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Ford Windstar Problems



  • liebedaliebeda Posts: 13
    I have a '99 Windstar LX and recently experienced the following. The indicator on my dashboard showed that there was a bulb that needed to be replaced. I found the damaged bulb (rear - passenger side - brake light) and changed it. The warning light went away - except for when I step on the brakes or have my headlights on. For some reason the warning light seems to go on whenever the lights are being used. When the bulb was broken, the warning light would be on all the time. Anyone have any ideas what could be causing this?

  • ralmoralmo Posts: 3
    I spent some time in the mountains this weekend,as usual took the van out of overdrive. When we stopped for awhile then restarted I noticed I could not take the van out of overdrive anymore. After some checking I noticed the 10A fuse under the hood was blowing out...each time I replaced the fuse it would blow (3 times)after starting. we usually do not drive in mountains, Has anyone run into this problem or have a fix? thanks
  • bloemiebloemie Posts: 8
    We have a 95 Windstar. The head gasket was replaced at ford expense at 64,000 mi. They also replaced the timing cover gasket. Tried to charge $ 800 but settled for just over $ 200. Actually I was pleased with the support.

    Now I worry about the tranny problems. Can anyone explain the symptons of what to look for when the tranny problems start. I see a lot of people getting them replaced but very little detail on the actual problems.

    Is there any peventive maintenance that can be done to minimize the potential threat of tranny failure ?

  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Being that I am on my fourth transmission (not to mention my third motor), I guess you could say that I am somewhat "experienced" with the traditional 95 WS Failures...

    Nonetheless, here are what I noticed-
    Original Tranny Failure: Not shifting from 1st to 2nd. When it did, it was VERY HARD.
    Replacement #1 Failure: Flashing overdrive light and tranny was not using overdrive (no shift from 3rd to 4th/OD).
    Replacement #2 Failure: Same as original tranny failure with flashing overdrive light.

    Note that there is no "leaking" fluid, however, I have been told that the tranny fluid can "smell burnt" and be a darker color red than normal.

    Hope that helps!
    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
  • gheckoghecko Posts: 6
    Last year we bought a "program" '98 Windstar (3.8l, "northwoods package") from CarMax. Got a great deal on the vehicle and everything seemed fine for a while. I'd sworn off of American cars but we needed a mini van and the Hondas and Toyotas were way to expensive on the used car market.

    Anyway, we're taking it in to CarMax to have the transmission looked at.

    I think we have the hard 1-2 shift problem (although it seems more like a 2-1 downshift) when we're a making low speed hard left and giving it even a little gas. The van will actually lay a small patch of rubber - after nearly a full second of hesitation. I haven't tested it enough to be sure but this doesn't seem to happen when we make hard right turns.

    Is this the "hard shift" problem that is supposed to be normal?

    As an aside, has anyone purchased extended warranties through CarMax - specifically with Ryan Industries? The Ford dealership said they wouldn't even look at the van because they anticipated problems with the warranty company...

    Thanks in advance for help on either issue.

  • bloemiebloemie Posts: 8
    Thanks for the info on the transmission failures. Sorry you had so many. However, our symtoms are different. When we stop the trans seems to go into neutral. Then when you give it gas it may kick in. If you give it to much gas it kicks in at to high an RPM and the tires actually squeal. I have been shifting to 2 cnd to get going and then shifting into high gear manually.

    It's going to the transmission shop Monday. No more Ford dealer repairs.
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 128
    I need a copy of FORD program 00M10. I have 00M09. You can E-MAIL me or post. Thanks.
  • bloemiebloemie Posts: 8
    Well the transmission finally failed at 67,000 i. The aluminum forward piston went out and was replaced St a steel piston. Cost $ 1620.

    Has anyone had any luck getting Ford to pay part of it ? The dealership would not contact the area re sing I had to go thou the Ford 800 number. It seems to me that since this is the same piston that was failing in 1993 ford transmissions and had extended warranty's against it, then had a service bulletin put out saying that after three versions of the aluminum piston the need a steel one for the transmissions to survive, Ford should pay at least 1/2 the cost.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    My 95 WS has driven me to the line (three transmissions and two motors before 80000 miles will do that to a person). The tranny is acting up again. Here are what I think my options are:

    Sell it to someone uneducated about the 95 WS.
    In good conscience, I will not do this.

