1996 Ford Windstar Minivan - Consumer Reviews

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Average Consumer Rating 101 Total Reviews
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It coulda shoulda been a better idea
By Mr. G on 07/09/03 00:00 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

1996 Ford Windstar Minivan GL 3dr Minivan

Review

I too had the trouble with Check Engine Light. Dealer told me at 80,000 that the #4 cylinder had a head gasket leak. PLug was carboned up they said and it was anti-freeze. Funny no antifreeze in the oil! They started to take it apart to replace head gasket and found the intake was all carboned up. Two cans of brake cleaner($3 ea,) and $350 bucks and it was fixed. They denied the head gasket was a problem anymore. Even Ford said it was fixed. Had the intake cleaned again at 100,000. Check Engine lite went out and then came back on and will not go off even when you disconnect neg terminal.
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1996 3.8L Windstar
By 22 yr old on 06/23/03 00:00 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

1996 Ford Windstar Minivan GL 3dr Minivan

Review

Get an extended warranty because it's worth it. There were a few minor repairs and the transmission had to be rebuilt at 72K miles when the warranty ran out at 75K. At 94K there are some electrical problems popping up, but nothing too bad. The speedometer has been replaced once and it's getting a bit shaky again. The right windows stopped operating, but my dad simply took the motors apart and put it back together and it just started working again. The door light started coming on even though all doors were closed. I cleaned the contacts where the doors close and now the light only stays on for an extra 5 seconds every now and then. Despite its problems, I like the van.
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only burnt once...
By mom of 3 kids in OH on 06/15/03 00:00 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

1996 Ford Windstar Minivan GL 3dr Minivan

Review

Bought Windstar based upon safety ratings at the time. Thought we had a great van- but the Check Engine light went on every time we drove on a trip over 200 miles. Ford dealer never could figure it out - or why we had rough cold starts. Now at 112,000 miles, already fixed the gaskets and now need a new transmission. Wish I had checked consumer reports before I had purchased. Going foreign, but only because they have forced me. Will never buy a Ford again!
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Didn't Learn
By Unhappy in TX on 06/07/03 00:00 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

1996 Ford Windstar Minivan LX 3dr Minivan

Review

We've had the Windstar 6.5 years; only 55K miles. No major problems until 54,400 miles. Transmission disintegrated; the internal differential came apart and spewed pieces all over the inside of the trans. A re-manufactured trans was installed. Thankfully, the $3600 bill was covered under a third party warranty. This van was not driven hard by any means. Had a 1988 Taurus wagon. Same engine (3.8 L), same trans, same result (trans died at 60K miles). I didn't learn. I'm sure the head gasket is next. I have friends with similar stories about Windstars. No more Fords. Our other mini-van is a Venture.
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Not as bad as it could have been
By flower mom on 05/27/03 00:00 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

1996 Ford Windstar Minivan GL 3dr Minivan

Review

Well, the car is only OK. The head gasket problem, allegedly fixed by the 1996 model, is not fixed; it will need replacement at about 80K miles - a surprisingly consistent benchmark. If you buy a used one, make sure it's already been replaced. And the speedometer breaks. And the ABS. Luckily, the brakes themselves still work fine. Nuisance stuff.
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Very Good So Far...
By MadManMike on 05/23/03 00:00 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

1996 Ford Windstar Minivan GL 3dr Minivan

Review

Bought used in end of 1999, with the 3.8 Leter engine. Never had any major problems. First Van even owned and love it. But there are electrical problems galore but fortunately none have lead to a significant problem: Engine light comes on and stays for months - mechanic can't find anything wrong, thus resets. Interior lights frequently don't shut off after closing doors for up to 30 minutes at a time. Occasionally, the 'Door is open' alarm does not shut off after the door is shut. 'Door is open' light indicator seemingly always shows that one of the doors (or rear hatch) is open when, in fact, they are all closed and double checked.
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Enjoyable Vehicle
By barns on 05/08/03 00:00 AM (PDT)

Vehicle

1996 Ford Windstar Minivan GL 3dr Minivan

Review

We as a family have enjoyed driving this Windstar for 5 years, Lots of room for children, Adults and family pets.
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GL Windstar
By hagar on 03/27/03 00:00 AM (PST)

Vehicle

1996 Ford Windstar Minivan GL 3dr Minivan

Review

Mechanical reliability is the worst I've ever seen. I'm 54 and between myself and my wife we have had MANY cars, trucks and vans
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Be careful
By owner of new and old on 03/03/03 00:00 AM (PST)

Vehicle

1996 Ford Windstar Minivan GL 3dr Minivan

Review

I have owned this vehicle since 30,000. It is now at 80,000 I can relate to all of the problems. Tran started slipping around 50,000 in 1st gear, now have leak in timing valve gasket, estimated 800 repair, check engine light on all the time, runs rough at idle, has always made a "popping" noise from the front suspension.
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Designed to fail
By AlexV on 02/18/03 00:00 AM (PST)

Vehicle

1996 Ford Windstar Minivan GL 3dr Minivan

Review

Had this one for a few years. Too bad I was not looking through the reviews. It was fun while under warranty. Was well taken care of, right by the book. Have 3.8l engine. At 68K engine light went off. Took to the dealer. Dealer said that a tunup is needed. Manufacturer said at 100k. Dealer replaced spark plugs etc. Light went off. At 70 K sprung a leak somwhere between heater core and the back of the engine $2k repair(needed to take half the car apart). At 73K engine knocking, water in the oil. Estimate $2.8k to replace the engine. Thanks Ford. That is the last Ford made car my family bought in about 3 generations and hopefully more.
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