Help diagnosing Ford electrical problems?


Old 11-10-08, 07:27 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 12
Help diagnosing Ford electrical problems?


Wow - a bit more searching and it looks like I have found my problem, and the fix:

I will share my findings and success/failure with the repair. Looks like the part I need to fix it is under $12. Happy Happy Joy Joy!!


We have a 2001 Ford Windstar, v6 engine, auto transmission, approx 146K miles. We've had some of the random electrical problems of Fords that check out fine so we just ignore them. But this morning things went bonko.

First, I noticed that the O/D Off light is flashing. Manual says this means a transmission problem is detected. The van runs just fine, seems to be shifting appropriately, RPM not going too high, etc. If that were the only problem I'd probably just take it to the transmission place to get it checked out.

But also this morning the speedometer is not working, the odometer is lit but just shows dashes (no numbers), and the heater controls are acting funny (can't control rear heat from front controls, and only partially from back controls).

We took a road trip this weekend and returned home last night after over 500 miles with no problems at all. (the ABS light and emergency brake light are stuck on, but this is "normal.") All the dashboard and heat problems started first thing this morning. The car runs just fine, sounds just fine, smells just fine, nothing looks or sounds amiss under the hood. I didn't check the trans. fluid level (van was parked on a hill), but the fluid looks nice and pink. All of this leads me toward electrical problems, and not really transmission.

My husband and I are fairly handy at fixing stuff, and I was hoping we could just get an idea of where to start. Our mechanic said elec. problems are notoriously hard to find, and at $75 per hour I'm hoping to at least narrow it down before I give in and take it to the shop. We change our own brakes and spark plugs, and have changed out sensors when the check engine light has given us a code. But I'd imagine there's no code to start with if the light isn't on. Fixing a known problem is one thing, but I'm stumped about how to diagnose the totally unknown.

Thanks so much for any direction anyone can give me.

Last edited by waspnest; 11-10-08 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 11-10-08, 07:34 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 12
Wow - after I searched this site and posted, I did a google search and found this: Ford Windstar Recall For ABS Brake Light Issue

We did recently have it in for low brake fluid and the shop told us about this issue with the cruise control (as that is where our leak was).

So it looks like this is probably what I'm dealing with. I'm just starting the research on this issue, and I'm REALLY hoping that with 146K miles Ford won't just tell me to go fly a kite.

Anyone have experience with this recall?

(second reading - not a recall yet apparently, just a known problem - hoping to find out more...)

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