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Ford Windstar Problems



  • Well after the dealership took my loaner back last night, simply because I contacted an Attorney, I am assuming that the General Manager either got into a heap of trouble, or he realized he was morally wrong and this would not be in the best interest for the dealership, so he called me three times today. The first was a message to just call him. the second two times he called, were to apologize greatly for what he did as far as making me take the loaner back. He asked me to please return to the dealership and pick up the loaner, and keep it until my van was ready. He was going to see if he could put some sort of rush on the engine being put in, since it has been in the shop since Feb. 21st. And his last words were... that if I needed anything, to feel free to contact him. I did get in touch with ABS's John Stossel and left a very detailed email for him, I also got in touch with the local Radio station that is airing a Ted Britt commercial for the loaner for life program. My site has had 116 hits in less than two days, and my Attorney is still anxious to work on the case. I may have gotten the loaner back although I lost a day of work because they took it, but I am still going forward with a possible court case. I'm not sure if I mention this in my other post of not. But I called the dealership last night and acted as a person interested in a used vehicle. I asked about the "satisfaction guaranteed" sign in the window and how that applies to the vehicles. He wasnt sure if that sign was for the detail shop, but thought it applied to the purchase of a used car as well. When asked how they assure that what they are selling on the lot is of value, he stated that they are required to put the vehicle through a 124 point check prior to selling it. this would include major working parts. I guess that didn't happen with mine. I thanked him for his time, and logged it down.
    look for more posts to update you on what happens. Thanks everyone.
  • miesner3miesner3 Posts: 3
    i couldnt believe what the dealer priced me for a speedometer on our 1996 w/s for the approx 500 dollars they wanted i could about replace headgaskets for that must be fords way of subsidizing their headgasket pragram by shafting peoplle on their speedometers anyway i located a company that rebuilds ford 1990-1998 mechanical speedometers with better than new parts for 130 dollars plus exchange ford gave me a price of 330 dollars for the original replacement that will fail again due to defective parts the web page for this rebuilder is sure hope this helps take some worris off of some w/s/owners minds who have enough else to worry about with these low quality vehicles
  • rknj62rknj62 Posts: 2
    Hello to all... am new to this Town Hall Community Board and as many others I have experienced some problems with my 1998 WS with a 3.0 engine. I so far have been fortunate that I have not had the MAJOR problems such as transmission (yet?) but we only have 11,500 miles on the 98WS as of today and I do get the oil changed every 3 months rather then every 3000 miles. I have had the Tie rod ends replaced because of the loud noise in the steering. I also had (finally) the left side door lock replaced and the drivers side window had a problem. So as you can see so far I am lucky. BUT I do have a very annoying noise coming from the left front (I think) it sounds like a slight thumping sound and so far my dealer has not heard it. I am going to have my tires rotated this week just in case that is it. I have scanned through some of the messages and I see that some have left side noise problem also.... any guess what it may be???? Thanks in advance for any input to this problem. All in all I also hope that I can write to Ford and ask for another chance to pick up a extended warranty after reading all the messages about the transmission problem. Once again thanks for any input on the noise problem.
  • Yep, I've got 'em too. Fortunately, I'm leasing, and the vehicle goes back to Ford in four months.

    Since my front end fell apart at 10K (no pinch bolt installed in steering knuckle at factory) we've been relatively trouble free, except for my wife ramming a Bambi in December ($2,500 in damage).
  • vezinivezini Posts: 38
    I would appreciate anyones comments on the following:

    1) I own a 98 Windstar (48K miles) with rear air and heat. Now when I switch the control knob to rear heat (from the front console) it turns on the AC. Has anyone had this problem? If so, what was the fix.

    2) I hear a pulley noise up front. I had the serpentine belt replaced, but the noise is still present. It is a not a constant sound but a sounds like a squeeky wheel. Any thoughts on what it could be?

    3) We have a rattle in the dash on the passenger side. Any thoughts on what it could be?

    4) Is it time to trade? And if so what would you recommend?
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65

    1. My '96 Windstar had the same condition regarding the rear temperature controls. I never did find the cause of the problem. I had to switch on the AC in the rear first and then switch to heat for the controls to function properly.