    Trade It
    I am not sure what the going rate is; KBB says $5000 and Edmunds had $4907 - Neither of which I believe. I still have a problem with this as it would likely be sold to another unsuspecting consumer...

    Donate It
    The nice thing about this is that I would be able to deduct the full trade in value of the vehicle. Since I fall into the 28% tax bracket, that translates to a tax credit of $1400.

    Any other ideas on what to do with this vehicle would be greatly appreciated.

    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
  • rikhansonrikhanson Posts: 1
    I am the "proud"(?) new owner of a 2001 wind star, I recently discovered that when the automatic door shuts it could nearly take an arm off. I did contact my dealership who said that there is nothing they can do and the best I can hope for was a recall from ford. Will Ford feel the same way if my 5 year old breaks her arm in the door. I can not believe that after all of their problems that a MAJOR safety issue is ignored. The door has so much force it could crush a small child, the force it takes to retract the door is enormous. Has anyone else complained about this??
  • If I put my fingers between the front of the door and the post, the door retracts automatically.

    When we bought the van we had the same concern and we let the salesman demonstrate it. (I was not going to risk my fingers !!!). You may want to see it working in a different van to compare with your's and determine if is not working properly or your pain tolerance is different than the salesman :)
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    Have the dealer disconnect the power sliding doors and go back to closing them manually. This will eliminate the potential for disaster.
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    I have three kids 11, 7, and 3, we have owned this van a year and have had no problems with the power doors hurting anyone in our family. The safety features on these doors work fine. Using these power doors is much safer than leting kids manually operate the doors. It just takes some getting used to! SEL3
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I saw an ad the other day for the new generation Windstar featuring the 3.8 V-6. Someone please tell me this is not the same aluminum head/iron block gasket cracker Ford has been cranking out for the past 15 years!!! Is it? I thought production ceased in '96 on the 3.8, and the new Windstars were available with only the Vulcan or Duratec. I can't believe Ford could still produce that disaster. My friend has a 96 LX with the supposed "revised" 3.8 (stronger head bolts, double steel gaskets, yadda yadda), and the thing still blew @ 60,000 (gaskets between the timing chain cover and block failed). Are they really that stupid?!?!?
  • Our 2001 SEL (3500 miles) recently developed "jerky" ride. The ride feels like someone is pushing the van every 1-2 seconds, i.e it feels like the van is speeding up a bit and slowing down a bit every few seconds. Overall it maintains the speed. Has anyone had similar ride on their Windstar?
  • djs10djs10 Posts: 2
    Following a 30 minute drive, I turned off the van. About a half hour later, the ignition turned over, but engine wouldn't start. Attempted to start again 20 minutes later unsuccessfully. An hour later the van was towed to the dealer. Soon after that, the service rep called to say the van started immediately without any problem. Mileage is around 7000. Any ideas?
  • I don't know if this applies to the Windstar, but it happened on a Ford Taurus with the 3.8 liter engine and maybe your van has a similar electronic switch. The car started having similar non-starting ocurrences like you described and then started stalling while driving for no apparent reason. It would quit on the expressway while driving at 55 - 65 mph and not restart for about an hour or so. It turned out there was an over-temperature switch which was malfunctioning.
