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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!

Quick intro -- I owned a '99 Windstar and currently have an '01 Windstar, so I've been driving Fords for the last eight years or so.

Last week, I bought a 2001 Town and Country Limited. 120K miles, excellent physical condition. However, my love affair was short lived.

I bought it knowing that the back hatch didn't work; that was OK, compared to everything else. However, I didn't realize that the only way to open the latch is to turn the key at the same time as lifting the gate. There is no handle like on my Ford, and I never thought of checking that. I had the van checked by the local dealer and was told that I need a new latch and was quoted $500 to fix.

Then, the two times that I tested the doors at the dealer (during the test drive and when I went to pick up the vehicle), both doors operated fine. Both times, though, the van was thoroughly warmed up (it's winter where I live, the test drive was during near-blizzard conditions). When I tried to operate the drivers' side door the next morning (cold, stored in a garage), the drivers' door would engage, open 1-2 inches, and quit. The passenger door is fine. I bought it "as-is" so I know I have no recourse, but I'm really disappointed.

The van is beautiful, though, and is fun to drive (when the roads are clear). I made the switch because I was nervous to buy another Ford, even though I really liked driving them (the '99 blew one transmission and then the 2nd one started to leak after only 3-4 years when I decided to get rid of it).

Anyway, I joined the forum to get some feedback and assistance. I've been trying to look for solutions to my issues, plus any other helpful advice about my "new" van.

Thanks.
 

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Welcome aboard. Failures happen on any vehicle. Some have few, some have a nightmare. You're far from the later. The usual problem with power sliding doors on these vans is the controlling wire harness in a chassis cavity next to the bottom of the door. It moves anytime the door moves so it gets a fair amount of wear and tear. Use this video to check it out:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=705hcJqOf6U

Other tips:

Transmissions are a problem on these vans too. Keep to the fluid/filter change schedules and use only ATF+4 fluid. If you tow install a secondary cooler.

Front suspensions are another problem area mainly for noises. Sway bar bushings and links are the usual culprits.

Electronics are another. Priority one is keep the IPM (fuse box) dry. It often gets internal corrosion creating all sorts of electrical headaches. Same for the external connections. Wires have been known to rot off especially for those living in the rust belt.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you.

Is there way, in the short term, that I can lubricate the doors? If so, what spray would you recommend and where would be the likely spots that need it? I did come across the wiring harness issue when I was searching for information, but I'm not sure at this point if I'm daring enough to do the fix myself. :) Yesterday, the van was warmed up and it was a "warm" day here in Michigan (39 degrees), and the drivers' slider worked fine. This morning, after being in the garage all night, neither door wanted to open with the power button past a couple of inches. It's annoying when you are shuttling children back and forth. :)
 

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My 2001 has a lift handle on the back. What the difference is between your and mine is puzzling. Wiring for the side doors opening are a known problem. Fix is very straight forward. Look on the site for instructions or check YouTube.
 
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