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Ford Windstar Problems



  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Did the idle problem occur following the gasket replacements? And were those sensors replaced to try and cure the idle problem? If you can give us a timeline on those things, it will help. I'm going to speculate that was the order in which the work was performed. If so, then my best advice would be to stop replacing sensors without knowing what the problem is. You're just pouring money away by guessing like that. Have you checked all engine codes? That would be the first order of business, then do a *thorough* visual inspection of the motor, looking for cracked vacuum lines, loose wires, etc. You could have something as simple as a vacuum leak due to faulty or incorrectly installed replacement gaskets. If your mechanics feel they can't find the problem, then I would look around for a shop that specializes in driveability problems. You may have to spend more on his hourly rate, but it will pay for itself by the savings of parts costs. Keep careful documentation of all work done, and share that with your mechanic so that he doesn't do the same work twice, and let him understand that you do not want to replace any more parts unnecessarily. And the oil light fluttering is normal when the engine is about to stall; the oil pressure drops down too low when the idle drops off and sets the light. Good luck, keep us updated!
  • gowildgowild Posts: 1
    I bought my 96 windstar new, and have maintained it well, hoping to drive it for a long time. At 90,000 miles, the tranny went. At 95,000 the timing cover gasket was leaking coolant and was replaced. Now the oil pressure lamp flickers at idle, the engine has a low end knocking noise. I'm being told the crankshaft bearings are shot and the engine should be replaced. I'm surprised and saddened that a major U.S. corporation would peddle such an inferior product.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I can sympathize. A new 3.8 will cost you between $2500-$3500 installed, so it may be time to move on. The engine damage probably occured with the timing gasket leak: before you fixed it the engine had already absorbed enough coolant to destroy the bearings. It would have been nice of your mechanic to think ahead and check for coolant in the oil before replacing the timing gaskets! I have a friend who put a new 3.8 in his '96 after timing gasket failure at about 80,000 miles, so that seems to be the problem with '96s as opposed to total head failures like 95s. I think by '98 Ford got most of the catastrophic engine and transmission problems ironed out, wasn't that nice of them? Good news is, the Windstar's reputation precedes it, so resale values are low if you're looking at a used one. 97/98 on up are good values for the money if you find a clean one without major problems; you're likely to have better luck than with a 95 or 96.
  • batman16batman16 Posts: 4
    I took the van to Welford Harris Ford in Siler City to fix the door handle that broke ,and while they had it asked them to look at the transmission because it was changing gears very strangly. The door handle will cost me $140.00 to replace, it has taken a week to get the part in. The kicker was the service manager told me third gear was all but gone out of the transmission (53,000) and that it would cost over $2000.00 to fix. We purchased the van from University Ford in Durham, so I called them about our problem. They had a meeting with a Ford rep the following Monday to discuss our case. They said they are willing to help us out. I wanted to know what he meant by that and he said worst case that we would need a new transmission and they would do that for 500.00. I would not recomend a Windstar to anyone considering buying one.
  • kvlugkvlug Posts: 1
    we bought our van three years ago and have had expensive problems each year. One year after we got it the rotors and drums needed to be replaced and most recently it was found that the right caliper is leeking around a piston and needs to be replaced. The dealership says that part should be covered under my warranty. Another problem that I haven't had looked at is the interior lights will flick on and off when I'm driving. It doesn't happen consistatly but it does jump me when it occurs. Has anyone else had this happen or have any ideas?
  • mted23mted23 Posts: 16
    I have a 2000 SE with 36000 miles. It seems since the gas stations around the Chicago area have swithced to their summer blend gas I have a pinging on acceleration. Any ideas on how to fix this problem? Sorry but I don't know what would be causing flickering interior lights. Thanks in advance for anybody's help.
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 126
    I have a 2000 w/26,000 miles. The last time I had my Windstar at the dealer for service (Nov or Dec 2002) they claimed there was a mandatory computer update that had something to do with the "pinging" problem I never personally experienced. I would have declined it,but they had already done it. Low and behold as the weather got warmer I heard some light pinging. I'm trying injector cleaner for now. You may want to consult the dealer about the computer update if your pinging is bad enough. Ford has had several service bulletins on the pinging issue. I would ask the dealer or consult "".
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    I can't say I've had the flickering light problem, but you might suspect that a door sensor is somehow being interpreted as being open. I've experienced something similar where my door ajar alert and relock of doors have occurred. It has not happened again. You might check the sliding door sensors and clean them.
  • dbramdbram Posts: 8
    I have a 2000 SEL with 58,000 miles and the transimission went on it the other night. $2600 to repair. The van is in excellant shape and I have one more year of payments. This should not happen. My family and I have been loyal Ford purchasers for years but now I have given up. Looking elsewhere--any suggestions?
    Honda Odessy/Toyota Sienna or maybe switching to an SUV--Acura MDX. Not sure but I definitely need 7 seats!!
  • bdemasbdemas Posts: 51
    dbram: Our 2000 SE just had the torque converter replaced for the 2nd time, we have 85K miles on it. What was replaced on your transmission?
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    I'm so sorry to hear you did not at least gotten up to the 62k mark like I did before my transmission failed on my 2000 SE! It cost me about the same as you to repair, but then they found an air leak or something in my intake manifold so I ended up paying 3500+.

