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Ford Windstar Problems



  • I had all the usual 95 windstar problems. Head gasket done at 55000 under extended warantee. While on vacation from Columbus, Oh to Florida I started to hear noises in engine so I scheduled appointment at ford dealership in Panama City< Fl. They stated I needed rod bearings only. The rest looked good. After 5 days I got it back. Guess what by the time I got to Birmingham Alabama I had a blown engine. I did a one way rent home with my family and abandoned the windstar at a FORD dealership in Alabama. I'm waiting to hear from them.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    If FORD cannot provide you with an engine within 5 days, you are entitled to the Ford buyback.

    Good Luck!
    2003 Honda Odyssey EX-LRES - Midnight Blue Pearl
    2004 Honda Accord EX-L Graphite Pearl
    2007 Honda Civic EX - Atomic Blue
    2013 Honda Civic LX - Crimson Pearl
  • weslwesl Posts: 53
    Which Ford dealer did you leave it at? There are some terrible Ford dealers in B'ham. If you have any choice the only one to deal with is Long-Lewis Ford. Avoid Jim Skinner and Adamson at all costs. Later, Wes.
  • I went to a new dealership "Town and Country Ford" off I 59. When I called the service department today they said $4200 for engine. I continued to mention the ford program. He said he had to talk to the mechanic and he would call wednesday. I sent letter to the law firms recomended on this site as a backup if FORD does not come through. UNITED WE STAND. I wont give up. Thanks wholigan. I will keep you all posted as my saga unfolds. My van had 65000 miles when it died. The funny thing is I really liked the van.
  • gordy7gordy7 Posts: 1
    I am currently looking into buying a used van probably '98. I was dead set on buying a Windstar, but after researching on this site and others I'm not sure what to do. Most of the problems seem to be with earlier models. Is the head gasket still a problem or did Ford fix it? (maybe most of the '98's just don't have enough miles on them for the problem to surface.) Is the '98 going to be a regrettable vehicle. It sounds like you can solve most of the tranny problems with regular service and possibly a stronger battery. I have begun to think about buying a Dodge/Plymouth instead but with two children I really like the safety rating of the Ford. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  • I believe the transmission problems were somewhat resolved by 98. I wouldnt trust the 3.8 motor without a warantee to back it ?
  • KENT25 and ANIGHTMARE can you send me E-MAIL address so I can find out what your scenario was leading to the "buyback offer." I'm currently working with a dealership out of state on a blown engine while on vacation scenario. Anyone else with help on buyback process please send me info/e-mail address. Dealer is very helpful and willing to assist me.
  • My E-MAIL is
  • liebedaliebeda Posts: 13
    I mentioned last week that a dealer told me to bring in my van for the 9.5 MPG problem I was having.

    I went to the other dealer this morning. When I called, they told me to bring the car and they would run some tests. This morning they gave me a hard time when I got there - saying that 9.5 MPG was normal where I live and they wouldn't find anything wrong.

    I told them that I spoke with a technician when I called and was told to bring the car in. After some arguing, he said he would check the car.

    When he put the info into the computer, I noticed that he wrote something about an $82 charge. He didn't say anything about it to me. When I asked him about it, he said that if they couldn't find anything wrong, I would have to pay the hourly labor charge.

    I argued with him for a few more minutes and took my van with me and left.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    @#$^^$$^ %^%*&^%%#$@#B *&%%^$^ ^%$^%$^ ^%$$#@^&;%C &^%& C7865&^%&^$%^$#5 &^%^% %%%% dealers!!!!!
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Apparently, my computer, sensing that "sensitive" eyes might be reading what I wrote, changed my actual words to senseless characters.
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    What dealership was this??!!??
    Is your car under warrantee?
    If so, I have never heard of bringing your car in for something under warrantee, and if they cant find anything wrong, they will charge you. That is outragous!
  • I contacted the salesman that sold me a 2000 FOCUS about my dead van. As with my other purchase he was extremely helpful. The dealership got me the $6650 buyout w/3000 incentive. I now have a 2000 LX Windstar.
  • zim5zim5 Posts: 5
    Greetings Everyone. I recently purchased a
    98 Windstar LX with 12,000 miles on the odometer.
    Each time I accelerate (such as merging onto a
    highway or climbing a hill) I can feel a distinct
    vibration coming up through the gas pedal as the
    transmission works through the gears. Once the
    van is up to speed, the vibration goes away.
    Has anyone experienced this problem. I would
    appreciate any advice. Also, the van has a tendency to pull to the right (tire pressure is OK). Otherwise, I'm very happy with my Windstar
    (so far). Thanks for your help.
  • 2akitas2akitas Posts: 19
    We have the same thing with our 95 Windstar. Not sure what it is . Still trying to find out .
  • liebedaliebeda Posts: 13
    I sent an e-mail to Ford about this and I'm waiting for a response. The say that it takes up to three business days. Let's see what happens.
  • Have had our 2000 SEL since January 2000 and have about 6.5K miles on it. Bought through employee purchase plan. Got every option except adj pedals.

