Ford Windstar Problems



  • selooseloo Member Posts: 606
    Just replace the switch and you will be fine!
  • clevoclevo Member Posts: 5
    After reading many posts here, I believe my 1998 Windstar is about to become a money pit. This van has had regular maintenance: oil changes, transmission fluid changes, etc. Up until recently it was a pretty reliable vehicle. But in the last 3 or 4 months, it‘s been having multiple problems as outlined below.

    It has a 3.8L engine with 145,000 miles - many of those were highway miles. An oxygen sensor was replaced in December per a scan tool reading, but the SES (service engine soon) light still comes on occasionally. The ABS light is on, but that may be due to something that happened when the brakes were serviced. Last week the transmission started to slip a bit when accelarating from a stop. Last fall it was also slowly loosing coolant. Never saw any on the ground, never smelled it, and the mechanic pressure tested the system and never found a leak. Nevertheless, the coolant level would drop. Three months ago the mechanic added some sealer to the cooling system, and since then the coolant level has held steady.

    Does this sound like it's time to get a new van? It seems that way to me, which is too bad because I actually like the Windstar.
  • 0fordsforme0fordsforme Member Posts: 1
    Sorry if I am stepping out of line, but I own a 2000 Windstar and it is the biggest piece of crap I have ever had. I have spent $500.00 on repair bills. The tranny mount got replaced, the cv joint dust boots have been replaced, the egr(exhaust recycling valve) has been replaced, the manifold has beein replaced and that was a $424.98 job,there is alot of engine noise, city gas milege sucks, 17 mpg, and on consumer reports they say that windstars from 1997-2001 is on the list to avoid to buy. When I got this van in May of 2005 it looked good to me too, but I have had alot of problems, I just don't want you to get stuck with a bad vehicle. I have talked to alot of people that have the windstars in the same year, and they have had nothing but trouble with theirs as well. I would do alot of research about it before I bought it, and take it to a mechanic to get it checked out, 2nd opinion might help as well, and do a carfax. Just suggestions.
  • kunchandykunchandy Member Posts: 2
    I disconnected a connector (it brings together 6 wires and is located directly below the brake fluid reservoir and sitting atop the transmission casing)in order to clean away the brake fluid (WD40) that had leaked from the speed control switch.

    Now I am unable to reconnect it. I can push it in most of the way but not far enough to cause it to firmly attach to the notch. With a little shaking the connector just comes loose. I've tried to exert force to bring the 2 connectors parts together but this doesnt work.

    I cant find any reference to this wiring connector in the Chilton manual and dont know how to attach it again.
  • jasong1jasong1 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2000 Windstar that makes an aweful noise(Sounds like a pulley or belt) upon start up until the vehicle reaches normal running temperature. I have replaced the Belt, Water Pump, Idler Pulley and tensioner, In other words the entire right side. The vehicle acts as if it's going to stall until normal running temperature is obtained...then she runs great! The only code that has popped is the cam shaft positioning sensor, which I have now replaced twice within 5 months.

    Any Suggestions/ideas?
  • jasong1jasong1 Member Posts: 3
    On My 2000 Windstar - All the plugs have been replaced and regular maintenance performed. :cry:
  • gwb1gwb1 Member Posts: 4
    Our 1995 Windstar oil light came on and we took it to the dealer to find out what the problem was. They said it was the crank bearings and it needed a new engine at a cost of $3800.! Seems there is a lot of problems with this on the 95 model. Anyone have suggestions on how to get the dealer to fix this at a reduced rate or get legal help on this? We just bought this van from a private party two months ago for $4000 and now we are told we have to pay almost that much to get it fixed. We are sick to our stomachs to say the least. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • selooseloo Member Posts: 606
    1995's are well known for engine problems! It may be time to cut your losses or try to find a used or cheaper engine from someone other than the dealer.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Member Posts: 3,855
    Not sure why you think the dealer owes you anything since you bought it used from a private party :confuse: .

    $4000 sounds like way to much to pay for an 11 year old vehicle to begin with. The bearings may have been damaged from coolant having gotten into the engine at some time in the past due to leaking head gasket. I think 95s had a lot of head gasket problems.

    A rebuilt engine would be a little less, maybe around $3000, but that is probably still more than the vehicle is worth.

    You could take a chance on getting a used engine installed, to try to salvage something out of this...without spending more than the thing is worth.
  • gwb1gwb1 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for your input.
  • gwb1gwb1 Member Posts: 4
    It's not that I think the dealer owes me anything, it's just that since this seems to be a problem with this van I thought someone might have some suggestions about how to go about getting it fixed without paying an exhorbant price.

