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Ford Windstar Problems



  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45
    FORD SUCKS! (and so does chevy)
    i will NEVER EVER buy a Ford or GM-made vehicle ever again!
    DON'T BUY Ford...:
    If you want a Reliable car, if you care about your Family's Safety, if you want Quality, if you Don't want to mess with Factory Recalls EVERY year!, if you don't like engine/transmission problems, if you don't like your trim\body panels falling apart, if you don't want to be Fixing your Car every WEEK...
    Do NOT Buy a FORD!

    I bought my 1995 Ford Windstar GL 3.8L V-6 brand new. I am original owner. I take GOOD care of ALL my vehicles. I enjoy cars, am an auto enthusiast, have raced/built/rebuilt all kinds of cars since I was 13 yrs old. I am proud of my rides and take great care of my stable of vehicles; I change oil Religiously every 3000 miles, rotate tires every 10K, flush radiators every summer, keep my engines so Meticulously Clean you could Eat off them!, wash my cars every other week.

    But despite all the care and attention, the Ford Windstar has been one of the WORST!
    It has gotten no less than 7 Factor Recalls in the first 3 years of ownership!
    All sorts of Problems ranging from...:

    * Defective factory Head Gasket.
    * Hood Separation at high speeds.
    * Gas Tank (plastic) needed Reinforcement for hot weather climates.
    * Sliding Door needed reinforcement/welding.
    * Transmission Oil pan leak.
    * "Check Engine" light comes on ALL the time!
    * Hesitation/Jerking/Loss of power at certain temperatures, elevations, engine speeds.
    * Trim, body panels, weather stripping falling apart.

    My friends, neighbors, co-workers, and I have ALL had nightmare stories about Fords... Taurus/Sable, Windstar, Aerostar, Mustang, Escort, Thunderbird, you name it!

    OK, if you're just leasing/renting for a year or two, have at it, go and buy yourself a Ford Explorer with Firestone tires if you like.
    It won't matter anyways, after a couple years it'll be someone else's problem not yours.

    But if you plan to own the car for more than a couple years, Don't buy a Ford! It'll end up Owning YOU!
    Spend a couple thousand extra and buy yourself a Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc. Trust me it'll be worth it, because it won't be sitting on jackstands in your front yard in a few years.
    If you buy a Ford you'll spend Thousands of dollars on repairs, recalls, wasted time, trouble, and headaches.
    Fords are just huge money pits.

    a couple weeks ago i just noticed i was losing radiator fluid Fast! now my check engine light is on Constantly, the engine is chugging bad... feeling like i'm running on only 3 cylinders... GRR More head gasket problems!
  • ruby44ruby44 Posts: 2
    EVERYONE NEEDS TO CALL and put in a complaint to Ford Customer Service Center at 1-800-392-3673 if you are having any type of head gasket problems on your 1996 Ford Windstar (leaking engine coolant, etc.) It only takes 2 MINUTES to call. The more of us who file a complaint Ford will have to take action to extend the warranty on the head gasket problem. If we don't call, NOTHING will happen. I called and filed a complaint and they told me if they get enough complaints that they will do something about it - extend the head gasket warranty. Take 2 minutes and call as soon as you can. Thanks.
  • jsiedhoffjsiedhoff Posts: 18
    I posted the previous messages (#515 & #523)about the squeaking in the 2000 Windstar. I had the van at the dealer again on Friday 6/1 and when I got it back, the problem still exists. This is the 6th or 7th time I had it in for the same problem. I have had several technicians ride with me to hear the problem as well as the service manager. The dealership is Jack Schmitt Ford in Collinsville, Illinois. I am starting to think they are incompetent. They seem very nonchalant and like the do not care about the problem. They keep telling me "we do not purposely not fix a problem just so you keep coming back" but I am starting to feel like that is not true. I have been dealing with their regional manager and he asked me to bring it in again tomorrow. I removed the middle passenger seat (where the squeak sounds like it is coming from) and I pushed on the floorboard under the seat with my hands and the squeak is very audible and it travels all the way back to the rear wheel. The last time I had it in, they told me it was a bushing in the rear suspension and they cut off some excess rubber and lubricated it with a new lubricant that Ford recommended. That did not help!! If anyone who reads this has had problems with Jack Schmitt in Collinsville, IL, please reply and let me know. I am ready to take legal action if necessary. Does anyone know if this will qualify for the lemon law? I am concerned that it could be a structural problem.
  • dumithdumith Posts: 1
    Have any one had a tank split I mail me @ [email protected]
  • everdelleverdell Posts: 1
    My 1998 Ford Windstar just had its transmission completely fail at 83,000 miles and just under four years old. It has been taken care of meticulously with regular scheduled maintenance for the last four years. I have had to completely replace the transmission at great expense. Has anyone else out there had this problem?
  • jordekiddjordekidd Posts: 5
    Can anyone give me info on the 99 Windstar. I am thinking if purchasing a low mileage (24K) for about 17,000. It is an SEL model and is very clean. What can anyone tell me as I don't know much about the windstar. It seems as though their are alot of problems with these or has it been exaggerated?
  • rgould22rgould22 Posts: 21
    Does anyone know where Ford is hiding the switches on the door that turn on the dome lights and the door ajar light. I now have a problem where the dome lights don't go out. Great for the battery. '99 Winstar.
  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45
    I just got off the phone with Ford Customer Service (800)392-3673.
    She told me that under Recall# M09 (i think), head gaskets on '95 Windstars are covered for 7 years/100,000 miles whichever comes First.
    So tonight after work i am towing my '95 Windstar in to the dealership. It only has 65,200 miles and I am original owner. I took great care of my Windstar but the head gaskets still blew.