    Some observations.

    Check engine dashboard warning light came on at about 3K miles. No noticeable difference in performance. Took it in and told it was probably a "gasket problem." Heart sank as I recalled all the problems with engine head gaskets noted on these boards and elsewhere. What service rep was talking about was gasket on fuel cap. Check engine light can indicate improper venting of fuel vapor. Replaced fuel cap. About 50 miles after service, check engine light comes on, again with no noticeable decline in performance. Drove until 6K and took it in for oil change and service. Apparently some solenoid was defective and was replaced. Yesterday (about 50 miles after service) check engine light comes on again, with no noticeable decline in performance.

    At about 3K the seatbelt warning chime stopped working (some might consider this a blessing). This was serviced at the same time as the 1st check engine light. Apparently a small switch in the seatbelt latch was defective. It took FIVE DAYS for a part to get shipped (yo Ford, ever hear of FedEx?) during which time the car was in the shop. Now the service rep offered to give me the car back and said he would call me when the part came in, and we have an extra car so it was not a horrible situation. But I figured it was less of a hassle to just let the dealership keep the car and make one less trip over there.

    The factory installed entertainment system is cheaply made. One of the headphone jacks had the plastic trim around it break off. The jack is still usable but requires some fiddling to get stereo sound. When my son tried to adjust the headphones, the earpiece snapped off. Headphones are made by Koss but have "Visteon" (FoMoCo parts subsidiary spinoff) stamped on 'em.

    None of the above problems are major and the dealership has been very friendly about fixing the problems (though I'd trade all the kindness in the world if they could find out what's making the [expletive deleted] check engine light come on.). Still, I've had the van a little over six months and it's been in the service department over a week. If this is what the initial quality is like, I'm not too hopeful about down the road and wonder what other problems may be lurking.

    I've owned cars by GM ('84 Chevy Cavalier, H2O pump failed at about 75K), Chrysler ("93 Dodge Caravan, fuel pump went out at 45K), and Mazda ('90 626, no major service problems) and have never had the initial quality problems that I'm having with the Windstar. Based on the above, my next car will probably be German or Japanese. It's sad--I really WANT to buy domestic but who needs the hassle when there are better cars out there? I'm 37 and (God willing) have more than a few car purchases left in my lifetime but will probably steer clear of the Ford/Mercury/Lincoln lines in the future.

    Anybody from Ford read this board?
  • the check engine light is suppose to leave a code in the computer which the dealership should be able to read and tell you what area is coded. On my 95 Windstar it was always the O2 sensor on long trips. It was an early sign of my impending headgasket problems, which FORD apparently did not know at the time. I went down the long road to total motor failure, but ended with a buyback so I now have a new 2000 Windstar. If we all stick together I'm sure FORD will help us.
  • HA.
    If helping customers is in Ford's official business objectives, then I am the Queen of England.

    Ford will only "help" if the class action lawsuit lawyers are able to sink their teeth into its hide a little more. Every single customer ought to be reimbursed every single dime he/she spent on the Windstar for engine and transmission repairs, rental cars, motel bills, towing, etc. etc. no questions asked. But I won't hold my breath, because I would turn blue.

    And yes, I think Ford reads these posts, but chooses to do nothing about them, other than figure out a deal that in the end benefits them financially (i.e. 4K certificates and "buybacks").

