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Ford Windstar Problems



  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    The problem seems to be temperature sensitive, ie. when the temperature goes below 50 degrees, the speedometer does its crazy dance. It also appears to be electrical rather than mechanical in nature, I am wondering about a loose or dirty connection. Where should I look for loose connections? In addition, there seems to be a buzzing coming from under the dash near the fuse/relay box, when the speedometer malfunctions. Is there a specific circuit or relay that I can try and reseat?

  • bdemasbdemas Posts: 51
    daveriedel3638: In your post #248 you mentioned a recall on the tranny in a 99 for a co-worker. Do you any more information on that? Does it apply to 2000 as well?
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    If you didn't get a letter, then I don't think it applies to 2000s. I'm pretty sure its a voluntary recall on Ford's part, since it isn't listed at the NHTSAs website. We got the letter for our 99 SE. I can't recall exactly, but it seems the recall is to replace the "rear lube tube and stabilizing bar" or something like that.

    Didn't have any problems beforehand, didn't take them long to work on it, and don't have any problems with it now.
  • bdemas: Regarding that recall it was strictly on the '99 windstars and it involved them pulling out the old transaxle and installing a new one. Unfortunately, the new transaxle probably has the same bad design/parts that were in the original transaxle. Furthermore, in my short, but painful experience with Ford, these recalls are very specific in their application, eg: they identify the vehicles affected to their dealers by VIN and a recall probably will not be made for all Windstars for a model year. You should be concerned though because Ford has not shown any interest in improving product reliability. The problems I had with transmission, head gaskets, electrical, cooling system, brakes, etc, etc are the same problems they had in the Taurus's (which windstar got its drive train from) and that '96 - 98 windstar owners are now having. You may be lucky and have a good one that can be driven to 200K miles. But odds are against most Windstar owners and the sooner you can get rid of yours, the better your chances of getting an acceptable trade in for it. Good luck my friend.
  • Dearie, Read all of the posts on Windstars. Bad transmissions are common. I just had the second one replaced in 6 months, fortunately under warranty. If you can hold off on mileage, do it and get rid of it. We can't get rid of ours; trade in value is well below what we owe on it and selling it privately has been unproductive.

