pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
146,036 miles
Total Complaints:
12 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace rear axle and tires as result of axle cracking (5 reports)
  2. replaced, 100% parts and labor (4 reports)
  3. not sure (2 reports)
  4. recall for broken rear axle (1 reports)
2003 Ford Windstar suspension problems

suspension problem

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2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments

problem #12

Jun 212016

Windstar LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 163,000 miles


I contacted Ford and told them my problem, they advised me to call the nearest dealer regarding the cracked axle. I called the service department and they gave me an appointment for 3 weeks, the service person told me that it was just too look at it and take pictures, then he would have to submit the pictures to the corporate office to determine if the issue was related to the recall. This would take over a month and I needed my vehicle for work and to take the kids to school, there is no way I could have waited that long. I took it to a mechanic who replaced the part, this issue was very dangerous. I called Ford corporate and emailed them, and they never returned my calls or replied to my emails. I kept the emails in case I decide to move forward with an attorney. I paid a lot of money for this Van, and though it is from 2003 I have been the only owner. Ford basically washed their hands.

Never again will I buy a Ford.

- , Clifton, NJ, USA

problem #11

Feb 192017

Windstar SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

You know what bothers me most about this is that Ford and the world knew about this problem and it was never really fixed. there was only a band aid put on the problem three times. I thank God that me and my children were not hurt or even killed..While I was pulling out of a parking lot all I could smell is burning rubber then all I heard was a loud bang from the rear of the vehicle and smoke all around.It was very scary for me and my 2 children that were in van.Why does Ford get away with this. they should be held responsible for this but because they are such a big corporation with a lot of money they get a way with it. well I'm done..i will never ever buy any Ford vehicle again.

- , Gloucester, US

problem #10

Jan 252017


  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

You would think that a vehicle sold and produced for Midwestern United States would be able to withstand 150,000 miles of our diverse weather. Why would we buy a vehicle in this region if it could not? Since the Ford Windstar isn't built for these conditions, we might also think that this type of potentially dangerous mistake would be correct. But Instead, my van was given a sub par patch over it's crack and subsequently broke cracked once again.

- , Marquette, MI, USA

problem #9

Jan 312016

Windstar SE Sport 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,342 miles


We purchased this van recently for a good price because the owners acknowledged that it needed some basic maintenance (ie; brakes, fluid changes, exhaust system repairs, etc). I got the vehicle home and started crawling around underneath looking for a spot to jack it up, only to find a HUGE crack in the rear axle staring me in the face! I would have caught this prior to the sale (and probably would have used it to negotiate a lower price) but I didn't do my usual undercarriage inspection because it was raining when we viewed the vehicle.

Because I am not the original owner and have not used this vehicle to transport my family, I do not have a direct complaint at being exposed to this risk. What I would like to emphasize instead is the CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE the manufacturer has shown in 3 separate ways, firstly by making a bad design decision that was not caught by multiple levels of engineering and quality control (which means several people in positions of authority in Ford's engineering department DIDN'T DO THEIR JOB), secondly by offering a band-aid solution for this issue (the brackets) when the only real solution is a design change and full replacement, and thirdly by treating this problem without the care & attention it deserves, downplaying and understating the problem and its consequences in several TSB and Safety Recall documents & communications to consumers.

Because I perform my own maintenance on my vehicles, I was able to recognize the risk (although admittedly a little late). I am the exception, not the rule. Most consumers will not do an inspection underneath the vehicle prior to purchasing it, or if they do, they may or may not know what to look for. This means they must put their faith in the manufacturer and trust that they have designed a vehicle that is safe to use. Ford has not done this. Instead, there are likely tens of thousands of these vehicles floating around the North American used car market with what amounts to a ticking time bomb underneath the back of the car. Ford has KNOWINGLY exposed a large number of innocent people to a huge risk, with potential for serious bodily harm or even death. In my opinion, that is criminally negligent and Ford should be held liable for their actions.

