Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Ford Windstar



  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    You should notice that nearly all the complaints/issues you see here involve the 3.8L V6 engine (usually combined with the AXOD transmission). Note that the year does not seem to matter. The 97 3.8's are starting to have similar head gasket failures that the 95's had. While all rumor, I have read that engineers at Ford now suspect a design flaw in this engine that is causing unbalanced rotation pressure in the main front crank bearing. In turn, cylinder #4 (one of the two that is closest to the front bearing) gets erratic wear and creates unforeseen pressure. Over time, the head gasket will fail because it was not designed to handle the forces being placed upon it.

    Just avoid the 3.8L. And after my personal experiences with the Ford Motor Company, I would avoid Ford all together... But that is story for another day... Whatever you do, 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
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    I had a 98 GL. It had numerous problems with the traction control and ABS system. I had to take it back so many times, that the dealership decided to buy back my 98, give my a $5000 bonus, and I got a 2000 LX for very little money out of my pocket. I had the 98 for exactly 1 year, and 20,000 miles, so I figured this was a good deal. I have the 2000 for almost 8 months now, and had only one major problem so far.
  • Wholigan Where did you read about the unbalanced rotation theory ? I just did a buyback ($6650 + 3000 incentive) to get a 2000 LX Windstar.
  • espowariespowari Posts: 36
    We're the new owners of a 95 Windstar - I know I know...

    The passenger window will no longer roll down via button on either door. I
    don't see in the manual how to child proof it. Previously it would roll down
    fine. I think I did a combination of turning the car on and holding both
    buttons down to let some of the heat out, but I can't reverse it.

    Any ideas? I haven't checked the fuses yet, but I suspect that they're fine,
    as the other window rolls down.

    Any help is much appreciated.

  • My 95 passenger window also experienced the not working occasionly, it would start working again. I never had it checked by dealer. I would check past history on your vehicle for headgaskets etc. I think any FORD dealer can check by VIN number. I loved my Windstar until the day it died. I loved my Windstar until the day it died.
  • wholiganwholigan Posts: 148
    Let me reiterate that this is rumor and speculation, however, what I read was an "evaluation" from a mechanical engineer that works for Chrysler (they specialize in performance engines). They try to evaluate other engineering issues to prevent them in future designs (too bad they can't deal with their own under-geared transmissions!). This was the analysis (I do not know WHO did the analysis) after doing a "reverse-engineer" of four blown 3.8L motors.

    On the other side, congrats on the new van. Keep it until the warranty runs out then dump it like a hot potato. I shouldn't really say that. You are one of the few that I have read where Ford has treated you fairly well (after much work I am sure!). I wish my story had a replacement van! I would feel much more comfortable in a van that I knew was warranted. Instead I continue to pay off the home equity loan (that I is major upside down compared to trade value) in the repaired 95 WS on its fourth transmission and second engine. I trust it as far as I can throw it. Just last night my wife (and three small children) was driving back from IL when she decided to stop for gas. After getting off the exit, she went to press the brake and there was NOTHING. Went right through an intersection. Nearly got hit by a pickup. The culprit was a rusted brake line (near the Master Cylinder I might add). Gosh, I really just wish this would get bought back...

    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
  • honkenhonken Posts: 4
    Hi Again!

    What more specific whas the problem whith the
    ABS system and the Traction Control on your
    Windstar 98 Gl?

    Is there anyone else who has this problem.

    I live in Sweden and i´m getting my Windstar on friday. I am just a little bit nervous if this
    are a good car or not.

    Exusce my poor English.

    Hope for answers!

    Honken from Rejmyre in Sweden
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    I had a light flashing on my dashboard that said TRACOFF and every thing they used to stop the flashing did not work.They changed a brake switch, and it worked for a few weeks, and then the light started flashing again, and this time the ABS light came on. They changed the ABS module, and that fixed the problem for a few more weeks, and then the TRACOFF light started flashing again.They then said that the computer had to be reset, and that fixed it for about a week. Then it happened again, and they had the van for over a week. They did one more thing(cant remember) and insisted that it would fix it, and if it didnt, they would take back the van, and give me a new one. Well, we drove all the way to Florida from NY and back, and thought they really fixed it and then one day, it started flashing again, so I called them, and they said they would arrange to give me a 2000. This all took place over a 6 month period.
    If you look on the ntsa database for technical service bulletins :
    and you look under Ford Truck/Windstar/1998,
    you will see that there are a few complaints about the TRACOFF light intermintenly flashing, but as I saw, they could not fix it.
  • princ1princ1 Posts: 1
    My 96 windstar van just went in to the dealer with a transmission problem. Does this seem to be a problem with the 96's? I have read the disaster stories about the 95's. We have 59000 miles on this van. I am not very comfortable with my family riding in this right now. Have any dealers been receptive to helping with what seems to be a problem engine (3.8)?
  • honkenhonken Posts: 4
    Hi Laura!

    Thanks for the tip.

