1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 V 6 from North America


A worthless piece of metal


After 1 week the ABS light came on.

The rear vent window motors went out 3 times.

The power locks went out after only 6 months.

Most recently at 52000 the head gasket went.

At 54000 miles the speedometer started jumping at speeds over 40 MPH and had to be replaced.

57000 miles the engine went.

General Comments:

At 57000, a loud ticking noise coming from the motor. I made an appointment with Ford it was there the whole day. The service manager and mechanic could not hear the noise. When they brought out the van, I could hear it right away. After the mechanic heard the noise he said it was loose piston skirts. The result would be a new or rebuilt engine. At 57000 miles!!! I called Ford they said the extended warranty was up. I explained that I had always taken the van to the dealer for oil changes regularly, after all the oil changes were free. Ford kept saying too bad. I explained about the other problems, head gasket and speedometer, they said they had not received many other complaints about these problems with the 96 Windstar. I told them about the internet with all of the complaints. They said it was probably one person with a grudge against Ford writing all of these.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th July, 2002

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 from North America


Buy with 100K warranty, enjoy, settle for no trade-in value


I observed loss of coolant and white, smoky exhaust smelling like a chemical. I was worried about the head gasket failure as I read about numerous complaints. Problem was described as intake manifold gasket failure leading to loss of coolant in exhaust. Estimated cost $600. Ford builds a $24,000 van that does not last for even 100,000 miles.

General Comments:

Should not buy a Ford without 100,000 miles warranty. I took 75,000 only and tried to extend it to 100k. But the dealer asked $1400 more. Ford should share the cost of the gasket problems. If they get their act together, this will be a great van.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th June, 2002

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 Litre V6 from North America


Head gaskets a known defect


Up until now we have been blissfully unaware of the head gasket nightmare suffered by so many 1996 Windstar owners. We were satisfied with the van's performance.

The "check engine" light has come on twice in the past 18 months and both times our local Ford dealership assured us it was a "glitch." They reset the 02 sensor and for about $75.00, sent us on our way.

About 2 weeks ago, with 133,500 kms on the odometer, the "check engine" light came on again and this time was accompanied by other ominous problems. White steam blew out of the tail pipe and the heater didn't heat properly.

Upon inspection, the Ford dealer found that the head gaskets leaked.

The oil pan leaked.

The front timing cover leaked.

Originally, the dealer was going to "fix" the above problems, but then phoned back to say we needed a new engine! This in a 5 year old vehicle!

We were shocked and insisted that this was not acceptable. Ford Canada agreed to pay 50%, the dealer paid 10%, and we had to come up with 40% (over $1,500.00.)

We are still fighting this. A company should stand 100% behind its product - not 50%.

Obviously, the 1995 problems are still being seen on the 1996's and Ford won't take responsibility until enough of us jump up and down.

Unless Ford re-imburses us 100% for their defective engine, we will trade it in and never buy another Ford again.

General Comments:

Other than the head gasket/engine fiasco, our van has been safe and reliable family transportation.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th February, 2002

10th Mar 2004, 07:53

I have a 96 Wind star which also has a blown head gasket. There are hundreds of complaints filed on the National Traffic Safety site regarding this. It is apparent the 96 model has a defective gasket and I am really disappointed to learn Ford is stonewalling the problem. I have 2 Ford vehicles - my last.