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Ford Windstar Problems



  • mechanic3mechanic3 Posts: 2
    i have a 2000 winstar 2wks old. the side doors are poorly lined up. plus a have alot of wind noise. i am bringing it back to the dealer next week.
  • jmhansenjmhansen Posts: 2
    I have had a 1996 and 1998 Windstar GL w 45k and 32k respectively. I wish the brakes would last a little longer and have experienced the wind noise at high speed on warm days - but other than that both vans have been excellent! I'll soon get a 2000 SE. Because my problems are minor I have resisted posting, but feel that satisfaction should be reported as well.
  • angel17angel17 Posts: 1
    We are looking at a 2000 Windstar LX vs. a 2000 Chevy Venture. But looking at the forums for each van on this website, now we think we might want to just buy bikes with carseats attached to do our daily commute. Are both vehicles really, typically, THAT unreliable? Now we are totally confused and scared to purchase anything.
  • illinoisillinois Posts: 4

    I'm on day 1 of a 95 WS transmission problem.
    Anyone been through this specific situation before? What was found as the cause? Any other postings welcomed!

    - 95 WS. 51K miles. Routine maintenance, plus ensured that tran fluid was periodically flushed, not just changed.
    - With cold engine, no trouble (so far)
    - With hot engine, and from a stop on level ground, the engine revs to about 2000-2500 rpm in neutral, and then the trans pops into gear. Feels like being rearended.
    - Doesn't occur when on an uphill or downhill slope.

    Going into the shop tomorrow.

  • 2akitas2akitas Posts: 19
    Ours does about the same thing as yours does but when in gear. From a stop when you press the gas and when you accelerate. We are told it may be the forward piston in the trans.We just came back from a road trip through southern Alberta with no problem, except the rough shift. Our mechanic thinks it is an elecrical problem of on the engine side of things. We also would like to hear from others who have had this.
  • I got my 98 Windstar back from the shop Friday night. They found no major problems with the transmission and did a drain & flush of the transmission fluid. I also had 4 new tires installed, oil change, & tune up.

    I have to say that the transmission is remarkably smoother now and the van rides much better. No more shuddering when the gears are at that "in between" point. I no longer feel the transmission slipping at all. The shop manager did say that the transmission should be flushed at around 35,000 miles, mine has 45,000.
    We'll see how long this fix lasts.

    Now that I have had that problem fixed, I actually feel more confident about driving my windstar. I was about to trade it in if the problem couldn't be fixed.

    We are planning a long trip next month and I will let you know how things hold up.
  • gheckoghecko Posts: 6
    This is not good. This is really really not good. We just traded in a '99 Accord EX (great car!) for a '98 Windstar "Northwoods"(?) edition. By the feel of it on the highway it's probably only the 3.0 liter - is there any way to tell which it is? The van is loaded, sounded good and was clean inside and out. It had just come on the lot at CarMax when we spotted it.

    So, my wife is thrilled she finally gets her minivan and this is our first American car since the Jeep Cherokee fiasco a while back.

    Luckily we purchased the extended warranty - bumper to bumper out to 93K miles or 2005, whichever comes first.

    PLEASE tell me you guys don't represent the majority of Windstar owners out there...

  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Go to the NHTSA website and search there. For Make - select Ford Truck. That will list the consumer complaints for vehicles for the year you select.
  • 2akitas2akitas Posts: 19
    As for the size of the engine, It should say either 3.0 or 3.8 on the engine in large letters.
  • liebedaliebeda Posts: 13
    I bought a 99 Windstar LX (3.8) and I'm only getting about 9 miles per gallon. I'm using 87 octane fuel from Mobil. Most of my driving is in the city - but it hasn't been much better on the highway.

    Is this typical of the Windstar or worse than average.

    Does anyone know what can be done about this?
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    This is much worse than we get with out 99 SE. We're averaging 20 or so (mixed driving). In mostly city driving (LOTS of stop and go) I would think you should get at least 14.
  • HCLEMOHCLEMO Posts: 19
    Your shift piston is going. I had the same problem several years ago. I had the piston replaced with a redesigned steel one which Ford now puts in the WS transmissions. This is a major job. If you have any warranty left on your vehicle, demand that the transmission be pulled and inspected. If you do not have any warranty left, consider driving the thing until the transmission completely dies and then weigh either a rebuilt transmission or donate it to somebody and take the tax write off. Make sure you follow IRS rules on this. You may want to collect all of your maintenance records--several class action suits are brewing about the transmission. See the following sites:

    Chuck Catanese also has a good website about 95 Windstars:
  • 2akitas2akitas Posts: 19
    We are having the same problem. We had our van into the shop. they dropped the pan and said it was clean. The tech drove it for 4 days. Says there is a problem but not sure what it is. His scanner showed no-codes.
    We are in Canada. Do you know of any class action here? How do you get Fords attention? If you know of anything in Canada I would appreciate a reply.
  • jcorn1jcorn1 Posts: 1
    I seem to remember some posts regarding a popping noise in the steering on some Windstars. Anyone remember the cause/remedy of that problem ?
  • gheckoghecko Posts: 6
    Well, you're right on the 3.0 or 3.8, that's what the owners manual says. But... There are no large letters/numbers on the engine. All I can see is some sort of massive black intake manifold that branches off of from two large black plastic cylinders that run out to a massive(again) cylindrical air filter compartment.

    Looking deeper into the engine bay I can see the the front cylinder bank's exhaust manifold but still no indication of the displacement.

