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:
116,804 miles
Total Complaints:
82 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (54 reports)
  2. rear axle was replaced (27 reports)
  3. as of 8/27/2010 Ford has recalled this rear axle (1 reports)
2001 Ford Windstar drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2001 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 3 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #42

Mar 022010

Windstar XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles


My rear axle broke while driving. I see many other complaints for the same thing. We need to make Ford recall those and reimburse use for repair costs before someone gets killed. ANY ATTORNEYS OUT THERE?

- , Novi, MI, USA

problem #41

Feb 012010

Windstar LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half

I was researching the cost of a rear axle and stumbled on this site and can't believe how many people had this problem!

- , Bradford, MA, USA

problem #40

Feb 202010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

Hit a pothole and started noticing the rear of the van swerving. Drove it 60 miles from Boston to New Hampshire at the speed limit. The next day, my mechanic told me an angle had carried my family on his wings to my home! The look on his face was truly scary. I never off roaded this van and drove carefully for 8 1/2 years.

- , Goffstown, NH, USA

problem #39

Feb 012010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


This is a Ford problem. Rear axle began to fail and caused tires to rub on the inside of the wheel-well. I pulled into driveway, and when I wen to back out the axle snapped 12-18 inched in from the left side (driver's side.) That goodness I was not at hi-way speed or with kids in the car.

- , Columbnus, OH, USA

problem #38

Jan 142010

Windstar SEL

  • Manual transmission
  • 166,000 miles

I loved my wordstar, but looking for a newer vehicle. I gave it to my daughter and bought the ford taurus XL crossover. Yesterday she called extremely upset, she had just gotten off the interstate AND pulled in the gas station. Kla-plunk!! The rear end fell out, and axle on the left hand side broke off!!!


THe van runs well, and other than maintenance was a good vehicle.

While searching for possible repair I found all the other people who had the same problem. FORD is so lucky my daughter was not injured, but what a close call. Please send information where I can let FORD know.

- , Deerfield, WI, USA

problem #37

Dec 092009

Windstar LX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

Overall, I've been satisfied w/ my 2001 Ford Windstar LX. Outside of routine electrical and mechanical repairs, it has held up pretty well; that's why I was shocked when my rear axle literally snapped in half as I was backing out of my driveway yesterday. For the past few weeks the car's rear end had been making loud noises similar to the noise you hear when your shocks are worn out especially when I would hit any kind of a bump or a pothole. I even made an appointment w/ my mechanic to get new shocks on 12/12 because it was getting so bad but, alas, I never had the chance to have it looked at.

The people at Ford need to do somethng about this right away. There are literally thousands and thousands of Ford Windstars on America's roads and highways. I feel fortunate that my axle snapped in my driveway and not on Route 22 (which is filled w/ Christmas shoppers these days) or the Garden State Parkway, which I drive on daily to get to work. Until Ford takes this seriously and does something, it's Russian Roulette out there!!! If you see a Ford Windstar out ther on the roads or highways---keep a safe distance, you never know.

- , Westfield, NJ, USA

problem #36

Nov 032009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles


click to see larger images

rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half rear axle broke in half

Noticed handling problems and took it into the shop, which replaced the front struts and rear shocks. They reported that the rear end was so far out of alignment they had to install $40 worth of shims to bring it back in line.

A week later, on the highway, the vaq started to vibrate uncontrollably so I slowed down but as I got to 50 mph the rear end suddenly began to swing violently from side to side. I was able to stop on the shoulder without killing anyone else on the highway or myself, but it was pretty much a miracle that I didn't end up in the ditch or trees. After getting it towed to the dealership, they reported that the rear axle had snapped. They described the problem as old, possibly as old as the car based on the rust inside the crack.

I ended up replacing the rear axle assembly and the two rear tires, which had rubbed against the wheel wells. Parts and labor came to about $1100.

- , Boston, MA, USA

problem #35

Oct 312009

Windstar 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,915 miles

Going to the camp and the rear axle on my 2001 ford windstar broke in half, for a 2001 its a bad name to give to the way it was built it should of been built stronger than that especially that i had just put $2000 of new parts in the last 6 months. for should take responsibility for putting a so weak piece axle on a van that size its a bummer>

- , Cache Bay, Ontario, Canada

problem #34

Oct 222009

Windstar V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

I have a 2001 Ford Windstar and started to notice shifting while driving and the brake lights were always on even though I had new brakes. One night when driving home I felt the car go into a fish tail. I was on a gravel road and was not speeding so my husband looked under the car to find that the axle was crack and hanging by the thread. I drove slowly to the shop to have it looked at cause I have never wreaked or had any problems other than just didn't add up. Sure enough the guy told me it was broke and dangling barely...his exact words was I can't let you drive this car out of here you and your kids could be killed. FORD WAKE UP BEFORE SOMEONE DIES THIS CAR IS UNSAFE......MY AXLE BROKE TWO FEET FROM THE DRIVER"S REAR WHEEL JUST LIKE ALL THE OTHER VANS. MY KIDS COULD HAVE BEEN IN A VERY BAD ACCIDENT!!! PLEASE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!! IF YOU ARE DRIVING THIS KIND OF VAN PLEASE HAVE IT CHECKED......IT IS LIFE OR DEATH!!!!!!!!!!

