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Ford 3.8 head gasket, AXOD transmission failures Windstar Taurus Sable - Ford secret warranty?



  • sharonlpksharonlpk Posts: 37
    I was so glad to read everyone's responses! Very helpful!

    I placed another call to my dealership this morning and was told that they have a call in to their 'recall rep' at Ford... So no clue yet as to how 'difficult' this may be for me. But, it was certainly reassuring to read the message from Bdemas about having a similar situation (extended warranty situation) :-)

    Re: my calls to the Ford 800#. Two separate reps have now told me the same thing, the second one after putting me on hold for a lengthy time. The first one really seemed to know his stuff, we'll see! Both knew I only paid the $50 which was the deductible on the extended warranty...

    I'll keep you informed :-) Thanks for the advice and encouragement!

  • indytabindytab Posts: 32
    Is the $20,965 AFTER the $8000 trade-in? In other words, apart from the trade-in, was the offer for $28,965? Check the Edmund's site for the dealer invoice on SEL Windstar; be sure to add in all the options and destination charge.

    That's the first time I've heard of having to pay $500 to finance, though I'm no expert. Check with other dealers to see if that's common. You can also ask the dealers who frequent Edmunds Town Hall (see Smart Shopper conference, Ask a Dealer thread.

    Last time I checked, there was a $1K to $1.5 K rebate PLUS 0.9% financing on new Windstars. Check on the Edmunds rebate and incentive pages to see what's currently in effect. Also call around to other dealers and ask about customer incentives.

    If you are truly getting $8000 offer for your WS, that doesn't sound too bad. How many miles and what level? (e.g, top of the line loaded with options, or a lowly GL like mine was ).
  • lweisslweiss Posts: 342
    The deal I am looking at is more like $17,500. My 95 WS LX has 78K miles and I am looking at a '00 WS SE, which has a list price of about $30K with everything.

    So, the deal they are offering is 3% over invoice, minus $1,500 rebate, minus $4,000 special Windstar incentive, and about $6,500 for my trade- comes to $17,500.

    Dealers are famous for taking rebates and making it look like it is their discount, when it should be over and above their discount, so be careful
  • indytabindytab Posts: 32
    Marcia56, like lweiss said, be sure that the dealer isn't treating the rebate or certificate like his discount. You should look at the rebate and Ford certificate as cash in your pocket to be put down on the car. In other words, make the deal on the new car for a reasonable amount (say 3% over dealer invoice), THEN subtract the rebate and certificate amount.

    The same goes for value of your trade-in. Do you own anything on your current WS? If not, the trade-in they offer is further money in your pocket. Look at lweiss's example.

    Let us know how it goes.
  • indytabindytab Posts: 32
    Anyone else out there heard of such a thing? My understanding is that dealers (or at least the manufacturer) likes to see you finance through them, since that is more money in their pocket (from the interest). If anything, you should be able to negotiate a slightly better deal BECAUSE you are financing through them.

    Usually, the interest rate does get higher for a longer loan period. However, I seem to remember that for the WS, they were offering 0.9% up to 60 months. I know they were for the Mercury Villager. After checking with several dealers, you should know pretty quickly whether Mulinex is giving you bum info.

    I'm not sure what to think on your trade-in offer. Even with lots of options and the after-market CD player, $8K may be OK. You have pretty low mileage. If you check Edmunds or KBB pages for used car value, you will probably get slightly inflated values. I found that with my 95 WS. As one wholesaler put it, even the general public is becoming aware of the problems with the 95 WS.

    Even if your particular WS is running fine (like mine) the value suffers because of the general problems reported for that year of WS. Several recent books on used car advice list the 95 WS as a car to avoid. It's like owning a nice house in a bad neighborhood: no matter how nice the house, the general location will dictate most of the value. You have a nice car in a bad car "neighborhood".
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    If they have included the $4,000 incentive, then that means they gave you $4,000 for you van. Not good, considering I just saw a 30 year old Maverick for sale for $2,000. If you are going to trust Ford to do the right thing, then your new price should be $16,964 AND you should qualify for any special financing. In many offers, if you take the "rebate" then you don't qualify for financing. The Ford dealer should know that Windstar incentives are something quite different from a rebate.

