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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Thanks so much for this and I totally get where you're going on the exhaust side @Mountain Escape . I just spent $600 getting an initial recharge and leak test on the A/C and, whilst it's nice to have some icy cold air in the cabin sometimes - I can now, quite safely say that it's made no difference to the poor gutless over-revvy performance issues. I see that another FEH owner reported (on another forum) that they sometimes get the gutlessness when they start the truck and that is related (apparently) to a low charge - I reported that the performance was super crap on a very hot day but maybe I actually ran into that issue?. I'm seeing that the battery graphic shows empty when I'm starting the truck sometimes and that also hits performance.

The good news is that it's running and hasn't broken down on me. I'm taking it out on the road for a long trip next week and I'm kinda hoping that opening her up on the highway for a decent stretch is going to blow away some cobwebs. Risky, maybe - if it's a blocked cat ..but, also, maybe therapeutic? Time to roll the dice - we have BCAA if the worst comes to the worst.

A couple of questions if I may:

1/ Anyone know of any decent garages in the Vancouver BC area (non dealer) that specialize in Hybrids, especially FEH? I've tried a few but not had great responses...maybe a private/hobbyist mechanic who just knows their stuff?

2/ What specific tests would I ask for on the cat(s) and where would I go to get those done around here? There are many generalist garages around but this seems like a specialization.

This has been a long journey and I'm too invested in this thing to give up now. Still holding out for that real 'eureka' moment!

Cheers as always!
Cam
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Annnnd I just read this thread which ended up with the truck dying! Might have to take a more urgent trip to get the exhaust system checked out. ..dang!
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Thanks somuch for the detailed info, Dwight! - I've already booked it in for a back pressure test (advising that I would like to test for Catalytic converter blockage) on Monday. I booked it into the same place that did the plugs - they advised that a back-pressure test wouldn't have been part of the plug-change and I've already had it in for diagnostics there.... Apparently they need me to be specific about this test? Anyway, there it is - an hour labour charge (hopefully) from them to give me the "all clear" or the "uh-oh" on the cat - worth it for peace of mind. That other thread on ruining the truck because the cat was blocked gave me a real scare!
I'm going to research a lil now ..I still don't know whether there are multiple cats on this thing :)
 

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Me, I don't think it's the catalytic convertor. Hybrids generally have the best convertor on the market. I've never seen a clogged hybrid convertor.

A simple test for a clogged convertor is to remove the upper Ox sensor and zip it out of harms way. Now drive the vehicle, does it feel better? Yea, it will be noisy, but safe to drive.

Search Yelp for a hybrid repair shop. Check their reviews.

Go online and search for a 05-08 for sale. Take it out for a test drive and see if it feels different.

By design, the 2.3L is a low compression engine, but a very good one, and well suited for a hybrid. I'd rather have the 2.3L vs the 2.5L.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Ok cool, thanks! I'll take the plunge tomorrow and try to get that sensor out and take it for a spin with it off. I'm pretty sure that the garage I took it to only took the lower one out and not the upper one which wouldn't have been a great test, I gather.

Failing all this I will seek out another one to drive. I fully realise that I've probably only taken 3/4 of your advice so far, Dwight - so much info in this thread and you've been very patient. Once I've been on a longer trip with it (we're driving a 6 hour mountainous run next week) I'll be more convinced that all is normal, I think.

Slim pickins for hybrid specialists near me, weirdly..most garages I called won't touch them and say "go to the dealer" - I kinda respect their honesty in that regard but it surprises me that there aren't more hybrid repair shops/specialists..I might have to take it a lil farther out for a decent one, if it comes to it. Test driving another one'll come before that, though.

I have spoken to someone who owns one and described my experience (didn't get to drive it) they were surprised at my description ...they didn't experience particularly high revs on small inclines etc and didn't seem to think it felt much different to a regular SUV.

Will update with the next round of results soon...

Cheers!!
Cam
 

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If you want to pull an O2 sensor to check for clogged cat backpressure, you have to remove the uppermost sensor, as it is the only access port BEFORE the catalytic converter. Checking the lower O2 is after the converter, so makes no sense as a spot to check for backpressure. It would check the 3rd converter if you had a 3.0 v6 as there is one after the two banks join the exhaust flow into a single.
If you were getting 60F air in the battery compartment, that should not cause problems as that would provide a good bit of cooling to the battery. At least I think so as many AC systems will not produce air a lot colder than that on a hot day. Some are better, of course.
I second the idea of test driving a similar vehicle to gain perspective. Before getting our merc, we test drove a 4-cylinder and decided it was not attractive. It was the typical foreign car drone mobile(just an opinion) and there were plans for crossing the Rockies. I knew from experience that it would have more of a struggle than the 3.0. IOW, it was OK for an around town grocery getter, but taking a trip over mountains would have made it work pretty hard. I cannot comment on the hybrid as I have never driven one.
tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Got it, thanks @tomw that is perfectly logical to me. I'm fairly sure that the muffler place I took it to hoisted the vehicle up to take the O2 sensor out - which seems to be a telltale sign that they took the secondary (lower) one out. I'm going to see if I can do this today. I guess that is an, albeit crude, back pressure test.

