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really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
213,602 miles
Total Complaints:
157 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (50 reports)
  2. replace or rebuild (46 reports)
  3. put in another tranny (38 reports)
  4. rebuild transmission (13 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 1 of 8)

problem #157

Jan 042015

Windstar SEL 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,381 miles


Yet another 2003 Ford Windstar where the transmission just failed with no warning. Wife was driving home from church, turned right onto our street and the transmission just stopped driving the vehicle. She coasted to our house and I had the Windstar towed to a local transmission shop. They advised me to call Ford. Ford Customer Relations was very polite but informed me there was no recall effort on my vehicle's transmission. They assigned me a case number and told me to hold on to any receipts "in case there would be any sort of reimbursement in the future."

- , Yorktown, VA, USA

problem #156

Aug 142014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 166,000 miles

My van ran great for 5 yrs then trans just stopped working at 70 mph in high speed lane, was trying to get over. It was really hairy but managed to get out of everyone's way at rush hr . Not cool at all . Now stranded for 2 hrs . Then call ford and no recall on trans quitting mid run . bulllshit

- , cincinnati, Ohio, USA

problem #155

Jan 012012

Windstar SEL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I probably should of backed away when the SALESMAN at the dealership told me, while I was in the process of purchasing, "yeah I've got the same exact van, never did much too it but replace the transmission". Duh. This was 2008 when I purchased the vehicle with about 60,000 miles.

2011 the transmission failed, while my husband was driving. Wouldn't budge. Right around 100,000 miles. That's when I went on the internet and found out this year Windstar has the MOST TRANSMISSION FAILURES. Oh just great...After about 6 months of it sitting and us saving we found a place that did transmission for $1000. Had it fixed as well as about $700 of additional "maintenance" work that was needed at that point. So now here it is 2014 and the transmission is FAILING AGAIN. 135,000 miles. RPM's are all over the place when I'm driving one steady speed. "Check Transmission" came up a couple times on the computer. Ugh....Van was at dealer getting some "recall" things repaired so I told them to take a look at it. Internal failure...blah blah blah....need a new transmission...blah blah blah...I've been here before....blah blah blah. I cannot pump more money into this thing. I mean it is 11 years old at this point but of all things the TRANSMISSION..TWICE!! So, next vehicle is going to me a manual. Just saying...

- , Alton, IL, USA

problem #154

Sep 062014

Windstar 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles


Parked van in the middle of nowhere while kayaking. Returned to van, put in in gear, and nothing happened. Restarted and still nothing. Transmission is dead. Had to find a tow truck willing to drive into the middle of nowhere to take it to a shop.

Right now we are trying to find someone to even look at it to see if it is even worth fixing. Meanwhile, my wife is living in the middle of nowhere without a vehicle.

If I could have had a warning, such as hard shifting, transmission leak, odd noises, we could have had it checked out, but running fine and then dead.

Update from Sep 15, 2014: Decided it is not worth fixing.

- , Avon, New York, USA

problem #153

Jul 152014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 238,000 miles

I have replaced the torque converter 3 times in my 2003 ford Windstar. I will driving and my RPM's will move but I will be going nowhere. This is a big pain in my butt. I am a single mother of 4 and I just keep wasting money in this piece of crap. I have read several other complaints of the same issue. I would think Ford would recall all thee vehicles and fix the issue. When you buy a vehicle you should not be replacing the torque converter every 25 to 35 thousand miles. From what i have learned recently is that the problem is actually with the transmission. This last time I was headed to work and came to a stop sign and went to take off and there I sat in the middle of the intersection at 5am other vehicles almost ran into to me due to the fact many do not stop at that inter section. I need now to replace the transmission which I feel should be a ford recall and they should replace it at no charge for the danger it has placed me and my family in

- , Granville, New York, USA

problem #152

Apr 172014

Windstar Windstar/Van V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

There should be a recall for 2003 FORD WINDSTAR VAN TRANSMISSIONS. Can result in death due to quitting. In my case... I-49, 75mph, transmission all of a sudden roaring, no power, as if in Neutral. Put flashers blinking and coasted until safe to pull to emergency lane. Vehicles behind, beside, braking and transferring lanes to keep from rear ending me. This could easily result in severe injury or death.

