2006 Escape Limited 3.0L electrical problems

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2006 Escape Limited 3.0L electrical problems

Postby bkenobi - January 10th, 2017, 4:09 pm

I just bought a 2006 Escape Limited 3.0L with 60k miles on it. The vehicle was in too good to be true condition, so I was a bit skeptical but jumped on it anyway. I believe it was owned by an old lady who didn't drive it much and garaged it, but who knows for sure.

I have a few issues that may or may not be related.

1) CEL displayed a couple times 2 weeks apart soon after purchase of car. Code was O2 related from memory, but don't know where I wrote down code. No issues with operation AFAIK. Cleaned IAV and put a bottle of Lucas fuel system cleaner through a full tank. Have not seen a CEL in a couple months.

2) After driving 60mph for 30 minutes, car was decelerate to 30mph and took clover leaf 270° to next highway. Mid-turn, the engine cut out without warning. The radio remained on as did lights, but no engine, power steering, breaks. Pulled car over, turned on flashers, turned car off. Waited a minute to collect self and started car which acted like normal. No issues before or since (1 week so far). Fuel system cleaner was in tank at this time.

3) Stopped for fuel on cold night (~25°F). After complete, inserted key and turned to run position to record mileage. 1-2 min later, turned key to start and all lights went out as though battery was flat. Removed key, reinsert ed and tried to start with same result. Turned key off and opened drivers door and theft light started flashing. I could hear clicking/electronic motor noise from dash (could have been cd changer) and lights returned.Car drove as normal. MPG was reset but clock still set. MPG has reset randomly 2-3 times prior without any other symptoms but may be unrelated. Next morning, car would not work again. Checked battery which was slightly low (12.4v) and charged. Battery and alternator tested good. Key switch is not loose and jiggling does not reproduce issues.

I like the car, but my wife is primary driver and is not confident driving it currently. I am leaning towards SJB or connectivity issue somewhere, but not sure what to try. Opinions from the experts would be very much appreciated!
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Re: 2006 Escape Limited 3.0L electrical problems

Postby 14theRoad - January 11th, 2017, 2:10 pm

A simple voltage check of a battery will not tell you if a cell is weak/bad. It only informs you (indirectly) of the capacity of the battery.

It's entirely possible to have a battery that's dying, show up "ok" on a voltage check.

How do the battery cables look? If they are very badly corroded or have been spliced, replace those first.

I would then remove the battery and have it load tested at your local auto parts store. My bet is you have a very weak cell in there that when under load will show up. Under load, a good battery should hold an 12v or greater voltage. A bad battery under load will drop to under 11v.

What's the date code on the battery? (letter and number).

If the battery tests ok and the cables are good to go, I'd look at grounding points. There are three I can think of. One is on the passenger side motor mount bracket (engine side). Another is by the PCM that is located in the engine compartment at the top of the firewall and has three big harnesses connected to it. The ground point will be just to the right of them. THe third is off the Negative battery cable on the drivers fender well.
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Re: 2006 Escape Limited 3.0L electrical problems

Postby bkenobi - January 11th, 2017, 2:41 pm

I did a basic battery test at home but, as you said, it won't give a real health of the battery. The cables look very clean and secure.

I took the battery to O'Reilly and asked them to test it on the bench. It's from 2015 (don't have date code handy atm) so I thought if bad it might be warranty replacement. The machine only took 2-3 minutes to report that the battery was good, so I'm not convinced they did a load test as that takes around 20 minutes (according to my mechanic). I drove it to a different store another day and had them use the portable tester to check the alternator. That battery test took 30 seconds.

I'm planning on taking it by my regular mechanic or Interstate to get a full test this afternoon. I'll check ground points too now that you located them.
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Re: 2006 Escape Limited 3.0L electrical problems

Postby bkenobi - January 11th, 2017, 9:09 pm

Interstate said the battery was fine. I located 2 of the 3 grounds and they looked solid and clean. where would the one near the drivers post be located? I found the one (actually 2 points) under the battery junction box and the one by the PCM.
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Re: 2006 Escape Limited 3.0L electrical problems

