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 7 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #46

Nov 162009

Windstar SEL 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,111 miles


just bought this van it is in mint condition..beautiful and now it left me stuck ....i have muscular dystrophy and i need my van to get to the doctors i live on disability and im so in trouble....thanks ford....

- , Homestead, PA, USA

problem #45

Oct 122009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

This car was driving perfect and then all of a sudden the RPM shot up high and the car stopped accelerating. Left me stranded on the way home from work- we took it to two different car repair places and both said the tranny had to be replaced- this is absolutely crazy- with all of the problems with the tranny you would think Ford would do something about it! Absolutely the last time I will buy a ford.

- , Hummelstown, PA, USA

problem #44

Sep 152009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Same as everyone else here it seems, drove my van to work, when I got off work; went out to van and no reverse, drive, 1, or 2nd. This sucks. Hope its only the torque converter. I think there should be a recall on these from reading all the problems that this van has had. I HATE FORD!!!!

- , Yorkton, Sask, Canada

problem #43

Sep 132009

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,876 miles


Just paid off van on 09/11/09 came home from work, and wife tells me her van won't go into gear. It was late so I didn't even check it that night. The next day I went to see what was up with the tranny. The van starts and doesn't show any trouble lights at all. My moms boyfriend has a mechanics code reader and that didn't say anything either. I started calling around to friends in the auto field they said it was an internal problem and gonna have to rebuild or get a refurbished. So I'm looking for a transmission online today, and find this page. Now what are the chances that 41 people with this same van have the same problem at the same mileage. Seriously 2 F-ing days ago I paid this thing off and now, by the looks of it, its gonna cost me 2,000 to 3,500 to fix. F-that! I have had 18 vehicles in my life and the one time I take a chance on a Ford my suspicions are confirmed FORD SUCKS!!!!!!! Never again. My 2005 Chevy Malibu has 146,786 and I haven't had one problem with it. stick to Chevy or Foreign no way am I putting a single dollar into this P.O.S. van. Sorry Mike Rowe "Why Ford Why now" I say Why

- , Dousman, WI, USA

problem #42

Sep 072009

Windstar LE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Our ford windstar had complete transmission failure just by driving in a grocery store parking lot. No gears although park worked just fine. Every gear was just like neutral. We will detail the van and hopefully sell it as soon as it's back from the shop. I do hope the next owner has better luck. I will never buy a Ford again not just by my experience but also because the people around me have numerous problems with their fords too. F.O.R.D. obviously stands for Fix Or Repair Daily. Junk pieces of crap to put it lightly. Buick here I come.

- , Midland, MI, USA

problem #41

Aug 192009

Windstar LX 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles

Bought van with 40k, at 128k, took vehicle to shop running terrible. Mechanic told me the coil was bad (it was). Told me the engine code reported intake manifold gasket was bad, would be part of coil replacement for parts removal and would get a discount if I had both repaired. I knew he was full of . This vehicle always ran like a top and did again after the coil repair. I took the vehicle home, fixed the coil myself and didn't touch anything related to the intake manifold. But when told I was taking the vehicle home with no repair he told me he had to "get it ready". To my surprise, after fixing coil, my transmission was suddenly making lots of noise (not there when I went to the shop, I suspected foul play), a friend owned a tranny shop, he told me the planetary gears were bad, $2500.00 to fix. I didn't have the money at the time, Dec. 22, 2008. Drove kid to school and back the rest of school year, with lots of whining noise. Then the OD light started flashing and shifting badly when on, shut it off and it would reset, shifting fine. Finally, decided to take our chances, drove twice to Maine from Ct, 250 miles one way, got off the highway 2 miles from home 2nd trip, transmission shifting badly and slipping horribly. Drove up a huge hill, pulled in driveway and is now dead, 134k. Made it home, thank God! We had our two small children with us. I've owned lots of Fords, cars and trucks, over the last 20 years and NEVER have been stranded away from home. ALL of my mechanical problems have been in my own driveway, I know its hard to believe. NONETHELESS, I still need to pay up to fix it. Two more payments and its all mine. $20,000 and its worthless, cheaper to replace the entire vehicle than fix it. I may again buy Ford, because if you think this is bad, you should hear about my NEW DODGE Pickup, 5 water pumps in one year, grinding gears in auto tranny, Dodge dealer says its "NORMAL", etc..........

- , Bristol, CT, USA

problem #40

Aug 092009

Windstar SEL 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles


Van starts and runs but will not drive, reverse, 1 or 2

- , Rochester, NY, USA

problem #39

Aug 072009

Windstar SEL 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

My Ford Windstar has been nothing but a problem since I bought it used with 30000 miles on it in 2005. It has left us starneded several times and today the transmission went out. We were driving and suddenly a bunch of smoke started coming out the back and then warning liights came on saying check transmission. I have always made sure I have kept up on the maintenance of this vehicle and am very dissapointed in this FORD product. I also have a 2005 Ford Taurus that has been a headache to own. I will never own a Ford vehicle again.

