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Ford Windstar Problems



  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    My experience with my 2000 SEL is:


    A Wheel Bearing Problem. My van is on it's third set.


    I was lucky, the extended warranty covered the cost.


    Are there any other wheel bearing problems out there?
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    No, it's unusual. Are you having the work done at the dealer or an independent shop? If they're using bad information and overtorquing/ undertorquing the bearings they may be destroying them.
  • I don't know. It still does it and I haven't gotten it fixed. Definitely not the torque converter, as the shudder is from first to second.
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 130
    2000 Windstar w/40,000 miles. After driving for 20 minutes or so when I get near walls etc I can smell a burning odor. My wife noticed it a while back. I usually notice it when I am going through drive thrus. I thought it was other vehicles. It smelled like burning cigarettes or a burning exhaust system. Something like the smell a catalitic converter makes when it overheats. No engine lights. Any ideas?
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Dealer. One in Europe and the other in AZ.


    I think the third set is starting to go.


    What else could it be?
  • My '02 Windstar was in the shop last week for check engine light. Replaced DPPE sensor, code P0402. Less than a week later check transmission warning comes on. They say I need a new transmission. Van has 36,050 miles on it.Still under factory warranty, but wondering how it can need a new transmission this early with no previous transmission problems.Any thoughts?
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    welcome to the club, my 00 had a new tranny at 38K, my 95 at 50K!Fortunately I got an ext warranty after my 95 experience.

    can't wait till its paid off in a month then I'm ditching it for the new Subaru Tribeca 7 seater this summer.
  • kkirkkkirk Posts: 4
    First, the problem. My rear heater/ac has stopped working. Check the fuse up front in the engine compartment and the fuse was popped. Put another fuse in, popped it again. 2 dollars a pop is getting old. Where should I start?


    2nd question, is a nuisance. Recently I had the instrument cluster replaced due to the tach messing up. Everything on the instrument cluster works fine, except now if I go 78mph or higher I get the dinging that you get if you leave the door open with the keys in the ignition. The dinging won't stop until you get back to 77 MPH. This is going to drive me crazy if we have to take a long trip. Has anyone heard of a fix, or way to get rid of this?
  • I have a 2000 SEL and have a broken roof rack. Can you tell me if this is something that should be done by a mechanic/dealer or can we do it ourselves.
  • I own an 02, 45,000 and change and so far no real problems until now. In Dec, the van started shuttering or idle hunting when it was cold and only on colder (below 30) days. Basically it seems that the van wants to stall or can't find the idle when its going from fast idle to normal, tach goes up and down, up and down until your put in neutral and give it a bit of throttle. Usually occurs after driving a block or so. After this, the van runs fine, no problems at all.


    Late Dec. I had the fuel filter and IAC valve replaced, throttle body cleaned, weather got problems. End of January gets cold again, the van acts up. Back to the dealer to replace the Mass Air Flow sensor, warmer weather again, no problems.


    Now it cold again and it's doing the same thing. The Dealer is scrathing his head since it's not lighting up the check engine light and therefore it's not showing any codes.


  • i too had idle trouble on my 99. lost several days use over a few months while it was parked in svc bay several times. End result- needed new valve cover gaskets, they caused it to run too rich. not covered under $2000 warranty. $540, and runs better. there is a tsb, which means ford wont pay for it even though they know there is a problem with the gaskets.
  • A few months ago we started noticing a strange odor coming from the vents in the '96 3.8L Windstar. We thought it was leaking antifreeze and the smell seemed to temporarily go away after we added some.

    Today we found out we needed to replace the heater core for approx $350. This is on top of the other problem we actually brought it in for - my rear brake drums SHATTERED the other day with no warning whatsoever. This will be $240. I hate my Windstar but am reluctant to get rid of it and take on car payments.

    Has anyone else ever had either of these issues with their "Crapstars??"
  • I have the same problem with the door switches, but also many other interior electrical problems such as rear window wiper not working, front wiper/washer button not working, rear window only working intermittently, etc. Is there one master switch or module that is responsible for this that I could replace? Thanks.
  • Had the same issues, then the dealer replaced the "control module" when a turn signal wouldn't work...and it fixed those things as well.

    It was very expensive though...
  • creamcream Posts: 1
  • garypgaryp Posts: 1

    1. Door indicator light stays on intermitently on on the dashboard when no door is open.

    2. Interior lights stay on intermitently.

    3. Door's chime goes off and on when no door is open.

    4. There is a problem with rear wiper, sometimes it will not turn on and sometimes it will not turn off. (mechanic says it's somehow connected to the front windshield wipers and this is how it's supposed to be)

    Independent mechanic spent 4 hours, and charged me approx. $200 trying to find out the problem with the door indicator. He said the problem is the wiring to the back door latch. To save me money on a new latch, he said he bypassed the problem by rewiring the wires to the latch. The car was fine for 2 days, and now the problem has started again.

