I TO HAVE A 96 WINDSTAR THAT HAD A SIMILAR PROBLEM WHILE DRIVING ON ROUGH ROADS. WITH THE SLIDING DOOR OPENED I WOULD TRY AND SHAKE IT TO TRY AND MAKE THE SOUND, BUT NO SOUND. WITH SOMEONE DRIVING THE VAN AND DOOR CLOSED TRIED PUSHING ON THE DOOR , THE NOISE WAS STILL THERE . EVENTUALLY TRACED IT TO THE REAR SHOCK ABSORBER RUBBER BUSHING, THE SHOCK WAS VIBRATING AGAINST THE FASTENER THAT SHOULD HAVE HAD A RUBBER BUSHING. AFTER REPLACING THE BUSHING THE NOISE WAS GONE HOPE THIS SOLVES YOUR PROBLEM.
I have 98. I searched for that noise everywhere on my van. I could not get it to stop. When I messed with the side door and the noise continued, I started to think it was the jack moving around, then maybe the lock in the rear door. Going insane I thought. Then while under the van to get a child's ball, I noticed the shocks were so worn, the rubber bushing was gone. I had the absorbers replaced and I can`t even get my 98 to make a noise now even when I push it to the limit over bumps. If the absorbers are in good condition but the bushing is shot-NEW BUSHINGS, but if your absorbers are riding low-NEW SHOCKS.
Ford was rather late in the mini-van game when they added the second sliding door in 1999, and continued it to the end of the Windstar name in 2003. Trivia Tidbit: The successor to the Windstar name was the "Freestar" and coincided with the introduction of the twin Mercury Monterey. I do not believe any single side door Windstar was offered after 1998.
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