Ford Windstar Transmission Problems & Overview

The Ford Windstar was a multi passenger van that began production in 1994. Although it went through many changes in platform, design and nameplate, until it ceased production in 2007, Ford only used 2 different transmissions in that span. First was the AX4S model, a 4 speed unit that was an update of the AXOD (automatic overdrive) that was first produced in 1986. Throughout its tenure, the AX family of transmissions struggled with lubrication problems, harsh shifting (specifically 1-2 or 2-1 gear changes) and other internal failures. Ford renamed the AX4N to the 4F50N and started putting it in the Windstar in 2001. They improved shift quality and overall reliability and it was widely used for other Ford models.

Need a replacement transmission? Quality transmission suppliers can be hard to find. Have your 17-digit vehicle VIN# ready. Free estimates sent via text and email.

Ford Windstar Transmission Replacement Cost Estimate

These are the most current prices for a remanufactured replacement Ford Windstar Series transmission.

Replacement AX4N / 4F50N Transmission:

TransmissionStreet Smart TransmissionAutozoneAdvance Auto Parts
AX4N / AX4S156015001500

Replacement AX4S Transmission:

TransmissionStreet Smart TransmissionAutozoneAdvance Auto Parts
AX4N / AX4S156015001500


Can I drive with a Ford Windstar transmission problem?

If your Ford Windstar can still make it up and down the road, you might say “It’s fine, I’ll just drive it until I can get it fixed”. But that is not always a good idea, depending on the symptoms. You see, there are a lot of (very expensive) moving parts inside of a transmission, and if something isn’t right, continuing to drive with a transmission problem could damage something else.

How often does a Ford Windstar transmission need to be replaced?

The overall lifespan of a Ford Windstar transmission largely depends on how well it was maintained. Factory design flaws also factor into this equation, along with how/how hard you drive. But on average, we’ve seen the Ford Windstar transmission last for between 80,000-180,000 miles. A high quality replacement transmission however, can last considerably longer if all of the factory design flaws have been addressed and the vehicle has been maintained.

How are Ford Windstar transmission issues diagnosed?

It is fairly easy to guesstimate what the root cause of your Ford Windstar transmission problems might be, but you won’t truly know unless you have the right tools and experience. A good mechanic or transmission repair center will be able to connect your truck to a computer and find out which diagnostic trouble codes (DTC’s) have been stored. Once they know what to look for, they can perform a visual inspection to verify the problem.

How is a Ford Windstar transmission replaced?

In order to replace your Ford Windstar transmission, the truck has to be lifted from the ground in order to gain access to all of the parts that will need to be unbolted. Then the transmission can be lowered to the ground (typically with a transmission jack), so the new transmission can be installed.

Recommendations for Ford Windstar transmission issues?

To save time and get back on the road faster, have your 17-digit VIN# handy and you can get an online quote for a reman Ford Windstar transmission here, then find a local shop using our Find a Shop guide to install it for you.

How to Solve Ford Windstar Transmission Problems

Solution A: Buy a Used Ford Windstar Transmission

The quickest way to fix your transmission problems is to simply buy a used transmission or used transmission. These can be found at most junk yards, and they often come with a 30-90 day warranty. However, there’s no way to determine the actual condition of the internal components, so you could be spending a bunch of money to have the exact same problems. Plus, that warranty only covers the transmission if it’s defective, not the labor costs that you’ll have to pay.

Solution B: Buy a Rebuilt Ford Windstar Transmission

Another option would be a rebuilt transmission or rebuilt transmission. A local repair shop will remove your transmission, then install a bunch of new parts during the rebuild. The problem here is, the skills and experience of each transmission rebuilder will vary widely from shop to shop, so you could have problems from something that wasn’t adjusted properly. And the 1-2 year warranty might only cover you at certain transmission repair shops, in a specific geographical area.

Solution C: Buy a Remanufactured Ford Windstar Transmission

Many owners depend on their vehicle to commute and get things done. Their gasoline engines are designed to go 100’s of thousands of miles, so it makes sense to invest in a remanufactured transmission.


Ford Windstar Recalls

1996 Ford Windstar – Power Train Automatic Transmission Park Pawl – 96V086000

During factory installation the park pawl shaft may have been damaged due to misalignment. The shaft should be held in place by a roll pin but the pin may not have been properly lined up in its hole and therefore may have been crushed or severely damaged during assembly.

A broken or damaged parking system in a transmission can lead to unintended vehicle roll away. When the park pawl is not working properly, the transmission may appear to be in park “P” to the driver but there is nothing to stop the vehicle from rolling away unless the parking/emergency brake is applied.

Recalls must always be performed at an authorized repair facility that is specific to the make of your vehicle. The dealer will inspect the parking pawl and roll pin for damage and proper installation. If damage is found to the roll pin the dealer will replace it and the park pawl shaft. They will also remind customers that when parking, it is a good practice to engage the parking brake or emergency brake before putting the transmission into “P”.

Ford Windstar Technical Service Bulletins

TSB 139779
Torque converter clutch not engaging when commanded. This TSB may be associated with DTC’s stored in the PCM. The P0741 and P1744 will cause the check engine/transmission light to come on. This applies to vehicles from 1996-2003.

TSB 88324
Some vehicle equipped with AX4N or 4F50N may leak fluid from main control cover area. You may see transmission fluid on the ground under the vehicle. It may be caused from a leaking seal; the dealership will inspect and repair if needed.

TSB 67178
Some vehicle built from 1/31/00 not be able to reprogram pcm or unable to clear PCM vehicle id. This may be due to an incompatible or damaged PCM or may just need to be updated or re-flashed. Always check with our dealer if the code is persistent.

Fair Replacement Transmission Cost by Vehicle

  1. Use the Year / Make / Model lookup tool to determine what transmission your vehicle has.

  2. Find your transmission model in the table below for fair prices from reputable suppliers. Also fair labor cost for local installation at a local auto repair shop.

  3. Get a free estimate on a remanufactured transmission by email.

Fair Remanufactured Transmission Price Ranges by Transmission Model Updated May 1, 2018

transmission repair cost
Download Replacement Transmission Cost Guide PDF

What Problem Does Your Windstar Have?

Let us know the year, mileage and problem you’re having as well as any trouble (OBD) codes you’ve found. If you’ve been given a quote or paid for a repair, we’d like to hear about that too!

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