Common problems

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Common problems

Postby Squishy - March 14th, 2008, 11:15 pm

This will be a collection of common problems and their solutions, with links to full How-Tos if they are available. Suggestions are welcome. Also remember to check the TSBs if your problem is not described here.

Sticky throttle
Most commonly caused by build-up on the throttle body. This is the part where the throttle and cruise control cables end, and is connected to the rubber intake flex pipe. Remove that pipe and you will see a butterfly valve (throttle plate). Spray coating-safe throttle body cleaner in while operating the throttle plate. Let it set for a while, then spray in some more. If build-up remains, you may have to scrub lightly with a toothbrush. I like to finish it off with a few squirts with the engine running.

Transmission shudder around 40 MPH
Have you had your transmission fluid changed recently, or never at all? Both of these actions can cause the dreaded shudder. Never changing your fluid means the factory fluid has run the course of its useful life and the transmission is now failing. There have also been several reports of incompatibilities between Mercon V and a factory-filled Mercon transmission. If you recently had your fluid changed, especially at a dealership, it was likely filled with Mercon V - the original Mercon license has been discontinued. The only remedy you can do is change the fluid immediately with standard Mercon, preferably fluid that specifically states that it will meet Dexron III(H) specifications. GM stopped Dexron licensing shortly after Ford canned Mercon licenses, and some fluids were switched to cheaper base stock that would only meet Dexron III(G) specifications. The only remaining license from that era is the Allison C4 specification. Note: If your transmission was factory-filled with Mercon V, do not switch to Mercon.

Rough idle/engine dies
Most commonly caused by a dirty idle air control (IAC) valve. This is the metal cylinder mounted on top of the throttle body. Although Ford says this is not possible, you may be able to solve the problem by removing the IAC valve and cleaning it out with throttle body cleaner.
Other possible causes:
2001-2002 Tribute TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=145
2001-2003 Tribute TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=112
2001-2005 Escape TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=95

Clunk when going over a bump
Most commonly caused by bad sway bar links. These are thin metal bars that attach to the struts. If you take the wheels off and push/pull at these links, they may feel loose. If they are loose then replace them, preferably with aftermarket MOOG links which have grease fittings.
Related:
2005-2007 TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=125

Low coolant light on (if you think your battery light is on, check here too!)
We have an irregularly shaped coolant overflow tank, which may appear full when it is in fact not. If the low coolant light comes on, which could look like a battery at first glance, add a bit of coolant anyways to see if the light goes off. The real battery light has positive and negative symbols.
2001-2003 Escape TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=83
Other possible cause for 2001 Tribute: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=106
Related:
2006 TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=160

Fuel filler nozzle keeps shutting off
This is a result of narrower filler pipes to conform to new emissions standards. Ford is aware of this problem and has a revised filler neck available for certain vehicles.
2005-2006 TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=131
Related:
2005-2008 TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=303
2008 Hybrid TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1234

Air bag/SRS lamp on
There are connectors located under each of the front seats. If these connectors are dislodged by articles stored under the seat, the SRS lamps may come on. A possible fix is to disconnect and then reconnect the connectors. There are also other possible reasons, outlined in the following TSBs:
2001-2004 TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=88
2001-2004 TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=91
2005 TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=149

Cloth seats are fraying (2005)
Ford is aware of this and has issued a TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=129

Steering column squeaks when turning
While this may appear to come from the base of the steering column, in many cases it is noise transferred from the actual steering rack. There is a TSB released where the power steering fluid is replaced with Mercon V (factory fill is Mercon) and the steering column boot at the base is lubricated.
2001-2003 TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=85

Seat belts are slow to retract
This is an annoying "feature" we gain as cars get older. Ford does have a fix kit out that involves Teflon tape somewhere. I am not aware of the exact procedure for the Triplets, so if someone knows that please post it.
2001-2006 TSB: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=90

Brakes squeak when you lift your foot off the pedal
This issue seems to come up once in a while on Escapes with rear drums. This is caused by insufficient lubrication between the brake shoes and the backing plate, and what you are hearing is a metal-to-metal squeal. Get a can of "Disc Brake Quiet" - usually blue or red stuff. Take the drums off and lift the shoes slightly away from the backing plate. You should see three humps on the backing plate where the shoes make contact - spray those down with the disc brake quiet. Be careful not to get any on the friction material itself.

High idle on cold days
This is not really a "problem." Many modern engines are doing this - the best reason I can come up with is to get oil pressure up more quickly. Ford also has a very slow idle decay programmed, so when it shoots up to 2500 RPM on a cold day, it takes a while to come back down. Wait until it drops below 1500 RPM before dropping the car into gear; tapping the accelerator may bring it down faster. For a more permanent solution, the SCT XCal can modify startup idle and idle decay settings.

