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The Ford Windstar is a front-wheel-drive minivan with three generations sold between 1995 and 2007, with a total of 1,704,786 models produced at the Oakville plant. The design process for the Windstar began in 1989, with the final body design frozen for production in 1990. Interestingly, the Windstar was designed primarily by a team of engineers and designers, mostly women, who took into account perspectives such as pregnant women and women in skirts and high heels, opting for a design focused on family use. Launched in 1994 as a 1995 model, it rivaled other long-wheelbase vans but lacked a driver's side sliding door as it wasn't seen as important by target customers. Notably, the Windstar was the first North American-made van to be exported to Europe. It was completely redesigned in 1998 with front-seat side airbags, dual sliding doors, brake sensors, and annual model variations. In 2000, the company revised the trim levels, replacing the GL with LX as the base model and introducing SE and SEL as higher trims. The third generation in 2004 emphasized powertrain reliability, an issue since its 1994 launch, with improved axle shafts, wheel bearings, disc brakes, and a redesigned four-speed automatic transmission. Despite the reliability focus, it retained the convenient third-row seats that slide into the floor, like many other vans.
The Ford Windstar, despite being introduced in 1994 as a popular family-oriented multi-passenger van, has been plagued by two significant mechanical issues over the years: rear axle fractures and transmission failures. By May 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had received more than 200 complaints about the Windstar's rear axles that would unexpectedly break. Ford initially hesitated to recall, suggesting the front-wheel-drive system negated the rear axle's importance. However, the NHTSA found that Windstars, particularly those manufactured between 1997 and 2003, had rear axles prone to premature cracking due to metal fatigue, exacerbated by a hollow, unsealed design that allowed water and corrosives to accumulate, leading to internal rusting. This rusting made axles prone to breakage, especially at speeds over 40 mph, with one such failure resulting in a collision with a guardrail. Responding to these concerns, Ford initiated a voluntary recall in August 2010, initially focusing on regions like the "Salt Belt" known for road-salt corrosion. Nevertheless, by 2011, related complaints rose to 891, including eight accidents and one fatality. Though the recall was primarily aimed at the "Salt Belt," the issue of metal fatigue was present across all states. The axle issue culminated in a 2014 legal case in California. Alongside this, transmission problems emerged, with the outdated AX4S and 4F50N transmission models being primary culprits. A frequent issue involved the torque converter, which should channel fluid smoothly for power rotation. In some instances, the transmission fluid detached from the torque converter clutch, affecting navigation and speed. Fluid leakage was another significant problem, causing internal parts to lack necessary lubrication, potentially leading to a complete transmission breakdown. Moreover, the park pawl shaft, responsible for stabilizing a parked vehicle, presented its challenges. Misalignment during installation could jeopardize the parking system, making the car vulnerable to unexpected movements when subjected to external pressures or conditions.
Original equipment manufacturer parts provide exceptional performance and boast first-rate durability. This is attributed to their adherence to Ford's official manufacturing methods, utilization of high-quality materials, and compliance with stringent quality standards. Fortunately, FordPartsGiant.com offers OEM Ford Windstar parts at the most affordable prices online. Rest assured, all our genuine Ford Windstar parts are supported by the manufacturer's warranty, a straightforward return policy, and the most secure, expedient delivery service. This way, you can receive your orders in excellent condition and premium specification, quickly and efficiently.