1996 Ford Windstar LX 3.8 L from North America


Windstar - Sucks the Wind out of you and FORD is the star


Check engine light.

Side door loose.

All front lug bolts have broken.

General Comments:

Local Ford dealer is liar.

FORD needs to issue a recall.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th May, 2001

28th Sep 2001, 20:45

I also have a 96 Windstar LX and when the odometer turned 75,000 miles the check engine light came on. Took it to the dealer and asked if this is pre set and he said no. I asked them to check to see why the light came on and after 6 hours later and me having to call the dealer, they informed me the cost to repair was $650.00. I told them to forget it and am going to buy a GMC tomorrow. Sorry Ford. Just wondering what you did with your check engine light?

25th Oct 2001, 18:04

Around 78,000 miles my check engine light came on. Was told it was the spark plugs. After having that work done + some other things (right front door lock making a horrible raspberry noise), drove off only to have the light come on within 50 miles. Took it to a local mechanic and am now paying to have 2 upstream 02 sensors replaced... never mind the tie rod ends going out.

The most difficult thing I've encountered was dealing with the dealerships. Not the one I took the van to... but others closer to home. One dealership told me that the check light meant that the head gasket had blown! Going to my local mechanic from now on.

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8 from North America


A piece of junk


At 95,000 miles the transmission had to be replaced to the tune of $1800.

At 85,000 miles the "check engine" started to come on. In the following 6 months I've taken it to Ford at least 4 times, never able to determine the problem, until now...

The head gasket is bad. The van was built in the fall of 1995. The 1995's gaskets went bad, Ford replaced them, but not the 1996's.

After talking till I'm blue in the face to the 800 number lack-of-customer service, they said "save the receipts" if there is a recall they'll reimburse. I'm not holding my breath.

Because of the transmission and the head gasket, I now owe $4000 more on it than it's worth. Incidently, several dealers told me it's only worth about $5000... funny that a 5 year old $20000 van is now only worth $5000.

Advice? Buy a Toyota.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd May, 2001

30th May 2001, 08:03

We can sympathize with you 100%. It strikes me funny that your van was manufactured in September 95! Ours was also. We have replaced engine due to head gasket problem. Repairs are topping $5000.

3rd Jul 2002, 07:39

Same Problem. I have researched and researched and the story is the same. Get a clue FORD.

1996 Ford Windstar LX 3.8 Liter from North America


Nice design, nice ride, lousy drive train reliability


At 75000 miles the check engine line came on. The initial dx was bad plugs and wires. The light came on again, and the dealer found nothing. The light came on again and the coolant level dropped. The dealer diagnosed a leaking manifold gasket. The projected cost of repair was over $1500.

I took the car to an experienced Ford mechanic. I was informed that the manifold is defective, that the EGR ports tend to clog and then the gasket fails. He recommends installing a redesigned manifold from Ford, who apparently know about the problem and don't like to talk about it. I wonder how many of those head gasket problems start with intake manifold problems, overheating and back-pressure buildup.

General Comments:

I like the vehicle, but the power train is a problem. Ford will not cooperate and the mechanics at the dealership don't seem particularly astute at managing the problem either.

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

Review Date: 18th May, 2001

1996 Ford Windstar GL 3.8L from North America


This car has been a lemon from day one


Blown head gasket (two - one now and one at 36K miles).

Constant resetting of the "Check Engine" light for O2 sensors (probably due to a leaking head gasket).

A slew of electrical problems - power locks not working, doors locking on their own, auxillary plugs not working, ABS light on/off.

General Comments:

I wonder if Ford has ever heard it's own slogan - "Quality is Job #1". They need to practice it.

Ford needs to extend the "secret warranty" to '96 model 3.8L engine vehicles. They won't talk to me. I plan on taking them to court.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th May, 2001

17th Jul 2001, 13:27

My 96 Windstar with 52,000 miles needs the head gasket replaced also. Ford is telling me that although some of the 96 3.8 L engines are covered for the secret warranty, mine is not. They said this was because of where it was manafactured. What a crock. I have owned Japanese cars in the past and made a big mistake buying American. Never again. Please keep us informed on how your lawsuit is going. I am considering the same thing.

11th Oct 2001, 14:38

I've had my 1996 Ford Windstar since the beginning.

At 19,000 miles the sensor in the transmission went, Ford said they wouldn't pay for it. We fought it, we also called Better Business Bureau on them so finally they fixed it.

Now a month ago my speedometer broke and the electrical system went, all at the same time. The van only has 43,000 miles on it know and it's out of warranty of course, and it's going to end up costing me over 800.00 to have it fixed.

We hardly ever use the windows, we usually use the air which also went out. To have everything all fail at once is just junk. We also have a 1987 Toyota Camry with 170,000 and it runs like a top. I don't know why we ever went to a Ford. Never again. In fact we're turning it in on a Toyota, we will always have Japanese vehicles from now on..