Cheers!
Cam
 

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You must be aware that HOT exhaust gas will come out and attempt to melt anything it can touch. Given that, a test must(should) not be a trip to the grocery store... it should be short and sweet... Either it makes a difference or it doesn't.
Be careful.
tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
@tomw Thanks for posting that. Most kind. I've postponed the test until Sunday as I want a second opinion from the wife. I'm also going to grab the right 22mm socket to make it easier to get the sensor out and screw it back in and may also buy a pressure tester today. Will post with an update as soon as the test is done. 🤞
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
For a quick one-time use, could I just use a cheap pressure gauge like this work? They have them in a store near me.
General PDP Template
I know we're talking about like 30 bucks difference with the kits but budget approval is becoming increasingly difficult at this stage and I can pick this up today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Ok, I think the results were inconclusive and I might need to grab/rent a gauge. Here's what happened..I got the sensor removal tool and we realized that we were going to need to completely disconnect the whole O2 sensor rather than risk twisting the cables off of the top of the sensor. So we put the sensor/connector in the back and went for a rip. I say it was inconclusive because we didn't feel a surge in power (but I'm not expecting that really) One thing we're both agreed on is that the revs are lower going up hill - ballpark 2500rpm with the sensor out as opposed to 4000 with it in - up a pretty steep hill. The high revs are a big part of this issue so I guess that's a positive. I'm disinclined to say that out-and-out "eureka" but that is a very interesting result.

I wonder if disconnecting the whole sensor was a booboo and whether we should have left it connected. Weirdly I expected a CEL but we never saw one?!! Maybe I'll do the test again with the sensor connected but zapped away as Dwight was saying. Dang!

Imma sleep on this and get some more data tomorrow/see if I can rent a back pressure test gauge. As @dwightbresemann pointed out - they're reasonably priced on Ebay. I wanna try to get to the bottom of this (or closer) while I'm offa work tomorrow though. I also ordered some Cataclean the other day. That can't hurt, I guess!

Cheers,
Cam
 

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If you get the pressure gauge, you may want to search for something like this:


tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Hi! Quick update as I have nothing really conclusive yet but I've ordered a back pressure tester and it gets here on Sunday. We took the FEH out for a 5 hour drive over the mountains and we made it 5 hours there and 5 hours back without any breakdowns or anything so that's good. Performance on the hills, especially at high elevations was pretty bad - we were the slowest climbers out of anyone with all kinds of different vehicles overtaking us ..it's not like we slowed to a crawl and we still made it. The manual states:

"Engine: The engine speed in your hybrid is not directly tied to your
vehicle speed. Your vehicle’s engine and transmission are designed to
deliver the power you need at the most efficient engine speed. During
heavy accelerations, your hybrid may reach high engine speeds (up to
6000 RPM). This is characteristic of the Atkinson cycle engine
technology helping to maximize your hybrid’s fuel economy."


This would surely make diagnosing slippy transmission issues tricky but, aside from that, I decided to test a heavy acceleration - taking the RPMs up to 6000RPM and it was not pretty at all. It felt like it was about to give out on me. I could smell something weird but my wife thinks it might have been from another vehicle - The gas pedal definitely started to shake noticeably at 5700-6000 RPM though so I eased off as it felt like I was damaging it. Still haven't managed to drive another one yet but maybe the cat/exhaust is restricted.

Will report back when the test is done - hopefully on Sunday. Kit was 50 bucks and the local garage charges 120 bucks for the test so I might as well own a test kit.

Cheers!
 

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I do not think your transmission is slipping. Gen 1 transmission were well built by design. All hybrids suffer from a 'lack of power' in mountainous areas. During long inclines, all hybrids lose power. During the up hill climb, the Atkinson engine is not only moving you forward, it's also charging the HV or traction battery to move you forward. Hybrids work best in City, stop and go traffic.

The Atkinson engine is the best engine for a hybrid. But, it lacks power by design. Where it shines is starting/stopping with ease and low power draw during starting. It's a low compression engine.

Your 08 hybrid is working as it was designed. They were not designed for tall grades.

Be happy, you have one of Ford's better build vehicles. I own a 15 bay repair facility and I know junk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
I do not think your transmission is slipping. Gen 1 transmission were well built by design. All hybrids suffer from a 'lack of power' in mountainous areas. During long inclines, all hybrids lose power. During the up hill climb, the Atkinson engine is not only moving you forward, it's also charging the HV or traction battery to move you forward. Hybrids work best in City, stop and go traffic.

The Atkinson engine is the best engine for a hybrid. But, it lacks power by design. Where it shines is starting/stopping with ease and low power draw during starting. It's a low compression engine.

Your 08 hybrid is working as it was designed. They were not designed for tall grades.

Be happy, you have one of Ford's better build vehicles. I own a 15 bay repair facility and I know junk.
Thank you again, Dwight. I've learned so much on this thread. You especially, have been most kind and generous with your time. Hopefully, as I mentioned before, it will be useful to other new FEHers who have a similar experience. I'll post any updates if anything changes. I'll be doing the backpressure test and getting a new battery one day soon anyway.

Cheers!
Cam
 
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