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Ford Windstar Problems



  • thomasjthomasj Posts: 2
    My 2001 Windstar SE blew it's transmission on Saturday on our way back from vacation leaving my family stranded 200 miles from home. The vehicle has only 22,000 miles on it but is 3 months out of warranty. $3,000 to put a rebuilt tranny in. We are having it towed to our local dealer who is going to work with us on a trade (the wife has no confidence in the vehicle now). Thankfully the dealership also sells Honda - hoping to get into an Odessy at a reasonable price.
  • ormzormz Posts: 3
    like many of you I too have had some of these problems. now i noticed that my radiator fans don't go on at all. i checked all the fuses and there is no mention about relays .anybody help please
  • dhorydgdhorydg Posts: 1
    In reference to message 1409, my 98 windstar also blows hot air in the rear. It also has intermittent "service engine light" on. Any help to fix would be appreciated.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    I took the van to the dealership today for the following:

    Power door locks not working (problem inside the door panel)
    Clicking/knocking noise from the engine (new intake manifold)
    Broken compass/temp module behind the rear view mirror (Replacing)
    Loose front end (new tie rods)
    AC takes sometime to cool (dealer claims that nothing is wrong, and wants to charge me $80 for troubleshooting)

    Based on the messages on this board this seems to be normal issues for this van.

    ESP is covering all the costs, I highly recommend this product, its has paid for itself and then some.

    Troubleshooting charge? I have never heard or ever been asked to pay this charge. Anyone ever heard of this with a van under a Ford warranty? I do not plan on paying for this charge!
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 126
    I have a 2000 Windstar w/40,000 miles. I have had FORD charge me also when they could not verify problems. I just save the receipts and plan on adding it to my deductible when they find the problem. My Windstar has had some problems including the lack of cooling from the front air conditioner. They replaced an "O-Ring" kit and it seemed to help. Also had transmission seals replaced, tie rods. Overall I am pleased with the van so far. I have 6/60 extended warranty. I lived through a 95 Windstar.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Picked-up my van from the dealer. They fixed all the problems. There was no charge for troubleshooting the AC even though they did not find a fault. The Ford ESP for the most part is an extension of the original warranty and has paid for itself!
  • ormzormz Posts: 3
    I thought I would get a reply by now but none so far .The fans on my windstar radiator do not go on at all. Anybody have some advice. P.S. Has anybody ever noticed that a good number of Windstars are missing their passenger side wheel covers.check it out
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Try the Got a Quick, Technical Question? discussion for the fans question - maybe more techies are hanging out over there.

    Steve, Host
  • thomasjthomasj Posts: 2
    I had hoped that our dealer would work with us after our transmission problems, but I was wrong. They tried to take us for a $6,000 ride by giving us $3,000 less for our van than it was worth and marking up the Honda over $3,500. Turns out that our problem was a torque converter and not the whole transmission. We will get it fixed and trade it somewhere that is not looking to turn such a huge profit.
  • Sometimes the bearings in the fan burn out and then it won't go when it's hot. Not sure that's your problem though.

    The reason you see so many Windstars without hubcaps is because the hubcaps were defectively designed. They fall off (at least on the '96s). The Ford dealer will charge you about $80 for a new one. I've had several and am currently missing one.
  • Your head gasket is likely shot -- the oil has gotten into the radiator fluid and vice-versa. Common problem with the '96s and '95s. Ford did a replacement program (not a recall -- just the company making good on its mistake)for owners of '95s but they claimed that they had fixed the problem on the '96s and refused to help any of us out. When I had my gasket job done the car was in the shop for two weeks "waiting its turn" behind all the other '96s. Bottom line: Ford should cover this since its a clear defect but they won't.

    So as somebody else said you can junk the car or pay something north of $1400 US to have a new gasket put on. As I said in a previous post, my experience was that the repair job didn't seem to hold up all that long. If the contamination is bad and the engine is blowing smoke, you should probably junk it.
  • gwcgwc Posts: 1
    I have the same problem. Took it to the dealer on Wednesday for what I thought would be a simple transmission flush and fill. Now, after taking it back to the dealer twice, I find out that a seal is blown and needs to be replaced at a cost of roughly $500. I think they over pressurized the system when they did the flush, but I have no way to prove this. The van never leaked a drop of trans fluid prior to the flush.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    why do they go so quickly on Windstars??? I've never had to replace them on any other vehicle and they are shot at 45K! (Of course that was better still than the tranny at 38K!) Thank goodness for extended warranties!
  • I also have problems with my front door locks.This seems to be ongoing with thease cars.Is this a recall?
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Ford seems to have a problem with Tie Rod ends. Not only the Windstar but also the Escort have had problems with them.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    That's because Ford uses junk front end parts. They have ever since they started making FWD cars in the 80s and it looks like they forever will.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    I do not think so, it was covered under the extended warranty. The EW seems to be the only way to go with these vehicles.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Agree, I needed new tie rods on the passenger side at 70K, again EW picked-up the bill.

