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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
52,000 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2001 Ford Escape transmission problems

transmission problem

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2001 Ford Escape Owner Comments

problem #4

Aug 242006

Escape 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles


Transmission in my Ford Escape XLT has had a vibration for 2 years or so and I just found out that the torque converter is now bad! I spoke with a friend at apple Ford in lynchburg Virginia and he told me that the factory recommends a fluid flush first and it didn't fix the problem! torque converter must be replaced! it seems like to me that the factory is definitely trying to patch the problem by flushing the system and using a new type of transmission fluid to mask the problem so the car is out of warranty before the torque converter fails again!

- Lynchburg, VA, USA

problem #3

Sep 042005

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles
The consumer owns a 2001 Ford Escape that experienced a transmission failure. While driving on the highway at 55 mph the overdrive light flashed. The consumer exited the highway and was stopped at a red light. When the light turned green the vehicle revved, but would not move forward. The transmission would not shift. The consumer was able to engage second gear and drive 10 miles home. The vehicle was shaking or lurching back and forth on the drive home. The vehicle was taken to a dealership where a diagnostic check was performed and suggested a new transmission. The dealer could offer no explanation other than it may be the torque converter. This happened at 71,000 miles. This was the second transmission. The exact same thing had happened at 49, 000 miles. The consumer split the cost with Ford with the first transmission. The second transmission has not been replaced. The consumer was negotiating with Ford about the problem.

- Maynard, MA, USA

problem #2

Feb 252004

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
At 50,000, the transmission began to shudder. I found out why on Escape-central, and then proceeded back to the dealership. They informed me that they do not have the machine to perform the flushing, and to try somewhere else. Wasted day one. I went to another Ford dealership, and wasted a morning there before they told me that they did not have one either, and that I should try a Lincoln Mercury dealer. I finally got fed up and contacted the local Mazda dealer, who had the machine and was more than will to take my $150. He did not perform the oasis change though. All was good, and the Escape ran great. At 58000, the transmission shudder reappears. I take it back to dealer one, who informs me they canT see any problem. One week later, I bring it back in saying that it is most certainly there. I get to take out the transmission expert for a test drive, and recreate the problem. He says yup, thatS the torque converter problem. all the cars we make with that transmission have that problem at some point or another. as he explained it basically water is attracted to the plate in the torque converter, and any moisture in the system causes it to shudder. I ask the logical question of what should I do about it. his response is that he would rather cut off his two arms than replace the torque converter. 12 hours of labor on top of the ~$300 part. He suggests I get it flushed again and see if that helps. Back to Mazda&. I have the flush done at Mazda last week and they ask about the tsb oasis update. I said that it wasnT done, and they perform the update and flush the Escape. My Escape now runs worse than it did before, and the shudder happens when both locking and unlocking the torque converter. It actually shakes the change in my cupholders.

- Cambridge, MA, USA

problem #1

Jul 092002

Escape 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles
At over drive shifting, the transmission "chatters"when the car reaches about 2000 RPM. To upshift. This happens at any speed. Problem seems to be torque converter pressure is not enough to engage the higher gear. Ford dealer recommended transmission fluid change to fix the problem, but it still exists. I asked another repair dealership what it could be, they recommend changing the torque converter, the fluid change will not correct the problem. They need to go back on the day it was still covered under warranty and replace the torque converter under warranty.

- Pacolet Mills, SC, USA

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