Ford Windstar Brake, ABS Brake, Cruise Control, and Speedometer/Odometer Electrical Problems
Rear Axle Cracks!, Subframe Corrosion
and Other Windstar Common Problems
The ideas and suggestions on this page are in no way the opinion of Ford, Ford Motor Company, or any Employee of Ford. The suggestions are offered free and without warranty and are implemented at your own risk.
This page is dedicated to the safety of those that own a Ford
Windstar model years 1999 - 2003 (and possibly others). Many
owners of these popular vans have encountered any of the
Ford has NOT taken action to solve
these critical problems yet. Thru this page and your complaints
to the NHTSA.GOV
we the owners of Windstars can force Ford into a voluntary recall
situation. We forced Ford into a voluntary recall on
10/09/2009. Good job everyone! There is a new recall on 8/27/2010
where Ford will check rear axles in rust belt states for cracks,
replace cracked ones and reinforce at a later date ones that have
not cracked. It appears the failures are sudden so look closely
for signs of cracks raised paint etc. Some of my pictures are
Ford is in big trouble, this picture indicates the metal on many front subframes failing (this one was deemed safe by Ford)
6/25/12 - Another recall effort is in the works. The (mostly unservicable) ECU master relay has a bad soldier joint which fails prematurely and causes the ABS light and DTC c1185. It also causes the enhanced ABS braking system to become inoperable. If your ABS light is on. Report the problem at NHTSA - Safercar.gov. Use the category Brakes, the more reports the better a chance of continued action.
5/10/12 - Recall 12V195 is an extenstion of the states included in a previous rear axle recall 10S13 and 12V193. Puerto Rico is now included. This is critical, as Puerto Rico is not a rust belt state!
Link to the information on NHTSA.GOV is located here.
5/10/12 - Recall 12V194 is an extenstion of the states included in a previous front control arm subframe recalls 11V01and 11S16. Virginia is now included.
Link to the information on NHTSA.GOV is located here.
5/9/12 - Recall 12V193 is an extenstion of the states included in a previous rear axle recall 10S13. Virginia is now included.
Link to the information on NHTSA.GOV is located here.
7/16/2011 - A patched front subframe. They added lots of metal and their own special version of JB Weld.....Call and get yours patched today! Repair takes about 1/2 day.
6/30/2011 - A patched back axel photo below. Also brackets for from lower control arms are available in dealerships! 3 hour repair. Make your appointments. The brackets complete recall 11S16.
5/15/11 - My back axel was "patched" with their recall kit (10S13), and I am confident the repair is safe. My front subframe was inspected and deemed safe to drive. I am waiting for the "patch" parts to complete the recall 11V01. I know of a van where the front subframe failed and I have seen lots of vans with new axels.
5/15/11 - Here is a link to someone selling an ABS rebuild service.
3/28/11 - If you need and ABS ECU rebuilt consider searching for "WINDSTAR ABS COMPUTER" rebuild on EBAY. On person sells their service for $99.
3/22/11 - Status updates. The front subframe (11V01) and rear axel recalls (10S13) are expensive for Ford. The amount of work and supplies to repair or replace these two parts is expensive. Once completed you should feel confident that the repairs make the van safe to drive. The August 2009 SCDS (09S09) recall involving the inspection of the SCDS switch and installation of an associated fused wire harness and wire harness inspection all the way down to the ABS unit is turning out to be "cost shift" from Ford to the consumer. In many cases the SCDS switch develops a leak after the installation of the recall parts for 09S09. Ford claims the new harness prevent the leaked fluid from getting to the ABS unit, where a fire can start. Also the leaked fluid is affecting the transmission electronic connector directly under the SCDS switch, this causes traction control related issues. What to do if your brake light comes on? FIRST inspect the SCDS switch IMMEDIATELY, if leaking, remove and plug the master cylinder. SAVE THE SCDS in a ziplock bag. #2 install a jumper in the connector so your cruise control works. You have to prevent the FIRE, and by removing the source of the leaked fluid you have certainly helped do that.
Some states I am hearing will not pass a van on inspection if the brake light is on. The fact the brake light (red) is on or Yellow ABS light, will NOT pass any standard failing emmissions codes (P codes) to a scanning device. The ABS light passes a C code (c1185 to the scanner on the EXTENDED FORD MANUFACTURER SPECIFIC codes., it is not a generic one worthy of emmissions failure.) My suggestion is the removal of the two light bulbs for the brake lights if they are on, or finding a mechanic who understands and is smart enough to work with you on the problem.
