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Ford Windstar Problems



  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    I wasn't having any problems. I was getting an unusal noise, like a whistling fluttering sound and I ask them to check it out. They came back and said the turbine shaft was going bad and that I should replace the whole transmission. The thing is I did have a problem when it was under warranty. At 2700 it leaked fluid and they replaced the cover and seals. At around 34,000 miles it would shake and shudder at 50-55 MPH, when it was going from 3rd to overdrive. For that they changed the fluid and screen assembly. Since that time I haven't really noticed any drivability problems, just the noise the last few weeks. I really don't know what to believe. And if it truly is the trans. going bad, was the previous problem an indication that Ford should have picked up on.
  • selasela Posts: 5
    I own a 95windstar with apprx. 92000 miles. I had the headgasket problem that ford fixed under extended recall warranty. (I bought the van used.) My biggest concern was safety, so the windstar has met my needs. I recently looked at upgrading to a 2000 model. what concerns me is the fact that I found one at a dealership for $14500. Wasn't this van around $28,000 new? If someone had purchased it new, wouldn't they still be paying on it, and more than $14,500? How can this be that the vehicle depreciates so quickly? What other vehicles get great safety ratings, esp. vans that are reasonably priced. I am only interested in used ones. I have purchased only one new vehicle and it was a regrettable expense. I think now that we will buy a relatively new smaller vehicle and pay about $10000 for it and just not upgrade our van. I may just try to get as much mileage out of it as I can. Two questions: what are some realistic "high mileage" estimates people are getting on their windstars? What is an excellent, safe and fuel-efficient used car for approx. $10,000? FYI: I have had problems with cars that were supposedly problem-free vehicles. I think it is just dumb-luck getting a really great, reliable vehicle.
  • Welcome to the world of leasing. I also had a 95 Windstar GL. It was totaled last month when a man in a pickup ran a red light. It had 138K on it. The bags went off and I had my belts on. Came out with only a few cuts on my arm. I replaced it with a 99 SE. I purchased it for $16,450. According to the sticker that was in the package of ownership material in the glove box it was $28,500K when new. In 98 and 99 Ford (and all the other big three) were pushing leases really hard and they are now coming off lease and flooding the market. This does not just impact the 98 and 99 years but the others as well. The more on the market, the less the price. Thus, the prices are down. However, I did find the owner and he did not lease his, he paid cash for it and he just wanted to get a 2001 SEL with the video and leather package. There were no problems with it. He said with the great deals and low interest he just decided to upgrade. It only had 19k on it when I picked it up last month. There are a few trim items that need work but other than that it is in really good shape for three years old.
    This is my first used car. I have always bought new but this one was in really good condition and I was able to get the new car extended warranty on it since it was still under the 3/36 new car warranty. I may never buy new again depending on how this one turns out.
    You are 100% correct about the luck of the draw on getting a new car. The 95 Windstar had a bad rep since it was the first year. However, mine was just fine except for the head gasket. I only had one repair after 75K and that was for a broken ground wire. I have the dealer do all the major maintenance as called for by the manufacturer and it just kept on going. I would still have it if not for the accident.
  • A relative of mine bought it new and it has 80,000 miles on it. Never had any problems, will let me have it for $8,100. Extended warranty good for 1 more year. Based upon previous messages it seems like the 1997 version didn't have too many problems. Any opinions on this would be appreciated.
  • gibbergibber Posts: 41
    I have a 96 Windstar(62000 miles) which now has no heat. The mechanic says it is a broken "heater box" which requires removal of the dashboard and replacement of the box. The estimate is $1225 which includes a new heater core and A/C recharge. Has anyone had this happen and is this a reasonable charge? It certainly is frightening to see the sheer quantity of problems with the Windstar. I think Ford has really stumbled of late. Last year I rented an Explorer with 9 total miles on it. 11 miles later the tranmission failed completely. Needless to say, I won't be buying a Ford in the future.
  • My 97 Windstar has been pretty good over the last 3 years. When the van had only 400 miles on it, I had problems with the transmission not shifting correctly and getting stuck in certain gears. They finally realized it was an electronic sensor and once they replaced it, the engine worked fine. I haven't had any transmission or drivetrain problems since, with 59,000 miles now on the vehicle. I've been using it to pull a large popup camper over the last 4 years, so it's put the van through its paces.

