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Ford Windstar Problems



  • hs0825hs0825 Posts: 2
    Lights stays on. Took the van(44,000 miles) to Ford dealer. Told valve spring in the cylinder head had broken($1,600 fix) . Anyone heard of That? Lights been on a few times before. Changed O2 sensors, engine misfires, etc.. Nothing as serious as this one. Help please.
  • jsiedhoffjsiedhoff Posts: 18
    I purchased a new 2000 Windstar in October of 2000. It is now May and I have had it back to the dealer for repair at least six times. There are under 6,000 miles on it. We started hearing a squeaking noise when we would hit a bump or the body would flex. It sounded like it was coming from the passenger side middle seat. I took it to ford and they could not duplicate the problem but they took the seat out and lubricated it. Needless to say, the problem continued when I got it home. I took it back about one month later (the problem kept getting worse)and one of their service technicians rode with me and he heard the problem. I was told that there was a service bulletin to replace and relocate the parking brake cable/spring and I had to wait almost one month for them to order the part. Once the part came in, I took the van back and they said the corrected the problem. They didn't. I took it back again and they told me about the service bulletin and I told them that they already replaced the spring but they went ahead and did it again (so they said)but it seems to have worked this time. I think they lied to me the last time I took the van in. Anyway, as soon as I got it home, a new noise showed up on the passenger side sliding door near the handle. This sounds like the door is moving or not latched good but it appears to be. I have dropped the van off yet again this morning to have that checked out. Also, the 'high-quality' plastic trim around the rear driver's side seat belt is coming loose and rattling. If the van was a few years old, I would expect these types of things to happen but it is brand new and I am frustrated with it. The noises are extremely annoying and make you wonder what will happen next. Has anyone else had these types of problems? If not, you most likely will.
  • hawk505hawk505 Posts: 8
    My 1999 WS has the same squeaks, but they have never
    been able to fix it. I just live with it. I may check out the brake cable/[email protected]
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    Look back a few messages, there is a guy that had a suggestion on how to fix the problem with some velco. I tried it and it worked great, no rattles here.

  • 2ndford2ndford Posts: 1
    Has anyone had a problem getting their car to start. I have to hold the key in the crank position and it takes a few seconds for it to catch and start the engine. I have this may be a microchip problem. I took the car in for service but they could not find anything when they ran the diagnostics. I am taking it in again this week. People who have been in the car with me have noticed how hard the van is to start. A friend of mine with a Taurus had a similar problem and said they had to replace the microchip in the ignition and also the keys.
  • buzzer2buzzer2 Posts: 1
    Our 98 WS has about 40k mi and has begun leaking oil onto the ground. No sign of a leak under the hood, but we're losing about a quart a day. Has anyone had this problem before? If so, what was the solution?
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    An "oil leak" is a pretty generic problem; it can occur in numerous places, and is nothing specific to a Windstar. Have you crawled underneath and tried to locate where the leak is coming from?
  • fflip5fflip5 Posts: 1
    This is my first visit/posting to site, and it confirms what I already knew about Ford and my '95 Windstar - the car is nothing more than an assemblage of engineering/design and manufacturing defects, and Ford has treated its customers as guinea pigs to see, perhaps, just how much cost and aggravation we can take. I just had it into Backus FOrd in Syracuse for its 4th transmission - @ 57,000 mi. - to go with the head gasket (@46,000 mi). Ford must be made to pay for this monstrosity it has inflicted (and continues to inflict) on the public. Is anyone aware of any pending class action lawsuits having to do with the Windstar? Surely somebody must have started one by now.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    A (or other search engine) search would turn up some things (like this one for example). Good luck.

