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:
102,174 miles
Total Complaints:
166 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (53 reports)
  2. replace or rebuild (51 reports)
  3. put in another tranny (39 reports)
  4. rebuild transmission (14 reports)
  5. replaced torque converter (5 reports)
  6. need the torque convertor replaced (1 reports)
2003 Ford Windstar transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 3 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #126

Oct 022011

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles


I was going to take my grandchildren out for lunch. My car wieked fine when I backed out of my driveway, but when I got to the end of my street, approximately five hundred feet, I went to pull out on the highway and all my car would do was rev the engine. I couldn't go anywhere because the transmission went out that fast. I had to disappoint my grandchildren because the transmission failed. My interior lights also blink off and on while I am driving. A law suit should be brought against Ford Motor Company for not fixing these transmissions.

- , Carlisle, Penna, USA

problem #125

Dec 222011

Windstar SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles

Just as so many others have described, my transmission went out today on a busy expressway with no warning. I was going 60 miles/hr and went to accelerate; nothing. I was able to coast to a busy exit ramp and managed to pull off the side of the road, but it was a very unsafe position to be in while waiting for my husband to pick me up. The van won't go forward or reverse in any gear. Had the van towed to a mechanic, and waiting to hear what the cost to repair will be.

We bought the van in 2004 and since then have replaced the AC 3 times which completely turned my husband off from ever buying a Ford again. I defended Ford figuring it was just a fluke but with the tranny issue today and since reading all the posts here I have to agree with him; no more Fords! We've had other "minor" complaints; the power locks and side mirrors quit, the interior lights flash on randomly, things like that but the transmission is the final straw! Wish we could afford to buy another vehicle but that isn't an option right now. I will be calling the numbers listed in # 94 though.

- , Broken Arrow, OK, USA

problem #124

Aug 292011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

I was faced with a choice of buying a foreign or domestic van. In my attempt to show patriotism, I opted for a domestic van - Ford Windstar. I just bought the van last December fwith some savings that took almost two years to make. I was on a busy highway going to assist with my husband with moving from one city to another when all of a sudden, I felt the van slowing down. I quickly veered to the right lane and onto the shoulder. Luckly for me, I managed to straighten the wheels onto the shoulder before the van made a complete stop. My heart almost jumped out of my stomach, as scare consumed me entirely. I quickly called my husband, who drove the U-haul from where we were moving from to where the van broke down - a distance of about 12 miles. Needless to say that the U-haul truck was already half-full. My husband drove me to the nearest auto mechanic that we could find along the highway. As I write this, the van is still with the mechanic because I have not been able to come up with the estimated amount of $2,500 plus to fix the transmission.

My question here is, is Ford Motor Corporation aware of a vehicle that has given many people some grief or pain? If so, what is FMCdoing about the problem? My husband and I would like to help the domestic economy grow, but if a company such as FMC is ignoring an important, painful problem, as described above, where is the motivation to show patriotism?

Humble Citizen


- , Brooklyn Park, MN, USA

problem #123

Aug 242011

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


piece of crap. ford should do a recall but they wont it would cost them $$$$$. I used to buy nothing but ford no more trying dodge or chevy like other people here the tranny just quit 4 times had it rebuilt or replaced first 3 times no cost to me 4th time 16 hundred gonna get me one of those stickers that says p%#s on ford

- , Three Rivers, MI, USA

problem #122

Jul 302011

Windstar SE 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,500 miles

I am pretty much broke and my van is in the shop. I am getting a loan to fix it and the payment on that loan will be too high to afford. My husband is in the military and is stationed elsewhere while our youngest two finish HS here and we pay for 2 households for money for repairs. We expected a vehicle with this low of miles to either covered under warranty for major things or to last at least 100,000 miles! My husband said I will have to buy less groceries because there is no place else in our budget to cut back. This is really depressing and I'm really mad that Ford won't take care of this!

My 03 Windstar worked great until suddenly the transmission started to slip. My sliding doors and locks haven't worked in years and we always have break lights on too but this transmission problem is unbelievable!

- , Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #121

Jul 292011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,915 miles

without any warning the transmission just quit on the highway. van starts and runs but there are no gears. now I find out that windstars all had bad transmissions. end of the line for me and ford. really are Found On Road Dead.

- , Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada

problem #120

Jul 152009

Windstar LX 4.1L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles


While pulling a 2000 lb pop-up camper for the second time, the transmission failed on the highway. The rear axel and front subframe had to to reinforced by Ford so it wouldn't break. Do not buy a Ford Windstar!

