Last post on Oct 27, 2006 at 7:51 PM
You are in the Ford Windstar
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Ford Windstar, Van
#1381 of 2608 Front end clunking
Feb 23, 2004 (7:19 pm)
I posted in November 2003 concerning front end clunking in my 1996 Ford Windstar. To this day, the clunking noise seems more noticeable even after doing the repairs I had noted. I was going through some paperwork filed away on the van and remembered the following notice I received from Ford:
Program No. 01M093
Model: 1996 Ford Windstar
Extended Coverage Info:
The front coil springs on your Ford Windstar are now covered for 10 years from the warranty start date, regardless of mileage. This part may prematurely wear or break, especially when operated in high-corrosion areas of North America (where salt is used on the roadways in winter) for an extended period of time. Coverage is automatically transferred to future vehicles owners.
What is covered?
Effective immediately, Ford is providing extended warranty coverage for repairs, including parts and labor, directly related to your vehicle's front coil springs.
The notice indicates that the front coil springs may be susceptible to corrosion - which could ultimately lead to spring fracture. What you would most likely notice if your front coil spring fractures is that one side of your vehicle will appear to be lower than the other.
I'm not noticing any problem with one side being lower than the other but it's had me wondering if it may be related in some way. I had gone to the local Ford dealer and they told me they checked the springs when I brought the van in for another recall and said everything was fine. I was told that long before I started hearing the front end clunking.
FYI, I live in NH so we have plenty of salt use during the winter months but I was hearing the clunking noise prior to the cold winter months.
#1382 of 2608 Spring Recall
Feb 24, 2004 (5:24 am)
Go back to message 1366. Its probably not the coil springs. I got the same recall notice and had the springs looked at a number of times - they're not the problem. I believe its the bushings discussed in the earlier messages. My front-end noise went down by 90% with the replacement of one of the two links, but as later messages noted, its a Windstar and they have crappy, noisy front-ends - so returning to the quiet it had when new is likely not in the cards. The link noise does not come on slowly. It just starts all of a sudden once the link starts to touch the frame. Also, I seem to remember that the recall was associated with the possibility of the spring breaking and puncturing a tire. So ... have them checked again and again and again and again and again and again.
#1383 of 2608 Front end clunking
Feb 25, 2004 (6:07 pm)
Neighbor replaced tie rods for $300+ to solve his "clunking" - apparently second time, or once every circa 35,000 miles. Other suspension clunking can be the ball joints being shot.
I replaced tie rods at 75k and "lifetime" sealed right ball joint at 112k. Left was in bad shape. Happily parting ways with it tomorrow for the tax writeoff. Good luck with your Windstar - you will need it!
#1384 of 2608 looking to buy
Feb 27, 2004 (8:36 am)
Hi all, we're looking to buy a used 1998-2000 windstar in the below $8000 price range, preferably with relatively low milage. My questions are:
1. What's the reliability like for these model years? After reading the Edmund's consumer ratings and posts here, I'm a little concerned to say the least. We have four friends who have windstars and are happy with them.
2. How does the windstar compare to other domestic models, reliability wise? I'll be happy with average reliability. And we'd like to limit our choices to domestic vans to keep the cost low.
Thanks for any input.
#1385 of 2608 To: looking to buy:
Feb 27, 2004 (9:58 am)
I had a 96 and 01 windstar. Each I can say had virtually no problems at all. They were both thoroughly maintained. I purchased the 96 and sold it in 01 to buy a newer one. I leased the 01 because of the resale value of the 96. The 96 was in prestine condition inside and out and I believe that allowed me to get top dollar back in 01 compared to other 96 minivans selling. It took us about 4 months to sell, but I can safely say the family that bought it from us got them selves a bargain. So I guess like anything else in life, there are good ones and bad ones!
The 01 Windstar was a great looking car (for a minivan)! It was the Sport SE model in black, very sharp looking. My kids loved the rear spoilier. I've seen it in red and white also, but the black was the nicest IMHO because the Sport model had black acccents on the wheels and on the body. We just recently purchased a 04 Expedition. I was just "done" with the minivan mode. Not to say that I didn't like it, I just needed a change. I do however miss the ease of getting in and out with the kids. Good luck on your search!
Feb 27, 2004 (11:05 am)
Thanks mersee for the input. That's reassuring to hear. I had always had a positive view of the Windstar because we knew quite a few people that were satisfied owners, untill I checked out the edmund's consumer rating and this board. Come to think of it, almost all the people I know that own mini vans have Windstarts with one exception who has a Mercury villager which is essentially a Nissan Quest.
The chevy venture seems to have pretty good reliability too. Maybe we'll check that out too. Having two toddlers, minivan is the way to go. I don't buy into that image thing at all, why let others dictate what you think. Plus it'll be the wife's van anyway. The Honda oddysy is just plain expensive.
Feb 27, 2004 (1:41 pm)
What part of the country are you looking in?
#1390 of 2608 Looking to buy 98-00 Windstar (Tamu)
Feb 27, 2004 (4:42 pm)
I'll first state that I am a former 95 Windstar owner having parted ways with mine to charity just last night (Yippie!). I spent no less than $2500 in repairs over the last 14 months, mainly from 100k to 120k.
Maybe the 1998-2000 are out of the woods regarding many of the Windstar problems, but I know of several still having issues with tie rods and ball joints (don't kid yourself - the sealed ball joints won't meet your "life" expectancy - just Fords). I would look for a grease zerk on the ball joint - if it is not there don't buy it. Each ball joint repaired at a shop will run about $250 - $300. Tie rods seem to last 35k to 50k, then need replacing - eat tires if you ignore. Transmission issues, timing cover gasket, and head gaskets were very bad in 95 and 96 years - absolutely don't buy years.
I think some of the 1997 and 1998 suffered from persistant issues with sliding door locking mechanism - haven't seem anything on later models. I have three co-workers with 1996 to 1998 models and all are looking to dump them because of reliability issues rising up at 75k. Saw new Freestar adds circa 18k in Chicago area. Price is surely to drop on these with new Dodge out. If you can wait a little for your used car - you will save even more because of price pressure on the new car level.
Used Odyssey is too expensive I'll agree. A 2001 EX was priced on sale for $21,500 here in Upper Midwest - might as well buy a new LX for $22,700 or less. Seeing new 2004 Dodge Grand Caravans for $15,991 in newspaper ads today with air conditioning, power windows, power locks, CD, cruise, tilt, tinted glass, and 70/70,000 warranty provides another possible option, with interest rates at record lows (most banks loaning at 4.4% or less). If nothing else, rock bottom new car prices on 04 will drive down older used car prices on existing inventories.
If safety means anything to you - the Chevy rates the worst - garnering "poor" in crash tests. Windstar may keep you alive if you get hit by many of the idiots driving a zillion miles an hour in those big SUV's.