pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
119,991 miles
Total Complaints:
19 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (16 reports)
  2. new alternator (2 reports)
  3. replaced alternator with a rebuilt bocsh part from lordco au (1 reports)
2003 Ford Windstar engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments

problem #19

Sep 142016

Windstar 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,061 miles


Purchased a used 2003 Windstar in July and was running well with only the need for a few things fixed (window regulator, back door latch, tune up) when in September it started stalling. Was only occasionally when at a red light or idling but now is all the time. I'm not 100% convinced it's the alternator as I have experience with alternator issues on two previous vehicles, one being a Ford, and this seems more like the vehicle is idling low. I can drive it no problem when I two foot drive it like a race car (use left foot on brake and keep right foot on accelerator) when I'm stopped at a light. Seems to work well as long as I keep the RPM's up to a certain rev (not sure what it is yet as I'm still experimenting). I also have the emissions light on and am thinking that it may be the fuel injector or charcoal canister that is blocked and causing issues. Has had a moderate to strong gas smell since I bought it that goes away while driving but is very noticeable when idling/parked. I haven't had a chance to check to see if one of these is the issue for the smell so am thinking it could also be why it is stalling. This may be why some people aren't having any luck with fixing their stalling issues when just replacing the alternator, battery or fuel filter. When I get this done I will update my complaint if there is any change in working condition.

- , Winnipeg, MB, Canada

problem #18

Dec 102013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

This has happened too often. We have replaced battery and alternator.

- , Windsor, ON, canada

problem #17

Jun 272014

Windstar Limited 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

I am owning the Ford Windstar 2003 limited model.

All of sudden this vehicle dies while driving and all power system fails once it dies.

Now the problem occur very frequently and I have to pull the car on shoulder and restart the vehicle, It always starts back up AFTER you turn the key off and then back on.

Ford should come up with the solution for this vehicle before someone get into the serious accident.

Please let me know if anyone able to get rid of this problem or any suggestions.

- , minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #16

May 052014

Windstar SE 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


My son and I were driving the van to the trash place about a mile and half from our house. We have had trouble in the past and for 3 years have not been able to fix the problem. We replaced alternators as suggested by Ford and mechanics but nothing has worked. The problem has occurred with mechanics in the vehicle and after looking they are not sure. Replaced fuel filters, all filters, gave tune up and nothing seems to help the problem of the van dying with driving up hill, down hill, waiting at red lights for the light to turn green, or driving down 4 lane. You can catch it as it dies no power steering brakes or anything and put vehicle in neutral it will start back up . I have almost wrecked before but this time I didn't notice it died and went into the side of a bank. Luckily my son and I didn't get hurt in the wreck and neither did our vehicle. I do not trust driving it or having my children inside of it. We were lucky this time but next may not be. I wish Ford would recognize there is a problem and do something to fix it before someone gets seriously hurt or even worse killed.

- , Dungannon, VA, USA

problem #15

May 012009

Windstar SE 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 155,000 miles

I bought this van Dec 2008. The first year and 1/2 it stayed in the shop for one reason or another. For about 2 years now having problem with the van dying out while driving. Will start back up again. We have changed the alternator, plugs, and various other fixes. But nothing has worked. The problem will stop for a few weeks and start again


Just recently, it started dying out and when I restart, it revs up and down. If I try to start it while it is doing this it will die out. I am scared to drive with my daughter and my grandchildren with me. Last week it couldn't start when I was leaving church. Left it there for a couple days. Went to get it towed to the shop and it started. But it started like the battery was going to die out. Had the battery, alternator, fuel filter and fuel pump checked. Everything fine. Diagnostic showed a code for the idle air control valve. Changed it and now it idles really fast. Can take my foot off the brake and it still goes 45mph.

Can anyone give me a solution?