- , Green Bay, WI, USA

problem #119

Aug 052011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 168,000 miles

This is the second time the transmission has gone out on my Ford Windstar. Like a lot of the complaints I was at a stop light at a busy intersection and with no warning the Van lurched - Thank goodness I have quick reflexes or I would have landed in the trunk of the car in front of me. I was able to put the trans in neutral until the light turned green, I then was able to put it in gear jumping and shuttering through the intersection until the trans just quit. As others I was away from my home town and had my two small granddaughters with me. This was the second time the transmission went out on me and cost me frustration, inconvenience and a fortune to fixed. The first time I was driving down the road when the rpm's spiked and no warning and no transmission! Ford, you have already admitted to an inferior product in this Vehicle with all the recalls now do the right thing and own up to this problem as well!

- , Tipton, MO, USA

problem #118

Jul 082011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Had the 2003 ford windstar for about 4 years. Ran great until one day we were in center city Philadelphia on the way to NJ for a summer vacation with my wife and kids. As we pull onto a busy street in south philly the transmission just goes. Car would only travel at 10mpr. Creeped it back to a family member house and had to tow all the way to central pa. NO WARNING AT ALL just went and the car had less than 90K. Told that it would be $2300 for transmission rebuild. Also had multiple recalls in the past year and a problem with the electronics. What a nightmare.

- , Williamsport, PA, USA

problem #117

Jul 212011

Windstar Limited 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,097 miles

We were driving to the beach (my wife, myself, and to two children) when, while on the highway, we experienced transmission problems. The rpms shot way up and the car went nowhere. We were able to get it off the highway by putting it in 2nd gear and inching it off the highway and into a parking lot. The real kicker is there are only 46,000 miles on it and now there are transmission problems. First, the recalls. Second, I have an airbag light that has come on. And now transmission problems. Did I mention that there are only 46,000 miles on it? I will never get a Ford again.

- , West Springfield, MA, USA

problem #116

Apr 292011

Windstar LS 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,650 miles


Thought I had a decent vehichle. Yeah the recalls were a pain in the ass bt my local Ford dealership dealt with and repaired them. I had heard about Ford's having bad tranny's , of course after I had bought it. But I felt lucky that miine had made it to 200,000 with now problems. It was at my mechanics getting the strut kits replaced, Ac recharged and a small hole in the oil pan repaired. This costing me over $400. My mechanic called and said the van was done and he was taking it down the rode to see how the struts felt and that I could come get it. Not 15 minutes later he called and asked if I ever had tranny problems and I said,"No why?" He didn't get a half mile from his house and the tranny went. Nothing but park and neutral.

I am so beyond pissed because I called Ford to see if there was any recalls concerning transmissions and they said no but they were aware of the problems that have been occuring with the vehicles. Well if they are aware of the damn problems then why don't they do something about it? This is insane. I'm dissabled and on a fixed income and haven't had a car in 3 months. Depending on other people to take me to doctors appointments and such. I'll never be able to save money for a tranny. Or be able to get enough out it for a new one. I say we boycott Ford. I now it's the last one I'll ever buy.

- , East Liverpool, OH, USA

problem #115

Oct 152011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

Transmission just quit with no warning. Ford quality on this transmission is really bad.

- , St. Peters, MO, USA

problem #114

Sep 052008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

As previously posted on another post, I also own a 2003 Ford Windstar. I have had my A/C go out, the interior lights flicker, rear axle gave out, but the worst thing was the Transmission went out on me, after paying $2,400 to be repaired I have had to have the Transmission repaired at least four more times. There are four other families in the same town that have had these same problems as I have had including having the Transmission go out. Is this all a coincidence? I think not! I was warned to not buy a Ford, and was told to buy a Honda. I guess I should of listened. I guess I was hoping that Ford would eventually make a recall, but I doubt it.

- , Streator, IL, USA

problem #113

Apr 202011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

This has been a ginormus inconvenience to my family. We were getting ready for a move when the my wifes 2003 broke down. We stopped at a stop light when the light turned green my wife went to accelerate from a stand still and all that happened was the engine reved and we didn't move. My wife shifted the Van to park then shifted to drive and still nothing but the engine reving,needless to say we had the van towed to our place and it's been sitting their ever since.With this economy it's hard to come up with how ever much it will cost to just have it looked at much less getting it fixed. If their is anyone out their who has information on what I could do about this situation I would appreciate it.

