealer add dye to coolant then return a month later. If they pull a plug and shoot "black light" at it they should be able to detect the leaking gasket. All the standard "FORD" tests did not find my leaking headgasket. The dye test I requested did. But be ware I had the headgaskets on my 95 Windstar done at 55,000 miles. The engine failed a year later at 65,000. I believe it was do to the coolant in the oil which caused premature internal wear of oil lubricated parts. Good luck. Hope you have warranty coverage. If not I recommend selling it.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    I bought tires this past weekend...

    OK, it is my family we haul around so I didn't skimp too much - OTOH, I didn't go crazy either. After talking with a couple of shops I got the impression that the cheap tires (35000 to 40000 mile tires) have softer sidewalls that would not last very long on a 4200 pound vehicle.

    I went to the local Fleet Farm and picked up a set of four Duron Vertex IV. They are a 75000 mile tire made by the Dayton Tire Company. They were on sale for $49.95 each and for the month of March they had free mounting, balance, and valve stems. $212.79 later I took the tires to their Auto Service Center and they had them on the van in 45 minutes. I asked them to do an alignment as well. It turned out I didn't need one. After they put it on the rack they showed me that all four wheels were within spec. Sooooo... They charged me $6 to dispose the old tires and $10 for the alignment "check".

    That is the least amount of money that I have spent on service for this van since I bought it in 1998!
    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
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    I went all out and got Michelin X-One tires. Yeah, they cost a lot, but how much does an accident cost? But a really good low priced tire is the Dunlop. According to Consumer Reports, Dunlop makes some fine tires and you could probably get something in the $55-65 range for a WS.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Well, I really thought the dealership had this one licked...

    I got my 95WS back from the dealership at the beginning of March... That was for engine number three. Put new tires on it last weekend... Now the temperature guage is "swinging" between the O and the L in NORMAL...

    This sucks... Why do I believe them?
    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
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Man, I have to say this. A lot of people like to vent their frustrations and end up saying things that I personally feel are somewhat exagerated.

    I like your posts though because you seem to generally be trying to get things resolved, and don't get too carried away with rhetoric. Good luck with your difficulties. We have 30k miles on our 99, and I can't say its given us any problems. It hasn't, and my wife loves it (she won't even entertain the idea of letting me get her a 3 series as a daily driver). But I empathize with you.
  • Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington DC, emailed me that his organization is considering going after Ford on behalf of 1996 Windstar owners who have had head gasket problems if his organization receives enough complaints. His organizations actions, as well as a class action law suit, certainly contributed to Ford being pressured into their extended warranty settlement program (1999) on head gaskets with 1994, 1995 Ford owners. I am urging that all 1996 Windstar owners with head gasket, engine, transmission problems to register their complaints with the Center For Auto Safety. Their address; Clarence Ditlow, Center For Auto Safety, 1825 Connecticut Ave, NW Suite #330, Washington DC 20009-5708. Please copy me as well on your complaint: [email protected]
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    I have had this vehicle since April 1998 and started running into issues in January 1999. I learned early on that the Ford CSRs won't deal with, ahem, "strong attitudes" (which goes against every Irish bone in my body)...

    Nonetheless, I have been through two service managers and two Ford CSRs. The latest CSR seems genuinely interested in resolving the issue and is much more apologetic than the last. This still does not change the fact, however, that the servicing dealership she is a liason for has not been able to get the vehicle to run for more than 20000 miles without something major happening. The part that I don't get: as a customer, I don't care if the problem lies in the hardware (the parts supplied by FMC) or in the maintenance (the servicing dealer). I just want the issue resolved. This is how car companies lose customers - there are too many competitors with comparable products.


    OK - off the soapbox.

    One thing that you might be interested in... The Ford CSR explained to me that the engineering team 'incentive' program has JUST (for the 2001 model year) been modified to measure the quality of their designs. In other words, if an engineering defect occurs, no bonus. So far, from what I have read, it looks like the 1999 "issues" list is pretty short.

