Ford Recalls 425,000 Windstar Minivans for Bad Steering

The supplier, Dana, did not properly corrosion protect the front suspension parts.

Ford Motor Company is recalling 1999 to 2003 model Windstar minivans because the steering can fail after the front suspension rusts away. More than 425,000 of the Canadian-built Windstar minivans are prone to rusting problems.

Many of the Windstar minivans affected are also part of a rear axle corrosion recall on 600,000 Windstars last year where there is at least one fatality. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is continuing its investigation of Ford corrosion problems.

Only Windstar vans originally sold in or currently registered in heavy winter salt use states of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, new Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are being checked for the safety related defect.

Critics of such regional recalls say they do not properly inspect or repair all of the potentially defective vehicles, jeopardizing safety over a known defect. Automakers use regional recalls to hold down the costs of complying with U.S. regulations. Ford did not issue a news release about its latest safety defect.

The Windstar rust issue causes fractures of the front, lower-control-arm rear attaching brackets, as well as the body mount attachments at the rear of the front sub-frame. Ford said in the required filing with NHTSA that “while we have not concluded that the low rate of reported incidents on these older vehicles rises to the level of a safety defect, we are taking this action to confirm our commitment to safety and to address any potential vehicle owner concerns.”

Owners will be asked to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln/Mercury dealer for an inspection. If the vehicle passes corrosion inspection, owners will then be asked to return for installation of reinforcement brackets to extend the front sub-frame durability.

Owners of vehicles that do not pass inspection, but can be repaired, will be offered alternative transportation until parts become available In some cases where reinforcement brackets cannot repair a vehicle, a repurchase offer will be made.

Ford said that parts will be available in limited quantities in early March.

NHTSA opened an engineering investigation last July into the Windstar rust problem. Ford now says that Dana, the supplier of the front sub-frame did not consistently complete the phosphate coating process prior to applying corrosion protection on the parts.

Ford’s Safety Recall Number is 11S16. Owners can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline,1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to NHTSA recall campaign number 11V-030.

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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10 Responses to Ford Recalls 425,000 Windstar Minivans for Bad Steering

  1. Richard Buehler says:

    I took my van in for 4 recalls, two were fixed and the other 2 have been waiting for parts now for over a month. I was told by one of the service personal that there was a crack in the sub-frame but it is repairable. So I was sent out on the road with a known defect that is a safety issue.

    What do I do? Wait for them to get around to fixing it? This issue is NOT new, my last Windstar had the same problem and was repaired once under warranty. The front end makes a loud grinding noise at times. This happened on both my Windstars. (Probably my last Ford product)

  2. Brenda Veloz says:

    My Van is in for almost 2 months already they said they are still waiting for parts, it’s so complicated ………..we don’t know for how long we’re gonna wait and they tell us they can give us the van, but we have to sign a paper so I think they can wash their hands if something happens. If they knew had been issues with it, why they didn’t make more parts available? It’s totally ridiculous so whoever is gonna buy a Ford, think twice before doing it………..

    • John says:

      I just put mine in this week did you get yours out yet?

    • Michelle Whybark says:

      My van has been at the dealership since December 12, 2010. Six months and 8 days (as of today) and 2 recalls later and the issues are still being addressed. 🙁 This is crazy! Not sure I will ever own a Ford ever again!!!!

  3. Festus says:

    I took my Ford to the dealer in Atlanta, GA today. It was fixed (same day) and i got it back today. I believe they did fix all that they claimed was fixed.

  4. Chris Minten says:

    Thought I got mine fixed but got a recall reminder don’t know what to do

  5. TazMage says:

    I took mine in yesterday. They said it’ll be ready tomorrow. They did furnish me with a rental from Enterprise, a behemoth of a truck, a 2011 Dodge 4×4, 4 door, that, according to the display is getting about half the gas mileage of my van. So it’s costing me twice as much to use this rental as it would be to be driving my van and it sits so high off the ground, that I can barely get into it.

    Oh well….I look forward to tomorrow…to see if they fixed it…I’ll post what happens.

  6. Sue says:

    I brought mine in for rear axle replacement in Feb. they had the van for 6 weeks. They did the front inspection and said it was fine. They said they would call in about 2 months when the front frame supports were in. It is September now. Still waiting.

    Lesson learned is that Ford does not care about consumer safety. Van is paid but I will drive it ’til it dies but will NEVER NEVER buy a Ford again.

  7. Delynn says:

    I’m totally fed up with the continuous recalls on a Ford Windstar. Isn’t it about time that Ford just buys them all back and recycles them for scrap metal. This has been the only Ford I’ve ever had and I can assure you that I will NEVER buy another!

  8. Pete Cyr says:

    Brought my 2000 (62K miles) in for the axle, Oct 2010. Got a Caravan. The Winstar came back to us March 2011. I was very upset with Ford at first, especially with the offer of 2,700 for a buy back. I have ALWAYS owned Fords. But believe it or not, when the Winstar was ready, new battery, new remote starter (negotiated and provided) I was happy. Less rattles than the Caravan! Now I am bringing in for the front subframe inspection. Could it be another 6 months in a Dodge?

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