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #112

Aug 262011

Windstar ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

I have never had a transmission problem before. No signs there was a problem starting, no slipping, odd noises, nothing. Went to pick my daughter up after ball game at school, pulled in front when I put my brake on to stop I heard a " clanking sound " put it in park, text her I was there, she got in the van, put it in drive and nothing happened, it wouldn't go in to any gear, my husband had to pull me home with a chain. Not a good experience, also I have problems with my interior lights flicking on and off while I'm driving. Just afraid of what might be next to go out.

- , Terre Haute, IN, USA

problem #111

Jun 292011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,000 miles

While driving, I felt the van was not shifting, so I went to the dealer I bought it from. They said there was nothing wrong with the tranny. The problem still existed, so I used a little of Lucas no Slip and that seemed to have helped. The problem began again about a month later. I took it back to dealer-again, nothing wrong with tranny but they did do a transmission tune up. When I picked it up, I drove into town. I was driving on the highway and had to stop on a red light. On green, I pressed my gas pedal but the car would not move. In a desperate effort, I shut the engine off and waited a few minutes. I was able to move again, but for only about a quarter mile to have to do the same repeatedly until I got to a safer spot. Finally, I ended up leaving my van parked at a shopping center and called a cab home. This is not the only problem I have been going through with my Ford Winstar Van. The interior lights flash on and off while I am driving, and my air conditioning doesn't work, even when I had free on put it. I do not have the money for another car, nor do I have the money for a new tranny, along with having it put in. I live in a town where there are no buses and can only get a ride from a taxi. I don't have $10 one way for this! I need to get to work, and cannot afford to lose my job....all because of a malfunctioning vehicle that is causing same problems for many others out there. Ford should be recalling these vehicles!

- , North Bennington, VT, USA

problem #110

Jul 022011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Driving from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City on the freeway when tachometer shot up and luckily an off ramp was close by and I was able to coast to a gas station. We had to tow it to a mechanic. What if it had gone out in Death Valley? I'm so angry with Ford, we've had nothing but problems. The power locks don't work, the dome light flickers on and off, air conditioning went out, too many problems to list. I thought I would give an American car another shot a few years back, but sure enough, Ford let me down. I will NEVER buy a Ford again or American car for that matter. I'm on my 3rd Nissan Altima (sold first one to get van for kids, and totaled second one) and I couldn't be happier with it. I am now looking for a Honda Odyssey which I see has rave reviews. Screw you Ford.

- , West Hills, CA, USA

problem #109

Apr 092011

Windstar 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Like everyone else here, rpms shot up (tranny did not grip) while in gear as I attempted to go forward after a stop light. Dead. Nada. I shut it off and restarted and this allowed me to move again, but within half a mile the tranny once again completely slipped. Once again, shut it off, restarted and was able to move the other half mile to my parking spot.

I was thinking to try changing the fluid, but from what I've seen here, that would be a waste of time. I had a Chrysler with transmission problems, and I know their cars are famous for it. What I don't understand is how the Ford Taurus can be so famously reliable and yet the Windstar is such a lemon. I would think they would use similar transmisson technology.

- , Rockaway Park, NY, USA

problem #108

Apr 012005

Windstar SEL 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Didn't even have the van a year and the tranny went out at 50000 miles. Driving down the highway and just lost acceleration, coasted to the side and called a tow truck. This is the 2nd ford vehicle that I've owned in 20 years of driving and I am happy to say it is the LAST ford I will ever own. I took it to a transmission shop and they replaced it for $1500. I didn't have enough vaseline to take it to a ford dealer. The guy told me to get rid of the van, because 80% of his work is on ford tranny's. I still have the van it's got 110000 miles on it, no problems with the tranny since, but plenty of other problems with the van in general. I now know why ford didn't have to take the bail out money, they make crap for vehicles and make their money off of repairs.

- , J-ville, IL, USA

problem #107

Apr 192011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

While doing a little internet research before deciding whether or not to have our vehicle towed to a different shop, I found the exact thing happened to many others. I wonder how many people have not complained or inquired when their transmission suddenly failed with no warning whatsoever. Same story as many others... small child in the car and just made the turn through a dangerous intersection during rush hour traffic, no sounds, nothing, car just stopped moving forward. Shifted with no results just the revving of the engine when trying to accelerate. Thanks for the FORD and NHSA numbers. I will call and file a complaint.

- , Frankfort, IL, USA

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