  • kathyk3kathyk3 Posts: 1
    We just purchased an LX Sport. The sticker said this van comes with the Comfort Group (which includes a roof rack), however, our van had none. When we questioned our salesman he said that since it had the spoiler, that took the place of the roof rack. Does that make since? The van also came without floor mats. We specifically found where "floor mats with sport logo" were included in the sticker's standard equipment, so he's ordering those for us. But this roof-rack thing has me stumped. Other than that the dealer was great and we love the van.
  • gdmartin1gdmartin1 Posts: 1
    We've had numerous problems with ours mainly with plastic trim pieces on the seats which was an aggravation especially since the dealer kept ordering gray instead of tan.
    My city mileage was down to 10mpg recently until I happened to speak to the service rep. at the Mitsu dealer next door to the Ford dealer. We also own a 2000 Galant(fine car). He told me that a hesitation had been reported on some older Mitsubishi's and that rang a bell with me since I too have hesitation with the Windstar(32,000)and also experienced the same with the 3.0L Dynasty I had. There is an electrically controlled choke mechanism mounted right above the butterfly plate. You can take it off yourself and spray carburetor/choke cleaner in it and Voila!, no more hesitation! It had gotten real bad on my Dynasty and after the cleaning performance improved. I just wish I'd get the mileage on the van like I did on the Dynasty. I even moved up to premium gas on the van so that it could clean the injectors better than regular. Three tanks of premium so far and I have yet to see if the mpg improves.
    Ford called us last week to tell us that the 2001 Windstars won't be out until January. They look so much better than the '00 models. But we'll have to stick with a '00 since our lease is up soon. I'd prefer a new MPV but the wife still wants her Windstar. The MPV is packaged nicer with features and costs a lot less.
    I agree with some of the other contributors here in that Ford has not been consistent with options and features inside. For instance, tell me why in the world could the overhead console work in the 3-door '98 but it can't work in the same model for '00? It has to be only in the 4-door.
    I'll be glad to get rid of this van. Like my neighbor say's "Dodge sucks" but I had less trouble with my Dodge than this Ford!!
  • lsg1lsg1 Posts: 42
    You said in your post that the 01 Windstar looks better than the 2000 model. Are they restyling again so soon? What has changed?

  • carolf1carolf1 Posts: 1
    I just purchased a used Windstar SE 2000 with 3600 miles on it for $23,000, fully loaded. Is that a good price?
  • opr4492opr4492 Posts: 7
    err msg, CD will not play or load unless Car turned of and back on.
    Vistion is saying they did have a bad batch of single CD / tape AM/FM radios.
    My dealer just put in new one (took 3 weks to get)
    doing SAME thing.

    Vistion is calling my dealer to see if serial# on new radio(and the one they removed) is also from bad batch.
  • mikenokmikenok Posts: 1
    I am thinking of purchasing a 2000 LX. I have been reading of the horror stories with the gasket problems in the 3.8 engine. Is there any other problems I should be concerned about.
  • opr4492opr4492 Posts: 7
    your price is excellent, carolf1
  • capicapi Posts: 1
    I will be bringing my '96 Windstar (V6-3.8L) in to check the transmission as we just started having problems with it. Only have 48K on the VAN. Is there any recourse as of yet from Ford on this other than the class action suit? I see there is a buyback for the gasket problem but any thing on the tranmission problems?
  • loppetloppet Posts: 2
    My '96 Windstar just blew out its transmission after only 53K. Sounds like the 96's may be following in the 95's footsteps. If anybody knows of any class action suits or any Ford acknowledgement of the problem let me know.
  • jay238jay238 Posts: 13
    hi, i have a 95 windstar that i bought new and it still runs perfectly. tons of stop and go city driving, lots of idling, and hundreds of highway driving. current mileage is about 165,000 miles and it has been service regularly. i dont see what all the fuss about transmissions going and "oh!! better trade that 95 in quickly!" obviously, not all 95 windstars are like this.
  • Call me crazy (after reading all the posts I must be) but I am considering purchasing a 1999 Windstar LX. I have researched the well known problems with older ('95-97) Windstars including, but not limited to, head gaskets and transmissions. My question to this forum is "in your opinion, do you think Ford has resolved many of the Windstar issues? Does the 1999 have similar reliability concerns of the older models?

    The dealership I am dealing with is a reputable (i think) one in which I know the used car sales manager personally. He said to avoid the '95 & '96 models and that in his opinion, the 1999 with modifications to the engine & transmission has solved most of the problems.

    I would appreciate the board's thoughts on the '99 WS.

  • bdemasbdemas Posts: 51
    sprtsfn1: We had a 99 for 20k miles then traded it towards a 2000 along with a 4k certificate. We had the infamous 95 prior to that, hence the 4k certificate. As far as I could tell in the time we had the 99, Ford had fixed the head gasket and tranny (at least the aluminum piston problem).

    I think they have introduced a different set of problems though. The transmission is controlled by a computer that is suppose to learn your driving habits (or so I'm told). We had a concern with ours in that it would do harsh shifting in the lower gears (1st to 2nd and vice versa). They replaced a sensor that helped but didn't get rid of the problem all together. When shifting from park it would periodically bang into reverse (we had this with the 95 as well, they have made it better in the 2000, it feels tighter at least). The engine was noisier then the 95. We found that if you do tight turns at coasting speeds (like trying to manuever into a garage) the engine tends to surge. If your not ready for it it can be a problem. We brought it to the dealer several times to see if they could fix it, no luck, thats normal according to them. We thought when we got the 2000 these issues might be gone, they are not. The gas mileage was horrible, 17 around town, 20 highway (if we were lucky). Don't believe the 500 to 600 miles on a tankful.