    2. The pulley noise sounds like a bearing in either the AC compressor or the power steering pump. In either case, keep a close ear to the problem. If the squeak becomes more constant and louder get the part replaced immediately. When the bearing problem gets worse, it will cause that pulley to freeze and will destroy the serpentine belt leaving you stranded on the road.
    My '96 had the power steering pump go bad and I replaced it. Be sure you are using the correct power steering fluid for your van. The auto parts store where I purchased my replacement pump gave me Mercon/Dexron III fluid for my new pump and said all Fords use this. This is not true. Also, you should not use standard power steering fluid in most Fords. They require Ford Type F fluid. When I used what the store gave me, the replacement pump was very noisy. I flushed out the system and replaced with Type F fluid and the unit became quiet and operated very nicely.
  • vezinivezini Posts: 38

    Thank you for the information.

    If you had this vehicle would you continue to drive it (look to fix these repairs) or trade it. You are a couple of years ahead and I would appreciate your advice.

    Thanks again!
  • jvirginiajvirginia Posts: 65
    You're welcome. I feel very fortunate to have had my van till March, 2001 and not have had any major repairs needed. I changed the oil every 5000 - 6000 miles and performed all other maintenance as required. I loved the way the van handled and performed. If Ford were a responsible and reputable company, I would probably still own the van today. After reading all the horror stories of other W/S owners with tranny problems and head gaskets, I became very concerned when my check engine light came on and the van started running poorly. After repeated attempts to have the dealer find and correct the problem, all the dealer service manager could tell me was it was probably the head gasket and Ford was not going to offer any assistance to correct it. I was able to clear the computer and get the engine to run well long enough to trade in my van. I received a good trade-in value from the dealer because of the excellent condition the van was in.

    My van had 90,000 miles on it when I traded. It sounds like your van is being used at a similar rate. If the pulley problem is being caused by the power steering pump and you can do the work yourself, it will cost approx $60.00 to replace.
    If it's the AC compressor, it gets much more expensive, approx $800 at a shop. It's hard to say whether the van is worth keeping or not. Based on the numbers of people who've experienced major problems with their engines and trannies and the average mileage at which these have occurred (the average mileage for head gasket problems is approx 60,000 miles) I would recommend you seriously consider trading in within the next 6 - 12 months. You will get a deduction for high mileage but as long as the van is in good physical condition and there are no service lights on, you will get a good trade-in value. It's a gamble either way you decide. All I can say is I don't trust Ford and won't buy another for a very long time.
  • hch53hch53 Posts: 2
    I have a 95 Windstar which has had all of the usual problems (head gasket and sensors).
    But I must say, it has been pretty reliable otherwise. Now I have 122,000 miles on it, and the ABS light stays on. Is this just a fluid level problem? The brakes were replaced about 20,000 miles ago.
    Also, my mileage actually had been about 18 mpg, but the last 5,000 miles it has dropped to 13 mpg overall. Does anyone have any clue why? I do not service my vehicle at a Ford dealership. My mechanic is trustworthy, but he says he does not have any clue why the mileage has dropped.
  • hch53hch53 Posts: 2
    Does anyone know why the ABS light stays on? Is it perhaps just a fluid level problem? (getting tired of those $200-$400 sensor bills).
    Also over the last 5,000 miles, my mileage has dropped from a respectable 17 mpg to about 13 mpg overall. Does anyone have any advice?
    I don't use Ford mechanics, and my mechanic that I consider trustworthy and reasonable says he can't figure out why.
  • vezinivezini Posts: 38
    Thanks again for the comments. What did you purchase? Was it another van?

