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2001 windstar won't start after not being able to turn off!?

07-26-2011, 09:23 AM
I was driving with cruise control on, suddenly my radio turned off and my power locks started going crazy, they went up and down rapidly on there own for a few seconds .at this time I smelt some sort of burning plastic. I tried to turn off the car in neutral to try and restart the power to get my radio back on and I realized the car would not turn off. When I got home to turn off the car I had to disconnected the battery to turn off because even in off position with the key out of the ignition the car would not turn off. Now the car won't turn on. When I turn the key nothing happens. What could be the problem? It is defiantly electric or at least I think. Please help! Thank you god bless.

07-26-2011, 11:41 PM
The no turn off / no start sounds like the ignition switch is defective.
I am not up on the electrical in the newer windstars (1999 and newer).......does it have the "feature" where the power doors lock when you put the vehicle in drive or when you reach a certain speed?......if so, it could STILL be ignition switch related.
The other item that "could" be involved is the "Neutral Safety Switch", AKA Transmission Range sensor....which is a common failure item....but not in the way you mention here......although the failure you mention is not very common.

You should be able to start the vehicle in PARK or in try BOTH postions to see if it makes a difference.
If it DOES make a difference, then the Neutral Safety Switch is defective.
This part is on top of the transmission....the cable from the Gear Select connects to it.

Again, I suspect the ignition switch FIRST......Neutral Safety Switch SECOND....
I don't see how the neutral safety switch would be able to bypass the ignition switch......which is why I put the suspects in the order I have.

07-27-2011, 07:38 AM
I agree with above. Of course, chasing the problem with a voltmeter and wiring schematic is the proper way to analyze .... but if one is to guess, the ignition switch is high on my list. Keep in mind that the switch is actually a box way down inside the steering column cover ... and it is actuated by a linkage rod hooked to the key tumbler.

07-27-2011, 11:11 AM
Thank you guys, I'm going to order a new ignition switch. I am an electrician so I am good with my hands, do you guys think it's I could install the part my self. If so could someone tell me how to change the part? Thank you guys!

07-27-2011, 01:49 PM
There may be something in Haynes on this, not sure. It's fairly straight forward ... the trim levels vary a bit, but just remove the steering column covers, in particular, the covers on the bottom side. Can't miss it. Be sure to lubricate the linkage and key tumbler while you are in there.

... and disconnect battery before beginning.

07-27-2011, 06:49 PM
You guys think pep boys would sell the part?

07-27-2011, 07:27 PM

Any autoparts store should have it.

This is the procedure to replace it:


Disconnect negative battery cable. Disconnect positive battery cable. Wait one minute to deplete air bag back-up power supply. Remove lower instrument panel steering column cover and reinforcement. Remove 2 ignition switch retaining screws. Disconnect ignition switch electrical connector. Using key, turn ignition lock to OFF position. Remove ignition switch from steering column.


Turn ignition lock cylinder to LOCK position. Place actuator rod on switch. Place switch on column studs while aligning rod hole in ignition switch with actuator rod. Tighten retaining nuts to specification. See TORQUE SPECIFICATIONS . Check switch for proper operation in all positions. To complete installation, reverse removal procedure.

Ignition switch retaining nuts torque --- 53 In lbs.


07-28-2011, 05:55 PM
Just change the switch still nothing , I try to start the car no starting clicking or ne thong. Just a little dimming from the power trying to start the car. Is it possibly a bad starter?

07-28-2011, 06:06 PM
I noticed even when the keys are not in the ignition the dash board is still lit up

07-29-2011, 08:30 AM
I noticed even when the keys are not in the ignition the dash board is still lit up

Sorry the switch did not do it for you ... probably good maintenance action anyway ... they do wear out eventually.

As I wrote, it would be a lot easier to find the fault with a voltmeter and diagram. But you have given us a new clue ... I would suggest the following: (Perhaps with an assistant) Pull the relays from their sockets, one-by-one, until the dash board lights go out. Don't confuse the relay locations ... make sure they get back in the correct socket. I am guessing here that one relay (or more) may be "stuck" and is not "opening" as it should. Remove all the relays, under the hood and inside the cabin. I'm particular interested in what the "switched power relays" do for you ... there are four of them. If you have a glovebox manual, you can look them up.

If removing all the relays do not affect the instrument lights ... start the procedure again, pulling the fuses .... one-by-one.

Get back to us ....

07-29-2011, 01:17 PM
Hey guys, could it be a bad starter? I'm not even getting a click when I go to start the car with the new ignition switch, same as before? I have a feeling when the problem first occurred there was a power serge. Thanks guys Id like to here some feed back!

07-29-2011, 01:26 PM
I always like to go after what I know "ain't right". Having the instrument lights on without the key .... I think "ain't right".

I don't see how the starter can cause all the symptoms you have .... but hey, anything's possible! Try disconnecting it.

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