3/14/11 - Most dealerships have the parts to complete recall 10S13 rear axle. This was a two part recall, part 1 inspection, part 2 was replacment of the axle OR reinforcement of the existing. GET YOURS REINFORCED NOW! Also, the recall 11S16 is the same inspection reinforcement type recall.
2/18/11 - Recall notice received today!
1/27/11 - A new subframe corrosion recall 11V03! 1999-2003 Windstars! Link Here. Notices begin 2/14/2011, a very nice present from Ford. It is almost time for Ford to just get the checkbook out and buy these vehicles back. Details of the investigation. Here is a "Personal Safety Notice" a Canadian Windstar Owner made, nice job!
1/6//11 - Canadian citizens can report their problem here.
12/26/10 - Thank you Wayne for these great pictures of the Front Subframe issue presently being investigated by NHTSA.
12/23/10 - U-TUBE video of NHTSA Axle testing, get your Axle checked!
12/22/10 - God bless the Bowman family of Massachusetts. Life was lost due to a Windstar defect and I pray Ford will fix this problem before there are any more killed in this family vehicle. According to reports NHTSA has opened an expanded Engineering Analysis which could lead to a non-voluntary recall of our Windstars. This is very serious and I hope Ford takes it seriously.
Merry Christmas to all and may your glowing dashboard lights bring you joy this season!
12/21/10 - Other have reported problems with their Overdrive lights and systems. It is my understaning that the electronic device directly below the SCDS switch is sometimes getting soaked with brake fluid from a leaked SCDS switch. See the picture below where the SCDS is circled in yellow and the device below it is wet with brake fluid. This switch has alot to do the the overdrive problems I understand.
11/9/10 - Added the Blend door actuator problem the to the other common windstar problems page. Thanks Tommy. This is a common problem when little tiny plastic gears strip out in the control unit that moves the internal heater door from hot to cold when you turn the dial. It is a cheap part and is somewhat easy to fix.
10/28/10 - Nissan recalled many vehicles for defective relays in their ECM affecting the engine. This is good news for Windstar owners because we have relay problems in our ECM affecting brakes! I believe that NHTSA will start an investigation. Keep those reports going to NHTSA about your ABS and Brake lights. The ABS light means your braking distances are increased in an emergency braking or slippery conditions.
October 2010 10S13 Recall Notice
10/26/10 - Recall notice 10s13 summary. Part 1, Ford will inspect and paint axels. They will also hold any seriously damaged ones with a rental vehicle paid for. Part 2 - Ford will replace serious axels and patch all Axels at a later date in December 2010 or January 2011. Part 3, (Silent law) Ford warranties all recalled parts and services to be good for the life of the vehicle. At this point I do no know how Ford will notify you when Part 2 of the recall is ready. Stay tuned here.
9/7/2010 - I has been reported to me that a simple REBOOT of the ECU unit may help resolve some issues with ECU, (I think until it throws a new code). Remove fuses 101 and 102 next to the battery under the hood to try this.
9/2/2010 - I had my trusted Ford dealership look at my Axle today. They did not see a problem, they cleaned up the rust and applied new paint to it.
DID YOU KNOW RECALLS (Except Tires) ARE GOOD FOR THE LIFE OF THE VEHICLE!
8/29/2010 - A link to theNHTSA Recall Information Page. This is a second confirmation that all corrotion states purchased in OR currently registered inshour receive notice.
8/28/2010 - I personally inspected another Windstar from New York State and found its rear axle in good condition.
8/28/2010 - According to some who have contacted Ford, Ford will not be issuing recall notices to those vans that were purchased in a non rust belt state but are currently regsitered in a rust belt state. This goes against filed Ford Voluntary Recall Letter sent to the NHTSA and Ford should be forced to send letters as they state in the filing.
8/28/2010 - My personal inspection pictures and procedure. You will need a hydrolic floor jack, hammer, rag. My axle in Vermont (a recall state) appears to be pretty solid, however there may be signs of slight stress cracks.
8/27/2010 - Click here to see the NHTSA rear axle recall news and some pictures.
8/20/2010 - NHTSA is listening (I see interest brewing.). Keep those ABS brake light reports going into NHTSA, without your reports they cannot start an investigation. They seem to like the broken soldier joint picture Jeff, it may have been enough to tip the scales in our favor.
