Previous owner replaced engine with rebuilt unit at 80,000 miles due to blown head gasket. He said the dealer would not help him. The engine was rebuilt by an independent shop and has run fine, except for normal maintenance. I had to replace Idler pulley and Tensioner pulley last weekend. The Idler pulley locked up and killed the belt.
The transmission has run shoddy since I bought the van. I bought the van cheap, due to the transmission problems. I did research and found that there is a "drum" in the transmission that has a crack in it. It's a known defect on Fords (especially '95 and '96 Windstars), but usually lasts until at least 85,000 miles, so they don't cover it under warranty. I can accept that, but it will affect my decision to buy another Ford product.
Power Window Motors in doors failed within 2,000 miles of each other. Both were motor failures. The van had about 97,000 miles at the time. That was about a year ago and I'm still driving it with the door panels off and a piece of cable holding the window up, since I've not had time to chase the motors down. No one, but the dealer ever has them in stock, and they want my first born in order to release a window motor to me. One of the rear window motors is now failing, also. I had a 1976 Buick that had NO electrical failures. It was fourteen years old when I finally gave it up (only because vanity made me want a new car, it was still running fine).
There is a brace or bar or something like that which has fallen off the inside of the door. It scared the hell out of me, I thought I'd run over an angry steel cat and somehow it ended up inside my van. When I took off the door panel to fix the window motor, I discovered the metal bar and the failed weld points. (The vehicle has never been wrecked, so it's surely a defect in workmanship.)
I've had intermittent ABS and BRAKE light entertainment opportunities. The ABS light is never on when the van is started, but comes on later, after the van is sure I'm gonna drive for a while. I think the light is a scam and the van is really just lazy. I really think it wants to just sit in the driveway and do nothing. The brakes seem to work fine, so I consider the lights to be a stand-in for year-round Christmas Tree lights.
I wish they'd offered a surround sound in-van DVD theater system on this one. I'd just leave it in the garage, take the engine and transmission out, hook up a power converter, and let the kids use it to watch movies.