Ford Windstar Problems



  • drohrerdrohrer Member Posts: 37
    Could anyone here tell me where I might get a wiring diagram or schematic of the electrical system for my 98 Windstar GL? Every now and then my van becomes possessed. The windshield wiper light comes on the bell rings and the doors lock and unlock several times. Then it goes away. At other times the open door light comes on the locks won't work at all. I'd like to disconnect the sensors, but leave the power locks in place.

    (Just for the record over the past couple of years we've redone the power steering, front rack, transmission, new engine, serpentine belts and alternator....)

    Thanks for information.
  • mydaughterscarmydaughterscar Member Posts: 5
    I have a 97 windstar. Was driving the other day and it made a noise. i let off of the gas to see if it would stop. the car died. i can start it up but it is hard and then has no power to drive. any help :cry:
  • gromangroman Member Posts: 1
    I had the same situation with my 96 Windstar. After about 6 months driving like this, running pooly when warm and check engine light flashing after restarting a still warm engine, I fianlly took it in for service.

    They found a bad fuel injector. Replaced it and now all is well.
  • john_indenverjohn_indenver Member Posts: 2
    Hi Melody,
    Just replaced my tranny at 112K. Acutally rebuilt with 2 yr warranty via local shop for $2800 so $4200 seems like too much.
  • john_indenverjohn_indenver Member Posts: 2
    Yup, same thing. Our '98 has groaned for probably 20,000 miles now. How much was your steering pump replacement? However I now find the steering has a tendency to stay on-center - it feels like there is a 'notch' somewhere in the linkage that I have to overcome before the van will start to turn. You ever felt anything like that?
  • dontknow2dontknow2 Member Posts: 2
    UR speedometer cable needs to be replaced. They are plastic now a days, the square shape wears down they start to slip like a bad socket, then zing like crazy at the speed o meter connection behind the dash.
  • dontknow2dontknow2 Member Posts: 2
    Had the same problem once, replaced the fuel filter that sits on the chassis before the tank. It was clogged with ethonol particles and trash
  • good4ugood4u Member Posts: 18
    We're looking into replacing our 1997 Plymouth Voyager (127K) ---------which has had MANY mechanical problems------- ($8800 worth of work done to it) with a 2001 Ford Windstar with 87K on it. We're not sure if it's the right move, though. It's at a small dealership in town for a very good price, but have you had to have a lot of repairs with your Windstars? Just curious because I don't want to buy another lemon. :lemon:
  • cptpltcptplt Member Posts: 1,075
    Run and buy another Chrysler or a Honda or Toyota or even GM minivan! Windstars have major problems with tranny and engine. I have had a 95 and 00.
  • good4ugood4u Member Posts: 18
    thanks for the advice.... we ended up not getting the Windstar.
    Word to the wise though: Don't buy a Chrysler minivan!!! All their other cars are fine, but NOT THE TOWN AND COUNTRY OR VOYAGER. They're crap.
    I didn't know Ford Winstars have all those problems.... maybe looks are deceiving! We loved the one we test-drove, but maybe there were some underlying problems. Thanks for letting me know! I know now to look for the Hondas and Toyotas! :shades:
  • rsoldsrsolds Member Posts: 1
    The '01 Windstar should make a good runner for you. We have had a '96 and '00 with good service from both.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Member Posts: 3,855
    Of course you will have to pay thousands more to get the honda or toyota...probably much more than what the difference in repair costs will be. My impression is people really overpay for toyota/honda "reliability"...especially in the case of used cars.
  • pacificpropacificpro Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 windstar and the drivers side armrest fell off completely yesterday. Do you have any idea how to put it back on. It unscrewed completely.

    Thanks Mark
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Member Posts: 3,855
    Following up on my own comment about the Honota costing thousands more...

    A 2001 Windstar SE with 87,000 miles has average retail value of $6287, according to edmunds. A 2201 Odyssey LX has average retail value of $8698. So the extra reliability costs $2400 in this case.

    Meanwhile in the TCO area of edmunds the 5 year cost of maintenace and repair is $6987 for the Ford and $6640 for the Honda. So the savings is only about $350, due to the greater reliability. Note that the M&R costs are based on 2002 models, as that is as far back as edmunds goes.

    Overall the average Windstar saves a net of about $2000, if edmunds data is accurate.
  • rossross Member Posts: 17
    Obviously no one at Edmunds has ever owned a Windstar. Or read any of the posts here.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Member Posts: 3,855
    I think it is that you hear from those who have a $3000 or $5000 repair and not from those who do not.

    Suppose one ford vehicle in 10 has a $5000 repair while for Honota it is 1 in 50 that has that $5000 repair bill, that translates to an average extra repair cost difference of $400 per vehicle. I think it is probably something along those lines is the basis for the difference in average repair costs.

