Last post on Oct 27, 2006 at 7:51 PM
You are in the Ford Windstar
What is this discussion about?
Ford Windstar, Van
Feb 05, 2002 (11:56 am)
I can't agree with your conclusions. I believe every car maker eventually introduces a product that turns into a complete bag of worms for both the consumer and the manufacturer. In this case, Ford's 3.8l engines and transmissions are the culprit. Ford can make a very decent product, as evidenced by their line of trucks. But they screwed up big time with this engine and transmission combo. And, unfortunately for the consumer, they used that catastrophic combo in multiple car models and for many years before the problems were discovered. I say unfortunate because had the use been limited to a select model, Ford may have been more willing to stand behind the consumer. But, the usage extended for so many years and models, Ford can't afford to foot the bill for each and every one of those disasters. It's happened before and it will happen again. Chevy had the Vega, Ford also had the Edsel and the infamous fireball, the Pinto, and there was the explosive GM sidemount gas tank pickup trucks. These were just bad ideas, mistakes. That is what the 3.8l engine and associated tranny are, a mistake.
Just about any expert will tell you that extended warranties are a waste of your hard earned money.
Outside of the infrequent disaster model, most major problems that are likely to develop will occur in the first 50k miles. Most manufacturers are providing 3yr/36k miles bumper to bumper coverage and some provide an extended drivetrain warranty of 5yr/60k miles.
Did you also know that some polution control devices on your car, such as the ECU/OBD (computer), catalytic converter and a few others are actually covered by a federal mandated warranty for 8yrs/80k miles if you live in an area which has an EPA approved emissions inspection and your car fails this inspection because the specified device is defective?
There are three specified major emission control components, covered for the first 8 years or 80,000 miles of vehicle use on 1995 and newer vehicles:
* Catalytic converters.
* The electronic emissions control unit or computer (ECU).
* The onboard emissions diagnostic device or computer (OBD).
There are also other emissions related parts covered under the EPA federally mandated Design and Defect Warranty for the first 2yrs/24K miles. Did you know that if you fail an emission inspection in the first 2yrs/24K miles on a 1995 or newer vehicle due to a bad PCV valve or defective spark plugs, you are fully covered under warranty for parts, labor and cost of testing and diagnosis?
Of course, the longer you own and drive a vehicle eventually parts will wear out and require repair.
I have a 1989 Chevy with 140K miles. The only major repair has been the timing gear at approx 90K. Everything, including the A/C, still operates. I have a 1988 Ford Taurus wagon (3.0l engine) with 130K miles. No major repairs required on that vehicle yet. I have a 1995 Ford Thunderbird (4.6L engine) with 107K miles. No major repairs required on that vehicle yet. If you spend your money on proper care and maintenance instead of an extended warranty, you'll be ahead of the game. I've only ever driven 2 vehicles for less than 100K before I sold them or traded them. A Chevette that was damaged in an accident and my 1996 Windstar. At least there was a good excuse for the Chevette.
Feb 06, 2002 (4:22 am)
I am aware of all the things you have said. However, from my experience I have used all my extended warranties way over the cost to me on every car I have ever owned. It is a personal preference with my wife and myself.
I am a fanatic about maintance. I use Mobil 1 with a new filter every 5k. All maintance is pulled on time. I have the transmissions power flushed every 60K with new transfluid installed after the first 5k and put in synthetic fluid that meets Ford specs. I never let them use recycled fluids. I do all the things to keep them up and running. However, the miles we put on are hard ones. The Probe and Windstar do about 60 miles in DC rush hour traffic every day. That is 15K a year just going to work. We have a third vehicle (the XL-7) for the weekends and that will be suplimented by a 1990 Maxima next month. My mother died this past December and we now have the Maxima being shipped from Arizona later this month. It is the car driven by the "gray haired little old lady". It only has 72k on it and is in prime shape so that will help. I put over 6k a year doing greyhound events with a full load of either dogs or display materials. How you use your vehicle is also a part of the equation on an extended warranty. As I said above, I have used all the ones I have had way over the cost to me so in my instance the up front cost has been worth the investment.
