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Ford Windstar Electrical Problems



  • Hi,

    While driving to work the other day, I noticed (almost immediately) that there was a CHECK TRACTION CONTROL message on my 2000 Windstar SEL. I have NEVER seen this in my almost 12 years of driving this vehicle. I pressed the Traction button on and off. Then, the message screen and odometer went blank. Along the 16 mile trip to work (going about 60 mph) warning lights appeard on the dash ( I think ABS, check engine, etc). About 15 miles into the trip, the radio went dead. I realized the turn signals were dead. Then the van sputtered....I thought it died completely but I was able to idle in the berm (accelerator did nothing). I idled 1 mile into work. I parked it and tried to start 30 seconds later. It DID turn over (but not strong)....would not start.

    I called Ford and was going to have it towed. About 3 hours later, right before called for a tow, I decided to start the van.....I started like nothing happened!!!!

    Worked fine the entire weekend and so far this week.

    The ONLY thing I notice that isn't right.....the Windshield Wipers are not moving as fast as they used to in HIGH speed....also, the Fan (for heater and A/C) is not blowing as fast as it used to (you drive a vehicle for 12 know the sounds and what is and is not normal).

    The day it died, we had a snowstorm and I was driving in snow and slush. I also got snow on my keys.

    Does this sound familiar to anyone? Any suggestions before I take to Ford? Will Ford be able to look back at "history" and see if there were error codes?

  • sounds like the slush made its way into the compartment where your BAC is at by rear passenger behind the taillights and it shorted out the brain. this will cause your alternator to go bas and also kill cells in your battery. happens to me every heavy rainfall. replace the module twice then seald that bad boy up... no more problems.
  • fystywindstarfystywindstar Surrey, B.C., CanadaPosts: 24
    What are REM & BAC? And where are they? :confuse: :confuse:
  • This sounds very familiar because a similiar situation happened to me in the rain.

    The dash lights flashed on and off twice, then an ABS and Airbag light illuminated before all the dash lights and headlights went out. The van sputtered as if it were dying and as I pulled off the road it died. I got a jumpstart and it died 150 feet later. I got another jumpstart and drove it home (5 miles). After returning home I shut it off and restarted it with no problem or jumper cables. I used an expensive handheld professional code reader/diagnostic tool to try and find the problem or codes, and while using the tool got an extreme low battery indication. It died and required a jumpstart. I checked the battery voltage while it was running and it was low (9V). I disconnected the battery cables and it died; an indicator of a bad alternator.

