really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
102,174 miles
Total Complaints:
166 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (53 reports)
  2. replace or rebuild (51 reports)
  3. put in another tranny (39 reports)
  4. rebuild transmission (14 reports)
  5. replaced torque converter (5 reports)
  6. need the torque convertor replaced (1 reports)
2003 Ford Windstar transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Ford Windstar Owner Comments (Page 5 of 9)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #86

Dec 192010

Windstar SEL 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles



- , Carbondale,ill., IL, USA

problem #85

Dec 072010

Windstar Sport 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,156 miles

Just got off the phone with Ford and they will not do anything, I was informed they improved their transmissions in 2008. They won't fix this one with 78k but they will sell me a new one and guarantee it to 100000 miles?

Update from Dec 18, 2010: I got the transmission fixed at Bill's transmission in Rochester NH. He mentioned that he had done several recently and was up on the transmission issue. Evidentaly the Torque convertor is made of cast aluminum and strips out. He put a rebuilt one in and did a transmission service for 1050.00 and the truck runs like new. Ford motor corp would not offer any help and quoted $3200.00 to install a rebuilt transmission, very disapointed with Ford. I also noticed the news has recently highlighted the axel issue due to a fatality. Don't wait to have it chrcked out, it could cost you dearly.

Update from May 19, 2011: fixd at local auto shop for $1000.00

- , Somersworth, NH, USA

problem #84

Dec 022010

Windstar Limited 3.8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

We had the transmission repaired under an extended warranty a couple of years ago, it was shifting really hard as in BANG when it shifted into over drive. The repair work kind of settled it down until last week. I fired up the vehicle and it wouldn't move, eventually it tried but it would grab then release, we weren't going anywhere. With all of these complaints registered, one would think that FORD would come clean with their poor reports and look after their customers. To be sure I will certainly question if I would ever buy another Ford.

- , Arborfield, SK, Canada

problem #83

Nov 282010

Windstar 2.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


I was driving along on a very busy thoroughfare, going approx. forty mph, and all of a sudden, i just happened to be looking at the dashboard and in particular the tachometer when it suddenly went from 1500 to zero and the forward progress halted. remember that this occurred in or on a very busy road. there was nothing, no forward, no reverse, and most irritating, there was absolutely no warning. the transmission just quit working. the very first thing i did was to check the transmission fluid. praying that maybe, just maybe, the problem could be resolved by adding some transmission fluid. when i pulled out the transmission dip stick. wiped it off and re entered it and pulled it out again. the fluid level was right where it should have been. now i am really pissed off. i don't know what else to check or do. got back into the vehicle ran the shifter bar through the sequence from "p" right through to "d-2" NOTHING !!! did this a couple of times hoping that what ever had happened would correct itself. ha, what a frigging joke. called triple "a" had vehicle towed to repair shop. i explained exactly what had occurred to the head mechanic. he replied, "yeah, ford windstars are noted for this type of bullshit. usually what happens is that the pump burns out, the "shaft" doesn't get lubricated and it breaks, causing the transmission to stop working. this is an on going problem with them." he got in the van & started it up and judging by the "whining sound" it made , he said "yep just as i thought. you are going to need a transmission." words i did not want to hear. he had his employee look-up what it was going to cost me& the estimate was $1,400.00. and that is exactly what it cost. imagine that ??? not a penny more. not a penny less. i want ford to help me pay for this.. after all, from all that i have read , ford is well aware that this is a recurring problem and should be addressed by a "recall" and have these trannys checked, so that someone doesn't get killed.

- , Ogdensburg, NY, Western Sahara

problem #82

Nov 122010

Windstar 3.8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

I was driving home after a long day, no warning turned corner and suddenly no forward motion! Had replaced water pump two weeks prior to the tune of $800, also took car for a recall inspection approx 9 days prior, engine light was on and dealership ran diagnostic, apparent leaky vacuum hose repaired at $238. During check transmission noted to be OK! Totally fed up! don't know what to do now!

- , Pittsford, NY, USA

problem #81

Oct 022010

Windstar Sport 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,351 miles

What a feakin JOKE!!! Never again do I buy a POS called a FORD!!! Them USELESS bastards who put in a poorly designed tranny that just decides to give up without any warnings!!!! Just like all other complaints on this board....I was on my way home and like someone through my car in to neutral and that was it....no warning and all point to a tranny failure and called around to get quotes for a rebuild and costs are around $2500 - $3200!!! And to boot, USLESS ford paint jobs turn into rust spots in under 7 years... another reason why not to buy a POS of a FORD!!!

- , Canada, ON, Canada

problem #80

Mar 062010

Windstar Sport 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,419 miles


we have a friend repairing problem shouldn't cost more than $500.00 ..oil pump shaft that goes into torque con.[ splines all shear].we will take shaft to a ford dealer to see if it was normal wear and tear or manufactureing defect....

- , Emerson, MB, Canada

problem #79

Oct 022010

Windstar SEL 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,588 miles

My wife drove the Windstar home Friday. Saturday evening it would not go into gear. Nothing. No warning.

- , Denton, NC, USA

problem #78

Sep 242010

Windstar SE 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,403 miles

Spouse was entering Freeway, onto an on-ramp, and the vehicle's engine revered really high, and slipped out of gear and coasted to a stop. It's not the Torque Converter, may be the Pump itself. Just a night mare to get towed to a garage to be looked at. Now sitting in garage..

- , Oak Harbor, WA, USA

problem #77

Aug 272010

Windstar Sport 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,963 miles

this kind of transmission failure could have costed a life, if you had been passing another vehicle or having to get across a busy intersection, you would not have made it across in time and would have been a statistic. I think Ford should have to be made liable for this type of life and death situation. i well never purchase another ford van again.

