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Old 05-12-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
ParkdaleDamian
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Smile Windstar general upkeep

Hello all fellow Windstar owners!
I'm driving a 2000 3.8 SEL with over 265,000 km and really enjoy it. Everyday I drive past the Oakville, ON Ford plant on my way to work where my Windstar was born

Thought it would be nice to hear all your guys general maintenance/driving techniques to keep the Windstar running happily.


Driving practices:
I try to keep it under 2000 rpm when accelerating from a stop to keep the transmission and engine from getting too stressed out. It's neat how from what I understand, if you disconnect the battery for a while and reconnect it again, the computer will start to re-learn your driving technique to improve gear changes.


General upkeep:
Change the oil every 7000km using pennzoil platinum 5w-30 full synthetic. For oil filter, i like to use the fram xg3600. Prior to the oil change, i'll pour half a can of seafoam into the crankcase and drive around for 30-50km. I find this really helps get more unwanted crud out, and cleans lifter mechanisms and such.

Last year i changed from platinum to ngk iridium plugs/wires. Found a slight increase in acceleration, but that might just be a placebo.

About once i year, i'll pull the vacuum hose off the brake booster and while the engine is running, pour half a can of seafoam slowly down there. Normally, you should stall the engine by dunking the vacuum hose in the seafoam but mine just sucks it all up so i have to actually turn off my engine by key. I'll let it sit between half hour and an hour, then fire it up and revving it to about 200-2500rpm. I don't get a huge amount of smoke but do immediately notice a much smoother idle and increase in performance as well as black stuff on the ground under exhaust. seafoam cured my engine from a tapping sound.

I had the transmission flush, clean and fill process done by Ford themselves last year for preventative maintenance.

I try and keep the tires at around 35 psi, a couple psi less in the winter time for traction.



Overall my Windstar has bee very good to me apart from a couple of minor fixes here and there. It would be nice to hear your guys driving/maintenance tips and secrets.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:14 AM   #2
northern piper
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Re: Windstar general upkeep

welcome to the site. So I gotta ask, do you really pass by the Oakville plant yet live in Sault Ste Marie?? Isn't that about 800 km whether you go thru the states or stay in Ontario?

On a mechanical note, I must say I haven't done any of the procedures that you mention but I suppose if they're working for you, keep it up. I've heard some horror stories of trans and engine "cleaning" only to have failures after the cleaning. I guess if you start with that procedure early and the motor is "used" to it things would/could be ok.

I'm interested about your findings regarding the spark plugs. I've found that the OEM are the only way to go and have heard confirmed here basically the same. The "replacement" or "identical" plugs by other manufacturers tend to cause problems with ping and codes etc. Glad again that is not your finding.

If you want to add to your preventative measures, you could send an oil sample to Blackstone Labs every once in a while. I do with both the trans fluid and oil about once a year. It has revealed a lot over the years on the 3 vehicles I maintain. Cheap cost for lots of valuable data. Like running bloodwork on your car. (for what it's worth, I have no interest in the company...)

I too have a 2000 3.8 and am working hard to keep it on the road for another 3 years or so. Wish me, and all others, luck!
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:06 AM   #3
ParkdaleDamian
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Re: Windstar general upkeep

Quote:
Originally Posted by northern piper View Post
welcome to the site. So I gotta ask, do you really pass by the Oakville plant yet live in Sault Ste Marie?? Isn't that about 800 km whether you go thru the states or stay in Ontario?

On a mechanical note, I must say I haven't done any of the procedures that you mention but I suppose if they're working for you, keep it up. I've heard some horror stories of trans and engine "cleaning" only to have failures after the cleaning. I guess if you start with that procedure early and the motor is "used" to it things would/could be ok.

I'm interested about your findings regarding the spark plugs. I've found that the OEM are the only way to go and have heard confirmed here basically the same. The "replacement" or "identical" plugs by other manufacturers tend to cause problems with ping and codes etc. Glad again that is not your finding.

If you want to add to your preventative measures, you could send an oil sample to Blackstone Labs every once in a while. I do with both the trans fluid and oil about once a year. It has revealed a lot over the years on the 3 vehicles I maintain. Cheap cost for lots of valuable data. Like running bloodwork on your car. (for what it's worth, I have no interest in the company...)

