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Ford Escape Mazda Tribute Maintenance and Repair



  • In everyones opinion if you had to choose between the 2, Tribute or Escape, which would you prfer and why?


    Thanks, buying in next 2 weeks.
  • Help...Please!!

    I own a 2002 Tribute ES V-6, with 30,000 miles.

    It is hard to write such negative information, about such a fun vehicle (...though thirsty!).

    I have owned about 40 vehicles, in the last 25 years; including a 1980 RX-7, a 1989 MPV 4x4, and my daughter's 1999 Protege ES.

    I have had nothing less than incredible service, and treatment...and all but the RX-7 were purchased at Foothill's Mazda, in Spokane, WA. My sales rep has been the same...and incredible...and my service advisor has been helpful, and very understanding of my dealing with Multiple Sclerosis.

    Now, to the bad news...

    The dealership has "lost" all of my service records. Fortunately, I keep EVERYTHING!! Unfortunately, I do not have the service advisor's notes...

    Beside a couple of recalls, and a new one rear hatch glass still rattles; the transmission, when in cruise control mode, shifts down...but refuses to shift up, without my manual shifting of the column shifter, or "re-setting" the overdrive. The dealer has not been able to "duplicate" the malady...and I had hoped, a previous recall, would have identified, and solved the problem! Silly me! Hmmm...I wonder if this has anything to do with the transmission fluid issues to be discussed soon?!

    The column shifter often fails to "fall" into the park detente position, and I must position it, with deliberate manual placement.

    I do drive fast, and on curvy, paved back roads...but the car is serviced every 2500 miles; and tires rotated every 5000 I always follow factory recommendedations, in regard to other service; with the exception, that I never go more than 25,000 miles between transmission flushes, and fluid replacement (more if towing often). I have towed a 2000# fishing skiff, approximately 1500 miles.

    Back to the issues at hand! I reported, what I considered to be a "ticking" in the valve train, at 2500 miles...and the good news is, the service advisor "finally" heard it; and scheduled the car to be checked, while the passenger side windshield washer was being fixed, for the second time, in a month...

    After the tech removed the head covers, and whatever else; the factory service people, indicated the cams needed to be adjusted?!

    The noise is finally gone (...though I still occasionally hear the "tick!!" ...but ever so slightly!). I wonder how much "damage" was done, over the 29,000 miles; that the noise was only noticeable to me...well, and one other person, soon to be mentioned!!

    I hit a deer this summer, with essentially no real damage to my vehicle...other than breaking the bug deflector. I did however, and am embarrassed to admit it, finally, myself, did a thorough inspection of the car. I noticed the inside edges of the Continental tires, on the front, were "shot;" and the rears were close behind!! I, also for the first time, noticed the "knock-kneed" appearence of the suspension. The vehicle, other than what I reported as "high rolling resistance," never showed any indication of misalignment?!

    I took the car in for service, and was told the tires must be replaced, and the wheels , re-aligned.

    My transmission fluid was "tarnished," and the brake fluid was "corroded?!"

    It was then, in July, 2004, I noticed that at my most recent service, in May, 2004...the tech had indicated my tires were at 50%+!!

    I had worn out my tires, in about 2000 miles?!

    I was upset with the dealership; so I took the vehicle, to my friends/clients, Perfection Tire.

    They mounted the new tires; and aligned the vehicle (minor adjustments to "toe in/out," and caster), but indicated all four wheels exhibited "severe" negative camber...and could not be adjusted.

    They suggested the vehicle was is very full of fishing gear, and my dog's supplies; but it is all bulk, and no weight. The vehicle weighs far below the GCVW!!

    The tech also pointed out, "you have an unusual 'tick' in the valve train!" What great news...I was not hallucinating!!

    They had no explanation of how the transmission fluid, and brake fluid could be so "tainted;" but they did flush the systems, and change the fluids.

    The dealership said brake fluid could go bad, because of condensation, etc., or that I was hard on the brakes...though the pads, rotors, drums, and shoes, are all indicating 50%+.

    I took the vehicle to another Mazda dealer for service, about 6 weeks later...and had them check the alignment. They found as the tire dealer had...the negative camber of the wheels was excessive; and could not be adjusted to factory specification...though I could not get from them; after three requests, their final readings. Hmmm...

    A week later, I took the car to Foothills Mazda, and paid for my THIRD alignment, in less than two months...and their brand new, state-of-the-art machine, "released" the vehicle as "acceptable!!"

    It was odd to see their adjustments had been very slight, in comparison to the tire shop...and that they had made NO, or NEGLIGIBLE changes to the camber!!

    I am having the tire shop rotate the tires, and check for excess wear this week...though they will only have to rotate the passenger the Foothill's tech rotated the driver's side tires, mistakenly, last month; after they had adjusted the camshaft, and valve train...

    I forgot!! It was, previously encouraging, when they determinded the battery to have failed (...replacing it, at "no charge!")!! I had started complaining about the charging system, at 15,000 miles?! Again, I was happy to find, I was not "imagining it;" however, AGIAN, hmmm....

