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Ford Windstar Problems



  • Penguin: Do you remember how much did you paid for the repairment, I have not so far fixed any problems yet as listed in messege #713. Luckily, I only drive less to miles to work. This certainly is my only Ford for my lifetime.
  • kevwhkevwh Posts: 2
    I've owned a 1999 Ford Windstar since March of this year. After one month of ownership, I noticed a pinging noise coming from the engine anytime I accelerated in the least bit. I tried putting in 93 octane gas, but that didn't work. I also added various brands of gasoline additives that are supposed to eliminate engine pings, and those haven't worked either. I noticed someone posted earlier that there is a TSB from Ford on this. Does anyone know what this TSB number/date is or what the problem might be? My Ford dealership says this is a known problem with Windstars, and there is no fix for it. I can't believe that to be true. My transmission also shifts into gears very hard, but I can live with that. This pinging noise, though, is extremely annoying. My van has 38,500 miles on it, and I have an extended warranty, which I'm positive I will be using a lot. I certainly appreciate any help with the pinging.
  • It took me eleven months to get my pinging problem solved, but it is solved. First of all, KEVWH, the TSB which is the "Factory Fix" is TSB 00-21-8, dated 10/09/00. This work was done to my car and it did not work. In the end the Dealer had to totally replace the PCM. They can re-boot, re-program, re-calibrate the PCM but only the replacement worked. I live in SE NC and the dealer[car had 19k on it when I bought it] was reasonable to work with. I spent much time right here on educating myself to all the difficulties others were having with the "pinging 99's." Then once I had a fat file of documentation I let the Dealer know that I knew what was going on. That helped immensely.
    Do NOT switch to high test gas - it tends to carbon up the engine which becomes yet another problem. Stay with a Major Brand Regular - like AMOCO, for example. There is a recall on 99 WS Trans also. Try #00B51 that may be the number. Seems like your Dealer Service Dept is not well motivated to help. If thats the case try another Ford Dealer if convenient.
  • My beloved Ford dealer charged $32.oo for the speed sensor and 3 hours @ 60/hr to replace it.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Either the sliding door contacts may be dirty or the switch built into the tailgate latch. For the sliding door contacts, look in the doorframe, you should see four silver circles that make contact with four plungers built into the door. Try cleaning the contacts with a pencil eraser. You might want to try that first. With the switch in the tailgate, spray some contact cleaner into the latch mechanism.
  • I had the same problem with my 95. The contacts were dirty. I cleaned them every few months and had no trouble. It was totaled a few months ago and I picked up a 99 SE. The contacts were dirty and I cleaned them up. So far no trouble with it.
  • 2000 Windstar on acceleration has grunting noise. Does anyone know the TSB Number in relation to this problem which I read here happened on the 99 model.
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    I cleaned the contacts on the sliding door and sprayed contact cleaner on the liftgate latches, but it stills dings. Interesting though, when it is cold, and it has been in the 20's at night here, it doesn't ding. It seems it just does it when the temperature is warmer. Also, I can drive with the indicator saying the door is ajar and then sometimes, it just goes out after a few miles. Oh well. It's a Ford.
  • soooeysoooey Posts: 2
    I have owned this 99 WS since May of 99. Presently has about 65K miles. So far we have replaced ball joints at about 25K, several sensors, complete front brakes and now the latest..... about 3 months ago, the engine light came on. At that time the dealer did not know if it was the sensor or a real problem. They replaced the sensor costing me over $200. This past weekend the light comes back on, now they tell me the top end needs to be replaced. Is this code for the gasket problem of earlier years? "They want to make me a deal and have Ford cover 80% of the cost since I always get my service at the dealer". Estimate is $200.00 to me. I figure it should be covered by the sensor I replaced 3 months ago!