    In fact, it was my understanding that Ford would "buy the van back", PLUS, give you a $3 - $4,000 incentive, PLUS give you any rebates that were offered PLUS give you any special financing that was available. 21 grand is NOT a smokin' deal by any stretch of the imagination.
  • sharonlpksharonlpk Posts: 37
    According to Ford's website, the financing incentive ranges from 0.9% to 2.9% depending on length of term (36 mos - 60 mos). OR the $1500 rebate...

    A Ford sales rep that I know once told me that most of the time Ford incentives offer a rebate OR special financing. Sometimes, but rarely, a lower rebate with special financing. My parents certainly were lucky last July when the transmission blew on their early-1990s Taurus and they needed a new Taurus, and Ford was offering both a $1500 rebate and the financing promotion to be used together :-)

    By the way, I'm *still* waiting to hear back from the dealer regarding my 'eligibility' for the $4K coupon that I wrote about earlier....

  • cbinga1cbinga1 Posts: 3
    I haven't been on in a few days....I have finally been able to concentrate on something other than my WS woes.

    What you all are saying is very interesting...
    Here's my 2 cents worth:
    1. Get the dealership to PUT IT IN WRITING!!!
    2. DON'T sign ANYTHING until you are clear on where they got their numbers. Check Edmunds/KBB/'t forget to back out the dealer holdback. They get that no matter what price you agree upon.
    3. That $500 for financing thru Ford is B.S. (The financing is where they make their money)
    4. They work for you....not the other way around.
    If they're trying to screw you....LEAVE!!
    5. The 0.9%-2.9% financing ended on 5/1/00. (I'm really hating that, too. It would have saved me about $50/mo on my new note) and have a grid that maps out the options for $1k/$1.5k rebate and financing. These rates run 5/2/00-7/5/00. (These rates are for the WS only)
    My cousin is a Ford sales rep in MS and he verified what my dealer in GA plus the website indicated.
    6. Check the VIN for the manufacture date....NEVER buy an auto w/a manufacture day of Monday or Friday.....8:10 times they're LEMONS. Don't trust your dealer to do this for you. Get the VIN from the one you're looking at, and call the service department of another dealership. It takes maybe 2 mins.

    7. I go to get mine, hopefully, tomorrow. Yes, w/$11k of "free" money...I'm getting all the bells & whistles.

    Good luck out there.

  • indytabindytab Posts: 32
    I have found the Edmund's new car dealer invoice prices fairly accurate (within a couple of hundred dollars), and this is confirmed by many other posters on this site. Keep in mind this is only a reference price for you to work with. Dealers will either be way above this or can even go below depending on the desirability of the car and how fast they need to move them.

    When you are stating "window" price, is that the printed MSRP? You shouldn't be paying MSRP for a Windstar these days.

    I've NEVER seen a rebate included in the sticker MSRP. They would have to constantly change the sticker price with every change in the rebate programs. If the "window" price is indeed the sticker MSRP, then the dealer is yanking your chain.

    Check posts 328 and 329 above. These people have the latest on rebates/finance incentives. Sometimes the Edmunds rebate/incentives are slightly out of date just before the middle of the month. One of the monitors for Edmunds said they update them around the middle of the month, so keep checking over the next week.

    I still don't get the "$500" charge to finance. I agree with cbinga1 (post 329).

    To get an idea of how close you are to invoice: take the Edmund's dealer invoice: about 27,900; add about $650 for destination: that comes to about $28,550. Subtract out your 8200 trade-in money: $20,350. Add tax (about 1000 to 1500 depending on your state tax rate): about 22,000. Subtract rebate (assume 1000): about 21,000. In Indiana, title is handled by the customer, so I don't know what you have to include in Florida. Based on this it looks like you have a reasonably good deal. The weird thing is the 500 "penalty" for financing.