    Now for the fix. I replaced the alternator and have had no other problems.
  • lawpainlawpain Posts: 1
    I just had this very same problem in my 2000 winstar. The backup lights are now working again, and the bucking is gone by replacing the ignition wires. However, after fixing that issue they shop had to take out the relay switch because the interior lights were drawing on the battery. Still haven't quite figured out the entire problem.
  • fystywindstarfystywindstar Surrey, B.C., CanadaPosts: 24
    This what is happening on a fairly regular basis. I have replaced the Battery & the Altenator (non Ford). This was done after the van finally left me flat on the side of the road (I have an 02 SEL) @ which time I found out that the Alt had crapped out but a few months later the Batter packed it in. I am a pensioner and really cannot afford to have the dealership spend days to track down these little idiosyncosies(sp???), so does anyone have any idea where ot look. It is annoying & tiring to have to stop the car every time the battery light comes on, pull over & shut the van dow & restart it. If I drive with it like that before long the lights start to dim & there is a definate problem but I can't figure it out. Iknow that the ABS & Serv. Brake light being on I just ignore because I knowe that it is a sensor problem as I know for absolute sure that the ABS brakes work! Found this out the hard way. lol Anyway if anyone can help me with the "Check Charging system" light, I really be grateful.
  • bulldog67bulldog67 Posts: 1
    edited July 2012
    What I gleaned from your post is that your battery has enough gumption to turn your engine over and start. Sounds like the battery is good. I know you said you changed the alternator. you may want to check ALL the connections for tightness and corrosion. The ground strap is overlooked so many times its legendary. Check both ends of it. Everyone checks the battery end because its convenient, but what about the other end? Additionally, you mentioned sensor problems. Without knowing exactly what is causing the ABS light to come on, you may want to consider that it is a symptom that correlates with the alternator problem or it may be an actual brake problem, or it may be a sensor(s) problem that is hidden by another problem. More than one thing can be acting up. Process of elimination, hang tough. The cars nowadays depend on a solid electrical system to run properly. Loose that and the fun begins. Good Luck!
  • fystywindstarfystywindstar Surrey, B.C., CanadaPosts: 24
    Thanks Bulldog, but Battery is brand new as is the cables & alt. From what I have read on this particular Ford, this is a common problem on these wonderful (not sarcastic) old Vans. In my case I have had it in and out of the shop & on different scopes & gauges with no results but like my mech say it cvould take months to find which sesor is bad. I know for sure that the ABS is full functioning as it should as I found out the hard way this past winter in a miserable rainy day when I had an idiot pull out in front of me & when I layed on the brakes the ABS acually WORKED. There is some relay in the charging system that I need to investigate when I have some extra cash but for now I just pull off the road when my "check charging system" light comes on & shut "The Beast" down & wait 60 sec, restart & go merrily on my way. Thankfully I am one old Broad that knows a thing or two about vehicles as I have been a car nut(&bike)almost all my life, so I will just keep any ear out & if I get any difinitive answers will post them here. This is my first Ford but it won't be my last. I only wish I could find so nice moulded running boards fo the 02 Windstars? :shades: :D :D
  • 2doorvan2doorvan Posts: 1
    Okay, I have read a boatload of these messages but they seem a bit scattered so I am asking this in hopes of someone giving me a straightforward answer. I awhile back, my heater in the front would come one but only cold air. I checked the metal hoses and read all over internet. Found that issue and fixed it. Then the rear vents blew only hot air when even teh AC was on. I was told it was the switch in the dash board. I changed it. No difference, so I put the orginal one back in. Then, I went to the rear and changed out the actuator. No difference. So I took it out and for now, it blows only cold air. I'll fixthat later but that makes it not the actuator's fault. So now I have a new problem. I am driving the van around with the AC on. At the stop light, the odometer fades and comes back, fades and comes back. The radio stops for a second. I drive the car wherever I am going, including 60 miles away and no problem as far as the engine cutting out. But once theer, it's a crapshoot whether it will start or not. I carry a jump box with me everywhere thank goodness. So, when I leave the house in the morning, I do not use the AC. I get to work and can get it to start up for the drive home. If I turn on AC, I know it will be dead by the time I get home. Oh, and the windshield wipers would start without using the switch. I took the alternator to a shop and they tested it and it comes out fine. When it is in the car and the tester is hooked up to battery, it shows regular charging then drops to 9V. I need help so my wife will stop going nuts and threatenig to sell the van. Other than this recent crud, it is a good van. Someone said maybe PCmM because it could be voltage regulation and my alternator is not internal. Thanks!
  • Recently my wife was driving "ole reliable" when it shut off, she waited 10 started it and drove about 5 miles and it quite again. just stopped no fan, no radio, nothing (but no noise at all). when it was towed home, I popped the hood and started charging the battery (which was dead). has soon as I started I heard a noise from in the car....... #1 relay interior chattering, so I pulled it, then #2 chattered, pulled it #3 chattered.... all the way through #4 then it stopped. allowed charger to charge the battery(after I diconnected it) and reinstalled the relays. after battery was charged hooked it up, same damn thing. I did recently have the ground repaired between the fuel pump and pcm, but other then that flawless. any ideas?
  • tomchitomchi Posts: 9
    Currently on my fourth battery. Symptoms were blinking of interior lights and failure of lights to go off after vehicle parked. In addition, I once made a 75 mile drive with the instrument gauges going absolutely crazy. Ford dealer later reported only 8 volts on the instrument bus. In addition, if the rear blower control on the dash is left on after parking for the night, the battery will be dead the next morning. Oh, and I still see periodic flickering of the odometer readout but so far battery number 4 is OK.
  • tomchitomchi Posts: 9
    The right sliding door is powered. Periodically, it will fail locked and a passenger is trapped until the door is opened manually. I discovered that the door control has amnesia and has to be retrained by opening and closing it often.
  • I purchased an 03 Windstar Limited as a second vehicle about four years ago. Every now and then the interior lights would start flashing on and off – by themselves! Very strange. Once the vehicle was shut off and restarted the lights stopped flashing. I did notice that the flashing interior light syndrome always seemed to occur when it was raining or very damp. Temperature did not seem to be a factor. Since the occasional flashing on and off of the interior was lights seemed a relatively minor issue, we chalked it up to the ghost of old Henry Ford just having a little fun with us.

    It did occur to me, however, that the cause of the problem had to be a door switch or sensor that was being affected by moisture and/or and an accumulation of dirt. This could produce a signal that the vehicle’s onboard computer might interpret as an open door. The most likely candidates were the multiple contacts on the power sliding side doors. These contacts, there are 7 on a Windstar Limited, are open to the elements and can easily become damp and/or dirty. So, the next several times that the interior lights began to flash on and off, I simple cleaned the sliding door contacts. A little isopropyl alcohol on a clean cloth and the careful cleaning of each of the contacts usually kept old Henry’s ghost at bay for a month or two.