    I wish you luck, and, once again, Thanks!
    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
  • Hello all remember me... the mom who is really tired of all the problems with my 1995 w/s and made a homepage about the dealer that sold it to me. Well, here I am again, just one week into my second engine since December. And my poor parking spot looks awful. it has new puddles, old puddles, dried puddles, all kinds of puddles... This latest leak I cant figure out though, I think it may be transmission fluid. I was going to place a paper bag under it today to get a accurate spot but it is raining and cant do it. The investigator from my consumer division called me on Sat. to state that he got a letter from the General Manager. This is what it says..
    "Through our efforts and partnership with Ford Motor Company, we were able to install a new (rmp) engine at no cost to Ms. Abrahams while providing her with comparable loaner transportation at no charge. At this point in time I believe she is happy with Ted Britt Ford."
    First of all... I am not even close to happy, Second, They did'nt do this out of the goodness of they're heart like he is making it sound. They have to replace the engine, and they have to provide me with a loaner, Its there policy. Remember they took that loaner away from me at one point because I made them really mad with my homepage and contacting an Attorney. And i'm happy???? I don't think so. Now there is some other leak, and just yesterday I did my own little test for the van missing and it's not a pretty thing. Place a glass of water on the top of the dash, put the car in park, nuetral and drive and watch the water in the glass, if it jumps around like a dancing bean then you got problems. Mine was doing flips in the I have to make funny on this at times, otherwise i'll drive myself insane.
    Oh and I wanted everyone to know that I ordered two bushels of lemons and when I picket the dealership in April, the lemons will be handed out to passer by's with the dealers name on them. Maybe this will show just how happy I really am.
    Thanks for all the support!!!!
  • hawk505hawk505 Posts: 8
    I also have some sort of pulley sounds. So far the Pwr Steering pump, serpetine belt and some pulley has been replaced by dealer. It still makes the sound, but it's intermitent. Some days it fine, some it's not. I wonder if it has anything to do with how the AC/Heat controls are set? I will investigate #407's [email protected]
  • any ideas why my ws door ajar light remains on and the "chime" chimes.. it starts when you decelerate to 15 mph and then stops when you accelerate past 15 mph.. any ideas would be most appreciated. thanks
  • jims15jims15 Posts: 1
    Hello all, I am the proud owner of a 99 WS. I recently got a taste of what it sounds like a lot of other WS owners have already had. I recently had a problem with the idle (thought it was bad gas) and an engine light on. I took it to my dealer. I was told that the problem was a valve that needed replacing and oh yea by the way the front cover gasket was leaking and needed fixing. $415 later ($236 for labor) I was told that the front cover had to be replaced because Ford had a bulitin that said if the cover gasket developed a leak, the cover had to be replaced. None of this is covered by Ford of course. I wrote Ford and so far have heard nothing (surprise?). I currently also have a 94 F-150 with the old in-line 6 that has 94000 on it. The only repairs on the truck were tires, belts, hoses, and brakes. I still have the orginal exhaust on it and I can go the 3000 miles between oil changes without loosing any oil. But guess what, they don't make these engines any more, hummmm kind of makes you wonder doesn't it? Well I think I'm stuck with the WS until the payments run out and then I'm trading fast before more problems come along. I hear the Toyota's and Honda's are excellent. I will let you know.
  • mlraymlray Posts: 1
    Everybody seems to be talking about the 1995 Windstar in here. All I need to know is, does anybody out there have a 2001 WS and experienced the same problems? Has Ford fixed this problem? Doesn't the Mustang have this same 3.8L engine? Is the Windstar worth the money?
  • I had to replace the transmission at 49,000 miles which was covered by warranty and then again at 75,000 which was not covered under warranty. Two transmissions in this length of time does not seem reasonable to me.
  • callo_callo_ Posts: 18
    No problems at all (5381 miles). Thanks for asking.
  • sharonlpksharonlpk Posts: 37
    Hello! Does anyone reading here have these? Have they 'worked' when supposed to? How easily are they replaced?

    So far we like this 2001 (SE Sport, had for a week now, ha!) We bought the 7 yr. extended warranty after all of the problems we had with our '95 (had the extended warranty then too) even tho I don't expect the same problems *knock on wood*!

  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Troubles with the 1995 Windstars occurred quickly, in some cases within a year or two and 30-40,000 miles. That was true with both the transmission and head gasket problem. The main cause of the transmission problem was a piston which in 1995 was made of aluminum and prone to fracture. During 1996 the piston was changed to steel, which seemed to have reduced transmission problems, at least in the 1996-1997. The head gasket was supposedly redesigned also, it certainly delayed the onset of failure. Some of the 1996 models are showing head gasket failures, however at a much higher mileage and after 4-5 years. The bottom line.... It's probably too early to tell how durable the 2001 vans will be.

    Unfortunately, a forum like this also tends to attract those who are dissatisfied and seeking redress. It is hard to judge from this sample as people don't tend to write "I have a Windstar with which I am well pleased". Having said that, I have a 1996 Windstar with 82K miles on it, it has been relatively reliable. It is a comfortable van, great for trips and hauling.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    I have a Windstar with which I am well pleased.