    Yes, we did pay to much for it, I don't deny that. Call me a fool--because I am. :blush:

    Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    Did you ever find the problem with this? From what I'm reading it would either be a MAF sensor or a coil. :lemon:
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    OK, I'm one of the unlucky Windstar owners. I have recently had the tranny rebuilt with cutom parts because the first 2 rebuilds were Ford parts. All seems well and I have a 3 year unlimited mile warranty on the tranny.
    The engine had all the gaskets replaced along with the spark plugs, water pump, thermostat, cam position sensor, ECR valve, ECM all in the past year. I recently took it for Illinois Emissions and it passed.
    So my problem began last night when I drove it to the store it ran fine. I was in the store for nearly an hour and when I came back out I started it as normal and it was missing and ran like crap. The check engine light was on and I smelled gas. So I drove it straight home and every time I would try to excel it seemed to shutter. Especially at 40MPH. So I tried to pay attention to the tach and at 2000 RPM is when I would feel it. I checked the spark plug wires and those MAY need replacing but no obvious burns or grounding. Checked PCV valve and it may need replacing. MAF sensor doesn't show any obvious problems. VCacuum hoses look fine.
    I disconnected the neg battery cable and now the check engine light is off but the van runs bad and the exhaust odor is strong.
    Any ideas? I mean other than running it into a brick wall and buying a Chevy.
  • cemckilligancemckilligan Member Posts: 1
    I assume that you engine is not making a knocking noise. Just because the check engine light came on is no reason to change the engine even if the dealer said so. Get a second opinion from a reputable mechanic. Have the oil pressure checked at the oil pressure sensor. My problem was corrosion on the wire that hooks to the sensor. Charlie.
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    I bought my 1995 Windstar for $600 and they had just put over $2000 into it 3 months prior when the tranny lost reverse. So far I have put $2150 into for a complete tranny rebuild with custom (not Ford) parts, $250 for a new set of tires, $45 for a new sway bar. Now I have the check engine light on and it's clearly missing. I just took it to Auto Zone to have it hooked to the tester and it came back with P0302 code. #2 misfire.
    This particular van has some serious issues and the only reason I bought mine was because they had complete service records for it and most of the Ford parts that go bad on the 95's have been replaced with custom parts.
    So I'm starting at the bottom with the latest problem and replacing the plugs and wires. If that doesn't fix it then I will check the coil and so on. Anyone with other ideas? :lemon:
  • josephm4josephm4 Member Posts: 3
    I have a 1999 3.8 windstar that has a month with a growling noise that is heard in the rear by the gas tank. I have changed the gas tank cap without success. Except for the noise it idles and runs good. Has this occurred to you. Thanks TGR.
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    I've never heard this. Was your's involved in the tank recall? :confuse:
  • josephm4josephm4 Member Posts: 3
    I purchased used, has there been a tank recall?????
  • hatesfordshatesfords Member Posts: 1
    I have a 99 Windstar and I found that the door that controls the heat broke where it pivots in the temp select motor. I have to take apart the whole heater housing every fall to put a screw in to hold the door open for heat, I just remove the screw in the summer. It costs about $1000 to fix at a ford dealer and eight to ten hours labor.
  • gwb1gwb1 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for your input. I will get a second opinion on it. I did have a new sensor put in a month ago because the local mechanic here in town thought that would solve the problem. Spent $75.00 for nothing. :mad:
  • flapjabbyflapjabby Member Posts: 2
    '01 Windstar manual sliding door on drivers side is stuck in an almost-closed position. No amount of locking/unlocking the door, lifting the handle, pulling on or pushing in the door seems to move it. It's stuck as-is with both front and rear latches locked, although the handle behaves as if it's unlocked. I have enough room (maybe 1/2 to 1 inch gap) to get to the front+rear latches but don't know where to go from here.

