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Ford Windstar Problems



  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    It is a four speed, overdrive is the fourth gear. The "shift" you feel between third and fourth gear is the torque convertor lock up.
  • ramouramou Posts: 84
    What is it that you're trying to program? I've posted last week about this. The programming is simply the Transmission memorizing the driver's driving habits and adjusting to it. If you've been driving the van for a while before disconnecting the battery then you're not going to notice any difference because your driving habits are the same and they've been memorized. It's not going to shift any different that you would notice but it simply adjusts to your foot pressure and movement on the gas pedal so the transmission can adjust it's shifting. it takes a few hundred miles for the tranny to memorizes your driving habits sort of like it has to memorize a pattern. that's difficult to do if you and someone else drive the van. make sure all electronics are off before you do this and just drive the van as you would normal. Disconnect the battery for 60 seconds, reconnect it, start it up and let it run for 60 seconds, then drive the car.If you never disconnect the battery, the transmission would still adjust to your driving habits but it takes longer, so it's easier just to disconnect the battery if you just bought a used van so you can start with a fresh memory.
  • ramouramou Posts: 84
    I have an Windstar but this is a Non-Windstar question. my sister has a 95 Chrysler Lebaron with the 3.0 V6 engine. The transmission oil was changed twice in the past 4 month but it keeps turning black. Does anyone know what's causing it to turn black?
  • akishakish Posts: 1
    I'm looking for copies of the above mentioned TSB's for 1995 Ford Windstar. Please email to [email protected] or post and let me know that you have it. Thanks,

    Andy Kish
  • e350v10e350v10 Posts: 92
    We have a 2000 SEL. When the A/C has been running for awhile, the cabin starts to smell like exhaust. The dealer caulked some seams (Ford's recommendation) but there was no effect.

    I suspect that the smell is coming into the cabin from the rear compressor. It is very pungent and may have something to do with the catalytic converter on very hot (100+) days.

    The automatic doors also fail on hot days, and there is a large “clunk” when shifting from R to D. I have been told these problems are endemic to the Windstar.

    Does anyone have any experience with this?
  • I wrote last month that my 2002 Ford Windstar gas mileage was going down. I bought it in March and it was getting 15.8, the dealer told me it would get 22. It has been getting worse the past few weeks and its down to 11.5. I took it in and had the oil changed, replace the air filter and had the brakes checked, they were just fine. Any suggestions?
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    Sorry, but our guesses would be just that: guesswork. There are a hundred things that can cause bad gas mileage. It needs to be diagnosed by a mechanic; it's just not something you can do over the internet. Are there any other symptoms that have gone along with the bad MPG?
  • When I wrote the first time the host said that low tires can effect the mileage. We checked the air pressure and it was 32, which is the norm for all our other cars for that size of tire. but when we looked closely at the tire it said 44psi so we raised it to 40 last night. Now its just wait and see. It runs real smooth, no other problems.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    The number stamped on the sidewalls is the maximum pressure that the tire maker says is allowable.

    The car manufacturer makes its own recommendation and tries to balance safety, handling, economy etc. The recommended pressure will be on a placard that's usually in your glove box or on the A pillar.

    I don't recommend deviating a whole lot from Ford's recommended pressure, the Explorer fiasco notwithstanding.

    More fuel economy tips here.

    Steve, Host
  • In reply to the post "is there ANYONE with a 1995 windstar that they are happy with or have had minimal repairs? Not ALL of them were doomed for failure, right? i bought a new 1995 and the only thing done to it was the head gasket recall -no other repairs. tons of city driving and lots of cargo hauling and people around the country, now with 176,000 miles and runs really well! I'm actually happy with my 1995's been put too good use!"

    I bought a 95 LX in 96 one year old with 20, ooo miles, and had the head gasket redone by the dealer. I loved, .........that's loved, ....past tense, that van and had planned on driving it for about 150,000 miles.....................Always had it serviced, etc, 90,000 miles, ......water pump is going, A/C is gone, had the switch replaced once, ........took three years to find the sensor that was keeping the interior lights on, warning bell ringing, until over 10 miles an hour, head gasket is blown AGAIN, transmission is slipping, .......

    I used to bleed ford blue, ............but I'm no longer blue, for Honda or toyota.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I have my 2002 Ford Windstar LX Deluxe. No major problems, and now over 18,000 miles. Some minor things, fuse problems (not a big deal), check engine light came up, but dealer says the computer just had to be 're-programmed', 2 bulbs replaced; but everything else seems fine.

    Last month, my rear wiper got out of track, and when engaged, it turns a little and then goes down, hanging from the window. I must tell you that I'm taking good care of this car, and never use the wipers while it has weight on it (as snow, etc.)

