pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
97,614 miles
Total Complaints:
9 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (6 reports)
  2. replace transmission (2 reports)
  3. fluid found in tranny that does not belong (1 reports)
2003 Ford Windstar transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments

problem #9

Feb 112015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


Four years ago, on a very busy highway at speeds of 70+ mph vehicles the transmission went out on my Windstar. (65,000 miles). After being towed and repaired, the price tag was about $4ooo+. After replacement ,the entire van would wobble while in park(the drink in my cup resembled that of Jurassic Park when the dinosaur was approaching and vibrations were seen in the drink) and then sometimes it would idle normally. After multiple returns, checks and an entirely new tranny being put in again...it still did the vibrating("sorry ma'm we have NO IDEA why it is doing that, good luck"). Soon afterwards, we took it to Ford and after hundreds more dollars spent to tune up the van and "fix" the shaking, discussing the transmission issues, it remained. SO, NOW...at speeds of 35-40 and 50-60... the van shutters and shakes and feels like it is going to either explode or die. I have been driving under 40mph for the past 3 days in fear of the whole tranny dying and leaving me sit once again. Ford has always (regardless which dealership locale) refused to take responsibility for this transmission issue. We have been treated rudely and lied to repeatedly. In addition, shortly after buying it (off the lot, slightly used 23,000miles) the rear air/heat went out. It has never been able to be fixed. After about 4 times to the garage and being told "it is fixed" and driving away and having it not work, I gave up. Next the interior lights started blinking like a disco. The sliding door(left) rarely closes on its own and the check tires and ABS lights stay on for periods of time and then go off. It is like a poltergeist has invaded my van. I said it 4 years ago and I will say it one last time. I WILL NEVER BUY A FORD AGAIN. Disgusting that a company would sit back and do this to its customers over and over and over again.

- , Camp Hill, PA, USA

problem #8

Feb 012010

Windstar v6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Purchased new and had issues with transmission after 20K miles. Transmission would go in and out of overdrive while you were driving. The engine indicator lights did not consistently show a problem. After several repairs attempts, Ford was able to correct that issue but at 40K miles I noticed vibration/noise from the front passenger tire. Thought possible tire / bearing issue but found problem is in transmission. Over next 1.5yrs the noise and vibration became excessive and we only drive it on back roads < 40mph. The van was maintained above Ford specifications and kept in a heated garage throughout the winter months. Ford has a design issue with the Windstar van transmission and needs to be responsible for repairs. No one wants it and resale is in the toilet. Now what?

- , Pendleton, NY, USA

problem #7

Oct 152010

Windstar 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,000 miles

i only had the car for a year, I'm still paying on it, i had problems in the beginning when i brought i, but i thought the problem was fixed by the ford dealership, gears are mess up and transmission is going to go out any day now, i don't have other transportation for me and my five kids, please help is this transmission defective or did i buy a lemon

- , Lakeland, FL, USA

problem #6

Jul 242010

Windstar SE 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles


I bought this Ford Windstar in 2006 at a Used Car Dealer who was very reputable. Mileage was about 55,000. Never had any problems besides minor electrical problems like left passenger sliding door would not close automatically and I would have to push it to close it. I was lucky enough to do several long trips and state to state moves with this car. Maintained well through the years.

Just then without any warning or indicator lights, I start hearing shuttering/ratchety loud noises coming from under front of car as I start accelerating. Thought it was my front left tire or something caught in there.

Took it to a tire/car shop and they looked at it and said it wasn't my tire at all it was my tranny. Particularly the right side trans-axle had quite a bit of play while the left side was pretty tight. Asked the mechanic what could cause this since I have had no warning indications on the dash. He said this is common on Ford trannys, the fluid starts to break down and gears start overheating which weakens them. The mechanic said to replace the trans-axle is to replace the whole entire transmission and that's about 2-3000 dollars to do the job. The shuttering noises is from the transmission probably due to bits and pieces of gears breaking apart.

Mechanic told me if it happened to him, he would just scrap the van and replace it and that's exactly what I'm going to do. Never going to buy Ford ever ever again.

- , Surrey, BC, Canada

problem #5

Jul 132010

Windstar LE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

Posting complaint like everyone else. Transmission went out @ 84,000 miles. Rebuilt was totally out of price range from Ford Dealer $4,000 +. Looked around found used transmission installed $2200 now it just did it again.

- , Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #4

Apr 212010

Windstar 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,526 miles

Had factory rebuilt tranny put in in Jan, 2010. It is now April 2010, car shuttering. I had put 5000 Km. since new tranny so took it in for oil change and had them test drive the vehicle. Mechanic said tranny needed new torque converter{under warranty}. When they got into it he found fluid that didn't belong. They are now putting in a new radiator. I wonder if that will solve the problem.

- , Stayner, Ontario, Canada

problem #3

Feb 032010

Windstar SE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles


My parents purchased this van March 2006 with 36000 miles. My mother passed away August 2006 and my dad could no longer afford to keep this van, so the good daughter I am, bought it from him. I have had off and on problems with a couple of things, but this is the worst.

I was taking my best friend to her chemo treatment and she asked "What is that?". I said I was not sure, so the next day I took it to a transmission shop and they told me my transmission was bad I a need to replace it. It "Shutters while accelerating" and "This is the worst thing a transmission can do" WTH???? I only have 89,000 miles???? Needless to say, I don't have the money to fix this and the mechanic said "Ford is bad about the transmission going bad". Well, if there are this many complaints, why does Ford do something about it??? I called the local Ford dealership and was pretty muched laughed at over the phone. They were very rude. My father has always bought Fords, but I will NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD IN MY LIFE!!!!! I would rather buy a Toyota even with all the the problems they have had. Atleast they owned up and started fixing them!!!!!!


- , Greenville, SC, USA

problem #2

Jul 102009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

My husband has noticed that my transmission is not shifting as it should. When you go in reverse it is really bad sometimes. If you stop and have your foot on the brake too long then when you take off it shifts really hard. My husband just took a giant pay cut to save his job so getting the dam thing fixed may be a real problem. I guess after paying for it for the last 4 years my only option is to let the bank have it back. I can not afford to get another car but I can not afford to fix it either. I really hate this. Just to let you all know it is not just Ford. Every van my family and friends and I have owned has had transmission problems. I guess they just need to figure out why transmissions are not built for vans.

- , Philo, OH, USA

problem #1

Mar 032008

Windstar Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Very disappointed and dissatisfied with the performance of this vehicle. I've invested over $2000 in less than 6 months in repair parts and services. I just took the vehicle back to the Ford dealer since it was "fluttering" while reaching speeds of 34-40 and 60-65mph. The service department just informed me I would have to spend another $2000+ for a torque converter. Any sound advise since I can not afford to go "JAPANESE"?

- , Monroe, NY, USA

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