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 8 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #26

Mar 112009

Windstar XL 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,000 miles


As I read other rants on this piece of junk, this is the same old story told over and over. Making right turn, then without warning the van coasts to a stop, still running, and there you sit. 82000 miles 1) heater core 2) rebuilt intake of something something 3) complete brake overhaul 4) engine light that won't stay off 5) using a qrt of oil every 750 miles and now the tranny 'thanks ford'. I can't stand when a windstar pulls up next to me at a light. I get ill.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #25

Mar 102009

Windstar LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

While reading other complaints about this van, I realized I could have written any of them. My van was purchased used from a dealer in 2004. It had only about 12,000 miles.

It has been in the shop for several different problems. The brakes have been done 4 or five times. I've also experienced the flickering lights and chimes going off. The rear door ajar light comes on often as well. 2 days ago, the transmission went out. Haven't had it fixed yet, don't know if we should. Looking at the cost of a Windstar transmission job, I probably won't. Won't buy another Ford, either.

- , Carson, CA, USA

problem #24

Feb 072009

Windstar Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

Even before the transmission went after only 61,000 miles (it was purchased used from a Ford dealership with 16,000 already on it) I was having problems. The rear passenger door would open on it's own, the "Rear door ajar" message is on even though the back hatch is closed, the back rear window won't always open, the lights will go on or flicker by themselves, so I just keep the interior lights off. I had Ford check these out numerous times and they never find a problem. But now the trans went and the limited extended warranty is up of course. I had to pay almost $2400 dollars out of pocket. Luckily I was in a parking lot in a nice neighborhood when this happened since I had my little ones with me, the car just went into neutral and we had to push it into a space to be towed away. It appears this is a "Trait" of the Windstar, which is a shame I love my van but will not get another Ford since Ford does not stand behind their product. I will

- , Massillon, OH, USA

problem #23

Dec 012007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


The FIRST time we replaced the transmission in our 2003 Ford Winstar was in late 2006 to early 2007. We was living in the country and there was plenty of drifting snow all the time! Thats when we lost the transmission the first time and we were told that all the snow could of somehow packed up somewhere in the engine and caused the transmission to somehow fail. Ok whatever!! But since then we now live in the city limits( not because of the transmission) LOL but now our newest problem is that we just recently had our O/D light start flashing and since we never had that happen the last time the transmission failed we would of never though that would be the problem again! But guess what...we got stranded again! The van started slowing down and wouldn't go over 30 mph and then just stopped. So we pulled over and turned it off for a minute and then started it back up. It drove again for a few minutes and lost the rpms and stopped again. Eventually we had to have it towed home which was about 75 miles away and the tow driver let my husband ride with him to go pick up our other car so he could come back and pick us up. (atleast a mall was near by) LOL. So as of now we are looking for another transmission. And the only reason I am fixing it again is that I need a van to transport children for the business I own. I really don't want another car payment so it seems like the best thing to do at the moment. But I just want to thank Ford for another fine product they sent off the assembly line! LOL NEVER AGAIN!

- , Lima, Oh, USA

problem #22

Dec 112008

Windstar SEL 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,244 miles

On our way Christmas shopping and stopped at stop sign... Check brake fluid lights came on, hubby took foot off brake to pull over to side and lost all go to the engine... Wouldn't go into reverse, forward, nothing.....

Towed to our mechanic, told us the filter was clogged and overfilled the tranny. Having it rebuilt to the tune of a minimum $2400.... Not impressed as this was the high end, top of line piece of crap that is only 5 years old... It was also meticulously maintained and no sign what so ever of the transmission going... No sounds, no burnt smell, nothing!!! Even worse, waiting for our new Ford F150 to be delivered... If only we could change our minds!!!! GRRRRRRR

- , Port Dover, Ontario, Canada

problem #21

Dec 012008

Windstar SE 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,500 miles

We bought this Windstar used in 2006 with 29000 miles. The vehicle has been serviced regularly. The other night wife was driving the van when it shut off on her. She coasted to the side of the road, restarted the van, however the transmission wouldn't engage. Had the vehicle towed to a local garage. Described the problem to him, he said it sounded like the planetary gears were bad. He pulled the transmission, the planetary gear was bad, due to a lack of lubrication (evidently FORD redesigned the transmission to correct this problem). Mechanic said he has rebuilt many of these transmissions all from the same problem. He said the lube tubes don't allow proper lubrication and when he rebuilt the transmission he updated the parts.

- , Smock, PA, USA

problem #20

Nov 262008

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles


Car driven about 53 miles that day no signs of problems what so ever. Parked in garage. 1hr later went to pull out of gagrage to sweep floor and van move about a foot, clunked, and started wining. Now wont even flinch in any gear or position and still wines. Fluid looks great. Total shock. Pulled tranny, looking for used one.