- , Kitimat, BC, Canada

problem #8

Oct 062016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,274 miles

Purchased 2003 Ford Windstar in Feb of 2016. Certified and e-tested. Received a recall notice in beginning of Oct 2016 dated Sept 2016 for a Rear Axle Inspection. Made arrangement with the local dealership to have the recall done. They informed us that the recall had already been completed by brackets being placed on the rear axle, however there was cracks on either side of the brackets causing a structure fracture. Ford said they would replace the rear axle at a cost of $300.00 (which we don't have).

Contacted Ford to find out why there was a cost and they inform me that there was another recall to replace the damaged axle at a cost...I asked for them to send me that recall notice so I could look after the issue. They never sent it to me. I have never received it. Made arrangement with the dealer to get the issue fixed, but was informed that there was an expiry date of Oct 31/2016 for the work to be done....NOT one mention of an expiry date was stated. Dealership was also unaware of the expiry date. Now Ford is not going to cover the cost of replacement......Had we known there was an expiry date it would have been done before the deadline. We were waiting for the information of the second recall notice to proceed which never came. Now its going to cost $1500 plus to get this fixed.

This issue with Ford Windstars have had 3 recalls for the same issue...Why did Ford just put a "band aid" on the problem instead of fixing it. The recall notice was good for one year, so we should have until Sept 2017 before it expires.

- , Lindsay, ON, Canada

problem #7

Aug 022016

Windstar LX 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

I had my front end alignment checked and the mechanic discovered the rear axle was cracked. Took it to SM Ford dealerhip in Shawnee and have been giving the runner around for a week. Sidebar to the rear axle: I found a note from a previous owner describing his troubles on my windshield with his Windstar and was giving the run around. they described the same problem I am having with Ford. I have 5 kids and very hesitate to have the kids in the car. The mechanic at Ford told me he has seen worst so drive it safely. Real nice huh. My axle is not being recalled because I am not in salt state. The ridiculous part is, I did some research and Kansas is a salt state (Missouri is considered a recall state and I live minutes from the border). Ford do the right thing, the product and material has failed, man up and do the right thing for the safety of my kids and myself. Last quarter, you made billions, all I am asking is to the right thing and fix your faulty pieces and equipment.

- , Shawnee, KS, USA

problem #6

Mar 282016

Windstar SE 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,000 miles


This was 2nd or 3rd recall for this defect. Ford initially approached problem of rear axle corrosion by installing reinforcing U-Brackets @ 2010. Ford again sent recall notice in Jan 2016 saying they needed to inspect site of repair. After bringing car to dealer we were told the axle was "broken" and needed to be replaced. Also told the replacement required a $300 (discounted) charge to us. Question- why should we have to pay anything?

Ford's official position was if original recall repair brackets were installed incorrectly, possibly causing axle to break, they would replace axle free of charge. If brackets were installed correctly Ford would replace axle (which they highly recommended) for a $300 charge. But they said my axle had to be replaced since it was "broken" (but no word if this was due to faulty installation go brackets) and charged us the $300.

If the axle broke and we have no choice but to replace it then their "band-aid" bracket repair was ineffective, regardless if they were installed right or not, As such the original fix should have been to replace that axle to begin with, at no charge to the owner. Ford should reimburse us the $300 the dealer charged.

- , Hastings On Hudson, NY, USA

problem #5

Sep 032015

Windstar Limited 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,857 miles

click to see larger images

rear axle/control arm cracked at point fixed under recall

I bought the van recently and find the big crack at the rear axle. I did my investigation on web and found that the same year Windstar has the same issue. I called the recall to find about the recall if my van can also comes in the the area but was informed the there is no recall on my Windstar as its Vin doesn't pop ups any recall.

I have attached the recall info underneath.

2003 manufactured Windstar rear axle fracture report on October 21, 2010, Ford agreed on November 30, 2010, to extend the recall to all

2003 Windstars and to include Utah as a covered state.

- , Edmonton, AB, Canada

problem #4

Jun 022015

Windstar Sport 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 189,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear axle/control arm cracked at point fixed under recall rear axle/control arm cracked at point fixed under recall rear axle/control arm cracked at point fixed under recall rear axle/control arm cracked at point fixed under recall

On 4/2013 we had repairs done to the van under the recall for the rear axle. on 6/2/2015. They places brackets on the axle. When I saw what they'd done I laughed at the repair thinking I don't know how this is going to prevent rust or breakage because of the fact that nothing was welded. The bracket is a 2 piece clamp like fixture that doesn't fully go around the axle, instead it just curls just over an inch around the bottom of the half round axle ...

