Even if your 98-03 Windstar has the exact same problems as recalled vehicles but your VIN doesn't qualify, you are going to have to raise hell trying to get your car back on the road, Ford simply knows they built a bunch of loser unsafely designed vans (and Taurus', by the way), with cheap torque converters, subpar frame and axle design and materials, and other common problems, Ford won't back up their gamble and they are losing lots of the American market. Do I feel bad about buying foreign these days? Yeah, but what do you do when you need reliability, parts and service if American companies feel they can sell you crap?!
I purchased my 2001 Windstar, brand new back in October of 2001. It has always been adult driven and it has been garage kept most of its life. Engine Issues: Overall, the engine has been fairly reliable with the following exceptions: 1) Lower Intake Manifold failure. 2) Isolation Bolts under the Plentum Failed. 3) Coil Pack Failed. 4) Water Pump Failed. I performed all of these repairs at a cost of about $700. Transmission Issues: The transmission developed a leak at about 80,000 miles. At that time, I had the trans rebuilt for $1,600. Currently, the van has 153,000 and no additional issues. Body Issues: 1) Rust thru around the gas tank inlet. 2). Paint and clear coat failure on the hood and, fenders and doors. I did not repair antsy if these issues. Frame and Rear Axle Issues: This is where. Ford completely dropped the ball. The rear axle has had many, many, many complaints to Ford and the NTSB. Ford then issued a recall in 2010. Some of these Windstars we're bought back and scraped and others were fixed with a half-ass bracket that was also prone to failure. My axle failed and Ford made me pay $300 to eft it fixed. Yes, I know $300 is not mustache, but Ford should have fixed it for free. For a complete explanation on this issue, just do a GOOGLE. The internet is full of sad stories pertaining to this issue. The front sub-frame rusted away and failed. Ford would not fix mine. I had to buy a new sub-frame and install it myself. Long story short, of the 25 plus vehicles I have owned, this is the worst one. I will never buy another Ford!
2001 Ford Windstar Limited 4dr Minivan (3.8L 6cyl 4A)
We bought ours used with 171,000 miles. It seems to have been well taken care of. The recall had been out for a couple of years before we bought ours, so when I brought it in, the rush was over and replacement parts were plenty. They replaced the rear axle and reinforced the front subframe free of charge. The van now has 266,000 miles on it and other than routine maintenance, we really haven't had any issues. The only gripe we have is leg room for the rear seats. You either don't have any in the middle to make the rear seat passengers comfortable or you don't have any in the rear to make the middle seat passengers comfortable. I find it amusing that people complain about having to do routine maintenance. After 100,000 miles you would expect to do struts and wheel bearings on any vehicle. Nothing lasts forever. UPDATE: 16 years old and almost 280,000 miles and still kicking. This minivan owes us nothing. We've decided to upgrade and bought a 2013 Ford Flex. The Windstar is now my commuter car. It's running so well, there's no reason to get rid of it. UPDATE: 291,000 on original engine and transmission. I was going to finally retire it at the end of the year, but it's running so well, we've decided to keep it another couple of years at least. It's nice having two separate vehicles capable of hauling the whole family. UPDATE: 304,000 miles and still counting. Don't know what else to say other than I have no plans to replace her anytime soon.