spare tire winch problems 1998 Windstar


windswept4
05-01-2013, 11:07 PM
To lower the spare tire: find the lugnut wrench (stored in the right wall encasement near the rear liftgate. Raise the carpet in the luggage storage area to locate a circular plastic tab the size of a tennis ball can lid. Pry open that plastic tab and there is a nut inside. The nut is attached to a round shaft by threading and a drive pin. If the drive pin shears off, the lug nut will spin uselessly without turning the round shaft. When the round shaft turns, it will lengthen or shorten the steel cable that retains the spare tire under the vehicle near the exhaust pipe. Looking down from above, turning the nut clockwise tightens the cable (raising the spare tire). Turning counter-clockwise loosens the cable (lowering the spare tire). Please refer to the picture. The lug nut and spare tire lifting and lowering assembly has been removed and is shown in the photo. The close up shows the shaft and lug nut holes, which when properly assembled and the nut hole and shaft hole are properly aligned will be held together with the drive pin. Since my drive pin sheared from over tightening I put a nail in place and sawed off the excess of the nail. In a pinch a pair of vice grips on what little portion of the shaft is exposed might allow enough rotation to loosen the spare tire. I have also heard that letting some air out of the spare will decrease the tire size slightly so that cranking the shaft may not be as difficult. In desperate circumstances I have heard of cutting the steel cable to get the mechanism to release. There is also a lug nut underneath the mechanism (visible when lying on your back on the ground and looking up from the ground). That lug nut does not drive the shaft so turning it either way does not lengthen or shorten the steel cable length.

12Ounce
05-02-2013, 08:01 AM
Good info! This is a lame design. Even if everthing is in good shape, clean, well lubricated, etc ... the cable will not want to feed downward through the metal sleeve without weight/force to keep the cable moving. Without this caution, the cable can get reversed and locked on its drum.

Therefore: If we ever need to lower an empty winch, we should keep downward force on the cable end while doing so ... an assistant can be really helpful for this.

scubacat
05-06-2013, 12:24 AM
I swapped this part out with a junkyard one. I wonder if it was just that pin that caused it to sieze up in the first place?

Thanks for the info. I'll know something else to check next time that happens. Oh, and BTW, I'm one of the ones that cut the cable on the old one to drop it down when it wouldn't lower by cranking the nut.

windswept4
05-06-2013, 10:46 PM
In my case, the pin that holds the drive hex "lug" nut to the shaft sheared off. I was able to spin the hex "lug" nut in either direction on the shaft to which the nut was supposed to be firmly attached; but the nut was simply spinning uselessly on the drive shaft that was supposed to raise and lower the cable holding the spare tire. If your nut seized up so that you could not turn it clockwise or counter clockwise, then I would suspect seizing within the release and windup mechanism of the winch. Road salt over the years can takes its toll and many drivers unfortunately have discovered "roadside" the immobilizing effects that "salt" can have on that spare tire winch.

Windstartled
05-06-2013, 11:18 PM
Good info! This is a lame design.

I confess that I never had to use that spare tire because I don't really like mini-wheels and instead I just carry one of my regular-size winter wheels tucked in the back as a spare. The few times I gave the spare system any thought I was under the naive impression that depressing the tire release button located underneath the instrument panel would trigger some sort of hidden mechanism to do the hard work, or at least it would cause something helpful to happen? Assuming that second-generation models have the same system as 95-98 Windstars, am I right to suppose that such a wild and unbridled optimism on my part would probably have landed me in a bit of trouble had I ever had been forced by circumstance to contemplate the dreaded task of having to find a way of extracting that wheel by some other mean? Previous owner put very little mileage on the van and upon casual -very casual- visual inspection it looks as if that spare has never been used since it was factory installed and might be fused in place...

12Ounce
05-07-2013, 08:39 AM
I know nothing of a "tire release button" on my '99. Since I ordered my Winny to-spec, I included a "full-size" spare. However, when it arrived ... it was 15", while all the wheels on the car were 16". Go figure! I have since changed the spare to a 16".

scubacat
05-07-2013, 10:35 AM
I know nothing of a "tire release button" on my '99. Since I ordered my Winny to-spec, I included a "full-size" spare. However, when it arrived ... it was 15", while all the wheels on the car were 16". Go figure! I have since changed the spare to a 16".

I swapped the worthless donut out for a full size spare courtesy of pull-a-part on buford hwy. I grabbed a 15" though (other wheels are 16"); it should be fine for temporary use to finish up a road trip or something like that. I doubt one inch would matter that much. I had friends in college drive around on different size wheels all the time! (not that I'd recommend that, but for a little while wouldn't matter)

65comet
05-07-2013, 10:51 AM
I've had off-size spares before. If I had a flat on the drive axle, I'd put the spare on the other axle then use the correct sized tire from that other axle to put on the drive axle. Highway speeds with different size tires puts a lot of strain on the differential to have the two axles going at different speeds. It takes extra time to do the two changes, but I feel it is worth it. Especially in an older vehicle where you don't know how the additional strain may affect the drive line components.

Windstartled
05-07-2013, 12:22 PM
I know nothing of a "tire release button"

That button is on the lights switch panel and I'll be danged, for the first time since many years of owning this van I JUST noticed that it says Tire Reset, not Tire Release. From the drivers seat the lettering is not clearly visible and the "set" at the end of Tire Reset is obscured by the steering apparatus so one can only see "Tire Re". I just found that it has to do with the low tire pressure warning system. On my van this system had always seemed buggy so I had never paid attention to it (I check my pressure manually) but pushing this button seems to have fixed the issue. Live and learn I guess.

BTW the tire pressure warning system is not even mentioned in the 2000 owners manual but I just found that it is documented in the 2001 model manual. Since my van was built late in the model-year (July '00) and probably part of the last batch of 2000 models I suppose this is one of those late-addition features that are installed long after the manual is closed to further edits and that the paper sheet addendum they usually give out when this happens has long vanished. Some of the rear seat audio controls (the audio controls/jacks panel located at the rear end of the overhead console is different from all the ones shown in the manual) are also absent from the 2000 manual but appear in the '01 edition. In fact the more I look at the '01 manual the more I see the instruments and controls are the exact same as those in my van, which have slight differences with the ones shown in the '00 manual. Maybe Ford had ran out of '00 parts by the time of final assembly? The differences are not significant enough to confuse most people though.

12Ounce
05-07-2013, 02:56 PM
I have a friend who has a first-of-the-model-year 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee. A big year for changes. But the glove box owner's manual was for a 2000. You talk about confusion..Wow! Instructions for using the tranny selection was totally wrong ... as well as other misleading stuff! Fluid specs, capacities, cabin layout sketches, ...!

Windstartled
05-07-2013, 05:01 PM
I have a friend who has a first-of-the-model-year 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee. A big year for changes. But the glove box owner's manual was for a 2000. You talk about confusion..Wow! Instructions for using the tranny selection was totally wrong ... as well as other misleading stuff! Fluid specs, capacities, cabin layout sketches, ...!

No kidding? Wow, you'd think Chrysler would have paid more attention to such a basic detail, especially with an all-new model of its best-selling SUV.

12Ounce
05-07-2013, 05:06 PM
... I'm not sure the owner's manual error wasn't made at the dealership. I went on line and got a correct manual for her ... but this action was fairly recently, the confusion has been years-long.

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