- , Creal Springs, IL, USA

problem #33

Oct 222009

Windstar 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

my son was driving the van about 20 mi per hour when rear axle snapped. noticed that this seems to be a common occurrence on the 2001 windstar. I believe that this is a safety issue, but ford doesn't seem to think so. I have filed a complaint with them, also with the NHTSA, and their board of directors. I guess ford is going to wait for someone to get killed before they issue a recall

- , Stten Island, NY, USA

problem #32

Sep 302009

Windstar SEL V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles


For about a month or so my Windstar had been making funny noises - creaking etc. I thought that maybe there was an issue with the exhaust system. Finally a few days before the axle broke there was a funny feeling when driving the car that it was fishtailing a bit - again didn't think anything about it as it was a little bit windy out and it didn't seem to happen again. On the night of Sept 30th 2009, I was driving home and got home about midnight. I pulled in my driveway and I was a little bit close to one of my other cars so I wanted to pull the car over a little bit to have more room. As I put the car in reverse I heard a loud bang - like I hit something. I got out of the car and saw nothing. I got back in the car and my brake warning light was on so I assumed that something happened with the brakes. When I put the car back in reverse I heard a loud dragging as I gave it some gas and felt that the car didn't move. I put it in park, got back out and then noticed the left rear tire tilted inward at the top. I looked under the car and the entire axle was broken. It broke approx 2 ft from the left rear tire. The right rear wheel was almost completely dislodged from underneath the car. The next day I had it towed to a local station. The tow driver was amazed and said he never saw anything like it. Same from my mechanic who was able to locate a used part from a 2002. He checked that axle and actually told me that he saw a small crack starting on that one. He welded that part to make sure I would not have any problems again and completed the repair. I had called Ford on Thurs and they told me there were no recalls on that issue and basically no programs available to help with paying for the repair. If this happened 10 minutes before the time it did, I would have been on a major highway going 55, 60 and the result could have been a lot worse than $864.73 to pay for it. FORD WAKEUP - YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING BEFORE SOMEONE GETS KILLED. Hopefully no one has gotten injured as a result of this faulty axle and obvious manufacturing defect.

PS - My mechanic also told me that it seemed to him that the load on the rear end is not dispersed equally as he thought it should be - that there seemed to be more resistance and load on the left side(closer to where the crack happened) than on the right side.

- , St James, NY, USA

problem #31

Sep 302009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 190,000 miles

I had been hearing grinding noises and bums from the rear of my van for weeks. Went to see my mechanic. He said it was bushings in a control arm. A week later I was backing out of a parking space and the axle snapped in two. Before this I got a tire pressure signal on the dash too. Tire pressures were ok. Also felt the rear end shift or shimmy on uneven pavement. All warning signs I didn't know how to interpret. I'm changing my mechanic though.

- , Ellwood City, PA, USA

problem #30

Sep 152009

Windstar LX 3.6L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,000 miles

Rear Axle is ready to snap in half. It will cost around 1000 to replace. As mentioned in many other statements on this site it is definitely a safety risk that should not happen on vehicles. Ford should recall this part on all Windstars with this problem for public safety and to keep faith in people that buy their vehicles. If something is not done by Ford I will never buy another Ford.