    About a month ago my Check Engine light was coming on Constantly, my engine began to chug/hesitate really bad, felt like it was running on only 3 cylinders, i noticed i was losing coolant fast (1 gallon per week).
    Knocking/detonation on acceleration.
    Now it is sitting on jackstands on my frontyard.

    I will NEVER buy a Ford again. We want to get rid of this pile of garbage as soon as we can. It is just a huge money pit and taking up our time.
    I hope it gets rear-ended like the other Windstar on this board.
    $6000 from the insurance would be Great!
  • chp1chp1 Posts: 4
    I feel sorry for all of you that have had so many problems with your W/S I but I have a 2000 SEL hat has had absolutely no problems whatever in 10,000 Mi. My brother has a 95 with 160,000 mi and he too has had only normal matainence services required.
    Since there are hundred's of thousands W/S out there, I just felt dutybound to mention that they can be a very enjoyable dependable vehicle.
  • csjkcsjk Posts: 2
    Harsh shifting at low speeds like being hit from behind. I have had it in 4 times with no luck. I am looking at going down the Lemon Law path. Any one have any success?
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    There are two potential areas for the problem. The sliding door has a series of four plungers on the door and four silver contact spots on the frame. The contact spots can become corroded to the extent that you don't have good contact. Take a pencil eraser and clean the four contacts. The other area will be the two latches to the tailgate. The switch is apparently built in to the latches.
  • barrye1barrye1 Posts: 13
    I had the same as well as many others on this discussion. if I am describing right it is either a shudder between 1 and 2nd or a complete jolt into second. If your van is past the warranty, Ford will probably offer you the same it did for me and a couple of others at our dealer. You will have to pay about $500 for the tranny to be replaced. And then they will offer you an extended power train warranty. It sucks because ford will not stand behind their product. But because they have you by the you know what, you have to accept their offer. Next time you take it in, see if you can have the transmission guy ride with you and see if you can drive and make the vehical do it for him, then after showing him under what circumstances it occurs, have him drive it and see if he can get it to do it. This is the only way the will ever believe that there is a problem. Good By the way I am trying to sell mine- And I am not having much luck.
  • The original message for #556 is:

    Dear w/s user. I am going to by an used van. My friend suggested me a wind star. I looked a 95 LX with 69000 mil. It looked OK for me, but after I checked this message board, I started to think that it may not be a good choice to have a w/s, or at least, I should check it more closely. Do you have any suggestion for that. The owner asked for $86,000. Is it too much. Thanks.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The 95's were problematic, with head gasket, transmission, brake and electrical problems. I would avoid a 95. There is a difference of opinion with the later Windstars. According to Consumer Reports, the 1996-7 appear the most trouble free of all the vans. However a number of people would be willing to debate that point. If reliability is important, you might want to consider looking elsewhere. Having said that, I have a late 96 model GL which I am pleased with. It has been reliable so far with almost 85,000 miles on it.
  • bkannasbkannas Posts: 1
    My 96 Wind star had the typical head-gasket failure, frying the whole motor. One cylinder head had to be replaced and guess what, it is a one year only application and is no longer available from the Ford Motor Co. How ridiculous is that, a five year old vehicle that Ford cannot keep major engine components in stock. However Ford did tell me that they did still offer reconditioned cylinder heads for the 3.8L V6 but had none in stock. It took two weeks to locate a rebuildable head and should have the van back in another week to the tune of about $3600+. All Ford had to say was too bad. I'll have a for sale sign in the windows soon and will never buy another vehicle with a blue oval hood ornament again. The dealership even advised me to unload that turkey and look possibly at a Toyota or a Honda. Ford knows that their 3.8L V6 is an engineering flop but won't admit it or do anything to assist us consumers that ended up stuck with one of these nightmares.
  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45
    Hey folks check out:

