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Old 02-28-2006, 10:09   #1 (permalink)
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98 Windstar w/ 3.8L. Transmission problems.

Transmission problems in a Ford? Really?

I dumped my Sable after two transmissions (each at ~60K miles). My old '89 T-Bird starting having Transmission problems at ~120K.

I hate this car, electical problems, dome light, door-open indicator, speedo died, etc. It lost first gear at 60K and we got the transmission replaced under the extended warranty. Now, 60K miles later, the transmission has gone out altogether.

It happened on a cold, cold day. I started the car at work, drove 10 miles to the grocery store. Outsite temp is maybe -2 degrees (F). As I pull into the store parking lot, it felt like I was on ice. Lots of engine, little movement. A couple weeks earlier the check-engine light was intermittently coming on and off - it's been on solid for two weeks or so by this day. I've half learned to ignore it.

After fussing with it, I realize that it's the transmission not grabbing. I rev it up, it grabs for a moment and I pull into a space.

After coming out, maybe 10 minutes later, it grabs again if I rev it and I stutter my way to the house - maybe three blocks.

Now it won't move at all, forward or reverse, any gear setting. It's like it's stuck in neutral. I've got two ideas, either the torque converter or the tranmission pump.

So - I need a cheap way out of this - I don't have a lot of money to throw at this but I need the car. The salvage yard has a lot of Taurus models with 3.8 L engines, but no 1998 models, either Taurus or Windstars.

I'm not very automotive savvy - I'm a computer geek for a living - but I've got some talented friends with a large garage & air tools (one's an auto painter, the other an off-road hobbyist). We're assuming that this is something we might be able to do ourselves.

So - am I full of it thinking I can do this? Is there a good way to cross-reference this tranmission to other model vehicles and find a way to either pull the entire tranmission or just a torque converter?

Diagnostically, am I on the right track? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks - B
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Old 03-31-2006, 23:21   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 98 Windstar w/ 3.8L. Transmission problems.

My first question would be how often do you have your transmission flushed?

In all honesty it sounds as if you don't take care of your vehicles so why bother changing the transmission or doing any work if you treat it as a through away?

You say you are a computer geek, how would your computer feel if it sat for 10 years in a dusty enviroment?

I work on computers for a living also, and I know what happens when fans go bad, when dust builds up, etc...

The same thing happens on cars. You have to have the transmission fluid flushed every 30,000 miles if you want the vehicle to last. Depending on the coloration of the coolant, every 15,000 to 50,000. There is more that needs to be done for regular maintenance.

That regular maintenance is a lot less expensive that replacing a major component.
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Old 05-10-2006, 14:13   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 98 Windstar w/ 3.8L. Transmission problems.

Belrix,

I'm with you. Same issue with my '99. Basically the torque corvertor went out. Flashing engine light. If you want to keep the Van then plan on $2500.00. I take very good care of my vehicles. Oil change regularly, Air/oil/trans filters at correct intervals. But apparently this is a normal issue with the Windstars. Good luck, find a mechanic you trust and have it rebuilt or send it to the yard. Hey if you live down my way you could put it on blocks and leave it in the front yard.
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