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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
125,900 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
2002 Ford Escape engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #3

Apr 082013

Escape XLS 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,000 miles


I see a load of complaints on here about '05 Escapes having electrical/cylinder/CPU/etc issues, well I can tell you this has been an on-going issue since at least the 2002 model which I own. It has taken me approx 5 years to come to the conclusions I have so far...and I still don't have it fixed. Let me backtrack, through the problems that I NOW KNOW were part of this current/ongoing one.

Approx 6 months after I bought the vehicle (2 years old with 50K on it) the engine light began flashing on and off, and then stuck on - but there was no apparent problems with how it actually ran, and every time I'd pull into an Autozone or similar place to check it out...the light would go out and they could not check it via computer. I got sick of trying and since the vehicle seemed to run fine, I counted it as a faulty error light and forgot about it.

About a year later, the engine began to misfire badly, and I took it to a mechanic. They said it was an ignition coil, and with labor I paid $370. When I got it back it ran great again...the light started up again a few weeks later, and with no problems, I again gave up trying to "catch it".

About a year later (sound familiar?) the engine again misfiring badly, and I again paid $370 for yet another ignition coil on a different cylinder. The business with the error light of course started again afterwards.

About 18 months later (oh joy, an extra 6 months!) the misfiring issue popped up yet again and yet again I paid another $370. to replace the ignition coil that was supposedly the problem...on a third cylinder.

About a year after that (and a year ago now) having long since gotten used to the idiot error light that almost never went out, the engine began running sluggishly and/or misfiring again, BUT...ONLY when it was wet and/or rainy outside. We got a night of showers, the next morning, the car ran for poop. As soon as it dried out, it ran just fine.


So, I started looking online for solutions, and I found a number of people had had the same issues as I was, and a number of attempted solutions and possible fixes they had tried. MOST seemed to come down to some sort of electrical short somewhere, or having the PCM reprogrammed etc. This info in hand, I called the shop who had "fixed" all those ignition coils, explained what was going on and asked for suggestions - I was told they had never heard of a PCM going out, or any wiring water issue causing misfiring, yadda-yadda-yadda.

I looked around online and hatched a plan. I found coils at an online parts house for a measly $20.00 EACH, and my intention has been to wait out the winter, let it get good and dry outside, by 6 coils, and a new set of plugs and put them all in the truck. THEN, when/if the light comes on (which I finally managed to catch and it signifies a misfiring coil (DUH)), I will know 100% that it has jack nothing to do with my coils or plugs (total cost: an afternoon and $150.00) and can got a mechanic or dealer and say - OKAY, figure out from here WTFudge is up electrically that causes this.

I recently had a fusion in my neck, so I was now waiting to heal up enough to do this, when last week, the truck was warming up in the drive and shut off, and would not turn over at all - though there was plenty of juice. My wife came home and took my daughter to school, and the tow truck took my truck to the mechanic.

The mechanic calls me and says the starter is totally fried. How the??? He is certain it is fried, and that it is the problem. $380 to fix. With the tow fee that's $460.

He calls me later and says it is not done because the new starter will not STOP RUNNING, even if the switch is only in the accessory position, and he is having another started dropped off to verify that the new one isn't also fudged. He calls back, says the second new starter also does the same thing, so he knows that the new starter is A-okay, but something else is causing them to run non-stop until they burn out like mine did.

He ends up taking it to a friend of his at another shop and leaving it there for him to look at. On the 3rd day, he calls me, says it is all done and running, and will explain when I come get it. When I get there, lo and flrickin' behold...his buddy said it is an ELECTRICAL SHORT that is caused by fluid building up in a plug in the transmission!. They blew it out, dried it out, and it runs just fine - no starter running, no chugging, no error light even.

He shows me where the plug is at, if you stand in front of the truck, on the drivers side and look down at the battery, from the upper left corner of the battery, you look down to the tranny, and there is this plug with several wires going in and out. THAT is the plug they're talking about. He says all we can do at this point is drive it a bit and see if it reoccurs, and to come back in two weeks and take a look at the plug.

Saturday night it rained heavily - Sunday the truck ran for crap, the light flashed on and off and then stayed on. This morning (Monday) I took my daughter to school, and as I was leaving I stopped to talk to another parent, and while I was sitting there, with the truck running - the starter kicked in and started running! I shut it off, and as soon as I engage the key the starter begins again.

I shut it off, called the mechanic, walked home, and he called me back (I won't replay the conversation, but he knew when I hung up previously that I was majorly PO'd). He came over and picked the keys up, and he went to get the truck himself so I'm not paying another tow fee. he says he will figure it out and call me.

I KNOW that it is not just leaking fluid from the tranny causing tha plug to fill up with fluid, or else (1) I'd have lost enough over the last 4-5 years to seize it up by driving it dry, and (2) this stuff ONLY starts up when it is very WET outside, so has to be drainage, drippage, condensation etc filling that plug.

SO...that plug on the transmission is essentially the root problem - it fills with fluid, makes a wire connection, and shorts the CPU which then tells the cylinders to misfire, and now the starter to kick in and keep going.


I have owned and loved Fords most of my life - I've had 3 times as many Fords as I have any other car - after the BS auto bailout the government did, we decided that the ONLY American car we would ever buy again was a FORD since they were the only ones to refuse the bailout (TAXPAYER'S) money. BUT now....?

I have no idea what it will cost to totally actually really fix correct this trucks issue(s) at this point, nor if it is worth it compared to what I can get for it on the open market - but either way...I'm looking at replacing it, and most likely I'll do that with a NISSAN!!!

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #2

Oct 252012

Escape XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,700 miles

First, I got a check engine light saying that cylinder 5 was misfiring. Replaced the coil pack and it went away. A couple months later my wife pulled out of the driveway and there was a loud pop and the engine sounded like it had a bad exhaust leak. Only it wasn't. I pulled off the intake manifold and found the number 3 cylinder had blown out the spark plug and shot it straight into the $80 coil pack above it, of course, destroying it. Unfortunately there were no more threads left in the spark plug hole. I had to heli-coil it but now it's misfiring again.

- , Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #1

Sep 172011

Escape XLT 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

we have had this problem for over a year now with cylinder #6 misfiring, we have changed the coil packs, spark plugs, boots, and checked every way we could think of to fix this problem. we are hearing from different sources that it may be in the wireing. please if anyone else has had this problem, let me know the solution, im so ready to sell this car or trade it in

- , Pioneer, OH, USA

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