    If so, then you have to ask is it worth spending $2400 now to reduce my chances of possibly paying that $5000 later. It could be put this way...would you rather pay a sure $2400 now and have a 2% chance that you will have to pay an additional $5000 later or would you rather just have a 10% chance of having to pay the $5000 later.

    There is an assumption that all Fords are crap and all Honotas are bulletproof. I have found very interesting reading on the Accord problem board here. There are people posting there about huge repair bills on relatively new cars, too.

    The edmunds figures for repairs are averages and are supposed to based on cost of extended warranty for the vehicle in question. I'm not a fan of extended warranties but I wonder...what kind extended warranty could one buy with the $2400 savings from buying the Ford?
  • haulthault Columbus OhioMember Posts: 130
    I agree with the analysis. A lot depends on how long you intend to keep the vehicle. If you have an extended warranty it helps also. The percentage of high costing repairs per vehicle would be nice to have before purchasing. The quality of all new vehicles is questionable. All the "plastic" weight saving parts have been disastrous in most vehicles. I wouldn't keep any modern vehicle past 10 years or 120,000 miles.
  • micellemicelle Member Posts: 1
    Have a Ford Windstar 2000 with 108K miles. Runs in Drive, but would not auto shift gearup to higher speeds (max is about 25) unless I manually shift lower to gear 2, then it only runs as fast as 40. Check engine light also came on. Battery was weak bcos the van has been sitting for a while, but appears to charging back up.

    Later checked transmission fluid and added some Mercon V. Runs a little faster in Drive, but soon started flashing O/D light.

    After about 2hrs of resting the van, started the van, the O/D light did not come on again even when driving but the speed issue returned - runs in Drive, but would not auto shift gearup to higher speeds, runs as fast as 40 in gear 2. Check engine light still on.
    Please advice.
  • sherylpsherylp Member Posts: 1
    we just took the alternator out of my 2003 windstar and can't get the belt back in without an extra 2 inches. any ideas on what ere doing wrong? I think extra isn't good.
  • paulk4paulk4 Member Posts: 2
    hi having some what the same ploblem. this is my first time on this web forum did you get any answers :blush:
  • paulk4paulk4 Member Posts: 2
    door ajar light stays on interior lights stay on can anybody give me a clue
  • hmclaughlinhmclaughlin Member Posts: 2
    Hello .. We are encountering the exact same problem. It started when my husband was walking away from the van and double clicked to check to see if he had locked the vehicle. We get ding, ding, ding. We have interior dome lights that stay on. We have a constant "door ajar" message on the dash. We tried to remove the fuse, thinking that even if we didn't have an interior light, at least it wouldn't drain the battery. Guess what? Couldn't open that damned panel door. Our son suggested we remove the bulbs. Haven't tried that yet. Were you able to find out anything?

    The air has been replace, the original rack and pinion has been replaced twice, the rear wiper motor has been replace and is down again. The paint is chipping away.

    If you can offer any advice that assisted you, we would trulyl appreciate hearing from you. Thanks. Helen McLaughlin
  • doinwidoinwi Member Posts: 6
    You know, it's funny you should mention the fuel injectors. I figured it was either spark or fuel so I had the mechanic replace my plugs are 85k, a little early, to rule them out. Then, since we were starting to notice the problem around town this winter I put some STP injector cleaner into the tank. Things seemed to have cleared up, but we occasionally still notice the problem. I'll have my mechanic look at replacing injectors. Can they isolate a bad one, or do they have to replace all at once?
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    The door switches are built into the latches and the grease on them hardens over time, holding the switches open. The driver's door is most common. Open the doors and spray a liberal amount of WD40 or equivalent into the latches. May take a while to dissolve the grease.
  • drohrerdrohrer Member Posts: 37
    I won't say that I cured the problem, but the liberal application of WD-40 seems to help. I have sprayed it on all the latches I could find a couple of times with great success.

