Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
109,040 miles
Total Complaints:
38 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced transmission (17 reports)
  2. not sure (9 reports)
  3. rebuild transmission (9 reports)
  4. junk the windstar! (2 reports)
  5. dealer sold an extended warranty to cover repair (1 reports)
1999 Ford Windstar transmission problems

transmission problem

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1999 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #38

Feb 102014

Windstar ES 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 154,000 miles


Not run, need transmission rebuild or new. I rebuilt my transmission and working fine.

- , Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

problem #37

Feb 252009

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,852 miles

I was just entering an intersection after a stop and the transmission blew. l had to be towed to the Ford dealer.

- , Littleton, MA, USA

problem #36

Jan 102006

Windstar SE 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Wife is driving, and sitting at a light waiting to turn left, the van just makes a loud CLUNK! and won't move. Towed to trans. shop and they verified that (if I remember correctly) a carrier in the case had broken. They rebuilt with a kit that included some revisions to fix original design flaws and it's been working well ever since (about 60,000 mi. since). At the trans shop they were surprised it had made it all the way past 100K miles joking that they all fail (the Windstars with this tranny) before 75K.

- , Mission, KS, USA

problem #35

Jul 192012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 175,000 miles


I am a single mother and I scraped and saved to buy this vehicle for cash. I had two mechanics from two different shops look it over and they both said it was in good shape for an older vehicle and should be fine. Two weeks later, my transmission went out on me in a different city an hour and a half from home with no warning other than an hour before, it started jerking and not being able to get in gear. My van is now in a shop almost two hours away and is costing me more than I paid for to fix the transmission. After reading these review, I think I might should just leave it there and just use the money to fix it toward a whole nother vehicle. This is ridiculous. I WILL NEVER BUY A FORD AGAIN. EVER. There really should be a lawsuit against Ford for this if we are all having the same problems.

- , Whitney, TX, USA

problem #34

Jul 122012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Took our family of 5 to Niagara Falls. 3.5 hour trip from home. On the way there the O/D light started blinking. we stopped for lunch, and after coming out of the restaurant, the light didn't come back on. We figured it was the drive/heat of summer.. causing a glitch. So we go to Niagara, have a 3 day vacation and are driving back home. No O.d light.. nothing out of the ordinary. All of a sudden.. burning smell. I turn around from my passenger seat up front to see my children in the back in a cloud of smoke. One of them is coughing. Through the back window behind them is a huge cloud of thick smoke and it seems to be coming out from all sides of the car.... I say to my husband, who, I can see by his face, is experiencing something going funny with the car, and I say, OH MY GOD! THE CAR IS ON FIRE!! rate of speed at time of incident was about 63 mph...He manages to pull us to the side of the highway...I jump out and start grabbing the kids and telling them to run towards the trees away from the car and the highway... after a few minutes of my husband looking around, he comes to the conclusion that the car was not on fire but what appears to be trans. fluid is leaking out from underneath the car and is burning from engine heat, causing all the thick heavy smoke. We decide to try to get the car to the exit up the road, even if we have to drive super slow in the shoulder... so we start the car, it starts right up... go to put it in drive and hear a big BANG or CLUNK type of noise. Biw,,,The car will not switch into drive or 1 or 2.. however it will go into reverse. We have to call for a tow, standing in the blazing sun waiting and then paying 130 dollars to be towed and dumped off into a tiny little no-help of a town. However, we do get the car up on a lift at the tire shop we got dropped at, and the trans. server cap//plug/cover.. whatever it's called, is completely blown. It's loose, and wobbly and has even broken through some of the metal holding it in place. We have no idea the extent of the internal damage as of yet... As we had family pick us up. Coming home from vacation and paying that much for a tow left us broke, no hotel.. and no rental car. so we had to call family in Cleveland to drive up and get us. We will now have to deal with all of this from out of state but I know we have to get another tow to a trans, shop in that area... when the guy at the tire shop looked at it, he said he's never seen a servo cover blown off like that. It was barely hanging on. Could have been pulled off with fingers. but he said there's a spring in there that's under pressure... but he said with as loose is the cover is, he's fairly sure that it's failed and has lost the pressurization. This really sucks, Ford. My family could've been killed today, and actually, we are quite lucky we weren't. Had this happened 3 minutes earlier, we were in road construction of 2 lanes with no shoulder.. just a concrete barrier on each side. We would've had nowhere to stop, nowhere for the kids to flee when we thought we were on fire... no room for anyone to get around us. This could've been fatal and to see how many people are having problems like this... Ford needs to have a class action lawsuit brought against it.

