Minivans have grown its popularity for many years. Until now, minivans are one of the sought-after automobiles because they are very versatile. Their versatility combines the attributes of a station wagon and an SUV. It is probably the minivans that led to the demise of the station wagon. And Chrysler Corporation has dominated the minivan category in the 80s leaving behind other car manufacturing companies like Ford. So by mid 1980s, Ford have decided to have a minivan of their own so they started designing minivans that can fully compete with the minivans of Chrysler. The Ford Aerostar was Ford's first attempt at building a minivan. The minivan was produced and sold by Ford from 1986 to 1997.
The Ford Aerostar was really designed to compete with Chrysler's minivans but Ford see to it that it wouldn't match the design of Chrysler's design. That is why unlike the pioneering Chrysler minivans, the Ford Aerostar was a rear wheel drive vehicle that made this vehicle more powerful and more capable of hauling and towing heavy loads. This compromised interior space though. Another thing sets the Ford Aerostar apart from any other minivans is its Ford Aerostar parts. It uses a modified pickup truck chassis integral to its unibody construction. And Ford Aerostar also uses truck parts, which only means that Ford Aerostar also offers the same strength, durability and reliability the Ford trucks offered.
When it was introduced in mid-1985 as a 1986 model, the Ford Aerostar came equipped with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 88 horsepower. But in the following years, it was enhanced; in 1990 it was changed to a 4.0-liter V6 coupled with a heavy-duty 4-speed automatic transmission. These Ford Aerostar parts provide the Aerostar the power to generate the kind of performance expected from them. That was just among the Ford Aerostar parts that contribute to this vehicle's overall package. Other Ford Aerostar parts like the flush-mounted headlamps, the dashboard which incorporates a driver's side airbags and a column-mounted gearshift are also excellent. Actually, these Ford Aerostar parts are the ultimate reasons why this vehicle is believed to perform at its best.
Seven Fun Facts about the Ford Aerostar
When the Aerostar was launched in 1985, Ford ran a couple of ads comparing the Aerostar to NASA's first Space Shuttle orbiter, the Space Shuttle Enterprise. By comparing the Aerostar to the Space Shuttle Enterprise, Ford emphasized the unique design and unmatched aerodynamics of the van.
In 1990, the Ford Aerostar became the first Ford vehicle to win Motor Trend's Truck of the Year award. This acclaim for the Aerostar was followed by more Truck of the Year awards for several of Ford's truck-based vehicles including the Ford Chateau Club Wagon Van and the Ford F-150.
All Ford Aerostars were built at the St. Louis Assembly Plant in Hazelwood, Missouri. Although the St. Louis Assembly Plant was originally dedicated to the production of Mercury vehicles, the need to focus on the upcoming breed of Ford minivans resulted in the assembly plant being used solely for the production of Aerostars until it was joined by the Ford Explorer in 1994.
An Eddie Bauer trim option was introduced for the Aerostar wagons in 1988 as a luxury edition of the minivan. The introduction of the Eddie Bauer trim meant that the Aerostar became the first minivan to be offered with a luxury trim option. However, the Eddie Bauer trim option was only made available until 1996, a year before the Aerostar was finally phased out.
At the peak of Aerostar's popularity, musician Neil Young used the name of the minivan in his song entitled "Dreamin' Man."
After being produced for over 12 years, the last Aerostar finally rolled off the assembly line in August 22, 1997 to give way to the thriving Ford Explorer. By the time production halted for the Aerostar, it had become the oldest minivan in the market. Exactly 2,029,577 Ford Aerostars were produced since its introduction in 1985.
The final Aerostar was donated to the Hazelwood police department to serve as a tribute to the end of an era for the St. Louis Assembly Plant. This particular Aerostar was used by the police department to visit kids across several schools in the area as part of their Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.
Ford Aerostar Problems
Boasting of over 2 million units produced and twelve years in production, the Ford Aerostar made a name for itself as one of the most loved vehicles in its class. However, this doesn't mean that Aerostar owners are safe from the common issues that affect this minivan. Here are some of the shared concerns of Aerostar owners.
One of the most widespread problems with the Ford Aerostar involves the vehicle's wheels. More than a few owners of Aerostars have noted that the aluminum rims on their minivans suddenly developed cracks or fractures. This problem seemed to happen to 1996 and 1997 Aerostars in particular, and it has often led to a wobbly ride and partial loss of control. Aside from being an expensive repair, this wheel problem has also raised a major safety concern among Aerostar owners.
In 1996, Ford recalled several early-model Aerostars due to issues with faulty wiring and ignition switches that are prone to internal short circuits. About 60,000 Aerostars were affected by the faulty wiring problem. On the other hand, a whopping 7.9 million 1988 to 1990 model Aerostars were affected by the recall for the bad ignition switches. Both of these electrical system issues posed a big safety risk due to the tendency of the defective switches and wrongly installed wires to cause overheating and fire hazards.
Engine and transmission system
The Aerostar's power train has also been a source of headache for a couple of Aerostar owners. Several gaskets including the engine oil pan gasket, rear crankshaft gasket, and the valve cover gasket have caused engine oil leaks.
Problems with the automatic transmission also plagued a couple of late-model Aerostars. Some users have reported that their minivans sometimes jerk, make loud noises, or move forward even if they were supposed to be in reverse. After a string of complaints from several Aerostar owners, Ford released a couple of technical service bulletins addressing this issue.