    Vans, SUVs and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
  • jsiedhoffjsiedhoff Posts: 18
    The dealer had my van for three days and I still have a problem. They did replace the roller and hinge on the sliding door which stopped the chatter problem when you open the door but the clunking sound when you hit bumps is still there. The dealer test drove it after the repair (they adjusted the guides) and said the did not hear the problem. I picked it up yesterday and instantly heard the problem when I drove the van off the lot. The dealer is calling the Ford engineers in Detroit to see what they can do. I would think a rubber bushing in the guide would help. The dealer also told me that they removed the guides and drove the van and it was completely quiet. The reinstalled and adjusted them but that did not help. These guides were re-designed for the 2000 model according to my dealer but maybe they need to go back to the old ones. I may have the try the velcro trick that was mentioned earlier but on a new van, I shouldn't have to do that.
  • lisabirdlisabird Posts: 1
    Has anyone had any problems with their auto sliding doors. Intermittently when using the remote the drivers side sliding door will start to open and then bind. You have to grab the handle and get it started manually. Was at the dealers all day yesterday and they said there was no problem (even though I showed service manager how it wouldn't open). They cleaned the censors and oiled the track again. Got home and it started again. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  • Just purchased a used 95 windstar with 114k mi on it, $2000. Can.$, what a deal. All I have to do now is replace the engine to get rid of that annoying bottom end knock/rattle. This was not caused by the dreaded cylinder head gasket failure, but from a faulty pcm (power train control module/ processor) which when it fails causes the fuel injector (I forget which cylinder #) to dump fuel constantly, which eventually thins out the oil and causes severe bearing damage similar to that of getting coolant into the oil. The previous owner drove the van for 3 weeks with a "check engine" light on unaware of what was happening, paid almost $1000 to have the processor replaced, new plugs and an oil change, only to have the bottom end fall out 2 weeks later. Now its my problem:) I figure a long block engine assembly once installed and I will only have about $4000 wrapped up in the whole deal. Hopefully the head gasket concern will not resurface on the reman engine I will be installing. Better yet I should dump some coolant in it and drive it to my ford dealer and pretend it must have had a head gasket problem. hmmm.. maybe not.
  • dturrentdturrent Posts: 3
    Check out the following link from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about possibly extending the "secret warranty" to later year models. and search for Ford.

  • dturrentdturrent Posts: 3
    Are you loosing coolant? If so check the head gasket!
  • chateuxchateux Posts: 2
    Head gasket has been replaced at 60K and again at 85K. After this last change I've had a problem with the engine light coming on after running at 60-75 MPH for about 2-3 hours. Most noticeable after going uphill. Just before the engine light comes on the engine shudders and I feel a sudden drop in power. I can recover power by dropping to 55-60MPH and slowly stepping on the accelerator. Stepping on the accelerator too fast does nothing to regain power. Also, after the engine light comes on two things happen; I can see my MPG drop drastically and every time I decelerate the engine feels as if it's chocking. Out of despair I began a routine after the engine light comes on. I pull over to a safe spot and disconnect the battery. this clears the engine light and the engine returns to normal operation.
    Has any one ran across this before?
    My ford dealer has looked at this problem 3 times without any luck so far.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Can almost guarantee your upper oxygen sensors are shot (those CLOSEST to the engine). That is why your mileage goes down the toilet. After two head gasket repairs, they are likely covered with the remnants of burned coolant (this is impossible to get rid of without replacing). They are responsible for for providing the proper mixture of gas/air in the combustion chambers. Happened to me after my FIRST engine replacement (I am now on my third)...

    2003 Honda Odyssey EX-LRES - Midnight Blue Pearl
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  • hoof1hoof1 Posts: 2
    I just reluctantly decided to purchase a 1996 Windstar, mint, loaded, 50K for $7500 on a private sale. I have the car and the check to give the seller but just discovered the "head gasket fiasco" during my final bit of research. I can still back out. Should I?
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    What is the build date of the van?

    Edmunds did a nice little write-up on the HG problem in Ford's 3.8.

    IIRC, the 95s are bad. They have no redesign effort in them - they represent the base line

    Sometime during the 96s, Ford redesigned the coolant flow. This helps, but isn't the best fix.

    For the 97 year, Ford supposedly switched to a different gasket (multi layered), which should be the actual fix.

    From paying attention to this forum, the problem year is the 95s. A handful of 96s (supposely the early 96s) have posted a problem. But thats it. I don't recall anyone with a late build date 96 or later thats posted here with a blown head gasket.

    If that's a pretty good price (it sounds like it is), you may want to invest a little extra and see if you can get an independent shop to replace the head gasket with an aftermarket replacement now, before you ever get a problem.