    It was just an oversight, during his "general vehicle inspection," I guess, that I drove away that day...with a bad headlight?!

    It was good, that I happened to notice it(...via my reflection in the dealership window) as I left the service department!

    It was also good that the service advisor came out to help me install the new headlamp; and just happened to finally "hear" the valve train noise! Isn't it great, how things "happen for a reason?!"

    There have been several other minor problems...but I am being told so far, that the tire issues was normal wear, and tear; and that the suspension is "fine."

    I was also assured, no abnormal wear and tear, had occured in the "maladjusted" valve train!! I am very confident!! ;-)

    Mazda online, has said they must stand behind the dealer...and their judgment.

    I must reiterate, my service advisor, and sales rep; have been exemplary, in their outward attitude...but I am feeling as if, either they think I am "nuts," or "Ford's mentality," has firmly been implanted into the "Mazda Psyche?!"

    I would love to hear what anyone out there, thinks?!

    My 36 months of warranty (...remember, only 30,000 miles on the vehicle!!) expires tomorrow...and I am trying to "brace myself," for the total, "vehicular collapse," I feel "lurks" in my future?!

    I am afraid...very afraid!!


    Joe Guske
  • Sorry Jag,

    Looks like a lemon to me, although they appear to be fairly helpful. If the vehicle is in such good shape see what they will give you on trade in. My guess is less then expected. I have not purchased my new vehcle yet but will in the next 2 weeks. I have been reading posts between the Escape and the Tribute to help my decision. The only way the dealership loses your paperwork is if the entire computer system goes bad or if they remove it.


  • jgaryjgary Posts: 2
    I have a 02' Tribute 3.0 and 4WD with 64,000 miles on it. Tuesday, 2/8/05 I was heading to work when I noticed the rpm's shoot up very high and the vehicle not moving. I was able to manual shift it to low gear and manually shift it to get to work. After extensive diagnosis I now am told I need a 64,000 miles!?! Of course Mazda's warranty runs out at 50,000. They refused any help at all with warranty coverage. This is a $3,000 repair!!!!! I offered to pay labor to install if they provided the transmission, but they still refused. I am heading to see the GM of the dealership. Martin Mazda in Newark, De. to see if they will do the right and honest thing in this situation. When I originally bought this vehicle, my wife and I purchased (2) Mazda's, the Tribute and a 626. We have also referred several people. I am really regretting this decision. There is no way you should have to replace a transmission with this low mileage on the vehicle. I am going to try to get satisfaction on a local level first. Anyone who has experienced a similar problem with transmissions can you please e-mail me. Thanks
  • jgaryjgary Posts: 2


    I have the same vehicle and am at 64,000 miles, I need a new transmission and they are denying my claim. The %@#!'s are hiding behind the warranty of 50,000 as it is written, rather than make the morally right decision and satisfy a loyal customer. My wife's 626 had similiar problems, it was in and out of the shop constantly. If I were you I would be afraid as well!!!
  • Hello DC Driver - I have a Mazda Tribute I was wondering if you could offer some assistance on a good mechanic - I took my truck in for service and they are saying I need brakes & rotors before I took it in - no noise - now - a whole lot of grinding - I really believe they did something to my truck and I'm not a happy camper.
  • Hmm. That sounds a little strange.. What year is your Tribute and how many miles? Is this a Mazda dealer? If I was you I would get a second opinion at a Midas type garage that specializes in brakes (not a dealer). My 02 Altima needs some brake work, and I cannot believe the difference in $$ between the dealer and my trusted mechanic down the street (about a $150 difference).
  • Did you ever have any transmission work done by the dealer (PCM flashed, fluid changed, warranty work, etc)? If so, and you kept your receipts, I think you definitely have a case. There have been many reports of problems with the 01-02 transmissions on other Tribute chat rooms, and the underlying theme has been improper fluid replacement (Mercon V used instead of Mercon) at the dealership. If you can prove that the dealer used the wrong fluid, then I think you have a great case.
  • I have a 02 Tribute - it has 62k on it. They want $515.00 for the Brakes & Rotors.
  • I would definitely shop around. That seems kinda high.
  • Thank you for your assistance - it is much appreciated.
  • jz2jz2 Posts: 1
    awd 2005 tribute V6 --- had to use the ac the other day (hey, it's los angeles) now the ac won't switch off. I'll take it to the dealer, but wondering if anyone else has had this problem. I think its a defective switch, green light stays on regardles off how I press the button. ac is off when the two controls (air direction and fan) are off but remains on even with heat. Other than that I like it.
  • I also have a 2002 Ford Escape which was bought brand new. All highway miles. I also need a new transmission. Ford says there is nothing they can do for me. If I would have known that the vehicle would now only be worth 50% what I had paid for it; and now have to replace the transmission after 2 years; I would have bought used for 1/4 of the price. I will not do business with Ford again. I didn't know that regardless of mileage that vehicle life was only 2 years. I am disgusted with the whole situation.
  • My 2003 Escape makes a soft (but annoying) ticking sound when I accelerate. Does anyone have the same problem or know something about it? I have had it in three times and they don't seem to know anything.
  • It is highly possible that it is an exhaust manifold with a cracked flange. If the tick is louder when you have a cold startup then quiets down some when the engine warms up, that is your problem. I've had both exhaust manifolds replaced on my 02 Escape at 74000, and 84000 miles. The cost per manifold replacement is about $850 per manifold. It is a real cheasy design.
  • After owning two great Taurus's. A 91 with 250K miles and a 96 with 190K and only minor problems with both, I bought an 02 Escape XLT. (Note never driven off road, oil changed every 3K miles, 95% of milage is highway.)


