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Ford Windstar Problems



  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    The first (& only) time the check engine light came on in our 2000 Windstar was because air filter was dirty, changed it had dealer reset and no problems since as far as the light goes, now the power steering pump and rack system now that's a different story @ 47000 miles had to have both replaced & of course it was out of warranty!
    I am looking down the road at the first ever Chrysler/Dodge product since their 7/100 warranty is best out there so far. Don't want to wait for another major headache with this FORD (Fix Or Repair Daily) piece of crap Windstar. Now if Ford came out with this type of warranty as standard I would consider another.

    By the way, what is the link you are using for TSB's ? I haven't had any luck finding them for free.

    Ray T.
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    Ray T,

    What symptoms did you have when the PS and rack system had to be replaced?


  • shuedshued Posts: 107
    Hi, Guys:
    I have found that MSRP of 2002 is increased so
    much. At 2001, MSRP of SE is about $27,700,
    now MSRP of SE is about $29,000. What kind
    of extra equipment is added? Does MSRP change
    explain the reason of sale number reduce?
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    "" Just one of the wonderful things you federal government does for you. And it's all free, as long as you keep paying taxes!!!
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Shued -

    Ford has had their financial problems of late. Be assured that there are price increases going on to attempt to expand profitability.

    Also, Ford is famous for price negotiation. My cousin (10+ year car sales veteran) has shared with me that Ford seems to be "more" flexible when it comes to haggling (i.e., the percentage between "invoice" and "sticker" is a little higher, providing more wiggle room).

    Good Luck!
    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
  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    The steering started to make funny noise close to end of its limits and could be felt as a restricton while turning wheel. Pump and rack assembly had to be replaced at cost of $900, after some bitchin and moanin they knocked it down to $600 but have lost my faith in Ford products.

    The TSB's supplied by NTHSA are short takes and do not go into detail which is what a former site used to do but was shut down by who knows who.

    Ray T.
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    You can request additional information on the TSB listed on the site referenced in post 788. I have requested information in the past and have not been charged for it, even though you have to agree to pay reproduction costs etc. Be selective by not requesting information on every TSB listed in the data base.
  • shuedshued Posts: 107
    Increase the invoice so much,
    the result is that the volume of sales decreases
    almost 30%. I think Ford do it purposely to
    have the reason to shut down the assembly
    plant. It was reported that this assembly
    plant is the most effective plant of Ford.
    Ford plans to close it. The worker ask why,
    now Ford can say no one want the Windstar.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The Chrysler warrantee is a limited powertrain warrantee only. It is not transferrable and has a $100 deductible. It would have done no good for the steering rack
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    by shutting down all their plants. They could strike a deal with Toyota and slap a Ford logo on a Sienna and then we'd have a decent van.
  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    So whats the chance that Ford & Chevy will jump on the band wagon and offer this type warranty in very near future........................... I know only when they start seeing a slump in sales and an increase in Dodge/Chyrsler sales, just had to throw that one out there LOL

    Ray T.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    To some extent you are betting your company on the results. Yes the powertrain warranty is a sales gimmick, it does however cover the single most important and expensive to repair portions of the vehicle. It also has the potential to backfire bigtime, if the reliability of the vehicle is poor.

    Chrysler is betting that their reliability has improved enough that the gain in sales will overweigh the impact of the warranty claims. Early reports for the 2001-02 vehicles may support that bet. Both Consumer Reports (In their 2002 buyers guide) and JD Powers are reporting improvements. In fact, some of the wehicles such as the PT Cruiser have entered Toyota/Honda territory in the CR frequency of repair charts. The Cruiser has all red dots, signifying much better than average reliability.

    Will Ford and GM be willing to make the same bet? Perhaps, GM has already committed themselves partway with their extended warranty.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    I find it interesting that CR/JD Powers are reporting "improvements". Just understand where I am coming from... Most issues related to the 1990's DC minivans were related to the transmission. Tranny issues seemed to arise after the standard warranty expired (36000 miles) or between 60-80K miles. How can improvements be reported when these models have yet to turn 30000 miles? It's got to be purely speculation... My next door neighbor bought into the "we fixed that transmission problem" with his 1997 T&C. At 72000 miles, that dealer was singing a different song...

    Similarly, Ford turned as much a blind eye at their engine/transmission debacle with the 3.8L/AXOD combination.

    My .02 - it took a long time for these issues to arise - It will take just as long to make them go away.

    Why is it so hard for manufacturers to do the "right" thing in the car service business! Admit when you do something wrong! For $30000, I have the expectation that I should not have to shell out any expense outside of standard maintenance for at least five years. Is that asking too much?!?!?!
    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
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    If problems develop down the line, then Chrysler will face enormous warranty claims.