8/9/2010 - Thanks to Jeffery P, he took apart an ECM (without breaking it) found a cold broken soldier joint in the master relay which he fixed reassembled his ECM and the problem is gone. The pictures of the "cold" soldier joint are below.
6/13/2010 - If you are having problems past the recall with the ABS light or brake light you are not the only ones. Continue reports to the NHTSA. Rest assured your issues are not going without action.
1/4/2010 - If Ford only installed a fusible link as a solution and you are still having troubles or have new troubles. Please let me know. Address at bottom.
12/29/2009 - Ford in most cases is not doing enough during the recall service to prevent the fires adressed in the recall. Ford dealers are installing a fusable link in the SCDS circuit. This is not enough to prevent fluid from leaking down the wires to the ABS BRAKE unit which has high powered circuits. At a minimum request that Ford replace the defective SCDS switch under the recall.
12/14/2009 - My Windstar is back. It has a new SCDS, Wire Harness, ECU, HCU and 1 wheel speed sensor. They did it right, but that was becuase I had an inside connection and a complete knowledge of the issue.
VERY IMPORTANT: Understand this problem before having Ford do the work. Discuss with the service manager (prior to the work) what he plans to do. If is not what is descibed in the FORD document below. DO NOT have them do the work. You get ONE easy chance to have them do it right. If they do it, but not right you are stuck with it until you can get enough complaints at the NHTSA again to have them open a recall investigation. YOU ARE YOUR OWN BEST ADVOCATE!
11/27/2009 - My van is still in the shop, 24 days now. This gives you an idea of the depth of this issue if there was a fire and parts have to be replaced.
11/26/2009 - Many owners are reporting continued problems after the recall. The NHTSA says to report any problems after the recall was complete. If needed they will open a follow up investigation. Please make sure you report that recall 09S09 was completed by Ford. Please note the recall will only attempt to mitigate a fire hazzard caused by Problem #1 (see below). If fluid did not leak and cause damage to the ABS unit you may be stuck with Problem #2.
11/25/2009 - Recall notices received by owners. Please note! The recall notice is lacking significant details. Make sure you read, understand and print this prior to scheduling your work. If you suspect any leakage of brake fluid it is super important to understand the letter referenced above!
10/13/09 - RECALL OF DEAC SWITCH ANNOUNCED! Recall is for Problem #1
10/15/09 - More recall details added. Print the next two links, read, understand and bring them with you. This is all they should be expected to do for free.
Link to NHTSA Investigation including RECALL details and Remedy
Link to Detailed FORD Recall Document, Read this, understand this and bring it with you.
Ford Information Link -- Pretty Useless.
Ford Recall Notice to Owners. The only good statement in here is to park your van outside! Most everything else is company friendly and lacks the details and specific instructions to aid in proper diagnosis of the issue at hand.
Key information from NHTSA recall page
"Remedy: FORD WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND DEALERS WILL INSTALL A FUSED WIRING HARNESS FOR THE SCDS. DEALERS WILL ALSO INSPECT THE ABS CONTROL CONNECTOR AND REPAIR AS NECESSARY. REPAIRS WILL BE COMPLETED FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN ON OR ABOUT OCTOBER 26, 2009. OWNERS MAY CONTACT FORD AT 1-888-222-2751."
A SPECIAL Thank you to my representative Peter Welch of Vermont for his kick start!
RECALL FAQ, I will post as I learn more. (READ THIS!)
Model and Years Affected
|FORD / E-150||1992-2003|
|FORD / E-250||1992-2003|
|FORD / E-350||1992-2003|
|FORD / E-450||1992-2003|
|FORD / E-550||1992-2003|
|FORD / EXCURSION||2000-2003|
|FORD / EXPLORER||1995-2002|
|FORD / F-250 SD||1993-1997 1999-2003|
|FORD / F-350 SD||1993-1997 1999-2003|
|FORD / F-450 SD||1993-1997 1999-2003|
|FORD / F-550 SD||1993-1997 1999-2003|
|FORD / F53||1994|
|FORD / RANGER||1995-1997 2001-2003|
|FORD / WINDSTAR||1995-2003|
|MERCURY / MOUNTAINEER||1997 2002|
My Own Two Cents - because I paid for the website - Paradise by our dashboard light.
