Ford Windstar Alternator and Battery Problems

selooseloo Member Posts: 606
edited July 2017 in Ford
Has anyone changed these items?

Do you have a link detailing the process?

Do you have any other helpful hints to successfully accomplish this task?



  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Member Posts: 3,855
    Do you have a link detailing the process? gives free access to repair manuals, you might check there.

    I successfully replaced our alternator by giving a mechanic about $325. :);)
  • selooseloo Member Posts: 606
    Good response!

    A new alternator is about $180,a new belt is around $20.

    $125 for labor is not bad, but I like a challenge.

    Anyone else have any good tips?
  • aceladyacelady Member Posts: 10
    My alternator died on the way home from work and left me stranded on the roadside.

    The final bill, including the tow, was over $300.00.

    It sucks to not be mechanically gifted! Wish I could have done it myself.

    I know the mechanic said that the alternator alone was almost $200.00, the tow was about $50.00 and the labor around $60.00.
  • selooseloo Member Posts: 606
    Well, it may not be the alternator or battery, both tested good at Advanced Auto last night.

    Maybe something is draining the battery? Has anyone has this problem?

    Or maybe that can of WD-40 I sprayed (yesterday) into the inter workings of my alternator fixed the voltage output problem found during the Autozone test on Monday? Or maybe not!
  • rose19805rose19805 Member Posts: 7
    I just finished replacing the battery about a month ago in my 2003 Windstar. The battery light had been coming on but the battery was strong. Now the light is coming on with the new battery in it. I thought about the alternator but this seems weird since the van only has 32000 miles on it. I will be having a mechanic look at it next week. Has anyone had this problem? I also have noticed that at times the abs,brake parking and battery lights come on when I'm driving. Also the inside lights come on at odd times when I'm driving.
  • dalemccarthydalemccarthy Member Posts: 1
    I have the exact same problem with my Windstar. I also had my altenator checked and replaced my battery. Do you have any idea what is causing this? Any information would be great.
  • rose19805rose19805 Member Posts: 7
    Still haven't gotten to the mechanic. The van is running fine except for the darn battery light coming on most of the time. My friend said he thinks it's programmed to do this so you'll take it in to the ford dealer and be charged big bucks. I'm not convinced of his theory although I wouldn't be surprised. Did you have the alternator checked out and if so what did it show?
  • selooseloo Member Posts: 606
    Go to Auto Zone and have your battery and alternator tested for free!
  • softballmomsoftballmom Member Posts: 1
    Hi everyone! This is the first time on the site for me and i've read most of the comments but not sure if anyone has had my experience. Here goes-- I have owned my vehicle for almost 5 years actually I have 2 pmts left and the only problem so far where the transmission replacement and the open door light staying on. I've had it pretty good considering what the rest of you have been going through. Recently though I have MAJOR issues!!! In February, I had driven my car all day with no problems and when I was on my way home, I noticed my ABS light on seconds before the stereo shut off and the lights (head and dash)dimmed and shut off, my interior lights and flashers came on and the car stalled within seconds of me getting off the road. All of this happened at the same time and in a total of about one minute. My husband installed a new alternator and the van ran fine until this Mon.(Apr.9) and we had a repeat. The car jumped fine, I got back home, put the overnight battery charger on, took the car in to check the battery and ended up replacing it. Thinking that is all fixed. I drove it today, I made it 5 miles on a brand new battery and the vehicle shut off again and the battery was completely drained. Charged it for 3 hours, made it four miles and stalled. Jumped it, drove one mile home and it stalled again. The first two times it happened the ignition justed clicked when I tried starting it, the third time it did nothing. Does anyone know what the heck is going on?? I have called Ford and been told it is probably a short but they have never heard of it happening before.
  • umwijayaumwijaya Member Posts: 4
    Go to the forum sedan, ford Taurus, alternator, I just read and the guys said .. the problem is mega fuse located on the compatrment engine fuse box and cost him only $5...good luck... i had the similiar problem but on my mPV MAzda 2001... nontheless MPV MAzda is using FORD Engine :surprise: ...

