Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Bullet Dodged! Aerostar. Pergola
"Many hundreds of owners of 1999 to 2003 Ford Windstar minivans have submitted complaints to the NHTSA about snapping rear axles, but there has been no investigation and Ford says there's no safety issue.
Two of the questions to arise, which still haven't been answered, are what is the threshold for customer complaints to be considered a safety defect, and when should the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration open an investigation?"
More at: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/ford-windstar-rear-axles-bring-hundreds-of-complaints/?src=mv
Looks like I dodged a bullet. Over a year ago I was looking for a minivan, as I knew that a side sliding door would work best with my carport. I had the choice of a white Windstar with all the buttons, and a navy Aerostar with hardly any buttons. I looked at the reviews of them both and decided on the rear wheel drive Aerostar. (Rear wheel drives can tow more.) I have had it over a year now, and I can't fault it, (except for not being white and not having all the buttons), it has been a great reliable vehicle. The only thing I have had to do to it is a new serpentine belt and a set of tires, apart from regular oil changes. That is until the 'check engine' light came on.
I am so glad that I looked at the reviews before I bought one, especially now that the Windstars have come up with this new problem with the axles.
BUT, I wonder if the Windstar, or any vehicle owners, realize that you should take your foot off the gas when you go over a railroad track? Lots of axles break unless you do this regularly. Something to do with one side being the driving side, and the other side freewheels, unless you have a different kind of axle. Now that wouldn't be the cause on a Windstar, as it is front wheel drive, and it is the rear axles which are breaking. Maybe they are trying to tow too much with them.
The check engine light had come on a while back on my Aerostar, and several people had looked at it, but not solved it. Finally, Jim the mechanic down the street had time to look at it today. He is retired, and waiting to have a knee replacement, so he can't always work on cars at will. But he is convenient, reasonable, knowledgeable, and an honest auto mechanic. Yes, I said 'auto mechanic' and 'honest' in the same sentence!
Now, the 'check engine' light is fixed. He took it to a buddy who has a big computer analyzer, found the problem, and replaced some old vacuum hoses, took it back and had it analyzed again, so it runs a lot better.
Meanwhile, Jay and I cleaned the top of the pergola. Well, Jay was up there with two buckets on ropes. One was bleachy suds, and another bucket of tools to refasten the fiberglass to the boards underneath. I was on the ground sending up what he needed, screws, broom, scrub brush, the garden hose. We didn't want to use the pressure washer up there. Now it is a lot cleaner, and lighter, being rid of the pine needles, and we can finish attaching the leaves and flowers under it.
Thank you for your comment yesterday, about sitting under it drinking lemonade, Karen. Heck No! It is on the south side of the house, and way too hot there. It was made to put shade over my front door, and the front of the adjacent 42' RVport/carport, without making it too dark there.
So that is what we did today.