Question about 1998 Ford Windstar

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Three problems: 1)All 4 power windows on our 1998 Ford Windstar stopped working yesterday. (We had a previous problem with passenger side window, but mechanic fixed it by replacing the window motor.) 2)Interior dome lights stay on for ca. 20 seconds after starting the car, and for ca. 20 minutes after stopping the car. 3)Door ajar light stays lit on front panel, with occasional dinging when driving over bumps.

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  • myronsmit17 May 23, 2011

    Thanks, jturcotte. I actually sold the car on Saturday before I wrote to you; the dome light problem occurred this winter, but then seemed to resolve itself about a month ago. However, just after selling the car, the new owner called and said the dome light problem was occurring again, as well as the windows not opening, which had never been a problem before. I felt bad, so thought I'd ask an expert. Any enlightenment you could give about the windows would be great, then I can pass both suggestions on to the new owners.
    Thank you again. This will hopefully help them resolve the issue.

  • myronsmit17 May 26, 2011

    Thank you so much. I will pass these suggestions along to the new owner. Your help is VERY much appreciated.
    Take care,



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Hi, it sounds like you have a bad door switch. First close all doors and try having someone push in on each door while you watch the ajar light. If the light goes out while pushing in on a door, the latch on that door should be adjusted to hold the door in tighter.
If none of the doors will extinguish the light when pushed in, you will have to troubleshoot the individual switches. The switch turns on the indicator and dome light by connecting the attached wires. To test the switch, remove the connector. With all other doors closed, see if pulling the connector off will extinguish the light. Try this for each door switch until you find one that will put the light out. Replace or repair that switch. Note, the switches are inside the doors next to the latches. You need to remove each door panel or at least remove it far enough to reach inside and pull the connector off the switch. Be careful not to confuse the switch with the power lock solenoid (if you have power locks).
Please let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for using FixYa.

Posted on May 22, 2011

  • Jeffrey Turcotte
    Jeffrey Turcotte May 22, 2011

    Below are some instructions for removing the door panels:

    Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the front door trim panel

    1. Remove the door latch cover by pulling the trim free of the retaining clips and sliding the trim away from the latch.

    2. Remove the portion of the armrest containing the door lock switch and window regulator control switch.

    3. Remove the screw attaching the front door trim panel to the front door.

    4. Remove the screw located at the bottom of the front door trim panel.

    5. Disconnect the door lock switch and window regulator control switch electrical harnesses.

    6. Remove the door window regulator handle by unsnapping the handle
      cover from the base in order to expose the retaining screw. Remove the
      screw from the door window regulator handle.

    7. Remove the door window regulator handle, if equipped.

    8. Pull the front door trim panel from the top to release the fasteners from the front door.

    9. Remove the front door trim panel.

    10. Installation is the reverse of removal.

    11. Replace any bent or damaged fasteners.


    See Figure 11

    Fig. Fig. 11: Exploded view of the side door trim panel

    1. Remove the door handle retaining clip by sliding a shop towel
      between the handle and door trim. With tension on the cloth, pull one
      end of the cloth so it slides between the handle and the door trim. If
      the handle does not come out, reverse direction.

    2. Gently pry the door latch bezel from the door trim.

    3. Pull the trim panel from the door.

    4. Installation is the reverse of removal.

    5. Replace any bent or damaged fasteners.

    6. Install the clip on the door handle. Install the handle on the shaft and snap it into place.


    See Figure 12

    Fig. Fig. 12: Exploded view of the liftgate trim panel

    1. Disconnect the rear window defroster electrical harness.

    2. Remove the liftgate window garnish molding.

    3. Remove the screws attaching the liftgate handle to the trim panel.

    4. Using a Molding/Trim Removal Kit (107-R0401) or equivalent, pry the push pins retaining the liftgate trim from the liftgate.

    5. Remove the liftgate tram from the liftgate.

    6. Installation is the reverse of removal.

    7. Replace any bent or damaged fasteners.

  • Jeffrey Turcotte
    Jeffrey Turcotte May 24, 2011

    Sorry, I missed your reply for some unknown reason. If the door ajar light is no longer staying on, then I would suspect a problem with the retained accessory power circuit that is not counting down properly to shut off the dome lights. I have not heard of this problem before. I think you would have to replace the module if this were really the problem. Much more common is a problem with the door switches as I originally described. There is a post on this topis here:

    If the windows do not seem to be related or never worked even when the dome light was off or the door ajar light was off, I would check the 30 amp circuit breaker in the box under the hood. The breaker may have a bad connection or may not be resetting properly. Try replacing the breaker temporarily with a wire to see if the windows will open. Do not leave the jumper in the box. If the jumper works, try replacing the breaker.
    If the jumper does not work, there is a problem with the wire running from the breaker to the driver's door. I would pull up the switch and check for power to the driver's window switch using a 12 volt test light.

    Sorry, these are not simple instructions to pass to the new owner. If you like, you could pass them my email address and I can help them directly.



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