Well my fellow Windstar owners we got a recall. This is fantastic. It is also NOT the end of this problem. AN UNATTENDED FIRE CAN STILL HAPPEN. If Ford does not replace your SCDS switch because it was NOT leaking, be vigilant, watch it, it may start leaking, and if it does have them replace it ASAP! This should be part of an annual personal inspection. The recall solution fusable link DOES NOT STOP leaked fluid from traveling down the wires to the ABS UNIT where two high power 40A circuits are connected. If the fluid hits these circuits a FIRE will happen just like it did in my Windstar van. Listen to the advice of the NHTSA big guy and watch out for all of the warning signs including non-working cruise-control systems, non-working brake lights, illuminated brake-light and ABS dashboard (lights) symbols, and the inability to get the vehicle's transmission out of "park.", blown #10 fuse.
The NHTSA did an excellent job, they investigated the issue found and reported the problem to Ford, who issued the fastest possible company friendly solution. A consumer friendly soultion would have taken MUCH longer, so lets be happy with what we got. What did we get? You got the best document above, a document on Ford letter head that states in my own words, there is a link between the SCDS (speed control deactivation switch) and the ABS unit in which the SCDS can damage the ABS unit.
From the News Desk:
5/6/08 - Major increase in site volume for April! March was 6765 hits, April 12,326!
5/7/08- It appears the NHTSA is staring an investigation into the Deactivation switch leaking a causing fires! This is certainly good news and I'm sure will save lives. If you have a old deactivation switch that leaked, please do not throw it away, we may need to collect a few! I can be reached at scott (at) fordwindstarrecall (dot) info.
5/19/08 - Investigation Official - NHTSA Opened Investigation
11/22/08 - Some good/not so good news. According to my NHTSA contact, the NHTSA has "BURNED UP" three Windstars in its testing! They are still collecting more evidence and documentation, so please keep your reports to the NHTSA coming. TAKE ACTION now, report any problems to the NHTSA and remove the fuses and connectors as described in problem #1 below.
11/22/08 - Request to this page PEAKED in JULY this year 2008 at 42,380 requests! Proving the point that leaked warm brake fluid flows better than colder fluid.
2/20/09 - Evidence still being collected by NHTSA. They are going thru their database I received a call the other day. From what I am hearing they have a good case for a recall. As expected a quiet winter for new reports. This is likely due to the higher viscosity level of the brake fluid.
5/1/09 - No recall yet, more fires and more problems have been reported this time this year than this time last year and there is a significant general trend upward in cases. Added a Fire Prevention section.
5/18/09 - The NHTSA is working with Ford and still taking reports! Please do not give up, if you have any of the problems below, please report them.
8/18/09 - The NHTSA is expected to wrap up its investigation of this issue by the first week in October. While they cannot say definatively, a recall is widely expected.
10/2/09 - The case is NOT closed nor has a recall been announced. Ford has redesigned and is selling a new replacement part (HINT).
1/29/2010 - Posted a page for codes P0171, P0174 and P0401 common problems and solutions.
2/16/2010 - Started a mounted campaign to have the ABS ECM units recalled. This will take a coordinated attack. (We need your help...again.)
The List of Problems you might encounter including FIRE
To avoid a fire you
should perform the following on your vehicle. - RECALL OBSOLETE
Problem #1 (Skip to Problem #2)
The Brake Pressure Differential Deactivation Switch (SCDS) (2B264) located under the Master Cylinder (Behind the Air Filter) over time develops a leak. This causes a short and a fuse trip, fuse #10 if the engine is on. This leak also causes brake fluid to wick down two wires to the ABS brake module (2C219). The fluid accumulates on the (always on) power connectors for the ABS brake system which are powered by fuses 101 and 102 and are both 40 amp. The fluid attacts moisture, road salt and leads to a fire when the fluid and moisture act as conductor between the hot leads and ground. This switch has been the subject of other Ford Recalls, just not the Windstar van yet. Below is a picture of the switch in question. Notice the fluid that leaked on the part below it. This switch will cause cruise control problems, speedometer, odometer and ABS brake system problems.
Pictured above to the LEFT is the OLD Style (DEFECTIVE) SCDS switch manfactured by Texas Instruments. To the right is the new model.
The leaky switch at worst causes a fire at the point where it connects to the ABS ECM module. A picture of a connector that was subject to such a fire is located below. Notice the fluid all over the wires, and the melted copper wire and plastic harness cover.
