The Truth About Cars » Windstar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 11:00:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Windstar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com New or Used? Help Me Find My Old Love Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/new-or-used-help-me-find-my-old-love-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/new-or-used-help-me-find-my-old-love-edition/#comments Thu, 14 Feb 2013 19:09:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=477452 Dear Steve & Sajeev,

For 14 years I have owned a 1998 Ford Windstar Northwoods Edition with the indomitable 3.8 Liter engine. I love this van! It’s been so reliable. $38,000 and 4 transmissions later, and old rusty is still trucking. Only had to do 4 head gaskets.

AAA absolutely loves towing my vehicle. The tow truck operator and I are nearly best friends now. The autoparts store employees know my vehicle year/model immediately as soon as I walk in the door.

This Windstar is a known commodity in my town. When I turn right, everyone knows now to move out of my way before the vehicle stalls and I lose my power steering. My bottom is permanently embedded into the comfortable 1/4″ padded seat.

My question is, “Where can I find another car with such outstanding reliability?” Here are a few highlights of my Ol’ Reliable…

  • 4 transmissions.
  • 4 head gaskets.
  • 2 engine overhauls.
  • Umpteen O2 sensors.
  • Various engine sensors.
  • Cupholders are perfect!
  • Body panels are non-existent as of 5 years ago (rust).

So what should I get? As you can tell by the $38,000 I spent, I am more than happy to invest in the right vehicle. Thanks!

Steve Says:

Gosh, this answer is as easy as rebuilding a Northstar V8. A job that only takes about three days and a fervent level of prayer.

Come to think of it, I would focus specifically on the late 1990′s vehicles since you apparently have a soft spot for them.

The Cadillac Deville and Seville of that era would easily offer the same fuel economy and comparable mechanical longevity. Oh, before I forget. Ignore the Escalade and everything else with a 350. That engine is pure junk!

Then you have the game changing late-90′s Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler Concorde with the tough as nails 2.7 Liter engine. I once bought a 2002 model that was owned by the Salvation Army since day one and had the oil changed religiously every 3,000 miles. It lasted exactly 95,000 miles. Apparently they take to longevity the same way that Richard Simmons takes to pussy.

I think a 1998 model would be about as good as it gets. They rarely go for more than $600 at the auctions and you see them at every auction here in Georgia. A very popular vehicle and surprisingly affordable.

Perhaps you want a more sophisticated car. Maybe something a bit more rare and exotic. How about a Daewoo? I don’t see too many of them out and about anymore. I’m sure the lucky owners must be keeping them in the garage in the hopes that they become the next Barrett-Jackson collectible.

There was a beautiful white Daewoo Nubira wagon at an impound auction in my town a few years back with only 41k miles. The bidding was downright furious that day.  In the very last minute, the guy who started the bidding at $100 was outdone by yours truly. Thanks to an intimidating wink of an eye which raised the bidding to a stratospheric $110. I remember that I gave him a wry smile with a wink that showed no mercy. He never made eye contact with me again.

Anyhow, I went to try to find an engine for it and you know what? None of the junkyards will sell one to you! It’s that valuable! I think the guys hording those engines are the same ones that won’t let me find a transmission for my 5-cylinder 1993 VW Eurovan.

So if it were me, I would go for the 1999 Daewoo Nubira wagon. Make sure you get the automatic.

You’re welcome.

Sajeev answers:

Steve has this all wrong: how can someone that made me laugh hard enough to cry while typing in WordPress trade up from that sweet-ass Ford Windstar?

You need a BMW 7-series (E38), Mercedes S-class (W140 or W220) or Audi A8 (Type 4D) to really max out your “bang for the buck.” By “buck” I mean the money you give people in your community who thrive by fixing horrible vehicles, horribly.  And by “bang” I mean any of the popular component failures that make doing a motor swap on a 3.8L Ford look like child’s play.

The fully depreciated–yet top drawer–German Sedans have it all for you!