    They told me my transmission was binding so I couldn't really tell you what was truly replaced in mine. And it would have cost at least another 1000 if I wanted to replace the transmission.
  • laundryguylaundryguy Posts: 89
    Would match the quality that was job 1 a few decades back. I suppose they had to change the name from Windstar to Freestar because the former's name has been destroyed in the market place. Brokenstar or Repairstar would describe my vehicle in its current condition.

    I am ready to part ways with this repair demon after what appears a major decline in reliability this spring. I got a May, 1994, version - second month of production. Make no mistake - this car was solid for about 35k, then worse the next 65, and major fall off at 100k. Make no illusions about making 150k and beyond without serious investment.
    Here is the list of goodies that have gone wrong in my illustrious ownership:
    head gasket: 37,000 miles (very common problem)
    transmission piston: 58,000 miles (cheap aluminum part has nice steel service part)
    speedometer- on my second - never has worked since 40k - we "guess" at the speed as it bounces in a 10-15 mph zone
    rust from the inside out just behind sliding door - appeared at 50k (4 years)
    tie rod bent: mid 70's
    rear wiper: casting snapped off in mid 60's with wet snow on blade
    front 12V lighter - stopped working at 75k

    Now the really expensive stuff:
    Water pump at 102k
    Ball joint at 110k (destoyed tire - other "lifetime" sealed ball joint about dead)
    fuel injector on one cylinder jammed in wide open position at 114k - flooded the exhaust and engine with gasoline - 5 days later still trying to fix it. Took out two sensors and who knows what else. Car would still run in this dangerous situation. If you feel missing in the engine and smell gas, but no apparent leaks in engine or fuel lines or tank - stop the car - tow it - or suffer major damage. The combination of heat in the exhaust and gasoline can't be a good mix either. My mechanic says this is a common failure in F150 pickups too.

    Scrap value may have been better investment than attempting to repair this vehicle with last failure with current trade value ($1400).

    Looking to get a reliable Honda or Toyota van to replace it in the next few weeks. Most dealers groan if I mention the 1995 Windstar for trade. I may follow their suggestion and give to good will for a tax write off.

  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    I got $1000 for my 105000 mile trade. The last (of four each) motor/tranny replacement was at 77000 miles.

    Found a "variety" of values for it, however, the general "resale" value was $3600. In the 28% tax bracket, that has a charitable donation value of $1008.

    Needless to say, I did not hassle with the writeoff. Anybody that buys a used 95 WS did not do their homework and will be punished (financially) appropriately!
    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
  • dbramdbram Posts: 8
    Replaced the entire transmission with a new, not rebuilt, one. Ford did give me a 3yr, 36,000 warranty on the new transmission. Wow. Too bad it is not transferrable for the next person that will own this car.
    We have also replaced the tie rods, and had some kind of fuel injection problem last summer.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    Welcome to the club!

    Had one of those 95s. Now in general I would say that it was OK - not great, just OK - for maybe 50,000 miles and not a catastrophe until about 80,000. After that it cost a dollar a mile just in repairs until I went screaming into the night. First it was the timing chain cover gasket. Then some other fool gasket. Now for both of them they already had teh engine dropped - think they'd just do the head gasket while they're at it? Hahahahahahahaha..... Two days after the geadgasket repair the transmission went.

    Yellow indeed. Ours was red. Should have taken that as "STOP and think about this! A first year Ford product?!?!"

