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Ford Windstar Problems



  • wmy99wmy99 Posts: 7
    My 1996 Windstar had no front heat (see posting 678). --Also, similar to your problems, I have groans and creaking noises coming from the steering (power steering unit will have to be replaced). --Also-Squeaking, crunching, creaking & clunking noises when turning coming from the front passenger side.(I thought it was a loose exhaust, these noises are apparently from the front suspension upper A-pillar which can not be greased) It will have to be replaced. -Side door which will only lock manually. --Sad to say,I wonder what will malfunction next!!!--Lets face it, these vehicles have poor quality parts which make them a money pit.
  • Does anyone have coolant leak from the engine front cover/timing cover? I am experiencing this now on my 95 Windstar with only 50,000 miles. The dealer check and asked $1800 to fix it. Test showed no leak from the head gasket (yet).
  • Antifreeze leakage can occur and compression tests may not reveal the leakage. This is common with Windstars with their factory defective 3.8 V6 engine. 960 complaints have been posted with the NHTSA pertaining to head gaskets in 95 Windstars.We had five dye compression tests done on our 96 Windstar, none of them revealing leakage. Within two days the head gaskets blew, causing coolant to leak into the engine destroying the bearings and necessitating engine replacement. We negotiated 50% engine replacement with Ford and after getting this, we got full reimbursement by taking Ford to small claims court.Email me at if you want copies of the documents.
  • My 97 Windstar now has a dead passenger power window. I'll make one last ditch effort by checking the fuses, but I doubt that't the problem. The window was working intermittedly over the last few months, and now does not work at all. It may be the solenoid switch. All I know is that I won't be spending the money to fix it now that it's out of warranty.

    I also have a groaning noise coming from the front suspension when I hit rough pavement. I too thought maybe it was something loose like the exhaust system. The mechanic thinks it may be the front bushings, which I'm sure will be pretty expensive to replace. I'll leave them for now, since it doesn't affect handling and is only a minor annoyance.
  • I see in here about TSB what is a TSB, I have 53K on mine and it has started to stall out when you slow down quickly or make a turn.
  • rugmankcrugmankc Posts: 133
    My 98 has a small coolant leak from the timing chain cover only during cold months. It is garaged. Not enough too necessitate repair at this time, since I have not had to add colant. My mechanic will fix when needed for $800.00. Find a good mechanic and keep dealer visits to a minimum. Good luck.
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    TSB's are bulletins sent to dealer garages that explain the proper ways to diagnose and repair known problems. They are NOT recalls. If your vehicle is out of warranty and needs a repair in accordance with a TSB, you may be able to negotiate warranty coverage, but the dealers do not have to perform TSB repairs for free.
  • bmaigebmaige Posts: 140
    I was amazed when my son's '95 Mustang with a 3.8 L engine blew a head gasket to be told the timing chain cover was leaking coolant and the gasket would have to be replaced. I have worked on my cars for years and had NEVER seen one in which coolant routed through a timing chain cover, but the 3.8 does. I subscribe to one wise man's advice, "Know thyself," so I went to a manual and checked it to be sure I wasn't being fed a line of bull, and it will leak. And it is a bear to get to. I imagine most of the cost of fixing that leak is labor to get things off to get to it and replace them.
  • A TBS is a Technical Service Bulletin. When a car has problems that are common ,then SOMETIMES the factory will put out a TSB.
  • If you do the following, your dealer may have little choice but to help you!!

    For the 3 years I have owned my 1999 Windstar, the vehicle has pinged incessantly, "grunted" on start-up and been plagued with electrical problems. All responses from the dealer, until yesterday, were "it's normal", or "cannot duplicate". With my warranty running out soon I wanted things fixed before I had to pay. I looked right here on the Edmund's site and pulled up the TSBs on 1999 Windstars. There are 240 of them! 240 bulletins from Ford to their dealers regarding problems that have been reported on 1999 Windstars! I looked through all 240 TSBs writing down the numbers and dates of the TSBs relating to the problems I was having. I then made a list of the problems I was having and the TSBs(with dates) which were issued by Ford regarding the problems I reported. I gave the list to the service manager when I dropped my vehicle off. On the repair order, next to each problem I reported, the service manager noted "customer has TSBs written down"! When they called me at the end of the day (the van had always been there for days previously) the "cannot duplicates" and "it's normals" were addressed and parts were ordered to perform additional repairs(per TSB)!

