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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This car has been dutifully reliable with very few issues but it's now 16 years old with 155k. Over the past few years, I've noticed the mileage has gone down, the car won't stay in hybrid mode nearly as long and some times, it's so dead at start up that it feels super sluggish to drive. This mostly happens in cold weather or if the car has been sitting a few days. Though the computer hasn't thrown any codes, I feel it's lifecycle is reaching an end. A local shop says they can "refurbish" the batteries by completely draining them and doing some kind of voodoo magic but I'm skeptical. Here in Washington state, there are a few companies that sell refurbished packs with various warranties but I can't seem to find any reliable reviews.

Has anyone replaced their batteries recently and if so, what was the cost and reliability?
 

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I would not be too concerned about the HV battery end of life or a total failure. 05-08 hybrids use NiMH style battery sticks within the HV battery pack. 50 sticks total. I say sticks, because it is actually 5 D cell sized batteries joined together to form a stick.

The NiMH technology has been around for a long time. Its weak point is developing a memory. So Ford added a program to the battery management system to run an R-balance from time to time while driving. This was to extend the life and power available. R-balance refreshes the memory. After 08, Ford removed the R-balance because the batteries were lasting too long and not failing. The batteries were lasting so long, Ford developed a software update to limit battery life to 10yrs (buy a new Ford). www.forscan.org designed a feature within it's software to reset the battery clock to day 0, and you get another 10yrs out of the battery pack.

We rebuilt hybrid batteries at the shop. Currently, I'm recharging a Honda Civic hybrid battery. The customer let the vehicle sit for a few months and the HV battery voltage was too low to crank the engine. Because he does not have the 'secret button', I had to remove the HV battery, disassemble and recharge the sticks. The battery is not bad. All batteries self discharge while not in use. I use a very good RC charger and recharge the sticks with the correct values.

If the vehicle cranks. The HV battery is good. Don't expect to be driving around town on battery alone. Drive-thru dinning, parking lots, and slow speeds you will be on battery alone. Most of the time it will be battery and gas engine (ICE).

NiMN can develop a memory over time. This memory effects how well the battery recharges itself. The voodoo magic is to disassemble the HV battery pack and charge each stick to a full state. Then discharge the stick to it's lowest acceptable charge. Perform this 3 times and this removes the memory effect. This is the voodoo. Research HIMH memory.

YouTube has plenty of videos showing the process.

For the hybrid mode to work correctly, the A/C system must be working correctly. A low refrigerant level, will cause the HV battery to charge to it's lowest level. Both cooling fans must be working within the HV battery for it to charge. The fans were a high failure item. An upper level scanner will show if one, or both fans had failed.

The 05-08 HV battery pack is very difficult to disassemble. If I were to take one apart, I would install 50 new (not re-manufactured) battery sticks. The cost for the sticks was around $1,800 last year.

Before doing anything, fully scan the vehicle. Run KOEO and KOER self test. Have the A/C checked. Run R-balance. Last, run the KAM. Now drive to set the monitors.

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I would not be too concerned about the HV battery end of life or a total failure. 05-08 hybrids use NiMH style battery sticks within the HV battery pack. 50 sticks total. I say sticks, because it is actually 5 D cell sized batteries joined together to form a stick.

The NiMH technology has been around for a long time. Its weak point is developing a memory. So Ford added a program to the battery management system to run an R-balance from time to time while driving. This was to extend the life and power available. R-balance refreshes the memory. After 08, Ford removed the R-balance because the batteries were lasting too long and not failing. The batteries were lasting so long, Ford developed a software update to limit battery life to 10yrs (buy a new Ford). www.forscan.org designed a feature within it's software to reset the battery clock to day 0, and you get another 10yrs out of the battery pack.

We rebuilt hybrid batteries at the shop. Currently, I'm recharging a Honda Civic hybrid battery. The customer let the vehicle sit for a few months and the HV battery voltage was too low to crank the engine. Because he does not have the 'secret button', I had to remove the HV battery, disassemble and recharge the sticks. The battery is not bad. All batteries self discharge while not in use. I use a very good RC charger and recharge the sticks with the correct values.

If the vehicle cranks. The HV battery is good. Don't expect to be driving around town on battery alone. Drive-thru dinning, parking lots, and slow speeds you will be on battery alone. Most of the time it will be battery and gas engine (ICE).