  • kjclowkjclow Posts: 29
    Check out my comments on post 398. I think that it is related to the fluid level. The sensor may be set to high in the resevior and any drop in level may set it off. Keep an eye on the level and forget about the light. You can also try to find an open area to see if the abs is still working. When I have used mine, I thought I was tearing up the whole brake system. Definitely not a smooth panic stop. I would almost rather have the wheels lock and listen to the tires scream.
  • I am a owner of a 97 model Taurus that had problems with the rack n pinnon, stablizer links, motor mounts separations, struts, oil pan gasket, door sensors, and the last thing is the tranny slipping.
    When taking my car to another dealer just for the rack n pinnion, stablizer links, struts, motor mounts, oil pan gasket (this was a 2 week repair job), I had found out that the 1st dealer that had been making attempts at repairing my car, left my car is awful shape. Most of them parts was either lose, or gonna fall off.
    I had to go one step ahead of the 1st dealer and contact Ford Motor Co, the 1st dealer evently got to where they refused to look at the suspenion in my car. Once I contacted FORD, and started a dispute settlement on my taurus, Ford had paid for the taurus to be sent to another dealer, where my experience changed from BAD to GOOD. Ford Motor Co and this Billingsy Ford of Lawton, Oklahoma treated us like we was Kings.
    But we learned our lesson about this BAD dealer in Altus, Oklahoma. Unforunately the state of Oklahoma has no Lemmon law that protects consumers from BAD DEALERS.
    My suspension was repaired, and any other problems that came about the Taurus went right back to Billingsley of Lawton. There is GOOD ONES out there, and there are BAD ONES. But unforunately there are no warnings on these BAD ONES prior to encountering them, I think there should be a board for consumer protection against Dealer that are BAD< or FORD needs to take action against them. 9 times out of 10 its the DEALER not the FORD product.
    I got a free ISP up to 5 years from my encounter on this BAD DEALER, and untill these BAD DEALERS NAMES are kept silent, it happens over and over again.
    Where was Oklahoma law protection for me as a consumer. This Bad dealer mechanics was either not experienced, or experienced enough, or it was simply intentional with the findings that Billingsley Ford found.
    Ford Motor Co does HELP, just give them a chance. They helped me, and I am thankful for them> They are the greatest.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Can anyone recommend inexpensive tires for my WS? I am trying to spend as LITTLE as possible (I have no faith in the longevity of this vehicle). My goal is $225 Installed with an alignment (alignment alone is about $60).
    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
  • I bought my Windstar in May of 1998, and it had 54,000 miles. It is a 95 model (actual production around Aug 94). When I bought my van, the dealership never told me about any recalls. I first found out about the recall on the 3.8L engine (Head Gasket Recall) in the fall of 1999(one yr later!). The only reason I found out was because the tranny needed to be replaced, and the tranny shop said that there were a lot of problems with the transmissions so I wanted to see if Ford had any recalls on them. When I went to the dealership, that is when they told me about the 3.8L Head gasket recall. There was one catch....the recall was up to 60,000 miles, and my van already had 83,000 miles on it so it could not be fixed under the recall. I called Ford Headquarters, and they told me there was nothing they could do for me. Lucky for me the van was not showing any signs of head gasket problems, but I still would have felt better if it was looked at. Ford also informed me that there were no problems with the transmissions..(I beg to differ with that....). I did not pursue it any further because I did not have any problems, and I figured I was an ant trying to fight an airplane. Then at the end of the summer in 2000 I got a letter from Ford stating that the recall had been extended up to 100,000 miles. I thought great, NOT. The mileage on my van had just turned 101,000 miles. (does ford have a satellite hooked up to the vehicles they make?!?) So yet again I got on the phone to Ford, and yet again they refused to honor their recall. I pleaded with them and told them that I had called back in 1999. They said they saw when I called in their computer, but there was not anything they could do because the mileage on my van was over 100,000 miles. I WILL NOT buy another Ford product because of this lack of customer service. I told this to the person I spoke to at Ford, and they did not even care. I am VERY thankful that I have not had this problem with my van because I would not be able to afford to get it fixed.
    I have also noticed reading up on different problems on the w/s, that there seems to be a lot of problems with the speedometers and ABS systems. On my van when you are going around 60-70 Mph, the speedometer jumps to around 80-90 Mph and fluctuates. The dealer wants over $400.00!!! That's ridicules. They also told me that when they pull the speedometer that they have to keep the vehicle for about three days without giving me a loner. Regarding the ABS, when I brake the brakes start to pulsate between 15-5 Mph. The dealership wants $80.00 just to tell me what is wrong. This does not include the cost to fix the problem. I have also had a problem with the rear window wiper not wanting to work when it is cold out.......Something needs to be done with these companies not wanting to stand behind their work.
  • vezinivezini Posts: 38
    I am in the same situation. My 98 has 47K and the Goodyear Invicta's are about shot; I will most likely get another month or two out of them.