- , Tilley, Alberta, Canada

problem #76

Sep 032010

Windstar Limited 6 cyl.3.8L 232 Fi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles


I was driving on the highway with my 4 year old when the car stop moving. Luckily I was close to a side. It was raining and I had to have a tow truck pick my son and me up.

The repair shop told me that the transmission is out and that I need a new one. My van is a 2003 and it only has 56,000 miles on it. I am very upset. I will never buy a ford again!!!!!!!

- , Cincinnati, OH, US

problem #75

Jul 032010


  • 128,000 miles

When is enough ,ENOUGH. I am sure by now that Ford knows of all the deffective transmissions in the Windstars, and they still have not recalled any of them. I think it is a national problem now, and I am ready to fight to have this problem taken care of.

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #74

Aug 132010

Windstar ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,200 miles

Have Windstar that just won't go, starts up but won't go into gear. It stopped in traffic at an intersection, had to be pushed into a safer lane, lucky there was limited traffic!! Got towed to daughter's house. Haven't taken it in, hate to see what it is and how much it will be. Still paying on the damn thing. There was no indication that the tranny would go out. I had a tranny go out before on a dodge and this one didn't even have a sign that there was something wrong. The only problem before had to do with the pulley thingy,(belt) had that fixed.

I can't believe all the complaints on this tranny. I wrote to my senators but I doubt that will do anything. Ford should give us a discount if they won't do a recall on these trannys. The must know these are f888ed up trannys!!! Anybody have any idea how much the cost would be or if we could put another tranny from a different year for this?? Would that be compatiable?? I really hate to put another 2003 in it if thats all they do is break down after a while. DON"T GET A FORD WINDSTAR!!!!!

- , Deer River, MN, USA

problem #73

Aug 272010

Windstar SEL 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles

Purchased this piece of junk 1 year ago, local private sale. I got a good buy, I thought, due to price..However, little did I know this van was a mess of different problems every week! Yesterday, I was taking my dogs to the groomer and the transmission quit working on the Highway..just had second gear. I was close enough to home to ride in second gear..but I was told the trannie is "cooked"..I never owned a Ford..and I never will again..I am trying to buy American every time I make a purchase, but people like Ford make it difficult..A total waste of money, because I am not spending almost 3,000 to fix it. I paid 5,000. Now I know why it was such a good buy..the man couldn't get rid of it fast enough. The body and interior are excellent..it looks good sitting in my driveway that is..

- , Carolina, RI, USA

problem #72

May 192010

Windstar Limited 3.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,467 miles

same as every one else while driveing on hwy transmission went out and i had to have it towed 10 miles to a shop and the new one make a humming noise

- , Madison, WIsconson, USA

problem #71

Jun 162009

Windstar SEL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,419 miles

well well well I get to bitch about my van.YES!!!!! Well I purchased this van in 2005 from a dealer in Thunder Bay. The first year with the van was alright other then one of my sliding auto doors just opened and closed whenever it felt like it.(NOT UNDER WARRANTY). And then in the second year, more things slowly progressed wrong but the biggie was the tranny. I get up to go to work one morn and I cannot move out of my driveway, to find out it was a done Transmission. Ok so that (second) one was on warranty for 3 months. well on the 4th month , My second Tranny starts acting up!!! Can you believe that sh*t? I still think it was a fault of the garage. So with dishing out thousands on the 2nd tranny trying to fix problems that are happening we ( the new garage and I) decide to stop putting parts and money into the second tranny and just put in a THIRD transmission! Yes 3rd!!!! ( Only put more money into this van cause I still owe on it and need wheels!) OK so now it has been a bit over a year with the 3rd Tranny and that seems ok but in this past year I have changed I swear every other imaginable part existing! Yesterday was the alternator, 2 weeks ago the Power Steering hose, A month ago sway bars.... and on and on!!!! 100 bucks says the motor will go on it me now just cause everything else is brand new! I swear I will never..... NEVER by a ford again!!!!!!

F.O.R.D = Fix Or Repair Daily!!!

- , Geraldton, ON, Canada

problem #70

Aug 122010

Windstar LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

My wife and I and our two kids were traveling on the freeway on our way to see my mother at the hospital 60 miles away. About 25 miles into our trip, without a warning just began to loose speed despite pressing on the gas pedal. It just felt like the gear shifted into neutral. We were able to cruise our way out of the freeway and park it on a side street. So much for going to see my ailing mother at the hospital. Had to push car to other side of street(no parking anytime sign) despite the osteoarthritis on my knees). Had to pay towing. A friend of mine knew a mechanic who would be kind enough to reconstruct the transmission for $1,100. Still, it was money we didn't have. Had to borrow from family & friends. Guy from repair shop in Los Angeles said this was a common problem with Ford Windstars. This was the first time I had heard about this.

The only positive thing I could to say is that I'm glad and thank God this didn't happen a few days before when we traveled through the 110 scorching degrees in the Mojave Desert to and from Las Vegas.

- , Los Angeles, CA, US

problem #69

Jun 092010

Windstar VAN 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

stopped car went back to go home no nothing. transmission completely gone. no warning at all Had to replace everything. $2250.00 total cost

FORD= fix or repair daily

- , Cornelius, NC, USA

problem #68

Jul 272010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,753 miles

When I called around asking questions about this problem every shop said ford has a problem.They all said its probably the pump. The prices went from $950. to $1650. This was to have it rebuilt. This pisses me off because I bought an american made vehicle. It only has 120,000 miles on it. Truth be known its made in mexico and shipped over here so ford can put there name on it. Good Luck..

- , Austin, IN, USA

problem #67

Apr 162010

Windstar SE 3.8L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

Never replaced the Tranny as it's $3000 and that's all the car is worth! This tranny must be why Ford quit making minivans!

- , Dayton, OH, USA

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