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Ford Windstar Alternator and Battery Problems



  • tamibtamib 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Since I replaced the battery and alternator, I've had no problems with my 2003 Windstar. Hope you find the problem.
  • fordsuxfordsux 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!
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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 :(
  • 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. :)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

  • my3kids2my3kids2 Posts: 5
    edited May 2010
    Rose19805 - Did replacing the battery and alternator correct your interior lights flickering issue too? Or does that still occur? And if it does still occur, does it cause any problems? I just bought a used 03 Windstar and the lights flicker (which is probably why the seller had the interior light setting set to the off position when we looked at it). I'm just hoping that it isn't anything more than a nuisanse. Thanks.
  • rose19805rose19805 Posts: 7
    edited May 2010
    Actually the problem with my interior lights happened after the battery and alternator. When I checked my past messages didn't realize this problem had been happening.Now the passenger side window does not work correctly at times.
    I also have to turn my interior light setting to off.
    Even with these problems the van runs great and I'm keeping it until it dies or the repair gets to be a serious problem. Good luck with it!
  • my3kids2my3kids2 Posts: 5
    Thanks for the quick response! We knew buying an older vehicle would come with some issues, but glad to know that the interior light issue is minor (and temporarily fixed with turning the dimmer switch to off). The previous owners replaced the alternator and battery about 18 months ago so at least I don't have to worry about that. We also plan to run this van till it dies or is too costly to repair, but hoping it still has a long quirky life! Thanks again, and good luck with yours too! :)
  • I have a 2001 Windstar. It seems the alternator-battery problem is so common. I had the problem going into this sequence:
    - Brake lights warning come on.
    - The mileage counter goes blank and the O/D flashes all time
    - The engine slows down and the radio and signal lights go dead
    - Changes the battery, drove it for 3 days and the same problem comes again
    - Checked the battery with a multtimeter, the reading while engine off= 10.7 and 12.6 while engine is on.
    - I am guessing I have an alternator problem with lower than expected readings.
    - I will change the alternator this week and let you know.
    In the past few days I have been charging the battery daily for almost 3 hours for a full charge. It is enough to drive the car for almost one hour.
    I need to mention I have the driver side door lock problem, and in the past months many times the internal lights goes on suddenly.
    For me, this was the first Ford I bought and certainly will be the last.
  • When I had this problem I had the alternator replaced only after getting a new battery.
    I haven't had the trouble since. Do still have the interior lights come on at odd times and sometimes the passenger side sliding door doesn't open automatically and the passenger window at times doesn't work but other than that I still enjoy having it. Will keep it until it dies. Hope you can solve this problem too!
  • donc10donc10 Posts: 1
    New here, but have similar issues. 01 Windstar that alternator tested bad on. Batt. also tested bad so replaced both. Starting issue went away, but now it dies while driving. So took first alternator back and tried another and it still dies. ( Like turning off a light, no hesitating or nothing) Thought maybe fuel related so changed fuel filter then pump. Didn't help. Jumped out fuel pump kill switch swapped pump relay with other relay, still nothing. Can anyone shed light on this problem. P.S. No set speed on when it dies either died doing 65, 35, 25mph and anywhere from 2 miles to 18 miles from house. Thanks
  • My 99 Windstar SEL van would start, but then immediately die if I didn't keep my foot on the accelerator. This went on for a week and then it died completely. I had to put both a new battery and alternator (which was fried according to Pep Boys) in when the battery was only about 2-3 years old if that. A week later, battery dead, and replaced by Pep boys. Went to Ford dealership this time, but they could find nothing wrong. Most likely a defective new battery according to both Pep and Ford. When I picked it up, same thing. Would die if foot not on pedal. Took it back up and they could find nothing wrong. On a whim while having my oil changed I had them replace the fuel filter and clean the fuel lines. This seemed to help temporarily and I have been putting in fuel cleaner. I put some fuel cleaner in and that seemed to help. For most of last two months rare incidents. But, again, battery and engine lights are on barely two months later after new battery, and I'm sitting with a van that I'm wasting a fortune burning gas by having to push on the accelerator. Will have them check the doors and wiper as mentioned previously. Just not financially ready to sell a 99 van with only 111,000 miles on it!
  • Mine only dies when starting, it's never died while driving. And it has always warmed up and cleared up. But I'm paying BIG $ on gas doing the warm up!
  • vidirvidir Posts: 5
    Hi! I have Windstar 3.0 yr. 2000 and had the exactly same charging problem for almoust 3 years ago. I replaced the alternator and battery and it was running without problems until yesterday. Im about to change the both the alternator and the battery again with mixed feelings. Is there a better alternator someone can recomend that has a life beyond 3 years?

    There has to be a reason why this alternator is always failing.

  • abmvanabmvan Posts: 1
    The battery was checked and is pushing out 12.25 volts and the alternator is pushing 165 amps and should only be pushing 135 amps. Does anyone else have/had this problem and if so how did you fix it?
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