    TJ wija
  • emuagdemuagd Member Posts: 1
    My 2003 Windstar is doing the same exact thing right now. We just replaced the alternator and battery too. I was wondering with your van, what ended up being the problem?
  • djembeplayerdjembeplayer Member Posts: 4
    Hi, I just read all the msgs regarding the Windstar. Wish I knew all this before I bought my "great deal". I am having an issue with a 2000 Windstar, which seems similar and just looking for advice before I replace the alternator, battery or fuse. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
  • umwijayaumwijaya Member Posts: 4
    I brought my Mazda MPV Van to the dealer. They checked it up for almost one hour and told me that they need additional hours to check up the wiring system and asked if i am willing to come back next week. I told them i am an electrician mechanic, i had checked up all the wiring system and found nothing wrong. My assumtiong is the computer data system that need to be address. I decided not to go back with them and do nothing with warning light. MY alternator is working. the only problem is the light only. So i didnt bother to go back with them. Today, most dealership just looking for opportunity to make money.

  • djembeplayerdjembeplayer Member Posts: 4
    Ok, thanks for the info. I replaced the battery today and seems ok right now the alternator tested out OK. Thanks again.
  • gcasegcase Member Posts: 1
    I also own a 2003 windstar iam experenceing the same problem except when i removed the key my head lights came on tried to get them to go out they started flashing. did you ever find out what was causing your problem what was the out come
  • djembeplayerdjembeplayer Member Posts: 4
    I found that the wiper motor had water inside the electrical connection. If you need to take out the wiper motor get the manual (Haynes) for the steps. But, to make a long story short, take out the cover (plastic and metal) then the motor is accessible. So, after I replaced the motor I added silicon to the cover of the motor and the shroud to avoid water getting in again. Best of luck.
  • jefbylsjefbyls Member Posts: 5
    I just bought a used 2001 Ford Windstar Limited with 74K on it. The exact same thing is happening. I am going to AutoZone today to have the battery and alternator checked. I am wondering what will be next. I read the posts on the megafuse and the wiper motor and will check them as well. Why is there so much trouble trying to get a straight answer from Ford? Have you gotten a remedy of your situation yet? If so, what did you finally do to fix it?
  • jefbylsjefbyls Member Posts: 5
    Front or Rear wiper motor?
  • djembeplayerdjembeplayer Member Posts: 4
    See my previous post #18 for the remedy to my situation. You might be able to tell if the FRONT wiper motor is bad just from physical inspection. The outside was rusting a little and had paint chipping off. The plastic shroud or cover that goes across the front has holes in it for water to pass through, well one of the holes was right above the wiper motor...nice hey? Silicone to fix that.

