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Ford Windstar Problems



  • Help!!! I just bought a 99 Windstar with 91K on it. The rear wiper works once and now does not work any more. However, the washer still works. Has anybody out there experienced this before. Is it a bad motor or a bad relay??

    Would appreciate if somebody can give me some instruction on how to get to the motor and relay. Thank you.
  • mslmnmslmn Posts: 13
    I posted a message (see no. 950) a while ago AND so far got no answers, so I decided to try again. Besides the door acting up, I have taken my 99 SE to be done and re done by the dealer and it is still leaking transmition fluid. I would not believe it if I had not seen it myself! Anyone with the same problems? Anyone that would care to comment?

    Thank you.
  • I have a 99 Windstar SEL with 50K miles and the rear windshield wiper quit working but the washer was OK. I checked the fuse and relay under the hood and they were OK. I suspected a bad motor and followed directions in my Haynes Repair manual to work on the motor. Open the liftgate, remove the two handle screws, and gently pry the 16 trim panel retaining clips (being careful to pry only at the clip locations). You may have to pry the lower retaining clip on each side of the upper trim moulding to allow room to remove the trim panel. I disconnected the electrical connector from the motor and ran two wires from the battery directly to the motor - it worked OK. I now suspect the multifunction switch on the steering column but may take it to the dealer since I don't want to risk inflating the Airbag. If you need to remove the rear motor, lift up on the wiper arm and remove the plastic cover to access the wiper arm retaining nut. Detach the nut and pull the wiper arm straight off. Detach the electrical connector from the motor and remove the three mounting bolts. Pull the wiper motor out from the liftgate.
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    I have a 2000 SE with 55K miles. Had the dealer change the transmission fluid at about 35K. Never had an oil leak or transmission fluid leak, not even a visible bit on the ground. I can only hope to keep it that way. I will being going back to the dealer soon for another fluid change.
  • peetertpeetert Posts: 124
    Not really a problem, but a question. We bought a new '02 Windstar yesterday. The one we picked out had to be jumped since someone had left a dome light on. We drove it around for about a 1/2 test ride and it started nicely after that.

    My question. Should I ask for a new battery or should this one be okay with a charge?

    We're picking it up tomorrow (Saturday)

  • I have a 99 SE and from reading the manual most of those lights come on as a check to make sure they are actually working. At least that is what it says in my book. It also happens on both of my other cars. I really do not think there is a problem with them, they just do that.
  • Insist on a new one. Once they get drained they never get back to full charge.
  • Has anyone else had a problem where the dome light wouldn't go off or the driver side window would not go up until the vehicle was placed in park? The van is now in the shop because it started shifting erratically with the od off/check engine light and check transmission message all coming on. The computer has eight codes coming in. The dealership has had the vehicle for 8 days and thinks it is a wire problem but has not been able to diagnose the problem. Anyone with any suggestions?
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    The dash lights have been behaving unusually lately, as I have described earlier. The do not always just turn on momentarily as the manual describes. The description for the oil light specifically makes me feel like nothing is wrong with it. But I am starting to think that I may have damaged some electronics with its recently new behavior. Another strange thing happened yesterday, when I started it, all the guages moved to the maximum point, and returned to the measured positions. (Yes, all the way into the redline, but it did not rev up.) And the trip odometer reset as well.
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    Regarding the battery earlier, I would think the battery saver would have turned off the lights in 30 minutes.

    Anyway, sometimes its tricky to turn off the dome lights (immediately). There are certain combinations of using the keyless remote, opening/closing the door, and the interior light switch. As long as the switched for the lights are not in the on position, they should turn off in a few seconds, maybe 30 at most.

    Never had a problem closing the window in any circumstance (except when the battery died! lol).