I was saved due to quick thinking of vehicles behind me throwing on brakes or finding an opening in the passing lane. This is hard to do while going 75 & 80 mph to avoid rear end collision. Bought from a Ford dealership selling for a private owner. What I thought was a good buy, low mileage, turned out to be a death trap.

Other problems. Rear axle, severe problem that needs to also be addressed and recalled for. Every one of the Fords that FORD should be responsible for.

- , Farmerville, LA, USA

problem #151

Jun 102014

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles


Call me a dumb ass, this is my second Windstar. Wife and I needed a vehicle in the worst way and went to a credit dealership. This was all we could afford, 2003 Windstar. Van worked fine for 1 1/2 years, until today. Was driving down the road and the transmission slipped out of gear 4 separate times, but popped right back in. Didn't feel anything, just heard the engine rev to 3000 rpm! This is dangerous! I know the end is near for this transmission and I don't have over $2000 to shell out on a vehicle I'm still paying on! The first Windstar back in 2008, My son and I was climbing a hill and without any warning, Transmission quit. We rolled backwards 50 feet cause the brakes also quit!

- , Phippsburg, ME, USA

problem #150

Mar 012014

Windstar 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 132,000 miles

Transmission quit without any warning while 30 mins earlier I was doing 75 MPH.

My friend used to tell me FORD stands for (Found On Road Dead). I just believed him.

- , Burke, VA, USA

problem #149

Dec 112013

Windstar LX 3.2lV6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

this van has been a problem since I purchased it. I bought used from Park Ford in Tallmadge, Ohio. it had 19,670 miles on it at the time of purchase. The torque converter failed as my wife was pulling out of a plaza parking lot, Had to tow this van to a trusted repair garage. the repair to several days so we were without transportation.


Tony F.

- , Akron, OH, USA

problem #148

Apr 012012

Windstar 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,109 miles

Had a factory rebuilt transmission installed Jan.2010. Had transmission cooler installed shortly after. Had to replace transmission fluid at my expense in 2011 with 30000 km on the new rebuilt. Transmission has never been right. Complained to Hanna Motors on a continual basis. Finally gave out completely Apr. 1. Had to be towed 100 km. 3 months over the warranty and 3000 km over the warranty. Ford dealer offered to fix it at my expense. Ha! Ha!

Have given up now on Ford. Bought myself a new Toyota Matrix.

- , Stayner, Ontario, Canada

problem #147

May 242012

Windstar 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles


I own a 2003 Windstar that without warning, while my wife was driving it, stop generating forward motion. The engine was still on, but the transmission just quit working. Until then the van had not giving me any major mechanical problem, but all I had to do was type "windstar tran.." on the web browser and I realized that I'm not the only one this has happened to. Its very frustrating to know that Ford is very aware of the problem, However they refuse to own up to it. I'll never buy a Ford vehicle ever again.

- , Fenton, MI, USA

problem #146

Feb 212013

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Mine is the same as everybody elses on here.Went to back out of driveway this morning and it rolled into the street since my drive is slanted.I thought it was in gear but went to put it in drive and NOTHING. Ive owned this van for 5years from an inheritance from my father.Its the nicest vehicle i have ever owned.I cant afford to get this fixed,end of story.Ive read all these complaints and the problem seams to be a number of things.The sad part about my story is I found out about this problem a few months ago and wanted to know if i could avoid it somehow.I went down to my local ford dealer and they said that they weren't aware of any Trans problems in WindStars,BULLSHIT!! Ive heard there is a separate oil cooler option on the bigger motor vans and also on the 3.8 towing package.If you had that installed it might help some since a lot of these complaints are from coolant in the trans.There's a ton of these vans running around in my town,in fact my aunt owns one too.Ive been on several cross country trips in mine and always thought that i finally owned a vehicle that i could drive anywhere in the states.I'm seriously thinking about going to the local news stations and bringing this problem to the attention of the masses before somebody gets killed in an accident over this.All i can say is THANK YOU FORD FOR SCREWING ME. I now have a immaculate lawn ornament.

- , Canon City, CO, USA

problem #145

Feb 212013

Windstar SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,000 miles

have to leave my overdrive on

it seems as though the windstar has alot of problems. This overdrive problem could be very expensive to repair. What is the deal with ford?

