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The Psycho Van- a 2000 Ford Windstar

Our 2000 Ford Windstar seems possessed. While we are driving, the inside lights will come on, locks will go up and down, and the warning beeps that come on for open doors start going crazy. It used to happen if we slowed down and hit a bump. Now it happens anytime, just when we are driving along. We have figured out it is related to the sliding door, however two trips to the dealer and too much money hasn’t fixed it. Does anyone know how we can disconnect the cable that causes these electronic warnings? The van has many miles and frankly we don’t want to pour more money into this problem. We are grateful for any advice!

Possessed cars can be tricky to rid of the demons. I had an experience with my Honda that was less drastic than yours but in ways similar. I tracked it down to a bad switch on the driver’s door jam. Presto my normal car was exorcised.

Every door in your van has a switch on the door jam. The switches are interconnected in the wiring. They tell the car that a door is open or closed and turn on the interior lights, door ajar light, etc. Check all these switches. Open each door one at a time locate the switch and press it in and let it out a few times and see what happens. You should be able to feel a “click” and watch the interior lights to see if it is working. If one switch feels different (no click) is obviously damaged, or doesn’t work the lights you have your answer. Since the problem is intermittent the switches may be OK but something in the switch or door is out of adjustment. Say you hit a bump and a door moves or flexes just a bit, that may trigger one of the switches. And yes cars do flex when they hit bumps. Here is how the power door locks enter into the equation. If your car locks the doors automatically when you get to 5 or 10 mph and then unlock the doors automatically that will explain it.

If you cannot figure out the switch issue you can change the power lock programming. The involves getting the owner’s manual and following the procedure to change the locks “off” the automatic mode. Then you can turn off your interior lights manually and all the stuff will happen but you won’t notice it anymore.

If it is a switch they are cheap and easily replaced. Adjusting a door may need a body shop to handle, but not too much either.

Focus first on the sliding door switch. Perhaps you can add something to the end of it to make it a tad longer and then the switch will stay off when the door is closed. Check all the other switches too. The next most likely offender is the one on the tailgate.

Read a post on another car’s problem and it said the interior light switches are incorporated into the door locking mechanism. I’ve only been a passenger in Windstars so this maybe true. If this is the case with your car that makes finding your answer a bit more complicated.

I just took a look at our 03 windstar and if yours is like ours you will see 4 contact points on the frame and the sliding door with 4 pins coming out from the door. First shot for me would be to clean the contacts on the frame and the plungers on the door with some steel wool or a pencil eraser. You have an intermittent connection somewhere and that is an easy probable solution.

I have an 03 junkstar that has the same problem with interior lamps illuminating as we are driving. I contacted our sisterstore ( a Ford dealer ) and the service manager said to look at the ignition switch or there may be a chaffed wire close the left rear roof area, the headliner would need to be pulled.

I feel your pain, Windstar in the original greek means “rolling piece of junk”.

Most times this is caused by a faulty ‘plunger’ type switch at the REAR of the sliding door (It’s got a rubber boot over it and is embedded in the vans’ door frame itself.

Pull the boot aside and spray electrical contact cleaner in the switch and work the switch by finger so as to get the cleaner into the switch.

Disconnecting any warning device is pointless and could become a hazard to your health.