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2006 Ford Escape XLT w/2.3L, 4WD, CD4E Transmission
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! My brother and sister-in-law have owned a 2006 Ford Escape XLT with the 2.3L I-4, 4WD, CD4E automatic transmission, and 185K miles on the ticker for half-a-dozen years now. They have done next to no maintenance to it aside from oil changes, and the time to pay the piper has come in the form of a host of overdue repairs. As the resident mechanic in the family, I've been volunteering my time to get it fixed back up and back to a reliable daily driver.

About a year ago, the rear exhaust pipe broke in half in front of the muffler. We replaced the cat-back exhaust, but the battery died last winter and my brother elected to garage the Escape for the time being due to funds being somewhat tight and this being their second vehicle. Fast forward to this summer, when their other vehicle — a 2009 Dodge Caliber SXT — developed problems of its own, and they needed the Escape again.

My brother threw a new battery in it, but received only a click upon turning the key. He turned to me for assistance and we did some basic testing with a multimeter to confirm that the starter circuit was intact, which it was. We tried beating on the bendix casing with a hammer to shock it if it was bound up, but that had no effect. We then tackled the terrible starter replacement process, which was ultimately successful and solved the issue.

As I suspected, we found that the front brake calipers were seized due to the vehicle having been sitting. We were thankfully able to work the stuck pistons free with the use of a massive C-clamp, a breaker bar, and a few cans of penetrating oil.

A few weeks later, the Escape blacked out on my brother and sister in law on the highway, with a total loss of power. They were able to coast to an exit. I found that the low voltage light was on, but the serpentine belt appeared intact. Multimeter on the battery while the vehicle was running after a jump showed that the battery was not receiving a charge from the alternator. More testing after getting the vehicle back home indicated the alternator was faulty, so we replaced it.

After this series of events, I went through the vehicle with a fine tooth comb and made a list of all required repairs, which we have been slowly but surely knocking out to get this vehicle back in tip-top shape. Here's what we've done thus far:

Body Interior / Exterior
  1. Lubricated squeaking steering shaft column bushing on driver floorboard
  2. Replaced cabin air filter contaminated with mouse feces and urine
  3. Replaced weak hatch lift supports
  4. Replaced weak hatch glass lift supports
  5. Lubricated sticking rear liftgate latch
  6. Replaced frozen rear wiper motor
  7. Replaced worn rear wiper blade
  8. Fixed inability to unlock DF door via door controls or key FOB:
    1. Tested and replaced CR2032 battery in key FOB due to low voltage
    2. Spliced wires behind the Smart Junction Box (SJB) to bypass the failed Driver Door Unlock relay internal to the SJB
    3. Reprogrammed key FOB to "Single-Press Unlock" mode
  9. Replaced all instrument panel gauge backlight bulbs due to a burned out fuel gauge indicator backlight
Brakes / Steering / Suspension
  1. Freed frozen DF and PF caliper pistons
  2. Replaced DF and PF lower control arms, bushings, and ball joints due to dry rotted and torn lower ball joint boots
  3. Replaced DF and PF sway bar end links due to torn rubber boots and clunking over bumps
  4. Replaced all four rear upper and lower control arms due to dry rotted ball joint boots
  5. Rotated all four tires in a forward-cross pattern per the Factory Service Manual (FSM)
  6. Operated spare tire winch mechanism and fixed flat spare tire
  7. Aired up all tires to factory spec
Driveline
  1. Replaced noisy DF and PF wheel bearings and hubs (a true test of character)
  2. Replaced DF transmission output shaft seal, which was leaking automatic transmission fluid
  3. Identified and tightened a loose torque converter to engine casing bolt
  4. Fixed Power Transfer Unit (PTU) / Transfer Case fluid leak:
    1. Replaced PF transfer case input shaft seal on passenger side of PTU
    2. Replaced PF transfer case input shaft seal dust cover (grrrr!)
    3. Identified loose PTU breather tube banjo bolt; removed and cleaned mating surfaces, applied Loctite to threads, and tightened to factory specs
    4. Identified broken PTU rubber breather hose at the transition to the breather tube and reconnected it
    5. Drained old transfer case gear oil and filled to factory spec
    6. Cleaned leak residue from transfer case to make future leaks easy to identify
  5. Fixed Rear Differential fluid leak:
    1. Replaced leaking DR and PR differential output shaft seals
    2. Removed leaking differential cover plate, cleaned out rear differential with carb cleaner, and replaced cover plate gasket
    3. Identified and repaired sticking spring-loaded rear differential vent valve, the likely cause of the fluid leaks
    4. Flushed and filled rear differential to factory spec
    5. Cleaned leak residue from rear differential to make future leaks easy to identify
  6. Replaced PR CV shaft due to sliced inboard boot which was slinging grease
  7. Replaced DR CV shaft due to burned outboard boot and stripped outboard axle nut threads
Engine
  1. Replaced dead battery
  2. Replaced frozen starter
  3. Replaced failed alternator
  4. Proactively replaced serpentine belt idler pulley and tensioner pulley during alternator replacement
  5. Replaced a failed Cylinder Head Temp (CHT) sensor which was incorrectly recording engine temp of 155° F. at full operating temperature, causing a rich condition and setting a DTC P0128 code
  6. Replaced a failing thermostat that was intermittently sticking open. Thermostat was so buried we pulled the intake manifold and took the opportunity to proactively replace some other components while we were in there:
    1. Replaced crankcase breather gasket, PCV valve, and PCV hose
    2. Replaced intake manifold gasket and EGR pipe gasket
    3. Replaced rusted and leaking oil dipstick tube
    4. Replaced upper and lower fuel injector o-rings
    5. Replaced thermostat bypass hose, upper and lower radiator hoses, radiator return hose to degas bottle, and radiator cap
  7. Resolved rough idle condition:
    1. Replaced engine air filter
    2. Replaced worn spark plugs
    3. Discovered and replaced a leaking valve cover gasket, which was fouling out the #4 cylinder spark plug well with oil and was the likely culprit of the rough idle
    4. Removed and cleaned dirty throttle body
    5. Replaced aged throttle body gasket
    6. Removed and cleaned dirty Idle Air Control (IAC) Valve
    7. Replaced aged IAC Valve Gasket
That's it to date! Not withstanding a few dead batteries in the TPMS sensors, a serpentine belt fitment issue, and some broken 10mm splash shield retainer bolts, the Escape is just about caught up on overdue maintenance and repairs and is now ready to rejoin the land of the living. The forums here have been a valuable resource for many of the above repairs, and I wanted to join up to share what we've managed to accomplish thanks to the knowledge base here. From one Escape DIY'er to another — thank you!
 