    Let me know if this is starting to make sense.
  • sharonlpksharonlpk Posts: 37
    My dealer is still waiting to hear from their 'recall rep' regarding whether or not I'm eligible for the $4K coupon... In the meantime I called Ford's 800# again and it's clear that I am eligible, since I paid the $50 deductible under the ESP plan :-)

    So now I'm wondering what to do with that $4K coupon! Keep the Windstar and buy a truck that husband could use? Trade in the Windstar and buy another one? Ford says if the head gaskets go again before end of 7-year period or 100K miles, they'll be covered. Dealer (service tech actually) told me that's unlikely to happen since they installed the newly-designed head gaskets when they did the repair in January.

    Opinions? Also found out that people can apply under this special incentive program (formally known as 00M09) for a two-year period... So I guess there's no real hurry to hear back from my dealer :-)

  • indytabindytab Posts: 32
    Sounds like you're in pretty good shape. I thought I had only six months to take advantage of the $4K, but I may have heard wrong or the dealer got it wrong. I wouldn't sit on it too long, though. Never know if Ford will change their mind :)

    I knew our Windstar had more problems coming down the road (so to speak) so we were happy to trade it in. We briefly thought about another WS; nice to have the room. But, they are expensive. You might want to check the new car guides at the bookstore. Unfortunately, the 2000 WS is getting a high complaint count. I do like how they are laid out, the ride, etc. Just worry about the reliability.

    We opted for a Taurus SE. Certainly enough room, better gas mileage, less expensive, and hopefully a better reliability record. I've been encouraged by the Taurus posters on the Sedan conference; mostly good reviews. Even Edmunds rated the Taurus 3rd place of 9 sedans (beat out only by Passat and Accord, both of which cost nearly 5 grand more).

    A truck sounds good. Seems I read that Ford has done much better with trucks (some think to the exclusion of quality control on their cars!).
  • I am almost dissappointed that I found this website this morning. In the last month, I was offered the $3000 program plus trade in ($8300) because of my 2nd blown gasket, shopped around dealers for the Windstar I wanted, and then was told that "the program" was no longer available to me. I was told the $3000 was an extended parts delay program and that now engines were availble to replace mine so the program was no longer available. So, two weeks ago my engine was replaced and as we speak (or write) my van is back in the garage getting the transmission done.

    I am not a mechanic -- color, bells and whistles are the important things to me. I was very frustrated by the whole deal. Not one dealer (sales or service) could give me a straight answer on this program and now I feel like I got the shaft. I even attempted to get it (the program) in writing. I kept asking for "the certificate" that everyone kept telling me I needed. I really would have liked the new van I chose.
  • indytabindytab Posts: 32
    Sorry to hear about your situation. Keep an eye out for class-action lawsuits regarding transmission problems. I've read of efforts in this regard because of abundant transmission problems for WS and also past Tauruses.
  • texandavetexandave Posts: 1
    Many, many thanks to all of you that have documented the ongoing HG problems of the Ford
    But, now... we're in the market for a slighty
    used 1999 Windstar...
    Does anyone have any experience with this model year? Can I expect the same HG and transmission problems?
    Has Ford addressed their problems?
  • sharonlpksharonlpk Posts: 37
    I should have specified that the time to apply for the coupon is 2 years (no specific expiration date, you can bet I'd ask for *that* in writing!!)...then the 6 months to use the coupon once issued...

    I haven't read many good reviews about the 2000 Windstar either, which is rather disappointing since I really do like the vehicle! Need the leg room of the van with older kids, otherwise definitely would consider the Taurus (or Cougar!!).

    So maybe we'll be keeping the '95 Windstar and considering a truck. But that's alot of money for a vehicle that doesn't seat a family tho :-)

    Still haven't heard from the dealership....

