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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 2002 with 77k miles. It's been running like a dream with minimal maintenance - oil changes etc.

Just recently, the engine started to stutter while idling and driving. It's most noticeable while the car idles at surprsingly low RPM - 400-600. Alost feels like it might die but does not.

Finally, the check engine light came on flashing and stayed on. I did some research on the forum and decided to just replace DPFE sensor from Ford dealership (Motorcraft) after disconnecting the negative terminal. Well, the good news is check engine light is gone but the car still stutters. While driving, the car seems to vibrate and seems to be down on power as well. I went to Autozone to check the code but unfortunately their cheap machine won't see anything. I guess it's my fault for not checking for codes earlier before DPFE sensor.

Sorry for the long post but any ideas on what could be causing low sputtering idle and drop in power and vibration in the engine while cruising. There has been no check engine light so far, but something is definitely wrong.

Thank you!
 

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Disconnecting the battery took care of the engine light but not the problem.It will take a few miles of driving before the check engine light comes back on.
First thing I would check, is the functioning of the coils on plug and the plugs themselves.Can't you try another place to see if they can pull some codes?It will save you plenty of money.
What I would do in your case with no place available to check codes:Buy a coil on plug.Not money thrown for a 2002 car.Sooner or later you are going to need at least one.Try the new COP on each plug untill I find the one which ceases the problem.Not a bad idea to get new spark-plus too if you haven't done that already.
 

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A cheap eBay code reader for $30 or less will give you the code. Cheap unit requires that you look up meaning in a book or online. This would have saved you the cost of a DPFE and will pay for itself in the long run. Get one that is CAN compatible for $2 extra and it will work with your next car as well.
I'd guess a COP but rather than start substitition [easy on the front bank, not realistic on the back] read the code first. Swap a good COP for the bad one and see if the code follows.
eBay is also a source for cheap COPs. [Yes, probably Chinese but they have lasted well in my experience @ a fraction of Ford's price.]
 

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Is this a 4-cyl or V6?

The poor idling could be the IAC (Idle Air Control valve). It's buried under the intake manifold on the I4. On the V6 it's in plain site on the intake: you could clean it as a temporary measure to see if it solves the problem (V6). Install a new gasket if you do. If it is indeed the IAC, then go ahead & replace it with a Motorcraft part... the aftermarket units are known to fail & cleaning an old one is often times a temporary measure. On the I4, if I suspected a problem with the IAC, I'd go ahead & replace it since it's hard to get to.
Often times (usually?) there isn't a code associated w the IAC.

As mentioned, it could be a coil (V6 COP) or coil pack (I4). If the problem is a coil, the CEL should come back on.

I would make sure the battery is good... ya never know sometimes.
 

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hurk said:
Is this a 4-cyl or V6?

The poor idling could be the IAC (Idle Air Control valve). It's buried under the intake manifold on the I4. On the V6 it's in plain site on the intake: you could clean it as a temporary measure to see if it solves the problem (V6). Install a new gasket if you do. If it is indeed the IAC, then go ahead & replace it with a Motorcraft part... the aftermarket units are known to fail & cleaning an old one is often times a temporary measure. On the I4, if I suspected a problem with the IAC, I'd go ahead & replace it since it's hard to get to.
Often times (usually?) there isn't a code associated w the IAC.

As mentioned, it could be a coil (V6 COP) or coil pack (I4). If the problem is a coil, the CEL should come back on.

I would make sure the battery is good... ya never know sometimes.
On the IAC...+1000

Same exact thing happened on the taurus (DOHC V6) i had and a new IAC fixed it. And yes go with motorcraft.
 

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hurk hinted at a possible problem. The battery terminals. If the cable and the cable to battery doesn't have a good clean connection the problem could be right there. The other thing could be the cable itself. Not likely, but voltage flucuations can and do throw off the modern ignition system and or Engine Controller.

My suggestion:
1)Easy to check, the battery and connections.
2)IAC, just buy one. They are inexpensive.
3)COP, same. Like posted above, eventually you will probably need one.
4)No resolution yet? Stop guessing, take it to a reliable shop and drop some money with a pro.
 

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The symptoms you describe also could be caused by a loose or leaking vacuum line. Check for vacuum leaks.

My first step would be to clean the IAC. Cheap and easy fix.

Could be the MAF sensor is shot or dirty, but that should throw a code.

When the CEL comes on again, have it read and see what you get.

Could also be a clogged Fuel Filter, faulty fuel regulator, faulty COP or fouled spark plug(s).

How's the condition of the battery?

Mannnnn....I hate misfires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You guys are amazing! Wife thinks Escape is falling apart and wants a new car LOL. I am hopeful she just needs minor tune up.

Quick update:

Got P0306 misfire cylinder #6. The car seems to be running better with colder drier weather but the stutter/vibration is there especially when the car is in over drive. Feels a bit better with OD off.

Thanks again for your help guys!
 

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replace coil 6 ASAP if that is what the code reads. Running with a mis-fire will damage your cats the longer you run. And you don't want that repair bill.

ODB2 was designed to tell you what is wrong. Get a code reader, use the code reader and don't waste your money shotgun troubleshooting.
 

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You're lucky it's cylinder #6. It is on the front bank closest to the driver's side.

More than likely it's a bad coil. But, it can also be a few other things.

You can try swapping the coil with, say, cylinder #5 and see if the code changes to P0305. That will prove the coil originally installed on #6 is bad.

You will need to remove the engine cover and the bolts holding the coils down - all 8mm.

Good luck and please post back with your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
M Mechanic

Thank you so much. Is there certain brand you guys recommend for replacement? I was hoping to pick up something local but hoping to not spend arm and leg at Ford dealership.

Also, do I need a new spark plug?
 

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If you have the time it is better to change all plugs instead of one.
Personally I go with the Motorcraft brand when electronic parts replacement arises.
Buy also a dielectric silicon tube and liberally apply it in the spark plug boot and the connection socket.Good luck and as Manic Mecanic said please inform us on your progress and results.
 

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FYI - There is a video on YouTube that explains how to change the spark plugs on the earlier model Escapes:


I haven't had a chance to watch the whole thing yet but what I've seen looks like good info...
 

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Batt terminals and condition have been mentioned; also check the other end of main cables, and all body-grounds near the battery. This seems pretty basic; it's something I picked up with my Windstar and seemed to help the rough running.
 
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