Notes: With questionable safety ratings, a faulty power control module (PCM) and a rear subframe that can rust out, the first model year Escape is known for problems. But the worst one of all? A design flaw that carried through multiple model years and caused dangerous unintended acceleration.

A lack of clearance between the engine cover and the speed control cable connector meant the throttle could get stick open when the accelerator was fully depressed. Following a petition from the Center for Auto Safety, NHTSA opened an investigation and eventually issued a recall to fix the sticky throttles in the 2001–2004 model years.

Even with the throttles fixed, the 2001 model year could still have trouble stopping due to multiple problems with leaking brakes.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
126,892 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. have had middle and both exhuast manifold converter replaced (3 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
  3. had to have the middle catalytic convertor replaced (1 reports)
2001 Ford Escape exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #6

Oct 102012

Escape V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles


Water seems to be what triggers this problem. After some heavy rain, I started my 2001 Escape. It sputtered and jerked, and there was no power behind the acceleration. The engine warning light started blinking, and there was a burning smell. After having it towed to a shop, they said an O2 sensor had gone out, causing the catalytic converters to break up and clog. All three had to be replaced. They did it aftermarket, which was about half the price (around $3000) of having it done with manufacturer parts (closer to $7000). I sold this Escape, but my wife's 2003 had the same exact issue a year later . . . TWICE. We will never buy another Ford.

- , Burlington, KY, USA

problem #5

Sep 072012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

Took a perfectly good running escape in for a recall repair.. they said in order to finish recall repair they needed to replace the plastic engine cover, but had to order it. I told them to order it and service guy said it would probably run a little rough without the engine cover.. a little!?? got progressively worse as I waited for cover to come in. I called and scheduled a time for them to check it since it would only go about 25-30mph. They said they found a collapsed pcv hose.. ok fix it.. when I went to pick it up he said the exhaust converters were bad, but it would run, just not very well... ok.. it ran 0mph.. I putted it around the few blocks to my dad's and parked it. Then I went to talk to the service mgr. they picked up the car and have had it for 2 weeks and are still telling me the converters are bad!!! I am angry!! I need this vehicle to run like it did when I took it in for the recall repair and they are trying to tell me they had nothing to do with what is wrong now!!!

- , Abilene, TX, USA

problem #4

Jun 032011

Escape LX 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 122,000 miles

We got stranded on the Hwy in Staten Island, and it actually went on fire. We had no sign of check engine light or anything except for briefly right before it broke down.It has never been right and in fact had to rent a car for our vacation, since didn't trust it. We also now have a "tranny leak" even though it is now the 2nd tranny on this car. Amazingly the warranty on that just ran out. Now have check engine light is on and took to get looked at. they said now the "front" catalytic converter on the manifold is going bad and gave me estimate of over $900.00.Now. After the hurricane this weekend it is flashing intermittently. using it to go local only, and postponing away plans, or will have to rent a car.

- , Bohemia, NY, USA

problem #3

Jan 012010

Escape XLT 3.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles


Bought used for college daughter. Ford dealer (Wisc) did not disclose any issues except minor oil leak, said all codes good. Immediately the car began having a stutter when trying to start it. It hesitated, then started. When she got to her college out of state, she took it to the local Ford dealer to diagnose the hesitancy. Ford had it in three times, for over 8 days - no bad codes and code not identify problem but acknowledged that the WI dealer had to have known. She kept driving it as she has a job besides school with no noticeable issues until it started stalling and loosing power at low rpm. She took it to my private mechanic (50 miles from her school) and he diagnosed bad middle catalytic converter and replaced, then clogged manifold catalytic converters (both) and replaced. (this is $1700 for parts) This solved the clogged exhaust issue however converters turned red-hot now. He tore into engine to find missing teeth on a gear on the cam shaft that probably was causing the starting issue (wouldn't fire on 1st cylinder), which also probably caused the clogging of converters. I'd say manufacturing defect on the internal gear. He never got any bad codes either. She hasn't got it back yet, still being worked on so we'll find out if its fixed - let alone how much. Dealer says not their problem. In the meantime, she's driving my hobby car - 1997 Toyota Celica with 162,000 miles and running like new. Wonder what she'll buy when she trades off the Escape?? I'm guessing RAV4 or CRV. I've drivin GM most of my life, but gotta tell you - our Mercedes and Toyota are ONLY in the shop for routine maintenance. I hope Ford makes it as a company - we need the jobs - but I doubt anyone in either of our family's will buy one anytime soon. My advice to Ford dealer's, if you're going to sell Fords, you better take care of the customer after the sale. Screwing your customer is a short-term approach to your colossal issues. My daughter is 21, her sisters 24 and 25 - none will likely buy a Ford in their lifetime - and they're using Facebook not to your advantage I might say. The days of hosing one person and them not sharing their experience with the world are over. Figure it out. For Escape owners who have clogged catalytic converters and hesitant starting issues - check the gear on the cam for missing teeth.

- , Glendale, WI, USA

problem #2

Apr 302009

Escape XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 190,000 miles

In The month of April 2009 I kept hearing a loud roaring sound, I took it to Ford for a test drive because no engine light was on, the mechanic stated that it sound like my Catalytic converter, so I took it to a shop who stated that I had three that was going bad. I never take it to Ford they are too high and over priced. The other other shop stated it will cost over 1800, I was unable to afford three, so he repair the cheapest one in the front of the car I think that cost 250, again Ford Escape is a mess , DO not buy any cars from them.

- , Lithonia, GA, USA

problem #1

Jul 272007

Escape XLT 3.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,351 miles

We were on holiday going to Marineland and as I was driving up the hill with the whole family and our camping gear the truck lost power and by the time I reached the top of the hill i was going 60 km/h and cars were honking behind me. I limped the truck to the for dealer were they took me right away and told me the catalytic converter is clogged. I had to rent a car to complete the holiday on my own dime, the dealership gave me a special rate because they had a built in budget rental company in house.

- , Penetanguishene, ON, Canada

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