    All I know about this vehicle is that it's a '98 LX "NorthWoods" edition... Is there a specific position in the VIN that will tell me?


    PS - Anyone know the deal on the "Northwoods" moniker? I can't really find anything about it here or on other car sites.
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Posts: 647
    There is probably an emissions sticker under the hood somewhere and that should tell what engine is under the hood.


  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    I have no idea what "Northwoods" is; never heard of it. On my 3.8L 99 SE, after you've lifted the hood, right where the hood latches, there is a giant label with a bunch of different stuff. On part of the labeling, there is a diagram that shows how the belt winds itself around all the different pulleys. The text by the diagram says "3.8L drive belt installation".
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The 3.8 should have two sets of intake runners, you should have six short and six long runners. The 3.0 engine would have six equal length intake runners. It sounds like you have the 3.8L engine
  • gheckoghecko Posts: 6
    Thanks everyone, I'll take a look just to be sure. I was expecting some sort of large designation etched or painted on the intake manifold - I think that's how the v8 is in my father's F-150.

    As for the Northwoods thing, I checked again. According the Edmund's '98 listing it's just a paint and alloy wheel package - Spruce green and some sort of beige. I could care less but my wife really likes the color(s).

    Thanks again everyone. From this I've learned that I need to be overly vigilant with regular maintenance - especially the transmission.


  • 2akitas2akitas Posts: 19
    No only is our trans shifting rough, now we have an electical problem. The battery went dead so we took it in for a charge system check. It showed a draw somewhere. It goes back to the shop to track down the problem. Is it possible that is causing the rough shifting?
  • liebedaliebeda Posts: 13
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I called the service department of the local Ford dealer and they said that there is nothing that they can do unless the 'service engine' light goes on.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Yeah. Find another dealer. What a crock that line is.

    The fuel has to be going somewhere. Is there a place nearby that you can go have the emissions checked? I would think that if the combustion process is too fuel rich, products of the incomplete combustion would show up in the emissions.

    You say mostly "city". What kind of city driving is that? Stop and go continuously? Are you carrying heavy loads? Are you a heavy footed driver? Its accelerating that gulps alot of fuel, and accelerating uphill gulps the most. Do you live in a really hilly terrain?
  • liebedaliebeda Posts: 13
    I live in Brooklyn, NY. It is pretty much stop and go all along - but included in the mix that got only 9+ MPG was some highway driving, too. We never really carry heavy loads. Just two little kids. I don't think I accelerate much more than an average driver. Brooklyn is quite level - not too many hills.

    Another dealer in the area said that I could bring it in and ne can run diagnostics checks on it. I don't know if that includes an emissions check or not. He didn't answer when I asked him that.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    I don't know that anything would show up in emissions, but if its not leaking / dripping / evaporating out somewhere else (you'd probably smell it - wait you're in Brooklyn; maybe not :-), then it must be going thru the engine; it might show up in emissions.

    I think, for the price of a tank of gas, I'd plan an interstate road trip. If you don't get above 20mpg, something is definitely up.

    Also, and I hate asking this, but are you confident you are calculating mpg correctly? Don't laugh; in another forum someone thought you divided the total price paid by ... something (I forget). When the price of gas was cheap, he didn't understand why his mpg was so poor. :-)

    The Windstar is a heavy vehicle. It may be that stop and go traffic results in such dismal performance. It depends on how much time is spent "stopped" (at which point you're getting 0 mpg).
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    Hi. I live in Staten Island, and constantly travel to Brooklyn. I get about 15 mpg. I bought my Ford at Island Ford in Staten Island. If you are not happy with your dealership in Brooklyn, I would suggest you take a trip out here, and they should look at your Windstar. I am a minority of people on this board, that although I did have a lemon, and could complain alot about the van, I have no complaints about the dealership, and actually have only good things to say about them. They always have given me a free loaner whenever they had to service my van(which was very often), and were always very helpful and optimistic. Eventually when they could do no more for me, they decided to buy back my 1998 GL plus give me a $5000 rebate against a new 2000 LX, so it cost me very little to get into a new van. So once again, if you want, I would suggest bringing your van into Island Ford.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Well thanks, but I think you really meant to direct your post to liebeda. I live down in the deep south; but if I'm ever in Staten Island and in need of a dealer, I'll look it up. Thanks!

    How "stop and go" would you compare Staten Island to Brooklyn? I live in the rural south, so driving 10 miles between towns at 45 or 55 mph sans traffic light is common; we never get below 20mpg. More like 25 when we take a long interstate trip. I would think 15 sounds about right for you city folk. 9 sounds like there's a problem.
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    I would consider Staten Island on a lower level of city driving than brooklyn. Here I take the expressway to get to most places, but then do some stop and go lights traffic after I get off.
    In Brooklyn it is all city driving for me.
  • liebedaliebeda Posts: 13
    Thanks for the info. I am certain that I'm calculating MPG correctly. Even on a fill-up that was primarily highway driving, I only got about 10.5 MPG.

    I have a dealer scheduled to look at the car next week. If they aren't helpful, I may try the Staten Island dealer you mentioned.

    Did anyone buy an extended warranty for their van? What can I expect to pay for one. It is a 99 with 10,200 miles on it.

  • cyclerklmcyclerklm Posts: 26
    Here's an article I came across, with one possible cause for low mileage.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    For extended warranty prices, ask your dealer. Actually, ask several. I think you should even negotiate on its price (tell each you're checking with 5 other dealers). As I recall, if your vehicle has less than 12,000 miles, you can still get the new vehicle extended warranty.
This discussion has been closed.