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Ford Freestar, Ford Windstar, Van
#1 of 30 Freestar vs Windstar
May 12, 2003 (5:37 pm)
I want to buy a minivan in the next year. The deals are great on the Windstar right now, but the Freestar looks like a better product. Especially the folding third seat. Does anybody have any thoughts on the pros/cons of these two vehicles??? Thanks,
#2 of 30 Freestar vs Windstar
Jun 14, 2003 (7:18 am)
If you are thinking about a Ford MiniVan you should talk with other owners first. I have two 96 Windstars and both Transmissions blew between 65-75 thousand miles. Both identical failure modes, even the case cracked so I could not even get a core charge refund. Head gaskets went at 79K and the other van exhibits the same symptoms. I also have an explorer and am dumping all three vehicles. Based on past Ford reliability I would expect the Freestar in it's first year to be capable of multiple catastrophic component failures. Maybe you will be able to experience an engine and transmission failure simultaneously. This may be a plus for Ford since it will destroy all evidence of the defect. Unless you are only planning to drive the Ford for 36K miles, I would check out the new 2004 Toyota Sienna or the Honda Odyssey. Just keep in mind Fords are 50K mile vehicles.
#3 of 30 '99 WIndstar SE is a keeper
Jul 15, 2003 (12:13 pm)
I've had my Winstar since it came out. Its strong , smooth at 47K miles. compared to the Windstar the FreeStar for 2004 is a close copy spacially and style-wise. The Ford quality is very apparent, and when I rented a Dodge Caravan on vacation. It was slower and noisier, w/less confident highway poise. The Hondas are slower still. I get close tho the est. MPG. for mine.
I have cared for my van with Mobil 1 oil changes. The power sliding doors are still smooth, as is the tranny. Exterior shines on.
SO, I will wait until end of 2004 for my next smart purchase, The 2004 Freestar. I look forward to the new features and upgrades, like 4 wheel discs.
#4 of 30 Windstar is reliable
Jul 19, 2003 (10:46 am)
Sorry HDmatrix, but I must disagree with you on this one. My wife has a '96 Windstar with 78K miles and it is doing fine, albeit kid wear and trim fatique, and we are replacing it soon with the Freestar. I have also had 3 more company Windstars, '98, '00 & '02. The '02 will be replaced soon with a Freestar. I work for General Electric and they have oodles of these units. They seem to feel that 80K is the optimum point to put the units out to pasture. I have never had an major powertrain problem on these or the 4 Taurus's that I have had. Our maintenance program is simple, oil and filter every 4k miles, rotate tires and check brakes at 12k and DON'T TOUCH THE TRANSMISSION. If Ford things work, then don't fix them is the theory.
On any forum, you will find people with problem vehicles. For discussion, if 1/2 of the people on the forum complained about their vehicles, would that mean that 1/2 of ALL of the same vehicles manufactured are equally bad? Would a manufacturer stay in business with that type of quality? Take the gripes on the forum's as isolated, frustrated owners, looking for help. When I see these gripes I always wonder if these owners are dealing with a reputable Ford dealer or something much less. Sure there are lemons like Ford's early Windstar engines and they took care of those for those who pursued them.
Sirius2, go and drive the units, first and foremost. Use the specs for a tie breaker if you must. My wife and I looked at the specs and thought the '04 Sienna looked like the real deal, until we drove it. We just didn't like the unit for the price. The Odessey was the runner up until we sat in it; we couldn't get the seats back far enough for our leg length.
#5 of 30 trainboy
Jul 19, 2003 (5:26 pm)
They seem to feel that 80K is the optimum point to put the units out to pasture.
Given that caveat I would agree with you. Our Windstar experience was OK (not flawless but definitely OK) right until a bit after 80K. It sort of imploded after that. Everything you've heard already - head gaskets, tranny, valve cover gasket, timing chain cover gasket. Corporate Ford treated us like lepers and the dealer just blew us off. Too bad, a little sympathy and reduced costs might have kept us in the Ford fold. It was as much their attitude as it was having to spend $5,000 in repairs over teh course of 7,000 miles.
#6 of 30 $5K in 7000 miles hurts!
Jul 19, 2003 (5:45 pm)
Steve, you have my sympathy. We are approaching the magic 80K mileage with our personal '96 Windstar. Finally I have convinced my wife that we need to replace her unit. Since home interest is down, we refinanced the estate and pulled out enough for a new car and some other stuff. I hope we just keep her van running until we can get a new '04 Freestar.
#7 of 30 Thanks, Randy
Jul 20, 2003 (5:20 pm)
I ahve to admit that up until the crash and burn the thing treated us well. It had been paid off for a year or so and I was enjoying not having a car payment. I'm used to pushing cars for 150,000 miles or more. Pushing took on a different meaning in this case.
Best of luck on the Freestar. Extended warranty anyone? (Couldn't hurt...)
#8 of 30 extended warranty? let's chat...
Jul 28, 2003 (9:59 pm)
This will open a can of worms; what is everyone's thoughts on extended warranty? I think they are a rip and don't buy them on anything but notebook computers. I have done ok with our personal Windstar, Ford has been good to us and the only thing that has really been expensive has been the catalytic convertor. In Calif, they are covered for 70k miles, so it was on Ford.
We are in the process of ordering the Freestar now. As previous we won't opt for the warranty extension. What is your thoughts?
Jul 29, 2003 (6:00 am)
trainboy, there's a whole mess of discussions about extended warranties over on the Finance, Warrany, and Insurance Board. You can get to that board using the drop-down menu under "browse by message board" in the gray sidebar at the left.
#10 of 30 2 cents and on
Jul 30, 2003 (6:15 pm)
Yeah, I know thisisn't really the forum for such things, but if I were keeping a Freestar long term I'd buy one - but I'd negotiate. I bought one against my better judgement on the Ody because of tranny fears (after that Windstar I've been loking over my shoulder). By comparing dealer to dealer on the same warranty the price varied by as much as $900!