    The lights and chimes can be a little slow to stop, but not like before. I plan to use it often and hope the problems don't reappear.
  • fox24fox24 Member Posts: 1
    My brother was recently in an accident in his 2003 Ford Windstar cargo van. He was hit in the passenger side on the rear corner of the van. This impact swirled the van around into a telephone pole. The front-end was severly damaged. The van was totaled. The airbags DID NOT DEPLOY !! His injuries would have been less, had the airbags worked. Is this a wide-spread problem with this vehicle?
  • bobowensbobowens Member Posts: 2
    My keyless entry remote only works intermittently to not at all. I'm thinking grounding problem. Where is the receiver box that I might check for proper grounding? Does anyone have some other solutions? The remote battery is good?
  • hmclaughlinhmclaughlin Member Posts: 2
    Ford Windstar Van ....chimes, lights, etc. Yes, cleaning the door latches helps for sure. Also...disconnect the battery until the computer has time to reset itself. We finally tried that and it worked. No more chimes, no more interior lights on and no more door ajar message, etc. Good luck everyone.
  • timbob1timbob1 Member Posts: 9
    Ive had all kinds of problems with my windstar, but if I had bought the extended warranty it wouldn't be an issue, ALL cars have issues, actually the caravans are fairly reliable, the reason you always see one in a shop is they are the #1 selling model. Toyotas and Hondas have their fair amount of issues as well don't be fooled just because it says Toy on Honda
  • timbob1timbob1 Member Posts: 9
    bad door jamb switch, probably on drivers door, 10-15$ from parts store or dealer
  • timbob1timbob1 Member Posts: 9
    move the belt tensioner, have a 2001 it on the bottom of the passenger side, replacement tensioners from carquest have clip loccking auto tensioner in back position, put belt on and pop. If not sure should not have removed alt.
  • timbob1timbob1 Member Posts: 9
    air bags only deploy over a certain speed, ithink 12 mph, and you have to trigger 2+ sensors simultaneously, chances are he was braking when happened or with latteral movement of van no speed was recoqnized. probably not an air bag problem, and the bag in inflated for less than a second had they gone off at initial impact, they would have been deflated by the time he hit the pole. unfortunately sounds like got hit in the worst spot. air bags are built for head on collision.
  • timbob1timbob1 Member Posts: 9
    wayy too much - had complete tranny rebuild for 1700 by trans shop - dealer replaces for around 2K$ - get your van out of there
  • timbob1timbob1 Member Posts: 9
    all ford ps pumps whine, try an additive from lubegaurd available at carquest, may not stock it but can get it in a day or two - I think its a four ounce bottle of LUBEGAURD ps Additive. - it works
  • dtrumandtruman Member Posts: 2
    we're looking to purchase a 2000 windstar with 137,000 kms and there appears to be fresh looking oil on top of the motor just under the air intakes (plenum?) I'm concerned about this.The van is in really good shape and I'm tempted to buy it. Does anybody know where this oil could be coming from? Am I too paranoid?
  • 85skyhawk85skyhawk Member Posts: 1
    Hello Doug,
    It's your lucky day since I was researching a problem on my Windstar when I came across yours. I bought a 2000 Windstar a couple of years ago that had a similar problem. When I went to change the air filter I noticed motor oil in the intake plenum. I panicked at first thinking the thing was burping up motor oil! After a closer examining I found the problem was a bad PCV valve. Now PCV valves usually don't go bad at 27K but I figured all was okay after I replaced it. Well the thing was still sucking up some motor oil but not nearly as much as it did before.

    I figured everything was okay until one day my wife comes home and says the check engine light is one. Since the vehicle was still under warranty I had her take it to the Ford dealer. To make a long story short the OBDII code was PO171/PO174 or 'lean burn bank 1 & 2'. By the time we got our van back the dealer had replaced the front valve cover, intake gasket, egr valve, and pvc valve. The dealer then told us our cost would be $10 since the PCV valve wasn't an original part!

    Being I never heard of a valve cover causing a 'lean burn' condition I did some research in forums like this. As it turns out there is TSB 03-16-01 that details this exact problem and how to correct it. What it boils down to is there is so much intake vacumn at the PCV valve it litterally sucks the motor oil out of the engine! Once it has hosed up the PCV valve the oil will be drawn into the intake plenum where it will clog up the emissions garbage. Over a period of time it will build up carbon deposits on the heads until the engine literraly self destructs!

    My recomendation would be to pull the air cleaner apart and look down the intake plenum. If there is a lot of motor oil in it then I would take it to an honest machanic and get his opion before you purchase the vehicle. If the front valve cover is tin instead of aluminum then the vehicle is still sucking up oil. If the motor pings or knocks real bad under load then the cylinder heads are crudded up so I would say it's too far gone.