    The answer from Ford was this was a recall back in 2000 I think, this site will have that info too. But, the recall is only good once or 10k miles. BS. Good luck.
  • mfacdgba33mfacdgba33 Member Posts: 19
    Replaceing both of these is not really that hard. Almost anyone can do it if you really wanted to. I am a certified mech in TN and if anyone told me or anyone i knew that it would cost me 57.64 for a alternator than i would smack him in his left nostril. If you want to try to do this yourself you can go to auto zone and they will give you a print out for the step by step process on replaceing it. A few socket wrenchs and a metal bar to apply pressure to add tension to the belt and bingo your done. It should only take you about 30 minutes to do if you dont run into any more issue while doing it.
  • mfacdgba33mfacdgba33 Member Posts: 19
    As a AAA Mchanic i see this all the time. First check for loose battery terminal connections. Then if those are good then get a voltmeter start the van and on the dc side look and see what the volts read. A battery will put out 12.6 volts with no loads. While the engine is running your alternator will put out a constant 14.2 volts with no loads while driving or idle. If this is fine then trace the wires from your positve terminal down all the way to the starter looking for bare wires and places that it might be arcing off on metal. Do the same with the negitive wire all the way to the ground point. If all of those are fine then replace the 12 volt regulator. If none of those are the issue then ignore the light.
  • dthornedthorne Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 windstar - two weeks ago the battery light came on - then on Friday past, I was driving and all of a sudden I lost all power options, just like the battery died completly. Also, at that same time, the abs and hand brake light came on. I hauled over, popped the hood..... I reached in and manually reved the engine over high then everything came back. I replaced the alternator and had the battery tested..... same thing is still happening... If I rev it high enough, the battery light will go off for about 10 secs. I could be driving down the road and lose all the power options again.... rev her high and it all comes back.... this is very frustrating! I check fuses and all are good! ANY IDEAS WOULD BE APPRECIATED.
  • rcode72horcode72ho Member Posts: 1
    I am experiencing the exact problem. I cleaned the battery terminals and posts and checked all connections - nothing. I put in a new battery and changed the alternator. Still not fixed. The belt is fine. I went to Auto Zone to have it tested. The machine said it was the wiring. I bought a new battery harness assembly from FORD for $199+ tax. Still the light is on. The battery drains after driving with the battery light on, so it's not a faulty light signal. I'm at a loss. ANYBODY??
  • joebeekooljoebeekool Member Posts: 1
    Today, the ABS light came on; after turning off the van the reset the light, it would not start. We waited a few minutes, tried again and it started up with the ABS light still on. After turning a corner, the left signal continued to blink all the ay home while the lever was in the nuetral position. Could not turn it off even putting into the right turn position; then the A/C shut down, then all of the power features: doors, windows and the radio.
    Got the van home and after a few minutes, everyting started working again. Started it later tonight to move onto parking area.
    Thought about replacing the battery, but I think there is something else wrong.Any thoughts???
  • jefbylsjefbyls Member Posts: 5
    I had the same problem and after much money trying to replace this and that I took it to the dealership. The mechanic said that they see it several times a year. The wires that pass through the driver's door gets broken and shorts out, everytime it shorts out you experience the electircal problems. He said other common places that the wires break are at the passenger door and the liftback door. If you pull off the boot between the door you may be able to find your problem.
  • mfacdgba33mfacdgba33 Member Posts: 19
    Check with a volt meter connected to the battery terminals while the vehicle is running. A battery will put out 12.6 volts normally. while the vehicle is running the altanator should be outting out at least 13 volts or more. hopefully at least 14 which is perfect. If the battery is draining while driveing then your altanator isnt doing its job.
  • jmarzyjmarzy Member Posts: 3
    I have a 2003 Windstar. Just last night, abs light, flashing radio, light on an off and when I pulled over it died and would not start. I see the same complaint posted several times but I am not sure I am reading a definitive answer. Did I miss something?
  • jefbylsjefbyls Member Posts: 5
    I finally took mine in to a dealership and found out it is a common problem with the windstars. It is caused by a wire being shorted out in one of the doors, usually the driver's door or the liftgate. Take the rubber boot off that covers the wires going between the door and the body and check for wires that have been worn or cut. Once you find the wire and splice it the problem will be fixed.
  • tamibtamib Member Posts: 3
    I just got stranded because my 2000 Windstar quit running but right before that the radio, AC, lights, etc. all went out, then a minute later the van died. I had it towed ot a dealership but after reading this forum I"m beginning to think it is something in the wiring. I can not get the electrical doors to open and close half of the time. I am constantly hitting the unlock button hoping that will make the doors open or close right. Maybe I"ve messed something up with hitting the unlock button so often. Anyway, I'm not sure why I've kept this van so long, it's been nothing but problems since the warrantly went out. The auto place thinks it's the alternator but I"m not so sure after reading this, we just replaced the battery 2 days ago.
  • jmarzyjmarzy Member Posts: 3
    Well, as I have posted recently I experienced the same problems in my 2003 Windstar. I first took it to my local mechanic who said it was the battery. Now it was the original battery and I have about 97k miles logged. So I crossed my fingers hopping it was just the battery. And I thought changing the battery after 5 years was a bad thing. Well after 3 days of driving the car did the same thing. But this time I was prepared for the symptoms and had enough time to park in a safe place before calling a friend to pick me up. The next day I drove it limping into the Ford dealership and they said it was the alternator. Now form reading the posts I am not sure if it will make it more then 3 days but I will keep you updated.
  • tamibtamib Member Posts: 3
    I can't remember everything I said in my first post.... But on Monday after the van died the mechanic said the alternator was shot. He's been a trustworthy mechanic for our van for a long time. He said a bad alternator would ruin the battery so I can see how that's connected. After reading the posts I called the mechanic and told him to take the "electric" door switch off because we've been having a lot of trouble with the doors not opening or not shutting all the way for a few months. Someone said the wiring in the doors can cause the same symptoms. At least now we're driving around with our sliding doors closed all the way where they never closed right lately. I will never buy another Ford van, it's been a horrible experience all along.
  • supermom39supermom39 Member Posts: 1
    I own a 2003 Windstar and the first hing that started on mine if that when ever I would go over a bump the ABS and the Brake lights would come on. Once I tuned the van off and restarted the lights would go out. Now my battery liht has come on and Iam not sure if I am going to run into the same problems as everyone else. I purchased this van in 2004, they were using it as a transport van taking customers to other lots or using it to go pick up parts, either way it has taken me a long way at times, so I am hoping that it is the wiring, because it is probably cheaper than replacing the battery or alternator if it is not going to work. Any suggestions? Please help is you can.
  • tamibtamib Member Posts: 3