A good 7,440 Aerostars were also affected by Ford's recall regarding the minivan's service brakes. Ford noted that some aftermarket replacement brake cylinders can result in brake fluid leaks and an increase in the vehicle's stopping distance.
My speedometer has suddenly stopped working. I've tried driving slow and accelerating to see if there would be any changes, but unfortunately the gauge reading stayed at 0. What must be the problem?
The speedometer is equipped with a speed sensor that supposedly gives you accurate readings. However, if the speed sensor itself is having issues, or any other related part such as the gear or the ECU, then your speedometer would likewise stop working or behave erratically. You would have to check if your Ford Aerostar is still under warranty since the speedometer is usually covered. If yes, then you could have it replaced in no time. However, if your car is past its warranty period, then you don't have a choice but to have it evaluated for proper handling and get a replacement at your own cost. But, be sure to only get one that is compatible and designated for your Aerostar.
My pal recently got bigger tires for his minivan that made it appear cool and muscular. I'm just wondering if it would be fine to get bigger tire sizes for my Ford Aerostar? Any thoughts on this?
Like any other manufacturer, Ford would not recommend changing your car's actual tire sizes, whether you prefer smaller or bigger ones. Car enthusiasts are actually discouraged to do so because safety on the road is compromised. The stock tire size for Aerostar has been specifically designed for optimum performance. As a car owner, you must understand that both the speedometer and odometer have been calibrated according to the actual height of your stock tires. Getting bigger tires would add some height to your car, which would leave the speedometer read slower than the definite speed you're taking. On the other hand, shorter or smaller tires would make higher speedometer reading. Apart from that, the anti-lock braking systems would be messed up. Taller or bigger tires would also add stress to the stock suspension, thereby wearing it out fast enough.
I always notice a small, ugly, and greasy stain on the driveway. I've been spending my mornings cleaning it up and that went on for several weeks. I think I've got leaking engine oil. What could be the possible effect of such to my car?
Apart from leaving an ugly stain on your driveway, oil leaks could potentially damage your engine, especially if the latter ends up with very low oil levels. Engine oil leaks could harm manual stick shift transmission users as that could cause the clutch to slip. The first thing to do is get the dipstick and check whether your engine oil is still sufficient or not. Again, the age of your car is a major factor to consider. The valve cover, oil pan gaskets, timing chain cover, and the front and rear crankshaft seals also deteriorate over time. They lose their elasticity, thereby ending up unable to keep the engine oil at bay. If corrosion, hardening, or shrinking of any of these parts happens, the best thing to do is have the faulty ones replaced at once before further damage occurs.
Ford Aerostar and How it Rolled in the Automotive Industry
The Ford Aerostar was launched shortly after the introduction of the Ford Taurus. It was a minivan sold in North America from 1986 to 1997 in passenger van and cargo van configurations. Two body lengths were available in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. For 12 years (1985 to 1997), a total of 2,029,577 Aerostars were made at Ford’s St. Louis assembly plant in Missouri.
1986 - 1991: First generation Aerostar
Introduced in 1985 for the ’86 model year, the very first Aerostars were offered as an Aerostar van (single body length cargo van) and Aerostar wagon (7-seater passenger van). The passenger vans came in XL (base) and XLT (deluxe) trims while the cargo vans were available in either base or XL trims. These first-gen Aerostars were powered by a standard 2.3 L four-cylinder engine paired with a 5-speed manual transmission.
Aerostar Eddie Bauer
The Aerostar became one of the first Fords to be offered in Eddie Bauer trim. The said trim, which was launched in 1988, was also recognized as the first minivan to be available in luxury trim. The Aerostar Eddie Bauer was outfitted with a large and powerful engine—a 3.0L V6. A choice of all wheel drive and rear wheel drive were still offered.
Electronic All-wheel-drive Aerostar
The XLT and Eddie Bauer models were also offered in electronically controlled four-wheel-drive option. It was introduced in 1980 and was available until the production of Aerostar ended in 1997. What made this E-4WD model different from the rest of the 4WD Aerostars was its capability to engage the moment rear wheel spin is detected. The wheels are powered automatically without a need for driver input.
1992 - 1997: Second generation Aerostar
It was only after six years when Ford gave the Aerostar a major redesign. The most noticeable update in the vehicle’s fascia was the new sealed-beam headlights and the amber turn signals that were replaced by clear units. Another thing that distinguished the redesigned Aerostar from its predecessors was the unique A-pillar windows that were blacked out to make them appear slightly smaller. The vehicle’s safety features were also upgraded. A driver’s side airbag became standard and all outboard seats got 3-point seatbelts.
The second-generation Aerostar was also offered in van and wagon body styles. The wagon came in XL, XLT, and Eddie Bauer trims. The 1992 Aerostars were also outfitted with plastic wheel covers. The standard engine for this generation of Aerostars was the 3.0L Vulcan, with the 4.0L Cologne V6 as an option.
From 1994 to 1996 model years, Ford offered a Sport option package for non-Eddie Bauer wagon. But, this package was basically a cosmetic upgrade only since the only trim powered by the 140-hp Vulcan V6 engine was the XLT. What makes the Aerostar Sport package unique, though, was the 2-tone paint, a combination of silver with bright pastel or red color.
It was in 1995 when Ford started to phase out the Aerostar. For its final year of production in 1997, the Sport, XL and Eddie Bauer models were also discontinued, leaving the market with only the van and the XLT wagon.