really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,776 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Ford Windstar engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #53

Nov 122009


  • 184,347 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Ford Windstar. While parking he smelled a burning odor, and then saw flames inside of the engine compartment. He was able to extinguish the fire himself. The manufacturer was notified, and he was advised to call NHTSA because they would not provide assistance. No repairs were made. The failure and current mileages were under 184,347.

- Memphis, TN, USA

problem #52

Jan 032008


  • miles
Brake malfunction, display of "service engine soon".

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #51

Mar 202006

Windstar 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles
I have a 1998 Ford Windstar in which I recently had to replace an oil pan because the mechanic told me that it had warped and was causing an oil leak on the exhaust system. No one has ever heard of a faulty oil pan is there anyone else with this problem?

- Butler, PA, USA

problem #50

Dec 102005

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Service engine light was on and van was running rough. Diagnostics indicated that the intake maniford runner control vacuum motor was stuck. Van would overheat if not replaced.

- Urbana, IL, USA

problem #49

Jun 122005

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,721 miles
1998 Ford Windstar 3.8L engine, head bolts stretched causing coolant leak into engine, head gasket was not blown so wynn's service contract will not pay for $1800 repair. This is the second major expense, I had to replace the transmission at 80,000 miles.

- Iselin, NJ, USA

problem #48

Jan 072005

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,200 miles
Engine shuts down intermittently when decelerating into a turn. It also shuts down momentarily (vehicle "bucks") or fully (stalls completely) during normal driving, independent of speed. The latter problem is much more common than the former! consequence: Several near-miss rear-end collisions, especially at highway speeds. The dealership could not replicate the problem. An independent technician replicated but could not properly repair the problem(s). The problems have been occurring for more than two years.

- Tempe, AZ, USA

problem #47

Oct 252004

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


My heating was working intermitently so I brought the vehicle to crown Ford in lynbrook to diagnose the problem. I was told that the head gasket needs to be replaced. The radiator also needs to be replaced due to the head gasket leaking into it. Cost for the repair would be approximately $2300. There was a recall on previous years vehicles and there are many tales of woe regarding this problem posted on the web. I don't believe Ford has fixed this problem sufficiently for the vehicles produced after 1996.

- Valley Stream, NY, USA

problem #46

May 022004

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,683 miles
While driving 30 mph, the head gasket failed. As a result, a loud noise from the engine was produced.

- Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #45

Dec 292003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles
Our 1998 fird Windstar engine siezed

- Covington, WA, USA

problem #44

Feb 112004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles
Heater on car wasn't working, smelling something burning. Advised that Windstar with 3.8 engines seem to experience head gasket failure wherein coolant is either being burned or mixing with oil and will cause engine failure. Advised to contact Ford, nhsta and local dealer.

- Northville, MI, USA

problem #43

Aug 012003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,500 miles


Failed head gasket in 3.8L engine.

- Union , MO, USA

problem #42

Dec 282003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles
Head gasket failure leading to complete engine failure.

- Vadnais Heights, MN, USA

problem #41

Dec 302003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
Purchased a 1998 Windstar on 11/20/01. We had to replace the transmission only four months later, at only 44,000 miles. This van currently has a busted head gasket and is inoperable at only $64,000 miles. These issues with this make and model are quite common and wide-spread. For motor company is quite aware. Both problems could have caused serious accidents and property damages. They are excessive and extraordinary.

- Hermitage, TN, USA

problem #40

Dec 152003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles
At 112,000 miles, my Ford Windstar has developed a head gasket leak internally which has resulted in extensive internal engine damage that now requires complete engine replacement. I have 2 professional repair shops diagnosis and both agree that it needs an engine replacement for the reasons stated above.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #39

Oct 062003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles
The first sign of trouble occurred when the vehicle was brought into the repair shop. Informed by the mechanic that there was a problem with the head gasket, in which the radiator fluid was leaking into the engine and that the repair cost would be approximately $1,500 (Canadian). Ford was notified but refuses to acknowledge and to compensate the problem because it?S not covered in its extended warranty even though its warranty is for seven years or 160,000 km.

- Pierrefonds, AL, USA

problem #38

Sep 202003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,600 miles
Blown head gasket on 1998 Ford Windstar. Head gasket is not a service item and should last for the life of the vehicle. There are many reports of similar problems with the Ford 3.8L engine.

- Lincoln, NE, USA

problem #37

Sep 122003

(reported on)

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
Problems with transmission, torque, power steering, and front end stable rods & arms. The transmission and torque had been replaced twice, the power steering once, the font end stable rods and arms twice and remained bad. The battery light had come on and the idler pulley was replaced, there was a creaking/cracking noise when turning the wheel and the outer tie rods were replaced along with the toe being reset, there was a clunk when going over the bumps, there was a vibration underneath due to the transmission, the engine light would come on and off and seemed like the shifts were erratic, the transmission leaked badly, and on some occasions the starter did not engage.

- Freeland, MD, USA

problem #36

Jul 082003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I am seeking action to alleviate the cost of maintenance problems I have experienced with my 1998 3.8L V6 Ford Windstar gl. Over the past few years, my Windstar has displayed reoccurring and extensive mechanical problems in the front end, brakes, and engine that have resulted increasing amounts of time and money spent on repairs. From research, I have found that our difficulties are not an isolated event, and are in fact a common problem in the 1998 Windstar, and are the same problems found in the 1995 Windstar. The most recent event was the requirement to have the head gasket replaced. The local Ford dealer provided this service which cost $1500 in parts and labor. Upon completion of the repairs the van was not roadworthy, a new short block was needed due to damage caused by the faulty head gasket. I have been quoted over $6000 for this job. In addition to the mounting repair costs, I am forced to rent a car so that we have transportation while we consider options with our Windstar. My Windstar has less than 100,000 miles. It is not uncommon these days to have vehicles operate this long before requiring the first tune-up. In order to maintain this van, I have spent the time I have ownwd this vehicle and a lot of money taking my Windstar into service centers to have inferior parts, such as the plastic tie-rod ends and brakes, replaced many times. I have also spent a fortune on rental cars while our Windstar sat unserviceable. We have born this cost with the expectation that investing money in repair would result in safe, reliable transportation for our family. With this major repair, the months of exhaustive diagnosis and trial repair jobs to fix the problems that arrise, the multiple tie rod end replacements, and brake system repairs, I feel that I am entitled to compensation from the Ford Motor Company.

- Apo, NY, USA

problem #35

Jun 302003

Windstar 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
Blown head gasket on 1998 Ford Windstar at 85,000 miles.

- Granger, IN, USA

problem #34

Jul 082003


  • miles
Consumer states that vacuum motor switch fails. He also states that the rubber diaphram fails all the time. This part of the auto is suppose to be working in relations with the intake manifold.

- Rialto, CA, USA

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