    This post may be premature as it's only been 24 hours since pick up, but so far no pinging for the first time in 3 years!(6+TSBs), no electrical problems(2+ TSBs) and parts are on order to fix my "grunting"(3+ TSBs)!

    Sorry for the long post, but the moral of the story is, if you go in with the TSBs written down, they cannot deny the problem exists, and if they cannot deny it, they may feel they have little choice other than to hopefully fix it!

    Good luck!
  • 12-13 mpg is what my 1999 LX gets when my wife does lots of super short trips around town (especially during winter or during summer with the A/C on). I do not have bad injectors and nothing is clogged! I get low-mid 20's on the highway. You can boost mpg by using synthetic oil and switching to a K&N air filter. Best prices on K&N air filters are at


    Keep us posted on your progress!
  • My 95 Windstar was totaled several months ago. Fellow in a pickup ran a red light. Anyway, I was happy with it. Had 135k on it and I really looked forward to a few more years of service. Anyway, I went back to my Ford dealer and found a 99 SE at a really nice price. However, I did go to NHTSA site, went to the recall area and found 5 of them and had them fixed prior to my accepting the car. Three were minor and two were critical. There were also some TSBs but many of them were for specific cars that were manufactured during certain times and there were some with as few as 50 per TSB. Some of them seemed to be almost repeats of others.
  • I have a 98 Windstar that I purchased used a year ago Aug 2000. I now have 50,000 miles on it and have been having transmission problems. I took it to my dealer and one of the bearings disenagrated and evidently destroyed the whole transmission. It had to be rebuilt at a cost of over $2100. I call this premature failure and probably caused by defective material used for the bearings.

    I contacted Ford but they like to do the two step around the problem. The dealership is fine it is the people in Detroit that are a problem.

    I also learned that Ford is not a member of the Better Business Bureau. I now understand why. They sell junk that they know is defective.
  • I have a 98 Windstar that I bought used Aug 2000. It has 50,000 miles on it now and the transmission had to be completely overhauled because it appears a bearing in it disenagrated and destroyed it. It cost over $2100 to get it fixed. I call this premature failure and wonder how many others have had the same problem.

    I contacted Ford, after a run around they will not take any responsiblity for the problem. I now know why they are not a member of the Better Business Bureau.
  • I have a '98 windstar with 42,000...I bought used with 29,000 in 1999. It die on me this past weekend...I thought it was the alternator...After having my mechanic take a look he replaced the alternator...2x...Still no good...He advice taking it to a ford dealer....To make a long story short there was A SHORT IN THE WIRING HARNESS THAT CAUSE TOO MUCH AMPERAGE TO THE ALTERNATOR AND CAUSE THE OTHER 2 ALTERNATOR TO BURN OUT...SO ANOTHER ALTERNATOR WAS PUT IN.ALSO THE BATTERY HAD TO BE REPLACED..
  • Things break or go bad. My 95 had a ground wire corrode and snap off at 100k. Rare, but one of those things. It never really let me down. I even had the head gasket replaced under the extended warranty and had a loaner van to use. It is regrettable it cost what it did but now that it is fixed why sell it? You just invested more money in it. If you luck is like mine you would sell it and then nothing would go wrong for the next five years. One rule of repars them I have used is if repair bills over a year equate to a new car payment them it is time to sell. My wife has a 94 Probe GT that needs repairs once in a while but I average only about $50 a month on it, not including the expensive routine maintance every 30K. It have 115K on it now. If it starts to drain you sell it. It really sounds like a rare event. I have not seen the issue on any thread. Good luck
  • In my previous posts, I told an ongoing saga of my 2000 Windstar which I was able to get Ford to replace. After two months of fighting with Ford, I was put in a 2002 with an extended warranty at no extra charge. Well, both sliding doors are rattling EXTREMELY loud and I am not happy. This should not happen on a brand new vehicle with less than 1,000 miles on it. Our 2000 problems started with a rattling door also but it was only the right side. This two model year newer van is worse!! Has anyone else had problems of any kind with their 2002? Please let me know.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    The time has come for Ford and I to part ways...

    Hello everyone. My name is Pat. And I am a 95 Windstar owner (soon, a NEVER AGAIN Ford owner).

