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Ford Windstar Engine Problems



  • Engine would die right after ignition. Would spit and sputter, idling at very low RPM if I kept pushing gas pedal and slowly released. If I could get it in gear w/out it stopping, then it would run until I stopped to get gas or go to the store etc. But after a few hours of not starting it will start again. It will back fire while try to start it. This problem comes and goes. I have replaced the intake gasket (1 large gasket) 6 smaller round gaskets and 8 bolts with gaskets on them for the intake manifold. (As per the ford service group)
    Please....some one help.
  • I own a 2000 Windstar and noticed that the vehicle would randomly die when I come to a stop. Does not happen all the time though. It also putters when I start it and then dies. It will start up again within a couple of seconds. I am not getting a check engine light at all. While in park or idle, RPM's are at about 600. :surprise:

    Anyone out there have the same problem?
  • hi rayden had similar issue on a 99 found out problem was coming from distributer shaft located at the back of motor on passenger side not an easy task . a haynes or shiltons book is very usefull .the shaft and gear sometimes wears out.
  • slms1slms1 Posts: 3
    I have a 2002 Ford Windstar and have had to replace the intake gaskets, MAF and now the upper intake manifold. This last repair seems to have done the trick, the car is running fine, but the engine light is still on. It is now reading possible codes of oxygen sensor, inginition misfire and again the MAF and of course the good old adages of lean fuel codes bank 1 and 2. Please help...its symptoms of kicking while idling and acting like the engine was revving have stopped. I am putting alot of money in this car and really can't afford any more. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  • gworley,

    thanks for the reply. My Windstar also lopes when I start it and then dies if I don't press the gas pedal. I can let it sit for about ten seconds and pump the gas and it will be ok for about two days. No check engine light at all though. :(
  • Could be the mass air flow sensor, or fuel pressure regulator going bad. Also, sometimes a more simpler fix is hard to find, but there is usually an idle screw adjustment on the throttle housing or which used to be where the "carbuerator" was on older models. sometimes wear occurs there, and all you have to do is adjust the idling screw up a bit to solve the problem, mechanics at shops overlook this adjustment frequently, a simple fix usually with this screw, but it is sometimes hidden and hard to see, just trace the accelerator linkage and you will find it! Hope this is of some help.
  • Could be gas filter or gas cap, (1) The first thing I ALWAYS do is add try adding a bottle or two of "Heat" gas treatment to no more than 10 gallons of gas, never hurts! Also there is a mass air flow sensor, or fuel pressure regulator that could be going bad, there are many, many more things it COULD be. (2) sometimes a more simpler fix, and the screw is hard to find, but there is usually an idle screw adjustment on the main Injection port or throttle housing which used to be in the area where the "carbuerator" set on older models, and all you have to do is adjust the idling screw up a bit to solve the problem, mechanics at shops overlook this adjustment frequently, a simple fix by idling up the engine a bit with this screw, has fixed several for me! but it is sometimes hidden and hard to see, just trace the accelerator linkage and you will find it! This may not solve everyone's problems, but hope this is of some help to a few.
  • fadlfadl Posts: 1
    I had a similar problem and replacing the spark plugs fixed it for a short while. One of the spark plugs was dirty, the problem went away after it was replaced.
  • slms1slms1 Posts: 3
    We did a tune up on Thursday, the plugs were dirty, didn't help. The car started acting up again. We had it at the mechanics on Thursday morning, did a smoke test and there were no leaks, but it is an obvious vacuum issue. I spoke to someone Saturday night that told me its the lower intake, this leak doesn't show up on a smoke test. He said there is a rod that goes through the lower intake and it has something like a neoprene sleeve around it. The sleeve wears out and slips into the manifold causing the leak. He thinks replacing this will take care of the whole problem. I can't talk my husband into buying a new vehicle and this is at least a $600 repair I am told, on top of the $1000 we have already sunk into it. I will let you know if and when we repair it, if it was the problem. All I know is I am ready to junk it, I don't want to be on the highway with kids in tow and breakdown.
  • Hello,
    My WS was idling rough so I got a tuneup and oil change @ 100K miles. A couple of weeks later the oil light came on; I checked and I was almost dry.

    Took it back to the mechanic who said I need a valve cover kit.

    Took it to another mechanic today who agreed with the first guy's diagnostic code (vacuum seal leak?) but he says I'm losing too much oil for the valve kit to fix the problem.

    Expl: I put in 2 quarts 3 days ago and today I've lost a quart of it.

    Mechanic #2 fears the problem is in the motor but won't know until taking things apart (costly).