  • tl12345tl12345 Posts: 1
    i've just put my 95 winstar, which i bot new into shop for a new engine via head gasket problem... (see #396) for details. has anyone recently gotten a buy back offer. my dealer told me it ended dec 2000. i'm very concerned i'll be stuck once the "extended 7 yr (2002) or 100K warrenty runs out. its quite depressing reading all the problems with the 95 WS, this is my first awareness of the depth of the problem. thanks. any advise on
    1) buy back?
    2)loaner car for duration?
    3) any way to get rid of this minivan before more problems arise?
  • distecdistec Posts: 9
    cost is estimated to be $4500 from private garage. Ford has refused to pay even part of it. Would it be best just to cut my losses and just buy a new van? I don't want to have to deal with the gasket blowing again in a few thousand miles, although another used van would cost at least $9000. What would the best thing to do?
  • I was offered the buy back in early January, but it was not cost effective for me. I don't even think they offered the right amount according to the internet. My dealership offers the loaner for life with new and used cars now, for the duration of the service which always took about a month if not more with mine. Beware though... if you do what I did, and hired a lawyer or made a homepage, they took it away from me, then realized they were in the wrong. I lost two days of work for that one. I don't know if you have a "carmax" where you are, but they offer a pretty good amount on them as long as they dont have frame damage. This was still not effective for me though as I just bought mine in Dec 2000.

    #439 How many miles are on your van? Ford has to pay for it as long as it is in the extended warranty period, within the 100,000 miles.

    Make a page like I did and send it to the dealer and you may get some things done. I have gotten new tires, brakes and rotor's at no cost, however I am still putting up a fight about a refund of $3000.00 for the down payment and I really don't want the van at all. Here is my site... Hope you have good luck with what ever avenue you choose.


  • distecdistec Posts: 9
    Its a windstar 1995 with 61k miles, bought used about a year ago. Unfortunately, I didn't research the car before I bought it. I tried calling both the (ford)dealer I bought it from and Ford, but both refuse to pay for the engine.

    Does the extended warranty come carry over from the original buyer? I purchased a simple 6 month warranty when i bought the car used, figuring that if anything would go wrong, it would go within 6 months. Guess I was wrong.
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    They are lieing to you. According to all posted information, Ford's extended warranty for 1995 Windstars covers 7 years or 100,000 miles. The service campaign number is 00M09 and this was an addendum to campaign 98M01 which only extended 5 years and 60,000 miles. Original AND subsequent/current owners are covered and it INCLUDES rebates for any costs you incurred for repairs from an independent (non-Ford) repair shop. See the following web sites for additional info:

    The following excerpts comes from the Edmunds site above:

    "The last type of service notification would be a warranty extension, which is just that: an extension of a part or whole of the vehicle's warranty. In any of these service notifications, it does not matter if you are the original owner or if you purchased the vehicle used; the service notifications go with the vehicle and not with the owner."


     "...program 00M09, which basically extended the original program from five years or 60,000 miles to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurred first, covering the same vehicles as the 98M01 program. Letters to consumers for this program went out in March of 2000. Ford obtains a current list of owners from R.L. Polk and several other sources".

    According to what you are stating, neither 7 years nor 100,000 miles has occurred yet.

  • They are taking you for a ride. Just as the other post states, you have until 7 yrs or 100,000 miles. They HAVE to replace it. My suggestion is to print up the documents on the "cantanese" site and take them into the dealer's General Manager. With the documents in front of him, he would be a wise man not to deny you the repairs at NO cost. For those of you in the Virginia area... I just got this yesterday from the Attorney General's Office.

    Dear Lisa:

    This is in response to your recent e-mail concerning

    the difficulties you have encountered with the 1995 Ford Windstar you

    purchased from Smart Wheels in Fairfax, Virginia. We appreciate your making

    this Office aware of this matter.

    First, let me explain the role of the Office of the

    Attorney General. This Office functions as the law firm for Virginia state

    government. In that capacity, we represent the various state departments

    and agencies and provide advice to state officials. Although able to

    provide copies of statutes, state laws, conflict of interest rules and other

    policy considerations prevent us from being able to provide private legal

    advice or represent individual consumers.