    I had the speedometer replaced, only to have it come back and make a grinding noise again once the warranty was up. The only other thing I can remember replacing was the driver's door regulator under warranty. Overall I think the 97 has been the most reliable of the Windstars. We plan on keeping it another year or so, and then replacing it with a pick up truck with additional pulling power.
  • My first one was a 95 and lots of little problems till about 75k and then trouble free till it was totaled at 138k by a pickup that ran a light. The head gasket problem was fixed by time the 97s came out. It sounds reasonable but it would be considered high miles for a 97. Also, remember, the worst way to ruin a family relationship is to buy a car from a relative and then have it go bad.
    Does it have rear air? That is what usually makes the difference in the price. Unless it has rear air and tinted windows to help keep the sun under control you may want to give it a second thought if you need rear air and it does not have it.
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    After reading all the posts here why would you even consider buying a used Windstar? For $8100. you could get something a lot better than a bucket of trouble.
  • This is true, for $8100 you can get a 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan with a wonderful transmission.
  • Yes, it has rear heat and AC, and keyless entry/alarm. Kelly Blue Book indicates it is worth much more than $8100. Of course I would prefer to have a Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey, but we're talking an extra $20k for those cars. I wouldn't consider anything other than the 1997 Windstar after reading the posts here. It seems that was their only good year.
    Given the fact that this car has never had any problems and was driven mostly freeway miles by a very unaggressive driver makes me give it strong consideration. In any case I am taking it in for a professional 125 point inspection today before I decide.
  • I have purchased an 01 SEL and am interested in a hard sided luggage carrier. I have ran across posts elsewhere to the effect of Thule and Ford Customer service saying you cannot use a hard-side carrier on the factory installed roof rack, that it won't take the stress. Does anyone have the correct answer to this?
  • As far as I know, there was no restriction on my 97 Windstar. The only regulation was a maximum weight on the roof rack, which I think was 200 pounds.

    I use a soft-sided luggage carrier only because it was much cheaper and I could jam all kinds of big odd-shaped stuff in it.
  • I used one on my 95 with no trouble.
  • I live at 6500 ft elevation and our octane grades are different from lower altitude areas.
    Our octane grades are 85, 87, and 89 for Premium. It has always been my understanding
    that at the higher altitude areas 85 octane should perform equivalent to 87 octane at
    lower altitude. I have never had any problems with 85 pinging in my other cars, but now
    with the Windstar being over 20,000 miles it seems to ping with 85 octane gas. Just wanted
    to know if other owners find it difficult to run the regular octane gas. The car is doing much
    better with mid-grade gas. Wondering if it needs an adjustment since there was no ping
    problem in the early miles of the car.
  • wmy99wmy99 Posts: 7
    I also recently had a no front heat problem in my 1996 Windstar. About 2 months ago, with our very hot summer, my air conditoner was working fine and one chilly evening, I turned on my heater and cold air only was blowing through my front heater.
    ---I had my local Ford dealer check the heater & was shocked when informed the estimate to repair the front heater would be $1250.
    ---I was told newer Ford, GM & Chrysler vehicles all have their heater/vent/air conditioner doors & controls mounted into one common heater/air conditioner unit or box and this is mounted under the dash and replacement, not repair of this box is the usual fix.
    ---To replace this box, the dash & steering column must be removed which would take many hours resulting in a major labour and parts bill.
    ---The Ford dealer after inspecting my heater box, stated no repair could be made and it would have to be replaced.
    ---I obtained a 2nd opinion from an independant mechanic in my area and he was able to repair the heater box for $160 labour charge.
    ---The problem was the hot/cold air flow door had broken & jammed closed in the cold position.

    ---I suggest, for any costly or major repair to have a 2nd opinion from an independant, reliable mechanic.
  • I had a 1996 Windstar for 3 1/2 years and liked it very much. I traded it in for a 2000 SEL and we (my wife and I) also like this van very much. I would buy another Windstar but my wife loves this one. I have nothing but good things to say about this van. (PS: I don't work for Ford).
  • If you are lucky enough to get a good Ford, keep it. If you keep trading it in on new Fords, eventually you will be singing the same song as everyone else here.
  • I agree with Penguin. My 95 GL was totaled a few months ago and I purchased a 99 SE. The reason was even with the faults of the 95 it still did yeoman service for 135k. I would still have it if it had not been hit. The 99 is what I call "pre-Nasser". It was designed when Ford had some good engineers. When he came on board ford started to go down hill. It will take several years for Ford to recover from his screw ups. I was talking with my sales person and I told him I would not buy anything that was built under Nasser. He concurred. He said that is why Ford is going back and doing a front end structural redesign of the F150 and Explorer since they did not do well in crash tests. The basic design was just not that good due to the push for profits and cost cutting. Keep the 2000. Pull the maintance and it will last a long, long time. While I am a die hard Ford man I purchased a Suzuki XL-7 and not an Escape due to all the recalls several months ago. I told my dealer why I did it and, while disappointed, he understood. To many recalls.
  • In response to my previous posts about my 2000 Windstar that stranded me on vacation twice, Ford has finally reacquired it and put me in a new 2002 with a 5 year premium extended service plan. It took over two months and tons of phone calls but it is over (hopefully). I hope the 02 does not have problems like my 00. I want to recommend Tri-Ford in Highland Illinois to anyone in the St. Louis metro area who might read this. Even though I purchased my 00 van at Jack Schmitt in Collinsville, IL (THEY SUCK. DO NOT GO THERE!) Tri Ford was happy to work with me and Ford Motor Co and they treated me with nothing but respect, honesty, and overall kindness. They have had multiple people come to them after dealing with Jack Schmitt. Anyway, this concludes yet another Ford nightmare.
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    Good for you!! Hope you have good luck with your new Windstar.

