Ford Windstar Under Investigation Again: Rusting Subframe Linked to Crashes

Ford Windstar Under Investigation Again: Rusting Subframe Linked to Crashes

After an initial investigation and then a recall on the Ford Windstar for rear axle failure, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has put the minivan on notice – again. This time NHTSA’s investigation involves the van’s subframe, which reportedly suffers from the same structural rusting as the rear axles.

The NHTSA website lists 346 complaints of the front subframe (which holds up the engine, transmission, steering rack and front suspension) breaking. A total of three crashes and one injury are listed in connection with front subframe failures on the van.

AutoGuide has also received numerous reports of subframe issues by Windstar owners in response to previous articles written about the rear axle failure recall.

NHTSA’s investigation involves 550,000 Windstar vans dating from the 1999-2003 model years.

Ford’s troubled Windstar minivan is making headlines for all the wrong reasons as of late after as Massachusetts man was killed recently, reportedly the result of a broken rear axle. That news sparked response from Ford, which then expanded the axle recall from 575,000 vehicles to 612,000.

[Source: Bloomberg]

  • katie coffman

    Is ford going to repair the sub frame as well as the axle before they return our vehicle .was offered $1000. For my 03 van.mine is limited edition with leather seats, video package, new tires, battery. What thieves!



  • Michael Ellis

    My 2001 van is currently in shop at ford dealership awaiting replacement of a recalled rear axle and also has a completely deteriated subframe after extensive conversation with FORD they are basically going to ignore the issue until a time when the goverment (NHTSA) forces them via a recall to do the right thing! In the mean time hundreds of thousands of theses vehicles are on the road being driven daily by unsuspecting familys who could potentally lose their lifes because their unaware of the existing problem, wish there was a way I could get the word out to these folks I also wish I had the financial means to fix Fords problem (approximately $2300) but great news is if you keep your receipts Ford will reimburse you once they pull there heads out of the sand and admit they used defective parts.I wonder which luxury my family should give up to help finance this repair eating or roof over head!!!

  • Dean Cormier


  • Harold

    They need to act on these subframes now not way till people get hurt or even die because of it

  • katie coffman

    Well,ford,when are you going to do the right thing? Are you waiting until a child dies? Your image is as tainted as toyota.why do you car makers wait to be forced into retribution. And they say, buy american. I dont think any of you know how to build a safe, reliable vehicle. Maybe we should all buy a bike. We would be safer.i’m not selling my car for $1000 .

  • Elizabeth

    I too have my Windstar van sitting in the dealers garage, waiting to have the axle replaced. I have had nothing but bad news with this car. It is on it’s 3rd transmission, the check engine light is always on, (though checked often and nothing has been found) the anti lock brake light and brake light come on and stay on all the time. Nobody has been able to fix this problem either. I will NEVER buy a Ford vehicle again..

  • jeff

    This whole thing with my windtsra get my blood boiling! Our 2003 van failed state inspection in spetember with Tire rod problems. After paying the $700 repair bill so that we’d have a car for our 4 kids, we found the reacll. The cars been sitting in the delaerslot since 10/8 with no repairs done. I wasnt offered a buy-out because its considered a “low milage vehicle”!!! The dealer told me they aren’t replacing the axels now, just waiting on brackets. I will never buy a FORD again and have encouarged everyone I know to not support FORD.

  • Alex

    Windstar 2001 LX. Bought it brand new. Transmission failed on the way to Pearson Airport back in August 2010. The mileage is only 120000km. The guy in “Mr. Transmission” said it’s “very usual” for that vehicle. I just could not believe it! Paid $2300.00 to rebuild. Now this recall and it’s been sitting in the dealership for almost 2 months. And all that rust everywhere! What a peace of junk!!! Never ever Ford again!

  • Sally

    2003 Windstar fully loaded, leather, auto start at the dealer since last fall. NO communication from Ford. No offer to buy out. Very valuable vehicle for me but who can afford a new or even used vehicle to replace it. I have owned Fords for years and find this treatment from them is reprehensible. When does someone force Ford to deal with this?