    I did check Sam's Club. They do have the BF Goodrich Advatange Plus tire, size 215-70-R15, for $53 each. They charge another $11 for mounting, road hazard, disposal etc. So, mounting and tax, you are around $275. The tire is a 65K warranty. This is a good name tire for a lot less the premium brands (and it is made by Michelin).

    Let me know what you come up with.
  • hoppy5hoppy5 Posts: 11
    Does anyone know whether Ford is still replacing engines on 95 Windstars or are they doing a buyback and at what price?
  • jipped1jipped1 Posts: 2
    In response to the post by Fullsize, it's real nice to know your WS has a whopping 40,000 miles and hasn't had any problems yet! With such an in-depth track record with your WS you certainly have a right to accuse people of falsifying their postings. HAH! Come back when you've "grown up" to 80,000 miles. Sorry to sound so sarcastic, but I'm bummed. I bought my Windstar last August and immediately experienced trans problems. I did not buy the extended warranty so when I first contacted the dealer they said sorry, but we can't help. But when I went to pick the van up from the service center I overheard the service manager reading to himself from the computer and the words "no prep" caught my attention. I then pinned him down as to whether or not my van was checked out before I drove it off the lot. It was not (can you believe that?). I then immediately called the dealership and pitched a fit over that and they changed their mind about replacing the trans. They charged me $200.00 for that. The door ajar light often stays on (I can live with that) and we have replaced brakes and tie rod ends (I can live with that, too). Also in cold weather my speedometer does a nice dance and is noisy. I don't know if the head gasket has ever been changed or even if the vehicle has the origional engine. Right now my biggest concern is the antifreeze I'm smelling every morning as I am warming it up. I live in Michigan so I have to warm it up every morning. I took it back to the dealer but they said nothing is leaking and all the fluid levels are up where they should be. Could this be the headgasket or maybe the heater core? I'm scared! I'm up to my ears in debt with this thing so there is no possibility of trading it in for something else. I know only 2 other people with Windstars and they both have had their trans replaced. I feel cheated. We have 3 children (1 in college) and a big $40,000 a year income. Doesn't Ford understand that some of us are struggling just to make ends meet? We put our faith in their company only to to be slapped in the face. I wish I would have researched this vehicle before I bought it. The wonderful safety rating doesn't do much good when the reliability rating is only 1 star! From what I'm hearing they will be losing a big percentage of their faithful customers over these defective vehicles. Word of mouth can be a terrible thing and my gums are flappin'! 5 years from now Ford Motor Company may be in big trouble. Serves them right! I would appreciate any advice I could get.
  • This is what I did to make my dealership start correcting problems immediately.


    Hope this helps.
  • matycatmatycat Posts: 12
    Just so you know, I too experienced an odor, for some time. At first it would come and go, gradually got worse. It ended up being the heater core and nearly 400.00 later, it was fixed. I don't know, though, I still smell something everytime we have the defrost on. The tech said, "you'll smell something for a little while," yada yada yada. It's been a couple weeks since we've had it back, no problems currently but the slight odor. I swear, these techs know how to "temporarily" fix things so that months later when things go wrong, it's out of the "labor warranty". I also feel like they are jimmying something else loose everytime I bring it in, it seems something else is bound to go wrong. Am I the only one who raises the eyebrow to "Leave the car with us ALL DAY, "(knowing full well we are not about to hang out in the waiting room ALL DAY,) and then you're not allowed to go back in the shop to watch them work on the vehicle, gee, I wonder why. IWASSCAMMED--I am still with you! You are admirable sticking with it. I really hope the best for all of us. And, I too am still working on the situation, class action, etc. Will keep in touch.
This discussion has been closed.