really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
101,192 miles
Total Complaints:
19 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace torque converter (13 reports)
  2. not sure (4 reports)
  3. replaced torque converter and shaft assy (2 reports)
2003 Ford Windstar transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments

problem #19

Apr 102014

Windstar 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,172 miles


car was running fine-when I had it. sold it to my niece next thing she called me said the tranny went out??? I told her that was funny it was slipping or nothing?:? I wouldn't have sold it to her if it was in first place, she has seven kids. so I told her I would help fix it but after reading this site sounds like torque converter? I am never going to buy ford again either. I know my last ford windstar they had recall on something cant remember, but funny you think FORD is a brand name auto dealership. Why they have such problems on vans for families that buy these because they are vans they need room for families. they should make sure they are reliable since they charge so much . I paid 10,000 for mine. sold it for 3500. then all this happens.

- , Auburn, WA, USA

problem #18

Apr 172014

Windstar Windstar/Van V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

On a 6 hr trip from N. Louisiana to S Louisiana, Morgan City, I pushed the CST button to slow for speed limit change in Opelousas, LA on I-49 (limit changed 75mph to 70mph) entering city limits. When I pushed the button it not only slowed down but kept slowing until I was, dangerously, able to get the van onto the emergency lane. I had coasted down to 40mph with traffic behind me trying to keep from ramming from behind. I cut the van off, then back on, put in Drive. The sound was as if in Neutral, revving engine. I tried 1st gear, 2nd gear, Drive, again, and Reverse. In each gear I got the same response.

I was 200 mi from home, in a strange town, handicapped, and 65 yrs old. Called husband, called 911, who sent an officer to me and called wrecking service to tow me to Sterling Ford in Opelousas, LA. I'd been on the road sine 4 a.m. and surely didn't need this happening away from home!

Ford service said it could be likely the transmission torque converter (best scenario, he said), the next was to pull the transmission to check the pump. Could not diagnose until at least the next day or the following week! Then they would have to order parts which could take several days to arrive and they were two mos. behind due to being short handed. He couldn't put my van ahead of the other 20+ which had been scheduled. Guess where that has left mine??

I paid for a rental car to get me to Morgan City, picking my son up who came in off-shore work, turned around and drove back to Ford place in Opelousas. No luck. Returned rental and had them take us to a motel to rest a few hours while a friend drove from Arcadia, L:A, ,picked us up, drove us to his house, an almost 4 hr round trip, where my husband had driven an hour to pick me up and then an hour to our home in Farmerville, LA (northern LA).

My husband spoke to Sterling Ford 4 times since break down on highway, and Prues Ford in our hometown, Farmerville, LA regarding the problem and how the van responded, rather, didn't respond. Both places told him it possibly could be the torque transmission converter, or worse.

I got to ride in a tow truck I could hardly climb, ride Indian style sitting on an oily middle metal hump behind the front seats; there was no back 'seat.' It was an experience I don't wish to repeat. A younger person may call it an adventure ride. I'm not 'younger.'

Through all the expenses encountered using a credit card and all my cash for the wrecker, my van remains 200 miles from our home, and, have no idea when it will be drivable. My husband and I will have to drive down to pick it up, pay more expenses plus the Ford place. We were told by our hometown Ford place that there had been a recall on the torque transition converter. We haven't been told anything from Sterling Ford. Just that they will get to is when they can. ??? Oh, this van only has 69,000 miles on it.

- , Farmerville, LA, US

problem #17

Apr 272012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I am handicapped and on a walker. This van stopped in the middle of the road and would not go forward or backward. It was 7 p.m. on a Friday night and the business that I bought it from was already closed. Their gate was locked and so I had to pay to have a tow truck to come get me with a flat bed because there was no way I could climb into the big truck. This van was purchased for my convenience and with my health situation and it being 7 p.m. no one bothered to stop and ask if I needed help or anything. I consider myself lucky that no one wanted to rob me and kill me or whatever else.

I ended up paying 2 tow bills because It was towed to my house on Friday night and then they had to be called again to tow it to the dealer on Monday morning. I was without my van for almost 2 weeks and there are doctors appointments, etc and I had to get other transportation for those. A very big inconvenience for me. They say there is NO RECALL however, I think there should be because a lot of these torque converters are going out on these Vans.... Any help would be appreciated since I am on a fixed income with no savings because Doctors bill have taken it all....,. Ann Joyner, Rocky Mount, N.C. 27801

- , Rocky Mount, NC, USA

problem #16

Oct 262012

Windstar 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,644 miles


Driving down the hwy 401 at a 120km/h during a Friday morning rush in the middle lane when all of a sudden I had no power to the transmission the RPM's would just rev up, I had to coast the van through the heavy traffic to the shoulder of the highway. It was a very scary experience. With the amount of complaints on here Ford really should Man-Up and recall and destroy these damn vans. They are not worth fixing. It was the worst mistake ever to have bought this hunk of crap ass metal. We didn't even bother bring it to a mechanic, we knew what the problem is and are just going to scrap yard it.

