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 |  May 09 2012, 1:32 PM

Almost down to the day, it’s been two years since we originally reported the Ford Windstar recall that still seems to be out of control. Most recently the automaker added 27,000 of the minivans from Virginia because of cracked rear axles.

Continue Reading…

 |  Dec 23 2010, 10:10 AM

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]

 |  Dec 22 2010, 11:06 AM

The recent death of a Massachusetts man has put the spotlight on the Ford Motor Company and its handling of the recall of its Windstar minivan. The van itself was recalled back in August due to rear axles that could snap. The vans date from 1998 to 2003 and initially Ford was reluctant to issue the recall (as was the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) as Ford insisted it wasn’t a safety issue.

The death of Sean Bowman, however, is certainly challenging that assertion and thanks to an ABC News report highlighting the family’s tragedy we now have some pretty shocking video of just what could happen when a rear axle breaks. The official government test video clearly shows just how dramatic and dangerous a snapping rear axle could be, with the side stability bars used on the car the only things preventing it from rolling over.

The death of Sean Bowman has caused Ford to reexamine the Windstar recall, and even expand it to include 37,000 move vehicles, including those in Utah – which are at risk due to extreme corrosion caused by road salt.

UPDATE: NHTSA is now investigating the Windstar for rusting subframe issues. Click here to read the story.

See the video after the jump:

Continue Reading…

 |  Nov 12 2010, 9:56 AM

The Windstar is proving to be a small nightmare for the folks at Ford and for anyone who happens to own one. First NHTSA was investigating the minivan for possible rear axle failure, then an official recall was issued. Then Ford announced it would go so far as to buy back the cars, while offering to cover the cost of a rental car for those who opted to get the axle fixed.

While that sounds like a reasonable solution, it hasn’t been and is costing Ford, its dealers and Windstar owners plenty of money. A recent article by Automotive News outlined how many dealers are now having to find space for dozens of Windstars on their back lots as a fix for the problem may take several months. Owners are reluctant to take the buyout at Kelly Blue Book value, as the older minivans are worth more to the owners than they are on a retail lot.

According to several reports Ford is offering to cover $38 dollars a day to cover rental costs, which could put Ford out by as much as $2,000 per car. And with the recall notice being issued for 575,000 vehicles, the total could be in the millions.

The cost to owners is varied. A long list of replies to past articles on this topic on AutoGuide include complaints about unequal service from dealers. Some respondents mentioned having to pay the tax on their rental car price, while others had to pay for specific insurance on the rental vehicle. Several replies include complaints that their dealer wasn’t able to get them into a reasonably sized vehicle, while others had to pay extra to get into anything larger than a Fusion.

And as bad as this situation seems it’s likely to get worse for owners as NHTSA is currently investigating a rusting front subframe issue with the vans, and as owners continue to return their vehicles for recall service for the axle issue, numerous complaints have begun to pile up about the subframe, indicating a recall isn’t far off.

 |  Oct 25 2010, 4:11 PM

Ford‘s Windstar minivan is undergoing a massive recall, with over 460,000 1998-2003 Windstars being recalled over a fault rear axle that may corrode and ultimately fail.

Ford has informed dealers that rather than fix the problem, they may buy back the vehicles instead. “At our discretion, the remedy we offer may involve repurchasing a customer’s vehicle at a price we believe either matches or exceeds market value,” Ford said in a prepared statement.

Not surprisingly, the recall affects cars in “rust belt” states like Michigan and locations in Canada where road salt is used. NHTSA said that 96 percent of complaints came from the following states; Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin, plus Washington, D.C.

[Source: Detroit News]

UPDATE: The Ford Windstar is now under investigation by NHTSA for rusting subframe issues. Click here to read the story.

 |  May 18 2010, 8:38 AM

Ford Windstar LATCH

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now officially launched an investigation into snapping rear axles on Ford Windstar models dating from 1999-2003. In total NHTSA has 234 complaints about broken rear axles, with two noted accidents but no injuries. Of the complaints, 56 involve vehicles where one of the rear axles snapped at speeds in excess of 40 mph.

According to NHTSA, the problem seems worse in Northern states where salt is used on the roads in winder.

As the Windstar is a front-drive vehicle, snapping a rear axle isn’t critical as it could be – which is the position taken by Ford, with a spokesman telling the New York Times last week that the vehicle operator remains in control of the car at all times. This seems contrary to NHTSA’s safety comment that the, “fracture of a rear suspension axle could result in loss of vehicle control.”

Ford has said it will cooperate with NHTSA’s investigation.

If a recall is issued, it could affect up to 900,000 Windstar vehicles sold between 1999-2003.

[Source: NYT]

UPDATE: The Ford Windstar is now under investigation by NHTSA for rusting subframe issues. Click here to read the story.