- , Tangier, VA, USA

problem #144

May 272013

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,233 miles

Driving in pouring down rain from my sons house about 100 miles from mine. I get off the Expressway and make my first stop and my Windstar wont move again! No noise lights or anything just engine revs and transmission laughs at me and wont do a thing. I am a mechanic and take good care of my vehicles, so I get my scanner out. Only code that is in there is for a Torque Converter Clutch not withing specs. We will see what we have here, just give me a week or so, but as long as it makes it through the next week.... so pissed off right now I'm ready to sell it!!!

- , Oregon, OH, USA

problem #143

Oct 012010

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

Really, transmission failure with not that many miles. This van has nothing but problems and ford doesn't admit there is a problem when there clearly is.

- , Lititz, PA, USA

problem #142

Jul 112012

Windstar Limited 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,777,215 miles

Wednesday on way home - I stopped and got gas. It started acting like I had bad gas. When I stopped at the mechanics - it would not go into reverse. The Idiot told me I could drive it - just make sure I didn't have to back up. Called a Transmission company - they came and picked it up Thursday. They said that the transmission was not repairable... there was a bunch of metal left. They are replacing with brand new transmission for the same cost they were going to rebuild my old one.

- , Danville, IN, USA

problem #141

Jul 082012

Windstar LX 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

this is second time tranny failed. first time it cost me 2200.00 dollars, and now as a single parent cant afford to pay that price again. and two people , me and my daughter rely on it to get to work. finding out that this is a common problem and after reading others complaints am outraged by this ford should hold some responsibility for this . this is my second windstar and i really like fords but i doubt i will ever buy another one was planning on getting a TRUCK soon think it wont be a ford now. i was dealing with the electrical issues on both my vans and HAD THE RECALLS DEALT WITH BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS. one van and two trannys later . i wouldn't recommend ford to anyone now

- , Perrysburg, OH, USA

problem #140

May 142008

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I thought I was the only person with this problem! I had a 1995 Windstar that I bought new that was absolutely awful. It was so awful it was repossessed by the bank because I couldn't afford the repairs and the payments. In 2005 when I went through a divorce and my ex husband got the 2003 Chevrolet Venture I had to buy a new car. Being that my credit was shot I had to go to an Auto Credit dealership where they could only put me into one van, a 2003 Ford Windstar. I didn't want it but they insisted Ford fixed the issues and I had no other choice so I bought it. The first 30 days were fine after that it went downhill FAST!! First all the warning lights would come on randomly, then the Coil Pack failed, then the wipers quit working, then the locks quit working, and finally the worst happened. One day I was going to the doctor when all of a sudden the van "slipped" into neutral never to go again. After paying $3500 to have the transmission replaced I drove it another two months when the reverse went out. Enough was enough by then I had my credit fixed enough where I got a regular car loan. I purchased a 2006 Chrysler Pacifica that I love and continue to drive with ZERO problems. STAY AWAY FROM FORD WINDSTAR!

- , Spring Creek, PA, USA

problem #139

Jul 012012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,992 miles

Ford sucks! This is my third transmission. When the original transmission blew and it was still under warranty Ford refused to replace it stating that it was my fault and that I had driven my van into a lake. I was so pissed it cost me 4000.00 to replace .. that was nearly 5 years ago and the transmission that they installed after 80,000 km has died and again I am replacing it to the tune of 3000.00. I am only replacing it so that I can take my sweet old time researching my next vehicle. I will never ever buy a ford again.

Their customer service is horrible. I truly believe to this day that they lied about the transmission so that they would not have to absorb the cost. They never showed me the transmission. We tried so many times to speak to someone at Ford Canada without any success.

Seriously, do not consider buying a Ford - their customer service is horrible. I have owned 4 ford vehicles and was so turned off by their attitude and how righteous they were placing the blame entirely on me. They would not accept responsibility for anything.

- , Mississauga, Ontario, canada

problem #138

Jul 052012

Windstar SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Tonight while driving with my autistic son to get his new glasses, the ford wind star 2003 just stopped moving forward...no warning, no prior transmission problems. Only 80,000 miles...Had to pay $78 for tow so far, now find out how to fix..apparently this is a common issue with the wind star. Way to go Ford...only 2 weeks away from vacation...now what to do???....

- , Moon Township, PA, USA

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