- , Oshawa, Ontario, canada

problem #15

Jul 232012

Windstar SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,745 miles

wife was driving and the van just stopped rolling in middle of road, very dangerous.

- , Allen Park, MI, US

problem #14

May 102012

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Trans quit at stop sign, no gears, no warning. no codes or warning. called a local shop and they said it was the torque converter and that they change 4-5 a month on Windstars. All other shops I called tried to tell me it was the transmission and that I needed a new one. Before you pay for a new transmission, check around and call a good shop. I saved $1300.00 by finding a good shop.(Ford wanted $4000.00) Torque conveter change was $550.00

- , Biloxi, MS, USA

problem #13

Jan 072012

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 164,042 miles


the splines in converter strips..turns out its a common problem..but ford has no recall..but i get told by mechanic from ford that next month there will be a T.S.B on this problem..not mad.. love ford products but was a pain in the ass thoe..

- , Utterson, Ontario, Canada

problem #12

May 042009

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,321 miles

Paid cash in full for this repair. now as of 1/12/2012 understand this repair is now a recall for model year 2004 and up. Would like to know why the 2004 cut off! Same problem, same lousy transmission should be covered in recall. More than likely this will be my last FORD product. As they say -- FORD = Found on road dead. This problem could very well result in a fatal accident. It happened when I slowed for a curve and started to apply throttle. No sound (grinding, rattle, squeal etc. just died. Was able to coast to the side of the road. A nerve wracking feeling.

- , Lewiston, ME, USA

problem #11

Aug 222011

Windstar Limited 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 105,633 miles

I bought a 2003 ford Windstar what a piece of junk. Recall after Recall now no tansmisson.With all the other recalls you would think they would fix this too.It costs so much to run a vehicle these days its to bad they don't last or perform like the older models meaning before the computer age.I sure wish I knew what to do I can't even get a decent dollar for a trade in let alone try to sell it myself.

- , Watford, Ontario, canada

problem #10

Nov 042011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My 2003 Ford Windstar has been a fairly good vehicle. It has over 100,000 miles on it. It is in the shop to have the torque converter replaced after it failed me. I was fortunate to not be on the highway or to be too far from home when it went out. When it malfunctioned all I could do was coast to a stop. I was able to pull into a parking lot and come to a stop. I had to have the van towed ($55.00) because it would not go in any gear. It is going to cost about $800.00 to have it repaired. The labor is $70.00 an hour, and will take about 8 hours to take the transmission out to replace the torque converter; which, is about $130.00 for the part. 8 hours of labor is what is so expensive. There goes Christmas for me and my husband.

- , Concord, NC, USA

problem #9

May 292011

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles


The title is dated 09/08/2008,add about 30 days to that and you have time it worked as a work(wife)/trip vehicle. Now a driveway ornament. Yes, the dreaded driving one moment, coasting the next.

I really didn't need much help coming to conclusion that the converter was not working ,one or two checks of fluid level and it was same as engine not...running (well above full line). I've never had to give up on any of my cars before this will be a first.Cost vrs benifit is the deciding factor with this van.

The many nagging problems i have read here (heater,windows) adding front wheel bearing: no brainer.Even after new struts/shocks,rotors,tires,aline last sept,could persuade me to bring it back to life with the track record windstars have. this is the second one (98) at least the first died in a crash @150k. With the access to info we have to day these fords should be put ahead of the poor yugo. As i look back I new better just put too much faith in my skill to find bad cars mixed in with good ones. A final note i bought 97 corolla in 07 152k,now 217k some ware out work exh/brakes one rear strut. Air still works. IF i ever want a von again......

- , Mechanicsville, IA, USA

problem #8

Aug 012011

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,083 miles

As with all other owners, I stopped at a red light just arriving to Acapulco, then, at the moment of accelerating it looks like the transmission shifted to neutral. I tried to shift to 1st, 2nd, R, and nothing happens. This sh*t ford transmission made our vacations a misery, also have to spend all the money for this vacations in a repair that should not happen. Ford is laughing at us once again. I'll never buy another ford in my life.

