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Hi fellas, we have a 2012 Ford Escape v6 AWD. Brought it in for inspection and was told the “K Brace is rotted”. Cant pass NYS safety inspection. Also was told it wasn’t worth doing the work for repair. It has 140k on it and has its noises but always been reliable. Is the K brace/engine cradle something people replace normally on here? Just wondering if this is actually possible/worth doing.

Also, Ive read about a add-on brace that can help in the event something breaks. But can’t find a thread that shows where it’s installed.
 

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The rusted part is made from several steel pieces welded together to form a 'package' that will hold the engine & transmission, the drive axles, the spindles and the McPherson struts/springs. It is pre-assembled and placed on a small lift when it is to be installed into the body. They lift the whole thing up, guide the struts into position, and put in bolts to hold it to the bottom of the vehicle. More or less.
You can reverse the process by disconnecting cooling, wiring, cables, controls, etc, along with the strut fasteners and the bolts holding the k-frame. Some call it an H frame, depending on shape.
Either way, you can drop the frame and the engine/trans/front suspension in one piece. You could then move all your 'stuff' to a donor frame. You could get a donor frame from a non-salt state, my suggestion being to head South. A joke.
I would check with local boneyards, or use the search site, car dash part dot com
They have national linkages somehow. I have not looked for a K-frame. I would figure that the main obstacle would be the labor hours involved.

Check here for an estimate:
A quick search of the car part site indicates they run about $100-125 for a used engine 'cradle'. Parts from my area are likely not rust damaged. Shipping will add cost, but you may be able to ship in the cargo area of a bus line, depending on size and weight limits.
My guess is over 10 hours of labor. A full day plus knick-knacks. Having a lift makes it a lot easier. It can be done in a home garage if you can raise the vehicle onto cribbing and then lower the cradle & drivetrain from the body using several jacks. The body would only have to be raised enough to clear the parts and allow them to be slid from underneath. I would not WANT to do the job, but think I could if the need arose. The question is whether the rest of the vehicle body is in good enough shape to warrant spending $$ to do the swap.
tom
 

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Assuming that the shop was referring to what Ford calls the "Front subframe"....

There's no need to drop the whole drivetraiin and front suspension out the bottom to swap the subframe. Step-by-step instructions are in the factory service manual.

It's still a job, but far, far less than what was previously described. Probably a weekend (or less) project for a decently equipped DIYer to do in the garage. For an experienced mechanic who has done it before and has the lift and all the right tools, it's probably less than half a day's job.
 

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They might be right, a $150 to $400 engine cradle and a 6 hours of shop labor ($100-$150 an hour) or your own sweat equity. Assuming all the points it attach to the frame are okay, and no other frame rust is happening.

It is a common rust point for people that live in those zones. Gen 1 had an add on brace that while didn't solve the issue, made it sturdier longer.
 

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I succumb to your superior experience. Have not done this job, and hope to never have to. I had thought there was a lot of suspension/engine mount connection that would be easier to do with the whole mess dropped. Now I have better info.
tom
 

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Hi fellas, we have a 2012 Ford Escape v6 AWD. Brought it in for inspection and was told the “K Brace is rotted”. Cant pass NYS safety inspection. Also was told it wasn’t worth doing the work for repair. It has 140k on it and has its noises but always been reliable. Is the K brace/engine cradle something people replace normally on here? Just wondering if this is actually possible/worth doing.

Also, Ive read about a add-on brace that can help in the event something breaks. But can’t find a thread that shows where it’s installed.
The K-frame is not supposed to be a part to replace during the life of a vehicle. Ford went to subpar quality for this part. Shame on them! I'll vote with my wallet the next time. You will find stories similar to yours on youtube.
I suggest that you get a comprehensive assessment of the underbody of the vehicle, before spending upon changing the K-frame. If it has rotted to be a security risk, other parts of the vehicle like the wheel wells, the rocker panels, the floor pan, the rear hatch, sway bar links, tie-rod ends may not be far behind. The killer is the rust. Not just on the parts themselves but also on just every nut and bolt exposed to the winter salt that will add more time to just every job. Put a dollar sign on all the work coming ahead in the next years.
 
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