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Q: 1998 Ford Windstar transmission recalls ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: 1998 Ford Windstar transmission recalls
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: dump-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 17 Mar 2003 08:23 PST
Expires: 16 Apr 2003 09:23 PDT
Question ID: 177355
I had to replace my transmission only 8000 kilometres after the power
train warranty ran out.  I'm wondering if there is any recourse to
Subject: Re: 1998 Ford Windstar transmission recalls
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 17 Mar 2003 12:05 PST

From what I have found, it seems there are a number of other
customers who are experiencing the same sentiments, but there
are no class-action suits launched, as yet.

The Technical Service Bulletins for the '98 Ford Windstar are
listed at, and I don't see any about the transmission,
as such.

Bulletins for 1998 Ford Truck Windstar V6-183 3.0L VIN U SFI:

Bulletins for 1998 Ford Truck Windstar V6-232 3.8L VIN 4 SFI:

The only recall I found for the '98 Windstar was on the site, and did not involve the transmission:

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
 has published a recall affecting 1997-1998 Ford Windstar,
 manufactured between August 1996 - July 1998."

"On certain minivans...the front coil springs could fracture
 as a result of corrosion. Depending on the location of the
 fracture, a broken spring could move past the spring seat
 and contact a front tire. Some tires have deflated due to
 contact with a broken spring."

Read the whole story here:

There is, however, a long thread on,
containing posts from many disgruntled owners of '98
Windstars whose transmissions have failed prematurely,
and some of them would love to file a joint complaint:

"Our 98 Windstar has an inherent and infrequent transmission
 defect. The transmission seems to stutter and act as if it
 can't make up it's mind (a computer chip) whether or not it
 wants to move. The engine is going, but the transmission
 seems to lag or slip or stutter. We have had the van into
 several Ford service shops and demanded they either repair
 or replace the luck.~/~.I am filing a
 formal complaint against Ford with my local BBB, and then
 the Consumer Protection Agency, and the Center for Auto
 Safety. Join me?"

"My 1998 windstar 3.8L with 16,000 miles has had transmission
 problems from when it was new.
 The whole van would jolt/jump (intermittently) with a big
 clunking sound while shifting from 1st to 2nd (like a bad
 manual shift) and also when shifting between reverse and
 drive. Sometimes the van would jump so much while I was
 slowing backing out of a parking space that I was concerned
 about bumping into cars parked next to me."

"I have had the same experience with my 98 Windstar transmission
 and with two separate dealers(no apparent problem). One dealer
 offered the explnation that the first bump (from 1st to 2nd)
 is due to the transmission pressurizing. However, the
 1st-to-2nd shifting (substantial delay, then pops with a
 significant bump) problem is persistent. I am close to 36,000

"Our 98 Windstar has had the rotors turned twice, new brakes,
 two new struts, a $2,000 overhaul on the transmission, the
 Ford dealership is currently ordering new rack and pinion
 steering parts for the monster. One of the side windows
 leaks when it rains, it bottoms out in overdrive, it jumps
 when you pull out from a start, it won't stay lined up,
 wore out the first set of tires at 15,000 miles, the
 serpentine belt wore out at 30,000 miles, it pulls to
 the left when you brake, the rear wiper blows fuses left
 and right, its an accident waiting to happen."

"I think I have a fix for the 1-2 shift clunk. I think
 there is a TSB out for the fix but I'll have to find
 the TSB number. Here's the fix: FILL YOUR TRANNY FLUID
 you get air in your system if you are turning or
 accelerating and you get a big bang."

"Isn't there anyone starting a Class Action Lawsuit
 against Ford based on the similarity in problems
 being experienced?"

"98 windstar transmission 83,000 miles. tranny just ate
 itself. $3000 to make all problems go away according to
 Ford. All the clunking and hard shifting problems occured.
 I'll be taking it somewhere else for repairs. Any recourse
 from Ford????"

"My husband & I just experienced this very same problem!!
 We were out driving and while we were driving down a steep
 hill our '98 Windstar began clunking & then threw itself
 out of 4th gear into 1st gear! We pulled over & while
 trying to drive on flat road the van would NOT shift & the
 RPM's were running above 3rpms while doing 25 mph!
 Eventually after driving 15mph heading back home the
 van was able to shift itself again. We drove it straight
 to the dealership (thank goodness they were open on a Sat)
 & the dealership gave us a loaner until they could fix it.
 The dealership had 2 techs drive our van (77 miles) & the
 van had NO problem shifting!
 2 days later the Windstar decided not to shift anymore &
 we drove it back to the dealership. By now we were both
 mad! I told them to run a sensor on it (which I tried to
 have them do on Monday but the service mgr refused saying
 the engine is fine! $156 later for labor charges!) Well
 the service mgr listened to me this time, found the
 "MANUAL LEVER" computer chip to be "broken". The dealership
 replaced the chip & knocking on wood the van is shifting
 fine now!
 So if your Windstar starts to have shifting problems make
 sure you have the garage or dealership check the manual
 lever FIRST!!
 We also had a friend who experienced the same problem on
 his '98 Windstar & the garage told him that he would need
 a whole new engine! He went to another dealership who
 checked the Manual lever first and to make this long story
 shorter that's how we knew it was the manual lever switch..."

"I also own a 1998 windstar. My overdrive swich is blinking
 and tran will not go into 4 gear. dealer said I need a new
 tran without testing swichs I WILL NEVER BUY A FORD AGAIN

Believe it or not, there's many more on the page:

You can also find related info and support on the 

Sorry I couldn't bring you better news.

Please do not rate this answer until you are satisfied that
the answer cannot be improved upon by means of a dialog
established through the "Request for Clarification" process.


Searches done, via Google:

recalls "1998 Ford Windstar"

TSB "98 Ford Windstar"

"service bulletin" "98 Ford Windstar"
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