  • indytabindytab Posts: 32
    I would call the dealership every 2 or 3 days; not to be rude, just so it doesn't "slip through the cracks"; the squeeky wheel gets the grease :)

    Have you looked at the Mercury Villager? Not as big as the Windstar, but probably better reliability. It qualifies under the $3 or $4K incentives, and last month they were offering a whopping $2500 rebate or 0.9% financing up to 60 months. I did a short test drive of one and I wasn't exactly bowled over, but it is a van alternative to the WS that fits with the incentive. If the $2500 is still available, that would be a big down payment.

    I would have looked into the Villager more deeply, but we were anxious to let go of the WS before an additional major problem erupted and the Ford dealer had confirmed my eligibility for the $4K but was waiting, waiting for the actual certificate. So, to take the certificate elsewhere would have meant nearly a month more delay. As it turns out, I just signed the $4K certificate at the Ford dealer yesterday 3 weeks after buying the Taurus.

    The certificate process is a slow one.
  • gtomangtoman Posts: 2
    Thanks to obnoxious, condescending little jerks like Kirk Nourain at the Ford Customer Care(Less) Center (the "highest ranking person I'd ever speak to at Ford"), I am a proud owner of a new Honda Odyssey EX...for about the same total purchase price as a Windstar SE!
    I'm a little sad that, after 7 Fords and a good relationship with Regan Ford in Haverhill,Ma., I was forced to go elsewhere. THREE blown head gaskets covered under warranty (although 2nd was in Canada and involved extra expenses)and over the lack of a lousy $50 deductible, I did not qualify for either of the Customer "Focus" programs. I was ready to buy an SEL but I actually got a better trade at Honda against a much lower MSRP than an SE !!.
    I'll be ready to replace my Taurus in appx. 1.5 years...what do you think I should do then????
    Gee, I wonder if anyone of significance at Ford sees these posts ?!!
  • robd3robd3 Posts: 1
    I own a 95 WS and while traveling blew a headgasket. Bought it used in 98 with no extended warranties. Used car dealer (a friend) is looking at the extent of damages and will advise Monday 5/15. It appears from your topic that a blown HG is common in the WS. What is the info on this? Any suggestions? Should I concede and purchase a new vehicle?
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Welcome to Edmunds Town Hall.

    It would be well worth your time to read through all the posts in this forum, or at least go back and read the last 100 to 150 or so. You can use the "jump to" box that appears right under the topic name to navigate through the posts.

    Good luck!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • sonoma5sonoma5 Posts: 1
    Having read some posts here, I'll toss in my two cents worth:

    Our 1994 Thunderbird is equipped with a 3.8L V6, and an Auto. Overdrive transmission. December 1998 (around 87000 miles), I replaced the head gaskets. She ran better than before. Now, it's sitting in our driveway, as we do not have $1500 to replace the SECOND transmission (95,000 on the odometer). And Ford now sends us this letter:

    (Pulled from second paragraph) "Fords Motor Company is providing additional warranty coverage under Service Program Number 00M10, to owners of 1994 and 1995 model year Mustang, Thunderbird, and Thunderbird Super Coupe vehicles equipped with a 3.8L engine.

    The additional warranty covers potential engine head gasket failures which may be experienced by some owners of these vehicles, and will be in effect for 7 years, or 100,000 miles, from the from the vehicle's original warranty start date, whichever comes first."

    It goes on to say that Ford will refund our repair costs, or we can buy another Ford (big fat chance of THAT!). I submit the warranty information for anyone who may have not received this letter (Ours was sent to my girlfriend's ex-husband), as I won't get much out of it (can't find our repair receipts).