    I bought this vehicle from my sister-in-law and her husband in 1998 when it had 35000 miles on it. Since that time I have had the transmission replaced three times. I have had the motor replaced two times. Each time I kept thinking that this can't happen again. It did. I paid for additional services (like inner tie rods, outer tie rods, new brakes after a rust through failure at 65 MPH that nearly killed my wife and children, new blower motor, new tires, et. al.) thinking that after these major failures, the vehicle should last longer. It just does not want to - not for me anyway. NO ONE has serviced my vehicle other than Apple Valley (MN) Ford. I have been through three service managers and two Ford Customer Service Representatives. I tried the "be sweet like sugar; not bitter like vinegar" route. I tried the squeaky wheel route. I have begged, pleaded, negotiated, and squandered to have Ford replace the vehicle under the buy-back option implemented in March 2000 that ran for (about) six months. But my van didn't break down in this window (the 2nd engine blew in January 2001, therefore, I was not eligible). Nor would the Ford CSR make an exception.

    And so, it begins again. Now the engine is knocking UNBELIEVABLY hard. Just over 10000 miles since you put the last motor in. I can't speculate on what is wrong. The last time I did a self diagnosis I was told that the oil in my coolant reservoir was not possible because the coolant from the engine tested out with no trace of oil.

    This is the second Ford vehicle that I have owned in the last 10 years that you do not seem to be able to fix. Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I have fought the battles. You have worn me down. Not even talking to the executive offices helped. Bottom line, you are losing this customer. Too bad, too; judging by the recent performance of your company.

    The local technical college is going to get a free 95 Windstar with 86000 miles on it. I'll take the tax write off; while it is still running anyway. I'll sleep at night knowing that I did not sell it to another "uneducated" mini-van buyer. My mother brought me up better than that.

    Good-bye Ford.
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  • PLEASE READ....Do you own a '95 Windstar nearing 135K miles?..My '95 W/S has 135K miles on it and the speedometer is going wacky. When I'm following traffic (going about 65MPH), the speedo says I'm going between 90-120MPH! The speedometer is also making a lot of noise. The only thing it could be is the speedo-head. The dealership is playing games with me because they said that they haven't heard of this problem. They told me it would be $80 just to tell me what is wrong with it. ((I didn't believe them because I had already changed out the speedometer. I went and got a speedometer out of the junkyard (because a new one goes for $500, yes $500!!!) This speedometer worked fine for about 5,000 miles, than it too, started doing the same thing the original speedometer was doing....)) Since I knew I was getting jerked around, I asked for Ford's main #. When I called Ford, the CSR I spoke with said that he had heard a lot of complaints of the same kind. He also told me that Ford wasn't paying for it, but to save my receipt, so just in case in the future, that, if there would be a recall, I would get my $ back. There is a TSB on a "wavy and sticking speedometer" already, but I for some reason they still want me to pay to fix it...This doesn't make any sense to me.....Anyway, IF YOU HAVE THIS PROBLEM, PLEASE CALL THIS PHONE # (800)392-3673. This is Ford's main #. The CSR told me if there are enough complaints that they would have to issue a recall!!! It is too much of a coinsidence that 2 speedometers have the exact same problem. This tells me that there must be a lot more out there. (Sorry so long!)
  • My 96 Winstar only has 36000 miles. I bought new. It had a series of small problems occurred just out of warranty. Two rear view mirrors fell out at 40th month. Started about 1 year ago, "Check engine", "brake" and "ABS" went on and off randomly, I knew that were related to sensor or associated electrics and disregarded. 9 months ago, the speedometer started a wacky problem, whenever I drove over 40 MPH, the speedometer shows all over the map, ranging from 50-120 mph. At the same time, a loud humming noise came along. AS long as I drove below 40 mph, I am fine. The dearler wanted charge over $100 to "look into" the problem. I refused to pay the ripoff. I am wondering any other people has the same problem. I called the Ford CSR, there is no recall on this problem in the near future. This is the first big3 car I ever own. I had Camry and Cressida before, never had such headaches.
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    I have a 2000 SEL and we drive on some very rough roads. I have done three things that have reduced 95% of the door rattling noises.

    1 - Ensure the door's front rubber bumpers are in place. I lost one and I thought the door was going to fall off the van.

    2 - Ensure the door is properly aligned. My dealer never got is right, so I did it myself.

    3 - Take some black felt with a sticky backing and fit is inside the two slots on each door (top and bottom) that receive the two plastic tabs on the door jam. It is best to use a large piece of felt and make several adjustments and cut away the excess.