    It lets you see Recall details on various makes, models, and year.
  • ajbdajbd Posts: 1
    Purchased a 2000 Windstar LX in December 2000 and have tracked its fuel economy over 2,000 miles of driving. So far I have gotten very poor results, 9.5 mpg in city driving and 17.0 mpg freeway. Have had it checked by two separate Ford dealerships, first one found nothing wrong while the second one found problems with a O2 sensor which was replaced and also replaced two spark plugs. However, since these repairs I have not seen any improvement in mileage. The vans mileage is a real disappointment, especially when it was advertised to provided 18 city and 24 highway. Interested to find out what other people are getting for mileage with their 2000 Windstar.
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    I just went over 120k on my 95 GL. It was funny—after the extended warranty went out I have only had two problems: ground wire corroded through and now my drivers window has just come lose in it’s track. The transmission is doing fine and I get about 23 MPG. Will I get another—will just have to wait for the 2003 to come out since this is when I understand a total revision is due.
  • rallybearrallybear Posts: 1
    My wife couldn't start her Windstar Van yesterday. We left the van where it was overnight (luckily it was walking distance to where we live).

    The next morning, the car still would not start. When she had a tow truck driver come out to tow it to the dealership, the driver noticed that it was parked on a slight hill and the gas gauge was noted to be less than 1/4 tank, but at least 1/8 tank. He said that when Windstars are parked on hills, and less than 1/4 tank, the van thinks it is out of gas. The driver then towed the van to a more level area, whereby the van finally started.

    We live in the very hilly SF Bay Area and I have never heard of this type of problem in any car. Has anyone had similar experiences?

  • Alain Batty
    Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd.
    The Canadian Road
    P.O. Box 2000
    Oakville, Ontario

    It is with regret that I inform you of my decision to sell my Ford vehicle and refuse to consider purchasing another Ford product. Over the past 20 years I have owned a Ford Thunderbird, Granada, Grand Marquis, Crown Victoria,Mercury Sable and a 1995 Winstar Van. I would have to say that for the most part I have been very happy with the quality of my Ford vehicles. This year, my Ford Winstar van has had its transmission break down again for the fourth time, and the head gasket blow, both before the vehicle had 100,000 kilometers on it.

    My decision to sell the vehicle is based on my unwillingness to continually spend money on a vehicle which is inferior in quality, and my dissatisfaction with the reception I have received in talking to Ford staff regarding this
    problem. I did talk at length to a supervisor at Ford and was informed that there was nothing Ford would do about these transmission problems and that Ford had an extended warranty on the head gasket and there would be no charge for this service. I have found out since this conversation that the Ford dealership is going to charge me $460.00 for the engine overhaul and the towing charges and loss of a vehicle for a week was my problem. I was also told that my requests for any compensation by Ford was an unreasonable request. I did ask the supervisor at
    Ford to have someone else review my request for compensation for these problems when I was told that “my decision represents Ford Canada and there is no appeal process” and that I could not get a written copy of her decision to forward with this letter and that “not even the president has access to my records”.

    This vehicle was sold to me by an unhappy Ford customer ( although I only recently discovered this fact). I am going to sell this vehicle at a loss of $4,000.00 in the 5 months I have owned the vehicle. This vehicle is likely to be
    sold to another potentially unhappy Ford customer and I am sure the circle of dissatisfied customers will grow. What I tried to impress upon the supervisor during my conversation was that my loss today will reflect in your
    losses tomorrow as my family will not purchase another Ford product. I regret to say that I have always believed that purchasing a locally made vehicle would be a benefit to our community. Sadly I am now convinced that this is
    not the case as Ford has failed to provide reliable transportation and placed undue financial stress on the thousands
    of families like ours.

    I did request that this file be sent to your office for review.

    I would like to give you the opportunity to respond to this letter before I send a copy of this letter to the Lemon Aid buyers guide in order to advise others to look elsewhere for a reliable vehicle.