    At 1500 miles, I noticed oil in my coolant overflow. Engine needed replacement.


    Brought back 2 more times to have radiator flushed as oil kept reappearing in overflow. Finally got disgusted and flushed system myself.


    At 12K had problem with radio and power port taking 2 to 5 minutes after starting car to come on. All relays replaced by dealer twice.


    At 15K the cigarette lighter popped into the dash.


    At 28K miles transmission died (fluid was never low or changed).


    No more major problems till 74K miles. Both exhaust manifolds needed replacement. 1 had broken flange. The other had a cracked flange. Cost me $1750.


    Had multiple alignments and usually tires would start wearing 4 to 6K miles after alignments.


    At 84K miles needed another Exhaust manifold with 1 broken and 1 cracked flange. Cost me $850.


    Between 84K and 89K had to replace two taillights, a headlight (connector was seriously corroded out), another cigarette lighter that popped into the dash, a delay relay for radio power, an ignition coil, the rear manifold is making noise again (haven't replaced it yet) and tire growl getting loud enough to cause concern.


    Today (89600 miles) needed BOTH front hubs replaced for burnt bearings, brake rotors replaced (warped), and a rear hub bearing replaced. By bye to $700


    Still has bearing growl on left side. Dealer says either new left hub they installed is defective or a transmission bearing is toast and would require transmission replacement at a 3500+ cost. They are going to try replacing the hub again tomorrow.


    I have NEVER owned a vehicle that has needed so much repair and even trivial repairs like replacing a water hose can cost $200 or more.


    If my current problem is the transmission then I will be saying goodbye Ford and hello Dodge.


    If you are as stupid as I was to buy a new Escape, please purchase the 100,000 mile warranty as you will need it.
  • I am in an exact situation with my Tribute currently! I also have an '02 Tribute 4WD that turned 64k miles last week. On my way out of town my rpm's shot up without the vehicle reacting with movement when the gas pedal was pressed. My O/D light flashed rapidly for a split second (so quick I questioned whether I really saw it!) I coasted to the side of the road and tried to shift to another gear to get a reaction. There were no warning sounds, lights, or oddities prior to this happening.


    The dealership told me I needed a new transmission which would start around $3400. They would not work with me on this price. (although I have referred 3 new Tribute owners to them!)


    When I found a $1200 quote from a transmission shop I was advised from my dealership that it would be a wise decision for me to take it elsewhere!!


    I have just picked it up from the transmission shop with a $1400 bill. They knocked off $400 from the total bill since it was more than they had originally anticipated!! (and they dont know me from Adam!)


    They also had to replace the Torque Converter, which had gone bad and in turn burned out the transmission. The dealership had not even quoted or diagnosed the Torque Converter! So this leads me to believe that they would have either charged me much more than quoted ...or not fixed it and I would have run into the same problem with the new transmission!


    I have always loved my Tribute but now have to question the credibility of the entire scenario.


    I wish you luck in getting satisfaction for your situation. I have been sitting here on line this evening and reading many similar situations with Tributes. I was truly hoping that I had just gotten a lemon and considered just trading it in for a new one. After reading the letters tonight, I am reconsidering!


    Being a woman, I already feel that I am at a disadvantage when dealing with car repairs. I do, however, feel very strongly that although I dont possess a great knowledge of cars, I can be safe in thinking that this should have not happened to a well maintained vehicle with only 64k miles!


    Good luck in finding an answer to yours! I wish much less frustration for you than I have experienced!


  • Help a girl out. My roommate has a 2004 Tribute. Upon going to the dealer for a recall service she was told she had to replace her "air filter". She called me at work to let me know she was going to be later because they were replacing it @ $97. This was out of line to me because an engine air filter cost about $15. I told her to tell them that she wanted the old filter before she left. The tech that worked on her truck said that there was not one in there. Upon looking of the repair order we see that he did indeed "replace" the cabin air filter for the 1200 mile inspection. I have found this part on the mazda web site for $25 (she paid $58 @ the dealer for the part plus labor). To avoid a hassle they are taking it out and refunding her money. I am good with cars. How hard is it to install the part? Thanks for any input
  • Does anyone have anything to say about Ford's Escape Hybrids? I'm thinking about buying one, but maybe I'm better off with a Honda CRV? Got any info.?

  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,020
    Use the Browse By Message Board to your left to find the Hybrids board. There is a Ford Escape Hybrid discussion there.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email,, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

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