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Ford Windstar Problems



  • I just bought a 99 Windstar SE, the transmission kind of fluttered from first to second for about 2 weeks and then went completlt out. We put in a rebuilt transmission and now the battery light comes on and off at times. We have had the battery checked and the alternator. They keep telling us that they are okay. Does anyone know if Windstars have a history problem with this?
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Has the charge voltage been tested while the light is on? It's possible there is a loose connection somewhere in a wiring harness near the transmission.
  • lbalba Posts: 5
    Hi. I'm new to forum. Hope this is the right place. I want to replace spark plugs and wires on my 98 Windstar 3.8L. Any suggestions/hints/ideas for the rear bank? Come in from underneath? Remove cowl? Forget about it and leave it to the "pros"? Thanks I've done em on a 97 Town & Country from up - top. First time was about 7 hours.
  • shealybshealyb Posts: 3
    whats is an electric cooling fan where is it. There are 2 fans connected to the radiator that are working
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Yes, those are the electric fans. If they're both turning on when it overheats, then they're working. If you have a new radiator and thermostat (assuming the thermostat was installed correctly), next you have to see if the water pump is actually circulating. It's possible air is trapped in the system on you need to open a bleed valve to blee the air or have a mechanic vaccum the air out. If that fails, then start looking for combustion gases going into the coolant from a blown head gasket.

    Before I do any of that, I would get back to the person who sold it to you and pick his brain. Sounds like you bought his problems.
  • jdipier2jdipier2 Posts: 2
    i've had that problem too!!!! it just started recently with my 98 windstar. the problems started over a year ago when my mom owned the van. it was with the back door so my mom's ex-boyfriend took all the lights out. so if i use the wd40 i can get all my lights working again. i can't wait to try it!! :)
  • jdipier2jdipier2 Posts: 2
    what can i do to get the door light off for my backdoor? i sprayed the wd40 on the other doors and they are fine, it's just that my back door light is on. i sprayed them down but what else can i do?
  • tomjepptomjepp Posts: 1
    hello all, i own a 2002 windstar se recently, seems like in colder weather, my brake lites stay on even after shutting down vehicle. i tap on the brake pedal and this rectifies the problem until the next time. is this the switch on the pedal? anyone else with this problem? any help is appreciated. thanx
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    You can be about 99% certain it's the brake switch.
  • kswisherkswisher Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 as well with the exact same problem, but I was fortunate enough to find out that it required a flush and refill of my power steering pump and lines. The whining was gone after that.
  • kswisherkswisher Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 that has been in the shop multiple time for the same reason and I throw my hands up in the air not knowing what this is.
    I get a rather intense vibration/shaking in my front end intermittently. There is no repeatability in this. It can happen at 30, 50, 65, 80 mph, in any gear with over drive on or off. It only lasts a second or two, but it's quite intense. My van has 104,000+ miles on it so it is out of warranty. The dealer ship wants it for a whole week with an approval of $1000 and there is no way I'm agreeing to those terms.

    Any one else have this problem?
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Approval of $1000 to do what? I don't understand. That's what they want for diagnosis? It shouldn't take more than a half day to find the problem, assumig they can duplicate it. I'm guessing there was miscommunication and what they meant was they assume it is a torque converter failing (based on your description), and if they are right diagnostics+ converter replacement would be around $1000. It's not an uncommon failure in Windstar transmissions.
  • cfdt48cfdt48 Posts: 1
    My 98 windstars inside lights stay on for a long time. I've cleaned the contacts on the sliding door a few works sometimes for a while...any ideas?
  • guzdawgguzdawg Posts: 1
    I am having the same issue with my 2002 xl, please let me know what you got back on this.. Mine just started happens as soon as the key is turned to the on position, before the engine is started,,,then it continues intermittently. thanks...dan
  • wink1wink1 Posts: 2
    How did you steering problem come out? I have a 98 windstar and have replaced the pumps three times and the rack once. I suspected a line obstruction but this is hard to verify. I have been using rebuilt pumps and rack but was considering buying a new one from Ford ($$). It moans and power steering is weak. I had used synthetic ATF fluid based on a forum a while back. The fluid stays red (unlike regular fluid) but steering performance is poor and it is noisy. Would think Ford would know how to install an acceptable power system in a van.

    Any help would be appreciated
  • starwindstarwind Posts: 9
    We are 500 miles into pump #8, and it is working. We did not replace hoses. The racks came from Delco. I was told that they used OEM pumps after the first failures. A different tech worked on it this time, and they claimed to have flushed >4 gallons through the system. Fingers crossed!
  • wink1wink1 Posts: 2
    I replaced my plugs about six months ago (not wires). It turned out to be not too bad; I think it took about 2-3 hours. I replaced the rear plugs by raising the front wheels about a foot off the ground and accessing them from underneath from the rear side. Access wasn't too bad. One of the few tasks that turned out to be easier than expected. :)
  • lbalba Posts: 5
    Hi Wink 1. Thanks for the reply!! I am reading this after just finishing. I went from underneath from the rear bank. Not that bad with 3/8" ratchet and extension. About 2.5 hours.
    I have another question for you and/or the forum. I got Motorcraft "direct replacement" from Autozone. They said nomenclature had changed slightly. "Pure platinum, yadda yadda......" Only concern is owners manual says you must use different plugs for front bank of cylinders vs rear bank. Referenced underhood sticker - I've got underhood stickers; none of em reference spark plugs. Autozone knew nothing about; had nothing in their computer.
    Are you (or anyone else on the forum) aware of this. Maybe it's been changed since manual was written to identical plugs?
    BTW, I agree. Access to rear bank of plugs on the Windstar wasn't that bad. My 97 Town and Country took me about 7.5 hours going by the OEM manual over the top; no access at all from bottom.
    Tx again. Rgds/LA
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Not to worry, Ford changes spark plug specs and part #'s as often as I change socks. LOL The original thinking was that with coil packs firing 2 plugs at a time, one with the current flowing from the centre to ground electrode and vice versa on the mating plug, different spec plugs were required. To consolidate part #'s, the same plugs are used front and rear for service replacement.