    I have a question for the forum. My 2000 Windstar LX is getting rotten gas mileage (12 mpg). I have taken it back once and they reprogrammed the PCM and replaced the front control module (whatever that is). This appears to be to no avail. Still getting rotten mileage (12-13 mpg). Any ideas as to what I can try before I take it back to the dealer? Any info would be appreciated.
  • How many miles do you have on your Windstar? I recently had my air filter replaced at 25,000 miles and it was completely caked with dirt. This could be part of the problem with poor gas mileage.
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    It has less than 15000 miles. I'll take a look at the filter, but I don't think that is the problem.
  • I assume they have checked for a clogged converter. 12MPG is really low. Even if you are carrying a lot of things in it (you did not say one way or the other) it is low. My only other thought would be a bad fuel injector. My 99 is doing about 21 to 22.
  • My ford dealer in Sterling VA sold a black 2001 Limited and it had been in the front of the parking lot for a month with temp tags on it and then it disappeared. I made mention of it and was told it was in the back. The man bought it and then found he could not get insurance on it based on his driving record till Jan, 2002. so it is in the back lot, he is making payments but can not drive it till Jan.
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    Van is unloaded. Checked air filter and it appeared to be normal for 14,000 miles. May replace this weekend but don't think that is the problem. Defective injector sounds like a possibility. I'm sure there are numerous possiblities. I'm going to take it back in the next few weeks. Any other suggestions would be great.

  • Sorry if this has already been discussed before, but I am new to this, and haven't gone through all the messages yet.
    Last week, while STOPPED in a McDonalds drive through, the rear window on my 2000 Windstar SE exploded outward. Thankfully my children and their friends in the car were not injured.
    We heard 2 pops, then I looked in my rear view mirror and watched the rear window crack. When I exited the van, there were two large holes, one on the left and one on the right of the window, with glass shattered all over the ground. the glass that still remained in the frame was completely cracked. No glass had fallen inside the van. The witnesses (the woman stopped in her car behind me, my other adult passenger, and the McDonalds' employee who was outside taking the orders) all reported the same thing - nothing hit the van, and the glass exploded outward. It was a warm day, so there was no heat on or the rear window defroster.
    My Ford dealer, of course, said they couldn't help me and I needed to go through my insurance. Someone I spoke with recently mentioned he had heard this happening before.
    Has anyone had a similar experience? I'd appreciate any info you could provide. Thanks!
    My Ford dealer
  • bob57bob57 Posts: 302
    One friend and one relative had the rear window implosion problem but both are SUV's - although, both are Ford products (one was a Mercury).
    It was blamed on the Texas heat and the dealers refused warranty replacement.
    Might be interesting to see if any more "pop" up here...
  • Yes, I think I have heard that happening to Explorers (window shattering: I read that somewhere?). Also, if you bought an extended warranty by Ford Motor Company, do you need to get your oil changed at a Ford Motor Co to meet warranty standards? Thanks.
  • Lisat3-- Look out at Edmund's Honda Odyssey Problems board. Someone recently (last 50 posts or so) posted a problem that sounds a lot like your's, except I think it was a side passenger window and they didn't mention heat. Honda, of course, replaced the window under warranty rather than sending them to their insurance company... (I have an Odyssey and I keep up on their problem posts, of which there are quite a few; but I sometimes like to look here too to remind myself my odds are still better with Honda! Many Odyssey posts are for relatively minor problems compared to what I see here. But I have nothing against Ford, and good luck with your Windstar.)
  • gibbergibber Posts: 41
    My 1996 Windstar with no front heat now has creaking noises in the suspension. It also groans when steering. Has anyone had this problem?
This discussion has been closed.