    Advice is greatly appreciated!!
  • bozamombozamom Posts: 1
    Afew weeks ago started out with door ajar light coming on when no doors were open, enetually just decided to pull the fuse for the interior lights so that my battery wouldnt drain from the lights staying on due to it. When i pulled the fuse that is just supposed control the interior lights, the electronic windows no longer worked. So put the fuse back in, eventually the light didnt come on anymore just making sure we dont open the tailgate cause thats were the problem is. Now all the sudden when i turn the car off the radio is staying on! if i make sure to turn it off the light to the radio still remains on, any clues what could be going on with my crazy car? I took that fuse out tonight it is only supposed to conect to the radio but i guess i will see when i get in tommorow.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I think you'll have to replace the switch, it's usually the problem. I would be asking for some of that $200 "re-wiring" fee back.
  • luv2cruzluv2cruz Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 Windstar with the 3.8 engine. Ford says the SES light is because of vacuum. Mechanic said valve cover and pcv hose need to be replaced. They explained the new baffle in the pcv hose and that the new valve cover will correct problem, also said my 0 rings are shot b/c of the oil that was sucked in corroded them further causing vacuum leak. They want $600 and up to fix. Can anyone tell me what the corrected part numbers are for these and if my husband could do repairs himself. He knows his way around all older engines very well, but he hasn't worked on these newer electrical beasts.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    It's not a difficult repair if he's mechanically inclined. I don't know the part numbers, you may ask a dealer service dept.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The database I have here at home doesn't cover the 2001 model year, but here's the info for '99:

    3.8L Engine

    Disconnect the negative battery cable.
    Label and disconnect the ignition wires from the spark plugs.
    Remove the ignition wire brackets from the valve cover retaining studs.
    Remove the upper intake manifold.

    To remove the forward valve cover:
    - Disconnect the crankcase ventilation tube.
    - Remove the oil filler cap.
    - Remove the alternator wiring harness from the valve cover studs.

    To remove the rear valve cover:
    - Remove the cowl vent panel.
    - Position the air cleaner assembly aside.
    - Remove the PCV valve.
    - Note bolt and stud locations prior to removing the valve cover.
    - Loosen the valve cover retaining bolts and studs
    - Remove the valve cover.

    To install:

    Clean all gasket mating surfaces thoroughly.
    Lubricate all bolt and stud threads prior to installation.
    Install new valve cover gasket and align fastener holes.
    Position valve cover on cylinder head and tighten bolts in sequence to 71-97 inch lbs. (8-11 Nm).

    To install the forward valve cover:
    - Install the alternator wiring harness on the valve cover studs.
    - Install the oil filler cap.
    - Connect the crankcase ventilation tube.

    To install the rear valve cover:
    - Install the air cleaner assembly.
    - Install the PCV valve.
    - Install the cowl vent panel.

    Install the upper intake manifold.
    Install the ignition wires.
    Connect the negative battery cable.
    Start the engine and check for leaks.
  • segmilersegmiler Posts: 1
    This is a great website! I had the problem with my 98 windstar that the door ajar light was on and the door chimes going off and on. I read a reply on this website - it said to use WD-40 on the black door latches and contacts below - I did it and it worked. Give it a try.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Works for most Fords. The switches are in the latches, the grease dries out and hardens, sticks the switches.
  • luv2cruzluv2cruz Posts: 2
    Thanks for all the help, He's going to do the repairs himself. We were finally able to download a copy of the TSB 03-16-1 that goes with this repair and that along with the above should make everything go pretty smooth. Again, I can't say "thanks to y'all" enough!
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 130
    Can the updated PCV valve/line be retrofitted without doing valve covers.
  • leon111leon111 Posts: 5
    I have a 1995 Windstar and hate it too. I have had nothing but problems with it from early on. I take very good care of my cars (oil chg every 3 - 6,000 miles, all scheduled maint on or before schedule, drive it gently, etc). The famous 1995 head gaskets blew once at 88,000 miles (Ford to their credit voluntarily extended the warrenty and covered it). They (gaskets) blew again at 114,000 miles. Electrical problems, wind noise, etc, etc. There is no excuse for makine a car in America that cant last 100,000 miles without extesnive engine work when the owner takes care of it. So, I broke down and got a 2005 Honda Odyssey EX - L with DVD. I got it for $3,000 of MSRP and figure it is one of the most reliable well build mini vans around. My Dad has a 1993 Acura Legend that he has smashed up twice, drove through the streets of Brooklyn and New Jersey, barely took care of and I just put $3,500 into it and it drives like a Honda Tank. The engine is strong and body has held up well. My Windstar looks like its been abandoned in a junk yard for 3 years and while I dont garage it, I do wax and clean it. That's the difference bwteeen a Ford and a Honda.
  • gmedgmed Posts: 1
    I own the same vehicle with the same problems as you mention in 1,2&3 above. The problem is most likely due to sticking door latches that become gummed up with dirt etc. Try cleaning each door latch by spraying with an aerosol de-greaser and then spray with WD40 or some other lubricant. I did the last year and the problems disappeared.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    If the valve cover isn't baffled, it needs to be replaced. The unbaffled cover will still pass oil through the PCV system, and cause big problems as the engine carbons up.
  • steph210steph210 Posts: 1
    We got a '98 windstar in october of '03. BAD IDEA. Paid 3200 at the time, but within 6 months, we had to do extensive work that set us back about 2500. Since then, we've had problems 1, 2 and 3 as you mentioned. We pulled the fuse as someone else mentioned, but was only temporary fix as the windows became inoperable at that time.

