1997 Ford Windstar GL 3.0 from North America


This is our second and last Ford, both have been terribly disappointing


The first signs of problems seemed innocent enough. A door ajar light on the dash. All of the door sensors are functional, yet the door ajar light remains on. Where it really gets annoying is when the headlights are on and the car is moving less than 15 mph.

At that point the warning bell goes off continuously until you either get above 15 mph or turn off the headlights.

The ABS often activate @ below 10 mph. Sometimes the ABS light goes on & stays on, other times the brakes just release and allow the car to coast an extra 5 feet or so at the end of a stop.

The Oil Pan Gasket takes 4 "book hours" of labor to replace? Why did they put the oil pan where it is inaccessible?

The cup holder rattles constantly.

General Comments:

Overall, this car has been a headache. We bought it new, maintained it properly, used Mobil 1, the whole bit. Ever since it turned 40,000, we've regretted buying it, but since the resale is so bad, we're going to keep it until the kids can drive & let them drive into the ground.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st April, 2003

1997 Ford Windstar GL from North America


Comfortable and reliable


The only problem I've had with my Windstar is the interior light problem. Whenever it's damp outside, the interior lights stay on and the chimes remind us until we get to a small speed. We had this problem when it was new, and our dealer cleaned the contact points and fixed it right away. Now it's back and I've cleaned them to no avail.

We had a brake light problem when it was fairly new, and our wonderful dealer in Lexington, IL. fixed it easily. That was the only time we were able to use our extended warranty.

General Comments:

We love this van. We don't need a big car anymore, but we'll probably drive this until it falls apart. It's so reliable.

We bought an extended warranty, and only used it for one minor problem. Now we're 24,000 miles past the warranty and still no problems.

We've taken out our interior light bulbs, but will take it in for service next week, and they'll probably fix that problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st March, 2003

1997 Ford Windstar GL 3.8L from North America




The head gasket leaks.

Dome lights and door ajar light stay on even thought all doors are closed. The door open/ lights on buzzer comes on when traveling at less than 10 kilometers or at a stoplight. When this happens, the doors do not automatically lock when moving.

ABS light comes on every so often for no reason.

General Comments:

With all these known and common problems with the Windstar, you would think that Ford would help their customers out.

Is Quality really job number one???

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

Review Date: 22nd February, 2003

1997 Ford Windstar 3.8L from North America


Expensive gasket problems


Timing cover gasket blew out, $1800 to fix, the gasket set alone is $380. My mechanic stated this a very common problem for the Windstar minivan. The motor never overheated, it just began to drip just the other side of the front passenger wheel. At 70,000 miles you would think that this motor has reached the halfway mark of its life expectancy, as most current engines are on average making it to the 200,000 mile mark on average. My old Dodge Caravan did.Ironic that the vehicle is about halfway paid off and hasn't reached half it's life expectancy.. Note to self: is this a design problem? Or rather a intentional design to get you back into the dealership..$$ Ka-ching $$ Naa they wouldn't do that,would they?

General Comments:

We have contacted the giant Ford Motor Company for open discussion about this common vehicle defect. They have Ignored my small world issues and have proven another worth while note: they don't care.. in conclusion we will be looking at the Dodge Town and Country..

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

Review Date: 22nd January, 2003

8th Feb 2003, 22:16

Do not buy a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Plymouth, either. They are underpowered junk and have a lot of problems, mostly with transmissions and head gasket sometimes.

If you want a good vehicle, buy a Chevrolet venture or a used Astro. The Ford Aerostar are nice too and they're rear wheel drive which makes it a lot safer than front wheel drive on minivans. I have a 1992 Aerostar extended and it is 90 percent reliable. The only problems with them are associated with normal maintence. We have put well over 400,000 kilometers on it and it still purrs! Just make sure you buy a 92 to 97.

The Astro is the same as the Areostar rear wheel and it is built on a truck frame and it is very powerfull. Try looking for an Aerostar or Astro. Trust me you will never regret any penny you spend on them!

4th Apr 2003, 18:38

You'll regret getting involved with a dodge. the newer ones sold in the northeast are rusting out in two years. when you take it to the dealer for there so called rust warranty they call it normal wear and tear. transmission failure is practically a given with any dodge or Chrysler product. do yourself a favor and buy a Toyota sienna.

26th Jun 2003, 13:07

I thought I would find others with the “expensive head gasket problem” if I checked on line.

I was considering replacing the whole engine for about $3000 on my ‘97 Windstar. I’d get a three-year warranty that way. I was hoping to keep this car going for another 5 years. This is the only problem I’ve had to date. Are there other problems I can anticipate?

6th Jul 2005, 17:32

I have a 97 ford windstar. I love the car. But now I have to have the engine replaced. The dealer says the lower block of the engine in blown.. He quoted me $5000 to replace the engine.. I'm a single working mom. I have no money.. If ford knows this head gasket thing is a problem they need to face the music, fix it and make their customers happy.