    Good luck.
  • liljalilja Posts: 1
    I have a 99 SE 3.8 liter with most all the bells and whistles. I have the trailer towing package. At 33,000 miles I have had only one problem - the idle air valve failed. Power doors have been fine. Electrical fine. Occasional jerky downshift. Tires appear that they will go about 50000 miles. Front brakes are about 60% worn and back about 30%. It tows a 3000 lb Coleman trailer very well. We have towed about 7000 miles so far. 80 mph once, 8600 feet in altitude once and across the Mojave at 105 degrees. Temperature rock
    steady. Towing we get 16 - 17 mpg. Normal driving about 20 mpg. Highway about 23 - 24 mpg. We did get 9 mpg once, driving at slow speed, up and down hills around Atlanta, house hunting. This engine has never pinged, and I burn the cheapest gas I can find. As a 15 year aircraft mechanic, I am impressed as to my engine's ability to use any fuel with no complaints. An aircraft engine with that high compression ratio would need 130 octane fuel. A note to readers of this list: most people who post here have been having problems. You generally don't hear from people who are happy. So far, I like my van very much. I hope the next 100,000 go as well for me!
    P.S. The early 90's Honda I owned was no great work of art - it had a whole list of it's own problems. The Japanese are not the end all to beat all.
  • Thanks for your responses. For all interested, here is the latest. Unfortunately, at the time the engine went, we brought it to the Ford Service Department where we bought the van. They had to send it their "Engine" Dept which is off the premises. After a week of the car just sitting in the shop they finally looked at it. Originally they said that they didn't know why the engine blew. They saw fresh oil, old oil, metal and water in the engine. Right off the bat they were going to take half the responsibility and pay 50-50 on a new engine. My husband complained, saying that the van is not even 3 years old, that we shouldn't have to take any of the responsibility. Sure enough, they came back and told us that we neglected the van and that their 50-50 deal is "null and void". We found as many oil changes receipts as we could find but unfortunately not the latest ones. So now, 2 1/2 weeks later we still don't have the van back - it's still in the shop. Unfortunately, they have the van so they know about the engine problem - I can't put a rebuilt one in. I'm sick about this whole thing. If I give it back in March, I will have paid about $7000 for a car that I don't have anymore. I think I'm stuck with buying it. Does anyone know about buying a leased car? Is the residual value negotiable? This is the first and last leased car I ever own.
  • After reading all the posts here I feel very fortunate. Have a 98 GL which had struts replaced under warranty at about 10K miles. Power window motor on passenger door at about 5K miles. heard same noise as "strut" incident and my Ford mechanic said I needed new tie rods. They also detected a "transmission problem" calling for a transmission rebuild costing between $1,200 and $2,400 the symptoms for which where no present until I drove into the dealership that day. When moving from reverse to drive the steering whell would shutter briefly. Although this hadnt happended before I brought it in. Thankfully, I know someone in the "transmission" business who told me this was a function of loose tie rods. The tie-rods were replaced and low and behold the so called transmission problem was gone. Not withstanding the fact the the tie rods went prematurely, I didnt get ripped off for a phoney transmission job. Fuel pump just went at 50K miles, but compared to everything else I've read, Ive been considering selling before my luck runs out. My WS has a 25 gal tank, but I was never ever able to get much more than 19 gallons in, even when it was fairly empty, after the new fuel pump has been put in, it takes 19 gal with 1/4 tank. anyone else have this problem? Also speedometer always seems to be slower than police monitoring readouts. Anyone? good luck to all
  • tk211tk211 Posts: 3
    can someone provide information on how to get ford to buy back a vehicle? my 98 windstar has been at the garage since august 21 - because the transmission would "slam" on slow turns and acceleration. they have replaced torque converter, wire harness, transmission and are now talking to the "engineers" instead of the "technicians" from ford.
    they are waiting on a "new computer part" to install. quite frankly i'm sick of waiting. i tried the 800 number and the guy i talked to just listened to me complain without giving me any solutions. i don't think i will ever trust that it is reliable - so ford can have it back - unless any of you want it :)
  • You said "I was never ever able to get much more than 19 gallons in, even when it was fairly empty, after the new fuel pump has been put in, it takes 19 gal with 1/4 tank." Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but 19 gals sounds about perfect. 25gals/4=6.25 gals per quarter tank. I' actually surprised you get 19 in at that point, since there's a reserve beyond the "Empty" point, so each 1/4 tank on the guage actually represents less than 1/4 of the stated tank capacity.
  • Bought a Windstar 2001 SEL...fully loaded ..leather seats do not have seat warmer..anyone knows if it is possible to add a seat warmer for the driver seat?. Thank you
  • I have been going through the same pinging problems mentioned in earlier post. The dealer finally agreed to replace the intake manifold after I showed them the responses I had found here. At first they told me they were replacing the intake at their own expense but magically they found TSB's that reported the intake manifold and valve covers were redesigned and were a valid recall associated with the pinging problem. About a week later after the "fixes" were applied to my van the pinging has returned. Not as bad as it was but it is still there. Anyone had a similar experience or actually have had the problem cured? Thanks.
  • dnj2dnj2 Posts: 4
    We have been back on the road for about a week - no sign of pinging yet. But, we do not have optimum conditions to induce pinging as it is too cold. This Windstar needs hi ambient temp, fully warmed up engine and AC on to produce the pinging condition.
    Our Dealer here in NC has been super once FoMoCo owned up to the problem and devised the "fix". Suggest you get back to your Dealer ASAP.
    You need to ascertain if they reset the PCM, reset the Octane setting to 87, were diligent in cleaning carbon from the engine as well as simply replacing the valve cover.
    Factory only "allows" 1.5 hours to do this whole job, a job that takes somewhat longer to accomplish. Maybe you only got 1.5 hrs worth of fix!
    Good luck with your Service Dept folks, and please keep all of us in the "Ping Club" updated.
    I'm going to take our Windstar out on a vigorous test drive tomorrow!
  • I have a 2000 Windstar LX and I have not had any major trouble with it to date. I do have a question about TSB's though. I have found listings of TSB's on several websites, but I haven't been able to track down the full text of TSB's anywhere on the 'net.

