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Ford Windstar Problems



  • I bought a 97 Windstar about 8 months ago and have had numerous problems with it, although nothing serious yet. One of them continues to annoy us. The chime is frequently on for no apparent reason. There are only two factors we have been able to identify: 1) It only stays on at speeds under 20 mph, and 2) It is more frequent with the headlights on (sometimes the chime goes off if I turn my headlights off, but not always).

    Has anyone else experienced this?
  • vatnvatn Posts: 4
    my 98 windstar just started chiming indicating the door is ajar and they are not, anyone had to fix this? 57,000 miles
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    There are two possible places to look. The first and perhaps most common is the sliding door. on the Frame there are four silver circles. They are contacts for plungers in the sliding door. If they get dirty, they will cause that problem. To clean them, just use a pencil eraser. Another place to look would be the tailgate latches. The switch is built into the door latch. You might have to clean it. I think people have used something like WD-40 sprayed in the latch. Try the sliding door contacts first as they are the easiest.
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    I concur with crkeehn. I had the same thing happen on my 95. Never did have the trouble with the rear though. Now I clean the contacts as they get dirty and no problem.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    I never had a problem with the rear either, every time I had the phantom open door, it was always the side contacts. However others have reported a problem with the switch built into the tailgate latch.

    Once I did have a problem when cleaning the contacts didn't work. I carried an old blanket in the rear to protect the cargo area when carrying old leaves, trash etc. It was preventing the tailgate from totally closing although it did APPEAR to be closed. I just moved the blanket and blissful peace. Ahhhhh
  • john936john936 Posts: 1
    I understand that with any vehicle there will always be problems, let's face it with thousands of parts you really can't be perfect. However perfection is something always to aspire to even if you never achieve it. Ford, through its Windstar problems has demonstrated its ability to be consistently deficient in quality. The problems posted on this board reflect a total lack of responsibility and accountability from a corporation to its products and customers. They are the same problem areas over and over, year after year, identified but never resolved in subsequent years. I have owned Ford products for 30 years,some good some not so good. Today I vowed not to spend another dollar on my Windstar. The front end has been rebuilt, the transmission replaced, the strut rods re-welded along with various other items have been repaired on a vehicle with approx. 68,000 miles. I really have to acknowledge GE Capital for their coverage,in particular the transmission. Anyone who reads this board and even questions whether to purchase a Windstar should have their head examined. Ford should be ashamed of the quality of the Windstar product and their failure through the years to resolve known common problems. This vehicle is my last Ford purchase. Good luck to all Windstar owners and remember It won't last forever.
  • socalricsocalric Posts: 1
    I was stopped at a stop light, and tried to accelerate when the light turned green, and nothing happened. Just the whizzing of the transmission for a good while, then eventually the car started moving again. I brought the car back to the dealer the next morning, and they have checked the computer, the transmission, the transmission fluid quality and level, and all supposedly came out fine. I've seen this sort of circumstance listed on this board, but have not seen what is the culprit behind this kind of problem. Anyone know what is wrong, what to do, what to tell the dealer? Thanks!!!!
  • Does anyone know where the daytime running light module is located
    2000 - 2002 thanks in advance for any help.
  • Gang,

    New to this message board, I am interested in reading more of your comments but I wanted to get this out there. My 2000 Windstar was equipped with General P215 70 R15 tires and I have experienced problems with them. You may want to check yours. I have approximately 28K miles on the van/tires and have had them rotated properly according to schedule. Proper inflation, the works... One tire had a bulge in the sidewall which later split vertically from the rim to the tread. Fearing for my family's safety, I went ahead and paid out of pocket for 2 new tires (for equal tread)instead of waiting for an appointment with a Ford Dealer/General Tire Dealer.

    Upon getting the new tires, I noticed that the other two original tires were cracking all the way around the tire where the tread meets the sidewall. Ford/General did agree to give me a discount on two tires for this. Check it out on your vehicles. I would hate for this to turn into another Ford Explorer/Firestone debacle.

    Lincoln, DE
  • Following up on some of the previous postings I have also experienced the intermittant starting problems and the intermittant door ajar chime.