    I too have fought with them over the pinging issue, but had not found this site until today. I have printed several of the posts and will take them with me when we get the van back...Thanks for the ammunition. Dave
  • kevwhkevwh Posts: 2
    Thanks, rascar66, for the in-depth information about my pinging problem. It made me feel armed and ready to do battle with my dealership! I called the service manager and explained my pinging problem, again, and gave him the TSB on it. He looked up the history of my van, and, shockingly, this TSB had not been performed on my van, even though I purchased it from them many months after this "fix" was issued. I took them my van a couple of days later to get this fix performed, and, of course, TSB 00-21-8 didn't work, just as you said. The pinging is still there, although it's not as pronounced as before, but it is still loud enough to annoy me. I told the service manager if this TSB fix didn't work, then he needed to replace the PCM. He didn't commit to doing that, but now that they have no other rabbits to pull from their very shallow hat, I'm hoping they'll go ahead and replace it. If they refuse, I'm going to look for another dealership. Thanks again for the information, and I'll keep you updated on my very frustrating, but necessary, journey.
  • I am back after 9 relatively good months. I have a 95 windstar with a replaced head gasket(12-00), a new engine(4-01) and now the transmission is shot. What to do? I have been trying to check on the history of the 95 Windstar and the Transmission problem, but only finding a random number of entries. How popular is this problem? Do I have a foot to stand on if I complain to Ford? We are looking at purchasing a new vehicle, and I can't even believe I considered a newer Windstar.....not gonna happen. If you know of anyone who has more info on the Transmission problem, please let me know. Thanks
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    One of the problem areas with the 95 Windstar was the transmission. There was a forward (clutch?) piston which at that time was made of aluminum and had a tendency to fracture and fail. It was replaced in the 96 Windstar with a stainless steel piston and the transmission has proven to be more reliable.
  • Paula (Foundonroadea)

    The 95 transmission has a whole history of failure. It usually is a forward clutch failure. I took the local dealership to small claims court over the fact that ford knew that this part would fail when they sold me the car. A TSB was issued in 94 to replace the aluminum part with a steel part as mentioned in the last post. The case was promptly bumped it up to civil court and action is pending. One good site to get info is . Hope your dealeship supports you better than mine did.
  • kevwh, you may not think your WS pings very loudly now, but wait till next spring when you drive with the AC on. Then you will really hear pinging.
    So, stick to your guns on the PCM replacement. Make CERTAIN that they know that you know what you are talking about - that PCM replacement is not just a frivolous shot in the dark by you. Actual cost to FoMoCo/Dealer for both the replacement and the re-programming of the PCM is not much over $100, as I recall.
    I recommend that you keep a journal on you v. FoMoCo on this issue - its important.
    Good luck and keep us all posted.
  • I purchased my 95 here in Canada in 97, and for the most part, have had pretty good luck with it. Until recently. I guess 1st real problem was a speedometer. On the highway, it would jump around like crazy at 110 kph. Resolution - replace speedometer, of which I now have to refer to a sticker on the door, and add it to the existing odometer for my complete mileage on the vehicle. 2nd third and fourth problems have just arisen. 2nd problem, transmission. Seemed like the shifts were getting harder, and then one day, 1st was real jumpy, and 3rd was none existant. Bill for rebuild - $2300 Canadian. When they returned my vehicle, a note on the bill stated that the brakes required replacement. Take it to a local mechanic, and the rear drums are screwed, but says they'll last another 15-20k. Bill $290 Canadian. When I drop off the van for the brakes, I returned home to see a leak on my new driveway. Call the mechanic back, and ask him to look for leaks. He calls back 5 minutes later and says the water pump is shot. Takes off the water pump, and the housing for the timing chain is shot. When it rains it pours. Bill for the latest venture has run me another $1200 Canadian. Probably the last Windstar I own. The issue I have with it all is that the vehicle is paid for, and I don't want to have to get into a monthly payment just yet.
  • Well, I have spoken with the dealer about the transmission. They did the diagnostic ($135). Yup the transmission is shot. Will cost another $2900 to put in a rebuilt one. How do we find out if it is the forward clutch piston? I ask the dealer this... well, we can't find out until we tear down the transmission...($1800). Back to square one. We are doomed if we do and doomed if we don't. Anyone know more than me about this? Please share!
  • Ok, you paid $135 for a diagnostic and they were able to tell you the transmission is shot. Why is the transmission shot? What did they do for $135?
    How were they able to determine the transmission required replacement in lieu of a rebuild or repair? It seems reasonable that they should have some idea what is wrong to be able to determine the transmission requires a replacement in lieu of a repair. Is $1800 the cost to repair your existing tranny or just to tear it down? I ask that question because it seems very close to the price dwatts1 indicated he paid to have his tranny rebuilt in Canada (post 740).
  • soooeysoooey Posts: 2
    Just got off the phone with the Service rep. My Van is ready for pick up. They replaced the intake manifolds. He told me this is the 3rd they have done with one more scheduled. Ford Engineering is involved. They seem to be handling this well. The dealership made the
    contact to Ford, got me a loaner car and is getting 80% coverage on the repair from Ford. He told me if this becomes a "Program" then Ford will reimburse me the 20% .... I told him about what I read about the 2000 manifold change, he is looking into it. He also said he would verify that my Van has the latest PCM code for the pinging issue. He is very much aware of it...