    You have asked about Virginia's lemon law. The

    Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act, Va. Code §§ 59.1-207.9 to

    59.1-207.16:1, is commonly referred to as the "Lemon Law." To access this

    and other Virginia laws you may visit The Virginia Code Commission's web

    site which is

    <> . Once at this site, click

    on "Code of Virginia" and then type in the code section in which you are

    interested, or in this case you may click on "Popular Names" and then "Motor

    Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act." Although I cannot interpret this statute

    for you, I can call to your attention that this law applies to the first

    eighteen (18) months after purchase of a vehicle.

    Because Smart Wheels is located in Fairfax,

    Virginia, I am taking the liberty of forwarding this complaint to the

    Fairfax County Department of Telecommunications and Consumer Services

    ("Fairfax County DTCS"). Typically the Fairfax County DTCS will conduct an

    investigation and attempt to resolve the complaint through voluntary

    mediation or arbitration. When an investigation reveals a pattern of

    violation of Virginia consumer protection laws, the Fairfax County DTCS

    works with the County Attorney's Office to stop the illegal practice.

    I am also referring a copy of your complaint to the

    Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board ("MVDB"). Among other duties, the Board

    is responsible for certifying or licensing motor vehicle dealers and motor

    vehicle salespersons as well as receiving complaints concerning the conduct

    of persons and businesses licensed by it.

    Finally, because you feel the seat belt issue may be

    a problem in other 1995 Ford Windstar vans, I am also sending a copy of your

    complaint to the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB"). Among other

    things, the NTSB conducts special investigations and safety studies on

    various modes of transportation.

    In closing, thank you again for writing to this

    Office. I hope the action we have taken will be helpful to you.

    Very truly yours,

    Linda A. Dickerson

    Consumer Specialist

    Antitrust and


    Litigation Section

    cc: Fairfax County Department of

    Telecommunications & Consumer Services

    12000 Government Center Parkway

    Suite 433

    Fairfax, Virginia 22035

    Motor Vehicle Dealer Board

    2201 West Broad Street

    Richmond, Virginia 23220

    National Transportation Safety Board

    490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW

    Washington, DC 20594

    Hope this will help some of you.

  • kclowkclow Posts: 1
    First of all let me start out by saying that I have 85,000 miles without any major problems.

    That said, I still don't like the way the van drives. The shift points are lousy and it wallows around corners. The brakes have always squealed when backing especially first thing in the morning. I think that it has something to do with the pad and disks not being compatible material.

    I feel for all of you out there that are having major problems. Good luck. I know that I will be getting rid of mine as soon as the New Beetle is paid for.
  • murphy07murphy07 Posts: 2
    I just took my 2000 SEL in for its 15k check up (no problems to date and very pleased). Even though I repeatedly told the service rep that I had the oil changed every 3000 miles, she still tried to convince me of the need for a $100. oil flush every 12k.

    What gives???

    Also according to the service tech, my tranny fluid looks to need replacing at 20k and my brake fluid should be flushed at the same time.

    Is this common or do I have a dealer that has not sold many cars lately???
  • distecdistec Posts: 9
    I will definately follow up with the info you guys gave me.
  • Please keep us posted as to how things go. There is a great bunch of people here and I like to think that since we suffer from alot of the same issues, we can pull together for each other. Thanks.
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    Murphy07, They are trying to sell you maintenance you don't need. 3K oil changes are correct, 5K with synthetic. I would not do flushes for any fluids, especially after higher miles. Proper draining at regular intervals is enough. Many people have had more problems as a result of flushing and would have been better to not have done it. Brake fluid will last a long time. You could do it every 50K, but even that is probably too soon. The tranny is a different story. I did my 98 Windstar at 40K and there was metal shavings in the fluid. I will do it every 25K. My mechanic does it and the filter for about $65. No flushing though. Antifreeze every four years, although I have a 94 Altima with 107,000 miles and all temperature and acid tests show it still good. I am still going to replace it this fall. My 98 has 61,000 miles. Replaced belt at 50K, everything else is original including brakes and tires. No problems. Good luck.
  • compumomcompumom Posts: 1
    Hi, had the same problem. The car thinks one of the doors is open and the interior light and chimes are on until the car senses you are moving (15 MPH) and not just pulling away from a curb. It was one of the sensors in the door - my husband tried each door until he got it (ours was the drivers side).

    And that's the *least* of my problems with my '95 Windstar!
  • sharonlpksharonlpk Posts: 37
    We had that annoying chiming problem (as well as the overhead light coming on!) with our 95 WS quite some time ago, but I recall that it was easily fixed and there might even have been a Technical Service Bulletin about it. It was just a sensor and that was one fix I was so glad to have had done :-)
This discussion has been closed.