- , Scott, LA, USA

problem #14

Aug 132013

Windstar 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,642 miles

So after replacing the battery and alternator for some reason the #19 fuse blew out so my dad repalced it, drove around the block and it blew again. Decided to try a lil bigger fuse 20 amp and I made it home, but started it up this morning to go to work and got down the road and the van jsut died. The oil light came on and it died. I tried to restart it but nothing it was silent no clicking no nothing. I am soooooo very tired of this van if Ford was smart they would recall all of these vans and have a bonfire for all of us loyal customers that have to suffer with something they created very unwell. I have no idea what to do now i'm a single mom of 4 and can not afford to take it to a mechanic. Any ideas besides running it off a cliff??????

- , Kalispell, MT, USA

problem #13

Nov 012012

Windstar SEL 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,136 miles


Just bought and started having this problem. The engine stalls while driving, no warning its like you just turn it off. The only way it will restart is to turn key off then it will start right up. I was on the highway and it stalls and kick it in neutral turn key off and restart and only lose 10 mph. The problem is totally random sometimes you drive for 30 minutes without it stalling and then sometimes it will happen 3 times in 5 mins.

Please advise

- , Carmel, IN, US

problem #12

Jan 172012

Windstar SE 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

The problem started last year about May we was driving down the road and it lost power and steering, brakes and everything went. Check engine light came on so took it to get checked and they said it was starter or alternator had both replaced. About a couple weeks later happens again and since it happens quite often. We have it parked because I am a stay at home mom and that is my transportation with my children (i have three under 4 years old) and I do not trust driving the vehicle. I have talked with Ford many times and all they tell me is they can do nothing about until more problems are assessed or something happens. We can't trade in because we owe more than what trade in is and I can't sell because people research vehicles and no one wants one that is getting such "beef about". Ford needs to do a recall on this vehicle as well instead of skipping the 2003 models but it feels good to know that others are complaining of this problem and maybe soon we can get this fixed before someone is killed or hurt because they loose power and cant do anything when everything goes.

- , Coeburn, VA, USA

problem #11

May 012011

Windstar 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

My windstar 2003 dies also, was a little, now a lot. What i have noticed is that the RPM goes go down under 700 when slowing down or making a turn it dies. I have replaced the plenom bolts that was one code, the mass air flow sensor that was the second code and the idle air control motor which was the last code. got good fuel pressure at the rail and I am at a loss right now. Still dieing when coming to stop or turning, put it in neutral and it starts right back up. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- , Brighton, CO, USA

problem #10

May 202011

Windstar SEL 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,145 miles

My van would die while driving then I would turn key off then van would start and run. the alternator was the problem. I took the alternator off and had it tested, it tested good reinstalled still had problem, I took the alternator back and swapped it the problem is fixed.

- , Peoriaheights, IL, USA

problem #9

Apr 022011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 173,000 miles


i cant make it to work ,my son cant make it to his after school activity

- , Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #8

Jul 102010

Windstar LX 3.8 v6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,274 miles

my van would stall at any time and always when I would touch the gas pedal. This would happen 1-4 times a day. I had replaced the alternator with a rebuilt Bosch product and that was causing the problem. It was causing radio frequency interference and was disrupting the electronic system causing a stall. I bought a genuine Ford alternator and the problem went away. 5 months now and no stalls

- , Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

problem #7

Oct 252010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles

The wife was driving the van and it started acting up, instrument lights coming on, door locks flipping, and rough gear shifting. She pulled over after a few minutes and it died. I thought it was the battery and went out to replace it. First thing I did though was try to start it. It fired right up, so now I was thinking the battery was low. I told her to let it idle for 15 minutes and then head home. 20 minutes later she calls me and says it happened again. This time I go back and tow it to the shop. When I leave it there, the interior lights are flashing on and off.. about every 5 seconds. They replace the alternator saying it was only producing 7 volts. Now when I drive it around it just shuts off, as if I've flipped the key. I've noticed that when this happens, the battery, oil, and transmission lights are on. If I put it in park it will turn over but not start. In order for it to start I need to actually turn the key off then back on... fires right up. I'm starting to think it might be the computer.

Update from Nov 20, 2010: I emailed another user with a similar issue. He said they went through 4 alternators, but that finally solved it. I had just replaced mine and did it again, that did the trick. I guess those after market alternators aren't as good as the factory or the car is really sensitive to them for some reason.