    Has anyone else had transmission problems like this with a Thunderbird? I checked with Ford, but since it wasn't a dealer who did the repairs the first time (at 38,000 miles), they offer no help. Any suggestions?
  • I've got a 95 WS sitting in a Ford dealer's garage 300 miles away. Tranny blew up last Saturday as we were returning from vacation. Of course, couldn't get anyone to look at it on weekend, and couldn't even rent a car until Sunday night to return home. Left keys at the local Ford shop as we drove out of Rocky Mount because didn't know what else to do. On Monday the dealer called and said they wouldn't be able to start work on it until Wed. but wanted authorization to tear it apart ($275) to determine extent of damage. I gave O.K. and am waiting to hear from them. I don't know whether to put another $2000+ into the car. Last summer I paid $2600 for head gasket repair and new short block. Last week (just before vacation) I paid $900 for brake work, exhaust work, and new motor mounts. I'm thinking of going ahead and having the tranny rebuilt on the theory that nothing major is left to go wrong (the engine seems fine since being rebuilt, except for check engine light which my mechanic tells me is caused by the need for a new rotor sensor). I'm eligible for the $4k certificate or to have my engine repairs reimbursed. But I've been waiting to pay of some other bills before buying a Focus. Any suggestions on whether I should cut my losses and junk the WS or put another two grand or so into it? It's got about 110,000 on it now (the head gaskets blew at 99k.)
  • twosonstwosons Posts: 2
    I have found these postings so helpful, so I wanted to share my experience and resolution to this mess. I took my letter from Ford to a local dealer and was informed I could get my deductible back from the repair of my head gasket (only $25 out-of-pocket as I had a Carmax extended warranty when the gasket blew at 61K miles) or $4K toward a new Ford/Lincoln/Merc. This dealer also informed us that the head gasket was made from a different metal than the engine on the 95 Windstars and they heat at different temps--so this problem could happen again. After reading the posts on this sight, I saw that the gasket had blown more than once for some people. We checked out the new Windstar, but I am a little soured on them at this point. A Ford dealer did submit my paperwork to Ford but I ended up getting a Mercury Villager instead and the Mercury dealer had little trouble getting the $4K even though another dealer submitted it. I used an internet buying service to get the Villager and got a great deal--THe Villager I got is a Sport model w/ leather seats, moonroof, CD changer,etc. THe sticker was $28,800--the dealer offered it to us at invoice which was $26,100 and then we got our $4K off--so we got it for a total of $22,100. They gave us $6K for our 95 Windstar w/ 70K miles which was about what we owed on it. I was pleased with the deal and I love the Mercury Villager--it has a Nissan transmission and the same Nissan engine that is in the Pathfinder (about as far as I could get from a Ford engine and still take advantage of the $4K.)
    Hope this info. helps someone out in their decision making--If anyone lives near metro DC, I bought my van from King Lincoln Merc. in Gaithersburg MD and I could not have been happier with how they worked for us (giving us the $4K off even though we hadn't been officially "approved" yet from Ford, etc.)

    Good luck!
  • sharonlpksharonlpk Posts: 37
    Twosons, glad you are happy with your Villager :-) Also, looks like you got a good deal with your $4K coupon as I was told that a minimum of $50 had to have been spent on the repair, you only spent $25 on the deductible, right? Glad it worked out for you :-)

    Indytab, I would consider a Villager... but we have become very spoiled with a great Ford service dept. just 2 miles away, and I trust them immensely! They aren't too familiar with that $4K coupon, tho, and today I placed a call to them again and they still haven't heard from their recall rep. It's been a week now but since I 100% believe that I'm eligible I'm not as 'nervous' about not hearing from them...

    I asked them to ask the rep when the absolute deadline is to apply for this coupon. The '2 years to apply' answer that I got from Ford's 800# wasn't specific enough, although to be fair to their customer service I didn't ask for the final date yet. I'd just be curious to see which, if either, offer an actual date!

    I'll post when I have more info :-)

  • sharonlpksharonlpk Posts: 37
    My '95 Windstar has had two transmissions, both covered under warranties, original and extended. Both times after the transmissions were put in, I had to have new odometers/speedometers put in... Interesting, huh?

    I was talking with my service dept. contact at the dealership, and he believes that it was unusual to have to have two transmissions put in. Our Windstar now only has less than 66,000 miles on it...the extended warranty expires next I'm kind of apprehensive about keeping it, yet don't really want to apply the $4K coupon towards the 2000 Windstar because of the not-so-good reviews (husband would be just as happy to finally get a new truck, ha!)