Sticking door handle
The door handle will feel like it is locked, but the door eventually opens by pulling harder. This is caused by dried up lubrication and dirt buildup. After removing the interior panel, use electrical cleaner to clean off what dirt you can, and apply a lubricant (WD-40 does not last) to the handle assemblies, door lock actuator rod, and the latch assembly. Preferably a dry lubricant would be used for the latch assembly to prevent dirt from being attracted.

Low pitched rumble from one corner of the vehicle
Escapes are reported to eat through wheel bearings, although this may not apply to all years. If a front wheel bearing is bad, the rumble will get louder as you turn - left bearing will get loud as you turn right, and right bearing will get loud as you turn left. With the suspect wheel off the ground, grab the spokes at 12- and 6-o'clock. You should be able to find some play if the bearing is bad. Replacing the bearings requires access to a hydraulic press, so most DIYers will have to bring it to a shop. Expect roughly two hours of labour per wheel, and about $50 per bearing.

ABS light on or premature ABS activation
The first thing to check in this case is the wheel sensor tone rings, especially if you experience cold winters. At the side of the hub towards the engine, you should see what looks like a square-toothed gear that is not driving anything. Check this ring carefully for cracks. Often, with the repeated expansion and contractions brought on by different seasons, this ring will crack and either feed faulty information to the sensor, or move away from the sensor so that the ring cannot be read at all. A quick fix would be to use a product like JB Weld to fix the ring back in place. Some mechanics are willing to spend the labour to replace just the ring. Most shops will recommend replacing the entire axle. Reported symptoms are "Service 4WD System" and "Service Braking System" warning messages, illuminated ABS warning light, and intermittent ABS activation when no wheel slip is present.
2001-2011 Tone ring replacement procedure: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=9379
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Re: Common problems

Postby Kiki - March 18th, 2008, 3:04 pm

Wow! I missed this, Squishy! Nice job!

I've already had filler issues with a "check engine" light coming on because I was over filling and the sensor quit. I don't know which sensor, evap maybe? Since the repair, I don't add those extra few drops - when the shutoff kicks out, that's it. So far, no problems.
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DISCLAIMER: Any advice, opinions, information, or data contained in this post should not be used or relied upon without rigorous independent analysis by the reader as to correctness and applicability to the reader's requirements. Any use of, or reliance upon the contents of this post is solely at the reader's own risk. The writer specifically disclaims all liability including, but not limited to, direct, indirect, or consequential damages of any kind arising out of such use or reliance.
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Re: Common problems

Postby Scooter Scott - March 18th, 2008, 4:02 pm

When you say transmission shudder, how much is this noticeable? Ever since I got my tranny rebuilt, I have noticed a shudder that fades in/out around 50/55. Its very faint but I know its there. I don't remember feeling it prior to the tranny replacement either.
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Re: Common problems

Postby Squishy - March 18th, 2008, 4:04 pm

I have never personally experienced it, so I am not really sure. -\/-
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Re: Common problems

Postby CrashNburn - March 24th, 2008, 12:58 am

thanks for the info! i noticed the squeak tonight. i guess i know what one of my next jobs is gonna be.
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Re: Common problems

Postby Tribby - March 24th, 2008, 1:56 am

Great job Squishy. Most of these are a common fix thankgoodness. I have had 7 of the 11 issues listed :roll:
Haven't had the tranny shudder yet :woohoo:
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Re: Common problems

Postby PollKat - March 24th, 2008, 7:25 am

Great Job! Let's not forget the DPFE sensor. Wonder how many bought a EGR valve. Just to find out, that wasn't the problem....
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Re: Common problems

Postby Squishy - March 24th, 2008, 10:19 am

Hmm..I'm not familiar with that issue.

You can add it in if you want; you have power to edit my posts. :happy:
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Re: Common problems

Postby Scott - May 31st, 2008, 12:53 pm

Great post. I'll have to do the power steering squeak fix. :beer:
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Re: Common problems

Postby CrashNburn - June 5th, 2008, 11:48 pm

there is a tube of shudder stop that you can purchase from transmission shops. my buddies dad owns one (i worked for him a long time ago) i was on vacation for a month and i stopped in and asked him to take my escape for a test drive cause there was a lockup shudder at 40km/h (second time it happened, first time i took it to ford for a 200 buck tranny flush). without even driving it he gave me a tube of stuff and said to put it in the tranny and go for a drive myself. well its been well over 1500km since i put this stuff in and no more shudder!!!. ford sells the stuff at the dealer for about 40 bucks i think. the guy i know sells it for 10. and puts it in all trannys that get rebuilt that require additives. the stuff worked instantly.
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