    Personally, if I thought the price was great, I'd get it. Just don't expect any help from Ford if you have a problem. Do you know (and can trust) the previous owner? If not, you might check the condition of the spark plugs; if they haven't been replaced they can often indicate if something bad is going on in the engine.
  • I have personnally documented 4 dozen postings of 96 Windstar owners who have experienced head gasket failure (myself among them). According to a May 19th article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Center for Auto Safety reports that they are currently seeing an increase in head gasket / blown engine complaints for 96 Windstars. If you buy this vehicle you are asking for big time, expensive trouble. [email protected]
  • yamanyaman Posts: 113
    Can't vouch for the latter years but I would stay away from a 96 Windstar.We bought one new kept it for 3 problem ridden years and finally said good riddance-worst car I ever owned
  • bow4bow4 Posts: 1
    I've appreciated the discussion related to our '95 windstar. A year ago we had a short block installed on the van with 84,000 miles - ran fine until the check engine light came on and our trusted mechanic found a rod had frozen sitting overnightand that coolant was in cylinder #1.

    He suggests having Ford look at to see if there is any warranty on the engine. We have now passed the 100k mile marker. Should I have Ford look at or have our mechanic tear into the engine? He thinks it is a bad intake manifold gasket - probably $400.
  • the5foursthe5fours Posts: 7
    I have a 2000 SEL that I have had a bunch of electrical problems---currently working on lemon law. It was great for the fist month and a half. Then the battery started going dead. My mileage went from a constant 23-24 mpg to 14-18 mpg. A 500+ miles/ tankful went down to under 400. Every time the dealers did something to the PCM, it improved for maybe a tank, but that's it. After going on a trip, we had ma couple of days we were getting 24 mpg and we would have 300 miles before we got to 1/2 tank. After going over records, I noticed like others that I was only getting 20 gals in at the most. I did have the sensor replaced but I still have problems. Then I got to wondering if the fuel gauge was off, maybe the odometer is off. I used the timer clock, set the cruise at 60 and went 16 miles and noticed the odometer was off 1 mile. It could be a voltage problem since I get so unconstant readings.
  • insmominsmom Posts: 2
    Can somebody out there help me?
    Like all of you, I bought into Ford's big ad campaign and bought a 95 Windstar. First car of my own after a divorce.......what a treat.
    I also had to replace the heads and the trans. The heads Ford reimbursed me for and I'm still fighting on the transmission. There's an attorney in Chicago who filed a class action suit and I got my name in the hat for that but who knows how long that's going to go on.
    I tried to trade it in......what a joke. The best offer I got was $4000 and I still owe $8200.
    Now they tell me the PCM is bad, went ahead and ordered the part but it's not in yet. Tonight when I pulled out of the drive I heard a "pop" and felt something give. Now it smells like exhaust and it takes me 2-3 miles to get up to 55mph. I checked the oil and it doesn't smell hot and it's not cloudy but it smells like gas.
    The thing is chugging like crazy but it's not running hot. Stopped by the local station and they couldn't see anything obvious so there's not a belt or something broken.
    Has anybody else out there dealt with replacing these PCM's?
    Anybody a mechanic who can give me some advice on this? Please tell me when I replace this part ( another $245) that it will solve my problem!
  • insmominsmom Posts: 2
    I was reimbursed for replacing my headgaskets by Ford. I didn't have them do the work but they sent me a check for what it cost.
    I'm still having continual problems with this can.
    Is Ford still offering the buy-back program?
    I swore I'd never buy another one but I can't get any money for this thing and it scares me to death.
    I'm a single mom w/3 kids and I just can't take the constant repairs anymore. Maybe if I get a new one it'll last me awhile.
  • vezinivezini Posts: 38
    MY 98 Windstar (50K miles) feels like the steering is becoming loose. There is a lot of play with the steering wheel. And, I replaced the tie rods just a few months ago. Vehicle was aligned recently. Any comments on what this could be.

  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    If by PCM you are referring to the car's computer as needing replacement, you may be covered for this repair also. Since 1995, all auto diagnostic devices (e.g. computers, etc) are covered against failure for 8 years/80,000 miles by the federal clean air act. This act provides for reimbursement of all costs associated with the diagnosis and repair of the covered device, including labor. See the web site and excerpt below.

    "Clean Air Act Warranty Provisions (42 U.S.C. S 7541 (C) (3) (B))

    The federal Clean Air Act requires vehicle makers to provide two emissions-related warranties -- a production warranty and a performance warranty. The production warranty requires the vehicle maker to warrant that the vehicle is designed, built and equipped so that it conforms with emissions requirements at the time of sale. The performance warranty requires the vehicle maker to warrant that the vehicle will comply with applicable emissions requirements as tested under state vehicle emissions inspection programs for the warranty periods specified in the law (for model year 1995 and later vehicles, the warranty is 2 years/24,000 miles for all emissions-related parts and 8 years/80,000 miles for the catalytic converter, electronic emissions control unit and on-board diagnostic device). The performance warranty is conditioned on the vehicle being properly maintained and operated.