  • Elizabeth

    so just heard from my local Ford dealer who has my windstar “grounded” at his shop for the axle recall that they WILL be recalling the van for the Subframe issue… honestly, this van has been a nightmare to own. I think its time to get Ford in court

  • sandro

    2001 windstar nightmare rebuilt transmision at only 120 000 km july 2010 my family and i almost lost our lives. subframe badly rusted and control arm broke free from subframe while driving about 50km lost ability to steer and brake almost running other cars of the road. paid $1900 to repair and complaining to ford for the last 8mths only to get the run around I WILL NEVER BUY A FORD AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!

  • Caer

    I’m putting my post on several “Make a comment” I want as many people as possible to know how Ford treats it’s customers. So sorry if you read this already.

    I HAD a 2003 van with 68,000 miles. Only owner. I did the maintenance required. Was garage kept for the 1st 3 1/2 years. The 1st week of Novemeber the dealer took it and said they would get the part in Jan 2011. They paid for the rental. This week they condemed my van due to the 2nd recall. My buy out is $9,000.00. The catch – the dealer pressured me to sign the papers right away. Once I did, I did NOT get a check. 5-7 days, longer if a week-end was involed, but I had to turn in my rental on Friday no matter what I did. Dealer said it was Corp’s rules. When I called Corp they said it was dealer’s rules. When I asked about the other people from the 1st recall waiting 3 months+ for their checks the reply was yes there were delays for the 1st recall buy out. That could happen again. I asked to please keep my rental until I get my check. They said no. It would cost them too much money. But now it is Friday and I have no car to drive to work or get my kids to school. I also have no idea when I will get my check. NEVER A FORD AGAIN!!! I get the van is unsafe. I get this whole thing was a very bad mistake. What I don’t get is how I had to give Ford a check to leave with my van in March of 2003, but now that they are buying it back they don’t have to give me my check until they get around to it. They papers said they had a fixed time frame for me to keep the rental. What about a fixed time frame to give me my money. Anyone have any ideas???

  • Bryan

    I just got off the phone with my local Ford dealer and was informed they are inspecting the front subframe when they replace the axle. They said they can’t track who’s van has damage and who’s doesn’t, sounds like bullsh*t to me. The dealer has no timeframe on axle replacement and no answers about the repair of subframe. This van has been nothing but a headache since we got it. When we bought it (2003 Limited) it seemed like a good deal, but man was I wrong. The way Ford has dealt with it’s customers during this fiasco makes me never want to buy a Ford again. I’m starting to think I need to get my lawyer(sister) involved to see if I can get some satisfaction. Just Say NO to Ford.

  • Wendy

    I have had the same issues. My van has been sitting since Nov.2010. 1st thing I don’t like is that my van was placed at the back of the dealership almost in a field. Can we say mice!!!! Next I have 3 children and don’t drive a mini-van to be cool, I drive it so my entire family fits. The first rental they tried to give me was a 2 door cobalt..Really I am suppose to fit 2 car seats and another child in a compact car. When I called Ford they basically told me take or leave it. So Enterprise did find me a 4 door car. Before all the recalls I started having problems with my AC. I paid 400.00 for Ford to tell me that the back lines had corrosion and had broke in half. That could be fixed for 3000.00. Anyone else have the AC problem? I wish Ford would offer me a buy out, even after the recalls are complete I will be getting something else. I wouldn’t even feel safe driving the rust bucket. Pretty sad my van has low miles and thought I would drive it 1 to 2 more years. Thanks Ford

  • Lisa

    I just got back from my inspection for the recall on the subframe. They found a crack in the passenger side mount but because it was less than 3mm they deamed it safe to drive so Im stuck with it. I called ford in Detroit to say that I did not safe and they stated that they stand behind the dealers decision. My AC lines also rusted through so they said about 1000 to fix that. I asked for them to buy it back and they said they would take it in on trade If I purchase another ford. Good one. Not a chance in hell I will ever buy another ford in my life.