NiMN can develop a memory over time. This memory effects how well the battery recharges itself. The voodoo magic is to disassemble the HV battery pack and charge each stick to a full state. Then discharge the stick to it's lowest acceptable charge. Perform this 3 times and this removes the memory effect. This is the voodoo. Research HIMH memory.

YouTube has plenty of videos showing the process.

For the hybrid mode to work correctly, the A/C system must be working correctly. A low refrigerant level, will cause the HV battery to charge to it's lowest level. Both cooling fans must be working within the HV battery for it to charge. The fans were a high failure item. An upper level scanner will show if one, or both fans had failed.

The 05-08 HV battery pack is very difficult to disassemble. If I were to take one apart, I would install 50 new (not re-manufactured) battery sticks. The cost for the sticks was around $1,800 last year.

Before doing anything, fully scan the vehicle. Run KOEO and KOER self test. Have the A/C checked. Run R-balance. Last, run the KAM. Now drive to set the monitors.

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Bro, you are like a school ( :
You are so thorough!

hey Ohsix, just curious, when was it last time you gave your car a tune up- filters/plugs/CoP's?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the very through reply! Got a few questions: If any of the battery fans fail, will it initiate a CEL? The A/C blows cold so that system should still be ok. If the car already performs a Run-R, is it even worth taking it to a shop to have it done manually? And where can one buy new battery packs? The car starts every time but I hate how low the batteries get which makes it difficult to back out or accelerate for a period of time until they charge back up.

As for tune-up maintenance, all I've ever done is replace the spark plugs and that was about 2 years ago. The air filter gets checked but it's usually very clean. I replaced the battery filter a few years ago but need to check it again. The low voltage battery was replaced about 4-5 years ago after the car stopped starting. Like I said, this car has been very reliable since I purchased it 8 years ago. The worst problem I had was the PTU going out, which I documented on here. Otherwise, I replaced the thermostat about 5-6 years ago, had the electric water pump replaced under the recall, an A/C cabin temp sensor was replaced and new front brake pads.

Because it's been so reliable, and with used car prices so high, we plan on keeping this car another 5+ years. I would like to get back up to 30+mpg, like when I bought it. Right now, the best it does is 27 freeway and about 24 in town (where we do most of our driving). A few wheel bearings need replaced and the suspension is a little loose but I feel like it's worth putting money into it.
 

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LOL, someone at Ford forget to tell my '09's HVTB it only had a 10 year life....I'm 4 years into borrowed time. Ford also forgot to remove the rebalance feature from my mine as I can also command a HVTB rebalance whenever I want with Forscan or a professional level scan tool..

Also, you can construct a high voltage, low amperage charger for your HVTB using a LED power supply and recharge the entire pack without even removing it from the vehicle. Parts lists, directions to build the charger and to install the charging cable are at ElectricVehiclesForum. Go to the Ford Escape Hybrid forum and search for the stickied thread "HV Battery Jump." While most use this to charge the HVTB just enough to start the car, if you monitor it carefully with cooling, you can charge the HVTBt to 100% capacity and then discharge it. Installing the charging cable is a bit of a P.I.A,, but you only have to do that once.

Here is the first charger I built, my latest one only uses a single power supply. It is fused and has diodes to protect the electrics. The small cable in the upper right corner is the one that permanently attaches to the main relay of the HVTB.

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Contrary to the assertion above, the mere fact your FEH starts does not mean the battery is good. What you are describing can be the beginning signs of HVTB failure. One of the most critical things to look for in Forscan in terms of the health of the HVTB is the DEL_MOD_V. It should be less than 0.2 volts. If it is greater than that, command one or several rebalances and check again. If that value is still high you can try fully charge/discharge cycles to see if that helps.
 

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Unfortunately, I don't have the tools or expertise to do this on my own. I may just take it to the shop and see what they recommend.
At a minimum buy Extended License Forscan (I think they have a free trial) at the link above and one of their recommended Data Link Connectors (DLC). With it you can commend a R-balance (rebalance) of the HVTB. It will slightly overcharge then discharge your HVTB in attempt to rebalance the cells. You can also get a lot of information regarding the HVTBs state of health. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, go to a mechanic with an OE level scan tool, it should be able to command a rebalance as well.

Also, make sure your 12 volt battery is in excellent condition. A wealk 12v battery can cause all sorts of issues with the hybrid systems.

BTW: Here's a link to a YouTube video series where the guy is using the exact power supply I am currently using as my charger:

Link
 

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LOL, someone at Ford forget to tell my '09's HVTB it only had a 10 year life....I'm 4 years into borrowed time. Ford also forgot to remove the rebalance feature from my mine as I can also command a HVTB rebalance whenever I want with Forscan or a professional level scan tool..

