Ford Windstar

January 2001

Dear Ford Owner:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your
Ford Aerostar or Windstar. CAS has received many complaints from consumers
concerning peeling paint, ignition switch fires, stalling and
brake, transmission and head gasket failures.
Ford should drop
“star” from Aerostar and Windstar because neither is a star when it comes
to quality.

Brake failure has been a problem in Ford minivans. The
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1990, recalled 30,000
1990 Aerostars for poor brake performance. Automatic transmission
troubles
have been reported on the Aerostar and Windstar with
1989-91 Aerostars recalled because their transmissions slip out of the
“Park” position and into gear. Other typical transmission complaints include
harsh, delayed, or no shift. The Aerostar’s suffer from poor crashworthiness,
failing NHTSA’s 35 mph crash test. In sharp contrast, the Windstar had
the best crash test scores ever for a van when introduced in 1995.

The most common and expensive defect is paint peeling
on 1985-92 Aerostars. CAS has received hundreds of complaints on this
problem. Ford attempts to cover it up by buying off aggressive consumers
under a secret warranty and ignoring consumers who don’t complain loudly.
CAS petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to force Ford to notify
owners about the secret warranty and pay for new paint jobs. CAS also
petitioned every state attorney general to force Ford to reimburse owners
for paint peel.

Twenty million Ford vehicles made from 1983 through 1995 have
defective ignition modules that may cause the vehicle
to stall and die on the highway at any time. Failure
at highway speeds can cause the driver to lose control or even result
in a stalled vehicle being hit by a truck. The 1985-87 Aerostar with a
2.3L engine and the 1986-90 Aerostar with a 3.0L engine are the minivans
with the bad ignition module. To make matters worse, the 1985-91 Aerostar
has a defective ignition switch which can short and start fires
in the dash which can burn up the whole van even while parked with the
ignition off. Only the 1988-91 Aerostars were recalled by Ford for this
defect. The 3.8L engine has a failure prone head gasket that costs $1,000
to replace and $4,000 if the engine goes. Ford extended the warranty to
7 years or 100,000 miles on 1995 models after CAS complained to Ford Chairman
William Clay Ford but has not extended the warranty on later models. Faulty
front cover and intake gaskets on this engine cause coolant to mix with
oil on 1998-98 Windstars.

You’ll find more information on these and other Aerostar and Windstar
below and what you can do about them plus
a complaint box. Your information will
help us build a strong case against Ford as we fight for action on Taurus/Sable
defects.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer
rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution
is tax-deductible which
entitles you to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit
the membership form along with your contribution
and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

FORD Aerostar Windstar FACT SHEET
(Technical Service Bulletins (TSB’s) are listed in brackets
below.)

Brakes/Suspension:
Front disc brake popping/clunking, 1991-93 Aerostar (93-25-5);
Parking brake won’t rachet on first application, 1991-93 Aerostar (93-23-25);
Rear ABS -adverse characteristics, 1990-93 Aerostar (93-17-9 & 93-15-16);
Brakes stick/bind/grab, 1987-92 Aerostar (93-11-7); Rear brake squeal
when cold, 1986-92 Aerostar (92-21-9); E4WD driveline pop/tires Chirp/wheel
hop, 1990-91 Aerostar (91-16-14); Intermit. brake squeal, 1986-91 Aerostar
(90-22-6); Coil spring noise, 1986-90 Aerostar (90-23-11); Park brake
fails to release, 1995-98 Windstar (98-5A-28).

Electrical:
[Free repair: Speedometer gear replacement, 1995 Windstar (94B47),
W/S wiper motor,1986-88 Aerostar (90M72)]
; Fuel pump whine/buzz
heard in speakers1986-97Aerostar, 1997-99 Windstar (95-11-3, 99-12-9);
False door ajar warnings, 1995 Windstar (95-2-9); Erratic fuel gauge operation,
1990-94 Aerostar (95-2-3); Inst. cluster warning lights,1986-91 Aerostar
(93-24-10); Dim/blank EATC or inst. display,1986-90 Aerostar (90-23-9,93-23-13);
Temp gauge reads high, 1992-93 Aerostar (94-8-16); Inop. heated backlite,1986-94
Aerostar (93-26-1); Digital fuel gauge displays CO error code, 1991-92
Aerostar (93-23-3); Fuel gauge erratic,1989-90 Aerostar (91-13-4); Speedometer
reads high speed in low temp., 1990-91 Aerostar (92-12-9); P/door locks
grind, inoperative 1995-98 Windstar (98-4-16).

