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Ford Escape Hybrid Engine Problems

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,415
If you're having a problem under the hood of your Escape hybrid, this is the place to discuss it and work out solutions.


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  • I find that my engine shuts off when I am breaking but then re-starts briefly before I stop, then shuts off again when I stop. This can cause the car to lurch forward when the engine re-starts. This ONLY occurs within the first 5 minutes of driving so I assume it has something to do with engine warm up. Does anyone else have similar experiences? Solution?
  • rocarrocar Posts: 1
    I've had my Ford Escape Hybrid of over a year now. I have noticed many quirky things about it. Yes, it does shut down when I stop, and then briefly restarts and it does lurch forward. Sometimes it lurches forward suddenly when I'm starting off slowly.
    My latest problem is a big one. The piston rod went through the engine on Christmas day. Suddenly without warning. No warning lights. This even though the car has been maintained by the dealership on a regular basis. I love this car, even though I have never gotten over 28 mpg, and I wonder if the new engine (replacement) will help?? I wonder if I will be able to trust it?
  • testestestes Posts: 13
    The day after my 10,000 mile service, my Mercury Mariner Hybrid died. When I took it in to get the service performed, I told the tech about an error message "Service Emission Sys" on the display. They confirmed and ordered a cylinder head heat sensor. The next day, 2 days before the scheduled sensor replacement, the car failed. The error message read "Stop Safely Now". I had no choice, as the ICE was not working and the car would not exceed 5MPH on the electric motor. Having called FoMoCo's towing line, it was taken to the dealership on a flatbed. Two days later, the dealership still does not know what happened. At first they thought the heat sensor failure made the car go into a "safe mode" to not damage anything. Has anyone else experienced this? I am fast closing in on the 15 days out of service, if I have not already exceeded it. :sick:
  • New to this forum so I hope this is the place to ask this.
    Under any circumstances is it possible to run on electric only such as below a certain speed etc? Being new to Hybrids, I would think they would be useful in an emergency situation such as fuel shut offs from the Middle East if that were possible. Given the world situation this could be an unthinkable reality some day.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Hybrids are currently not designed to fully utilize the capicity of the high voltage battery pack. As such, the distance and speed available for electric only are very limited.

    Also not all hybrids even have full electric launch. Only the Toyotas and Ford/Mercury Hybrids allow for full electric launch.

  • Thanks Mark, Thats what I thought, but was curious. What do you mean though by Ford's full electric launch?
    Thanks again for the speedy answer.
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    After almost 30 months on the market...numerous FEH/MMH owners have documented various "tricks" on how to drive to maximize the amount of time in EV mode. Several hybrid forums provide details on: switching back-and-forth from "D" to "L", double tapping the brakes to make the truck go into EV, monitoring battery level and maximizing regenerative braking, etc., etc. - all coming under the category of "hypermiling" -- or getting FE numbers higher than the EPA estimates on the window sticker.

    For instance, if your vehicle is sufficiently warmed up and you take your foot off the gas at 50 mph or higher, then begin to coast (preferably on a downhill)- you can get the vehicle to operate in EV-only from 40mph on down. Lightly touch the gas pedal to maintain the proper speed 30 or 35 mph and you can go for a significant distance on only battery power.

    Remember: the computer determines what power train configuration to use to propell the truck forward - from your inputs - one of which is how far and how fast you depress the gas pedal. :)
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,926
    "Thanks Mark, Thats what I thought, but was curious. What do you mean though by Ford's full electric launch? "

    The Toyota and Ford hybrid systems start the vehicle out using only electric motors; the ICE kicks in at a certain speed or when the battery needs charging. Above certain speeds or if you floor the pedal, the ICE kicks in immediately.

    The Honda and Saturn hybrids use the ICE at all times except when stopped at a stoplight. The electric motors only assist the ICE.
  • Sometimes I have to turn the key on & off 2 or 3 times before the engine will start. Is this normal?
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    OOPS forgot to mention that the Altima Hybrid will be a full hybrid also with a system licensed from Toyota.

