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Ford Freestar, Ford Windstar, Van
#11 of 30 I'm curious
Jul 30, 2003 (6:44 pm)
as to the reasons that prospective buyers feel the Freestar is a better purchase than the newer designs from Nissan and Toyota, and the venerable top performing Honda?
#12 of 30 re: warranty to kirstie the host
Jul 30, 2003 (11:11 pm)
I started this thought process for two reasons. First, I didn't see any real discussions regarding warranty extensions on the Windstars and I saw a lot more problem discussions regarding Windstars. My view is a bit jaded because I have driven (run out) three company furnished Windstars that I beat and someone else maintained, with no major failures. I have also owned a '96 Windstar, again, with no major problems.
#13 of 30 re alpha01's curiosity - they aren't that bad, save $'s
Jul 30, 2003 (11:32 pm)
Hi Alpha, ok here is my take on this vehicle. Our family has two basic challenges. First, we have three kids in car seats, therefore, we need something with two rows of back seats. Second, my wife and I are around 6' tall and have long legs.
My wife wanted to look at Toyota and Honda. We went the local Honda store to drive the new Ody. The sales guy was very courteous and after he showed us all of the features, we got in. One minor problem, we could not get the seats back enough to sit comfortably. It appears that a person around 5'-8" would be real comfortable, but not us leggy folks. We didn't even drive the thing. Also, Honda does not offer a driver's door key pad or the side curtain canopy.
We also drove the '04 Sienna. It was nice and I really liked the roll down back seat windows. What we didn't like was the glossy black trim which little fingerprints would seem to find. I also felt the trim was rough and the 2nd row seat latches could take off a little finger. Parent's should worry about that stuff. The unit we drove seem anemic and liked to rev up more than go. Hence, I feel that some folks would buy this unit on specs, not driving. But they had the best specs....
All said, I still feel that Ford is a good value for the family driver. We drive our personal vehicles for many years, so first and second year depreciation don't affect us and much as the trendy folks. The '04 Freestar will offer the side curtain/air bag combo, the driver's door has a key pad so we don't have to keep a hide-a-key under the bumper and it fits tall folks.
In other discussions regarding these vans, I have stated my experience with Ford and front wheel drive units. I work for G.E. and drive a company furnished unit; Taurus or Windstar (taurus wagon chassis). We change oil and filter at 4k miles and fix things that break. That is it! We drive these units to 80k typically. With my company vehicle experience on this platform, I have almost 600k miles my body has set in these units pushing the pedal, plus our personal Windstar that my wife drives, with about 80k miles on that one. In all of these units (7 company and one personal) I have replaced one transmission that really didn't need replacement, one computer and one catalytic convertor and a lot of brake parts when I lived in Los Angeles.
I don't mean to sound like a posterboy for Ford, but they aren't that bad
#14 of 30 Winstar Transmissions
Jul 31, 2003 (8:58 am)
I have had a '99 Windstar since it was new. It only has about 44k on it now. Other than a poorly designed power steering system, the van has been great. However, when Ford recommends changing the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles they mean it. A good friend of mine, who is a mechanic specializing in transmissions, said that the main problem with the transmission has to do with the design of one part. Apparently there is a shaft that drives the transmission pump that is about the diameter of your little finger. When the trans fluid breaks down over time, that shaft wears excessively and the metal pieces are pumped throughout the transmission. I imagine that Windstar owners who have had transmission problems probably failed to change their fluid regularly. If you don't want to change this fluid all of the time, you can change the transmission over to a synthetic fluid, like AMSOIL, that does not break down like regular fluids do. If you have any doubts, you ought to see the flyer Ford sent bragging about the transmission in the Freestar.
Aug 02, 2003 (1:32 pm)
It appears that a person around 5'-8" would be real comfortable, but not us leggy folks
Ah! That would explain a lot! We're short folks. That Ody is great.
That 80,000 miles per Windstar certainly reflect our experience. Real trouble started a bit after that. Back in 95 the transmission had an aluminum piston. THAT was a disaster. Even I, who am very wary of Ford based on that vehicle willsay that it drove well and that with better removable and foldable seats would be right up there.
#16 of 30 Explorer..or back to Freestar?
Aug 03, 2003 (5:33 am)
I now own an Explorer Limited 2002 (V8)....I am not totally happy for many reasons..and my wife, well....we always had Windstars (96,98,2000) always happy with them...I know she likes the van better than a 4x4...Should I go with the Freestar?...wait a couple of years for the new redesign Ford vans to come in 05 or 06?...I would like to hear some opinions...thanks...
#17 of 30 Explorer.. or Freestar ?
Aug 03, 2003 (9:08 pm)
"We always had Windstars... always happy with them..."
"I now own an Explorer... not totally happy for many reasons..."
Your answer is in your own words. If you always loved your Windstar, why have you changed at all to Explorer?
Explorer is really a nice vehicle, but don't have the room a minivan have. If you always liked the Windstar, I'm almost sure you'll like the Freestar even more.
You have a 2002 Explorer and want to change it for a Freestar. Have you paid cash for the Explorer or did you paid off the loan? Or will you trade it in? If so, go with the Freestar, and you'll trade that in when the new design will arrive... Just my opinion...
#18 of 30 ...I know...
Aug 04, 2003 (4:37 am)
I know, I should have stayed with the 2000 Windstar SEL we had, but I wanted an Explorer and....well the rest is history. I will trade in, I have a good friend that is a gm at a Ford dealership and I always get a fair deal (trade in wholesale and invoice for the new vehicle) I only have a small loan, I usually trade in evry 2-3 years. The Fresstar looks so much like the Windstar that it makes me wonder if I should wait for the new models in 05 or 06...anyone knows anything about this new upcoming models?...I have not read anything...
#19 of 30 Freestar or not to Freestar, that is the ?
Aug 04, 2003 (9:58 pm)
Ralph, you can read my comments in this area. Our main like is the added safety with the side canopy air bag. The third row seat that goes into hiding is also nice and the Windstar fits nicely for tall folks. The van is pretty much what is on the road today, with a minor face lift. I have had 4 of them and they all ran pretty good with nothing major going wrong.
We drove the new Explorer and we liked it, but really needed the extra room the van has to offer. Today, my '02 Windstar lost an emission sensor and Ford had the van for 1/2 a day for repair. I got a new Chevy Trailblazer for a rental. That had lots of driver's room like the Explorer, too bad it couldn't figure out which lane it belonged in. We just wandered.....
#20 of 30 ...some question...<S>
Aug 05, 2003 (8:30 am)
I hear you and I agree totally. The only thing that makes think about going back is a new interior. My 2002 Explorer Limited has all the goodies of the new Freestar, but I must confess that I made a mistake..yes..I wanted a V8 and it is powerful but noisy as hell (lets not talk about local mileage...lol)...basically my wife loved the Windstar we had and this was for my ..er...pleasure..The sapce is not an issue but nice to have (empty nesters...THAT is a pleasure..lol)maybe I will wait until all the comments are out after the 04 is sold around. Always a Ford man, but lately a "careful" Ford man, specially with the new engine, which i will like to get in the hopes that this one will be less noisy...yes even the V6 was noisy in the 2000 Windstar...thanks for your comments and please keep posting I enjoy your reasoning.