    Traded it in ($5,000 in late 99) on a new Accord and later traded the other car for an 02 Odyssey once we realized that a van is a necessity (family got bigger).

    Free! I'm free!

    Not as in Freestar..... Indeed, the Windstall has such a reputation that they won't even keep the name.

    Now I know how Edsel owners felt.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • ramouramou Posts: 84
    Hello Folks, we just bought a 99 Windstar LX with 65,000 miles, can anyone tell me what kind of problems or trouble shooting I may expect in the near future, or if there are any tricks..?
  • davids1davids1 Posts: 411
    Read back through the past 100 posts. That should cover it.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    Sad but true.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • tylerapextylerapex Posts: 14
    I just took my 2000 Windstar to the dealer for several issues I've been experiencing and they came back with the following $1500 estimate:

    Speed sensor needs to be replaced $262
    Replace fuel pump because gas gauge is broken $488
    Replace door lock actuator because power lock on driver's door randomly works $195
    Replace intake gaskets because of engine knocking/pinging with 87 octane gas $493

    Is there anything I can do about this? I can't afford to get all of this fixed. Plus, I'm planning get rid of this piece of junk as soon as possible....not that I can probably even get back what I owe on it.

  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Get a second opinion from an independent mechanic. Extra time and hassle, but you may save yourself some money.

    Steve, Host
  • crankkycrankky Posts: 45
    After reading this board, I'm feeling better about my Ford Extended Warranty more every day.

    So far the only thing that's happened is a transmission shudder that was fixed under warranty about 10k miles ago.

    2001 Windstar LX - 45k miles
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    My gas gauge just stopped working this weekend. It says that its empty when I had just refilled the day before. I went to a gas station to make sure I didn't somehow lose my gas (by theft or worse a leak!) and nope, it only took a few more gallons.

    The guage will move to the below empty line when the car is on, and drops way down (as normal) when off. Is this how your gas guage is behaving? I'm curious if I'm also looking at about 500 just for that!
  • roadrascalroadrascal Posts: 35
    My 2001 (34,000 miles) is idling funny when in gear at a stop. It does the up and down idle between 700-900 rpms. Dealer replaced the IAC valve/ solenoid but the problem still exists. Anyone have any ideas? So far we have had the instrument cluster replaced (tach reading wrong), left headlamp replaced due to moisture, and part of the roof replaced due to paint peeling at the drip rails. Read about my '96 at (blown engine).
  • tylerapextylerapex Posts: 14
    Yep, that is exactly what mine is doing. The gauge just sits below the empty line and the gas light stays on all the time. At the dealer, they told me it was some electronic thing that reports to the guage, but that they had to replace the whole fuel pump to fix it. Sounds fishy to me, but then again, I don't know much about cars.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    In newer cars the fuel sending unit is incorporated into the fuel pump. If the sending unit fails, the fuel pump unit needs to be replaced to correct the problem.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    My wife recently went out and bought a '00 SE with 30k on it. I noticed a sticker on the air filter housing showing that the PCM had been recalibrated back in late April by our local dealership, the same one that sold her the van. She asked about the sticker and they told her it was just a reflash. Being a Superduty owner, I know Ford has gone through several generations on their Powerstroke diesel programming. Do any of you know if this reflash was just an upgrade to the programming or has there been problems with the '00 programs?
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    I have a 2000 SEL that I got used in January and it also had the PCM re-calibrated. There was, from what I was told, a real problem with pinging on the 00 for some reason and the re-programming was the answer. I have had a ping or two but that is all. I would consider it more than an upgrade since most 00's have had it done.
  • tylerapextylerapex Posts: 14
    Interesting...I just took my 2000 Windstar to the dealer and had them check out a pinging noise when using regular gas and they said that the intake gaskets and isolator bolts need to be replaced because air is not getting regulated correctly. Whatever...what do I know...except I'm not paying $500 to get a ping fixed that only happens when I put in regular gas. Does this sound like a legit fix to anyone?
  • ramouramou Posts: 84
    Are you guys telling me that I should tell my wife to start using 89 or 93 octane instead of the 87 octane that she pumps. She believes that all gas is the same and the cheaper the gas, the more fuel she gets.
  • 5greyhounds5greyhounds Posts: 338
    Not I!!! Mine runs fine on 87 and I get about 21.5 MPG according to the computer. The fix sounds a little funky to me. As with most things, take it to another shop and get a second opinion.
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