  • weeksweeks Posts: 1
    I own a brand new escape hybrid (2007, just over 22000 kms) and I too am experiencing the mysterious and frustrating cut outs. For no apparent reason the RPMs surge up then drop off entirely, the 'stop safely now' followed by the 'service soon' message appears and I coast to a stop and have to re-start. If I'm unlucky my car won't start until after a few minutes. Not only is this dangerous on the highway, but, to add insult to injury, the Ford garage is increduluous and are patronizing me with questions like, 'you know it's normal for the gas engine to cut out?' They simply have no idea what's wrong. I've had my car in once, got it back... problem not fixed. It's in again now and of course it seems to be working fine to them. Anyone know what the hell is going on here?
  • Mark, do you know when that Altima is due out?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,966
    You might check here:
    Nissan entering the hybrid fray
    for more info on the hybrid Altima.


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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,415
    For those who may not know, we have a new Nissan Altima Hybrid Group where you can discuss the new Altima.

    Let's stick to the FEH engine issues here ;)


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  • msescapemsescape Posts: 1
    I have started having the exact same problem with my 2005 escape hybrid. I would get the stop safety soon message and have to coast to the shoulder like you said. The dealership said my car needed a special part (something having to do with a cooling mechanism)and that it would take up to several weeks to get it in. They said my car was safe to drive, however. But no sooner than I picked it up, it happened again. My husband had to practically yell at them to give us a loaner car as it's not safe at all to drive! What has happened with your car since your post?
  • testestestes Posts: 13
    Sorry, to leave the forum hanging. I did indeed get my problem resolved. I believe Ford has published a 3rd service bulletin based on my vehicle (the other was brake failure and the "brain" replacement). The problem was a failed heat sensor. When the heat sensor fails, it assumes the ICE has over heated, therefore, not only does the ICE not run, the electric motor goes into a safe mode. That's why it only goes very slowly when that error message comes on. Have your tech person call Jim Kelley at Sentry West LM in Shrewsbury, MA. Jim knows the details, and is the Service Manager. I have had no problems since getting it back January 1. When the car cools down, it is indeed safe to drive... until it heats up again and fails. That is when the car creates a safety hazard. I have chosen to work with the dealership in a polite manner. They have treated me very well, and I am very pleased with the way Jim has responded.

    This is the message from their diagnosis:

    Tech #18 verified concern, then checked for codes with IDS, Codes P0119 and P1289, Performed Pinpoint test, found faulty CHT sensor, ordered one.

    Once the CHT sensor was replaced, it has not had the same problem. I'm hoping this was the last problem... however, one cannot predict the future :)
  • jmw2jmw2 Posts: 2
    Considering new FEH and heard rumor battery replacement would be needed within 5 years and would be quite expensive. Appreciate any facts. Thanks.
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    Unique Hybrid components are covered under a 8 year/100,000 mile limited warranty and are: HVBattery (High voltage battery), eCVT (electronic continuously variable transmission), and DC/DC Converter. [10 year/150,000 mile limited hybrid battery warranty in CA, ME, MA, NY and VT.]

    From reports on the first three years of production, these components seem to be the best engineered on the vehicle (the least reported problems). The only report I saw of battery replacement was from a fleet of FEH cabs that had been running continuously in SanFran for 3 years. The batteries didn't fail...they just (prematurely) reached the end of their life span.

    No telling what the market will be for replacement batteries in the future...(remanufactured, aftermarket, etc.) but for now the only ones available are brand new - made by Sanyo and purchased only through Ford and the pricing includes installation (labor) by the dealer. (>$5000).
  • jmw2jmw2 Posts: 2
    Thanks, if the costs are >$5000 for battery replacement in 3-10 years, the higher upfront cost vs a conventional engine is compounded by a big surprise later. Appreciate your feedback.
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    Although Ford and Toyota developed their hybrid technology seperately (and have the patents to prove it)....the High Voltage NiNH battery designs are fairly similar. The Prius has been on the road since 2000....and you do not hear a storm of protest from the owners because they are having to replace the HVBatteries....and it would be a big story.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Geeze. did you even read his post? The HV Bat. is covered UNDER WARRANTY for 10 years or 150,000 miles in CA Emissions and Cross border states!

    The FEH only uses a very very shallow part of the battery capacity. it does not "deep discharge" the battery.

    Google plugin hybrid toyota prius to get some info about this.