Engine:
[Free repair: Bolts attaching pulley to crankshaft break. 6 yr/60,000
warranty,1986-93 Aerostar (M69)
; Head gasket, 1995 Windstar
w/3.8L 7yr/100,000 warranty 00M09)]
; Oil leaks, 1993 & Prior
Aerostar w/4.0L (94-12-13); A/C & Accessory drive belt chirp/squeal
or wear/breakage, 1992-93 Aerostar (94-5-12, 94-10-19, 94-1-10, 93-25-3);
Rear crankshaft oil seal/Dipstick tube leaks oil,1987-91 Aerostar (94-3-6);
Rough idle/hesitation/poor heater output,1986-94 Aerostar (93-24-8); Intermit.
knocking at idle,1986-91 Aerostar (91-9-8); Rear engine oil leak,1986-91
Aerostar (91-7-8); Hesitation/stall at idle,1986-88 Aerostar (90-23-6);
EGO Sensors -Silicone Contamination,1986-94 Aerostar (93-23-6); No start
– Worn dist./camshaft gear, 1992-93 Aerostar (93-18-5); Fuel line knock,
1990-92 Aerostar (93-5-11); Service engine soon lamp, 1991-93 Aerostar
(92-24-3); Fuel pump whine,1989-93 Aerostar w/21 gal. fuel tank (92-25-12);
Tank thud/clunk,1986-89 Aerostar (92-14-8); Hard cold starts/hesitation,1986-91
Aerostar (91-25-7); Idle boom under load,1986-89 Aerostar (90-16-12, 90-13-10);
“Chirping” 1995-97 Windstar w/3.8L (97-5-16); Hard “hot soak” starts,
1995-97 Windstar w/3.0L (97-24-22); Oil contaminated with coolant, 3.8/4.2L
96-98 (99-20-7)

Paint:
Rough texture &/or orange/rust dots, 1985-96 Aerostar, 1995-99 Windstar
(92-6-4, 95-6-1). For detailed package on peeling paint on 1985-92 models,
go to CAS-Ford Paint..

Steering:
P/S rapping/clanging, 1990-94 Aerostar (94-13-11); Air in p/s system,
1990-94 Aerostar (93-26-5); “Rapping/clanging” P/steering cooler 1993-96Aerostar
w/4.0L (96-7-19); Loose steering column support brackets,1986-90 Aerostar
(90-12-13); P/Steering reduction, FEAD belt slips & squeals or knocks,
1995-98 Windstar (98-9-4)

Transmission:
Fwd/Rev engagement concern, AXOD, AXOD-E, AX4S, 1995 Windstar (94-24-7,94-20-9);
A/T – Increase in RPM on light throttle 2-3 upshift, 1990-92 Aerostar
(93-14-21); Low transaxle fluid level, 1995 Windstar (94-26-7); Shift
lever PRNDL position may not match gears, 1992-93 Aerostar (93-5-14);
ATF leak under middle or center of van, 1990-91 Aerostar (92-11-14); Fluid
in clutch housing,1988-91 Aerostar (91-18-14); Grinding when shifting
w/ M50D Mazda R1 & R2,1988-91 Aerostar (91-18-11); Poor retaining
ring retention, 1990-91 Aerostar (91-17-11); M50D Hard shift cond.,1988-91
Aerostar (91-10-15); A/T floor shifter binding or misaligned,1986-90 Aerostar
(91-11-19); Torque converter replacement guidelines, 1993-97 Aerostar,
1995-97 Windstar (96-26-12): Transfer case leaks, 1993-95 Aerostar (95-10-12);
Rear axle whine or howl, 1993-96 Aerostar (96-17-22).