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Hello all! My brother and sister-in-law have owned a 2006 Ford Escape XLT with the 2.3L I-4, 4WD, CD4E automatic transmission, and 185K miles on the ticker for half-a-dozen years now. They have done next to no maintenance to it aside from oil changes, and the time to pay the piper has come in the form of a host of overdue repairs. As the resident mechanic in the family, I've been volunteering my time to get it fixed back up and back to a reliable daily driver.

About a year ago, the rear exhaust pipe broke in half in front of the muffler. We replaced the cat-back exhaust, but the battery died last winter and my brother elected to garage the Escape for the time being due to funds being somewhat tight and this being their second vehicle. Fast forward to this summer, when their other vehicle — a 2009 Dodge Caliber SXT — developed problems of its own, and they needed the Escape again.

My brother threw a new battery in it, but received only a click upon turning the key. He turned to me for assistance and we did some basic testing with a multimeter to confirm that the starter circuit was intact, which it was. We tried beating on the bendix casing with a hammer to shock it if it was bound up, but that had no effect. We then tackled the terrible starter replacement process, which was ultimately successful and solved the issue.

As I suspected, we found that the front brake calipers were seized due to the vehicle having been sitting. We were thankfully able to work the stuck pistons free with the use of a massive C-clamp, a breaker bar, and a few cans of penetrating oil.

A few weeks later, the Escape blacked out on my brother and sister in law on the highway, with a total loss of power. They were able to coast to an exit. I found that the low voltage light was on, but the serpentine belt appeared intact. Multimeter on the battery while the vehicle was running after a jump showed that the battery was not receiving a charge from the alternator. More testing after getting the vehicle back home indicated the alternator was faulty, so we replaced it.

After this series of events, I went through the vehicle with a fine tooth comb and made a list of all required repairs, which we have been slowly but surely knocking out to get this vehicle back in tip-top shape. Here's what we've done thus far:

Body Interior / Exterior
  1. Lubricated squeaking steering shaft column bushing on driver floorboard
  2. Replaced cabin air filter contaminated with mouse feces and urine
  3. Replaced weak hatch lift supports
  4. Replaced weak hatch glass lift supports
  5. Lubricated sticking rear liftgate latch
  6. Replaced frozen rear wiper motor
  7. Replaced worn rear wiper blade
  8. Fixed inability to unlock DF door via door controls or key FOB:
    1. Tested and replaced CR2032 battery in key FOB due to low voltage
    2. Spliced wires behind the Smart Junction Box (SJB) to bypass the failed Driver Door Unlock relay internal to the SJB
    3. Reprogrammed key FOB to "Single-Press Unlock" mode
  9. Replaced all instrument panel gauge backlight bulbs due to a burned out fuel gauge indicator backlight
Brakes / Steering / Suspension
  1. Freed frozen DF and PF caliper pistons
  2. Replaced DF and PF lower control arms, bushings, and ball joints due to dry rotted and torn lower ball joint boots
  3. Replaced DF and PF sway bar end links due to torn rubber boots and clunking over bumps
  4. Replaced all four rear upper and lower control arms due to dry rotted ball joint boots
  5. Rotated all four tires in a forward-cross pattern per the Factory Service Manual (FSM)
  6. Operated spare tire winch mechanism and fixed flat spare tire
  7. Aired up all tires to factory spec
Driveline
  1. Replaced noisy DF and PF wheel bearings and hubs (a true test of character)
  2. Replaced DF transmission output shaft seal, which was leaking automatic transmission fluid
  3. Identified and tightened a loose torque converter to engine casing bolt
  4. Fixed Power Transfer Unit (PTU) / Transfer Case fluid leak:
    1. Replaced PF transfer case input shaft seal on passenger side of PTU
    2. Replaced PF transfer case input shaft seal dust cover (grrrr!)
    3. Identified loose PTU breather tube banjo bolt; removed and cleaned mating surfaces, applied Loctite to threads, and tightened to factory specs
    4. Identified broken PTU rubber breather hose at the transition to the breather tube and reconnected it
    5. Drained old transfer case gear oil and filled to factory spec
    6. Cleaned leak residue from transfer case to make future leaks easy to identify
  5. Fixed Rear Differential fluid leak:
    1. Replaced leaking DR and PR differential output shaft seals
    2. Removed leaking differential cover plate, cleaned out rear differential with carb cleaner, and replaced cover plate gasket
    3. Identified and repaired sticking spring-loaded rear differential vent valve, the likely cause of the fluid leaks
    4. Flushed and filled rear differential to factory spec
    5. Cleaned leak residue from rear differential to make future leaks easy to identify
  6. Replaced PR CV shaft due to sliced inboard boot which was slinging grease
  7. Replaced DR CV shaft due to burned outboard boot and stripped outboard axle nut threads
Engine
  1. Replaced dead battery
  2. Replaced frozen starter
  3. Replaced failed alternator
  4. Proactively replaced serpentine belt idler pulley and tensioner pulley during alternator replacement
  5. Replaced a failed Cylinder Head Temp (CHT) sensor which was incorrectly recording engine temp of 155° F. at full operating temperature, causing a rich condition and setting a DTC P0128 code
  6. Replaced a failing thermostat that was intermittently sticking open. Thermostat was so buried we pulled the intake manifold and took the opportunity to proactively replace some other components while we were in there:
    1. Replaced crankcase breather gasket, PCV valve, and PCV hose
    2. Replaced intake manifold gasket and EGR pipe gasket
    3. Replaced rusted and leaking oil dipstick tube
    4. Replaced upper and lower fuel injector o-rings
    5. Replaced thermostat bypass hose, upper and lower radiator hoses, radiator return hose to degas bottle, and radiator cap
  7. Resolved rough idle condition:
    1. Replaced engine air filter
    2. Replaced worn spark plugs
    3. Discovered and replaced a leaking valve cover gasket, which was fouling out the #4 cylinder spark plug well with oil and was the likely culprit of the rough idle
    4. Removed and cleaned dirty throttle body
    5. Replaced aged throttle body gasket
    6. Removed and cleaned dirty Idle Air Control (IAC) Valve
    7. Replaced aged IAC Valve Gasket
That's it to date! Not withstanding a few dead batteries in the TPMS sensors, a serpentine belt fitment issue, and some broken 10mm splash shield retainer bolts, the Escape is just about caught up on overdue maintenance and repairs and is now ready to rejoin the land of the living. The forums here have been a valuable resource for many of the above repairs, and I wanted to join up to share what we've managed to accomplish thanks to the knowledge base here. From one Escape DIY'er to another — thank you!
We are having a heck of a time after flushing the coolant system ..act like it has an air pocket and the heater only warms if you raise the rpms...any suggestions on burping this thing ..new thermostat new waterpump..
 

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Registered
2006 Ford Escape XLT w/2.3L, 4WD, CD4E Transmission
Joined
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We are having a heck of a time after flushing the coolant system ..act like it has an air pocket and the heater only warms if you raise the rpms...any suggestions on burping this thing ..new thermostat new waterpump..
We had a bear of a time as well. We had an air pocket trapped behind the thermostat, which prevented the thermostat from coming into contact with the coolant and opening when the engine would reach 190° F. or above, as it should have. Ended up with a catch-22 of needing to run the engine to burp the system, but couldn't run the engine for long before it would risk overheating since the thermostat wasn't in contact with engine coolant.

I had my OTC scan tool plugged in to monitor coolant temps closely, and would run the system per Ford Tech Makuloco's instructions until coolant temps would reach 230° F., at which point I would shut it down to let the engine cool. For sake of reference, the OEM thermostat opens at 190° F., while the radiator-mounted cooling fans on the 2.3L kick on at 220° F. Coolant temp gauge for us never pegged at 230° F., so I would think you'd be okay to go off of that as long as you know the gauge is working.

The YouTube video tips in the above video didn't work for us. I tried holding 3,000 RPM for 30 seconds about 5-10x with no noticeable results. I then tried a tip from one of the video comments and put the front of the car up on ramps, and tried it a few more times. After that I found a very steep section of our drive and parked with the front end extremely elevated. This seemed to slowly help, with hissing coming from the degas bottle (coolant reservoir) while loosening the cap after a few rev cycles. Thermostat still wasn't opening, though.

Finally in desperation, I tried one last trick of driving the vehicle up and down the street for about 1/4 mile. This did the trick, and apparently sloshed the coolant around enough to move the air up to the degas bottle. Thermostat finally opened and enabled us to bleed the rest of the air using the revving trick. Good luck!
 
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