After stripping away the emotional charge of this review, one can say that this minivan is about average for a vehicle with 135 000 miles on it that didn't get the benefits of proper maintenance. Throwing money at it does not equal maintenance.
For example: "After a scan, I was told many of the sensors were bad. I bought the sensors had them replaced and the check engine light is still on."
The sensors actually worked! They triggered the CEL when it needed to be triggered. The good boys in shop decided to kill the messenger instead of searching for the cause of the messages. They were too lazy to open the shop manuals!
The rear axle rust and the sub frame rust in the front of the Windstars are serious issues and the reviewer is right. Even after being looked at, they still can corrode and break. I will periodically check mine as long as I have my van. At my recall, the mechanic cleaned and then coated the failure prone areas with an anti-corrosion material. I don't trust it, therefore I check it myself.
In my opinion, the reviewer is not right about the clunking steering and front suspension. Its joints are worn out, and that is normal for a vehicle with that many miles. Some do better, but it is still normal.
All electrical issues the reviewer bemoaned are well known and fixable. Once the shorts are fixed, the battery will last too. If they are not being fixed, the alternator will burn out as well.
The reviewer made the mistake of buying a used vehicle, without having it checked over first.
No doubt. What in the world do people expect from a 12-year-old van? If you could actually buy a brand new car for $1,500 then everybody would buy one every year. If you're in the market for an old beater, then the expectations need to be lowered.
Windstars are the worst minivan out there. Period.
Apart from the Honda Odyssey and it's transmission issues, this is the worst possible van you can spend your hard earned money on.
You bought something that apparently wasn't maintained very well and you didn't notice.
Regardless of the rear axle recall, everything else you should have known about ahead of time. These issues did not all just happen in the last 15K miles.
Anyway, go out and buy a VAG vehicle, and you would have the same problems, or worse, and it would have cost you double the purchase price, and once again the double purchase price in repairs.
You are blaming FORD for your mistake.
Well Ford did make the Pinto and the Crown Victoria, both which had a few years where they'd burst into flames if crashed into. The Ford Fusion suffered from Toyota's unwanted acceleration issue too, but for some interesting reason it wasn't publicized as much.
We bought this van when it was only five years old, and it has been maintained. We have had to replace a transmission sensor (researched problem on the Internet) that could have been easily mistaken for a bad transmission at the tune of three grand.
We are at this time, experiencing extreme noise and vibration when traveling 35mph, and now the van just suddenly stopped running while I was driving, and I am trying to figure that problem out. We have changed oil, fluids and tires, and numerous other parts, and now we get a recall for a potentially fatal wreck caused by a bad axle. There have been other recalls as well.
I transport my grandson in this van. I don't care how old or how many miles are on it, Ford should compensate those of us who still must rely on using this vehicle to get around, and I don't want to risk my life using it. We cannot afford to buy another vehicle, and we would not qualify for a loan if we tried. So please tell me what do we do?
I'm sorry for your tough situation. But, machines wear out with time and use. That's just the way it is. You got seven years of use out of it, and avoided paying for a new transmission by fixing a part, so kudos to you, you didn't do too badly with this van, considering that nothing lasts forever. But it DOES matter how old it is, and how many miles are on it, because machines do not last forever, and it is not realistic to think they will, and you can't expect Ford to offer a lifetime bumper to bumper warranty.
It sounds like your only choices are to either get it fixed, or buy another used car. There are plenty of good, used cars out there that you don't need a loan for. See what it will cost to fix the van, or fix it on your own, and see what it would cost for a used car. You're doing the right thing by keeping up on maintenance, changing fluids, and driving it gently. If you start browsing for used cars, use the Internet to do some research on reliability. A fast perusal will show you that the 3.8L V-6 Windstar is one of the biggest pieces of junk made in the last 20 years. You can find transportation for $1,500 or less; then you save up money to buy a better car.
It sounds like the extreme noise and vibration at the specific speed of 35 mph might be due to a CV joint or wheel bearing. If the engine suddenly died, it could be a number of things. If you have the 3.8L, they were notorious for blowing head gaskets, in which case you may as well junk the van and have done with it. Drain the oil and see if there is anti-freeze in it, in which case you have a warped head. Also check for spark if it turns over. If the engine is seized, again you may as well junk it and save yourself money.