- , West Haven, UT, USA

problem #6

Sep 022010

Windstar LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 161,567 miles

really need to find a fix ,this could really be a problem if you can;t pull off road when on a big road,ford needs to fix this before someone gets hurt. my van runs good but once or twice a week it will cut off going done the road,you can be going 30mph. or 80 mph, it still does it at least twice a week. some body is going to get hurt one day with this crazy mess!!!!!! someone knows how to fix it let me know! ford wants me to bring it to them and let them keep until it does it with them , it does not show codes or anything, it cuts off , you pull over stop, put it in park it starts up you go again until it does it again, this is crazy!!!!!!!!!! what do we need to do trade it for a chevy!!!!!!!! or should have bought chevy in the first place!!!!!!!!!!

- , Monroe, NC, USA

problem #5

Aug 072009

Windstar LX 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

It all started on 8/7/2010 we were going to pick up our new pet when the lights started to come on in the instrument pannel. Then the van started to buck so I pulled over and shut the van off tried to restart it and the battery was dead. I checked all of my fuses they were fine.So I called triple a for a tow when they arrived I asked him to jump start it first and it started right up so I thought it was the battery it was seven years old so it was due for a new one. I got the van home bought a new battery put it in everything seemed fine problem solved right. I went to pick up the dog the next day same problem happened again. So I had the alternator checked it was bad. I had it towed home again. The next day I replaced the alternator started the van no lights everything looked good van purred like a kitten. Latter that night I was going to the grocery store drove up the street car bucked then just shut off like the key was turned off. At this moment I was pissed Ithought what now.I drove it back to the house and parked it. Later I went through all the procedures ford says to do when the battery has been disconected then took it back out that would reset the computer right wrong it shut off again five times I drove for ten miles like ford says. They say that should reset it. No chance. I then took it to my fathers to change the fuel filter same thing keeps happening. I thought maybe water in the gas so I put dry gas in it then super unleaded that would solve the problem still did the same thing. I then removed the battery back out at my fathers to check the main fuse pannel again fuses were good. I put the battery back in and when I connected the positive cable It blew our mind when the headlights came on and the car started when the keys were on the seat. I have checked grounds and cleaned them. So the next thing was to disarm the automatic starter that has to be the problem nope van still does the same thing. I could be driving 100 feet and it shuts off or I could be driving for five miles before it shuts. All I have to do is pull over put it in park shut the key off then restart. the van and it starts up everytime.

What is wrong with this truck. I have tried every thing even having it pluged in but with no engine light on no codes come up they say your van is fine ya right. It all started after I changed the alternator twice just to make sure if something was wrong with the first one. I dont have hundreds of dollars or thousands to fix this van. No one seems to have the answer to this problem except ford telling to bring it in and charge out rages prices to diacnoist the problem and say we need to replace this and this and this by the time their done I could of bought a new truck and at 90 dollars a hour it adds up quick so if anyone has the same problem and finds out what it is I would greatly appreciate the solution because on one income and one vehicle its tough to get by at this time.

Ford knows they have a problem but wont suck it up and do the right thing and fix these vans without trying to suck you dry. I had to also replace upper and lower intake manifold gaskets this spring that was 600 dollars plus 90 dollars for a smoke test to find the problem. Please respond if you have anything that could help.

- , Andover, MA, USA

problem #4

Jul 162010

Windstar SEL 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

engine (3.8) dies while driving, shift into "N" , turn key off, then restart while still moving, and it restarts every time...happened four (4) times this past week in three days..only work ever done on this vehicle, the alternator has been replaced twice..

- , Lavonia, GA, USA

problem #3

May 052010

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 116,000 miles

The Windstar just quits like turning off the key. It starts right up again.

- , Cape Coral, FL, USA

problem #2

Apr 152009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

this is dangerous specailly when pulling out into heavy traffic and the engine dies and we are unable to drive on the freeway with the van doing this we have 3 small children

- , Inkster, MI, USA

problem #1

Sep 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

This vehicle dies while driving. It is like someone turned off the key. It always starts back up AFTER you turn the key off and then back on. Looking to see if anyone has any ideas.

- , Kansas City, KS, USA

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