I have a 99 windstar with the 3.8 V6. I am looking at buying a trailer that I plan to pull with the van. Any comments on the maximum weight I can tow? I have heard that the transmission is over-designed, and can easily out-tow the GCWR. I have heard of guys pulling >8000 lbs!
I've been there. Have a '95 Windstar and a 3500lb boat. Thought I could get away with towing it but, it was no fun. The van worked very hard on the hills. It was the main reason I bought the truck. I think the Windstars are rated 2000 lbs towing and 3500 lbs with the optional tow pkg. Also, the trans has been suspect in Windstars from the get go. It would be risky to abuse by towing greater than recommended.
If you get anything bigger than a pop-up, consider a different tow vehicle. A '99 isn't exactly a beater.
Anyone telling you they are towing 8K with the van is jerking your chain.
1999 F150 4x2 Lariat RegCab Shortbed
5.4L 3.55LS Tow pkg
The Windstar will not be able to come close to the task you envision for it. I love my own '99 Windstar as a family car, put I'm not sure I would trust it to tow more than its own shadow.
Here is a quotation from another person in response to a similar question on a different discussion group...
[begin quote]"The Windstar, like all the other FWD minivans, is passenger car based, meaning it doesn't have a robust structure for towing, including frame, running gear, transmission, brakes. Don't take that 3500 lb. limit seriously, it applies to a base van with driver only, and doesn't take into account the weight of the trailer tongue on the rear springs and wheels. For a deluxe van (A/C, extra seat, lots of goodies) with Mom, Pop, 2 kids, a dog, some cargo, subtract about 1000 lbs. Also look at the tongue weight, which will be at least 10 pct of the loaded trailer weight. A large popup weighing 2000 empty will weigh a lot more by the time you load it up with water, supplies, bedding, battery, propane (yep, these last 2 are not included in the dry weight in the sales brochures). So don't get a large popup or other trailer weighing more than 1500-2000 empty. If you want to really tow, consider trading up to a standard truck-based van. Good luck."[end quote]