    I look forward to having some positive dialogue with Ford regarding my concerns.
  • Alain Batty
    Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd.
    The Canadian Road
    P.O. Box 2000
    Oakville, Ontario

    Dear Alain,

    On Saturday June 16th I received a message in response to my earlier concern ( see attached), on my answering
    machine stating that “we would like to resolve your concern” and “we want to talk to you to see how we can assist
    you with this problem before you consider leaving the Ford family”. I responded to the message and the
    representative informed me that she was able to handle the call ( even though she had not made the original call).
    After a lengthy conversation with the representative I was told that there was nothing Ford was prepared to do about
    my concerns. I enquired as to why Ford had called and indicated a willingness to resolve this problem, and then
    told me there was nothing you were prepared to do. The Ford representative told me that “ I am sorry that our
    original message gave you the impression that we wanted to resolve this problem”. To say the least I was
    disappointed that there is no willingness on Ford’s part to engage in some positive dialogue regarding my concerns.
    It was clear that the representative had not read my letter and I am still baffled as to why the representative called to
    waste my time.

    Since my last letter I have spent an additional $2,222.76 on a transmission repair to this vehicle, the forth major
    repair on this component.

    My original letter stated that “ I would like to give you the opportunity to respond to this letter before I send a copy
    of this letter to the Lemon Aid buyers guide in order to advise others to look elsewhere for a reliable vehicle.”
    Today I am sending the Lemon Aid buyers guide a copy of both of these letters as well as the rude response I have
    received from Ford. I have also registered a internet domain name which I am prepared to tell the world my
    concerns about your products and customer service should the outcome of our next contact not be a satisfactory
    resolution to the problem. Further to this I am considering taking the matter to small claims court.

    As I stated in my original letter, I am dissatisfied with the reception I have received in talking to Ford staff
    regarding this problem I still look forward to having some positive dialogue with Ford regarding my concerns.

    Please instruct your representatives to be polite and look for constructive ways to deal with this problem.
  • HCLEMOHCLEMO Posts: 19
    I read post #551 that Ford may have extended the head gasket warranty on the 95 WS 3.8 L engine to 7/100. Is this true? Can someone post a link to more information about this? Is there any information about hidden warranties on the automatic transmission in the 95 WS?

    I still have my 95 WS--it is driven on weekends and when I need to haul more than 5 people locally. I have the AAA plus membership which includes flatbed truck transport for 100 miles and carry my cell phone at all times when I drive this vehicle. (useful when you are stuck on the side of I-95 on a 100+ F day with a blown head gasket!) I have offered my 95 W/S to a number of colleagues for use as transportation, vehicle to teach their kids how to drive, storage locker, target for whatever, etc. but they have all turned me down (they know the history of this thing!)

    I have had 2 head gasket replacements, one transmission shift cylinder repair and then a factory rebuilt transmission at 6 years/60K ($2500!). At least the 2 headgaskets and first transmission repair were covered under the 5Y/60000K extended warranty. At 7Y/65K, the vehicle shifts rather abruptly and the engine surges at times. The aftermarket roofrack system and bike/canoe carrying attachments that I bought for this vehicle now are worth more than the vehicle itself! The kids seem to be attached to the WS and get upset when I mention getting rid of it. When something else major blows, I am going to junk it. I am not sure whether I can inflict this vehicle on anyone else!

    We have adapted to my wife's Subaru Outback for long trips--you just have to pack efficiently. At least I do not have to worry about drivetrain/engine problems!
  • We bought our 95 LX new in 6/95. Had the usual (for the 95) problems: the interior lights that would not go off, gas tank gauge problems, interior trim that fell off, and exactly one week after we received the head gasket extended warranty notice from Ford our head gasket went at 40K (June, 1998). We now have 74K on it, and had to take it in to our local Ford dealer for a grinding noise when braking, the ABS light was on, and I noticed a small coolant leak on the garage floor. The brake problem was a bad left ABS sensor ($209.00). The coolant leak was a timing cover gasket leak. The Ford dealer refused to fix it. Their suggestion: new engine (we pay for it) or trade in. They cited the high milage at 74,000 as rationale for their refusal for fixing the timing cover gasket leak. We declined both the dealer's suggestions. Luckily we knew of a great, honest mechanic that is fixing it. There is no coolant in the engine oil, and no signs of engine failure, just a small exterior coolant leak. We bought this van after a horrible experience with a chevy suburban. I refuse to buy another new vehicle. The Ford Motor Company should be ashamed of themselves for the mediocrity of this product and the dealers are... well.. words cannot describe their worthlessness.
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    Regarding the warranty extension, the following is from a previous post:

    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 an Edmunds site (no longer a current site):

    "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".

  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45
    for Blown Head Gasket repair under the (00M09 & 00M10) 7yr/100,000mi gasket replacement program
    Call Ford at: (800) 392-3673 to find out more.