    My starting problems have originated from something to do with the position of the steering wheel. For example if the wheels are cut to one side or another, when I turn the key, the dashboard lights will come on but it will not start. To get it to start, I sometimes have to put the van in neutral and push it or coast a short distance to relieve the problem. After that, it will start right up. Its no real problem for myself but for a smaller female that wouldn't work.

    Lincoln, DE
  • makakiomakakio Posts: 25
    "(The non-start and subsequent pusing it along dead a short ways is) no real problem for myself..."

    Are you DELUDED, man?! It's beyond all belief that you actually write this kind of negligent engineering and quality assurance off as "no real problem"!

    I think the reason Ford stays in business with product this crappy is EXACTLY this kind of apathetic approach to car ownership.

    My mother has been a Ford/Mazda owner for 30+ years and every one of her cars has always been plagued by some always-repeating issues that Ford could never fix (actually the one exception being a great, dependable 1988 Taurus Wagon). The Mazda MPV was 10 times better quality and reliability-wise than the Ford but in the end electrical gremlins killed it (thanks Ford for engineering the wiring harness) and she promptly went out and bought a Windstar.

    Now she's doing battle with Ford for a buyback b/c the the van has maybe 6,000 miles on it and it's been in the shop for repeated failed repairs to everything mentioned in this thread for more days than she's actually had it home.

    She's finally written off Ford product. Send a message: do the same by simply NOT BUYING these lemons. Force Ford to produce a better product. These vans are not cheap. Honda can do it. Toyota can do it. The apathy is so pathetic it's hurting my head.
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    I think Wayne was only trying to provide some useful information to the members of this board. To chastize him in the manner you did serves only to run off those who have useful information for other owners. He indicated that it was no problem "for him".

    I do agree that apathy, and blind/brand loyalty are some of the reasons that auto manufacturer's get away with building the junk they do. But don't jump down a member's throat for providing some potentially useful information.
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Seems to be a problem with many Fords, but the fix is easy - spray WD40 on the drivers door latch (the mechanism on the door) I had it on my departed 95 Windstar and my current 98 Taurus. The dealer told me that the latch isn't moving as freely as it should and the WD40 loosens it. It works fine. I tried the side contacts and tailgate, but to no avail. A quick squirt of WD40 will solve that problem - promise.
  • I have a problem with my 2001 Windstar. Today when I put it in reverse to go up my driveway the van jumped back about a foot to start. This would normally not be a big problem, but today I was attaching a trailer. Now it off to the body shop to have the rear door repaired. This is my first Ford and none of my other vehicles have ever had this lurching when putting in reverse.
  • mrickemricke Posts: 1
    Months after the warranty went out on our pampered 99 Windstar SE, the "complete steering system" (pump and rack and pinion) on our car collapsed. The pump still had the correct amount of fluid immediately after the collapse and no dashboard warning lights ever went on. Last year (under warranty) we complained about noises when we turned and tension when turning the power steering wheel. In response to that complaint, the dealer replaced the steering spindle arm and the noise went away (though not the tension). (1) Has anyone had a similar experience (we had just exited the expressway with the car full of children)? (2) Ford says it is just my bad luck because of no extended warranty, anyone know how I can make it just their bad product, support and luck? (3) anyone know if the earlier problem with the spindle arm break could be related (the dealer says no but admits they did not check the rack and pinion or pump) to the larger problem or have an explanation of how this could occur without warning lights or any other hints? Thanks much!
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    I would tell them you will accept nothing less than complete replacement of the rack and pinion at their cost. You brought it in for the problem and they mis-diagnosed it. If they don't accepth that, then sounds like you need to take it one step above the dealer, and possibly legal action. That's what it takes to deal with these guys.
  • jstanle1jstanle1 Posts: 1
    This message is in reply to socalric message #851
    My 1999 Ford Deathstar just had a new transmission at a cost of $2500 (independent charging $3100). My van did the same as yours....only it didn't start to move again. If you are still under warranty....insist that they look inside the transmission. If you are not under warranty (as I was not) I would suggest either getting rid of the van now, purchasing the extended warranty, or be prepared to pay pay pay.
  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    Go back to post 758 to see my power steering story and how we got hosed by Ford. If your out of warranty you may be S.O.L., The dealership can however offer you the good customer discount as with us but I still think it should have been covered.

