any pointers to watch on a 2001 windstar sel with 101k miles. good bad and so on.
I owned a 2000 Windstar and my son owned a 1999 Windstar. I bought mine new and his was purchased used. The transmission may be a weak spot. I changed the fluid at 30,000 mile intervals to preserve the transmission. I sold my Windstar to my son and he probably has 100,000 miles or more and has not experienced transmission problems. However, he did have to have a transmission rebuild on his 1999 Windstar. His had over 80,000 miles when he purchased it and he drove it to 150,000 when he bought mine, which had 75,000 miles on the odometer, and sold his. On both of the Windstar vans, we had to replace the intake manifold gasket. The check engine light would come on and the codes indicated that the engine was running too lean.
Other than these problems, the Windstars seemed to be fine. Both Windstars had the 3.8 liter V-6. The gas mileage isn’t real great–I would get about 14-16 around town and 21-23 on the road.
I bought a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander as a replacement for my Windstar. The mileage is a litte higher: 16-17 around town and 23-26 on the highway, and the engine seems quieter on the Uplander than on the Windstar. I have no complaints about either the Windstar or the Uplander. I know that Consumer Reports recommends the Honda and Toyota minivans, but these minivans cost a lot more. If I weren’t always hauling people and musical instruments, I might drive something else. Other responders may be more discerning–to me a minivan is a minivan. It’s a useful tool, but is about as exciting as a sled track.
The Windstar has a few problems, such as a very weak transmission, cooling system problems (head gasket leaks, flimsy radiator), but otherwise owners like their vehicles. If yoy buy one, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TOW ANYTHING WITH IT!! The Windstar is happiest when well maintained (transmission fluid & filter changed @ 40,000K, reglular cooling system service), and receiving tender loving care. It is not a vehicle you can overload, drive at 80mph through the Mojave desert in July or otherwise overstress. A good used one sells for 1/2 the price of an equivalent Honda Odessey or Toyota Sienna, and for a reason. It’s a great vehicle for a retired couple who need the exra space every now and then.
Mid-'90s 3.8s had a headgasket problem, but it was largely resolved by '98. The AXODE transaxle is not known for its longevity, one thing that would probably help would be an auxiliary trans cooler.
They’re okay rigs, well-equipped, reasonably stylish, decent power.
Thanks for all the good advice. I’ll keep all this in mind as I start my search.