    Will keep you all posted.

  • tuneuptuneup Posts: 1
    I am also one the cursed Winstupid owners. Previously, I successfully drove the heck out of my 89 Mercury Sable. Anyway it seemed that it was a good idea at the time.

    The head gasket failed on me this fall and I now have a new engine (6 months before the 7 year warranty period was over). Before this I was shopping for a new van because it was a bit stress full to have the engine and transmission woes hanging over me. Having reduced it mainly to the transmission I am wondering if anyone has taken it into the shop to do a preemptive strike on the forward clutch piston. How much did you spend? Everything seems to be working fine now. The resale value is so low now I'm inclined to try to deal with this.
  • Jvirginia, in answer to your question, we have no idea what the $135 covered. We assume they put the car on the computer and it came back with -transmission troubles. The dealer was able to tell us that there were metal shavings in the burnt transmission fluid. I never thought to ask if they were aluminum or steel shaving... a simple magnet would tell us, but how do we find out now? The $1800 is just the tear down cost. The cost of the rebuilt engine is $2900. Anyone have any suggestions.
  • excelent3excelent3 Posts: 197
    Purchased Aug of 2000. Has had 3 recalls since. Poorest paint job I have ever seen. We are Fords attempt to "win us back" as a valued customer. Our '95 Taurus LX wagon blew two headgaskets. Ford purchased it back for $6300 + $3000 coupon and 0.9% interest for 5 years. It was a good deal at the time. Took delivery on the Windstar, first thing I noticed was all the small particles of hair and dirt in the paint. Left year quater panel had a piece as big as a pencil eraser! They offered to paint it. I said I did'nt want it. They said I would lose the 0.9% rate if I didn't purchase by following Monday. They put us in a corner, found out later I could have got the rate on a different unit, because they could'nt deliver a satisfactory product. It goes on further with problems with service dept. Never, EVER, will I buy a Ford again. Purchased a new Kia Sedona minivan totally loaded for $22,995 last comparison...great van...great warranty for the money and a first rate paint job!
  • Man, I thought I did my homework. Looking up safety specs., reliability, Consumer Reports, ect. I never thought I would have the problems that I do now. I just bought a 2000 Windstar LX with 34,000 miles on it and had problems since day one of purchase. I bought it in December and it has been in the Garage more than in my driveway. I recently had the motor replaced @ a Ford Dealership due to the "pinging" heard around the world as well as a Tranny replacement. Transmission works fine now, but the pinging is still there after 80 miles on the new motor with the smell of oil burning while at a stop light with the heat on. I traded in my 1992 buick LeSabre w/ 162k miles with no problems for these headaches? I have printed out some related TSB's and will bring them to the dealer with my Winstar. Any other "real" advice would be great.
  • All these posts make me nervous about holding on to my 97 Windstar with 62K miles on it. The only two problems I have right now is a passenger power window that is toast and a speedometer that makes all kinds of noise.

    Occassionally the tranny makes hard shifts during stopping/starting maneuvers when the engine is cold. But that never happens when the engine is warm.

    I've put this van through the ringer, as I've been pulling my camper for the past 5 seasons. My current camper is about 2400 lbs, and the HP and torque of the 3.8L engine is excellent.

    Still debating on trading it in on a pickup truck, maybe even the new Avalanche. But like someone else posted, it's tough to go back to that monthly payment once you've paid a vehicle off.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148

    Keep in mind that I have 95WS with three replacement motors (52500, 75000, 85000). Having said that...

    I have found it VERY interesting that the bulk of comments/issues/postings surrounding the Ford WS have been suprisingly LIGHT for 1997. Obviously the 95/96's had problems... Then starting again in 98, a bunch of electrical problems came forward - with occasional tranny and engine/head gasket posts.

    Regardless, here is some food for thought. I have been fortunate in that Ford has paid for all the motor replacements. One theme that has run true on this board: if you are out of the warranty, you are out of luck! I have worked with folks that have had their motor blow right where you are now (just over the 60000 extended plan) and Ford, quite literally, will not work with them. At all. No flexibility. I am certain that this is at least partially due to the recent performance of FMC in the last year. To admit yet another design problem at Ford would be disastrous (yes, the 3.8L has design issues). I really do find it pretty amazing that you have been pulling a trailer and have NOT had problems!