Also, you can construct a high voltage, low amperage charger for your HVTB using a LED power supply and recharge the entire pack without even removing it from the vehicle. Parts lists, directions to build the charger and to install the charging cable are at ElectricVehiclesForum. Go to the Ford Escape Hybrid forum and search for the stickied thread "HV Battery Jump." While most use this to charge the HVTB just enough to start the car, if you monitor it carefully with cooling, you can charge the HVTBt to 100% capacity and then discharge it. Installing the charging cable is a bit of a P.I.A,, but you only have to do that once.

Here is the first charger I built, my latest one only uses a single power supply. It is fused and has diodes to protect the electrics. The small cable in the upper right corner is the one that permanently attaches to the main relay of the HVTB.

View attachment 2601

Contrary to the assertion above, the mere fact your FEH starts does not mean the battery is good. What you are describing can be the beginning signs of HVTB failure. One of the most critical things to look for in Forscan in terms of the health of the HVTB is the DEL_MOD_V. It should be less than 0.2 volts. If it is greater than that, command one or several rebalances and check again. If that value is still high you can try fully charge/discharge cycles to see if that helps.
Let me guess, 300v LED driver?
 

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At a minimum buy Extended License Forscan (I think they have a free trial) at the link above and one of their recommended Data Link Connectors (DLC). With it you can commend a R-balance (rebalance) of the HVTB. It will slightly overcharge then discharge your HVTB in attempt to rebalance the cells. You can also get a lot of information regarding the HVTBs state of health. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, go to a mechanic with an OE level scan tool, it should be able to command a rebalance as well.

Also, make sure your 12 volt battery is in excellent condition. A wealk 12v battery can cause all sorts of issues with the hybrid systems.

BTW: Here's a link to a YouTube video series where the guy is using the exact power supply I am currently using as my charger:

Link
Could you please tell me what I need to do in Forscan to run this R-balance you speak of? I have to replace my hybrid cooling fans after getting a P0A81 and a local hybrid shop mentioned rebalancing may be good for my vehicle. I have am OBDII connector. I just don't know what I need to do within Forscan to run the R-balance.
 

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Could you please tell me what I need to do in Forscan to run this R-balance you speak of? I have to replace my hybrid cooling fans after getting a P0A81 and a local hybrid shop mentioned rebalancing may be good for my vehicle. I have am OBDII connector. I just don't know what I need to do within Forscan to run the R-balance.
Do you have the Extended License version of Forscan? The R-balance command is under "Services." It takes 10-30 minutes.
 

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Unfortunately, I don't have the tools or expertise to do this on my own. I may just take it to the shop and see what they recommend.
One of the issues is that the drivers who have had a refurbished battery pack installed have inconsistent results, and sometimes have to replace the rebuilds. The refurbished battery packs are typically not the same build quality as OEM, which have not been available for years. Most EVs and hybrids including Fords' now use Li-ion batteries.
 

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Could you please tell me what I need to do in Forscan to run this R-balance you speak of? I have to replace my hybrid cooling fans after getting a P0A81 and a local hybrid shop mentioned rebalancing may be good for my vehicle. I have am OBDII connector. I just don't know what I need to do within Forscan to run the R-balance.
I just did this again on my '09 using ForScan to give you better directions. I still believe you have to have the Extended License version to do this.

After you get the software running and your FEH connected, click on the wrench icon on the the left for services. A list will load and approximately half way down you should see BCM Rmode Rebalance. Click on it to highlight the selection in blue. On the bottom there is Green right arrow.. Click on the that to command the rebalance, follow the onscreen directions and your HVTB will rebalance. There is a progress bar on the bottom. Mine started off slowly and then jumped from 25% to 100%. My DEL_MOD_V was 0.13 so I have a pretty healthy battery all things considered.

Edit: I just purchased an OBDLinkMX+ on Amazon...good sale for Prime Day with same day delivery. FORSCan Lite for Android costs $5.99 and can be downloaded into all of your compatible devices. I just confirmed you can command a HVTB rebalance with it, too.
 

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Except we are talking about Escapes, not Fusions. Escapes list days in service, not age in years. The purpose of all this age stuff is to aid the computer in mapping out charging and other electrical management strategies. By the way, Ford is using 15 years battery life for the Fusion, not ten. In addition to state of charge, etc., the computer considers the age of the battery in determining those strategies.
 
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