    Like the Magnuson-Moss Act, vehicle manufacturers may not refuse warranty repairs under the Clean Air Acts performance and defect warranties merely because aftermarket parts have been installed on the vehicle. The only circumstance under which the vehicle manufacturer can void the emissions warranties is if an aftermarket part is responsible for (causes) the warranty claim."

    The following is from Ford's 2001 warranty booklet:


    Under the Emissions Defect Warranty, Ford Motor Company provides coverage for 3 years or 36,000 miles (whichever occurs first). This is an

    extension of the federal requirement that calls for coverage of 2 years/24,000 miles (whichever occurs first) for passenger car and light

    duty trucks. Certified heavy duty engines (vehicles with a GVWR over 8,500 pounds) are provided coverage for 5 years or 50,000 miles

    (whichever occurs first).

    During this coverage period, Ford Motor Company warrants that:

    ² your vehicle or engine is designed, built, and equipped to meet - at the time it is sold - the emissions regulations of the U.S. EPA.

    ² your vehicle or engine is free from defects in factory-supplied materials or workmanship that could prevent it from conforming with

    applicable EPA regulations.

    ² you will not be charged for repair, replacement, or adjustment of defective emissions-related parts listed under What is Covered? on

    pages 13-14.

    Under the Emissions Defect Warranty for passenger cars and light duty trucks (vehicles with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less), Ford Motor

    Company also provides coverage, including labor and diagnosis, for 8 years or 80,000 miles (whichever occurs first) for these emissions parts:

    ² catalytic converter

    ² compuvalve

    ² electronic emissions control unit (PCM)

    ² onboard emissions diagnostic device

    ² vehicle communication link (VCL) module


    If your vehicle is registered in a state where the state or local government has an EPA-approved inspection and maintenance program, you may also be eligible for Emissions Performance Warranty Coverage for 2 years or 24,000 miles (whichever occurs first), if you meet certain conditions.

    Under the Emissions Performance Warranty for passenger cars and light duty trucks, Ford Motor Company also provides coverage, including labor

    and diagnosis, for 8 years or 80,000 miles (whichever occurs first) for these emissions parts:

    ² catalytic converter

    ² compuvalve

    ² electronic emissions control unit (PCM)

    ² onboard emissions diagnostic device

    ² vehicle communication link (VCL) module

    I hope this helps you in your repairs.

  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    Dambach was correct, if the problem is not your tires then it is the wheel bearing and hub. My van was fixed today. Now it is very quiet.

  • imgoinnutsimgoinnuts Posts: 2
    RE:Hoof 1's contemplation of the 96 Windstar, I would avoid it! I waited 6 weeks for a replacement for my Windstar after the head gaskets blew with less than 49K on it. No help, acknowledgement from Ford on repairs of over $4000. I suggest anyone with a problem like ours should write to James O'Connor, President of Ford Motor Company, PO Box 549, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303. Perhaps with all the attention, Ford may cave in. Hey, I can dream, can't I?
  • rwdavis2rwdavis2 Posts: 1
    Just thought I'd let everyone know that I just had my engine replaced on a 1996 Windstar with
    97,000 miles. Still under the extended warranty. No hastles from anyone: dealer or Ford. It
    took 6 weeks to get the refurbushed engine but Ford paid for the car rental.

    We also had a 1995 Windstar for which Ford finally gaves us $4000 towards a trade-in after 9 months of fighting and be lied to by various dealers and Ford. It went at 26,000 miles.

  • chateuxchateux Posts: 2
    The Good - Just had my 95 WS serviced prior to Memorial weekend. I drove from LA area to San Jose CA and back (about 800 Miles). This time it appears the problem has been corrected. My millage was OK and the engine felt more responsive.
    The Bad - Ford dealer replaced MC F88Z Sensor [non-permissible content removed] ($227.00) and 2 SOP F48Z O2 Sensors at my request ($198.00).
    The Ugly - The dealer was not sensitive to the problems I've had with this van and I had to pay for the repairs.
    The Scariest - My WS just went over the 97K mark. 100K never looked so scary.
This discussion has been closed.