    Its all risk/reward. Personally, I keep thinking that the van should last (at least) another three years because they keep putting new motors in mine! Well, lets say that tie rods, brakes, and electrical gremlins have also been problematic for me.

    Sooooo, I am rolling the dice once again. I know that I will be purchasing a new vehicle this fall. That means I risk another eight months of engine, transmission, or other catastrophic failure. If the engine fails, I am covered. If anything else fails, I lose the bet... Trade in for this thing is terrible. I have not asked lately, however, given my vehicle history and the current glut of used cars (the 0% thing really hurt trade in values), it can't be all that good. Edmunds says I should be able to sell it for $6000. Given my current tax bracket, I can donate it to a local technical college and take the $1680 as a write off. Any trade-in above $1680 would be that much less I have to borrow. It is just amazing to me that a vehicle that stickered for 25000 7 years ago is now worth (probably) 3000 to a dealer. This is why if I buy any vehicle other than a truck, I am buying a non-american manufacturer. The depreciation alone is just not worth it to people that want to KEEP ther cars as long as they possibly can.

    One last thought... If the van has been good luck to this point, it just might stay that way.

    My advise: If you like to gamble, keep your van another year. Take the money that would have been for a car payment and SAVE it for a down payment. Otherwise - get rid of it.
    2003 Honda Odyssey EX-LRES - Midnight Blue Pearl
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  • Well, the dealer found nothing wrong with the speedometer (driving around the lot) but looks like this van will see it's third motor in 1 month. What does it take to get these things to stop nocking, besides shutting them off? Smells like the Lemon law to me... it sucks because I really like everything else about the van.
  • To mike01075 & soooey. If your dealer has not REPLACED your PCM yet and re-programmed the new one likely your pinging will continue, new motors or not. Based upon the experience with my 99WS the factory fix [replacing intake manifold components] does not work. They need to chemically remove all carbon deposits then replace and reprogram the PCM. Anything else is smoke & mirrors. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • I also used my '96 WS to tow a boat trailer. I did it for 4.5 years with no trouble. My '96 head gasket problems did not arise until approx 80k miles. When I traded the vehicle at 96k, it still only had a seeping gasket.

    The thing I find odd about the entire head gasket design problem is: Ford claims that the design changes they made in the '97 and later years have solved the problem. If that is true, why are they not using the new head gasket design engines as replacements when repairing/replacing failed '95 & '96 engines? For instance, wholigan says he is on his third replacement engine in his '95 WS. Why??? If the gasket design change has solved the problem why do his replacement engines keep failing? And the same question can be asked of the 3.8l engines in the Taurus and other Ford/Mercury models which use that engine. The changes Ford made do not impact or preclude using the newer designed engine as a replacement in the older model cars. They will fit and mate up transmissions and accessories. So, why do they continue to fail? Because the fix helps but does not solve the problem. And, to admit this would require Ford accepting additional responsibility and liability for the later year engine failures. And financially, this would crush the company.

    I own 2 other Ford cars, a 1988 Taurus, 3.0l engine and a 1995 Ford Thunderbird, 4.6l engine. I am satisfied with both of those vehicles. Stay away from the Ford 3.8l engines. (And I would also avoid the new 3.9l engine)
  • I guess I need to catch up. My 95 was totaled at 135k after many years of hard, and I mean hard, running. I would still have it but for the red light runner. Anyway, I have replaced it with a 99 SE. Very nice but I do hear a light ping. Nothing really serious or loud--just a light ping. Is what is being talked about or is it a heavy, really loud ping? Thanks,
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    Now my '98 passenger power window won't work. The dinging of the door chime has stopped for the moment. Can't figure that out. Sprayed contact cleaner on the door contacts and about a week later, the chiming stopped. Now the power window. It's always something with the Windstar.
  • elarszelarsz Posts: 1
    I have a 1996 Windstar 3.8L V6 with 97,000 miles. Was in at the Ford Dealer getting new plugs and wires, (because of the high miles), when they told me that the "water jackets" were leaking into the engine. I have had no white smoke or over-heating in fact the van runs fine. I marked the level of the coolant overflow tank and check it weekly for change (its been a month now, the level is still at the pencil mark) I have changed the oil twice at 150 mile intervals and have not seen any coolant or foam in the oil, no engine lights either. What else should I look for? I have a feeling the Dealer is full of it.
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