- , Brook Park, OH, USA

problem #33

Mar 082012

Windstar 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 216,800 miles

Taking off from a stop the van jerked a couple of times and left me exposed on a highway with absolutely no forward gears. The van was pretty good to me up till this. I'm heading to give it a trailer ride home, or if it's too serious, the scrap yard. There was absolutely no pre-warning---it just broke. My Ford's have been mostly good to me. However, I"m a pretty mild driver and this part failed without me pushing it hard at all............Frustrated in Wisconsin--------Jeff

- , Menomonie, WI, USA

problem #32

May 212011

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles


Ford Windstar has a KNOWN issue with internal "electrical" pumps, aluminum drum that should be a metal one, numerous glitches that range from a fuse to a 3000 dollar repair. All are completely a design flaw and a money saver for Ford, and a money maker. Did not buy xtended warranty, sucks to be you. Is their response. Nissan had a Van in 1987 thru 89, Not NEAR as many problems as this and with enough complaints and lawsuits, U.S Gov't made them buy EACH ONE BACK> at a profit for the owner. And a big loss and lesson learned from Nissan, You buy a Nissan now, you can be sure the trans will work and they have the best warranty out there. Just in case. Lesson learned was money lost. If we let Ford save 3 dollars per van so we can spend 3000 to fix it, what next? A RECALL of the Van is in order, History and Nissan will prove that, why does Ford get a ride, but we put "The Foot on the throat" of a Japanese car maker??????? A lawyer can make a name AND money on this one and use Nissan's !987-89 Van as a rule of law thing.

- , Johnstown, PA, USA

problem #31

May 202008

Windstar 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 34,000 miles

Have had to replace transmission in 1999 Windstar twice, first cost 1800, second cost 1600! No reason for this!! this is a common problem and ford really needs to issue a recall on this! The mileage was way to low for this to have occurred! and twice! even now years after both fixes, the van only has 54,000 miles on it!

- , Tonawanda, NY, USA

problem #30

Feb 042011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

Well today my husband left for work as usual and he ended up stranded on the interstate. The POS Windstar made a noise and then stopped moving all together. He had to coast in the snow storm we were having across the two lanes of traffic and off to the right hand medium. The thing would not go anywhere in any gear. I had to call to have it towed to a shop and then take off work to drive him the rest of the way to his job. He works 45 minutes away from home and now tonight at midnight on the black ice roads, I will have to drive to pick him up after he gets off work. The shop said we either will have to rebuild the transmission or get a used one to put in it. Going to price it to us both ways. Have had the van for a year and the OD light and ABS light have been going on and off periodically but always end up going off before too long. Never thought it meant that the transmission was going out. Now that I have seen all of these complaints on here, it appears that we will be looking at replacing it more that once if we end up keeping it.


- , Conway, AR, USA

problem #29

Dec 122009

Windstar 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

the first time the transmission failed i had it rebuilt...cost $2200! a year later, same problem...another rebuild, cost $1600! 6 months later....once again transmission failure!!!!! Now its under the new recalls and the front frame and rear axle are bad and I have been told its unsafe to drive..WTF!!!!! this van is a P.O.S. and at this point i have invested so much money into it and wont get a friggin dime out of it.....FORD SUCKS!!!!

- , St Clair, MO, USA

problem #28

Nov 092010

Windstar 3.8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 187,000 miles


I just got done paying for a used 99 Ford Windstar from a used car dealer for $9000, had tranny problems right away, they took it in and fixed it, now 3 years later I'm having problems again! I drove the darnd thing around town all day while doing my mass amounts of errands. The next day I put my preschooler in her carseat ready to go drop her off at school. Turned the ignition, gave it a bit, put it in reverse/..... NOTHING!!! WTH? Tried letting it warm up a little longer... NOTHING again! Talked to a neighbor who is a qualified mechanic, says to start cheap by changing the tranny filter.. open that up, shavings everywhere that are cylinder shaped... hmmmm... hoping its not the wonderful $400 pump... hoping it isnt the tranny altogether especially since if I do have to sell it noone wants a Ford without a tranny plus Kelly Blue Book puts me at gettin possibly $1000!!!! I'm out the price to fix it AND $8000!!

- , Fargo, ND, USA

problem #27

Nov 032010

Windstar v6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,564 miles

I'm disabled and we have my dad too to care for and need van to get to and from dr. app'ts. this van has been one huge headache i'm on a very tight budget so to have many repeated repairs to a van from a company that claims it builds tough vehicles i say HA LIARS !!! Transmissions are not cheap and once i even had trouble right in front of monetbello ford and had the two sales men out there stopping traffic so we can TRY to get our van up the entrance of ford dealer once there we were told to turn off engine and the rep came out and started paper work for repairs we were not given ride home we had to call a friend who said once again F O R D stands for Fix Or Repair Daily !! I got it back new transmission but once home we noticed one day later that front passenger seat's plastic bottom cover broken the Ford dealer denied damage, now driver seat plastic bottom break/cracked surely not built tough. transmissions twice and again this time just replaced and went off to las vegas once there boom transmission trouble had that dealer check it and placed call to the dealer here and we were told to bring back to la puente dealer and keep pulling over checking transmissions fluid and keep full on our travel back !!! today coming home from Mt.Sac College and Oh My starts dragging a pull over check lk then start and on road then wont go over forty miles and starts smoking i pull over turn van off while telling my daughter to get her four year old and herself out of van now !! got towed home van in driveway again transmission i have to get my dad to hospital and i stay with him Please I'm soo stressed out i want to support american made but seems we are just not making good cars trucks vans here anymore ! Now where can i take van to get repaired a new transmission, my vans back wiper does not work. We pay so much for our cars and they cannot be repaired by our good ole mechanics you need computers etc. and these repairs are costly due to what dealers charge for labor. I cannot afford to buy new van some body please help