    Please Help! Thanks!
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    On some of them. Check
  • burdie8burdie8 Member Posts: 2
    I own a '96 windstar with about 130k that has been a pretty good car. Lately, however, once the engine gets hot, it will kill when it is at idle. It runs fine on the highway and when I'm giving it gas, and also when it is cold or cool. It also starts back up OK after it kills. It just won't stay running at idle speed once it gets heated up. If I give it a little gas at stop signs with the brake on, it will stay running. Thoughts?
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    Is it running rough? Do any lights come on? If you have an AutoZone around then take it there and have them hook it to the tester.
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    OK so now I have replaced plugs, wires, and the ignition coil. It is running a little better but still throwing the Cylinder 2 misfire code. I'm wondering if I have a bad injector. Gas in the oil and the plug was a little wet on Cylinder 2 when I pulled it. Any thoughts?
    I think the tranny is acting up again too. Some red fluid under the van and shudder during shift changes in overdrive that stop when I take it out of overdrive.
  • burdie8burdie8 Member Posts: 2
    No, it's not running rough, but the check engine light does come on and stay on. I'll take it in to be tested. Thanks.
  • manofsolutionmanofsolution Member Posts: 1
    I own a 99 Windstar 120k 3.8 ltr. I have had few problems with the van, I have driven it 40k and the first problem encountered was a door ajar "light on" when the doors were closed that was a dirty contact in drivers door, recently the van started to hesitate as you accelerated not at any particular speed or RPM and then only once in a while, then it started to die at an idle and sometimes surge at idle trying to regulate engine idle speed. you can always restart the engine and it seems Rich. I hooked it up to my code reader and it flashes no codes and the service engine light has never gone on. the van runs great the only code it has ever shown was a low EGR valve flow, I pulled the egr valve and checked the vac bellows and cleaned and reinstalled no more light .The van is well maintained by me, plugs, tranny fluid ,brake fluid,AF,FF, belts, brakes, coolant flush normal maintenance anyone have an idea
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    I would check the fuel filter and injectors. That's the next step with mine. I still have a P0302 #2 misfire code after changing plugs, wires, and coil. After the new coil was installed I noticed it idled much smoother. But I also had gas in my oil. I had an oil change today and then took it on the highway at 70 miles per hour. I noticed that it shuddered when I let it drop below 40 and then slowly let it creep back up then again at 60. It's in the tranny shop right now because I noticed a fluid leak. The tranny guy said there was a leak between the engine and tranny and they needed to pull it again. I have a 3 year unlimited mile warranty on the tranny after a custom rebuild. I had all the gaskets replaced on the engine as well as the, water pump replaced, cylinders compression tested, and a few other things back in November. The total was over $2000. Tranny was $2150 in January. I do notice that I have an exhaust leak but I think it's just loose somewhere near the front of the van. This is a 1995 Windstar with a 3.8L built in Canada. My next step is to chek the injectors and fuel filter. I want that check engine light off!!! :lemon:
  • stwstw Member Posts: 2
    Three lights on the dashboard (windshield washer, doors ajar, and oil dipstick) blinks on and off together infrequently, but at irregular times and then quiets down. Seems like it happens more times when after a hard drive and then coming to a stop and at idle, it would then happen. The windshield washer resevoir is full, the doors are closed, and the engine oil is at the full mark. What can couse the problem?
  • knipper64knipper64 Member Posts: 1
    I am having the same problems with my 2000 Ford Windstar SEL, but mine is a misfire on cylinder no 3. However, my check engine light is NOT on. I took into two local garages. One told me everything check out okay with the spark plugs and wires and completed compression test on the engine. The second mechanic told me it was the plugs so I replaced them and I am still having the problem. I am thinking the iginition coil, but I have no computer code or check engine light that is telling me it's the coil. My next step is to take it to a Ford dealer. Did you ever find out what was wrong with your van?
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    I'm still searching for answers. It's possibley a bad or dirty fuel injector. Do you have gas in your oil? How about your exhaust?
  • jimihiljimihil Member Posts: 1
    I've had this problem- I believe I've fixed the problem- it was the spring loaded switches on the sliding door. The springs collapsed, and the switches were not making contact with the fixed contact point on the door jamb. I drilled out the rivits that attach the switch to the door and tried to repair the springs- replaced the rivits and the lights are now turning off when they're supposed to. The door ajar light also goes off when the sliding door is closed. good luck
  • stwstw Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look into that.
  • flapjabbyflapjabby Member Posts: 2
    more info ... back latch is not locked, front latch is, but door won't close all the way or open/budge from it's current position. I have most of the inside panel taken off. Any ideas on what I should do next?
  • rydenryden Member Posts: 1
    Tried to start 1999 SEL this morning, no go. Took out key, headlights/radio still on, heater fan on. Opened and closed door. Turned light switch to "off" position, all heater controls off; headlights/radio still on, heater fan still on. Disconnected battery, waited 15 minutes. Hooked up battery, lights/radio on, heater fan on, won't turn over. Help!! Replaced EGR valve this weekend, but ran fine for 2 days.
