Not sure about the previous owner... there were no service records when we bought the van.
2002 - full engine replacement (not sure why, though)
2003 - replaced front brakes, front left caliper, front left CV boot.
2004 - replaced thermostat.
2004 - blown head gasket (we were told it needed to be replaced by the dealer, but found out later that all that needed to be done was a thorough cleaning of the radiator externally where it backs onto the A/C condenser - fixed the overheating problem!)
Rear venting window motors work sporadically - we are told it may just be the switch, but could be the motors.
Driver's armrest bolt is stripped, so the armrest doesn't work, but spins around.
We purchased this van used, with a Honda Civic as our trade in. Our three kids were getting bigger and more active, and we didn't have the cash for an Odyssey, so figured we would get a Windstar, because it was the only other model with the rear heat/air.
Between the constant repair bills and the horrible service we receive from the Ford dealer, we would never purchase another Ford again. We are currently trying to fight the recent $1200 CDN bill to replace the head gasket because we were told it was "absolutely" the cause of our overheating. They changed it, and the van was still overheating. They then changed their tune and said that something else CAUSED the gasket to go, so now we needed to replace the radiator.
We ended up taking it to a rad guy who very quickly diagnosed a common problem with overheating on Windstars and Crown Victorias: external clogging of the radiator where it rests beside the A/C condenser. This fixed our problem.
Before changing the head gasket, I would recommend looking into a cleaning/service of the radiator first. It is MUCH cheaper to do.