- , Yuma, AZ, USA

problem #38

Jul 312009

Windstar SEL 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,235 miles

I was 2 hours away from home and without any warning the van stop going forward I drifted to the side of the road and tried reverse, still a no go, finally had to have it hauled away. I was on my way back from vacation with five other people an all their luggage. Also, the driver side power window will not work as well as the power vent on the driver side.

Update from Aug 13, 2009: I first change the fluid and filter in the transmission cranked it up put the trans in drive and the reverse still nothing. I had a unemployed Ford mechanic look it and he suggested that the torque converter could be the problem. So, I let him tear it down(he had all the necessary tool to work with) the torque converter was the problem. This mechanic said that ford has a lot of "problems with their torque converter failures due to the fact the metal for the splines seamed not to have hardenend enough", for the years 1999 through 2003. For less than a third of the cost to take it in and let some put a transmission in I was able to be back on the road in the last two days. The next challenge will be fixing the power window on the drivers side and the rear foldout window on the same side.


- , Nathalie, VA, USA

problem #37

Jul 172009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

The van would start and then it wouldn't shift into gears. Fords are POS! I won't buy another one.

- , Fairborn, OH, USA

problem #36

Jun 292009

Windstar SEL 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


Very similar to my co-sufferers - no warning, my wife pulled out of the driveway and started down the street. 100 yards down the road, no sound, no warning, no grip - just neutral. Pushed it back to our house, had it towed, need a new tranny. Luckily, the local guy is nice, is familiar with this problem, and swears he won't use any Ford replacement parts. I bought the van 2 weeks ago from a friend in the military who has just been deployed to Korea. I can't decide if I should let them know or not!

- , Hopewell, VA, USA

problem #35

May 242009

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I am disabled and still owe on this van that looks GREAT just sitting in my yard. I really thing FORD should fix the tranny and "check engine" lights. With the economy the way it is and the poor quality of AMERICAN made products where are we to turn??

- , Asheboro, NC, USA

problem #34

Sep 012007

Windstar SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

I purchased my 2003 Van in 2005 with 30,000 miles on it. At 50,100 miles the transmission went completely out and it cost $2300 to replace. Now at 81,000 miles the transmission is going out again. I have gotten behind on 2 payments and now Regional Acceptance wants to repossess the Van. Also, the electric windows have torn up twice. NEVER EVER BUY A FORD.

- , Lexington, KY, USA

problem #33

Jun 012009

Windstar SEL 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,002 miles

Do I like the Windstar--Yes love it. Should the tranny be fixed by Ford and not me? You

betcha, they should pay it. Would I buy another ford-NO- neither will any of my family.

Wonder why people buy foreign cars, they fixed a car for me years ago.

This is not a good solution to "Buy American", would love to, if a warranty that was worthwhile existed.

Yes, at least I feel better now??

- , Kalamazoo, MI, USA

problem #32

May 162009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

June 19 2007, transmission went out on my Ford Windstar, stranding my wife at work 50 miles away. Had the transmission rebuilt at 50,000 miles. Warranty covered 24 months or 2400 miles. cost $2300.00

May 16 2009, we were leaving for a food taste testing for my daughters wedding and I pulled out of the drive. There was a strange humming noise and when I tried to put the car in drive, it would shift but would not move, No forward, reverse nothing. Checked the mileage and I am at 79,000. Will have it towed on Monday and I am hoping that it is not the transmission, but reading all of the other complaints, it probably is.

I agree, the US car makers wonder why no one wants to by their cars. This will be one of my last ones, as soon as I get it paid off.

- , Elyria, OH, USA

problem #31

Apr 162009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

I'm a Chevy man, my girlfriend bought this piece. What a high cost to fix. The transmission just went out while driving down the road in the Windstar.

- , Jackson, MI, USA

problem #30

Apr 302009

Windstar Limited 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

I have been a Ford man all my life NO MORE will not buy American the next time. I called Ford Customer Service the man was nice but, they would not help even a little bit. Total Transmission Failure at 53,000 miles for a 03 always serviced at Sarat Ford in Agawam, MA (bought it new from them) talk to Service Manager. He told me they couldn't help me “that is what the warranty was for”. The perception is American cars are junk this doesn’t help there cause. Will have to go another path from now on too bad the company is so short sighted. They will pay for there mistake, bad press spreads fast. I will tell everyone who will listen not to buy a Ford.

- , Wilbraham, MA, USA

problem #29

Apr 192009

Windstar LS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

Sudden quit on transmission, no warning sign at all. Very expensive to fix. Ford should be responsible to the transmission failure.

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #28

Apr 232009

Windstar V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles

I'm another victim too! Transmission failed at 134K miles. No warning! Stranded my wife aprox. 25 miles from home. Very expensive fix! Notified Ford of the incident. Probably bought my last Ford. Should have done it earlier! Shame on Ford for selling a piece of crap that won't last!

- , Richmond, VA, USA

problem #27

Apr 142009

Windstar EX 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

This seems to be a problem that if it has not already happened to your Windstar, when it does, Ford should be responsible for fixing their piece of crap transmissions.

- , Vancouver, WA, USA

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