- , Holton, MI, USA

problem #19

Jul 192008

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Took the family of 5 to yellow stone park (1,500 miles away)checked all fluids. The van was running perfect no sign of any problems - then without warning we it seamed to go into neutral the trans pump blew out and left us stranded in the middle of nowhere for hours before we got it towed to two different places ( $ 1,200 just in towing plus a rental car ) Thank God we found a good trans shop( ATS the second shop) who cared and got us on the road again in just 2 days ($ 2,700 ) .I thought we had a good van but it left us in the worst possible place.I never would have taken that van that far if we had some problems with the trans but again no signs at all. The mechanic said FORD made a bunch of bad pumps out of cheap metal and he fixed a lot of them .Don't take your windstar on vacation . also we had many other weird problems with it not related to the trans. Ford needs to address this problem and take responsibility for it if they want us to buy their junk cars!

- , Oaklawn, IL, USA

problem #18

Jun 252008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

Ok well I bought this vehicle from CarMax two years ago. For the most part, I've had no problems really until a couple of months ago. The only "problem" that I had was that the check engine light kept coming on and going off. This started right after I bought it. I took it back to CarMax and they hooked it up to the machine. They told me they didn't know why the check engine light was on because it wasn't "throwing" any codes.

At that time, they told me it was probably just the seal on the gas cap and to just ignore it. He even told me that Ford Windstar's are known for this problem. Fast forward one year to time to get it inspected. It failed the emissions test. I took it back to CarMax and again they said it wasn't anything. I waited until the next morning and when I started the van up the check engine light was off so I rushed it back to the station to get it re-inspected. Guess what? It passed!

Well, now fast forward to June 25th... My mother went to WalMart and on her way back with no warning the engine revved up and she couldn't accelerate. It was pushed to a side street and I called a tow truck. The tow truck towed it to a friend's shop. I have an extended warranty but I really had to jump hoops to get them to fix it. Finally, my warranty company said that it couldn't stay at my friend's shop and had to be towed to AAMCO. AAMCO was great and got it fixed with no problems. BTW, remember that you need to get transmission flushes every 30,000 miles.

Anyways, I went back today for my 10 day post transmission inspection. The guy went and drove it and came back and hooked the van up to the computer and guess what? It's throwing a code! It's code P1633. I was told that it was a dealer problem and I would need to take it back to a Ford Dealer. I took it back to my friend's shop and he said that he could fix it. So, yet another time in the shop. I don't know how long I'll be out of the van this time, but I'm just so frustrated. I was without the van for a whole week while they were trying to get my warranty to pay up and approve the repairs.

I think I've decided that as soon as we get the income tax refund check in January or February that I'm going to trade in the van. There really should be a recall on the transmission and about the check engine light.

- , Deer Park, TX, USA

problem #17

Jun 222008

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

This is terrible as I still have another 22 months left to pay on this van and the transmission went without a warning as we were driving home from church. We turned at the light and I stepped on the gas and nothing! We were stranded! I had to have the van towed home as I do not have the money to have it fixed and the Dealer will not do anything as all of the 1st and extended warranties are no longer in effect. This really makes us want to own another Ford! I think not! I will be paying over $300 a month for a yard decoration now. I believe that Ford Company should have a recall on these Windstars right now!

- , Jamestown, NY, USA

problem #16

Nov 162007

Windstar 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles


On the way home from dinner, our transmission went into complete reverse or any forward gears. Had it towed to the local Ford dealer. Monday we received a call and were told $2500 for a repair with a 30 day warranty or $3300 for a brand spanking new Ford transmission with a 3 year 75,000 mile warranty. Being a total idiot I opted for the $3300 job. It's now June 2008 and the transmission is shuddering between every gear and that began about 60 days after the new transmission was installed. Brought it back to the Ford dealer and got a phone call to come up there. They found water in the transmission. The service manager told me that a new one could be ordered and would be in the next day. I just got back from the dealer as it's been 3 days since they ordered a new one. Now Ford won't cover my warranty and says now my radiator is leaking into the transmission. Monday, June 23rd they're going to do a pressure check on my radiator and I insisted they check the fluid in the transmission for Prestone. I fully expect to have to pay for a radiator now and another transmission. Ford sucks and will not stand behind their Windstars. This should have been a recall issue years ago.

- , Ishpeming, MI, USA

problem #15

May 312008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,300 miles

I was driving down the road in a wicked thunderstorm with my 4 kids to pick up my wife from a hard days work. There was no warning light, no noise, no nothing! I thought we were hydroplaning as I heard the engine racing but we were not accelerating. I left off the gas and turned the wheel slightly I could turn so I knew we were not hydroplaning. I hit the gas again and realized we were not in gear. I am really pissed. Extended Warranty expired @ 75,000 miles. Vehicle to be paid off next month. Should I sink 3,000 dollars into this or trade it in and by something else?