I think due to the fact that an epoxy of some sort was smeared around the edges and filled into holes there was also a spray foam used but not currently still attached .. my first reaction was that this spray foam is porous and a really bad idea for being used with metal because essentially its a sponge, as seen in the pictures this was a very ineffective repair job and the axle. The bracket retained moisture and cause the axle to corrode even faster than if left alone.

Currently the Ford dealer has the vehicle, and we are waiting for word back from Ford what their decision will be about replacing the axle all together or telling us they can repair it on our dollar..

Update from Jun 8, 2015: ford agreed to replace the axle 100% free of charge to us.. however "the recall for that item/vehicle is over" so we really lucked out there.. but for 9 days ( on day 6) , we did our part and got the recall done, why did we have to wait 5 days for a response? why wont ford flip the bill for the rental

id just like ford to cover the cost of a rental car, in total we'd have been with out a vehicle for 9 days and ford agreed to cover the axle in full, that is acknowledgment of faulty craftsmanship .. and they should cover the 5 days we'd be renting a vehicle..not to mention the public transportation for 4 days waiting for an approval for the repair/ full replacement of the axle

- , Lancaster, PA, USA

problem #3

May 042015

Windstar ES

  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

I learned of a front axle recall on my '03 Ford Windstar. When I contacted the dealership to have work done, they informed me of a rear axle recall as well, so in the process of having the front repaired they also "repaired" the back by adding brackets. However, today on my way to work (luckily traveling at 25 mph vs. 70 mph on the interstate last night) the rear axle broke in half midway between where the brackets were attached.

The dealership told me the recall period had closed so I would be responsible for repair costs. I called Ford and 45 minutes and 2 representatives later, I was informed that Ford backs their recall work 100%. I was given a couple of ID numbers to pass along to my local dealership so they could authorize a rental car and do the repairs at no cost to me.

The dealership tells me several others before me have done the same thing, but in the end, they were not reimbursed for any work because the recall period had closed. I am now waiting to hear from a regional customer service operations manager to authorize or deny this work which has caused me great strife, although hasn't (by the grace of God) caused any bodily injury. How can a company get away with such practices?

- , Beloit, WI, USA

problem #2

Apr 112015

Windstar LX 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,955 miles

click to see larger images

rear axle/control arm cracked at point fixed under recall rear axle/control arm cracked at point fixed under recall rear axle/control arm cracked at point fixed under recall

It felt like we hit a pot hole, but then this rubbingscraping sound started. We pulled into a nearby parking lot and I saw the tire was tilted in. Looking underneath, I could see the axle was broken under some sort of bracket. When I Googled how to fix it, I saw that there was a Ford recall for 2003 Windstar axles breaking. When I called the Ford dealer where this van has always been serviced the representative said that it already had the recall repair brackets put on. "There is no guarantee on the repair kit. It is only designed to help the axle 'break safely'!" :o Now I am looking for a used "Recalled" axle still in good condition - What's the chance of that! Ford will fix it for over $1,000 which I don't have.

IF you have a 1997-2003 Ford Windstar don't trust the Recall Repair Kit. Keep inspecting that rear axle!

- , New Brighton, PA, US

problem #1

Nov 112014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 165,000 miles

While driving doing routine errands, I noticed smoke in rear view mirror and then heard a popping sound and van then became unmanageable. I pulled over and saw that the rear driver's side axle was cracked and on the ground. The crack was inside of the brackets Ford put on in 2011 due to recall. Now three years later Ford is telling me sorry for your luck, but it's not our problem. However, we will fix your front axle as there is a recall on that as well. Yeah, so in three years it can break where you fixed it? Hmmm, and then tell me oh, by the way that will be $1400.

This Company does not stand behind their vehicles or work apparently and does care for their customers beyond selling you a piece of car!

- , Gary, IN, USA

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