    My guess is that it is the battery, which is less than a $100. Just don't go to Wal mart because mine never last 2 years so I keep getting a new one replaced for free under their 2 year warranty, but I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't the quality of the batteries. Someone said that you can go to Auto Zone, Jiffy Lube, O'Reilly and they'll check your battery for free. Have you noticed your car not starting as easy lately, I did have that happen but just chose to ignore the battery light but it wasn't long before the battery went dead and left me stranded in a parking lot. It's amazing to me how many people have the same problems with their vans, these vans are lemons.
  • WhyrulaughinWhyrulaughin Member Posts: 1
    I was pretty sure my moms van needed a new alternator. She called me saying she was driving and the battery light came on, then the abs light i think, and she parked and it died and wouldnt start again. I met her and hooked jumper cables up to her car. It started right away, but after disconnecting the cables the battery light came on again and it started clicking and died. After reading the posts in here, im getting closer to thinking it is a wire connection making it short out. If it had been the alternator, the car would have been running on pure battery and even with cables it would not have started as quickly. I will be reposting whether or not i found a bad wire connection and if it fixed the problem. :D :mad: :P
  • bmccallisterbmccallister Member Posts: 1
    i have a 99 windstar the alternator died i had it rebuilt now the battery light stays on and everything is strong also the abs light comes on
  • rose19805rose19805 Member Posts: 7
    Since I replaced the battery and alternator, I've had no problems with my 2003 Windstar. Hope you find the problem.
  • fordsuxfordsux Member Posts: 8
    Ford Tells everyone they have never heard of their problems. When you call them make sure you refer to your van as a 2000 windcrap and maybe that will help them pull their heads out of their asses. Now everyone knows why people refer to fords as fixed or repaired daily or found on road dead!
  • coffeeboy1coffeeboy1 Member Posts: 2
    My problem with the warning lights have been over a year, but just last week my 2001 Windstar's lights flashed, and it died just like that! I had it towed, on the charger for 10 minutes, and it ran fine. But it the battery will go dead in a flash and the problems all exist. I take my key out of the ignition, and my interior lights come on, stick the key back in and they go off, all while the car is dead. Finally the batter will go completely since lights are on. It even was at a point where my key would not turn the ignition, but that finally disapeared. Can this be the alternator, or is it more likely to be the wiring? I am far from a Auto Zone.
  • coffeeboy1coffeeboy1 Member Posts: 2
    There are two options for my 2001 Windstar, it tests bad, and I have nearly ALL the problems in this forum. There is a choice for high output and another with a little lower. I do not have power doors, just power windows (like all new cars) and drivers side power seat. That is about it for special functions. Can I get by with the cheaper one?
  • us2bcrowus2bcrow Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 WIndstar with all of the aforementioned issues. We have replaced the battery, and been though 2 alternators in the last year and STILL last week it was dead once again!!!! We do have an issue of the interior lights flashing off and on as you drive down the road, and the drivers door lock not working properly. The idea that there is a wiring problem somewhere makes a lot of sense to me and if I can't find a sucker to buy my van while I have it running, I will check that out. This possessed van is definitely my first and LAST Ford! It's a shame that such a nice, comfortable vehicle is not more mechanically sound :(
  • rose19805rose19805 Member Posts: 7
  • rose19805rose19805 Member Posts: 7
    I posted over two years ago about my van. I replaced the battery and alternator and since has not given me any problems holding a charge. I have had problems as others with the interior lights coming on at odd times.
    Also one of the passenger doors doesn't work at times with the remote.
    And sometimes the passenger side window will not open or close.
    I've gotten some great ideas on correcting this and will have my boyfriend check this out.
    Thanks to all for the ideas. :)
  • mrnmrsweibel1mrnmrsweibel1 Member Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 Windstar that I've been having issues with and assumed was the alternator until I read this forum. So, I am now wondering if it could be something else and was wondering what some others found out. Last winter my van started idoling funny and acting like it wanted to stall. It only did it when it was very cold and seemed to be worse if I had the radio on. When I let my husband know he told me the radio would not make the van want to stall and off to the garage we went. They ran some tests but could not come up with anything conclusive due to my check engine light always being on (has been since we bought it five years ago). So, we had them replace some of the things they thought it could be, one being the air intake valve. Anyhow nothing seemed to really help and I just learned to live with it. All summer long I had no problems other than having the battery replaced simply because it was time. Well, now that it is winter again it has started all over. When I mentioned it to my husband he said it sounds like the alternator and it would effect other things such as radio. (Had to bust him for telling me it had nothing to do with it last year.). I was planning on having it fixed but now I don't know if it is that. Is there a test for alternators? The symptoms are "jumping, kind of shaking" while idoling but stops if I turn off radio or start to drive again. There is also a noise that I referred to as a lower sound of a belt going. Any advise is very appreciated.
  • jefbylsjefbyls Member Posts: 5
    Dear Mr & Mrs Weibel,
    I had the same problem. After fixing a few things I found the answer by taking it to a Ford dealership. Mine is a 2001 Windstar. The stalling like behavior was due to a leak in the air intake manifold gasket. I had to have the manifold, gasket, and pins replaced. This cost about $350. The radio's odd behavior was due to a grounding wire not being screwed in tight and losing its ground. The screw was located on top of the radiator housing next to the hood latch mechanism. This was a simple fix, just tighten the screw down.
  • avespksavespks Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Windstar SE with approx. 120,000 miles on it. I got it last year after it had been basically sitting (driven once a week) for about 3 or 4 years. The car worked great for the first 3 or 4 months, except for a rough idle when the weather got cold (bouncing tach), which disappeared when I could get it up to speed. It died on me a few months after getting it; I replaced the alternator and battery and everything was fine until around March of this year. The battery light started coming on at random times; sometimes if I'd just started the van, I would park it and take my other car, come back later, and the problem would be gone. Other times it would come on briefly after starting the van, then disappear after I got the car up to speed. This happened approx. 5-6 times since then, often when it was cold out, once where the ABS, battery, and a few other lights came on,but again I was able to limp home. I was driving it 2 weeks ago and it started wanting to stall out when I would come to a stop, the dash and headlights would dim as the tach would bounce. I got it home and the next morning it stalled out, completely shutting off in the middle of a major road (luckily with no traffic on it), all the warning lights coming on. Curiously though, it started right back up after I got it over to the side of the road. I had a mechanic I trust look at it, and he replaced the intake valves, which he said were causing the rough idle (and it does seem fixed), and checked a few other things, but said my alternator (1 year old), battery (2 weeks old), and any other thing he could think to check were fine. I got it back Tuesday and have put about 200 miles on it since. Today, driving home from work, while stopped in traffic, the battery light briefly came on again. I turned off the heat and the radio and revved the engine, and it went away, and after I got it up to speed it was fine, I stopped somewhere and it started back up just fine. Also, the passenger side windows have not worked in a few years, so I will be interested to see if I can find anything to fix in those door wire bundles.