Postby tomw - January 12th, 2017, 10:40 am

The 'shutdown NOW' with no hesitation or warning indicates a loss of electrical power to the computer, engine, injectors or ignition.
I would be checking the power distribution box under hood. If it is located next to the battery, it can get fumes from a charging battery that may cause corrosion, or may have gotten 'salted' at some point in time. Even flooded with lake, river or sea water... If the title has also been 'washed', you might not know that your vehicle has been in a flood, submerged or what-ever... Washing titles through some states can remove the 'salvage' or other title 'blemishes' that will scare away potential buyers, leaving a 'clean' title with no indication of prior occurrences.
Any way, I'd check the box with all the relays, pulling each relay, looking for corrosion, and possibly swapping relays to replace the one that sends power to the computer with the horn or other not-so-necessary function. I'd even let one of the high-beams be controlled by a suspect relay.
Other things to check would be the inertia or roll-over safety that de-powers the fuel pump on impact or roll over. It is located inside a compartment in the cargo area if I remember. I think I saw it inside the plastic on the passenger side, but won't bet my donut. It may just need to be jiggled. OTOH, it would not stop all the electrics from working nor diddle with the trip mileage. Hmm. I think you have a power loss (electrical power) problem. Could also be a ground wire. Check the large-ish power feed from the battery to the underside of the PDB. (power distribution box)
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Re: 2006 Escape Limited 3.0L electrical problems

Postby 14theRoad - January 12th, 2017, 2:38 pm

bkenobi wrote:I did a basic battery test at home but, as you said, it won't give a real health of the battery. The cables look very clean and secure.

I took the battery to O'Reilly and asked them to test it on the bench. It's from 2015 (don't have date code handy atm) so I thought if bad it might be warranty replacement. The machine only took 2-3 minutes to report that the battery was good, so I'm not convinced they did a load test as that takes around 20 minutes (according to my mechanic). I drove it to a different store another day and had them use the portable tester to check the alternator. That battery test took 30 seconds.

I'm planning on taking it by my regular mechanic or Interstate to get a full test this afternoon. I'll check ground points too now that you located them.


There's three types of load/electrical tests:
A spot test for the battery (auto parts stores can do) - requires bench testing the battery. It's pretty easy to see if a battery fails this and does't take rocket science so 2-3 minutes is plenty.

One for the charging system (some auto parts stores can do) - requires going out to your car and connecting the tester to your battery. You start your car and it goes through a series of tests, takes about 5-10 minutes. Tests alternator charging capability and battery load rating.

One for the entire electrical system - What your mechanic is talking about. - Dealers and many shops (not all) do this one. It's requires connecting the battery and a number of other tracer wires to various components either in the fuse box, or power distribution block of the vehicle.This is the best way to do it but, unnecessary in most cases. It allows them to test specific circuits, read the wave forms on an oscilloscope from circuit to circuit, test for open grounds, intermittent opens, etc.

I forget the technical name of it but it saves shops from come backs and pissed off customers that drive away with a new battery, only to have the same issue(s) shortly after. Learned that one the hard way in my young wrenching days.

This unfortunately is a case where it (entire electrical system check) will likely be necessary. Your battery is good and your alternator appears to be working (indirectly at least).

Most shops, including dealers, will charge about an hour of labor to run the test. IMO it's worth the time savings of trying to trace out the wires/circuits yourself.
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Re: 2006 Escape Limited 3.0L electrical problems

Postby bkenobi - January 12th, 2017, 3:56 pm

These are helpful responses and I appreciate. The car has acted normal since I charged the battery so I haven't had a chance to see what else might be going on. I think I'm going to monitor things and wait to see if it's OK or going to continue to be an issue. Maybe the battery terminal was lose or a light was left on. I'll post again here if it returns.
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Re: 2006 Escape Limited 3.0L electrical problems

Postby djames28 - January 13th, 2017, 9:23 am

I had a slightly different problem that was resolved by determining the installed battery was under-capacity (too low Cold-Crank Amps).
Check that your battery is correct CCA and check the voltage drop during startup. I realize your Escape stopped from a running condition, but make certain this battery is correct for your application to keep this from being an underlying issue.
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Re: 2006 Escape Limited 3.0L electrical problems

Postby bkenobi - January 13th, 2017, 9:37 am

The battery is a 40R which is the OEM model. Sounds like that's not the most common battery so the 48R is supposedly another option (1/2" taller, same otherwise).
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