I too have a 2000 3.8 and am working hard to keep it on the road for another 3 years or so. Wish me, and all others, luck!

In case you were curious, I do not commute 800 km to work everyday, lol. I was living in the beautiful city of SSM Ontario side last year but ended up moving. Never changed my location on here and probably wouldn't notice if you hadn't pointed that out so thanks .

As far as the iridium plugs go, they haven't given me any issues at all.

Blackstone labs does sounds like a good idea and it's impressive they'll send you the test kit for free.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:12 AM   #4
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Re: Windstar general upkeep

Ditto on Blackstone Labs. They just settled my nerves concerning coolant getting into the crankcase on SS's Tribute. Then I found external leak at coolant pump. Whew!!

Our '99 Winny has a third-of-a-million miles on it ... runs well ... and with Blackstone's help hope to get half-million. I also have no ownership equity in Blackstone ... darn it!!

In our crankcase, we wish to have only Mobil 1, no cleaners or other stuff. Nothing snorted up the intake. Seems to work for us.

Good luck to you.

PS: I have visited that plant in Oakville ... hope to afford a Flex some day.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:16 PM   #5
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Re: Windstar general upkeep

Sounds like a good maintenance routine. I've personally never used seafoam (it's not available here in Mexico). For an engine that has been overheated and rebuilt twice, and a transmission rebuilt once, I would say my Windstar runs great and maybe even better than others I've seen around here.

My only maintenance is engine oil replacement every 3k miles, transmission fluid every 20k miles (actually I've done it once since it's been rebuilt) and plugs every year or so. I don't drive as much as you guys do in other countries and the weather changes aren't as aggressive nor extreme as up north; so maintenance schedules can be a little "neglected" and still be on the safe side.

I'm not saying it's a common practice, but that I'm a bit flexible about it. The only thing I would advise is to stay away from FRAM filters. I've read many times about the anti drain valve being faulty and allowing the oil to loose pressure overnight. I've personally experienced it with a filter I got (it would cause a tapping sound during the first seconds after starting the engine).

I also try to keep the wheels as close to 35 PSI as possible.

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Old 05-18-2012, 10:41 PM   #6
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Re: Windstar general upkeep

The Fram XG series filter is quite good......the only Fram filter that I would use.
Another filter that I really like (even better) is the Bosch Distance Plus filter.

In the "general winstar information" sticky thread, I list some of the problem areas that seem to come up over and over........so a read through that should give you some pointers.

As for those Iridium plugs.......I would ONLY use the ones that have the platinum enhancement on the ground tab.
I have not looked up NGK or DENSO plugs for the windstar to see if/what they list, but both of those companies make the Iridium electrode plugs with platinum enhanced ground tab for my Toyota Sienna.
This is very important because one bank of cylinders fires with a Positive polarity spark and the other bank fires with a Negative polarity spark.....and this causes 1 bank to wear the electrode faster and the other bank to wear the ground tab faster.
For this reason.....having different materials can cause the plugs on 1 bank to wear a gap bigger, faster than the other bank........if the ground tab does not have the harder enhancement....it is going to wear MUCH faster.
ALSO......both brands I mentioned, (while we are talking about iridium plugs) have the "standard" 0.7mm electrode.......and also have the "power plus" (Denso name) that have a 0.4mm electrode..... Careful reading on the DENSO website......the 0.7mm is rated by Denso for "up to 120K miles", whereas the 0.4mm is rated for "up to 30K miles".
BIG difference.
In spite of all the claims that both NGK and DENSO make about the smaller electrode plugs giving you more power (I am positive that I would not notice any power gain).......I sure don't want to be changing them that often....particularly not on the Sienna.

In the Windstar, I used ONLY the double platinum (electrode AND ground tab) listed in the Motorcraft or Autolite brand.

I notice that the Windstar and Sienna BOTH have Many different plugs listed on auto part store listings for the vehicle....but ONLY 1 or 2 are REALLY correct for matching OEM specifications.
My Sienna owner's manual lists both the DENSO and NGK plug numbers........and that is the only plug that I will use unless I see a TSB telling me different.
I did the same thing for my Windstar.....
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