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Windstar Question?!?!?


rboyer

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Now I know this is not Ranger related, but it's something that I know someone on this forum has the answer to. I just bought a 98 Windstar on ebay for 1000 bucks and the guy said it has a tranny problem. He said it slips in 1st gear. Now I haven't touched a Windstar before as far as replacing the tranny, but i'm not afraid to do it. I know these things are notorious for transmission problems, so even if I bought one from a scrap yard with a warranty i'd still be screwed eventually. Is there some sort of upgrade/revision kit you can buy for these that doesn't cost more than I paid for the whole van? It's got the 3.8 motor, don't they use the AXOD that was put in the Taurus? If so then i'm guessing my chances of finding one that works in a u pull it yard are very slim. Any input would be a big help.
 


AllanD

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The AXOD was long gone by 1998.

Your windstar should have the AX4N or AX4S (not sure which)

That's nearly the limit of my knowledge about them

Now I will exhaust my knowledge...

If you use a similar (but not exactly right) transmission like my brother did when installing a windstar trans into a Taurus the computer will have a conniption.

It kept throwing a check engine light and the code related back to converter lockup performance, wanna know what the exact problem was?

The Windstar trans had a slightly TALLER gear ratio
and that drove the PCM buggy, because the car was going FASTER than it was supposed to be going for a given gear/engine rpm.

AD
 

Bruce

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There is a tag on top of the bell housing that has numbers and letters on it(maybe if they havent washed off) you need to match those numbers because of differences in gear ratios as stated by Allen you can go up a year or 2. In my opinion the best thing to do is have yours rebuilt. Most of the windstars in that year had the AX4S up to year 2001 then they where an AX4N.

When i rebuild one i use a Transgo shift kit which helps them work better and seem to last a little longer due to the upgrading the lube system i usually get any where from 800 to 1,000 to bench build one and thats with a rebuilt converter.

I dont know if you have ever pulled one but you have to remove the whole under carriage and hang the motor to get tranny out.
 

rboyer

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Yeah I knew it was going to be a subframe job!! I just got back from picking up the van. Had to drive like 60 miles on interstate 80 with the thing to get it home and the end result was the van reaching it's destination which is good enough for me for now. The thing didn't seem to have an intermittent problem. Every once in a while it worked like it was supposed to and the rest of the time it would hesitate from a dead stop before shifting into 1st gear and would result in the tires chirping when it engaged! I was able to hold the brake while giving it gas to force it into 1st gear before taking off which kept me from looking like an idiot at the stop signs. And also if you give it too much pedal on the interstate it would start to slip. I figured better safe than sorry and kept it at the point right before it wanted to slip the whole way home just incase it's worth saving the transmission. I don't know but to me it almost seemed like it was low on fluid but it wasn't.
 

Simple_serf

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We finally got rid of our windstar today... ours was a 95 with the recalled 3.8...burnt more water than gas. trans never shifted right, overheats, etc.

No wonder ford stopped making them. They are junk.
 

rboyer

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Yeah I think once I fix mine I might drive it around for a few months and then sell it and atleast get my money back. It seems like they're selling around here for twice of what I paid for it, so I shouldn't have a problem dumping it off on one of those people out there who are loyal to Windstars for some reason. I just don't like the way the thing felt when I drove it home. It felt mechanically solid as far as handling it and everything, but I really don't like the window exposure the thing has, on my way home with the thing every time someone would pass me on the interstate the whole cab would be illuminated from their headlights and I would get blinded until they were fully past me. I should go back to an Aerostar, I honestly think that they were great vans, but try finding one without any rust on it!
 

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I had a 98 windstar , i rebuilt the trans in it at 110,000 miles and i totaled it with a 180,000 on it when i hit a deer at 65 MPH. Never really done anything to it but regular maintenance.
 

rboyer

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Well after doing some research i've come to find out that they have problems with the torque converter control valve getting stuck and eventually burning out the pump. Looks like it can all be replaced with the tranny still in the vehicle but still requires the crossmember to be dropped. Being that i've seen several Windstar vans at the local junkyard with the trannys hanging out of them I think I might just go unbolt the side cover on whatever matches until I find a good one since they'll only charge like $30 for the whole valve body/pump.
 

Bruce

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Make sure you get a valve body that the numbers match your numbers on your valve body, because they had changes in valve bodies and channel plates thru the years.
 

rboyer

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Thanks for the advice. I guess i'm gonna have to rip it apart before I head to the junkyard. Sure beats getting the wrong one and sitting there staring at it for an hour like an idiot realizing how stupid I am.
 

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the planets in the drive take a beating and dont get looked at and serviced alot as well. they scatter more shit through the system and cause havoc...


i have had to work on the axod's and really dont care for them or any of these later abortions.
 

Bruce

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the planets in the drive take a beating and dont get looked at and serviced alot as well. they scatter more shit through the system and cause havoc...
If you use the transgo shift kit you increase the lube flow to the planets which helps them to last longer. AXOD's AX4N's, and AX4S's arent bad there are worst units to build.
 

rboyer

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I'll have to see if any of the local auto parts stores can get me a transgo shift kit by the weekend. I'm dead set on having this thing running the way it's supposed to by Sunday at the latest. For some reason I just can't sit still when I have a dead vehicle sitting around and being that I have free time for most of this weekend it's either fix the van or sit at home thinking about fixing the van.
 

rboyer

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Well I got the side cover off about an hour ago! It was actually a little easier than I thought, the only hard part was that there was JUST enough room to get the cover off and out. I removed the pump cover and everything looks fine in there so i'm guessing i'm just gonna try replacing the control solenoid and putting it all back together. It was easy enough to get it all apart, so if that's not the problem then screw it i'll take it all apart again.
 

rboyer

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Ok i'm a little stuck here! I found a junkyard valve body on Saturday and it "appeared" to be in good shape. I swapped it out and put everything back together and honest to god I thought I fixed it because it wasn't hesitating before going into 1st gear anymore. Boy was I wrong, I only traded one problem for another. Now it doesn't hesitate going into 1st gear, but it does wind out 1st gear until like 6k rpms before shifting to 2nd. I took it right out on a straight flat road with no traffic and got it up into 3rd gear and it cruises fine, but if you slam down on the throttle it starts to slip! Now if I start out from a dead stop and hold the throttle wide open it'll shift straight through the gears without hesitation. I did a stall test and everything was within normal range. I pulled live sensor data to check the speed sensor because i've heard of people having trans problems due to sensors and that checked out fine. One thing though, the TPS is definitely out of range, it's only reading 18 to 93 percent with no dead spots, but I can't see how that can effect it in any way. Basically is there any way that any sensors at all can actually cause slippage? It's weird how it doesn't slip from a dead stop but it does when i'm at higher speeds on the road. It almost seems like i've traded one valve body problem for another which might be due to my negligence to test all of the solenoids when it was out of the vehicle. Would anyone happen to know where I can get pinouts for the harness on the transmission so that I can test the impedance of the solenoids without ripping off the side cover again? Alldata doesn't seem to be that descriptive in that area. Any input would be greatly appreciated because i'd rather try every test in the book before resorting to replacing the transmission.
 

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