    'nuff said.
  • mijulampmijulamp Posts: 1
    I am seriously considering buying a 2000 Windstar SEL, have always been a happy FORD owner, with either a truck or car...I would appreciate any info or opinions on the 2000 is a lot of money to spend without being certain that its the best move..
  • kathy36kathy36 Posts: 4
    I was just told to look up this site. Last
    Friday, while traveling to PA with my two young children and senior citizen mother, I broke down with my 95 Windstar. A month and a half ago, the head gasket was fixed by the dealer where I bought the used car 3/31/00. Now, the car towed to the nearest dealer, at least 20 miles in the Poconos, we find out it needs a new engine. And it will only take 8-12 weeks! My husband came up 3 days later to rescue us. Ford says it will repair it under my warranty, with a loaner car for only 5 days! Now that I read everybody else's problems, my sounds the same. I need to find out an address and phone number besides the old customer service (twerps) number. That only gets me dial-an-idiot, a new one everyday! One service rep mentioned a buyback and said Ford will call us. My hometown dealer (more twerps) says about the car in PA - good luck! Nobody wants to hear me. The best part is, before I bought the car, the salesman took it to my mechanic, who said the car had two leaks - antifreeze and transmission. Dealer said they would fix them, we bought the car. Two weeks later, our mechanic said they were not fixed. Back to Ford - alas, head gasket! It's good to know some others are listening to me who will at least sympathize. Whoever said Ford reads these, I sure hope so. Please help if you can!
  • steve68steve68 Posts: 1
    Our 99 Windstar is fine. it is comfortable and reliable.

    When we bought it, we got the "CD prep" radio/tape player. Can anyone recommend where we can find the CD changer to work with the factory equipment? I don't want to get an FM controlled CD changer, and have not been able to find the CD player at Cruthfield, or at the dealer (they wanted to send me to "their" installer).

    Beyond the lack of a CD changer, the vehicle works well.

  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    You have the case Kathy! The following is a press release from RUETERS - March 7, 2000:


    DEARBORN, Mich., March 7 (Reuters) - Ford Motor
    Co. , as part of a plan to fix potential head
    gasket problems on some cars and minivans, will buy the vehicle back in certain cases if a new engine cannot be found in a timely fashion, a spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

    Ford, the world's No. 2 automaker, announced last
    month that it extended the warranty on head gaskets in certain 3.8 liter V-6 engines to seven years or 100,000 miles. The head gasket is a central seal in the engine that can cause engine failure if it leaks.

    There are about 700,000 vehicles affected. They
    are: 1994-95 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans;
    1994 Continental large sedans; and 1995 Windstar

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    If a failed head gasket causes engine damage,
    Ford will replace the engine. But if Ford cannot
    locate a re-manufactured engine within five days,
    the automaker will offer to buy back the vehicle
    for fair market value as well as issue a $3,000
    certificate toward the purchase of a new Ford, said spokesman Mike Vaughn.

    Vaughn declined to say how much Ford would pay for
    the damaged vehicles. Based on a guide from the
    National Association of Automobile Dealers, the
    fair market repurchase offer ranges from $3,175 for a 1994 Taurus GL to $8,375 for a 1995 Windstar LX.

    If a head gasket fails during the extended
    warranty time period, owners will be eligible for
    repair refunds. Or they can choose to take a $4,000 certificate to be used for the purchase of a new Ford, Mercury or Lincoln vehicle.

    Vaughn declined to say how much the program will
    cost Ford. A story in this week's Automotive News,
    an industry trade publication, said Ford could
    spend at least $200 million, making it one of the
    five largest warranty campaigns in the industry.


    Don't let the dealer play games with you...
    Tell them that you want to talk to the Ford Customer Service Representative for BOTH your servicing dealer and the dealer in PA (these are the Ford employees responsible for customer relations.

    Educate yourself...
    Read the posts both in here and at to get more information about how people have been treated during their "ordeal". The follwing postings outlines a buyback scenario from Kent25:
    Pay special attention to #493 for a link for the Ford CSRs to use to get more information about the process. Further, see link #515 for the economical advantage. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to work through the issues.

    Work your best deal...
    Here is the latest that I have heard. You should be offered about $6650 for the van. In addition, there is the $3000 "Certificate" (for not having to pay for the repair). Plus any current rebates (I think there is currently a $1000 or $1500 rebate). Unfortunately, you have to buy another Ford, however, play your cards right and you'll be getting $10000+ off your negotiated price and you get a new warranted vehicle. If you keep it for two years (still under warranty, mind you) you should easily be able to get rid of it and get out of the Ford world.

    Don't let your emotions get the best of you...
    Especially when working with the Ford CSRs. I know you had a lousy experience breaking down away from home (mine was with three kids 50 miles from home with a van full of camping equipment). That cannot be changed. You will always come out better being sweet like honey rather than bitter like vinegar.

    Be patient!
    This issue will not be resolved overnight.

    Best of luck and PLEASE keep us posted as to how you are dealt with and how the dealerships and Ford CSRs react.