    Ray T.
  • jsiedhoffjsiedhoff Posts: 18
    I have a 2002 windstar with a squeaking driver's side sliding door. What is strange about it is that it only squeaks and rattles when it is raining. Has anyone experienced this? I had a 2000 that was a lemon and I wish then I stayed away from Ford. My '02 that I got as a replacement (after fighting with Ford for 3 months) has already had two front end alignments, three steering wheels and a squeaky driver's seat also. I will never buy another Ford product in my lifetime.
  • allyhoallyho Posts: 1
    new to the board, and for the most part thought i had a pretty good vehicle until recently, (or at least til i started reading this board.) the major problem i have had with the van has been the power sliding doors. we bought the car new about a year and a half ago, and since early on, the door on the driver's side has often gotten stuck. it will open, and then using the button, or trying to manually close it will not work. we've taken it to the dealership at least 3 separate times, and each time, it starts working and they've done no repair. this time, finally while it was at the shop the technicians saw that it was not working and have agreed to keep it til they can fix it, but even over the week they've had it, they've called saying it's working now and they can't find the problem. the reason it was at the shop in the first place was it had gone dead recently. we re-charged the battery and it went dead again. we drove it to the dealer and they replaced the alternator. we also just had the front end aligned. it seems to me that there is a lot of work being done for a car that is less than 2 years old, and has only 20k miles. i'm learning from your posts, that a lot of others are having similar problems, but i really wanted to find out if anyone could help with the power door issue. and please advise if anyone knows of any power drain problem related between the alternator and the power system/doors of the vehicle. thanks.
  • ssartorissartori Posts: 15
    To make a long story short, I just bought a 96 Windstar with 47,000 miles on it... The Windstar replaces a 94 Transport with 68,000 care free miles we bought new but was rear ended by a garbage truck after the truck lost it's breaks coming down a steep hill... (Was the garbage truck a Ford also?). The only problems with the Transport were the constant warped rotors… They would last for about a year then warp out.. The pads would last forever, and the valve seals were going.. I just dropped $700 3 weeks before the accident on an ABS sensor $500 and $200 for a new Power steering line that rusted out thanks to salt and Upstate NY... The ink on the Visa bill was still wet when the Transport was totaled.. Thank God My wife and Mother weren't hurt.. That space age frame under the plastic really worked...

    Well in a pinch with only $6300 from the insurance, try to find a reliable vehicle on a lot for that price.. We try to dive them for 10 years and then buy new.. Yes I have a 99 Sable that has two more years left on the loan.. The Sable has been reliable so far.. but it's still under warranty.. We found a clean 96 Windstar with 47,000 mile for $7,200.. The ride is much nicer than the 94 T-sport and everything seems to be working on it... I did need something with at least a 3.5-3.8L engine to pull out 1200lbs pop-up trailer.. I figured we went up 2 model years and dropped 21K in miles, and all I need it to do is last the next two years till the Sable is paid off..

    After reading the nightmares here with head gaskets, and trannies I cannot believe the quality of the Windstar can be this bad.. It sounds like Ford couldn't care less.. I really do love the ride of the Ford over the Transport... My last Ford was an 86 T-bird that we loved but with two little kids it was time for a van... My wife loved the idea of the power sliding door.. GM came out with them in 94... GM could of used my wife, our 3 year old and baby for the commercial.. Arms loaded and the pod in hand trying to open the door.. BTW The Transport Plastic body still looked great.. No Rust... Just don't look under the van..

    Well anyways I'll keep you posted on the Windstar... I'm hoping that (unfortunately) this may only represent .01% of the bad Windstar out there and this group is extremely vocal..
    Man I hope that’s soooooooo….
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    I had a 95 with 135K on it till it was totaled in the front by a red light runner. I had no trouble with the transmission and it was as reliable as could be. It is like almost any vehicle--luck of the draw. I purchased a used 99SE and so far so good.
  • quickfordsquickfords Posts: 18
    Like many other shoppers, I am trying to find a decent used Windstar. I am used to buying $1000 Subarus (a second car for my wife who drives 10-20 miles a week), but with 3 kids a Subby is too small. I found a 1998 GL with 105k miles for $4995 and it seems nice. It did have some minor body work done, but only a small area- the rest is very nice. It is that gold chameleon color. Fairly well optioned (3.8l, quad seats, rear power windows, alum. wheels, aftermarket cd radio). It does need new rear shocks, hoses and a belt. It does have an anti-freeze smell I could not trace. Is there anything particular to look for?
    It seems to be a good van for the money, even at $5k I have extra for the minor parts it needs. Any thoughts???
  • ssartorissartori Posts: 15
    Thanks 5grayhound,