- , Madison, WI, USA

problem #29

Sep 162009

Windstar Sport

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,500 miles

I had been hearing a dull squeaky, clicking noise from the left rear of my van for approximately a month. I took my van to the mechanic on 8/31/09 and they told me I needed new tires, an alignment and some front end work. I told them again that the noise was coming from the back, so I wasn't sure why I needed front end work and not back. I paid $767.00. On 9/2/09, I took the van back because I was hearing the same noise. The test drove the car and didn't hear anything. They told me to bring it back if I heard the noise again. On 9/7/09, I brought the van back. They put the van on the lift, took the tires off and said they couldn't find anything. The more I drove the van, the more I heard the noise. I noticed that the van would "fish tale" or shake more when ever I went over a bump, even if the bump was small. I took my van to a different mechanic to see if they could find something wrong. I told them that it felt like I needed an alignment, although I wasn't sure how this could be since I had just had one on 8/31/09. Before the mechanic even got in the van, she point out to me that the top of the left rear tire was bent inward, causing the van to lean to one side. The mechanic then put the van on the lift. As I watched through the window in the waiting area, I saw the mechanic call her supervisor and a third person to the van. She pointed to the rear of the van and they all looked like they were in shock. By the look on their face, I thought maybe an animal of some sort had gotten caught up in the wheel of something. The supervisor came and got me and said that he had never seen anything like it. I said, "Seen anything like what?" He then showed me a crack on the axle almost in the middle, but closer to the left wheel. I didn't think the crack was that bad, but then we walked underneath the car to the other side of the axle. My first response was shock, disgust and anger. The crack was so deep that if I had gone over one big pothole, my daughters and I could have been injured. I then became infuriated at the place where I took my van initially, because I thought there was no way they could have missed that crack when they changed the tires. I took my van right back to the initial mechanic and reamed them out! When they put the car on the lift, they said that they definitely would have noticed a crack that significant if it had been there before. They suggested that there may have been a hairline fracture/crack when I initially brought it, but it worsened as I drove. I left the van overnight. My father suggested that I call Ford to see if there was a recall on the axle. I went on line and was amazed at the amount of cases I found that were very similar to mine. There is no way that all of these incidences are coincidences. Something has got to be done! The total amount to have it replaced was $926.00, but I had a coupon, so the total spent was $836.00. I called the Ford place and the person that I spoke with said that Ford won't do a recall unless there are at least 2,000 complaints. That's bull! I wonder how many have actually died in a 2001 Ford Windstar because the axle broke on them. Unfortunately, they didn't live long enough to write a complaint. Ford ought to be ashamed of themselves!

Update from Sep 23, 2009: When are they going to take this issue seriously?

- , Springfield, MA, USA

problem #28

Sep 172009

Windstar LX 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

Reading over your other complaints I think ford needs to consider a recall before someone is killed. My snapped when I was driving from my kids flag football game. I have 3 small children.

- , Brooksville, KY, USA

problem #27

Sep 162009

Windstar LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Another rear axle cracked in half. Just like all others about 2 feet from left side. Was taking the the car to the mechanic for yearly inspection when got there notice drivers side rear tire was not straight mechanic looked underneath a couldn't believe it. Now have to wait for part and to see how much because he never had to order a part like this. Contacted Ford to see what is going to be done about all the complaints and "they will do an investigation" but couldn't tell me the results of any other investigations. So basically not their problem.

- , Swoyersville, PA, USA

problem #26

Sep 082009

Windstar SE 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,882 miles

I have just came home from vacation in AZ and my van the hole time on vacation was making this noise I didn't know what it was till we backed in our driveway and the driver side tire was cocked in at the top so my husband jacked the van up and the rear axle was snapped in half I have to say ford needs to pay for all the repairs!!!! I am going to be uploading pic's of this I have to say that we have GUARDIAN ANGELS watching over us to make it home this van was driven on vacation 5,200 miles THANK GOD IT DIDN'T HAPPEN ON THE HIGHWAY!!! MY HUSBAND DOSE MECHANICS AND HE HAS SEEN THIS HAPPEN TO OTHER FORD WINSTARS AND IT BRAKES IN THE SAME SPOT ON ALL OF THEM FORD NEEDS TO OPEN THERE EYES AND FIX THIS PROBLEM BEFORE A FAMILY DIES FROM FORD WINSTAR VANS!!!!!!!!!

- , Terryville, CT, USA

problem #25

Aug 292009

Windstar ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Same problem as reported by many others on this site: a Ford Windstar with a broken rear axle. The mechanic said he had never seen this before. This site leads me to believe that this is a common problem with this vehicle.

- , Towson, MD, USA

problem #24

Aug 092009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

Add me to the list of broken axle beams. We were driving from six flags with our family when the rear of the van started swaying and fish tailing. Took it to a munroe shop and they said we probably need shocks. This did not sound right, so we went back to the hotel, and I looked up the problem on line. 2001 Ford Windstar rear swaying, up comes car complaints and broken axle. This probably saved my family's lives.I got a friend to pick up my family the next day and take them home, as I drove by myself 2 hours (very carefully) home. Brought it to my mechanic and he informed me of this problem. The axle alone was $500. from the Ford Dealer. After he replaced it, he showed it to us. We were amazed to see this piece of steel broken three quarters of the way through. All I kept thinking was what is it going to take for Ford to step up and recall this faulty Axle, the tragic death of a family? As for my family of 5, I feel lucky that I checked car complaints, and found this problem before it could have been tragic. Thank you to everyone who wrote in

- , Lynn, MA, USA

problem #23

Aug 082009

Windstar XEL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

2001 ford windstar. rear axle broke in half after 370 mile highway drive from Boston, Ma. to south Jersey Shore. Happened on first day of vacation AFTER we had arrived. My wife was backing out of out vacation home driveway. It keeps me awake at night wondering what would have happened had this brake occurred at 70 mph with the 3 kids in the car.

Car has 120,000 miles, meticulously maintained. all service records on file at the dealer.

One thing of note, mechanic was surprised at how readily available new part was from Ford for an 8 year old car. Hhhhhmmmmm.....makes one wonder how often this has happened. will write a letter to Ford with photos attached.


hingham, ma.

- , Hingham, MA, USA

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