    Recently, however, this minor annoyance turned into a major electrical issue. Out of the blue the battery kept discharging. When this first happened, I noticed that the interior lights had remained on. After charging the battery, at which point the engine started without hesitation, I shut the engine off, exited the vehicle, and locked the doors. The interior lights, however, did not shut off. Even when I turned the interior lights off using the timer wheel on the dash, the interior lights stayed on until I used the remote to lock the doors. I discovered later, when again the battery had almost completely discharged, that although the dome lights were off, the foot lights had remained on.

    The alternator had recently been replaced but once the engine was started the battery recharged. So, the charging system itself was not an issue. Being that the battery is original (yes, it’s 10 years old) I did suspect that it may be on its last legs. I removed the battery, cleaned the posts and terminals, recharged it and performed a load test. The battery tested good. I also again thoroughly cleaned all of the sliding door electrical contacts. The battery is no longer discharging and the interior lights function exactly as they should.

    The Bottom Line

    I suspect that most of the problems associated with the Windstar’s electrical systems may indeed be the result of misinformation being provided to the vehicles on-board monitoring systems by poor sliding side door electrical contacts. So here’s what I suggest for those folks who are experiencing the flashing interior light syndrome and/or a battery that keeps discharging:

    1 - Remove the battery from the vehicle
    2 - Leave the battery out of the vehicle for at least 2 hours. This should clear any false codes or light settings that may have been prompted by poor sliding door connections.
    3 - Thoroughly clean the battery posts and battery cable terminals
    4 - Charge the battery (If possible have it load tested as well)
    5 - Clean all of the sliding door electrical contacts (both the spring loaded contacts in the doors and the stationary contacts on the door pillars).
    6 - Reinstall the battery
    7 - Start the engine and check voltage across the battery posts (should be at least 13.2 volts or higher)
    8 - You will need to reset the information display (language, units of measure, fuel mileage, outside temp, etc.) as your original settings will have lost when the battery was removed.

    No guarantee folks but this worked on my Windstar. Good luck.

  • mikem604mikem604 Posts: 1
    edited September 2012
    I just had the same problem this week: 3 power door locks were inop, (drivers door power lock worked), gas gauge went wacky, interior lights would not shut off with out using cluster dimmer, all rear lights, rear ac fan controls all stopped working. I checked all fuses and grounds, all were ok.

    I installed a 2000 windstar Rem YF2T-13b524-AA I did NOT have to get this reprogrammed either as many people had said i would have to.
    This was a $30.00 part at a local U-Pull it Bone yard

    Original Rem was a 2F2T-13b524-AA . Im Very disappointed of this typed of failure as i only have 106000 Miles on it and could have caused a major accident as there was no indication my brake lights or signals were not working.
    I think the key to interchanging rems may be make sure the donor has all the same features as yours or those features may not work.
  • I have a 2001 Windstar. Every Morning we have to boost it. we can turn it off right away and it will start again. We replaced the battery 3 times and it killed them too in 4 days. as long as we start it every 4 hours it starts no problem, We've turn off all electrical, not using the automatic doors, radio or interior lights. Still dead after 4 hours. We recently replaced the wiper motor and coil pack and this problem started after we did so. No check engine light comes on, no warning at all and once running there are no problems at all even says that the charging system is running fine. Removed the automatic start that was installed that our Mechanic said might be the problem didn't help.

    Have any idea that might help find the problem
  • fystywindstarfystywindstar Surrey, B.C., CanadaPosts: 24
    I solved almost all my problem but most importantly the charginging problem by replacing the battery as well as the altenator. But be sure to replace with non Ford parts. I used Puralator for the alt. I have had this done for almost a year now & I have had no more electrical problems. I still have a lot of sensor problems but as long as the systems they monitor are working, I am not concerned as it is too expensive to search out & replace these sensors. (ABS for example) :)
  • childwildchildwild Posts: 1
    edited September 2012
    I have a 2002 Ford Windstar and ever time l plug my trailer, or camper to it.Then turn on the running light, then put a blinker on. Then all the lights on what my car is pluged into, blinks. I hooked up another truck to it. And didnt do anything.
    Cant find what. Any answer thanks jon
  • He everyone, I have a 2001 SEL and have been having alot of the same problems that alot of otheres have. I took mine into the local Ford store and found that most of these electrical problems have started because the Powertrain Control Module seal had broken allowing moisture to get into it causes alot of warning lights and run rough etc.....
    We had Ford reseal it and all has been well now for a few weeks. Something to perhaps check into yourselves.
    Like alot of you I cannot afford to go buy another vehicle and my wife and I both love the practicality of the Windstar.
    Hope this helps someone else out.
  • How much did they charge for labor?
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