3rd Mar 2001, 14:50

I own a '96 Windstar as well, put it in the shop 3 days ago, called Ford first, they offered 50%, but still don't know the final cost yet. Maybe Ford will recall the 96's like they did the 95's.

Check out these links for more: lemonaidcars.com and consumeraffairs.com

12th Mar 2001, 17:29

1996 ford windstar, 117000 km Head Gasket and bearings shot. This is not right. Our only means of transportation, therefore it is in for rebuilt engine. Hope that they will recall soon, this is hard to swallow financially. Nice to know we're not alone!

19th Aug 2001, 13:22

I recently purchased a 96 Ford Windstar.

I had a car accident in June/2001 and bought this vehicle as a replacement for my previous vehicle which was a 1990 Chevy Ext. cab pickup truck. I am partially disabled as a result of this accident and needed a reliable vehicle in which to travel and get around in general. Thirty-six days after I bought the van, the problems started. First, the A.B.S. light would go on and off. Second, while on a nine hundred mile trip to see my mother who is very ill as the result of a heart attack, the transmission went for a crap. I brought the van to a "Ford Dealer" to have it fixed. They told me it was a sensor problem which they fixed for $646.00 (I didn't mention the hassle I had trying to get the dealer to fix it).

After it was supposedly fixed I set out on the rest of my trip, I got approximately 100 miles from where I had it fixed when it broke down again. Apparently these sensors have a very short life-span. After a lot of hassles I finally managed to get it home where it sits in my driveway patiently waiting for me to find a money tree. If I live to be a hundred years old, I will never buy another "Ford Lemon".

4th Nov 2002, 10:48

1995 Windstar with 5 year 75,000 mile extended warranty. Dealer had car several times between 85k and 100k for engine problems; never noticed head gasket problem. At 4 years 102k miles, head gasket went, catastrophically. No help from Ford. Other than that, it's a good car.

12th Nov 2002, 08:30

I have a 1996 Windstar LX that also developed head gasket problems at 70k miles. I spent a full year trying to have Ford address it. The company was less than receptive.

I eventually had my local mechanic fix it rather than give Ford one more penny of my money. My mechanic is very good and very trustworthy. The engine collapsed again a week later for a reason they still can't determine.

I do not believe Ford will ever address this engine's problems. They have too many of them in the market place to admit their design flaws. It is more cost effective for them to drive away customers.

26th Feb 2003, 10:25

I can't believe all of the problems surrounding this 3.8 liter engine! I have a 96 Windstar (84,850 miles) and have just been diagnosed with the same problem. The head gasket has developed a leak. I have oil in my coolant system and have been puffing white smoke out of the tail pipe. The mechanic thinks that I have caught it in time before antifreeze affected the bearings, but who really knows now.

I have called Ford Customer Assistance and registered my complaint, but did not get any assistance at all. Everyone that has this problem needs to contact Ford, Consumer Affairs, their dealer and anybody else that they can think of. Then take Ford to small claims court if Ford still ignores the problem.

27th Feb 2003, 09:14

Hello, Another victim of the Ford Windstar (96) Defect. My husband noticed the problem when we realized we went through antifreeze 2x this winter. We called our local mechanic, he explained the known problems with this engine. My husband said the engine is ruined because of the anti freeze in it. It is still running, but not for long. WE cannot afford another car, we have 4children and spent all our extra money in the last year paying it off early. What a mistake. It was a used car...but when I test drove it the check engine light was on, so they (the dealer) did something to get it off, I don't know what it was, but I think I might request the repair records now. My husband is calling the dealership, but after all the research I have done it doesn't look good for our van. I am very disappointed and very upset by this. What should we do?

4th Apr 2003, 21:12

I had similar problems with my 96 Windstar, however I did a lot of research before I took it back to the ford dealership. I found out that if you press them they will give you consideration and pay for most of the engine repair. So I only had to pay $600 for my new engine, unfortunately they don't tell you that the catalytic converter usually goes out next. So a few days after finally getting my van back I had to take it back in for 2 more weeks to have that repaired. That was under complete warranty so I didn't have to pay for it. Now almost 2 years later my husband says we have coolant in our oil again, indicating another blown head gasket with only 15, 000 miles on the new engine. Hopefully it will still be under warranty, because I am not paying another dime to have it fixed again. I can't wait to hear why it's my fault again that this engine went bad.

24th Jul 2003, 10:49

Having similar problems with my 1996 Ford Windstar regarding check engine light coming on. I take it in this weekend to have it checked. I also have to have the right front wheel bearing replaced for the third time. The second time the front axle also broke. The left front wheel bearing also needed replaced. Have had the door ajar chimes also come on when the doors were all closed. After reading about spraying the door latches good with WD40 they haven't given me any problems for a couple of months now. Can't afford to keep this vehicle. If the head gasket is bad I'll be looking for another vehicle, probably go back to Honda.

27th Mar 2004, 16:35

I bought a 1996 ford Windstar 3 years ago from a company that suddenly vanished. Since I bought it I have had to replace a lot of the front end. had to replace the rod that holds the rotor in place and now I have found out that I have 2 cylinders that have gone, and as of today will have to replace the vacuum line so it will even run. I cannot afford the $1500.00 to rebuild the engine and most of the engines I have found are the same price. I have read that the gaskets and such seem to be failing in a lot of these vans. If I had known any of this before I would not have purchased this vehicle. If the place at which I had bought it was still around I would have taken it back. Hope things get better.

26th Nov 2004, 18:23

I purchased a '96 Ford Windstar in April of 2004. At the time of purchase it had 140,958 miles on it. At the present time it has 149,876 miles. I have made several lengthy trips in it. One from New York to Alabama shortly after purchase and also a good majority of them to northwest Pa. We've kept up regular oil changes and have used fuel treatment regularly. All seemed to be going fine up until recently.

I took it into the dealer/garage where I purchased it from on October 18th with complaints of stalling out and white smoke pouring out of the tailpipe. They kept it for 3 weeks and 4 days. I picked it up on November 12th after paying a car payment and a whole lot more for the head-gaskets, crankshaft sensor, thermostat and gasket, cabin air filter, oil filter, 4 gallons of anti-freeze, and 6 quartz of oil to be replaced.

On November 14th after stalling out coming off of the freeway trying to make it home from work I had it towed to the garage. On the 15th I was informed by the owner it was fine. On the 16th took it back after stalling out in the middle of a busy four way intersection (just up the road from the garage). At which time I was told that the owner was on a trip and would not be returning till the 19th. So I waited till then to take it back down. I was able to pick it back up on the 24th. At this time I found out that they replaced the fuel injector. With no charge this time... except for my two car payments that were due.

Did not drive it much on the 24th. On Thanksgiving when taking friends home I noticed a squealing noise and it also stalled out once again. A friend recommended taking it some where else to fix what they believed to be a belt squealing. So on the 26th I took it to the garage recommended by the friend. Only to spend more money on the belt change and to be informed it would have nothing to do with the stalling.

Well I'm at my wits ends. And just about at my wallets ends too. Have a family to support. With a job I have to travel a distance to, four little ones to taxi around, and a vehicle that is taking just about every penny I make and still not running right is getting to be quite the nuisance!