    Does anyone have any advice?
  • slms1slms1 Posts: 3
    I agree with you on costly. I found out from several mechanics that this rough idling thing that I am experiencing was also causing my engine to leak oil. They told me a that a vacuum leak in the manifold can cause oil to leak from the engine. We only replaced the upper manifold and no leaking now, but still rough idling. I spoke to another mechanic, again and he said if and when we replaced the upper manifold, if we didn't clean out the EGR valves then this could be cause enough for the rough idle. So one night this week we are going to try this and see if it will fix it. My advice, I know dealers are expensive, but after talking to this last guy, our neighbor who we just found out is a Ford mechanic, said it is totally worth it to at least come in and get a diagnosis for $90 and they can pinpoint the problem and tell you how to fix it if you want to save yourself lots of money.

    I will let you know how this all turns out for the idling problem.
  • :confuse: Van was sounding like a truck, idleing crappy, like an idle surge. Husband put in a new flex pipe after the cat. The sound went away but the van was still running rough. Idle when in park is like vamps up, vamps down. Not a continus smooth idle. While driving it has no pick up, when taking off from a stop at times it stalls out. :P Engine light came on and my husband then replace the air filter, gas filter, and then the engine light went off and remained off. When on highway and trying to pass or climbing a hill at top speed it bogs down but there is a whineing sound. He changed the transmission fluid and filter and put transmission lucas in it. He also adjusted the idle speed screw and it ran a little bit better for a week and then it started acting up again. He adjusted it again today, did a vacmune check on egr valvle OK. and gas pressure regulator. was OK as well. the idle still not smooth but driving is alittle bit better and no stalling at stops signs when i take off. He also changed the crank sencor no change.. Ok so HELP what is the heck wrong with it.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    Try cleaning or replacing the ICV.

    Good Luck
  • Hello I have no reverse I have all forwad gears ok reverse not engageing. Ichanged fluid and filter. The owner just realized that the reverse took longer to engage for a while then when I moved it to change fluid the reverse was not there. Please can anyone tell me what could ti be Thanks
  • dabblerzdabblerz Posts: 3
    I have a 1997 Ford Windstar with a rebuilt engine. Because of engine corrosion and gasket problem the engine leaked and failed. I had it rebuilt but the problem has arisen again. The leak is somewhere under the timing cover I think. I tried a silica leak stop solution put in and that solved it for a couple of months. Is there anything that is better for my situation?
  • Hollo there I'm sorry took so long to get things done. Now i have done thus far is replaced lower inatake gasgets upper plenum gasgets, new EGR,new IPS,new MAF,new plugs,wires,new CRKS,new CAMS,ICV, gas filter air filter, :sick: and just yesturday Sat 4/11/2009 comprsstion check all cyls are at 175to180 psi. Still have rugh idle allite more power still have od problem press to floor will go into passing put boggs down instead ove a bust. Ck engine finaly came on now I'm getting code p171 lean bank 1.thats it . Thanks Richard
  • I have a windstar 2000 3.8l engine and i am trying to replace the plastic ends for the rods for me intergrated manafold run control switch. i need to download an exploded view of this imrc switch from the web or etc. at no cost. help! help!
  • gemini75gemini75 Posts: 3
    well i just found out that i have been putting the wrong spark plugs in the damn thing they take either double platinum or ridium the 2 most expensive plugs and even though you take care of the van the engine and tranny will go out even if you replace it with a new one, the ford dealer told me yesterday that i need to get a new vehicle i told him i wanted to replace both engine and tranny, he said i would not even take your money een if you told me to, the engine sound raggedy and my oil light comes on they said it is the pump or the barrings but reading all te other post it is best that you go and trade your an to get something else, cause thats what im going to do dont spend any more money cause the car is messed up and it wont make a difference even if another mechanic can fix the problem it wont change anything, so please get another vehicle. :sick:
  • gemini75gemini75 Posts: 3
    try shucks or auto zone but mine does that to
  • gemini75gemini75 Posts: 3
    if your putting all that money into them i suggest you just something different not a windstar, they are good vans to start out with but they go way down hill afterwards thats what the ford dealer repair man told me they have taurus engines in them so they if you have a taurus with the same problem you know what to do already dont waste your money get something new, cars are not an investment get your money worth out of a vehicle not put all your money into it, dont trust mechanics who say they can fix it and it will be fine cause it wont. :sick:
  • wlee1wlee1 Posts: 2
    This 1995 Windstar GL, has some serious issues, the problem you had discrible, indicates a blown head gasket, I had mind replaced 3 times...first 2 was repaired free, third costed me $2600 US dollars, it is very expensive repair.

    you can check a few things to see if this might be the problem..
    you mentioned gasket burned, head gasket??

