1995 Ford Windstar van

Tiny
CHARLES ALLEN BAGWELL
  • 1995 FORD WINDSTAR
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 178,000 MILES

I have a 1995 ford windstar van with the 3.8 motor, here goes my question and sorry for the long message, I have a problem with my transmission and there is a engine light on, I borrowed a scanner from a local mechanic shop and scanned the van and a code came up PO500-vehicle speed sensor malfunction, well anyways I went to the local oreillys part store and ordered a sensor but I believe the sensor they ordered is not the one I need, I jacked the vehicle up and removed the drivers tire and where the drivers axle is theres a sensor with a magnet, I checked the voltage there and its within specs, well this is the sensor they ordered and said that it is the vehicle speed sensor-input speed sensor, I have been searching online about the vehicle speed sensor and would other info I gathered was there is a vehicle speed sensor above the passengers axle under the exhaust and the speedometer cable hooks to this sensor, is the sensor that the speedometer cable hooks too- is this the vehicle speed sensor too, well anyways the transmission is not slipping or******** when driving but when you come to a stop sign to slow down it shifts a little bit down hard and then cuts off but cranks back up with no problem, the speedometer works so does that mean the vehicle speed sensors are good even though the diagnostic scanner said bad vehicle speed sensor malfunction, please help me with some advice, this is my wifes van and I dont have the funds to pay a ford dealership 400 to 1000 bucks to fix this problem, I really hate to crush this van because the motor runs excellent and does not cut off till the downshifting hard happens when slowing down to a stop sign, it shifts like hard twice, kinda like a small********, if you could please send me a picture of the vehicle speed sensor, well the ford place said it sounds like I have a bad turbine vehicle speed sensor but the parts storee have no listing for a turbine vehicle speed sensor, the parts store said they have a vehicle speed sensor and its all confusing when two different places tell you something different so I figure you should know and guide ne in the right direction

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 3:56 AM

16 Replies

Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER

I hate to say this but these trannies are prone to problems far more serious. Like 1 day it works and the next it dont. You may want to part with it while it works.

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 4:35 AM
Tiny
CHARLES ALLEN BAGWELL
  • MEMBER

Well I hear thats true but online it says the vehicle speed sensor will cause it to downshift when coming to a stop sign, its had a rebuilt transmission put in it, so you think replacing the vehicle speed sensor is a waste of time, its 27 bucks at oreillys auto parts

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 4:39 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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I'll try to get you started on the road to sanity but hopefully some smart people will add some comments. I'm pretty sure what you have is a copy of the computer-controlled transmission Chrysler came out with in 1989. I know GM wanted to buy the rights to build it but they developed their own design as did Ford I was told. Both had just as much trouble with their early models as Chrysler did. You should find there is no speedometer cable. There are two speed sensors. One is the input speed sensor which could be called the turbine speed sensor. It measures engine crankshaft speed. The turbine is part of the torque converter which is bolted to the crankshaft. The second one is the output speed sensor. It measures half shaft speed. The Transmission Computer knows how fast the axle should be turning compared to how fast the crankshaft is turning based on which gear it's in. The computer has tire size and final drive gear ratio programmed in so it can calculate road speed. That information is sent to the Body Computer, then to the instrument cluster which is another computer module. Yup, three computers involved in running the speedometer that worked really well with a cable for a hundred years.

With Chrysler's transmission, the computer watches how much fluid it takes to apply each clutch pack. In older hydraulically-controlled transmissions, as wear took place, the shifts became sloppy or sluggish but you had a good year of warning that a rebuild would be needed soon. With these computer-controlled transmissions the computer will "learn" to apply the next gear, (third gear for example), then wait a little longer before it releases second gear. That increased overlap creates a nice solid shift, ... Until the day it can't update enough and slippage occurs. That's when it goes to some fail-safe mode. Chrysler calls that "limp-in" where it stays in second gear so you can drive slowly to a repair shop without needing a tow truck. An experienced transmission mechanic can tell how much wear has taken place in those clutch packs by reading the "clutch volume index" on the scanner. That is a set of four numbers corresponding to the number of ccs of fluid it takes to apply each clutch. I don't know what Ford's fail-safe default is but if it is anything like Chrysler's there are some generalizations you can make. If it goes to that condition as soon as you shift into reverse or drive before you even start to move, it is going to be sensor-related. If the problem appears during or right after a shift, usually an up-shift, it is likely to be caused by slippage in a clutch pack.

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 4:57 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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S'cuse me for but ting in to your conversation. I typed too long to just delete all that good stuff!