  • 05xcpe05xcpe Posts: 1
    hi, i recently bought a used escape with 62k. on several occasions the temp light comes on, display says motor hot, no signs of overheating, overflow containers only warm. dealer thinks it might be the electric motor coolant pump although it operates properly they think when it gets hot it may be failing. at $500 that seems like an expensive guess. i saw an earlier post that it might be a sensor. is there anyway to install a temp gauge?any suggestions? thanks--bill
  • 650spx650spx Posts: 48
    I know this is not a toyota board but the usa actualy got generation 2 of the prius. The generation 1 was in japan, in full production and sold for I belive 3 to 5 years. Toyota is now into generation 3 of the prius. Nissan bought the generation 2 version for the altima. Ok enough toyota talk. Just wait a few years ford is still in gen 1 of production. I actualy might look at the escape when thay go to gen 2. Around here the power company uses them so if the escape can take that kind of abuse thay must be good.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    This post is not correct.

    Prius powertrain is only in its 2nd generation of production. There is no "third generation".

    Escape Hybrid and Toyota Prius are basically at the same level right now. Ford and Toyota both use the SAME eCVT (electronic continually variable transmission) from Aisen. The eCVT is what makes the Ford and Toyota "full hybrids" as opposed to the mild hybrids offered by Honda and GM.

    The eCVT is the only transmission I know of so far that allows power input from 2 different power sources at 2 different levels. Basically it allows the motors (gas and electric) to be connected to the drive shaft in parallel Honda and GM is a series connection to the wheels. Because of that series connection, the wheels cannot get power from the electric motor unless the gas motor is running also.

    At this point Battery Replacement Costs are irrelevant. The warranty is 10 years or 150,000 miles in green and cross border states.

  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    "Escape Hybrid and Toyota Prius are basically at the same level right now. Ford and Toyota both use the SAME eCVT (electronic continually variable transmission) from Aisen. The eCVT is what makes the Ford and Toyota "full hybrids" as opposed to the mild hybrids offered by Honda and GM".

    Be careful with how you discuss the eCVTs. Toyota uses their design. The FEH uses a Ford/Volvo design. They both use Aisin as a manufacturer. You are correct in that they both follow a "power split" concept that is unique and essential to the similar but distinctly different Ford and Toyota Hybrid drive trains.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    As far as Prius generations go, technically, it IS on it's third generation.

    Only the second generation for vehicles available to the USA, but the third counting the original Japan-only Prius as Gen 1.

    So from a technology and engineering standpoint, the current Prius is on the third generation.

    It's only on the second generation if you only consider vehicles available to the USA.

    See this page near the top:

    some Prius history

    And this page too:

    More Prius history
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Thanks for the great info.
  • Have been getting occasional service light warnings and then the Escape begins to chug, when I stop and turn off and then back on, it runs like normal again, I have taken it to the dealer once, but they didn't find anything. So far, this has happened about 4 times.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,926
    "Have been getting occasional service light warnings and then the Escape begins to chug, when I stop and turn off and then back on, it runs like normal again, I have taken it to the dealer once, but they didn't find anything. So far, this has happened about 4 times."

    This could be a serious error with the hybrid powertrain system. Every time it happens take it in to the dealer. If they can't fix it on the third try, go for a lemon law replacement.

    Unless you want to live with the "chug,chug" for the entire length of your ownership...
  • My engine also destroyed itself. It was in August I think. I didn't do any maintenance on the car and it has 50K+ miles on it. It's an '06. I had it taken into the dealer in case that recall was causing something to short out and mess up the timeing because the engine sounded a little like it was "dieseling". They dropped the pan and said simply "your piston broke and you need a new engine and it'll be $6300."

    I have since started tearing the engine apart myself. There is definitely a shattered piston in the pan. It is in numerous pieces. There is also a valve in the pan. The top of the piston pieces look like they slammed into the valve quite a lot. I think that the valve just fell out into the cylinder. This all happened without any overheating or warnings with the exception of a short blink of the oil light on the dash. I have a '99 ragner and the oil gage on that drops off all the time and comes back up again. Also, since i've taken the '06 engine apart, is is a lot less gummed up than the ranger engine is and the ranger engine runs like a top.

    I think i'm going to write some letters to Ford and ask them what gives on that. The dealer was no help except to offer to install a new engine for 20% of the cost of the whole car. I have not yet ased about any technical assistance on replacing the engine.
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