  • ptownbptownb Member Posts: 1
    Yesterday night as I was leaving my girlfriends house I started my car (which is a FW '96) and white smoke came out of the hood as if something was burning. I turned off the car immediately and opened the hoodm I inspected as much as I could and tried to dismiss it. Then I turned the car on and it ran fine until i tried to reverse and the steering wheel was EXTREMELY hard to turn in either direction, I'm a strong guy and I couldn't get the steering wheel to turn... then I tried doing the same thing in Drive... and once again it would not turn... can someone please give me some insight as to what the problem may be.. any advise is greatly appreciated. Thank You.
  • hudsonmohawkhudsonmohawk Member Posts: 2
    An offhand guess would be the power steering pump may have locked up causing the belt to smoke.
    Just recently got rid of a 1999 windstar (purchased new, driven easy) with a long list of major problems than one could imagine, all just after the warrentee period. The car was assembled properly, and was very nice for the first 38K, then the heaterbox air door broke, then the transmission blew, then the cruise control quit, the interior lights started flashing on and off (not a door problem-the dash light wasn't comming on), engine stalling and rough idle due to a bad air servo, the radio scan stopped working, leaking fuel injectors causing the emmissions light to come on and causing hard starting, leaking brake fluid from a defective sensor, bad ball joints and growling power steering. At 53K, yes only 53,000, I'd totally had it with this peice of junk and drove it straight to the Chevy dealership and traded it in. (no way could I sell it on the open market with a clean conscience like I usually do). There used to be 5 Ford mini-vans on our street, including ours, and now there are none. Everybody had engine and drivetrain issues with these things. Stay away from the Ford Junkstars!
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    Now you tell me........... 3 trans rebuilds and an engine rebuild later. 3rd tranny rebuild was done with custom (non ford) parts so it should last for more than 20k.
  • josephm4josephm4 Member Posts: 3
    Another 1999 windstar problem, fuel too lean bank 1 and bank 2. This problem is intermittent engine light comes on approx. every 200 miles or once per week. Runs good execpt for the noise in the tank which is also intermittent in idle.
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    MAF sensor. It's fairly cheap and so easy to change. Chekc out Fords TSB for it.
    I still have not figured out what's wrong with mine. I'm about to take it in for diagnostics. :lemon:
  • nlynnnlynn Member Posts: 3
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    Power stearing hose would not cause emissions failure. You need to have diagnostics done to get the codes. If you have an autozone near you take it there and they hook it up for free. Then let me know what the codes are. Also the year of the van would be helpful. I don't think the head gasket would cause this.
  • nlynnnlynn Member Posts: 3
  • nlynnnlynn Member Posts: 3
  • keesie101keesie101 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 99 windstar 120000 k mi, transmission rebuild at 115000, few months ago. Problem persists, soon as trans warms up, it jumps out of overdrive. Specially when going on a slightly uphill like an overpass. Installed a trans cooler, no difference. Trans people said it is a computor problem, dealer say it is not. PCM does not have to be reflashed.
    Drives fine in the city except for engine light now and then due to lean bank one or two.
    Still leaking trans fluid too since last attempt of shop. cycling this week to work.
    Andy idea's???
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    How long is the warranty on the trans rebuild and who did it? Was it done with Ford parts or custom? I had mine rebuilt in February for the 3rd time at 135,000 and had them do it with the custom parts. It started leaking within a month and they replaced the front seal. It does seem to be slipping at times so I will probably have to go back in with it. I had other issues (misfire on cylinder #2)that turned out to be a bad fuel injector and a bad computer. Tranny guy said I needed to get them fixed before they could road test it for the trans.
    Lean bank 1 and 2 is usually a bad MAF sensor and very easy for even a woman with no car knowledge to replace.
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    Had diagnostics done and they told me I had a misfire on cylinder #2. Uuummm didn't I already know that? They replaced the injector on that cylinder because it did have high resistance and then realized the computer was bad. So it was replaced and the van runs great again. I still think there may be a tranny issue that will be covered under warranty.
    And for all you great people out there.... I am a 32 year old single mom. I have male friends that come to me for car advice. I was fed up with paying mechanics to take advantage of me and decided to empower myself. With reading and research you can learn just about anything. With a manual you can usually firgure the rest out.
    With that said, go for 2nd and 3rd opinions before you pay someone to fix it. Do the research and se what the other options are and how much someone else is charging for the same job. Don't be taken for a ride by Ford unless you're test driving a new vehicle. If that's the case I suggest you swing by the Chevy dealer.
  • wolverine3wolverine3 Member Posts: 2
    I'm trying to install a coil pack for my '96 but I can't find where the coils are located. Can anyone help?
  • mlpntrmlpntr Member Posts: 61
    Do you see the spark plug wires? They attach to the spark plugs on one end and then all meet and plug right into the coil pack.
  • wolverine3wolverine3 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the help! It doesn't look like fun trying to get to though.
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