The Windstar had major problems with the rack and pinion. Ford refused to fix the problem because the 3 year /36,000 warranty expired.
It had very uncomfortable seats - especially on long trips.
It had excessive engine noise.
The van had oil leaks and other engine problems. It broke down on us several times.
Poor quality and design. Not a reliable vehicle.
We purchased our 1999 Windstar based on styling and also the fact that it advertised its 5 star safety rating.
We brought it in for several campaigns or recalls.
It also went in quite often for problems which were covered under the warranty. The car leaked oil and broke down on us several times.
The cabin hummed with excessive engine noise and there were constant rattling sounds. The seats were extremely uncomfortable - especially on long trips. All these problems occurring within the warranty period.
The turning point with Ford came about when they claimed that they "cut" us a break already on some major engine work right after the 3 year /36,000 mile warranty expired. Now we had major rack and pinion steering work to be done on a car less than 3 years old, but it had 38,000 miles on it. They were not willing to negotiate price. We even found out that the part they had to replace was a "modified" part because the original was defective. I asked why this wasn't covered in a recall and they said it wasn't a safety concern.
We argued with the Ford service people and they claimed that we should have taken an extended warranty out on the van. We told them that if they made a decent car we wouldn't have to do that!!
Finally we drove the van out of there. it was barely drivable and I had to pour steering fluid into it while I drove it to a local gas station for service. The car was really unsafe and I can't believe that FORD refused to help me. My mechanic fixed the problem which cost over $500 - but it was still a lot cheaper than what Ford was going to charge me.
From there I drove the Windstar to a Mitsubishi dealership and they were able to do a "buy out" and roll the payments over on a 2002 Montero. The trade in value was terrible on the Windstar and I really lost out big time.
In the long run, things worked out and it really paid off because the 2002 Montero turned out to be an extremely reliable vehicle. We were so leary about dealerships (like FORD) that we decided to take an extended 100,000 mile warranty out on the Mitsubishi. It is now 4 years later and 88,000 miles later and we never once had to use the warranty. In fact it only went back once to the dealer for a campaign for the gas tank.
Prior to the Windstar I purchased a new 1995 Ford Aspire as a second car. In 1999 we purchased the Windstar. Then in 2000 I traded the Aspire in for a Mustang convertible. I was a loyal Ford customer.
Never again will I buy another Ford product. Never again will I buy a car with out doing some consumer research on it first. There is more to a car than great styling. I learned a lesson the hard way.
It am thinking about trading in my Mustang, and I will definitely replace it with a Japanese made product. In fact I really like the new Honda Fit which is getting rave reviews for a small car.
The old Ford slogan -"Quality is job one" is a joke! I guess that is why they quickly got rid of the Windstar model and replaced it with a similar model called the Freestar. Too bad changing a name doesn't help the over all product line. Good luck FORD!! You lost me as a customer forever!!