  • ted

    never had anything other than normal wear and tear 2001 Windstar 160,000 miles but in very good shape took it in for recalls and couldnt believe they wanted to but it back i had absolutely no rust on this vehicle that was obvious and they said it was un safe and were buying it back i received above blue book offer from the beginning i didnt argue ching ching see ya windstar to all those complaining you have to realize really this is normal wear and tear and if you think this is bad go ahead and buy a chevy than you will see what rust is

  • rafal

    I have a Windstar 1995 and 2000, I’m wondering if they will pay to take a car with Polish to USA, he saw that the practices of Ford in the U.S. are different than in Poland.
    I wanted to have the van safe and comfortable, even though the burning is large, while we fuel costs about $ 2 per liter, and here more and more I wonder if it does not sell, and the damage to me it was

  • nvyank

    My husband bought a 2000 Windstar last year, because we needed a second car for him to get to work. Since then, Ford “fixed” the Axle problem but he put out the money to have them replaced. Also, our check engine light never goes out and neither does the ABS light. I realize buying a used car brings all kinds of problems, but this is ridiculous!! Ford should have taken all of these vehicles off the road. Instead they ended up in used car lots. I see a lot of these vehicles on the road. I hope that Ford realizes they are courting disaster. I work as an insurance agent and I hope that I never have to sue anyone because someone in my family gets hurt because of negligence!!

  • Anders Samuelsson

    My name is Anders Samuelsson. I’m an owner of a Ford Windstar -00. Will there be any recalls in Sweden? I’v mailed that question to mr Said Deep at Ford.The AX4S automatic gearbox in my ford is broke too. The car only gets forward on the second gear and there’s no rear one. Anders Samuelsson Stockholm Sweden.

  • Colum Wood

    Anders: I’d talk to Ford in Europe. The recall is country specific, so it doesn’t necessarily apply in Sweden. However, Ford in Sweden may issue a similar recall. Or, as they probably didn’t sell many in Sweden you probably won’t have as tough a time getting the part fixed.

  • Bob in Michigan

    I just experienced a breakage last night. The subframe on the passenger side broke, making the wheel inoperable and transmission axle fall out of place. Thank goodness this happened in a parking lot.
    I wonder what may have happened had I been driving on the freeway. I have the contact phone number for recall information, but I am afraid that my van will be out of commission for an extended period of time. I never received notification of their being an issue, and am very upset for what could have happened. Hopefully they repair my vehicle and get it into top shape as a result.

  • Heather Clark

    I have a windstar and put it in to the dealership because of a rotting subframe. They put a quick fix on it in the back but the entire subframe is completely rusted through and is not safe to drive. Now they tell me that it’s not part of the recall….How is this possible? I have 4 children that I have to drive around in this piece of crap? My husband and I struggled for 4 years to pay it off and finally did 3 months ago, 2 months ago I had to have a $3000 transmission job and now they tell me that they are not going to fix the subframe under the recall, what am I supposed to do now? These guys are a bunch of crooks….if anyone has any advice on where I should go from here please let me know

  • Coakee

    ATTENTION ALL WINDSTAR OWENERS, PLEASE READ.  I had my recall repaired last year and despite the ‘repair’ it is currently rotted, having chards of metal poking out and holes in the subframe.  Please have your subframes…even if they have been “repaired” inspected.  If still a problem, please file a complaint on the NTHSA website.  We all need to band together and hold Ford accountable!  I would also like to add that the dealer told me it was fine…. independent mechanic was the one who pointed it out to me.  I notified FORD, returned to dealer today for pictures…. which I supervised.  Awaiting Ford’s response.

  • Coakee

    web address to file complaint with NHTSA (national highway and traffic administrations) the Governmental agency for these issues….

  • Sharonsenaway

    My 03 Windstar was in dealer shop for one month last year for subframe recall.  The people at dealership were so bothered by this (too bad).  In the meantime they tried to sell us a new Ford but we had no interest at that point, especially with the treatment and the issues with this van.   It is now a year later.  My van went in for its annual inspection in PA.  My mechanic informs me that the so called repair is not holding and that I need to contact Ford dealership.  I called today. They seemed shocked and said that we had to bring back to them even though they are 30 miles from my home.  I cannot take to a dealer closer to my home.      I am concerned.  Has anyone else had any issues with this recall since their Windstar was in and repaired.    If so, what did you do?     I am curious to know if this is something that they will honor their warranty for repairs.   Thanks for any help.

  • Coakee

    I have been going round and round with Ford regarding this same issue.  Please see my blog 

    File a complaint with NHTSA… that seems to be the way they recalled them in the first place, and they are the only ones that have the authority to make Ford do anything about it. (link in my earlier post below)

  • Allan J Lodichand

    i have a 2002 windstar and the sliding door tracks are rusted and the sliders wont operate is there a recall for this problem