    I have reviewed some of the titles and there are a couple that I would like to read more into before I go through the hassle of setting up service for my van. For example, I occasionally experience a single tone from my van's dash. There doesn't appear to be any reason for the tone. It just beeps for no reason. I have seen a TSB that looks like it is related, but I can't find the full text to see what the problem might be.

    I have also seen TSB's related to the pinging problems related above. I have a friend who is having his van serviced for that problem under what his dealer says is an as-yet un-announced recall by Ford. I would like to look into those further just in case my van develops the problem.

    Does anyone know of somewhere on the 'net that I can find the full text of the TSB's that are related to problems I'm having? So far all I can find is the list on the NHTSA.GOV and that only gives brief summary info, which isn't always very descriptive.
  • dnj2dnj2 Posts: 4
    I dont think you will find the text of the TSB's readily available. You may need someone on the inside at a dealership to pull them off OASIS for you.
    If you find the info on the internat, please share with us all.
  • rjj6rjj6 Posts: 1
    My wife has a 97 Windstar(75K), and at the end of last winter season (NY) and now the beginning of this season, when it gets even a bit cool out, ALL of the side windows fog up. Even with the defroster on high, it can barely keep the front window clear.
    It is almost like the defroster is pumping moisture laden air into the car.
    We've had our fair share of problems with the WS,
    (abs, computer etc.) but we've not been able to solve this one.

  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Ok, up till now our 99 SE has been basically flawless (25k miles). And we really like the van. However, twice now in the last 3 weeks, we've been temporarily stuck because we couldn't shift out of park.

    Once it happened to me, and once to my wife. I can't vouch for my wife's diagnostic abilities (well I can, but I'm prevented from speaking out by the "If you can't say something nice..." rule :-) ), but when it happened to me I noticed that the brake pedal went most the way to the floor (it didn't push back firmly like its supposed to). And when it was down near the floor, I noticed the brake lights went out!. With the brake lights off, the park/shift interlock won't disengage.

    I was able to get it to shift by pressing lightly on the brake enough to illuminate the brake lights, then shifted straight to neutral before stepping hard on the brake. I test drove it around the parking lot and the brakes seemd to be working fine, so I drove it home. When I got home, the problem had disappeared (and of course the dealer the next day was unable to reproduce the problem).

    When it later happened to my wife, she was fortunate to have a Ford technician waiting to have his eyes examined (my wife is an optometrist). He looked at it and said it was the brake light switch. He showed her how to "make it work" until she could bring it in. She hasn't showed me yet what "make it work" means. :-)