    Problems don't generally emerge out of a vacuum. Those cars that develop problems later in life generally manifest some sort of problems early on.
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    Till it was totaled last year I had a 95 Windstar GL with 135K on it. Every 60K I had the transmission power flushed and new (not recycled)fluid put in. I never had so much as a hiccup from it, even though it was shown the shift piston was prone to failure. No one pays attention to the transmission. It does have a dip stick for a reason, just as the engine has one. Of those that have problems I would like to know how many have ever checked their transmission or had it serviced, checked the fluid, or for that matter, even know where the stick is and how to do it. I agree that the transmissions are a problem, and not just with Ford, but how many of these do we bring on ourselves?
    I replaced my 95 with a used 99SE and have no complaints about it. There were only 19+k on it so it is still under warranty and I will have some minor items worked on but at 30K, 60K, etc it will get the maintance it calls for along with Mobil 1 and a new filter every 5k. Good maintance is the key. As the fram filter add says: pay a little now or a lot later. I will take a little now, thank you.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    "Long Transmission life usually equates to Good Maintenance"

    My 95WS history:

    Original Purchase Date April 1995.
    Serviced by ONLY Ford Dealers (2 dealerships).
    ALL fluids checked prior to service visits (so that I would know if levels were falling).
    No towing or excessive hauling.
    Prior to 1999, she ran like a top...

    JAN 1999 - 47000 - New Transmission (warranty)
    MAY 1999 - 52000 - New Transmission (warranty)
    MAY 1999 - 52000 - New Head Gaskets (warranty)
    MAY 1999 - 52025 - New Motor (warranty)
    JUL 1999 - 53000 - Replace O2 Sensors (warranty - $50)
    OCT 1999 - 56000 - New Transmission (warranty)
    JAN 2000 - 59600 - New Blower Motor (et al - only $400!) - Extended Warranty is about to expire...
    FEB 2000 - 61000 - New Front Brakes & Rotors ($225)
    APR 2000 - 63000 - New Inner Tie Rods ($300)
    At EVERY oil change from this point forward, I indicated to the service rep that we were constantly smelling coolant....
    MAY 2000 - 65000 - Front Brakes Line Failure - @70 MPH no less ($300)
    MAR 2001 - 75000 - New Motor (warranty)
    APR 2001 - 76000 - New Outer Tie Rods ($300)
    DEC 2001 - 85000 - New Motor (warranty)

    As you can see, neither the transmission nor the engine has made it 60000 miles. Remember, this vehicle has been DEALERSHIP maintained from Day 1. Good thing I bought that 5/60000 mile extended warranty!

    While I agree that good maintenance is critical - I think you can see that you have to have a solid product that good maintenance will only enhance. Ford's 3.8L/AXOD engine/transmission problem combination is not an isolated issue (see any of the following):,,,,

    It was an engineering defect that was not properly addressed throught their customer service channels. For THOSE reasons, I will no longer patronoize Ford. There are too many competitors to NOT properly deal with customer issues! Ford has taken quite a hit in the last five years - and I am living proof as to why.

    Off the soap-box now! Enjoy!
    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
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    Sorry you had so much trouble. I guess it is the luck of the draw. A friend of mine down the street has a 2000 Camery. He thinks it is junk, nothing but problems.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    That Extended warranty of yours sure has paid over at least 20 times over!
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    I REALLY wanted them to buy me out of it... they just wouldn't do it... I think their Extended Service Plans are underwritten by an insurance company outside of Ford so they really didn't see the point.

    Oh well, at least it is running - for now. I like to read about all this stuff anyway. Just wish new cars didn't cost $30000! I am in no rush and have a very open mind - and very HIGH expectations after this debacle!!!

    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
  • gandalf17gandalf17 Posts: 348
    Prices are in Canadian Dollars. I may have an opportunity to purchase.





    APPROX. 91,000 KM
    3.8L 6 CYL ENGINE
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    The price sounds pretty cheap, even if it were in US dollars. I assume no one bought it at one of their auctions (why would the auction house not try to sell it at auction - that's what they do)? Maybe you can get the auctioneer to tell you what's wrong with it.

    US TMV for dealer trade is ~$5,700, so even if it needs a new tranny or head gasket, it may be worth it to get it and dump 2 or 3 thousand in it (engine or tranny work could be double that though). Probably a better deal for a wrench turner.

    Let us know what you decide.

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  • tony22rtony22r Posts: 45
    My 1995 Ford Windstar GL 3.8L V6
    Problems, Defects, Recalls

    * Defective factory Head Gaskets at 60K miles. White smoke, coolant in engine oil. Replaced under Ford Recall but I still had to pay $200 for "fluids & environmental fees".
    * "Hood Separation at high speeds" Recall. Dealer applied more Glue to the plastic hood!
    * Gas Tank (plastic) needed Reinforcement for hot weather climates. Recall. They installed redesigned straps on the plastic gas tanks.
    * Sliding Door needed reinforcement/welding.
    * Transmission Oil pan leaked constantly since vehicle was new at 0 miles. I was original owner.
    * Engine oil pan started leaking at 10K miles.
    * "Check Engine" light came on ALL the time! Usually on long drives or change of altitude. Dealer could never explain, and refused to fix it as there was no "problem".
    * Hesitation/Jerking/Loss of power at certain temperatures, elevations, engine speeds. Dealer could never reproduce problem so refused to fix.
    * Trim, body panels, weather stripping falling apart. (20K miles)
    * Radio buttons and knobs falling off. (20K miles)
    * Windows came off their tracks (30K miles)
    * Defective rim that leaked Air! There was an Air Leak in the steel Wheel right from the factory! Dealer refused to replace, they said it was a Maintenance item! GRR..