    To have the modifications done according to TSB 03-16-01 will cost several hundered. Luckily mine was still under warranty repair and the engine had under 36K on it. Besides this problem our Windstar hasn't had any other magor problems. We really like the vehicle and it has served my familly well without taking us broke. Good luck.
  • dtrumandtruman Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info! It helps me make a decision just to walk away from this vehicle and keep looking. I really do appreciate the reply.
  • dboardwinedboardwine Member Posts: 1
    I have been having this problem as well, except now when I insert the fuse it blows immediately. Did you ever get a solution to your problem.
  • markie3markie3 Member Posts: 4
    I need HELP soon! I have a 2001 Windstar with 75k, spewing oil. The dealers says EGR ports are clogged & seals are bad; also DPFE sensor and needs major tuneup costing $1200-$1300. Has anyone had this problem? Is there a service bulletin on this problem? Is any of it covered under the environmental warranty? Would appreciate HELP! :(
  • debbie13debbie13 Member Posts: 3
    sounds like your cv shafts, I had the same thing go with mine.. good luck
  • debbie13debbie13 Member Posts: 3
    My 98 did the same thing we had to disconnect the wires in the hatch (back door),, then it finally stopped staying on.
  • debbie13debbie13 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 1998 Ford Windstar. It has been a problem since day 5. Now after mega $$$$, i am trying to figure out why Northwest is telling me the power supply is in need a replacing, but the battery, alternator, coil packs & modulae have all been replaced. It drove fine for a week after the last shop visit. Now when I put it in gear it doesnt want to hardly move, it jerks and chokes. It is not the tranny. The last time they fixed it it ran 5 days.. It is doing the same thing but they are saying it is now something different.. Anyone know what it could be.. Thank you
  • nick2006matrixnick2006matrix Member Posts: 42
    Anyone ever replace the mirror assembly on a Windstar. My 2001 passenger side mirror and housing needs to be replaced. The part is sold as a complete assy. (mirror and housing and wire harness). I am trying to see how to remove and replace the entire unit. Thanks
  • gamboa1gamboa1 Member Posts: 1
    Can be oxygen sensor or your catalic is plug run a diagnostic and see the computer said and take from there
  • aceladyacelady Member Posts: 10
    try using contact cleaner on the connections as well as using the wd40

    Contact cleaner should be sold at most hardware stores. It's alcohol based and will evaporate.

    It worked wonders with my 96. I had to take the door apart to spray the conntections.
  • aceladyacelady Member Posts: 10
    How do I replace the cigarette lighter on the dashboard? does it just pull out to replace?
    Any help is greatly appreciated?
  • kunchandykunchandy Member Posts: 2
    My cruise control stopped working a couple of months ago. For about a year now my brake fluid has been slowly dripping below MAX level but a trip to the dealer found no leaks and I was told this is normal for a little drop in fluid level to occur.

    Two days ago I drove my 1996 windstar out of the driveway and around the streets for a few minutes. I noticed white smoke coming out of the engine and pulled the van into the driveway to check it out. When I opened the hood I couldnt believe what I was seeing but there was an isolated fire in the engine compartment. I scurried around got hold of a water hose and just let it rain inside the hood to put the fire out!

    After I managed to stop shivering down to my bones and got my senses back in order I started pondering how and where this fire was from. I kept looking, smelling, and touching for burnt parts until I came upon the speed control pressure switch under the master cylinder. It was partially melted and smelled of smoke. At this point I had no clue that Ford engine fires was a not so uncommon occurrence. As I read more on the internet I realized that the Ford recall (2005) for this problem didnt even include the '96 Windstar even though the same switch and design methodology is being used on it as it is for the recalls. My call to the local dealer yielded the same reaction - "96 Windstar is not part of the recall".

    All I can say is that if you've got a 96 Windstar you MUST disable this speed control pressure switch (or atleast find some other creative means to keep it from catching fire!). Loss of cruise control ability is a minor issue compared to losing your life or that of people you love.

    Furthermore - I was feeling sorry for myself that my garage was so stuffed with junk that I didnt have space to park my van inside. Well I've managed to do my spring cleaning and clear out the garage but after this experience I will never park a car in my garage!
  • bobbilbobbil Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Ford Windstar Northwoods Edition, it seems that evertime I get gas the engine light comes on. I have replaced the gas cap and I have paid a machanic 30 dollars everytime at least(6)to reset it. Now I am having the door ajar coming on. We slam it we turn the van on and off and still nothing. HELP ME, I have to drive around at night with the interior lights on because it is saying that the door(s) are open.....
  • drohrerdrohrer Member Posts: 37
    We have a '98 Windstar with some similar problems. The first thing to do is get some WD-40 or the like and spray the latches on all the doors. Remember the sliding door has latches front and rear. You should also look at the contact points on the front of the sliding door. There are four buttons that stick out from the door that match up to four spots on car. Take a piece of sand paper (or an emory board) and make sure those contact points are shined up and cleaned off.

    I have not tried it, but they say that AutoZone will read the codes from the engine lights. They might be able to tell you what the van thinks is going on.

    I spent many trips with interior lights on because my van was convinced the doors weren't closed properly. It might take a couple applications of WD-40 to get it done.

    Good Luck!
  • rossross Member Posts: 17
    If you leave the engine running while you are putting gas in, it could cause the check engine light to come on.
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