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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have a 2002 Ford Escape XLT with the V-6 and 80,000 miles. It's been a reliable car and well maintained by me. My wife and I took it on a holiday trip from SoCAL to the Midwest. During this trip was when I first saw this problem:

- One night at a hotel in Oklahoma, I was awoken by the sound of my alarm. This is the first time I've heard it go off without me accidently setting it off. I panicked because I thought someone was stealing the Christmas presents we were traveling with. I ran outside and did not see any signs of intrusion. My key fob would not work. I opened the door with the key and the alarm shut down. On the instrument panel, many indicators were dimly lit (i.e. Brakes, Battery, Oil, Check Engine). I tried to start the engine but it would spin as if it weren't getting fuel. I unsuccessfully searched for tools to disconnect the battery. After about 15 minutes of searching for tools, the lights on the panel went off. I tried to start the engine again and it started like a champ. This was probably the second night my Escape has ever seen freezing temperatures. I thought that might be messing with the battery. We had no other problems the rest of the way to Iowa.

- One night in Iowa, the same thing happened. The alarm went off, the key fob wouldn't work, and the indicator lights were on in the console. I took it to an auto parts store the next day to test my battery. The tech said my battery checked good but that I had a diode out on my alternator. I wouldn't think this was the cause of the problem and elected to hold off replacing the alternator until I returned home.

- On our way back to SoCal, we stopped in Kansas for some gas. After fueling up, I drove to a parking space and turned of the ignition switch and took out the key. The funny thing is that the engine was still running. It continued to run like a champ. I tried the key several times but the engine continued to run. When I switched the key off, the radio would turn off and the indicator lights on the dash would dim but were still lit. The blower motor continued to work as well. We had a long way to go and a no-stop issue was better that a no-start. We stopped in OK to get a few tools so I could disconnect the battery to turn it off for the night. The engine continued running all the way to Texas. We stopped for gas and I tried to shut the engine off. It continued to run for a few minutes while I fueled. It then shut off. From Texas to SoCal the problem never occurred. I thought my Escape just didn't like the cold weather.

- A couple weeks later at home, the alarm went off like it did in Iowa and Oklahoma. Indicator lights on, etc. I disconnected the battery and was going to deal with it in the morning. However, the next day the problem was gone. Today at lunch while listening to the radio with the switch in ACC, the indicator lights came on. Out of curiosity, I started the engine and tried to turn it off. I couldn't. It continued to run like it did during our trip. I got back to work and was able to turn it off.

Sorry for the length of this message. Thought it was important to get my point across. Has anyone experienced this problem? Could a bad diode on an alternator allow current to energize the engine electrical? Could this be a PCM problem? I plan to change the alternator this weekend but will have no idea if this fixes the problem. If the problem still surfaces, I know it wasn't the alternator. Appreciate any help that is out there.
 

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The earlier models had a problem with water leaking into one of the fuse boxes - I'm pretty sure it was the one in the kick panel under the driver's A-pillar. However this sounds like a problem with the one under the hood, as I don't think the interior fuse box can keep the engine running (but I could be wrong; maybe it controls the ignition switch or something similar). Check them over thoroughly with a flashlight to see if you can find any signs of moisture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the suggestion Squishy. I'll take a look tonight to check for moisture. I should have noted that this problem started after a day of driving in heavy rain. I pulled the PCM to check for moisture and it looked ok. I keep you posted on what I find.
 

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I had a similar issue with a Goverrnment supplied car for work. I used to travel quite extensively in my old position, and was issued a Chevy sedan. A real brick, if you know what I mean. I took it to a local garage and it turned out to be the ignition switch failed due to wear. Even though the key was out of the switch and in the off position the engine continued to run. Several times the thing had a dead battery after being parked over a weekend.

After the ignition switch was replaced, the car worked fine for another year. At which time I was issued a newer POS. I think that was a Dodge... :barf:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I completely removed the fuse box in the kick panel. No moisture or evidence of moisture was present. Did the same with the fuse box under the hood. Kind of dirty but no moisture or corrosion.

I thought of the ignition switch being the culprit. However, the problem is so random. It appears as if something is shorting out and supplying current to the ignition system regardless of the position the ignition switch (it has happened when the engine was already running or sitting for several hours cold). I would agree that it must be a moisture problem somewhere.

The alarm went off again last night and the indicator lights were dimly lit on the dash. It also rained most of the day. FYI- 95% of the year it doesn't rain here and my escape sits outside. Many mornings it will have condensation on it but rarely soaked in rain.