    2003 Honda Odyssey EX-LRES - Midnight Blue Pearl
    2004 Honda Accord EX-L Graphite Pearl
    2007 Honda Civic EX - Atomic Blue
    2013 Honda Civic LX - Crimson Pearl
  • kathy36kathy36 Posts: 4
    Thanks to this site plus ccantanese, I've educated myself as to what's up. The customer service reps (dial-an-idiot-a-day), are totally useless. Today a supervisor finally called me back. "I am documenting your disontent." This is the reply I got 6 times! My gripe is, they won't give me a loaner car while the vehicle is being repaired for 8-12 weeks, only 5 days allowed on my extended warranty. Nothing as far as Ford's responsiblity on the repair due to head gasket repair 1 1/2 months ago. Went to Ford dealer where purchased, spoke of the Buyback. You're right - $6,600 plus 3,000 incentive. Would probably only get me another 95 W, as I still owe on my loan! From the frying pan to the fire! Will check out what else is on the lot - maybe a Quest? Dealer feels there must be a number to reach the person who would be able to and should authorize the loaner car, but doesn't know who. Encouraged us to keep trying CSR at 800 number! I'm not done yet! Will keep you posted!
  • Actually, you were already very close at Crutchfield. They carry a 6-disc changer from a company called Mobile Pro that will integrate with factory stereos that are changer-compatible. You will have to buy the correct interface cable, but they sell those, too. You can check out the changer at the Crutchfield web site:
  • cpliucpliu Posts: 1
    I just found this web site from my friend. I got
    a 97 Windstar with many problems on it. Around April 2000, my Spare Tire carrier release broken and I had replaced it with $148 US dollars. The
    reason was release button rusted in side the van. I live in Chicago but I never had any such problem in my spare tire for my previous 5 cars.

    In June, my ABS was broken and my dealer told me that there were 24 signals were wrong out of total 39 signals. The manager ordered replacements for me. The first 2 were all broken and can't match. Manager told me that they call Ford Technician Hotline and the technician support from Ford told them that it would be simple to plug in and that is all. Somehow they all failed. I had been very worried about that since my Windstar only 45K miles and just out of waranty. Finally the 3rd one matched and 24 days passed. The manager told me that he gave me 10% discount and it totally came to $1492.44. The part was $1000.65 and the labor was $474.00.

    It had been a nightmare for me. I was told by many
    friends don't replace ABS since it only had a BRAKE light on. I really regretted it.

    My friend asked me to check this web site and see if similar problems but I only saw 95/96 Windstar ABS problems. I would post this to let everyone know before they consider buying a Windstar.
  • liebedaliebeda Posts: 13
    I finally got a response from Ford.

    They contacted the dealer and spoke with the Assistant Service Manager ....

    "He expressed surprise at what you had written to us. He asks that you make an appointment with the dealership and speak with him personally when you bring the vehicle in."

    I called and spoke with him - he was the guy that gave me the hard time.

    At the end, he agreed to waive the $82 fee in this instance.

    I highly doubt that they will put much effort into finding the problem - but I'll probably bring the car in during the next few days.
  • katjo7katjo7 Posts: 1
    I am seriously considering leasing an SE and havent seen too many positive comments on the board!! I have verbally heard both good and bad, either owners have nothing but problems or none.

    Any suggestions?? (Ford just happens to have low sales in the region right now and have great finance rates on the 2000's)
  • bought 98 windstar new. can honestly say its been a great vehicle. 3.8, no problem. auto tran. no problem. brakes (front) did have to worked at 35000 miles. wife drives it most of time and she has a bad habit of running up to stops to fast, then stepping on brakes hard. one thing i have noticed is that when you let off gas the vehicle does not slow down on its own very fast, and that causes you to step on brake peddle a little hard. one thing i know is i've owned at lest one vehicle from each of the big three, and there's always going to be problems. i've always said that they would be better off if they would just build just so many engines and stick with them. Eg. dodge used the 318 v8 for alot of years, had one and it ran like a charm for 135,ooo miles. this is a lot of rambling just to say don't give up on american. remember, the people who buy foreign and have problems are probably saying the same things i've read under this topic. indy chapell.
  • kent25kent25 Posts: 15
    We have a 2000 SE and like it. WE traded in a 95 under the headqasket program. I wanted to buy the Odyssey but we could not wait the 4 months. In addition, the .9% financing added up to several thousand of interest savings. We also got $3K towards the new one. If you are thinking of leasing, you have no worries as you can flip it at end of lease. If buying, the quality issues discussed above should give you pause. Our 2000 has had no problems. My wife drives it daily and loves it. However, if the van starts to show quirkiness under warranty, it will be traded well before the warranty expires. Do the math carefully, and if leasing, you should be aboe to save some serious $ without taking risk of ownership if quality lets you down.
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