    Haven't had any problems with the transmission yet. The lights you mentioned have not warned me of problems yet either. But for all I know, my dash lights may be screwed and I will not ever know when there is a problem.
  • I know many on this board complain about the Ford Transmission but on "The Car Connection" it was announced that Honda is extending the warranty on 1.2 million Hondas (including Acura) due to faulty parts for up to 100,000 miles. It is strange that they have identified the problem and are not doing a recall. I guess this keeps them out of the news about having a recall. Therefore, the the Honda van is not the great, beat all that some think it is. Just goes to show, even Honda has problems. If you want to read the article it can be found at: In fact, this is a good site for daily updated in the car world.
  • Yes, Honda and most all car manufacturers do have problems that crop up on their products. One big difference, however, is that there are 1.2 million Honda vehicle owners who do not have to scurry to purchase extended or after-market warranty programs (costing upwards of $1500) to protect them from out-of-pocket repair expenses on faulty or defective parts.
  • I agree but I would not like to be in a van (or any car for that matter) where the manufacturer had actually identified a bad part and did not do a recall. The thing could go at any time and you are stuck. At least if they fixed it you would drive around with that little worry in the back of you mind. I did that with my 95 Windstar. Ford knew the shift piston was bad but mine was still going strong at 135k but I always had that thought in the back of my mind: will it go on this trip??? It is all driven by coast anyway. None of them give anything away.
  • I have a 99 SEL with 47K on it and the trans just went. The dealer recommended a factory rebuilt trans with a 3yr/36K warranty on it. With all of the concerns I have heard about the transmissions in the Windstar I warned the dealer that if it was a major problem that I would be very upset that I own Ford with 47K on it and the trans had gone already. I let them know this was my concern when I bought the van originally. This was a used purchase with 7K on it originally and the van has been a decent vehicle up until now. The dealer had made some concessions for this repair. This was to be a $2700 repair that the dealer said they and Ford would take some responsibility for and that I would be asked just to cover half of the repair, $1350. Though this seems like a nice gesture I'm still concerned that its costing me anything at all. My wife and I said when this first happened that if it was major I would get rid of the van and purchase a Honda Odyssey. If any one has any suggestions on trying to get more from Ford and the dealer for this repair please post a message back. I must say that this is all very disappointing after just getting rid of our 93 4Runner with 175K on it with only small issues that ever came up. Also the reason for getting rid of the Toyota was because I bought another Ford. I hope my F-150 Harley Davidison Edition Pickup isn't going to give me another reason to be upset with Ford.
  • "...I would not like to be in a van (or any car for that matter) where the manufacturer had actually identified a bad part and did not do a recall..." I find that statement difficult to swallow. Not only did you drive around in a vehicle just like the one you described, but you continue to sing the praises of the vehicle. Ford knows the tranny has a defective design. Ford also knew the 3.8l engine head gaskets were a terrible design. And they knew it for many years. But they burried their heads and covered their ears and continued to manufacture, promote and sell this faulty product. And the icing on the cake is when they tell gullible customers that they should have protected themselves by buying an additional extended warranty. The only reason Ford ever issued its limited head gasket recall was because people continued to complain and were able to get on internet forums (like this one) and share information and experiences. When you push and promote these extended warranty programs you only play further into their hands into helping cover-up defective and faulty designed parts. It becomes more difficult to uncover trends in repairs and defects if the customer doesn't have a reason (or a forum) to complain. If Ford (or any manufacturer) was confident their product was of the highest quality they would provide a 100,000 mile drivetrain warranty standard with every vehicle. That puts the pressure on the manufacturer to provide a quality, defect-free, product instead of the customer needing to spend additional money to have peace of mind and protection. Do you think Ford would have continued manufacturing defective trannys and engines for all those years if they were footing the bill for all the engine and tranny repairs and replacements? Unless you mistreat your car (including failure to conduct routine maintenance) or operate under extreme conditions, you should not encounter a major repair within 100,000 miles. Ford can make a very dependable vehicle and they do. I own 3 Ford vehicles and am very happy with them. But the 3.8l engine and tranny were horrible right from the drawing board and Ford knows it.
  • My '99 Windstar has 51,000 (barely) on it. Since February of '02 it's been a drag on the pocketbook mainly. Minor problems fuel pump, air intake valve, brake fluid leaking shorting out ABS switch ultimately blowing fuses and several recalls on tranny when we first bought it. Loved my '95 so when the lease was up bought a '99 thinking I'd keep it forever now have doubts. The latest thing is when I turn the steering wheel (usually when turning left) it makes a loud squeaking noise. Sounds the the thing's 100 years old and my kids are totally embarrassed and think we have a junker. Anybody have any idea what this might be? In jest, I told the repair guy last month I'd see him again next month for whatever else might be wrong now I'm thinking that might be the case. Obviously, I'm out of warranty and if it's not a major thing, don't want to take it in for another repair right now if I don't have to. Any thoughts from anyone?
  • you are right, I did but a transmission costs a lot less than anew van and they all seem to have the same problems. Why do I like my ford? In 135,000 miles it only let me down once and that was in my garage when a ground wire went at 100,000. Usually transmissions do not go all at once. If you keep an eye and ear to the ground you can spot the problems before they occur. I agree not all the time but I would most likely still have mine if a fellah in a CK-1500 had not run a red light and totaled it. A neighbor of mine down the street purchased a Tahoe (used, 29k) and on the way down to Atlanta the trans started to shift hard and when he got there he had it looked into: result--new transmission under extended warranty.
    You have to take it as you see it. We made that mistake with my wifes Dodge. The head gasket went on it and instead of getting it fixed we bought her a Taurus Wagon. 2k vs 15k. Never again.
    Our Greyhound group had its annual picnic a few weeks back and I noticed several Windstars in the lot. I found out who they belonged to and all three loved their vans. No trouble, nice ride, etc. On even had the power doors and had no trouble with them. Like everything else, it is the luck of the draw. So far my draw has been, all things considered, good. You have to use you own experience to draw conclusions from and with Ford mine has been good.
    You pull you maint as you should and hope it does not break.
  • gibbergibber Posts: 41
    I have a 1996 which had a similar problem. Horrible groaning when the wheel is turned(started as groaning in the suspension). Turned out to be the tie rods in the front suspension(I was glad it wasn't the power steering pump). I think it cost $100-150.
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    Well, after having the car not wanting to start this weekend (you know, click click click). I figured, oh ****, I need a new battery. Was lucky that I managed to start it. Kept the car running while I managed to make it to my local Walmart.