    My service dept. contact also said that the head gasket I had put on in January was of a 'new design', for what it's worth :-)

  • pe49077pe49077 Posts: 2
    We currently own a 1995 Windstar with 52000 miles and have not had ANY problems yet. We have noticed the early signs of the problems to come (slight, occasional transmission slipping / smell of coolant through vents, etc.) We have a Ford extended warranty which will cover the coming repairs but have been looking at a new 2000 Windstar SE. Not fully understanding the rebate/incentive mess for this problem (head gaskets) is it better to trade in now without repairs or have it done under the warranty? Is there any information concerning the 2000 Windstars? Are the problems fixed or are they still shipping them out the door! Any thoughts?...
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    The headgasket problem was supposedly fixed. The transmission??? Who knows. You are in an unusual predicament. Because the 95 models were reallllly bad, Ford offered the "buyback and incentive" for selected models. The good news is, you haven't blown a head gasket in 52,000 miles. The bad news is - you haven't blown a headgasket in 52,000 miles. So, from what I understand, you don't qualify for the $4,000 incentive. At the same time, the resale on your van is at rock bottom, so you won't get much on trade - even from a Ford dealer.

    If you are set on a 2000 Windstar, my suggestion would be to take your 95 into the service department and tell them about the coolant smell in the vents (is the coolant resevoir low - another sign of HG problems). Hope against hope that it's a head gasket problem, and tell them that you would rather have the $4,000 incentive. If they say the HG is okay, then drive it 'til it blows because you'll get about the same amount on trade with or without a blown headgasket. Might as well qualify yourself for the extra $4,000.
  • I wouldn't buy the new WS. Consumer Reports tallies problems reported by its readers. The WS is "off the chart" with problems: more than twice as likely as the "average" new car to have problems. I sounds to me as if your HG is about to go. If it does, I suspect that Ford will not offer you the $4k incentive but will simply offer to repair your car at no cost. Do you really want the hassle of being without your car for a week (or more)? I have spent more than $500 on rental cars while my 95 WS has been in the shop for 3 weeks in the last 8 months. Not to mention towing costs and the hassle of having your car break down at inopportune times (there's NEVER a good time for a breakdown -- my car is now sitting in a garage 300 miles from home and hasn't even been looked at after three days). If you're thinking of getting a new car, do it now. Don't wait until the trouble is upon you.
  • fordprob95fordprob95 Posts: 6
    OK Everyone!
    On Friday 5/19 My 95 WS will be in the shop waiting on new engine for 3 weeks. Received a call on Tuesday 5/16 Customer Service Manager called and said she would put me in rental car until I got my WS back.
    I was HAPPPY it's about time...
    They ended up putting me in "2000" WS. Nice car but I have my doubts. Kinda Funny uh! that they would pick that car hint..hint
    I thought about trading in car but am upside down in my WS so it would not be to my benefit to get rid of WS right now. I hope that my Transmission does not go. My WS has 85,000 miles so it's probably about time...who knows.
    I'm not sure if I have made the correct choice but when I think of paying a new car payment... I think I have made the correct choice
  • The head gasket went on my 95 windstar on 5-15-00 with only 28,759 miles. I brought it to the dealership and it was repaired under an extended warranty. Then the fun started. When I picked up the "repaired van" I noticed the car was racing but not engaging into gear. When I got home (1/2 mile) I called the dealer to report the problem and was told that one thing had nothing to do with the other. Now I'm not very mechanically minded but I knew that this was more than a coincidence and so I brought the windstar back. I was then told that there would be a $150.00 charge just to look at it and if it was there fault there would be no charge. What a surprise when they called to tell me that it was the transmission and it would cost almost $3,000.00 to repair.
    So I have now joined the crusade !
    I have contacted Ford and the Government website and will do whatever it takes to get satisfaction.
  • Unafordable, sorry to welcome you to our every-growing group. Be sure to read the posts re class action lawsuits and send your info to the attorneys (there are three ongoing at the moment). Also check out Mr. Catanese's sight for assistance in "discussing" your situation with our dear dear friends at Ford.

    Good Luck and keep us all posted.
This discussion has been closed.