- , Ocean View, DE, USA

problem #14

May 152008

Windstar SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I was driving down the freeway when the transmission disengaged. I never had any transmission problems. I came with warning. The fluid was full. I am looking for some advise or similar experiences.

- , Fresno, CA, USA

problem #13

May 212008

Windstar SEL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

This van I have a feeling is on its way down hill. First the Door alarm wouldn't go off until was driving for about 1 minute which started months after coming home new, Then the alternator died 6 months ago and now the transmission. Wife was driving down the road last week (May 2008) and all of a sudden, no warning the van went into neutral. NO gears what so ever. NO warning or feeling of slipping I have seen. Re-manufactured transmission from AAMCO is about 2700. This should of been a re-call as I am finding multiple complaints of this same problem.

- , Howell, NJ, USA

problem #12

May 082008

(reported on)

Windstar SEL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

I have had SEVERAL problems with this piece of crap...1st interior lights go off and on...not a big problem just keep them off all the time....2nd Back windows wont operate...3rd Alternator goes out....4th side mirrors don't work......5th tail light...blinker on right side go out and now the transmission... I HATE FORD

- , Shelbyville, KY, USA

problem #11

May 052008

Windstar V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

was 200 miles from home trans died had to be towed husband recently redeployed had to handle everything alone no warning just driving and bingo no forward reverse nada

ford should be held responsible mechanic said trans could not be rebuild had to buy new one from ford

- , Montvale, VA, USA

problem #10

Apr 162008

Windstar Limited 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I was calmly driving down a side road, approached an intersection and made a right turn. Then without any warning, light, noise, etc., the transmission went into neutral and I had to coast to a stop on the side of the road. I had no forward or reverse gears, no leaks, transmission fluid was full and recently changed. Had the vehicle towed to a Ford Dealer, who looked at it, said I needed a new transmission. There were no outward signs of problems on the transmission, the cables and linkages were intact. No cracks or leaks visible. They are stumped, don't know what the problem could be, had it for a whole day, but never pulled it in the garage (at least I think so, because I went there and it was parked exactly where the tow truck left it.) Any way, the estimated repair/replacement cost $2195.00 for a refurbished transmission and $1100.00 in labor (which includes $300.00 for miscellaneous expenses). This vehicle was great until the warranty ran out - then all hell broke loose. This was the third major repair problem. First the Alternator blew, then the check engine light came on, $400.00 later new intake gasket for lean codes. The car is in great shape, but now it's costing $$ to maintain. Hopefully mine will only be $600.00 bucks for a converter!!!!!!! I think Ford has these cars pre-programmed to break down after the warranty expires.

- , Aberdeen, MD, USA

problem #9

Jan 292008

Windstar SEL

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

I thought I had a great vehicle. I planned on keeping this minivan till it was lifeless. On my way home from work, I stopped at a stop sign and it would not go again. Just like that it quit. No loud bang, no leakage, nothing leading up to it. It just quietly slipped out of running. I then turned off the engine, put it in park, restarted it, checked all lights, then put it into gear. Nothing but the rev of the engine. I tried reverse. Nothing. So I had it towed to the shop, and started looking online for transmissions. That's when I came across this website. I will find out tomorrow what exactly is wrong and how much it will cost. Any recommendations?

- , Jackson, MI, USA

problem #8

Dec 282007

Windstar Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

August 17, 2007 buy from Ford Dealership. "Will be great dependable, had all service work done here". Sign papers and drive 2 blocks for lunch and have electrical problems. Take it back, and they had it more than us the first 3 weeks..... but to the transmission... 3 months of ownership and it gives no warning just backs up 2 feet and won't go backwards or forwards. Dealership says, get it here and we will look at it. Pay tow charges. Dealership says it's your transmission (duh, do ya think?). A few days later when checking on it, we are told it will cost us $600 just to tear it down and diagnose the problems. We call a transmission shop who towed it from the dealer to their business for free and replaced the torque converter for about $650. Ford and the dealer was not willing to work with us in any way. Transmission shop said they had seen this in several of these mini vans.

- , Udall, KS, USA

problem #7

Jan 232008

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

My transmission failed in a 2003 Windstar originally Oct 2007. I paid to have a new Ford 3 year factory warranty transmission installed by an independant mechanic that I have been going to for 20 years. Now four months later the 2nd transmission has failed. The mechanic sent it to the dealer to check out due to the Ford warranty. They are telling me the warranty is voided, for I have water in the upper section of the transmission. I have no idea how this could have happened and no one can give me a reasonable explanation. I am stuck, getting ready to have this 2nd transmission rebuilt and then trying to sell this vehicle, I have been a loyal Ford customer for 20 years..No more...Any comments?

- , Petersburg, NJ, USA

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