    I just hope I need a new engine and trans before the 100K, so Ford can pick-up the bill on these items also.
  • amilamil Posts: 1
    The air conditioning work well for 1-2 hours, after that it stop working. The fan blow hot air. If I stop the car for 15-30 minutes and restart the air conditioning function again. The car has been to several mechanics with no improvement. Freon was added, a valve in the air conditioning was changed, the battery and alternator were replaced. Most of the time nothing wrong can be found.
  • tug731tug731 Posts: 3
    Althought I never had any major problems with the winstar (replace tie rods, Brakes) I now have to replace a transmission after 65,000 Miles. based on the posts I have read, do we suck it up and pay for it or is ford any help. I am thinking I should trade it in if it costs 3000 dollars to repair. Any thoughts?
  • Sounds like you have a pretty good Windstar. To answer your question - it depends on what the transmission issue is. New transmission runs up to $2500-$3000 in bigger cities. Part replacements (mine was the crappy aluminum transmission piston) runs $1200 five years ago when I had it replaced at 57k. As I noted in an earlier post, 3 of the 9 cars on the local transmission repair shop lot were Windstars - not a good sign! For $1200 I would fix it at 65k. Had your car had over 100k or more - I would certainly recommend the scrap yard as the repair would exceed its trade value.

    Ford will be of 0 value in helping you cover costs of tranny repair at 65k. Maybe their attitude has changed in the last 5 years, but I wouldn't bank on it. If you have no extended warranty - look for zip to 10% off at best.

    I got a '95 to 100k with relatively little pain, as compared to most of the posts around here at Edmunds/Ford/Windstar with just a head gasket, a tranny, a few tie rods, a few speedometers, a few broken door locks, a broken rear wiper. The truely expensive stuff started just after 100k with a water pump, fuel injectors, thermostat, ball joint, etc.

    May want to buy stock in a repair shop.
  • I have a 1998 Ford Windstar and Im having a lot of problems with this van. The only main problem Im concerned about is the van ONLY stalls when I apply the brake when coming to a stop. I can put the vehicle in neutral or park and it starts right back up with no problem. Also it idles very rough. I have taken it to the Ford dealer and the problems keep on persisting. Any replies are greatly appreciated.
  • c33c33 Posts: 1
    Help - my 2003 SE has a wiring harness (?) in the overhead console at the edge of the windshield.
    This is not wiring going to light at back of console.
    The overhead console can be dropped down by removing one screw and pulling down to remove console from clamps - easy to do. The wiring harness (?) does not look like factory installed. If you have a 03 SE please drop your
    overhead console and check for wiring at /near windshield - this may be a tracking device.

    03 SE owners - thanks for your help.

  • peterzpeterz Posts: 1
    I notice that the loud clunk at a traffic light, followed by a transmission that goes only in reverse seems to be a widespread problem. Does anyone know what actually goes out on the tranny when this happens? It happened to me last Saturday.

  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Oh boy, that sure sounds like the good old forward piston failing. What year Windstar? 95-96 failed due to an aluminum piston that cracked. And some later year models failed due to the new bonded rubber seal on the redesigned steel piston that separated. In other words, Ford magically found a way to re-engineer the same failure. Either way it's big $$$.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I can't guess what may be wrong without seeing some test data, so my only suggestion would be to take it to a shop that specializes in auto A/C repair. They'll most likely find the problem whereas a general mechanic may be stumped.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    At that mileage, you can pretty much forget $ assistance. My suggestion would be to first determine the cost of replacing the failed part. If it's less than half the cost of a full trans replacement, then it may be sensible considering the relatively low mileage on the other parts in your transmission. If you go for a full rebuild, consider the costs of an independent shop versus a Ford factory rebuilt at a dealer. If they're fairly close, go with the dealer transmission as it will carry a 3/36 warranty and you'll probably get as good or better warranty service from the selling dealer than an indie.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    What was done at the dealer? I ask because there were a number of "programs" (Ford's term for reimbursed non-warranty non-recall repairs) on the valve cover/PCV systems on late-90s Windstars> Symptopms were similar to what you're describing. Basically Ford screwed up the entire valve cover design on those 3.8s and caused all sorts of driveability problems like high idle/stalling/low idle/pinging/loss of power.
    If you feel the dealer is making an honest effort, give them a few chances to fix it. If not, express your dissatisfaction and go to another dealer.
  • Well I took it to my trusted mechanic and the transmission is shot. It will cost 2500 to 3000 for a re manufactured transmission to replace it, good thing is that the reman tranny carries a 3/36,000 mile warranty. That is my course of action. I am disappointed that this part failed, I will consider other auto manufacturers when replacing this vehicle. Thanks for your input.
  • jtk152jtk152 Posts: 139
    tug- out of curiosity, did you ever have the automatic transmission fluid changed out in your windstar prior to the transaxle failure? The AX4N (2001+) & AX4S transaxles seem to fail early unless you do regular ATF changeouts on them- like every 25K miles. The large/heavy windstar puts a HUGE load on these transaxles & overheats the ATF. The ATF in my 2001 LX looked & smelled BAD @ 34K miles. Sorry to hear yours bombed so early. You will find this same situation is true with any domestic minivan. Gotta keep the ATF clean & fresh!! Make sure to use ONLY Mercon 5 in newer fords (1999+)
This discussion has been closed.