3rd Feb 2008, 05:42


I am more than a little bit scared now that I have read through all of the postings regarding Ford Windstars.

I have just recently bought a 1998 Ford Windstar after some considerable looking around. If I had read through all of the postings on this site, I think I might have considered my favorite mechanic's advice and gone for a Dodge Caravan. None-the-less, I have the Windstar now and, to be honest, this vehicle fits me like a glove. Ergonomically, the design is top-notch.

Yet, now I have read all the testimony to the many problems, particularly electrical, plaguing the Windstars. It fills me with dread! My mechanic warned me of this!

Of far greater concern to me are all your reports of Ford's indifference to your complaints. Such indifference will leave us in North America incredibly vulnerable if the Chinese ever embrace Demming!!! In short, we're likely to be screwed big time!

It's the fault of our own North American business managers, at least in my humble opinion.

The first rule of business should be "if you don't look after your customer, someone else will."

Hum. I remember a time when that WAS the first rule of business. Let's hope that our managers rediscover this basic principle before the Chinese stumble upon it!

I am an engineer and I have one of these vehicles now. I have also read through all of your complaints. I will watch closely for these faults in my vehicle and will do my best to troubleshoot the issues as and if they arise, without Ford's help, something that you have indicated would not be forthcoming anyway. I will report back with what I see.

The really good news is that the Windstar has a 5-Star rating in crash survivability and, this is from an independent source. I live in Calgary, Alberta where survival of the fittest is the rule of the road.



7th Feb 2008, 17:34

I have a 1995 Windstar Lx. As at least one owner has stated, the vehicle drives well, is beautiful and ergonomically well designed. However, I have had many problems with mine.

I have had the blown head gasket. That was replaced at Ford's expense under the warranty.

I also have the incessantly clunking transmission, although Ford can find nothing wrong after multiple tries. After 269,000 miles, however the transmission still clunks every time it is changed from Park to Drive, and then performs fine.

The interior cab lights' refusal to turn off and the associated dash warnings, was not solved by WD-40. This has caused several battery failures. I finally just removed all of the cabin lights that are activated by the sensors, and the problem went away. The ABS system has failed, as has the Overdrive and the Deluxe radio. Both window motors in the front have failed. Now the horn has also failed, but that may just be a bad horn, since all of the fuses pass the continuity test. Almost every dash warning light is permanently lit. The engine still performs well since the head gasket repair, but all of the annoying details point to endemically poor electrical design.

The front sway bar rusted out at the connector, but I live in Florida.

This vehicle was designed as a top of the line luxury vehicle, but almost all of those amenities failed rather early on in the expected life cycle of the vehicle. I have experienced more problems with this vehicle than I did with my 1977 Ford Pinto wagon.

I believe that another contributor to this forum thought that the Windstar was designed in Canada. I don't know if that is true, but I know mine was BUILT in Canada, so maybe those Cannucks were making a living hell for us in the U.S.? I will probably never buy another Ford again either.

28th Feb 2008, 14:05

I have not had my 97 Ford Windstar not very long.

It had a few problems; the interior light would go on every once in a while. Now there are all sorts of problems.

I thought it may just have been cause it is getting old, but it has 127,000 miles; that really is not too much.

I have the annoying chime noise that comes on when it wants, interior light stays on sometimes. starting to drive real rough.

Check engine light just came on about 2 weeks ago and I am getting an anti freeze smell in the car when it is heating up. I don't see a leak, but I have to fill the anti freeze about every 2 weeks or so. Anybody know what that problem could be?

Right now I can deal with the lights and annoying chime, but the check engine and coolant may be my big problem. Any ideas not costing 1,000 dollars would be much appreciated?

Oh, also I did not see anyone say anything about delay windshield wipers not working or the spray. Anyone have problems with that???

1st Mar 2008, 09:10

We've owned a 98 Windstar for two years, and apart from changing the water pump when we first got it, had little or no problems with it.

But recently I too ran into the light problem which drove me nuts. Thanks to this site, I was able to resolve the problem like so:

First use baking soda and water to clean the pins and connectors on the sliding door. It will give them back their chrome look. Then use WD-40 on all door latches don't forget the small hidden latch behind the sliding door. In my case that was the one causing the problem. That's it!

Two weeks ago the van stopped idling in cold temperatures. I replaced the idle air control valve, an easy do it yourself job, but the part is 100$.

I too agree that the light and speedometer should have been a Ford recall. My cousin own a 96 Windstar and had to deal with the same problems.

5th Mar 2008, 22:38

I, too, have had to deal with the dome light being on while driving. We have actually backed up into a car because of not being able to see out the winds because the light is on. It is very dangerous. Ford should do a recall to fix this problem. The dinging is very annoying too!

4th Sep 2008, 21:49

I recommend everyone who owns a Windstar like I do to get a Chilton book from O'Reilly Auto.

I cut the wire going to my back gate at the rubber grommet, so the dome light would stay off, then later put a small piece of duct tape on the sliding door jam covering the bottom nickel sized brass connector.

Next I have to replace the speedometer because it goes where it wants.

The clunking and squeaking under the front are cheap bushings that are easy to replace if you have any friends who are mechanically inclined.

29th May 2009, 23:43

I owned a 1997 Ford Windstar for about 10 years. I had the same problem with the speedometer. It was a "dry speedometer". My local mechanic removed the speedometer and shipped it to a repair shop in the Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin area. It was lubed and shipped back to my mechanic and reinstalled. The speedometer never had the problem again. The cost of the removal, shipping, repair, return shipping and reinstall was only a fraction of the cost that the dealer quoted to replace with a new speedometer. Get it repaired! Don't replace speedometer with a new one! I gave the van to a friend when it had 257,000 miles on it. She has driven it for the past 2 years. The engine has been outstanding!