    Initially when my head gaskets blew and i contacted Ford they warned me that *I* would have to pay a $70 "Diagnostic Fee", and if the dealership felt that my vehicle had enough "symptoms" to warrant gasket replacement under 00M09/00M10, then my $70 would be reimbursed.
    I said "listen pal, 2 weeks ago all my warning lights came on, my engine was hesitating, chugging, knocking Badly, felt like it was running on 3 cylinders, was burning white smoke out the tailpipe, was consuming 1 gallon of coolant per week, and now it is sitting on Jackstands in my driveway waiting for the Tow Truck to tow it to the Ford Dealership!! How many more symptoms do you Need??"

    Also, the dealership said all the Courtesy cars were already taken by Other owners with blown head gaskets! and they Refused to cover a rental car!

    Anyways, the total cost of repairs was $1300 and took TWO weeks! But the "Extended Gasket Warranty" program only covered $1050!
    The dealership said *I* had to come up with $250!! I said WTF?!? WHY do I have to pay $250 for FORD's defective gaskets Scewing up MY engine??!!
    The dealership said the Warranty *only* covered gaskets and installation, but I was responsible for things like corroded spark plugs, block flush, oil, coolant, and waste disposal fees!!
    I just about got in my Ford and crashed it thru their dealership window!
    But decided to drive it home and put a For Sale sign on it instead... at least now that it was running again.

    Over the years of (unhappy) ownership i have spent Thousands of dollars out of my own pocket for parts & service not covered by the recall/warranty, rental cars!, towing, time taken off work, etc.
    So with the Thousands of dollars i've WASTED i could've just bought a Toyota, Honda, or Nissan to begin with!!!
  • JustinlJustinl Posts: 13
    Mini Van ('98 LX - 3.8L) Starts fine... drive it down the street... notice the O/D indicator on the gearshift lever blinking. Within less than 200 yds, the "Service Engine Soon" light goes on.

    So what do you think?

    Am I up the proverbial Windstar creek? Or could I get lucky and have it be something small and inexpensive (less than $100).

    Any bets???

    BTW - Brought it in to the dealer, they checked the codes and found no "Crisis" messages. Scheduled the van in to service on Thursday. They re-set the trouble lights.... no issues for about 20 miles... both lights are now back on.

    The van has ALWAYS shifted hard at lower speeds. The village idiot, ah, er,I'm sorry - Ford mechanic, said that that is typical for the vehicle.

    I think that I should have traded it in somewhere along that 20 miles....
  • pennanjpennanj Posts: 1
    Well, I just got back from my local Ford dealership, after having the power steering pump on my LX replaced at 30,800 mi. Took them two days to do the repair, after having the pump and hoses "fedexed" from Ford parts heaven (why is it that the dealer never has anything other than air filters in stock, even for a vehicle that's only 2 years old?). Fortunately, the repair was done under warranty. Unfortunately, as I drove the five miles to my home, the familiar whining returned, and I'm not talking about my kids. By the time I pulled into my driveway, moving the steering wheel was like trying to turn the Titanic. This means that I get to spend yet another couple of days without my wheels while the "experts" (re)fix the problem. The quality of this repair job also gives me a bit of pause when I consider that I just forked over almost $500 to them for my 30K "facelift", in which all "vehicular fluids" were flushed and replaced. Also, it seems like Ford has recalled practically everything on my buggy but the blue oval. I get lonely when a day goes by without one of their postcards. But my main concern this power steering problem just the prelude of more dire things to come? How are other '99 owners faring?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Sorry to hear about your problems. Sounds almost like there is a problem with the steering rack in addition to the power steering pump! I can't imagine having to drive such a large and heavy vehicle without power steering. You may also want to repost your question in the Maintenance & Repair message board here in Town Hall. Perhaps someone can suggest something that may of be of assistance to you.

    Best of luck,

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • bdemasbdemas Posts: 51
    justinl: My 99 had the hard shifting at low speeds "feature". The OD light started flashing on one of those occasions while driving in stop and go traffic. It turned out to be Cam Shaft/Turbine shaft Sensor. It fixed the flashing OD, but the hard shift feature never went away. I had read somewhere (I think the manual) about a flashing OD was a bad thing, I got the van in as soon as possible. As far as cost goes, the van was still under warranty and I don't have the paper work anymore (or the van for that matter).
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The Windstar transmission will do a hard 1-2 shift under the right conditions. Generally it is most noticeable in stop and go traffic where your speed is very low. In that case, when the car reaches the shift point, the shift is very abrupt. Under more normal conditions, the shift is much smoother.

    If you are suffering the abrupt shift at very low and gradual speeds, then it is considered normal. If you are suffering the abrupt shift while speeding up more rapidly, then it isn't normal.

    I have a 96 Windstar and it does the same thing, only in stop and go and slow accelleration. Because I hardly ever drive in that type of traffic, I seldom see the problem.
This discussion has been closed.