Carry on.

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 5:00 AM
Tiny
CHARLES ALLEN BAGWELL
  • MEMBER

Well all that you typed hasnt helped me any, my transmission isnt sleeping driving down the road and its not upshifting. If your driving it normal it does shifting great, when you slow down to maybe 30 miles per hour it downshifts twice like the converter is locking and the engine light comes on and the van cuts off but will crank right back up, if yu clear the code the downshifting doesnt occur till the check engine light comes on, please read the question throughly, the fluid is full and isnt burnt and also the transmission has been rebuilt, my van is not a chrylser

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 5:04 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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No need for an attitude. The Ford system is based on the Chrysler design and most people appreciate knowing how they work. It makes figuring out how to diagnose it easier. If my story didn't help, just don't use it. I would delete it if I could.

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 5:16 AM
Tiny
CHARLES ALLEN BAGWELL
  • MEMBER

I didnt have a attitude, I was stating what was going on with the transmission, yeah I know the ford system is based on the chrysler design, im just wanting to fix the van cause my wife is nagging about it, I was hoping someone on here has had problems with there vehicle speed sensors, I guess the nice van will be a sardine can, I have a 96 ford taurus and the sensors are good in it, well online and when yu put the model numbers the sensors on the 96 taurus and the 95 windstar have the same numbers, oh yeah another thing I found on the van is it has a axod trans, did the 95 windstars come with a axod because online it says it came with a ax4s

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 5:40 AM
Tiny
CHARLES ALLEN BAGWELL
  • MEMBER

To mr caradiodoc, I would like to appologize to you if I seemed like I had a attitude, well anyways im going to post two pics and could you are someone tell me which is the speed control sensor

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 6:29 AM
Tiny
CHARLES ALLEN BAGWELL
  • MEMBER

Online at oreillys auto parts its saying this is the speed control sensor, any help would be helpful

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 6:30 AM
Tiny
CHARLES ALLEN BAGWELL
  • MEMBER

Online at orillys its saying this is the automatic transmission speed sensor, any help would be helpful

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 6:34 AM
Tiny
CHARLES ALLEN BAGWELL
  • MEMBER

I would like to know if any of these two sensors can cause the transmission to downshift when slowing down to a stop sign and make the van shut off but the van will crank right back up, I had a engine code PO500- vehicle speed sensor malfunction, no more codes in the vehicle as of right now cause I cleared the PO500 vehicle speed sensor malfunction however I havent replaced these two sensors, well online it says these sensors can cause eractic shifting and other problems, can someone look at these pics and tell me what they actually do, is one of these sensors the one that reads the speed of the vehicle, oh one more thing I need to add is that my speedometer works and does that mean neither one of the sensors above are not bad

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 6:43 AM
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER

Nagging wife. Now we understand? I guess you might wanna look at YOUR sensor to see what it looks like. Then what the heck, $2X aint a lot to try and fix it?

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 2:35 PM
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER

I'm starting to get it now. Such a long read! Which 1 of those sensors is the turbine 1! I would make a guess as the second black 1 since the other looks more like a speedometer type.

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 2:56 PM
Tiny
CHARLES ALLEN BAGWELL
  • MEMBER

Im sorry for such a long read but just wanted to give all info I have read online, well my sensor looks like the second pic but however theres a sensor on the pasengers side near the axle and is hard to get too because its near the exhaust, well yeah the one big one does look like the speedometer but from what I read online it does more than operate the speedometer but im not sure if it does operate the speedometer, the first big of the big one is a speed sensor too and it states online that if its bad it can cause driveability and transmission shifting problems, I want to fix the van but if it costs having the tranny rebuilt I will just scrap it when the wifey isnt home and tell her someone stole it, its really too nice a van and has a excellent body, interior, engine but its a 95 ford windstar and not worth spending more than 200 to 300 to fix, im just so frustrated with this van, im wondering are there any ase certified ford technicians on this site or is there a free site online to ask a ase certified mechanic

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 3:10 PM
Tiny
CHARLES ALLEN BAGWELL
  • MEMBER

Is there a way that I can check my sensors with them unplugged with a voltmeter or test light

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 3:12 PM
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER

You said you were told you needed the turbine sensor. I know that big 1 is NOT the turbine sensor since it's not where the turbine is? Although I dont know what they mean by turbine, I thought DOC sorta explained it? Why not take a shot at that 1? Did you give a donation with your question? Might help get you a dedicated ford tech as you say.

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 AT 7:54 PM

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