Other:
Muffler corrodes, 1990-93 Aerostar (93-14-19); Loose catalyst/muffler
heat shields,1986-97 Aerostar, 1995-99 Windstar (94-7-10, 98-20-10);”
“Rattle/buzz” at dash panel sides 1993-96 Aerostar (96-2-6); Rear view
mirrow detaches 1993-95 Aerostar 94-17-2); Sliding door latch misadjusted
1993-96 Aerostar (96-26-16); A/C compressor failure 1994-97 Aerostar (97-10-5);
Blower motor chirp or squeak 1993-98 Aerostar, 1995-97 Windstar (97-6-10,
97-25-5); Whistle from front A/C plenum, 1995-98 Windstar (98-1-25); A/C
compressor moan, 1995-97 Windstar (.97-17-11); A/C musty or mildew odor,
1995-98 Aerostar & Windstar (98-2-7, 99-19-5); Instrument panel noises
1995-98 Windstar (98-5-15).

MAJOR RECALLS
(Copies may be obtained by calling NHTSA’s Technical Reference
at 202-366-2768.)

Brakes:
Master cylinder failure, 30,000 1990 Aerostar (89V-223); Spare tire connector
causes brakeline fracture, 9,400 1995 Aerostar (94V-239); Master cylinder
fluid warning not visible 790,000 1996-99 Windstar (99V-147).

Electrical/Fires:
Tow package relay short, 60,000 1986-88 Aerostar (88V-091); Power seat
short, 90,000 1986 Aerostar (88V-145); Alternator output wire short 112,000
1995 Windstar (94V-223); Ignition switch short, 200,000+ 1988-91
Aerostar – (96V-071); Fuel pump wiring harness short 23,200 1994-95 Aerostar
(99V-028); Accessory power feed circuit short 757,000 1992-97 Aerosstar
(99V-029).

Fuel & Fluid Fires:
Fuel tank leaks, 107 1986 Aerostar (86V-123); Spring lock fuel line coupling,
100,000+ 1986-87 Aerostar (87V-139); Fuel leaks, 91,000 1986 Aerostar
(90V-121); Transmission fluid leak 10,000+ 1997 Windstar (97V-097); Fuel
tank cracks, 140,0001988-90 Aerostar, 93,654 1995 Windstar (98V-190, 99V-309);
Fuel line separates, 3,000 2000 Windstar (00V-164).

Seats/Seatbelts:
Seat belts may be cut, 118,787 1986-87 Aerostar w/captains chair (89V-226);
Seat pivots forward, 1989-90 Aerostar w/captains chair (90V-144); Driver
seat not secured 200 1996 Windstar (96V-114);

Other:
Structural weld integrity in rear suspension, 38,947 1986 Aerostar (86V-006);
Rear liftgate strut fails, 112,000 1987-88 Aerostar (91V-136); Park gear
failure, 100,000+ 1990-91 Aerostar , 10,000+ 1996 W, 5,000+ 1996 Windstar
(91V-189, 96V-086, 96V-166); Bearing & axle damage 3,421 1995 W-school
& transit buses (94V-222); Poor passenger airbag inflation, 1000+
1995 Windstar (95E-006.002); Tire information mislabeled, 1,200 1995 Aerostar,
5,000+ 1996 Aerostar (95V-037, 96V-161); Driver door latch fails safety
standard 5,000+ 1996 Aerostar (96V-070); Rack & pinion steering assembly
300 1998 Windstar (97V-165); Hood panel separates 50,000+ 1995-96 Windstar
(97V-180); Transfer case &/or transmission fracture 75,000 1992-97
Aerostar, 11,000 1992 Aerostar (97V-204, 99V-094); W/S & Tailgate
window not securely bonded, 1,475 2000 Windstar (00V-020); Headlights
too dim, 5,000+ 1996-98 Windstar (00V-168).

 

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