    I know you should not have to do this, but if you are as picky as I am, the dealer will mostly likely not fix the problem. It is a poor design.
  • I know how you feel Wholigan, we just got rid of our 95 Windstar. We were on vacation when it (again) developed problems, we barely made it into Boise. We were stranded 6 days with no car waiting for it to be repaired. The problem this time: a mass flow sensor went, 02 sensor went, which plugged the catalytic converters. Luckily the catalytic converters were covered by warranty (We had 78K on it). What took so long was the dealer had to send away for the part. The "deathstar" had just been in the shop a month earlier for a bad ABS sensor and a timing chain gasket cover leak.
    I decided while we were stranded in Boise that when we got home we were getting rid of it. After a blown head gasket, a bad gauge cluster,interior trim falling off, and what happened this summer, we were luckier than many other 95 windstar "victims" out there.
  • I bought a 98 Ford Windstar from a "reputable" dealer in Kennesaw, Ga. It has 52,000 miles on it. I made a trip to NC and back and realized what a mistake I made, it has been in the shhop for 2 weeks now, I haven't owned it a month yet. I got the extended powertrain which is a good thing since they had to replace the transmission. Also, wrong are the air idle control valve (stalling), they had to replace the the throttle body and my rear heat wasn't working, I am supposed to get it back today and not sure what they are going to stick me with (bill). I have had the van less than 30 days what recourse do I have? I know the transmission will be at least $100 (deductible), I am not sure what they will charge for the other stuff. my e-mail is if anyone has any info that may help me, please respond fast. I feel like driving it through the showroom floor!!!
  • Foolow up to previous post. I just got the damage and the dealer ate almost all of it. I was charged $100 for the deductible. I am still getting rid of this p.o.s. soon. By the way if you are in the Atlanta area and want a new or used Lincoln/Mercury check out Pugmire in Kennesaw. I have to say they were great. Tney ate about $1200. The guy I dealt with was Tommy Sugg. I can't put down everything Ford makes but stay away from the Windstar!!!!!!
  • I own a 95 Windstar with 65,000 mi. I have had all the usual problems such as the speedometer, head gasket and finally the transmission. It seems the FORWARD CLUTCH PISTON went out in the tranny and the repair cost $ 1620.

    There was a TSB issued in 1994 (1 yr before I bought the car) that stated that the aluminum forward clutch pistons were failing and if they did they were to be replaced by a STEEL version. I will be in small claims court next week. My question is: Are there any of you windstar ownwers out there who have succesfully collected on this issue ? It is technically a breach of the warrenty of mechantabillity because they sold the car with a known latent defect.
  • I had a very similiar problem in my 98 last Spring. It was the speed sensor. The Ford dealer knew what the problem was right away when I explained the symptoms.
  • rjdlsrjdls Posts: 1
    At 37,000 miles, accelator broke and had it fixed. A year and a month after it broke again at 67,000 miles. Anybody had so same headache I had. I would not think accelerator cable should break so often?

    At the same time at 67,000, I need to change the front wheel because the welding in the joins is leaking air. I do not know about you guys but this may be the last I will own a FORD!
  • Hi,
    I have a '95 Windstar which is doing the exact same problem. Isn't it VERY agitating. Anyway, the dealer told me the same thing ($100+ to look at). The thing that is bothering me a lot is that there is a TSB (technical service bulletin) on the Windstars for a "waving and sticking speedometer" (see Doesn't this mean that they know there is a problem with them? The only thing I figure the problem to be is a bad speedometer head. Changing it is not the problem for me, because I can do it myself. The real BIG problem I have is that the part costs around $500.00 (yes, $500.00!!!). The whole instrument cluster has to be replaced, because it comes as one unit. (like Ford didn't know what they were doing...:( ) My first post is the one before yours (#713), feel free to read it. I'm hoping that we can get all the people with this problem together and fight Ford together...strength in #s... I'm sure there are a lot of people with the same problem. Also, feel free to e-mail me if you's about time these big automakers stand behind their mistakes!!!
  • My 95 was totaled by a pickup at a light with 135K on it. Air bags and seat belts work. I must have been lucky because except for the head gasket it never let me down. I had some problems with the speedometer head at 35K (replaced)and a few electronic gremlins with the sliding door (lights inside stayed on when the door was closed) but other than that it was a good van. After 100K a ground wire rusted through and the van would not start. It was in my garage when it happened so I was able to fix it. I had the rotors ground at 65K and replaced at 110k but that is not really all that bad. Other than that just change the oil and filter. No transmission trouble, no AC (front and rear) trouble, etc. Now then, I was fanatical about making sure the major services were done on time. I replaced it with a 99 SE and am happy with it so far.
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