I'm at a loss. I want to inspect the schematics in great detail. However, the Chilton's I have is rather thin on electrical info. Does anyone have a good suggestion for finding info on schematics? Is the alldata website good for this?

btw- This forum is way better than escape-central. I couldn't even perform a search on that site. Keep up the good work here!
 

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A bad diode could let too much ac current into the system and ac can be very harmful to solid state components if it is over .5 volts.
 

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Here are the three main diagrams for the 2001-2004 starting system. Please let me know if you need anything else!

By the diagrams, I'll bet that it's a stuck/intermittent PCM power relay. Relay contacts can "weld" together from arcing in various types of weather, especially if the seal on the relay shell is leaking air. The PCM power relay is located in the Battery Junction Box at C1016, below. The Battery Junction Box is the black plastic box located in the engine compartment, on the fender, near the battery.



If this happens again with the key off and the engine still running, remove the cover to the Battery Junction Box and tap the relay. If the engine stops running, that's the problem.

Direct image links:

http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg10 ... 104bjb.jpg
http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg10 ... start1.jpg
http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg10 ... start2.jpg
http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg10 ... start3.jpg





 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
jpark - thanks for the schematics!

I like your idea. So much so that I shorted the connection at the PCM relay to see what would happen. I did this as if the car had been sitting with the alarm on. I shorted term 30 to 87 and the alarm did not go off. I looked for the dash indicators lights to be dimly lit but they weren't on. I also tried to start the engine but it wouldn't even start. The only thing I did notice was a buzzing sound somewhere below the battery. I heard this sound before when the alarm had gone off and the indicator lights were dimly lit. I think the PCM circuit is definitely in play but doesn't appear to be from the relay. If the problem occurs again I will try tapping the relay just to be sure.

I'm somewhat concerned that cody may be right with some SS component being damaged by the bad diode on the alternator.

BTW- what was the source of your schematics you provided? This is the quality I'm looking for. The ones provided in the Chilton's manual are very high level and I would argue not entirely correct (i.e. No grounding is shown on the negative side of the battery).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well it happened again. This random problem seemed to disappear since January. Last night my alarm went off and the indicator lights were dimly lit. This morning the indicator lights were still lit and I could not turn the engine over. It acts like the alarm has activated the engine cut-off feature. I'm leaning towards replacing the GEM. Any thoughts on the GEM causing this malfunction???
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, the problem or short looked like it was not going to go away. I thought this would be good because I could get it to a dealer with the problem occurring and they could T/S and correct. I wanted to log all the issues I was seeing such as the lights that were on as well as what would work without the key. I cycled the heater/AC fan, rear defroster, windows, and wiper blades. All continued to work without the key. Something interesting happened when I cycled the wiper blades. The wiper started to move then stop while problem/short went away. Later that day the problem occurred again when I went to turn off the engine after a short drive. I removed the key and the engine did not stop. Out of curiosity, I turned the wipers on and the engine shut-off. The problem happened a third time over the weekend and I corrected the problem by turning on the wipers.

The relationship between the problem and rain now makes sense due to the common denominator of the wipers. Now, what would cause the wiper circuit to allow current to flow causing a symptom similiar to the ignition switch turned to RUN? Possibly a relay or back to the GEM? My understanding is the GEM is not likely to fail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The problem occurred today when I stopped for lunch. This time I cleared the issue by activating the rear windshield wiper. I plan to dissect the wiper circuit to see if anything stands out. The central junction box comes into play here. I'll post my findings if successful.
 

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I have no idea how the wiper circuit could be doing that, but I'm interested to hear your findings.
 

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I'm looking at the schematic... The front wipers do not go through the GEM. The intermittent-nes of those is apparently all done through the switch and delay knob. The rear wiper does go through the GEM. Actually power flows first through the fuse, then a relay coil, then the GEM, then the rear wiper switch then ground. The actual wiper motor is pulsed on the output side of said relay.

According to what I read, if it were the GEM, it would seem to be back feeding power through its 'hot in start or run' fuse when the key is off (thus keeping the PCM and Fuel pump relays closed). It is a 10 amp fuse in the CJB, on the right side, the 5th one up in the row. It is marked 'METER2' on the fuse panel cover. The next time this happens after you turn the key off, try pulling this fuse and see if the engine shuts off. If that doesn't do anything try pulling the one marked 'METER1' (right side 4th down - 10A) also.
 
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