    I sold my Windstar last year at a loss for $3000. It only had 67K miles on it, yet everything was falling apart. I took the money and ran while the vehicle was still 'running'.
    I was the original owner and maintained that vehicle religiously, changing oil every 3K, tranny fluid flushes, air filter every 10K, coolant flush every summer, etc.

    Bottom line; DON'T buy a FORD!
    In the end it will end up owning YOU!
    I will Never Ever own another Ford vehicle again!
  • gandalf17gandalf17 Posts: 348

    Appreciate your feedback. Sounds like you got stuck with a really horrible vehicle. You probably should have pursued the lemon law on that one....

    Although your words alone would not influence my decision at all, I have decided not to purchase this 1998 Windstar. I have done quite a bit of further research, both here and independently and there isn't a chance I would pony up the money for a vehicle with a problem plagued history such as this. I find it exceptionally troubling that years went by and the same issues kept re occurring in the same vehicles. It reinforced to me why i will never buy a car from a North American manufacturer. I have owned Honda's, Mazda's and now a Subaru WRX for the last 10 years. I have never had a major mechanical issue or malfunction in all of that time. I have only had to have regular maintenance and a few minor problems fixed under warranty such as squeaking seats and loose window trimming.

    Steve Host,

    Thanks also for the feedback on pricing. I was planning on using this vehicle almost exclusively as transport to my boat which i have docked about an hour north of Toronto. The extra carrying capacity and the fact i didn't have to put mileage on my wife's Mazda Protege ES or my WRX intrigued me. I'm sorry, but the potential for costly transmission and engine repairs just isn't worth it for me.

  • mikeu42mikeu42 Posts: 2
    Like all too many others, I wish I had this site before I bought my 1995 Windstar. I've had almost all the problems written about, and basically got the same "treatment" from Ford. My biggest disappointment was the Ford factory rep telling me that I could either take my costs for replacing the defective head gaskets in cash, or apply that same dollar value to the purchase of a replacement Ford vehicle. I took the $800.00 in a flash, but later found that I should have been offered a $4,000.00 incentive to buy that new Ford replacement vehicle. Of course Ford Customer Service told me that I had no proof of anything and to go scratch. Late last year there was some sort of a California court case regarding the control module???,,, but all I can find out is that nothing is settled yet??? Does anyone out there know if I/we have any chance of recouping a little more of our losses,,, or,, be offered a "replacement" incentive?????
  • bob550kbob550k Posts: 148
    I didn't buy a windstar due to the comments on this site. Call the factory prior to any used car purchase and give them the VIN number and most manufacturers can give you a complete history of all of the repairs done under warranty to that vehicle, some will even provide a printed report. This is a great way to verify mileage and repair history. Many companies keep all of the service information available to the public including oil changes etc... It would be a big mistake not to make a simple call prior to the purchase, you might avoid a real lemon.
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    About 6 months ago, I took windstar to dealer because of a strange sound coming from engine. They said I need a new transmission-$2700.00. Since I was not experiencing any drivability problems I figured why not just wait until it dies. Well today I take it in for brakes and they tell me the transmission should be replaced and that they will put in a Ford rebuilt transmission for $500.00. Warranty period will be for 6 years/100,000 from when I bought van, which was May 1997. It has 70,000 miles so I get in effect, 15 months/30,000 miles. Now that seems pretty hard to turn down, but I'm wondering, if the replaced unit will have the same problems that the original had. Anybody have a similiar story?
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    Where do you get the phone number. I would love to have all this information.

  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    You may be better off with the rebuilt. The part that usually goes (I don't remember what it's called) is replaced w/a better unit when they are rebuilt. Ford knows about this problem but it's $$$ running the show at assembly time, save a buck on the sale make a few more after the warranties run out and customer pays for new/rebuilt units.

    Ray T.
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    I guess there's no good reason not to take Ford up on this. I would hope they would improve the rebuilt to fix whatever the problem was, but of course you never know.
  • joiner1joiner1 Posts: 1
    My '99 Windstar needs a new transmission at 37,800 miles. Everytime I took it in, I complained about the trans. It was serviced in Oct.(31K) and December(33K), both times they told me trans was ok. Dealer says they will pay half of the $3000 job. I don't have an extended warranty - Ford Customer (no)Assistance rudely told me to take a hike. Do I have any recourse here? And, if not - where did you get that $500 transmission?
This discussion has been closed.