This windstar is racking up the little issues.
Pull into parking garage at work, smelling that tell-tale odor of hydraulic fluid burning. I've known that that 1998-2000 Ford Windstar's are known for transmission issues, of i've got that sinking feeling of having to decide on what to do, put $2500 into a car worth $3500 ? or move on to a different vehicle. Of course it's not just a leak, it's a flood and right over the catalytic converter too ! No driving this thing, too much risk of fire with little ones to tote around.
Overall this car has been good to me, a great buy at $4,000, so i've got my money's worth, but sure would like to get more miles out of her.
I decide it needs a professional diagnosis, so I take her up to Certified Transmission. Good news, maybe, it's not transmission fluid, but Power steering fluid, shop didn't charge me anything, nice. Being a transmission shop they can't determine the problem, but they also can't find where it's leaking from, not the pump, maybe the high pressure line or the Steering rack and pinion itself, yikes !
Definetly cheaper than a transmission, but now I'll have to take it to a shop that can hopefully put some dye into the power steering resevoir and figure out where the leak is...hopefully just a hose.
(If anybody in Kansas City knows where to get this elusive power steering fluid dye, let me know, it maybe an urban legend. I visited 5 FLAPS (Friendly Local Auto Parts Store), and called several others, none carried it, though they all knew of it).
Now I'll be taking the vehicle to Monte's Safety Line, a friend with the same year windstar had a similiar problem and Monte fixed him up for 380, so maybe I'll get lucky.
UPDATE - 5/9 - WRONG, Monte reviewed and found no issue with the power steering, upon review with me, Monte drove the car up to Certified Transmission and helped diagnose the issue properly.