1999 Ford Windstar Headlights Stay On, Wont Start

OK, so this post will be a little different from normal, but hopefully someone will find it useful.

Our 1999 Ford Windstar hasn’t been acting right lately, so we replaced the battery.  After hooking up the new battery, the running lights came on and the van wouldn’t start (the starter wouldn’t even engage).  No matter what we did, we couldn’t get the lights to turn off.  The radio would also turn on without the key in the ignition, and with they key in, the door/key chime wouldn’t turn on.  We checked every fuse and relay with the multitester, all tested good.

It turned out the problem was the ignition switch was bad.

WARNING: This vehicle contains SRS, or airbags, DO NOT WORK ON THIS AS AIRBAGS CAN ACCIDENTALLY DEPLOY AND BE VERY DANGEROUS.  If you choose to ignore my warning and still work on it yourself, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.  Be safe, disconnect battery and wait at least 5 minutes to reduce, not eliminate, chance of accidental airbag deploy.  Do not use any test equipment while part is still connected to van as this can also deploy airbags.

To change the ignition switch:

  1. Remove negative (black) cable from battery, then remove the positive (red) cable.  Dop not let red cable touch anything metal.
  2. Stop and wait 5 minutes (DO NOT SKIP, SEE AIRBAGS WARNING)
  3. Remove the 3 bolts at the bottom of the knee bolster and remove
  4. Remove the 2 bolts from left/right side the metal cover under knee bolster
  5. Remove 3 screws from lower steering column and remove only lower steering column
  6. Locate ignition switch and remove 2 screws from ignition switch
  7. Disengage ignition switch from actuator pin
  8. Unscrew wire harness from it
  9. Reinstall using exact opposite procedure

I suggest when reinstalling, test after screwing new ignition switch in.

Thats it!  Van works perfect.