- , Mexico, Distrito Federal, Mexico

problem #7

May 182011

Windstar LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

While driving home with my son in my 2003 Ford Windstar, the van's driving power just stopped. I stepped on the acceleration pedal and the engine just REVVED as the car just started to roll to a stop. I was driving as I normally would down this particular street and the van just lost acceleration.WITHOUT ANY WARNING the transmission went. I was lucky that I was only on a very local road by my house and was able to pull the van over to the curb on a rolling stop. I checked the tranny fluid and it was fine. The van would not reverse, drive, d1 or d2 - nothing but an engine revving. I am only thankful that this happened only a few blocks from my house and not on a road trip some where.

When I talked to the transmission guy he said "yeah, that's about right" after I told him that I had 86,000 miles on my 2003 Ford Windstar and that it just stopped. He then told me that the torque converter goes around my milage (68,000-90,000). He also told me that it's going to be about $2200 to have it rebuilt.

So to all of you fellow 2003 Ford Windstar owners - beware - your van could just stop without warning some where on the road too. If it does happen to you, I hope that it happens close to your home like mine did.

- , Levittown, NY, USA

problem #6

Dec 232009

Windstar Sport 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles

Well to start I bought a 2003 ford windstar in 2009 with appro.90,000 miles terrible mistake.The first thing was electrical problems every warning light it had would come off and on anytime. One morning I came to back it out of the garage it started but would not move they told me it was torque converter appro. 1200 to get that fixed. Then it was new alternator and batt. now the transmission went out again. over 2000 to get that rebuilt.I am in this piece of crap for so much money I dont know what to do but drive it.The problems just keep going.I have always drove American now im thinking Honda or Toyota

- , Leon, IA, USA

problem #5

Sep 272010


  • 130,000 miles

We got into the van one morning and it started but wouldn't go anywhere. The night before we had used the car and there was nothing wrong with it. Why would it stop working all of a sudden, when it's parked and not break down while driving? Anyway, I'm not too happy about it being I have an old Mecury Villager that has given me less problems, that are also less expensive.

- , Harrison, MI, USA

problem #4

May 202007

Windstar LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,000 miles

Our torgue converter went on our 2003 ford windstar at 44,000 miles. A Total joke IT COST 1800.00 AS THE WARRANTY WAS OUT.I WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER vehicle without THEM GIVING ME AT LEAST 5YR WARRANTY.No body wanted to hear about this problem in 2007 but 1800.00 was not easy on us.

- , Elyria, OH, US

problem #3

Jul 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

The torque converter leading to the loss of transmission is only the beginning of problems with this 2003 windstar. Without warning, no engine light, I rolled to a miraculously safe stop in the middle of the road on a busy street. I was on my way to the airport for a business trip. Needless to say, I missed my flight as I dealt with calling for help, towing, shock from the cost of repairs, and dealing with booking another flight. The many other complaints with this van are: flashing, blinking interior lights and sounds when I brake, a moaning steering column, and now the oxygen sensor needs replacing. The car stutters and lurches and sometimes dies when at stoplights unless it is in Neutral. Why do I still have it? after reading all the complaints, looking at the blue book value, WHO WOULD EVER BUY THIS VAN from me? NO FORDS EVER AGAIN!

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #2

Mar 122008

Windstar LX 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles

2003 Ford Windstar torture. 18 month ago van start up great, but no transmission shifts were working. Check tranny oil dip stick and oil level was much higher then normal. Took van to repair and transmissions torque converter failure was confirmed. $650.00 in repairs which included a refurbished torque converter. with out the tow truck cost. 18 months later + ( yesterday ). Transmission torque failure AGAIN. friends say this is an old problem with these vehicles.

WHY hasn't a RECALL been announced? Will have a new original OEM torque converter installed. Hopefully it will last a least 4 or 5 years but I am sure the repair cost will be over $900.00.

- , San Juan, PR, Puerto Rico

problem #1

May 152009

Windstar LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Me, and my wife went to the city Library to use the computer. When done, we went out to our van, started it, and put it in reverse. Nothing! Put it in Over drive, Nothing! We called my younger brother out to see if he could do something. A couple hours, he finally gave up.

We had to have the van bobsledded to my mothers home, where we were stranded until my brother found a mechanic that knew about this problem. A couple days later, we had the van towed to the mechanics garage where he fixed it with only a new torque converter.

You know something? I do believe that the Ford motor company should seek out these so called mechanics that want to tell us that out trans mission is blown, and it is going to cost $2500.00 to get it fixed!

Come on everyone. We own Windstars for a reason, let us get educated about our nice vans, and force these mechanics to get educated.

- , Orange City, FL, USA

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