- , la Puente, CA, USA

problem #26

Aug 102010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

yadda yadda yadda transmission failed 80 Km away from home at a real bad time

- , Montreal, Quebec, Canada

problem #25

Nov 162008

Windstar SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,711 miles

I was sitting at an intersection 2 blocks from my house and when I went to pull away from the stop sign all I heard was a loud bang and the vehicle would not vehicle would not move in any gear I put it in. I had it towed to nearest shop and they informed that the gear box? had broken and that the cost to repair it was $3600. That's not all though! 5 weeks later I was leaving work and went to back out the stall and I smelt burning. Then the check engine light came on briefly. I put it in park and then tried to back up again and couldn't. I took it back to the shop and they told that something else had broken in the transmission, and actually replaced the transmission the is time. Apparently both of these problems are very common the 1999 Windstars. Not too impressed that the all the money I spent to fix it and I could only get $1500 when I sold it. Definitely will NOT ever be purchasing a Windstar again!

- , Calgary, AB, Canada

problem #24

May 182010

Windstar SE 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I wish I had read this before purchasing this piece of junk 3 years ago(very high cost). I also have three young children,and thank God they were not with me...this hardly ever happens( they are special needs kids). We just got the title in the mail two weeks ago, and have put an idle module, new rotors and pads, tires, brakes as extra maintenance that this van needed in half the time as it should have needed. The blend door module went numerous times making me have no heat most of the time in the winter, and no air conditioning on the hottest day of the summer. I have had many different cars/vans in my lifetime, so I know the common issues, but this vehicle is a real loser. This time I was at a red light-everything seemed fine. When the light turned green, the car jumped, it sounded like the engine fell right out of my car and it halted with a BOOM. The accelerator went to the floor with a sound like I was in neutral. D,1,2 didn't work at all. No light, no warning, nothing. I was in a very busy dangerous intersection and people were barely missing the back. Yelling and swearing at me. A very trusted mechanic friend checked the van after an $80 tow. It apparently was not the original transmission which I was never told by the dealer. He also told me to "scrap the van". Not worth fixing as his main money makers from vans were Windstars from this year. He said the transmission fluid was very very clean, and there was nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening. It was an obvious dealer problem that Ford didn't care about. At least a $3,000 fix, but to expect many more to come. Shame shame on Ford for their blatant pretended ignorance and refusal to make sure their vehicles are safe and reliable. My son is in the hospital and I am without a big enough car to get there with my family. Anyone thinking of buying a Windstar- CHANGE YOUR MIND unless you like to be abused! Never Never Never AGAIN!

- , Guilford, CT, USA

problem #23

Aug 222008

Windstar LE 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

The transmission slowly disintegrated over about a 4 month period before it got so bad that I had to replace it with a new transmission from Ford. I chose to go with a new transmission instead of a rebuilt one so that I could take advantage of the 3 year warranty from Ford. Glad I did. This transmission began to fail after 15 months and Ford replaced it again at no cost and with a 3 year warranty from the installation of this second transmission. Although inconvenient, kudos to Ford for honoring their product and warranty.

- , Southampton, PA, USA

problem #22

Dec 242007

Windstar 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Transmission light came on and there was a puddle of transmission fluid under the van. Towed it to the transmission shop and the mechanic set me up with a rebuild. $1500. So that's like 4 months of payments on a new vehicle. Gotta eat it when you try to milk the car for all it's worth until it really dies. But .... too bad they don't just keep on going.

- , Throop, PA, USA

problem #21

Mar 012005

Windstar SEL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

We wish we would have never bought this van! Has way to many problems Ford should really do something about it!

- , Springdale, AR, USA

problem #20

Nov 192009

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,798 miles

Second Transmission failure in this van. Each tranny lasting just shy of 80,000km. Had no indication that anything was wrong. Just got home after a 15 km trip. Stopped. Put into Reverse and nothing. Put into Drive and GRIND!! Thankfully it happened in my driveway making it that much less of a pain, but a pain none the less. Trying to decide if I should just scrap the vehicle and buy something more reliable.

- , Delta, BC, Canada

problem #19

Nov 082003

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,467 miles

This is the first of two transmissions that failed on this van. Stopped at a light, went to turn left and it just jumped and then no power. Neutral and Park worked. Managed to get it to kick in a short jump with then slipped it into Neutral and coasted downhill through the city to the dealership that was at the bottom of the hill. Extended warranty tried everything to deny the claim, but in the end thankfully paid for it.

- , Delta, BC, Canada

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