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? Get an estimate for replacement transmissions and local installation. Look up your transmission model by vehicle make and model.

What Transmission Do I Have?

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 Transmission
AX4N / AX4S2037

Replacement AX4S Transmission:

TransmissionStreet Smart Transmission
AX4N / AX4S2037

Ford Windstar Transmission Diagnostic Trouble Code | DTCs

Trouble CodeDescription
P0711Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Range/Performance
P0712Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Low Input
P0713Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit High Input
P0714Transmission Fluid Temperature Sensor Circuit Intermittent P0715
P0715Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit
P0717Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit No Signal
P0718Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit Intermittent
P0740Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Malfunction
P0741Torque Converter Clutch Circuit
P0742Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Stuck On
P0743Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Electrical
P0744Torque Converter Clutch Circuit Intermittent
P0748Pressure Control Solenoid 'A' Electrical
P0750Shift Solenoid 'A'
P0751Shift Solenoid 'A' Performance or Stuck Off
P0752Shift Solenoid 'A' Stuck On
P0753Shift Solenoid 'A' Electrical
P0755Shift Solenoid 'B'
P0756Shift Solenoid 'B' Performance or Stuck Off
P0757Shift Solenoid 'B' Stuck On
P0758Shift Solenoid 'B' Electrical
P0817Transmission Fluid Pressure Manual Valve Position Switch Reverse with Drive Ratio
P0817Starter Disable Circuit
P0840Transmission Fluid Pressure Sensor/Switch “A”
P0960Pressure Control Solenoid “A” Control Circuit/Open
P0961Pressure Control Solenoid “A” Control Circuit Range/Performance
P0962Pressure Control Solenoid “A” Control Circuit Low
P0963Pressure Control Solenoid “A” Control Circuit High
P0977Shift Solenoid “B” Control Circuit High
P0978Shift Solenoid “C” Control Circuit Range/Performance
P0979Shift Solenoid “C” Control Circuit Low
P0980Shift Solenoid “C” Control Circuit High
P0982Shift Solenoid “D” Control Circuit Low
P0983Shift Solenoid “D” Control Circuit High
P0985Shift Solenoid “E” Control Circuit Low
P0986Shift Solenoid “E” Control Circuit High

Ford Windstar Transmission 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 Transmission Technical Service Bulletins

TSB 03-12-3 – Torque converter clutch not engaging and/or OBDII trouble codes P0741 or P1744
1996 – 2003 Ford Taurus – 1996 – 2003 Ford Windstar – 1996 – 2002 Lincoln Continental – 1996 – 2003 Mercury Sable
Problem – Drivability issues can result when the torque converter clutch will not engage when commanded. This can be caused by a number of issues including a worn out AX4S torque converter, or a sticking TCC solenoid.
Solution – Replace torque converter and/or TCC solenoid

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.

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.

Need a replacement transmission? Get an estimate for replacement transmissions and local installation. Look up your transmission model by vehicle make and model.

What Transmission Do I Have?

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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Reggie K Swicegood
1 year ago

I have a 2003; Ford Windstar I Crank it up put it in gear and take off it’s in high gear it won’t downshift it don’t slip any but it just stays in high gear I have reversed as well it doesn’t slip it works but I can’t get it to downshift or nothing just wondering what it might be

Reggie K Swicegood
1 year ago

I crank it up put in drive and it’s in high gear want change gears stays in high it has reverse as well it doesn’t slip any

Tom Grovenstein
1 year ago

The “od” (overdrive) light on the instrument panel comes on and blinks. This occurs after the engine/drive train reaches normal operating temp. The vehicle is a 1999 Ford Windstar w approximately 120,000 miles.
Service wise, the tranny has had the fluid changed and filters replaced in the last 5,000 miles.
Any suggestions?

Larry Lynn wiley Jr.
1 year ago

I would love to get it fixed only thing I don’t have the money to do so right now but would love it fixed and will doalmost anything for me please THUNDER CAT…

Joshua Aaron Goldberg
1 year ago

2000 Ford windstar SEL Was driving fine then stopped pulling acted as if in neutral after letting it set for a few minutes I had first gear for short period then nothing let it set then again had first gear would changing fluid and filter correct this problem

Last edited 1 year ago by Joshua Aaron Goldberg
2 years ago

2002 windstick ax4n. After trans gets warm-up, I experience an intermittent no 1-2 shift unless I let off of throttle. Also have ovd off light on.

Ashley Allen
3 years ago

My 2003 ford windstar will not do anything when you put it into gear no gears work it had been running just fine then went to leave and wouodnt move

Sarah Seaman
4 years ago

I’m having trouble shifting. I have to move the shifter up and down to get it into reverse amd now even though it says parked it’s not staying in park.

4 years ago

My fordwinstar 2004 is shocking oil in plog the car will not move well

5 years ago

of. light started flashing. pulled over turned van off , light did not flash. drove another 10 miles. light starts flashing. motor revs no drive . roll to shoulder . turn off the ign. set 10 min. start van put it in gear drive for a qtr. mile no drive . repeat.

4 years ago
Reply to  bill

Did you figure out the problem my is doing the same thing

4 years ago
Reply to  bill

very common windstar trans problem. It is either the overdrive unit and/or the torque converter, from my experience, and I currently own a 2001 WS that does the same thing (137k miles). Depending on the year of the WS, a code may not be set, but this is a well known problem to most all Ford WS techs. I do not want to remove the trans and go through that. my solution is to drive with the overdrive turned off. Super easy in town. Press the button on the end of the gear selector lever and the yellow light on the dash will show it is off. I have now over 5,000 miles on the trans with no other problems and it shifts fine under all conditions. Good Luck

Valdemar Asgeirsson
5 years ago

Good morning. I found you on internet. I am a farner in Iceland. I have Ford Windstar 2002. Transmission failed. I have anotherone, year 1997. I was going ti use the tranny from the older one in the 2002. The 2002 has electric connections to the tranny, (surely speed-meter and more) but the 1997 has mechanic connection to speed meter. Do you think I can solve the problem ?
Yours sincerally, Valdemar Ásgeirsson.

juan arce
5 years ago

Do you have Automatic Transmission Park Pawl – 96V086000-Ford Windstar 1996?
Do you deliver other Country?

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