    When the engine temperature exceeded the setpoint of the switch, it would shutdown the fuel pump circuit. The car wouldn't start until the engine cooled down again. Every time I had it towed to a shop, there was nothing wrong and it would start right up and no error codes on the computer. Somehow, instead of the switch just totally breaking, the setpoint changed to a lower temperature and would shut down the circuit at the higher end of the normal operating temp range.
    Good luck at finding your problem, I hope this helps you.
  • djs10djs10 Posts: 2
    JVIRGINIA, thanks for your response. I convinced the dealer to keep it overnight and check TSB's. They called in the early afternoon and stated the the problem finally occurred but the computer codes were 'strange'. They called Ford Motor Company and were told to replace the 'cluster'. When I asked what the cluster was I was told it was the computer. Cost: $600 just for the part. The good news is that it was covered under warranty. The bad news is that they will need to keep the vehicle for a total of 5 days! I will keep the Temperature Sensor that you mentioned in the back of my mind - just in case the problem reappears. Thanks again.
  • sld5sld5 Posts: 1
    I have a 99 SEL Winstar. 30,000 miles and the transmission is going - again!!!!......In the last month the van has been out of commission for 16 days. When I call the dealership, all they do is apologize. Called Ford, they noted that I wasn't happy, and what the issue was, but I still don't feel better. Has anyone had this kind of problem and have they gotten a positive result.
  • It's been extremely well documented and posted numerous times how very unreliable both the 3.8 liter engines and transmissions are in the Windstar vans. If Ford had resolved the problem with it's faulty head gasket design, we would not be seeing numerous customers returning for a 3rd, 4th and 5th engine replacement due to blown head gaskets on Windstars as well as other models with the faulty 3.8 liter engines. I believe the number of complaints on '98 and newer models will rise as mileage increases towards the notorious 60K and higher figures. And I can't begin to explain why their transmissions are so poor. The transmission problems are not limited to Windstars, or a particular model year or engine size even. My '88 Taurus with 3.0 liter engine has transmission problems. My in-law's 94 Taurus with 3.8 liter has had transmission replaced twice, my brother's Probe had transmission replaced, a friend's '92 Mustang needed two transmission replacements. Ford apparently either has no clue how to fix the problems or doesn't care and wants it's customers to keep coming back for additional repairs. Just browse the message boards and read all the complaints about Ford vehicles, except their trucks. Go to an internet search engine and search on 'Ford problems'. See what type of response Ford's customer service reps have given their customers in regard to transmission and engine problems. It's not a pretty picture.
  • wenlitzwenlitz Posts: 4
    Just got my 99 LX out of the garage. The power steering gear went out of it at 41,000. I have the extended warranty so no problem. Paid the deductible only. Do have the 2nd to 1st downshift problem but cannot pinpoint any special driving habits with it.
    I really like this van and so far has been an excellent vechicle. I would buy another one.
  • fantascpfantascp Posts: 175
    hi everyone- this question is to try and help my daughter and son-in-law- they have a 2000 windstar that has now twice had the electronic ignition lock up- their keys with the chips would not work to start the van- ford claims that both times someone might have tried to steal the van- maybe the first time- but this time there was no signs of any forced entry, tampering of the ignition etc- absolutely nothing to not allow them to start the van- anyone of you had any similiar problems, and if so, how did it get fixed?