    P.S. 10-4 on the Chrysler mini-vans. Even with the wiper module removed they're a bear to do. Easier with the alternator removed, but not much.
  • My 99 windtar LX had similar problems. The interior lights would flash on/off sometimes in the middle of the night (ghost car) and the chime would come on when the driver door was open even with the key out. It turned out there is a switch on the ignition that detects the key being inserted. This switch had broken off. You can check by removing the cover under the steering column so you can see the ignition switch. Look for a small black piece of plastic with a single wire going to it. I used JB Weld epoxy to glue it back in place. Problem fixed.
  • helper2helper2 Posts: 2
    hi maybe i can help take the wd40 and spray inside of the door where your door lock spray inside in the jam repeat couple times on each door and light is gona go off most of the cases the driver door's are problem
  • helper2helper2 Posts: 2
    you have to spray wd40 into pasanger drivers door's locks use the whole can and it will go away that problem it's coused by rust and other problems dust and weather conditions i had same problem and i fixed it
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Actually, it's caused by the grease on the switch hardening and holding the switch open.
  • Re: 95 Windstar with 200,000 Km. We recently had the Engine trouble light come on, for no apparent reason. The van seemed to be running fine. Then a few days later it started to run a bit rough. I took it in to a mechanic (not dealer this time) who checked the code and said it was showing #6 injector problems. the #6 plug was "completely dry" the plug wires were "showing a high resistance" but still within acceptable range. The mechanic said this meant it was a injector problem and that it needed to be replaced. My spidey senses are tingling and I am wondering now, in hindsight, if I got ripped off for the $500 to have the injector replaced. The reason is that when I gave the ok to do the work I questioned if the plug wires needed replacing (they were original), he said they still seemed fine but would let me know how much to replace them if they needed doing. When the work was done he had gone ahead and replaced the wires anyways (cause it was all apart and easier and quicker to do it now) so now I dont know if it was just the wires or if the injector actually needed replacing. I'm wondering also, in hindsight, if maybe the injector just needed cleaning. I phoned the Ford dealership and they say it is uncommon for an injector to need replacing on a Windstar. I guess that's probably because everything else needs replacing ie: two trannies, one headgasket of course, numerous sensors at &350 each time. So what of this fuel injector, did I get ripped off on the repairs, what do ya think???
  • gail5gail5 Posts: 1
    The transmission was clunking when shifiting sometimes and then the service engine light came on and off intermittently. We lost some of the transmission fluid by blowing it out of the air breather and transmission was hot. When it was checked at a Ford dealer while we were traveling out of state and they found nothing wrong other than low on fluid and the computer showed a torque converter problem. They replaced the screen assembly and flushed and filled with fluid. We didn't have any further problems on the remainder of our trip (1500 miles)and appears to drive fine but is it necessary to have the transmission rebuilt or can it be determined if there is damage before it is torn down? What should the cost be of rebuilding a transmission?
  • mossfivemossfive Posts: 4
    Whenever I turn right or left I hear a popping type of sound. It seems to be worse when I am backing up. This only occurs at slow speeds like backing out of a driveway or turning from a stop sign. Any ideas on what this could be?
  • Hello Folks!

    I have a 2003 Windstar and a question for you experts out there. For some odd reason, my lift supports for the liftgate are now shot. I have to hold the liftgate open. I'd like to have these 2 lift supports replaced. Called several Ford dealers - they all want 48 bucks apiece. I cannot find any lift supports online for less than that price for the year 2003. Although, plenty of online retailers such as JCWhitney and do carry lift supports for 98 through 2002 Windstars. My question is this: can I purchase lift supports for a 2002 and will it fit on my 2003 windstar? They cost only 32.99 and I figure I'm saving at least 30 bucks. If they will fit with no problem, then I'll just order the ones for 2002 windstars and install them on my van.


  • lbalba Posts: 5
    Thanks much Alcan! So far van runs great, but I would rather know now than later, that I'm burning up plugs and have to go through same drill at 5,000 miles.
    On the Chrysler, I didn't remove cowl or wiper module but followed the OEM manual exactly. Still........what a pain!! I'm ready for direct fuel injection; let's get rid of weight and complexity of these big cast AL manifolds!
  • vwkurtvwkurt Posts: 2
    With my chrysler, I was able to turn the key in a certain sequence and the the dash lights would flash a number of times. By counting the flashes, I was able to cross reference that to a diagnosos chart to find out what the problem was that was making the check engine light come on. Is there a way to do that with a 2001 Windstar?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you in advance!
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    No. A scan tool or code reader is required.
This discussion has been closed.