    Thanks for the info.
  • fordinprfordinpr Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Windstar. It is at the Ford shop getting its fourth alternator and third PCM within two weeks. The first alternator stopped charging. The second one worked for a few hours then stopped charging. The third one began smoking right away, as the meter showed 17.8 volts. The mechanic has done extensive diagnostics, replaced wiring, etc. This is getting very frustrating. Any ideas much appreciated. :confuse:
  • mrnmrsweibel1mrnmrsweibel1 Member Posts: 4
    It sounds like your van is doing the same exact thing as mine. I have a post about it all too. Unfortunately, I have yet to find out what it is and may be getting rid of it due to other issues. If you find out what the problem is would you let me know and I will in same inform you if I find it if I keep it and continue having it worked on. I did have my intake manifold replaced last year when it all started and it wasn't that. I have also had a new battery put in, and the last thing they just did was something to do with the idoling. I can't remember exactly what but it was some switch that opens and closes when idoling and mine was stuck. That didn't help either. I took it to auto zone and they said the alternator tested fine but it showed there was power being drained when there shouldn't have been. It only does it if it is cold outside. Started last winter, was fine all summer and started again this winter. And, as you said it is when you are stopped but doesn't seem to do it while in park if I am warming up the van. Please let me know if you find out the problem. I would like to factor it into the cost of having the van fixed or getting rid of it. I have to have the frame replaced to keep it due to rust and I am trying to decide if I should or just buy something else. Thank you.
  • eesofgrahameesofgraham Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Windstar with a similar problem to others in this thread. The main issue is that the battery goes flat if the Van isn't used for a few days.