    Thanks for any help

  • birdsibirdsi Posts: 6
    I've been driving a 99 LX since June 1999 (leased company car). It was been reliable and capable since it was new never giving me anymore than minor grief. Had it into the dealer for pinging several times. They reprogramed the Engine computer and it helped for awhile but came back. I just ignored it. This summer, the pinging has been greatly reduced. I wonder if it has something to do with the reformulated gas that is required in Kansas City now.
    The 3.8 engine in the 99s and later is completly redisgned from the ones used earlier. In mixed driving with my heavy foot I get 18-23 MPG.
    The speedometer has always had a rather strange anomoly. It reads about 3 MPH fast at 75 indicated but the odometer is about 3-5% slow. Go figure. Never tried to get it fixed since it helps me stay out of the speeding ticket zone(:>
    The transmission is supposedly redisgned as well but don't know for sure on that. The shifting is never predictable. Sometimes I get a really rough shift when driving around town and other times it seems to turn loose between gears. If I stick my foot in it always takes off and shifts with authority so I haven't really worried about it.
    The company got out of the car business so they made me a deal on my WS. 2 years old and 53K for $7800. I figured that if a transmission went, I could afford to replace it after paying that price. Of course just after I bought it, a new trouble came up. The windshield wipers would take off and run and you couldn't stop them. After 4 trips to the dealer the problem seems to be taken care of. There was a TSB on this problem and replacement of the multifunction switch took care of it. The first switch they put in didn't fix it. They claimed the wrong switch was sent and installed the first time.
    So now I await the next adventure. Probably the battery since most Ford OE batteries don't seem last any longer than about 2 years in my experience.
    I wonder if keeping the cooling system flushed would minimize the head gasket failures since it seems that most of the failures relate to coolant leaks either internal or external.
  • matycatmatycat Posts: 12
    It's been a while since I've been on this site, but I haven't forgotten. LLOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGG story short, I too have had nothing but trouble, nightmares just like yours. My family and I have finally got rid of our nightmare by trading it in (obviously for a small amount). Anyways, there is a long distance (sorry) number to call. Maybe one person won't get anywhere, but IF YOU ALL CALL, maybe Ford will do something. Even if not, for me, there is some small satisfaction knowing they will spend the next whatever listening to everyone complain. And guess what? You won't have to listen to some cruddy radio station, or some peon operator, you will get a receptionist because THIS IS THE EXECUTIVE OFFICES PHONE NUMBER. When you call 313-845-5831, during eastern times of 9-4, ask for Murium (sp?) Wilson, they will probably ask, "May I tell them who's calling?" And you should respond, " Yes, it's (your name), and I am RETURNING her phone call." This will get you in without any crap of the receptionist "weeding" out phone calls. When you speak to Murium, explain your dilemma and then give her YOUR options of what will satisfy you. If you don't get a positive response from her, tell her you want to be transferred to Bill Ford's office. (He is the vice-president.) Tell her she better start taking note of all the windstar calls she is going to have to take, because there will be plenty until Ford takes responsibility for faulty products. THANKS AND GOOD LUCK!
  • ukrickukrick Posts: 66
    Please read posting #2804 under the Honda Odyssey forum. It's definitely worth the read.
  • judi_njudi_n Posts: 5
    Hi, we have had our 2001 WS a total of 2 weeks, traded in our tormenting 95. So far it has been in service twice and has to go back. Our locks and remote opener were not working . Service tech called ford and was told to reset the codes??? This on a new van??? Anyway it sounds like it might be the problem with your daughter & son in laws van. Would not hurt to ask.
  • fantascpfantascp Posts: 175
    Thanks for the information- i'll pass it on to my daughter- i hope this solves their problem and yours- she has a very legitimate concern with this VAN in that she has two little children and what happens if the keys won't work when she has both of the children with her . I'm not a ford owner and right now i'm trying to talk them into
    not buying this VAN when the lease runs out!
    Again, thanks for your help.

  • We received notification from N. California Small Claims Court today that they have directed Ford to pay us $3600. as reimbursement for expenses associated with engine replacement for our factory defective 1996 Windstar. This is in addition to having already received 50% engine replacement reimbursement ($2000) and partial car rental reimbursement ($1250) from Ford. The settlement completely reimburses us for engine replacement, oxygen sensor replacement, diagnostic bills, engine tuneup, and car rental expenses. If you want a copy of the court judgement against Ford or documents that we used to win our case, email me at [email protected]
  • yamanyaman Posts: 113
    Congratulations.Glad to hear that the courts are starting to hold Ford accountable for the stuff they produce.Apparently the word is getting out about the junk they make.Ford sales were down 12% last quarter.We also had a 96 Junkstar-last Ford we will ever own
  • Long story short - 95 Windstar - Head Gasket blows out of warranty -cost $2200 (Ford paid $800) 7 months later the whole engine blows - cost me ALL of $4427 for re built engine
    Have filed suit against Ford of Canada, and at their insistence we all sat down and met with a court appointed arbitrator to try to avoid having to go to court. The whole arbitration process lasted less than 15 minutes with Ford unwilling to entertain any thought of "settling". Ford claims that the Head Gasket problem could have been caused by the water pump since they BOTH went bad at the same time. WHAT A CROCK!!
    Does anyone have documentation of the "order of destruction" when a head gasket blows?
This discussion has been closed.