    They tested the battery with their battery tester. It kept saying Load Noise or something. Someone else pushed a few buttons and then it said replace battery. I was almost certain it was the battery, due to its poor starting lately.

    Anyway, I went ahead and had it replaced with the Walmart brand for $60. Same size, it fit perfectly, and more amps than original. I think 850 vs. 650.

    After the change, it started like I never remember it starting before! Cranks in no time. The erratic dash lights have gone away (so far), and I can go back to my 2-second-before-I-start-so-I-can-see-the-oil-light.

    Have had the van 3 years, and over 55k miles on my 2000 SE. Only bulbs I have replaced are 1 brake light, 1 center brake light, and driver foot light. No major problems, yet!

    It does have one rather annoying noise that I haven't stuck my head in the figure out yet, but the brake pedal makes a squeaky noise. Anyone know what that is?
  • It is amazing what a weak battery will make happen what with all the electronics. I was reading an article on the new BMW 7 Series and it has TWO batteries. One for the normal engine management stuff and another for all the electronic gizmos.
    I have a 99 SE and so far all is well, only 33K. I had a 95 GL that was totaled at 135K and except for the head gasket the only problems were little things like needing to clean the contacts on the door to keep the lights and door chime from going crazy. I never had to replace a bulb or interior light. At 100k the battery ground wire broke and it would not start (lucky it was in the garage) but other than that it was dead on reliable. 55K with only those little problems is good, better than a lot of cars.
  • Never had a real complaint till around 35,000 miles, thats when the emissions light came on. Took it to the dealer to have checked out. They said that the problem was the gas tank or a part that was connected to the gas tank. So they ordered a new tank and said it would be a couple of weeks to get in, but there was no danger in driving the van in the meantime. Well, this is where it got really weird. My wife who has put every mile on the van had an experience that has shattered our faith in the safety of the vehicle. She was driving at about 40mph, when the van started to excelarate on it's own. She said that the gas pedal sucked its self to the floor, when she tried to brake she found the brake pedal was as hard as a rock. She could not stop the van, and there was traffic stopped in front of her. As a last ditched effort, she threw the van in park(OUCH!!!)and was able to avoid an accident. She started the van again to move it off the road, only to have the car wind up to redline. She turned the van off and had it towed to the dealership. They ran all the tests they could and came up with the conclusion that the floor mat was stuck under the gas pedal, but could not explain why the brake pedal was as hard as a rock. Again they released the van to us. The work order showed that they removed the intake and ran a bunch of tests. Oh, yea their is now scratches on the front bumper,where it looks like something or someone ran in to it. Oh well, stuff happens. I, who have paid big bucks for a van that was advertised as a safe vehicle, have very little faith in this vehicle, and will probably count my loses and get rid of it. I might add, I read these postings from time to time only to feel lucky that our van was running great. Now my bubble has been bursted. Oh yea, they did replace the gas tank too. Happy Trails
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    Something is broke on my 2000 Windstar SE!