What you need to do
LEAKED SCDS AFFECTED ABS ECM UNIT BELOW
SCDS connector pictured below (Loaded with fluid)
The above will deactivate your ABS system and prevent the leaked fluid from mixing with the two 40 amp ABS circuits which leads to fire. It will also by installing the jumper wire as described allow the cruise control to still work. You may need to replace fuse #10 if it broke, that will reactivate your cruise, speedometer and odometer. Failure to do the above steps before replacing fuse #10 could result in a catastrophic fire.
Problem #2 - ABS ECM Failure - ABS Brake Light.
The issue of the the ABS brake light is critical in that the ABS brake system does not function as designed by Ford. The issue is caused by HEAT in the ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System) ECM (Electronic Control Module) (2C219) module causing expansion of a large aluminum plate (heat sink) in the ECM which is attached to the ECM main circuit board at all points. The expansion occurs when the unit gets warm especially in the summer months and causes intermittent electrical connection in the unit because the fragile board is being stretched and malformed. The code most commonly scanned by professional mechanics is code c1185. Seen by us owners as a Yellow ABS Brake Light.
In August 2010 Jeffery P. took apart another unit and found a cold solder joint (broken joint) which makes intermittent connections on the master replay. He fixed it and it seems to have resolved the problem. It is NOT easy to fix this, it took patients, tools, electronics tools, glue and GUTS to make a go at this. The two pictures from Jeffery P are below. Thank you Jeff for the contribution.
The October 2009 recall will NOT likely fix this problem unless you had a fire at the ABS connector, in which case Ford should replace this unit as part of the recall. If you have had the recall work done (which reduces the chance of fire) and you still have the Yellow ABS brake light on. Report the problem to the NHTSA.GOV (safercar.gov) website. Report the issue as "Braking distance suddenly increased" in category "Service Brakes, Hydraulic". This is best (and only) way to get Ford to pay attention to this issue.
Here is what I know about this issue in terms of resolution. A new ECM will fix the issue. There is one report of a sunday mechanic cracking open then case to this unit, resoldering all of the joints and putting it back together. It is my understanding his solution worked, however it is impractical for 99.9% of us.
The picture below indicates how well attached/glued the aluminum board was the to circuit board. So well, that when removed the top layer of the board came with it.
Broken Master Relay Soldier Joint. Thank you Jeffery P for the above picture. August 9 2010.
Broken Master Relay Soldier Joint. Thank you Jeffery P for the above picture. August 9 2010.
Below are two pictures the one of the left was a mesurement of the board after it was in my freezer all night (same as your car parked outside in the winter), the one on the right was after I heated the board. There is at least a .25 mm difference in length! Obviously when this aluminum plate it attached to the board the way it is it will expand the board too. Making for BAD connections on the board when HOT.
Here is an excel snip-it to prove the expansion issue. a 4-1/2 Aluminum plate with 250 degrees of temp difference will expand .312108 mm! That is alot with a fragile circuit board!
What to DO
REPORT the problem to the NHTSA.GOV Safercar.gov Canadian citizens can report their problem here.
There are two solutions.
Replace the ECM unit and wait for it to happen again at your expense, so save your receipts. Always buy Ford parts if there is a chance you will be reimbursed. Also a Ford dealership may be the way to go here.
Deactivate the ECM high power by removing fuses 101 and 102 so that the ABS is always off and not intermittent. And wait for Ford to listen to us thru your report to the NHTSA.GOV
The best OEM part prices found were art ford-parts.com. It was taken over by Titus-Will, here is a link to the parts. Please remove the ones you do not need.
1995/2003 : SW-6351 SWITCH (2B264) - Brake Pressure Deactivation Switch
NO TRACTION CONTROL
1999/2000 : XF2Z-2C219-AB - ECM Control Module
2001/2003 : 2F2Z-2C219-BA - ECM Control Module
1999/2000 : XF2Z-2C219-BA - ECM Control Module w/Traction Control
2001/2005 : 2F2Z-2C219-CA - ECM Control Module w/Traction Control
Buy Parts Here
Feel inclined to discuss the issue? Have a question. Go to http://www.2carpros.com/forum/5-vt49767.html.
A Picture is worth 1000 words, in this case 60,000 words.
If you are happy without ABS and can live without it consider the reverse procedure in any service manual to fix a dashboard lightbulb. ABS systems are not part of any state inspection I am aware of.
This page was generated by 2002 Ford Windstar owner Scott Malinowski, he can be reached at scott (at) fordwindstarrecall (dot) info