    On the plus side, the extra slider is nice. If we had to do it over again we would go back to the bench seat in the middle (its tough for 2 kids to stretch out on long trips with buckets).
  • opr4492opr4492 Posts: 7
    "err" msg occurred again after they said my orig unit had the "fix" applied. This is the "second" try by the dealer to get fixed.
    Now Bob Davidson will have to get this resolved for me once and for all. It is NOT the dealers fault, it is the supplier of the radio (VISTION) and whatever local repair facility used by FORD.
  • I'm looking to buy a WS 98 gl loaded, with 25,612 miles. Is $15,500 a good buy? Also what are some problems with this year? DW
  • fpdafishfpdafish Posts: 20
    I know your problem is with the single CD unit but I just leased a new windstar with the single CD in the dash AND the 6-CD changer. I couldn't get both to work. It says in the manual that when you push the CD, it toggles between the changer and the dash. Mine wouldn't do this. When I brought it to the dealer, the technician let me hang out and watch and explained what he fixed. And he did fix it! We pushed all sorts of buttons and turned the car on and off and it worked. He changed some kind of memory thing. It was a small black box (about the size of a small beeper) with wires going into it and wires coming out of it (sorry for the lack of tech terms!). Like I said, he fixed it. It worked until after I tipped him and started driving home! So I turned around, went back and told him and he ended up changing the CD changer itself. It was a Kenwood 6-CD changer and he changed it to a Panasonic 10-CD changer (Cool! A FREE 2-CD upgrade!). He figured this out by calling Kenwood and explaining the situation and they settled on the fact that the Kenwood just wasn't compatable with the in-dash stereos that Ford was using. Maybe you should have the dealer call the manufacturer of your CD player and make sure everything is compatable, if , of course, you didn't already do this. Anyway, my CD player/changer all work fine now. So does just about everything else in the car. My wife loves the way it drives. My only concern so far is a loud THUNK that we hear sometimes when we shift from Park to Drive. The dealer says it's normal (I don't think ANY THUNKS are normal!) but I guess I'll deal with it if it leads to a problem. Oh, by the way, while I was in the showroom waiting for the tech to change my CD changer, I noticed a bunch of other cars with the in dash CD player and the Kenwood 6-CD changer. I guess the tech was busy for a while after he fixed my car!
  • fpdafishfpdafish Posts: 20
    Since I posted this problem in the same posting as a CD problem, I'll repeat myself. I have a 2000 windstar and sometimes when I shift from Park to Drive, I hear a LOUD THUNK! Dealer says this is normal (I doubt it) so I guess I'll just let it go and deal with it if leads to a problem. It's a lease and should be covered by the warranty 'till I turn it in. I'd just like to know if anyone else hears this noise. And believe me, if it happens, you'll hear it!
  • 99win99win Posts: 1
    We are in the market for a Winstar LX. We have looked at the Honda Odassey and would love one since we have owned 2 Hondas already, but we are not able to get our hands on one for a few months. Since the Winstar has done just as well on the crash test we thought we would look at them. We found a '99 with 22,000 for $19150. It is an LX with 4 doors, power windows, locks overhead consol with tape/cd and captian chairs. It also has the feature so the kids can listen to there own music..and rear air. Can you tell me if this is a good price.. We have a ford tarus wagon 1991 that we are trading in that has lost a good amount of its paint. It only has 90K miles. My Hondas seem to last longer. So we are a little scared about buying another ford.
  • opr4492opr4492 Posts: 7
    Thanks for the CD info. Yes they did call VISTEON on were told that the CD being shipped (took 3 weeks) did in fact have the "fix" applied.

    Then they said they could "fix" my orig unit locally, that did not work either. Waiting to hear from dealer now, who is obviously furious with the radio suppiler at this point...

    I have a 2000 SE I purchased and I have not noticed a loud "clunk". I would ask the dealer to let you sit in a new one on the lot, start it, and put it in gear.. Then YOU decide!!! Good luck!
  • opr4492opr4492 Posts: 7
    Sounds like a good price, but, if you like HONDA's better, don't be impatient and wait for one.
    Personally I love my Windstar (this is my 3rd one)
    the ride is unmatched by any other I have been in, but some do not like the "floating" ride, I do.
    Yes, the engine is a bit noisy on acceleration and FORD has had head problems, but that's why they have ext'd warranties for $675 bucks for 5 yr /75000. Can't beat it. Dealers are usually great! And FORD's arbitration process does seem to work (reading some of the posts on this site). Good Luck
  • fpdafishfpdafish Posts: 20
    Thanks for responding about the thunk noise. Hope your CD problem gets fixed soon. I also have an SE and it kills me to say this about a minivan but...... ENJOY! ;)
Sign In or Register to comment.