    So now we have had overheating problem. First time in, two months ago, the thermostat was replaced which seemed to be enough. But a week ago, we had problems with overheating. Fan never kicks in and the car stalls sometimes when first started. Also sounds like something is knocking around sometimes in idle, but this is intermittent.

    For anyone considering a windstar, I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND!

    We were told this morning that the head gasket needs to be replaced for about 2100, and that we will most likely have radiator problems in near future.

    The van has only 80,000 miles so this is extremely disappointing. I had a 95 Buick that ran great with over 202,000 miles and i STILL sold it for 2,000 in '03.
  • windeadwindead Posts: 1
    Took the 01 windstar to the dealer for a "tapping" noise and the check engine light. Sure enough $617 later and the valve cover "BS" is done BUT WE STILL GOT THE TAPPING> Ford will hear and the bill will not get paid!
  • I have a 2001 Windstar SEL, so far it has been great up until now. The vehicle is surging and i do not know why. I am not too familiar with the newer cars and have not had this experience before. This is happening when the vehicle is stopped, both in park, neutral, and in drive. Can anyone out there help me out as to what is causing this?
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Good strategy, don't pay for the work that was done. A tapping noise would have nothing to do with the valve cover, unless you're talking about pinging or detonation. It won't suddenly go away, especially if the valves and/or pistons are coated with carbon from the burned oil. You may have to have a "decarbon" treatment done. You can also try using a product called Sea-Foam run either through the gas or vaccumed theough the PCV line with the engine running.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Any particular temp this happens? Does it stop when it warms up?
  • kmltigkmltig Posts: 1
    We have a 2000 Windstar with about 55,000 miles on it. In December, we had a $1300 repair and last month we had a $350 repair. I am not exactly an expert on cars. I don't remember what was repaired.

    We've had children leave lights on with the result that the car doesn't start. However, this morning, I used the remote and it didn't work. I thought maybe the battery was dead. When I got in the car to start it, the front dashboard lights came on but there was no sound from the engine.

    Somehow I think this is serious. There were no lights on in the van. I don't recall the remote not working before when the battery went dead because of lights being left on.

    Any ideas on what the problem might be? Thanks.

    PS. My husband used his car and jumper cables to restart the car, but do you have any ideas on the underlying cause of the car not starting when no lights were left on?
  • burtiessburtiess Posts: 1
    Bought a Windstar 2001 in the Netherlands (love Us cars) but in Europe the support for it is minimal (so is my english, sorry).
    Having a problem with transmission (read the forum and i know i'm not alone.) but as i am Dutch it took me while to look for Tranny in stead of Transmission.....
    All shifts work fine..very smooth..engine runs fine also...but from idle (i think you mean this for standing still with running engine in gear ?) the Tranny (learning) feels verry irregular and lowers the engine RPM. when pulling up it's very abrupt ....untill end of first gear..then everything is smooth again..

    Can somebody help me out here..? Thanks !!
  • viper70viper70 Posts: 1
    Bear in mind that if your vehicle has a TPS
    (throttle position sensor) you'll get those
    kind of problems as well. A TPS's job is to
    tell the trans when to shift based on the
    position of the accelerator pedal. I'm a mech
    in the Army, seen this stuff for over 15 yrs.
    hope this helps
  • mirandahmirandah Posts: 1

    As a new member of this very interesting website in which we can all benefit by reading each others frustrating experiences with our way of transporting our family. I can't say that I have already learned a thing or two which will help me with some of the problems that we are all experiencing. Yeah....interior lights staying on....going off....whenever they pleased. I would have to disconnect the battery terminal, because I was not smart enough to take the fuse out. :) Which I just read about it today. Well enough of that!!!