    Has anybody else had a problem like this? My memory is too poor to recall any prior posts.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Take it back to the dealer. The head gasket on 95s is warranted to 100,000 miles. If the head gasket failure damaged her engine, she'll get a new one for free.
  • I had the same problem one time and it was simply a hose that was not connected. It was sucking in outside air and actually making the windows worse. Check to see if any hoses are loose, or if you can't locate any, take it to your dealer. If that's the problem, they should fix it for free.
  • We have a 98 Windstar with 46,000 miles and now need to replace rack and pinion steering assembly and the power steering pump at $1,000+. Pretty significant failure for a vehicle of this age. Dealer noted problems with rack and pinion but not this early (mileage wise). Has anyone had similar problem?
  • We finally have a permanent fix to our chronic sliding door problems....a 2001 Yukon XL w/2nd row captains seats. Same interior layout as WS with more room!
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    The original WS had a problem where if you put it into Park on any sort of slope (no matter how gentle) without first putting on the handbrake, it was very difficult to get out of Park again.
    Don't know if thats the problem you are experiencing or not. Had it in my 95 and it drove me nuts till the dealer told me the "fix".
    My 2000 has a totally different problem. The shift lever was falling apart, you could never tell what gear you were in by looking at the dash! Something had broken in the housing on the column!
  • If anyone is thinking of buying a 2000 Windstar, or any Windstar for that matter, I suggest you reconsider. I wish I had read all these posts before I bought my 2000 in March. The dealer, Koon's Sterling Ford, in Sterling, VA has had my van for 2 weeks now and there is no end in sight, there are so many engines on back order!! Plus, they have been awful to deal with. You would think that they would try to make a customer happy, especially in this type of circumstance, but it seems they are doing everything they can to aggravate the situation.
    My suggestion - Run to the nearest Honda dealership and get an Odyssey! (As long as it isn't a Koon's dealership!!)
  • Had mine in now for 29 days, 30 coming up to
    replace the sterio. Dead battery, sliding doors
    going in dead battery mode, fuel milage
    dropping-see several older models doing the same.
    Any problems i would be interested in hearing about
    as the dealer called Ford because they can't
    duplicate the problem so ford won't let them try
  • Should add that its the SELs I'm interested in since there is a recall in Stars that don't have a message center to replace the PCM even though the problems are simular
  • I have had a 1996, 1998 and now a 2000 Windstar, totaling more than 85,000 miles to date with NO warranty repairs required. The front brakes seem to wear faster than I would like, but other than that I am totally happy.
  • I have had my windstar for less than 12 hours and
    now the antitheft device is having a problem
    recognizing the keys... tried both keys numerous
    times before one of them worked and then I tried
    the other key again and then it decided to work
    also.... The problem only seems to occur when the
    vehicle is cold... ( -30c ) thats what I figured
    out so far.. she's heading back to the dealer
    tomoro would appreciate any comments on similar
  • Our '98 Windstar has only 28,000 miles on it and this should not have gone on it. Dealer said warranty expired 4 months ago! We also have gear shift problems - it makes a loud clunk when shifting especially into reverse. Dealer said they couldn't "hear" the problem! We're going to get rid of this lemon ASAP!
  • We bought a 95 GL in Nov 94 with 600 miles on it. We are relatively happy with it, currently have about 160,000 miles on it. Here goes the history for those interested : We drive it just about every day. Front brake shoes lasted about 50,000 miles each, the rears lasted 125,000. Had some transmission sensor replaced at 20,000 miles while traveling, got it fixed under warranty the next morning while waiting in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Sliding door recall (Ford paid), loose hood recall (Ford paid). Had anti-lock brake problems, took $100 to disconnect a ground wire to fix problem around 60,000 miles. Had check engine light on, took a few visits but was mass airflow sensor, problem resolved. Replaced oxygen sensors (2) with updated design at 60,000. Had the full service transmission services every 30K miles at a transmission shop. Change oil every 3-4K miles, 5W30. Put semi-sythetic in at wintertime. Coolant flush/fill per the owners manual. Water pump at 110,000 miles ($400, a [non-permissible content removed] to get to). Changed the starter myself at about 100K, had not failed yet. Had head gasket replaced under recall at 100K miles, was only leaking a quart every 6 months or so. Replaced plugs every 60K. Transmission had aluminum shift piston break at 120K, had local transmission shop rebuild and replace anything that was marginal, not just what was broke. Cost $1000 parts and $800 labor, included new differential and steel shift piston. He stated FORD sends their transmission work to his shop and only allows the part broken to be replaced, and charges the customer (or whoever is paying) the full cost of a rebuild. Maybe that is why some people have problems with their "new" transmission so soon after "replacement". EEC went out at 125K miles when traveling, about $400 plus renting another windstar to complete the trip. Put in new struts/shocks at 130K, but did not really have any problems. Put transmission cooler on and started towing a box trailer of about 1500 lbs, have about 1000 miles of this. Have five kids, they are growing, so we put in stiffer springs in the back to keep from bottoming out. Really helps. (added 1500 lbs more strength) and only added an inch or two to the ride height when empty.
    Cost of ownership : Total costs of vehicle (5 year loan, 8%), insurance, gas, all repairs, tires, normal maintenance, etc came out to $0.34 a mile. Anti-lock brakes still work, A/C still works. Min-vans work great for what we need, am looking to get a full size van next time (12 passenger Ford) but waiting for the windstar to blow the engine or something not worth fixing to kill it first. Must have gotten relatively lucky with this van. We also own a 95 Mercury Tracer (econo car) for 100K miles and the only problems were the dome light and a front wheel bearing went bad ($100). I will shut up now...
This discussion has been closed.