Finding a Non Rusted Subframe for a Ford Windstar


While the NHTSA is investigating the safety issue on the Ford Windstar subframe, you’re stuck driving an unsafe vehicle. For those of you who are late to the party, Ford Windstars, model years 1999-2003 are plagued with rusting, rotting subframes.  Check out the earlier post on this subject.

If your car was anything like my 2001 Windstar, you don’t want to drive it any further than from the garage down the driveway to the mailbox. Aside from the deteriorating subframe the car is in excellent condition (okay, the power locks act a little funky, but that’s not an unsafe condition…it’s just very annoying).

COST TO REPAIR THE FORD WINDSTAR SUBFRAME

My first quote to replace the subframe on my 2001 Windstar was $1,744.  Yes, $1,744 to replace my rusted, corroded subframe with a brand new subframe from Ford.  The cost of the new subframe was over $1,100.  The rest of the price was labor.  Oh, and don’t forget to get a wheel alignment after replacing the subframe.

Why on earth would I want to put a brand new subframe on a vehicle that is 9 years old? In a few years, the only remaining functional car part will be the subframe.  Everything else will have deteriorated.  It just didn’t make sense.

Aside from putting a brand new part in such an old car, do I really want to give Ford $1,100 to replace something that they did incorrectly in the first place?  I don’t think so.

 

Click to Read the Safety ReportFINDING A VIABLE FORD WINDSTAR SUBFRAME

Since I live in the “salt belt” I had to look far and wide for a replacement subframe.  In case you’re looking for one, you have to call a lot of junk yards.  As a matter of fact, if you don’t want to make too many calls, use the website JunkYardDog.com. I used them to locate no less than 3 sub frames for my 2001 Windstar.

Unfortunately, not thinking, I contacted a junkyard located in New York State.  Upon speaking with the gentleman (who shall remain nameless), I specifically asked if the subframes were rusted.  “No, there’s no rust.  I’d never sell a rusted subframe.”

OK, sold.  The cost of the subframe was $100 plus an additional $40 for delivery.  I had it delivered to my mechanic.  Fortunately, my mechanic’s receptionist is part Pit Bull.  She’s a wonderful woman, but when she took a look at the subframe, she said, “No way. Jose.  Take that thing back!”  Apparently the sub frame had corrosion.

She sent the guy packing without paying him a dime (there’s a very angry junk yard dealer in New York).

PURCHASING A WINDSTAR SUBFRAME FROM A SAFE AREA

After that experience, I realized that I had to look further.  Fortunately, I found a junk yard in Arizona, Auto Recycling Mall (they don’t have a website, but here’s their number: 1-888-254-6766).  Not only did they have a 2001 Ford Windstar subframe, but Arizona doesn’t have the harsh New York winters so the sub frame was in mint condition.  The Auto Recycling Mall was kind enough to take pictures of the part and send them to me so I could have my mechanic check it out before I spent a dime.Click to Read the Safety Report

Once I received the pictures, I emailed them to a local Ford Dealership to ask if the sub frame looked viable.  The mechanic confirmed it was in top condition, so I ordered it.  The used subframe cost $150 plus an additional $100 to get it from Arizona to New York (a lot cheaper than $1,100).

HAVING THE SUB FRAME REPLACED

The story isn’t over yet as I’m still awaiting the arrival of the subframe.  And, in case you were wondering, I’m not having Ford replace the sub frame.  I’m having my mechanic (with the Pit Bull receptionist), do the work.

Don’t pay more than you should.  I just wanted to let you know that there are alternatives.  You just have to be tenacious.


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