My husband and I have owned our 1991 Aerostar extended van for over five years, and have been very pleased with it's general performance and durability. It has 88K miles on it, and we just recently had new brakes installed. Our air conditioner went out on the hottest day this summer, and, at first the mechanic who worked on it, thought it only needed to be gassed and a new hose; but after he did that and took it for a test drive, the compressor froze, and it had to be replaced, along with some other things. It cost $702.00; and we had the starter rebuilt. All in all it has cost us about $1,000.00, but we're not complaining because we feel that is very little compared to the service we have gotten out of it over the years. The body is in good shape, except for the rocker panels, which we are looking into replacing. We'd definitely buy another one, if we could just find one with real low mileage, and hopefully a one owner vehicle. We like the looks of our Aerostar much better than we do my brother-in-law's Windstar.
The Aerostar can be a good van. The best of the 2 engines is the 4.0L OHV V6, by far. I don't quite trust the 3.0L. This fellow sounds like he has had bad luck with his van, and it only has 120k KILOMETERS. I have a 94' Mazda Navajo with the 4.0L used in the Aerostars, BUT I have a 5-speed manual, so I lucked out on the trans.
From the comment above, this vehicle is nearly incomparable to the pile of junk Ford vans that have been created after the Aerostar model. Ford went off the deep end in reliability after the OHV switch over to modular SOHC and DOHC platform engines.