    * did you notice exhaust bellowing white smoke before it stop running?
    * check the radiator, to see if you have any oil in the coolant?
    * any water or coolant in the exhaust system?

    All indicates a blown head gasket, due to incompatible and chemical reaction of different metals of the gasket and engine.
  • azharjazharj Posts: 3
    windstar 2000 loses about one litre after 2000km no smoke no leak no oil in coolant. where is the problem
  • My pastor had a 94 Ford Ranger, when he would try to excellorate, the truck acted like it was starving for gas,he would have to let up on the gas petal or it would have stalled ! He took the truck to autozone and they knew what was wrong right away ! Tested the "Mass Air Flow" sensor and it was bad, put a new one on the intake hose , and it is still running great !
  • Over heating is usually caused by bad thermostat, make sure the belt is tight
    and in fairly good condition, also the water pump will cause your van to over heat.But if the water pump was bad ,you would have noticed a antifreeze leak
    even while it is setting still and engine not running ! If it is really hot where you live you might want to clean the radiator, dirt and grass will get caught in front of the radiator and you can clean it with a water hose , look in front of radiator and check for blockage !
  • missy61missy61 Posts: 1
    edited June 2010
    I was heading down a dirt road when al of a sudden my 1996 Ford Wind-star had this loud noise under the floor I stopped to see if it was a flat for that's is what I thought no flat I got in and reverse it did not happen then I went on down the road and up a hill with the noise it had power but the noise was bad .. It got louder and kinda wobbled when I hit the brakes the more pressure the louder it got !!!

    What is this and just how do I fix this.

    Cant seem to get a hold of my sons or they would be able to tell me they know this kind of stuff. Help for I don't have the cash to get it in the shop and I am looking at starting a job here soon as Friday!!

    I am on a Why Me Syndrome Fast reply is needed! More information on this I think its some thing to do with the transfer case for it would kind jump when placed in drive. 3.8 engine no other problems that are not of normal wear and use.

    I have had a Drive line drop in a Jeep Wagoner so I know the feeling of something like that going out.. as well I have had a Piston shoot and brake and Arm and this is not no engine trouble it runs the same and has power so not no cam trouble... it has to do with the braking and drive mechanical parts.
    ie oil coolant and such. Nothing looks out of the norm under no cracks or dings on any of the cases no leaks out of the norm. Few months back it did over heat but its cause stupid has not changed the coolant in the last three years I was gone and its in break down so I was looking to get that flushed and freshened and the oil changed along with a new set of wires and plugs and maybe a new fuel filter as well here with first new job check.
  • ghanes1ghanes1 Posts: 1
    Right after starting the car the idle speed drops rapidly and will recover most of the time, sometimes the car will stall. No codes have set as of yet.
  • jscoobyjscooby Posts: 1
    edited October 2011
    my van has an issue with running for about 20 min then shutiing off on it's own, then it will crank and not start, no spark. if i let the engine sit for about 20 min it will restart for a little while. i have relaced the cam and crank pos sensors and tried a new ign coil pack. there are no codes on the pcm. i even replaced the wireing between the pcm and the crank pos sensor due to fluids eating through wire casing. one thing to mention is the origonal failure wouldnt run neary as long before cutting out, maybe 2 min. then i replaced the crank pos sensor and the time went up to about 20 min. i keep reading about a key xciever problem but both keys act the same. at a loss except possably got a new part that is bad or the pcm is going, but again no repeatable codes, did get a eninge speed /ign circuit malfunction code once but could be because i had at high rev when engine died. anyone have anything else for me to check? email at
  • sounds as thought its leaking pressure in the heads or the plugs are fouling out or maybe clogged feul injectors. windstars are plagued with valve stem leaks
  • 01 windstar 3.8 6cyl. I have been been having plugs oil fouling about every 3 to 6 weeks with regular driving. After many replacements and newair and gas filters and all seals replaced to prevent vacuum leaks the problem continued. So the research began. Im at the point that the intake valve seals are bad and allowing oil to go into the cylinders a condition called atomization. Over the time that this has happened im also sure the valves will have alot of carbon and oil buildup on them and have to be replaced as well. Doing this will also mean another complete seal replacement and plugs. Everyone please give me your opinion on this and tell me if im correct in my research or not.
  • try a fuel filter
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