Feb 06, 2002 (4:36 am)
I think I have hit upon the worlds largest conspiracy: There is only one car manufacturer in the world. All the different ones we see are just fakes!! Why do I say this? I was going into several of the van discussion groups to see what was going on and it appears all vans, no matter who makes them, have the same trouble: bad transmissions, bad A/C, bad power door systems, bad power steering units and the most infamous of all: the unknown noise or clunk from the front end. I can not believe every auto maker has the same problems so it just must be there is only one out there with a bunch of clones. Any thoughts on this!!!
Feb 06, 2002 (4:41 am)
About a week ago I asked about the infamous ping the 99s have. Is it a loud one or hard to hear? I have had my 99 SE for a few months now and hear a light ping once in a while and if it is a problem that there is a solution to I need to bring it up to my dealer. Thanks.
Feb 06, 2002 (4:51 am)
I owned a 95 Windstar, which we kept for about 30K miles and then traded in for our 97 Windstar with many more options. Sounds like I made the right choice in opting for the 97 model.
I hear all kinds of stories from co-workers about problems with their vans. Especially Dodges, which apparently have self-destructing trannies. Two people I know have 96 Windstars with high mileage and not troubles to speak of. Wouldn't it make sense that the people with troubles would be attracted to a forum like this to discuss the problems? Thus, a high percentage of people posting here are having problems?
Last I checked, the 96 and 97 Windstar got average reliability ratings in Consumers Report. All other year Windstars got worse or much worse than average ratings.
#817 of 2608 Ping and things
Feb 06, 2002 (6:29 am)
5greyhounds: We had a 99 that had the pinging problem. There were some days it was very noticable and others where you would barely hear it. It seemed to be affected by atmospheric conditions. We ended up getting rid of it prior to having it fixed, the dealer wasn't very helpful in trying to fix it. We replaced it with a 00 SE, no pinging problems with it.
You mentioned in a prior post that you got an extended warranty for about a grand less then normal, I shopped the net to find the best price on the same plan, what was the final cost you paid? We paid around $1200. By the way, we already made use of the plan we purchased for the 00, the torque converter went shortly after the factory warranty expired. To me, extended warranties are a crap shoot, sometimes you win sometimes you don't, the odds that you will need one with a windstar are rather high, thats why I bought one.
Feb 06, 2002 (8:18 am)
My plan is the Ford plan and it was $1,500. I had done some research on what I will call after market plans but read various stories, both good and bad, about them so I went with the Ford plan since I never had a problem with coverage. You are correct about it being a crap shoot. However, I forgot to mention one thing. If I do not use it I get my money back from the dealer. If I have repairs done and the total is less than the plan I get the difference back. For example, if I have $1,200 worth of repairs done I get $300 back. This is part of the employee purchase package from the dealer. For me it is a no lose situation. I even have it in witting.
Thanks for the information on the Ping. It goes in for some minor work while I am on a trip to Arizona (I am flying) and I will leave it with them to work on and have it looked into. Again, thanks.
#819 of 2608 warranty
Feb 06, 2002 (9:29 am)
5greyhounds: I got my Ford Premium plan over the web from a dealer in Iowa, 6yr/100k with $50 ded. The local dealers wouldn't get anywhere near it. I like the sound of money back deal on yours. You definitely can't lose. I hadn't heard of that before. I avoided the aftermarket plans as well after a trying time with one on my 95 windstar.
Regarding the ping again, I haven't heard of anyone having a problem with the 2000 model's pinging. Based on this I assume Ford was able to get a decent fix for it. Maybe its a component (PCM or whatever) that they can put on yours from a 2000 model that'll take care of it.
Feb 06, 2002 (9:48 am)
Yours is like mine except I do not have the deductible. How does your dealer feel when you bring it in and he did not sell it to you or does he care just as long as he gets the money from the repairs? I had the money back deal on my wife's Probe GT also. They do it for long time customers. This is my 6th car in 17 years (also my mother-in-law has purchased two from them and my sister-in-law has purchased one) so I am considered not just a loyal customer but a long time loyal customer, even with the XL-7 in my garage.
On the ping, thanks. From what I have found on this site the PCM (?) has to be replaced. Even re-programming does not do it, it has to be replaced. You are probably right, they use a 2000 model year part. Thanks for the info and good luck with your van.