    I noticed that many Windstars have this problem. Driving on the road makes me feel that almost 40-50% Windstars don't have the rear wiper in place. That's why it's interesting to me that Ford will make no changes to the new upcoming Freestar and Monterey. I was sure that would be changed, with a stronger, more stable motor.

    Any comments?
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I've noticed that too on a lot of Winstars- rear wiper dangling down the back door. Don't worry, though, Ford will fix it by 2010. They usually take about 10 years to fix a problem.
  • mted23mted23 Posts: 16
    Two weeks ago I posted that I had the computer reprogrammed to cure a pinging problem. It was actually worse after the reprogram. Two days later it was had to start and idle was real rough. The engine light finally came on. Took it to a different Ford dealer. The computer showed several codes. They replaced upper and lower intake gaskets, fuel regulator among other things. This repair cost $625 of which $525 was covered by an extended warranty. (Max Care from Carmax) The van is now running fine. Ping is gone for now. It did however just stall while going 35mph with no warning. It did start right up and has been fine for about 200 miles through some long traffic delays and high tempatures. Hopefully it will last 100,000 miles. Who knows. I won't buy another Freestar/Windstar.
  • ramouramou Posts: 84
    I had the same problem with my 99 rear wipers. All I did was unscrew the nut, repositioned the wiper arm, re-screw on the nut and it works great now. i guess the wipers arm just comes off the threaded track with time and vibration. Mine took me less than 2 minutes to re-adjust. if u take the wiper arm off and run the rear wipers, you'll see that the motor turns back and forth correctly. I also just got back from a 1990 mile trip in the mountain (from Florida to Tennessee in 6 days) the van drove great with 5 people and luggage up in the mountain with 70,000 miles. the best gas mileage was 24 MPG, the worst was 15 mpg driving around the Smokey Mountains (a lot of uphill driving and driving in 2nd gear). it didn't use any oil, coolant or transmission fluid knock on wood.
  • ramouramou Posts: 84
    I spoke with a transmission shop specialist and he agreed with me that he sees a lot of Windstars and Taurus come in his shop but his explanation was that this van can be driven around town forever and the transmission will never break down, until you take it out on the highway and drive it at 70 or 80mph for couple of hours. He said that some part inside the tranny( can't remeber what he called it) doesn't get exercised enough if the car is always driven in town but when u take it out on the highway, that part gets so hot and it melts and when u go to slow down to get off the exit or whatever, the transmission doesn't go anywhere. So my advice is to drive the van on the highway for extended periods periodically to prevent that from happening. I guess this part needs to be exercised often so it doesn't break down, that's why he said that it will drive in town forever without failing. he sees it mostly in lower mileage engines. I hope this didn't confuse anyone
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    There are sometimes which the Radio reception quality is very poor, and everything I'm doing just adding noise (zzzzzzzzz...) like when I'm signaling, or flashing high-beams, sometimes even just by turning the steering wheel, and of course if something is plugged into the power outlet (like cell phone charger).

    Is there any way to improve the quality of the Radio? (Ford still does not offer digital satellite radio, and I don't know if those offer better quality, they only provide you with a bigger range (coast to coast) to listen to some stations).
  • ramouramou Posts: 84
    Hey I feel your pain, we just returned from a trip in the Smokey mountains and I would scan the radio for a station and it would just go thru the entire dial without picking up a single station. Thank god that I have an in-dash factory CD player. The reason is that the antena in my 99 Windstar is built in the rear right side glass, it looks like the letter "Z", and it's of the same material as the rear defroster wires, it's so cheap and you'll never be able to pick up anything, that's why u hear busing everytime u turn on anything electrical, because the signal runs thru the electrical system causing that humming or busing. I thought about installing an external antena, that means disconecting the existing antena cable from the back of the radio and running another antena cable to an external antena on the fender or so, which I guess I would have to drill in the metal to mount it. Doesn't sound like a big job but I'm seriously thinking about it. Actually we're lucky because some of the Crown Victorias have the antena built in the rear glass along with the defroster wire, meaning that everytime u turn on your rear defroster, u would get straight static until u turn it off. I know this for a fact because my dad had a Crown Victoria that did this, it sucks. Ford Radios just plain suck
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    Between my parents and the cars I've owned, I've had personal experience with four Town Cars, one F-150, one F-350, a Cougar and a Windstar. Granted none of them could compare to a high end aftermarket system, but none of them were crap. The only one I have any buzzing in is my F-350. The passenger side window makes a slight hissing in the radio. I would be willing to bet it is a grounding problem. I have similar trouble in the past with GM cars. It almost always turned out to be a broken ground somewhere.