  • There’s the air of sophistication and class of a Northwoods Edition Ford product, but more of it!
  • The imminent failure of sensors and modules, at prices exponentially higher than O2 sensors!
  • A single engine/transmission wear item that leads to a rebuild or replacement: costing as much as a not-shitty, fully machined, replacement 3.8L long block from Jasper with enough money left over to replace the radiator and water pump.
  • I have no German counterpoint for FWD minivan transaxles. Any of them!  How sad for me!

But, ask yourself, what’s the icing on the cake I’m offering you?

The Windstar’s cupholders are fine, but it’s a safe bet these uber-lux sedans have non-functional beverage holders!

Now do us all a solid and make sure you buy one from the creepiest person on Craigslist and insist on a complete lack of service records too!  BAM SON, you done won at the Out-Windstar-My-Windstar game!

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New or Used: Anything for Another Irish Car Bomb? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/new-or-used-anything-for-another-irish-car-bomb/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/06/new-or-used-anything-for-another-irish-car-bomb/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2011 13:45:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=399228

Michael writes:

Towards the end of the year, we may be in the market for a minivan (Honda Odyssey… this is not the advice I’m looking for, but feel free to weigh in). We have two cars we own outright: 2004 Toyota 4Runner and a 2006 VW Passat with 75K and 65K miles on them, respectively.

Both are in good working order, no issues other than the sign of age. Both have V6 engines.

Question: which one to trade in? I figure they are both worth about $10k trade in based on KBB, with the VW potentially worth marginally more (I could be wrong there). I’m leaning towards trading in the VW since it will depreciate faster and is more likely to have issues as it continues to age and wear.

What are your thoughts (now being greedy)…on both the trade-in AND the minivan choice?

Steve Answers:

Neither. Unless you are having another child and your current rides won’t accommodate another car seat.

If you enjoy what you have then keep what you got. It’s that simple. The Passat is definitely the less reliable of the two if you look at all the data and reviews out there. But who knows? You may have one of the good ones! In which case you better change the middle names of one of your children to Tiguan for good luck!

It sounds like you have two solutions in search of a problem with your current rides. But if you must have a 10k minivan… I would skip that Odyssey. It is the most hysterically overpriced family vehicle on the planet. If you’re spending $10k on a family ride I would look more towards a Mazda 5 if you want a ‘family vehicle’ with a bit more sport.

If the minivan has to be full-sized then I would go completely against the TTAC grain and buy whatever hasn’t been knocked too hard by actual owners from Carsurvey, Edmunds, Consumer Reports and TrueDelta. I despise Sedonas. Others hate Freestars. Quite a few folks will turn their noses at Quests, Caravans and the GM brood. In truth minivans were mostly cheap and interchangeable during the 06 thru 08 period. Even the cheap ones will last to 200k.

Siennas and Odysseys were premium offerings for their time. But they had mixed reliability and are poor values in the used car market. My number one? An end of the model run 2007 Grand Caravan with a great owner and very low mileage. Think Florida retiree vehicle. You will spend far less than 8k on one and be all the better for it.

Sajeev Answers:

Disclosure time: Michael is a friend, former manager and 100% straight shooter. While I have no (current) need to suck up to him, I must admit he’s rather awesome. Plus he nailed his own query, which must count for something!

The Passat is the trade-in for obvious reasons: even if your initial VW dealership gripes originally mentioned (as co-workers) went away, it’ll never be the value proposition of a 4Runner. And the Odyssey is a perfect new vehicle for the family. Not that the Odyssey is a perfect minivan, it’s rather expensive. And both the transmission and displacement-on-demand engine left many folks (including TTAC’s Robert Farago) upset at the service department. The former shouldn’t be an issue, and let’s keep our fingers crossed on the latter.

Because I don’t see you liking the alternatives from Nissan, Toyota and Chrysler. Maybe a stylish Buick Enclave or Ford Flex Titanium is worth a look. Maybe not. Tough call. Too bad every decision isn’t as simple and awesome as the time you introduced me to the Irish Car Bomb.

I could certainly use another one after all this Minivan talk!

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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