    One of the problems with this type of forum is very few people who don't have problems visit or post on them.. Why should they don't need information about an issue with a vehicle or the dealer or company... When I first got my new 99 sable the only problem I had was the "99" Ford Ping problem that seems to also reach into the 99 Windstars... I took the sable back to the dealer 3x to find out in need to up the Octane level from 87 to 89+… Yes they replaced the MAP sensor and thermostat checked for Prom Updates.., Nothing… I was very vocal about this issue on this form… Here it is 1999 and they can’t get a car not to ping… I think there should be a good news thread on here also… A place where people can crow about what’s positive about the vehicle and what hasn’t had to be done… Wish there was a way to read % on number of issues vs./ numbers sold.. If you read the forum, you think maybe 50% - 75 % are having this problem, then you think the other 50-25% who haven’t posted well their vehicle is already in the junkyard from accidents or was taken by aliens for backyard sculpture on planet Nebula… J

    Take care
  • ssartorissartori Posts: 15
    Of course I maybe in denial.... :-)
  • penguinpenguin Posts: 32
    Then when it craps out on you, you can talk to 5grayhounds and he can tell you what a wonderful Ford he has.
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    Now be nice. I can only use my own experiences to draw from. However, if you compare the number of posts on this board to some others, including the Honda board, this board is not really that big. I think the Honda board is up to 1,500 by now. As I said above, I can only go with my own experiences and that is both my Stars have been reliable. The 95 only left me stranded once when the ground wire rusted at 100k but it happened in my garage. I have a neighbor down the street that has a 95LX with over 150k and it still runs just fine. As I said, sometimes it is the luck of the draw.
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    I think you might have managed to get one of the few good Windstars that have been made. As I've said before, if you look at all the Ford vehicles that used that 3.8 liter engine/tranny combo it has been a huge catastrophe. And the problems are all similar; Head gaskets, timing cover gaskets, failed trannies, etc. The only Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles that are still using that dreaded drivetrain are the Windstar and the mustang. People would be well advised to stay away till a more reliable drivetrain is offered in those vehicles rather than hope for a lucky draw.
  • selasela Posts: 5
    I bought this '95 van in '99; sold a paid off honda (which wasn't the dream car it was supposed to be), but anyway, I sold it because I needed the room of a minivan. The ws has given me lots of room. It has also provided me with a few other unexpected delights: my town has an enterprise rental car place that I didn't know about, and the workers at the Ford dealership know the number to it without even using the phone book; my apartment was right on the bus line and I didn't even know it; the folks at the family owned small garage/repair shop are some of the nicest people in our area--daggonit! they're like family now; that "head gasket" rumor turned out to be true; doing without a vehicle during the most important week in my career was something that I could indeed survive; that leaky transmission fluid portends that the tranny is likely to go very soon at a cost of $2K (steep since I haven't even got this van paid off yet). Here is my situation: owe 6 more mths. on this van, with 102,500 miles. It needs new tires again, I am afraid the head gasket could go again, and this time out of warranty (I no longer live on the bus line), and the transmission is likely to go soon. I can't get another Ford--I just can't. I've narrowed my search down to a new Sedona, which is giving me that "new vehicle fear", or a used Sienna. Safety is my main concern, but the darn thing has to work too. I would love to hear your thoughts. What would you get? (PS--teehee, I have to share: recently we had our new house inspected before we bought it. The inspector talked about the house for about 20 min., but he went on and on and on about the horrible luck his family had had with their ws, which looked exactly like mine. Jeez! This knowledge made me nervous in the middle of a home purchase; and it is accurate, mine is going quickly as well.) HERE'S A HECK OF A THING: This vehicle isn't even 8 years old yet. Can't Ford do better than this?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    At least you've been able to keep your sense of humor during all your van troubles. Good luck in your search.

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