    As far as reception goes, I'll agree the mast would do better, but the inglass antenna is a cleaner installation. I've been to the Smokies on several occasions. I remember having the same problems as you. When you get down between the mountains you won't get any stations.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    I agree with Mullins. Poor radio reception in the mountains is normal. And a buzzing proportional to another electrical device is usually a bad ground or a bad radio noise supressor. The radio itself probably isn't at fault. Ford sound systems are pretty much on par with the rest of the industry.
  • bk3187bk3187 Posts: 2
    I have seen a few postings on stalling and dying, but have not seen any identification of cause. Please post if you know the solution, TSB, or recall info.

    My 2001 Windstar intermittantly fails to start or dies after being restarted a few minutes after driving. The problem usually happens on a hot day and has occurred 3 times in the last month (as described below).
    1. extended highway driving on a HOT day. Stopped at a rest area. Car failed to maintain sufficeint RPMs to keep running when restarted 20 min. later. Let the car sit for about 45 minutes with the hood up. Started and continued fine.
    2. Round town driving on a hot day. Wife stopped at a shop and returned 15 minutes later. Symptoms as above...Car successfully start 1 hour later.
    3. Round town driving of 15 mile on a warm day. Return to vehicle and it will not run. Returned 3 hours later and everything worked fine.

    Other (seemingly unrelated) issues:
    + Placing cargo in the rear causes the vehicle to believe a door is open even if the cargo is away from the door. This causes a light to stay on and prevents the auto-lock from engaging when starting. Also prevents lights from coming on when stopping the car.
    + Engine intermittently hunts (surges) when at idle.

    Thanks for the comments. I got 225K miles out of my Aerostar...I am at 50K on the Windstar and it looks like I will need to replace it. The family is not too keen on being stranded.

    Any suggestions or comments? Experience with Ford?
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    Wow, after almost 4 years of owning this van and thinking I had 5 gears! Wasn't until I noticed the same thing in my Elantra, but I knew it only had 4 gears. The same thing about the torque converter locking up was explained. I can sleep now!

    About the black transmission oil, you know the saying, once you go black, you'll never go back! LOL, sorry I couldn't help it. Something is defnitely wrong, though!

    ramou, you confused me. You said "So my advice is to drive the van on the highway for extended periods periodically to prevent that from happening" yet you also say running on the highway is what melts this part.
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    By not starting, you mean the engine is cranking but not firing and runnning, rright? I just want to make sure you're talking about a no-start conditions and not a no-crank one. I think your stalling/not starting issues and surging idle problem will end up being caused by the same problem. The next question I have is: Has the check engine or MIL lamp come on? If so,then you need to have that code read and you'll have a good starting point to work from. My first suspect is a leaking intake gasket, because that is a common failure on all of Ford's late-model V-engines. Because the problem is temperature related, I am inclined to suspect something mechanical like that instead of electrical. Also could be an EGR valve sticking open, lots of other things. The door ajar light sounds like a misadjusted door switch. This is easy! To solve, just create the problem (make the light come on with your cargo in the van and all doors closed) then open each door (start with the tailgate and the sliding door) individually and press its door switch. Whichever one makes your light go out was the culprit. Now you'll either have a sticking switch (which can be lubed with WD-40, etc) or a misadjusted door than can be readjusted to strike the switch better. Good luck, please update us on the no-start problem.
  • haulthault Columbus OhioPosts: 128
    FYI FORD had a problem for years with an electrical part that when heated up would break the circuit causing the vehicle not to start. After cooling down the vehicle would start and run fine. Your best bet is to put a deposit down at the dealership and drive around with a "flight recorder" which should record the problem when it occurs.
  • ramouramou Posts: 84
    Sorry Tmant but I didn't mean to confuse you, I know that it's difficult to explain mechanical stuff on the internet than in person sometimes but let me try again. About that part that melts in the Windstar transmission that causes the tranny to go out: From the way that transmission specialist explained it to me, he said that if the van has a high mileage on it and mostly city mileage than highway then it will probably never go out as long as you continue driving it in the city traffic. But he said that when it has all that city mileage and you start to take it on the highway for extended periods at first is when the tranny breaks down because that part that only works in the highway driving setting hasn't been exercised often and now all of the sudden it has to work hard after all that time, causing it to break down and basically melt. He described the way it breaks down as that you could be on the highway for 3 hours and when u pull in the exit or come to a stop and you start to go again, the tranny doesn't go anywhere, which is how some people with transmission break downs described it to be. He said that usually happens when people buy a used van that was mostly being driven in city and now the "2nd" owner does a lot of highway driving. I know that it sucks because ther's no way of knowing this or even preventing it even if you knew it. Now keep in mind that he said that this happens with "most" of those transmissions. But it can still happen with someone that drives the van both equally on the highway and the city, you just never know with those transmissions which I think is why they have such a high failure rate. My advice is to exercise the van on the highway little by little until that part gets addapted to the highway driving and also service the transmission, change the filter and use Mercon, also for your info the transmission pan gasket on that transmission is a permenant gasket that usually doesn't need to be replaced so make sure the shop doesn't throw it away as it's a $50 gasket from what I understand. I hope this clears out some of the confussion as I tried to explain it the best i could. I'm not the expert but I'm just relaying what he told me, I have a 99 Windstar with 70,000 and I'm always interested on understanding what causes things to break down in that van, especially mechanical stuff.
  • bk3187bk3187 Posts: 2
    Regarding questions... The car turns over, but will not fire....or....fires as long as you have the gas pedal depressed. (Move your foot to the brake and the car dies). There is no Check Engine light or code.

