Ford Windstar1994 - 2003
Category: USA / Australia
The Ford Windstar is a minivan that was produced and sold by the Ford Motor Company from the 1995 to 2003 model years. Thisfront-wheel drive minivan was the second minivan designed by the company, serving as a replacement for the rear-wheel drive Aerostarminivan. The two were sold concurrently for three model years until the Aerostar's 1997 discontinuation. For the 2004 model year, the third-generation Windstar was introduced as the renamed Freestar. All Windstars were assembled in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
Although sold in the Ford car lineup, the Windstar broke from tradition by not having a Lincoln-Mercury counterpart and was completely unrelated to the Mercury Villager. The successor to the Windstar led to the first Ford-developed Mercury minivan, the Mercury Monterey.
The all-new Windstar was released in March 1994 as a 1995 model. While stretched 12 inches longer than the extended-length Aerostar, its sleek design, front-wheel drive, and better car-like handling made it more competitive with similar offerings from Chryslerand GM. The Windstar had beaten the third-generation Chrysler minivans to the market by over a year, which played a crucial role in Ford taking significant market share in the minivan market.
For its first year on the market, the Windstar was priced above both the Aerostar and the Mercury Villager. By 1997, however, the Villager's base price had surpassed the Windstar's by several hundred dollars, and top-of-the-line Villager Nautica models were priced some $6,000 USD higher.
Standard features on the Windstar were anti-lock brakes, dual airbags, seven-passenger seating, and a 3.8 L V6 engine, borrowed from the Taurus/Sable. This engine produced 155 hp (116 kW) and 220 lb·ft (298 N·m) of torque. For its inaugural year, the Windstar was available in base GL and high-end LX trim, as well as a cargo version called Cargo Van.
Throughout its life, the first generation Windstar developed a long list of reliability issues. The 1995 3.8 L V6 Essex engine was susceptible to headgasket failure, as in the Taurus and Mercury Sable; however, the Windstar's problem was exacerbated by an even tighter engine bay and higher loads, the van being 700 pounds heavier. Ford extended the warranty on the headgasket to 100,000 miles on most Windstar models. The 3.0 L V6 Vulcan engine was not susceptible to headgasket failure, being a completely different engine design.
The Windstar was paired with an AX4S transaxle, which was prone to internal failure. The transmission suffered from cracked forward and reverse clutch pistons. These transmission failures were most susceptible with the 3.8L engine, as the transmission could not handle the extra torque and the extra vehicle weight. Windstars with the 3.0L engine could go far past 150k miles with regular maintenance.
The 1995-1998 Ford Windstar, which was tested as a 1996 model received a "Good" rating from the IIHS in all marks, in which the driver survives the accident without any injuries.
The Windstar was completely redesigned for the 1999 model year; the most visible part of the redesign was the inclusion of dual sliding doors. The 3.0 L and 3.8 L V6 engines were carried over from the previous generation. It was built on a dedicated platform, unlike the previous generation based on the Ford Taurus. Among new features were front seat-mounted side airbags, dual power-sliding doors, and rear reverse sensors. From lowest to highest, 1999 Windstars were available in Cargo Van, base, LX, SE, and SEL. Dual sliding doors came standard on SE and SEL models, and were optional on the other models. SEs and SELs were equipped with 2nd row captain's chairs and adjustable head restraints , while base and LX models came with a 2-passenger 2nd row bench seat and fixed head restraints.
The 2002 Windstar was the most dependable minivan on the market in the JD Powers dependability survey at three years in service in the 2005 survey. The Windstar beat out the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey for these honors.
In September 2010 Ford recalled 500,000 1998–2003 Windstars over rear axle cracking.
In March 2011 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Ford announced another Ford Windstar recall over corrosion concerns. 425,288 of the model year 1999-2003 Windstar vans originally sold or currently registered in some cold weather states are part of the recall. The problem involves rusting of the subframe. Most of the corrosion occurs on the passenger side of the subframe. If the subframe collapses while driving, the vehicle could potentially lose all steering control and end up in an accident. According to the NHTSA action #PE10026, some Ford Windstar owners had their drive axle detach from the transmission. Ford is offering alternative transportation to owners if their vehicle is unsafe to drive. If the minivan can't be repaired, Ford will repurchase the vehicle.
The 1999-2003 Ford Windstar received an "Acceptable" rating by the IIHS for fair structural performance, moderate injuries to the left foot, and fair dummy control. Although most redesigned vehicles outperform their predecessors to cut down insurance costs and possible injuries to the driver, this generation Windstar did not perform as well as its first generation predecessor. The NHTSA graded the minivan an overall rating of 5 stars in both the frontal and side impact tests.
|Calendar Year||Total American sales|
For the 2004 model year, the Windstar was redesigned; the nameplate was discontinued in favor of "Freestar" as part of Ford's new naming scheme of using nameplates starting with the letter "F". Despite a restyled nose, front fascia, revised interior and new engine (3.9 V6 Essex), the new Freestar was built in the same factory as the Windstar and suffered the same problems. The redesign and new name did not help Freestar sales. The Freestar was pulled from the market after the 2007 model year as it was replaced with the new Ford FlexCrossover.
|400 x 300 ... 24 KB|
|637 x 480 ... 43 KB|
|500 x 315 ... 16 KB|
|2003 Ford Windstar|
|1279 x 926 ... 251 KB|
|Year||Engine code||Fuel||[ccm]||Cylinders||[kW]||[Nm]||No. of
|V6 3.8||gasoline||3 797||6 / Furcate||108 kW||292 Nm||12|