    I have done some diagnostics and found the following:
    1. The drain seems to be related to the interior lights, based on pulling fuses. The biggest change comes when pulling fuse 1 of the internal fuse panel.
    2. The entry lights for the sliding doors seem to stay on sometimes, even when the Van has been turned off and locked for quite a while. It may be happening regularly but because they are down low behind the driver they simply don't get noticed, especially in daylight.
    3. I took the bulbs out of these two entry lights and checked the current drain through the battery and it seems to be in the 500-650mA range - it gets lower with time; 500mA seems to be about the minimum.
    4. This remaining current looks to be related to coil current on internal Relays 1&4. If I pull them the draw goes down to around 50mA, which is probably about the lowest it will go on a normal vehicle.

    I haven't yet looked at the connector under the driver's area carpet - a suggestion from another forum. That will be next on my list. (I am still confused as to why the two internal entry lights for the sliding door areas would stay on while other internal lights switch off - probably a clue but I don't have a decent wiring diagram).

    I did also check the door open alarm on all the doors and it works well, suggesting all the door switches are operating correctly. Alternator checks out OK, as does the battery.

    (Also it seems this problem is worse in cold weather, but that may simply be related to battery capacity vs. temperature).

    Suggestions welcome.
  • artf86artf86 Member Posts: 4
    Hi Guy, I have the same problem as you have with you Windstar, have tried everything I know to fix it. I just now try and start it every day, I am almost positive it is in the light control. The dim light is to me the issue, I can get the dim wheel in just the right position and all is well for weeks at a time, but if I touch it to turn on the overhead lights then I am back to a dead battery in the morning. I have noticed that the rear interior lights have stayed on a time or two, but don't know if it is the switch or the auto turnoff relay/control.If you know of any cure let me know please. Also the dash display ( MPG, Miles To empty Compass etc} has quit working, have no idea why. Had it scanned and nothing showed up . Love my Van except for these issues. Any ideas, please if you would let me know. Regards... Art
  • bert02bert02 Member Posts: 2
    Nice to hear this. At least I can find another way of checking the alternator. I have a 2000 Windstar 3.8L 125000. My alternator died after 3 months when we bought the van. Luckily I bought a replacement with life-time warranty. It last for 1.5 years then died again. I had to replace it again for free except my own labor. I used a iron bar to pry the alternator back to its origional position instead of adjusting the belt tensioner. I don't have the fuse problem. For these DIY, one can try to use a iron bar to push the alternator back to its position. Simply put one bolts (has 3 bolts) first and use the bar to adjust the alternator to correct options, ask helper to tight 2nd bolts. This way, you don't need to mess up with the engine belt system.

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