    I went by the Ford dealer this morning with the intent of leaving the van, but the service writer was candid that without a code he was only guessing. He suggested it could be the Idle Control Motor, several different valves, and even the fuel pump. To his credit, he was hesitant to start replacing things without more info. He suggested a couple of diagnostic tests...Next time it happens, turn on the ignition and wait about 15 sec before cranking to check for fuel pump bleed back. ...Second...tap the Idle Control Motor and retry. ...Third...tow it into the dealer real quick before it can be started back up (hmmmmmm).

    I followed up with a call to my regular mechanics to ask about the Idle Control Motor. As luck would have it, one of the guys consistently experienced the same problem on his Explorer. He indicated that the problem went away when he cleaned the ICM. I am going to clean or replace the ICM and let you know how it ends up.

    Re. the door switch....where the heck are the door switches? I have looked all over for the traditional switches but I cannot find them. I thought it might be incorporated in the latch mechanism.

    Thanks for the comments........Bill
  • wijocowijoco Posts: 462
    "Re. the door switch....where the heck are the door switches? I have looked all over for the traditional switches but I cannot find them. I thought it might be incorporated in the latch mechanism."

    Shucks I don't know. I don't actually own a Windstar. I think you're in line for a Haynes manual at Autozone. Theyre only $15, and if you only learn one thing, then it's paid for itself. I guarantee Haynes will show the door switch locations. Shoot, every new Ford should come with a bonus Haynes manual! Sounds like you're on the right track with the stalling problem, you made the right move by not leaving it at the dealership: mechanics have a lot of ways of hinting that "I don't really want to work on your vehicle." I guess he had too many $30 oil changes lined up. Sheesh.
  • I had a similar problem with my '00 Windstar. It would start, but would cut off once I took my foot off the accelerator. Once it ran for awhile with my foot on the accelerator, it would stay on, but was kind of random. It turned out that the idle control valve needed to be replaced and that fixed the problem.
  • al_chanal_chan Posts: 5
    Hi folks:
    Since I refill the freon (about 2.8 lbs) on my windstar, the car been acting funny.
    1. Started the engine, no problem (rpm about 600)
    2. put on max a/c no problem (rpm about 600)
    3. put on R, with brake on, the rpm goes up and down (500 - 900 rpm).
    4. release the brake and the car will jerk
    5. Put on D, same as R, (rpm 500 - 900)
    6. Put on P, the rpm stablize
    7. Drive for a short while, the rpm stablize (about 700 rpm)
    Anyone had this problem before and how do you fix it????
  • flackoflacko Posts: 13
    A few years ago I owned a Taurus and Sable wagon. One had a 3.0 liter V6 and the other had the 3.8 liter V6. Both eventually experienced random hot starting/stalling problems that were cured by changing the fuel pumps. I tried several other things before doing that. The fuel pressure was ok, but the fuel volume delivery was not enough to overcome a "vapor lock" condition. After having the fuel pumps changed, both cars ran fine until I sold them at about 150 K on them. Hope this helps. The Windstar engine could be causing you a similar problem.
  • tmanttmant Posts: 70
    That explanation made more sense, thanks. I mostly drive to work, about 20 miles each way in rush hour traffic. I occaisionally go out of town about 200 miles each way. This is not good since I have not yet noticed anything strange. Unless you count when my transmission did fail at about 62k.

    My rpms fluctuates just a bit when putting into gear. It drops 100-200 rpms and jumps up about 300-400 rpms all within one second and stays stable. I suspect your transmission may be starting to fail you.
This discussion has been closed.