    My current situation is that I have no exterior lights. Not to mention my brake lights. None of them work. Just today I pulled out the owners manual and checked every single fuse in both of the fuse boxes. Of course some how fuse #4 is not getting juice....... Can someone please assist me with the smalllllll situation.....(CHALLENGE) :) Hector, Norfolk, VA
  • coderedcodered Posts: 43
    i have a 98 windstar with the code "po743"
    (torque converter clutch electrical)
    does anyone have a clue what means?????
  • starwindstarwind Posts: 9
    My local shop has replaced 5! Power Steering pumps and two steering racks in the last 2000 miles (yes, 2K miles) on my '99 Windstar LX with 80,000 miles on it. The shop has been saying that they are having trouble getting good parts. So, it failed again this week, & they say they will replace the power steering pump, again, under warranty, but have traced the cause to power steering hoses that are disintegrating from the inside out. Anyone heard of this? There are no leaks at all. I believe they are the original hoses. The shop wants over $600 for this work. Before I jump to the conclusion that they are covering up for shoddy work, I'd like to get the forum's thoughts. Thanks.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    It simply means there is a problem with the ciruit going to the torque converter clutch solenoid. It could be a wiring problem, or the solenoid itself could be failing. Hopefully, it's not a TCC mechanical problem. That's all that can be known until it's diagnosed.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    It's unusual but entirely possible. If the shop has honored the warranty on the parts and labor for the previous 5 pumps, then it's a safe bet they're not trying to cheat you. After the third or fourth pump, they should have inspected things more closely though and found the source of the problem. I assume they found hose debris in the last pumpand aren't just guessing?
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Based on what you describe, it may not be the transmission at all. With a Windstar, it could be anything: throttle position sensor, Idle Air Control motor, intake gasket leaks, on and on.

    And "transmission" is actually the correct term. "Tranny" is just a word used by Americans trying to sound cool. You speak English fine, much better than a lot of Americans!
  • We leased a 98 GL for 30 months, no problems, bought a used 95 GL with 65000 mi kept it until 2003 when it had 107000 and rod was "going." Bought a 2003 SE and have had it a year. No problems. I know statistically, I am the odd one, but I do like windstars. I did have an intermittent trouble with the tranny in the 95, but it went away with the next fluid change.
  • starwindstarwind Posts: 9
    I think they're guessing about where the debris is coming from. They don't know why the pumps are failing, but they alternate between telling me they can't get good parts and that debris in the system is causing the failure. We're on pump #8 now. Two weeks ago when pump #6 failed, there was no debris, the fluid was perfect, but a pump seal failed. On that visit they installed an inline filter on the return side of the reservoier, supposedly to protect new pump #7. When pump #7 failed, they cut the filter open and said it had something in it. When I asked to see the filter element, they couldn't find it. They also said a plunger rod in the pump had bent due to debris getting into the pump. They didn't show me that, either. Basically, they have replaced all the parts (7 pumps, 2 racks), they claim they're getting bad parts, but want me to spend $800 for new hoses because it might help. I don't think they are trying to cheat me, but they may be incompetent, & I don't want to pay for their incompetence!
  • steve28steve28 Posts: 1
    Hi, can you tell me if you ever fixed this problem. I have the same exact problem with my 01. Front blower blows but not hot air.

  • heidi1heidi1 Posts: 2
    Hi I have 2002 windstar has done the same thing since day one. I have taken it now 8 times to dealer for this one problem. They say nothing is wromg witj it. I tnow also shakes and then dies when i turn the heat on. Warranty ended feb 28TH!! worts car i ahve ever owned, will never buy a ford again
  • I have an 03 windstar with 120,000 miles which just recently began dropping out of overdrive after about one hour driving. After stopping, shutting down, and restarting, I get about another hour before it reoccurrs.

    I have been negligent and have never serviced the transmission. The dealer checked it out and showed me about one tablespoon of filings on the magnet on the pan. He said I should not drive any further until I replaced the whole transmission ($3,ooo). I suggested flushing it and filling it with fluid. He said that would be the worst thing I could do. I asked him to replace the pan and fill it with fluid.

    It drives fine and I am skeptical about replacing the whole transmission and expect that a flush and fill should be sufficient.

    Am I crazy??
  • Early on I had odd electrical behavior. They finally replaced the computer which is covered under warranty beyond the 3 yr 36,000mi. Insist that they do that or at least try a temporary replacement and then observe behavior. Good luck.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    Try the Transmission Traumas? discussion too.

    Steve, Host
  • aragonaragon Posts: 1
    I own a 2001 windstar and I love it, BUT last night as I turned the key to the on position (did not ignite) I heard a loud thumping noise from under the dash board. I ignited the car to see if any of the "warning" lights came on, but everything seemed o.k., however, the noise continued. I noticed that the heater was on and decided to turn it off. Once it was off the noise disappeared. What can the problem be?

This discussion has been closed.