    My front heater is not working properly, now that cooler weather has arrived! My rear heater warms up just fine. I think the problem is related to the air path for the heat. When I adjust the cool/heat selecter, I can hear a ticking type of noise in the dash. But now I only hear 1 tick instead of maybe 6 or so.

    Any suggestions?
  • Our 2000 LX has just over 61,000 miles on it and we are getting ready to go to our third set of tires. The OEM's were out after about 25,000 miles and the latest top of the line TOYO 800 Ultras are showing lots of wear, plus the wife had the left rear blow yesterday as if someone shot at it. All is well, but we are concerned about this vehicle and how it seems to wear out tires. We have done rotations every 5,000 miles and have had four front end alignments done. I have never been overly impressed with the handling of this vehicle (wallowing and such). Any suggestions?
  • I had michlens on my 95 and they lasted 90K. The OEM tires now are load range B vs A as earlier fords were. Saves ford money since they are cheaper. I have a 99 SE now with originals on it and I will be happy to see 50K. I know you know this but:
    1: inflate to max or near max PSI.
    2: rotate
    3: Buy some Michlens next time.
  • Hey, I'm seriously looking at a 98 Windstar (61k miles) for $6,800. It sounds like a sweet deal. But do they have the chronic transmission problems? It has the AXAS4S transmission which I've heard is a better redesign from the 95's.

    Thanks for your help!!
  • Hello everyone. I have a 96 Windstar, about 109k. I haven't had many problems other than is "normal" for a car with a lot of miles. But I have noticed that my speedometer is out of whack. It started acting up only when it was in Cruise Control, and the needle would swing wildly in a 20-40 mph range, but otherwise was fine. Now it is almost always off. Some days it may swing slightly, or get stuck at one spot, or jump all of a sudden up to 30 mph higher, even if I haven't accelerated. I have no idea how to tell if it is telling me the right or even close to the right speed. Has anyone else had this problem, or does anyone else know what to look for? I have checked in my Haynes book, but there is absolutely no mention of a speedometer cable or even close. The only thing I can find listed is the sensor inside the engine that controls the Cruise Control. Please help!! Oh, and I also have a problem with a squeaking/whining noise coming from the passenger side under the hood. I think it may be the pulley on my serpentine belt, but I'm not sure how to check or fix that. I had it replaced a little over a year ago (both the belt and pulley). The noise was first only noticeable when I had the air running, but now is all the time, except if I'm accelerating. If I'm coasting or idling, it makes that very annoying (not to mention embarrassing) noise. Any advice? Thanks!
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    That problem is endemic with the Windstar. My understanding is that the speedometer head will need to be replaced. Dealer cost was about $500 a couple of years back, probably more now. A lot of people with that problem have gone to aftermarket rebuilders to correct it.
  • A way to check the pulley is to put a screwdriver on the case around the pulley or some place next to it. If you feel an unusual vibration the bearings are getting ready to go.
  • Do you have to disconnect the brake line on a Windstar to change the front pads?I have changed pads on gm vehicles and you just release the calipers and change the pads without disconnecting the brake hose and having then to bleed the brakes.
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    I changed the brake pads myself at over 50K on my 2000 SE. The hardest part was getting the pistons pushed back in so the calipers would fit on the wheel. (I didn't have the appropriate tool, but I managed w/o damaging anything.)

    So the answer your question, no, you do not have to disconnect the brake line. One thing to note, make sure you can get the metal clips that go on top and bottom of the pad when you get your new ones. When I took the old ones off (should be a total of 8, 2 for each pad), I was missing 5 of them. I think they help prevent the brakes from squealing too much.
This discussion has been closed.