Notorious 2005 Ford Escape, PCM repaired coil drivers, now it will not start

dkoenig71dkoenig71 Member Posts: 7
edited January 2015 in Ford
Series of events leading up to current issue:
truck started losing power when we hit around 55mph
No codes
When the temperature dropped the issues got worse, finally the car stalled, all the lights came on, we were able to start it back up and limp it home with loss of power and chugging
Codes pulled up showed a couple misfires and PCM issue
Replace all plugs, all ignition coils, sent the PCM to get repaired, diagnosed with coil driver 4 fried, all coil drivers were replaced PCM was on a simulator for 24hrs, diagnostics ran on pcm pulled up vin, odometer, etc. all systems check ok.
Installed everything, truck cranked but would not turn over- built in diagnostic system read: Lamps ok, lift gate closed, fuel ok, then listed, service emissions, service 4x4, service charging system, service brake system. If you try to get information on the fuel (economy, mpg, etc) it states: fuel information computer not available.
The odometer is correct, the gauges work, the anti-theft recognizes the key and remote.

We took the manifold back off to noid test the wires to the ignition coils. When we tried to crank the engine - Nothing - tried to trouble shoot, made sure all fuses, relays, and electrical connections were good etc, still nothing
Put everything back together, hit the nurse switch, tried to crank the engine - nothing - in system diagnostics still reads the same and the key and remote are still recognized.

We would love to know what we may have missed!! Any help would be appreciated!!


  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    This work is fun isn't it? Have you pulled the spark plugs back out and checked them to see if they are now wet with fuel? (fuel fouled)

    What is your level of tooling as far as things like a digital oscilloscope, and low amps current probes?

    Everyone knows the mantra of you have to got have spark, fuel and compression to get a cylinder to fire. The troubles like what you are experiencing comes from the fact that fuel has to be in the right amount, the spark has to be strong enough and at the right time, the compression has to include fresh air so that there is oxygen for the fuel.

    When checking for spark, are you using an ST-125 spark checker? (The second one in this video)
    It takes 25000 volts to fire the ST-125, if it doesn't fire, you test the circuit as "no-spark" and you'll go right at the problem. The other tool that showed spark is actually misleading because while you have some, it isn't necessarily enough to fire the plug in the cylinder.

    For the injector pulse, how are you confirming that the injectors are in fact being triggered and in fact delivering fuel? A noid light isn't enough to confirm an injector pulse and can again mislead you into thinking the circuit is working correctly when it really isn't.

    Lastly, compression. As I mentioned, you have to include fresh air into the equation and there are a lot of times when you have a misfire occur, the catalysts fail and restrict the exhaust. Without a path for the exhaust the engine stops pumping fresh air and so you don't have the oxygen required to burn the fuel. This is why I asked if the spark plugs are wet with fuel or not. In the shop we have several options from using the pressure transducer in a spark plug hole to measure the cylinder pressure during all four strokes and we will see the exhaust pressure rise. (best way) It's worth mentioning at this time its also possible the cylinders are simply washed down with fuel dropping the compression. If the compression is low a little oil into each one should help restore compression enough that you can get this to fire and clear up.

    Now another way is to pull the up stream O2 sensors and if possible attempt to start with that exhaust open. This has some concerns that have to be taken because of the risk of fire and component damage. If you have to try this, you want to hear the engine fire and immediately shut it back down. You are also required to make sure that this check cannot damage anything if the engine does fire up before trying especially since the exhaust is likely to be loaded up with fuel and there will be components near the O2 sensor opening that could easily be caught on fire! You have to take precautions before trying to see if the engine will fire this way such as shielding for the gasses (flame) that will escape and be ready to extinguish any fire should you get some. It is preferred that instead of an open exhaust that you acquire a gage that can be threaded into the O2 sensor hole in order to directly measure the exhaust pressure. Anything higher than atmospheric pressure cranking is showing a problem, some pulsing as each exhaust stroke occurs (less than 1/2 a psi needle movement) would not be an issue.
  • dkoenig71dkoenig71 Member Posts: 7
    edited January 2015
    At this time, the truck isn't even cranking. The starter doesn't click, etc. It is almost as if the anti theft has been triggered, but it has not. We are thinking there may be a electrical issue. Or something that is not allowing the computer to communicate with the needed system.

    plugs are dry

    We have a multimeter and a probe, no scope... nothing to fancy in our garage, I worked at a parts store and built a wealth of knowledge and have helped my bf (along with the wonderful internet) learn how to do most of our own repairs.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    It's not a very complicated circuit, but it is dependent on the theft deterrent system and the PCM having communication. The ignition switch provides power to the start relay through the neutral safety switch which you can confirm on pin 7 Tan/Red of the PCM and the PCM provides the ground control for the relay on pin 2 dark blue/orange. With a full scan tool you can check for codes as well as see the crank request signal that the PCM monitors on pin 7 and you can see if the PCM shows the theft as enabled or disabled. (enabled allows the starter operation)

    Other than that it is a normal starter circuit.
  • dkoenig71dkoenig71 Member Posts: 7
    anti theft normally flashes until you put the key into the on position and when you crank the engine, then it goes off.
    you can hear the click in the starter relay but the starter itself does not click.
    there is power to pin 7.
    Still no crank, no start

    Inboard diagnostics say information not available on all major systems
    What will cause the computer to not have communication?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    If the relay is clicking that means the PCM is awake and allowing the engine to be cranked. I'd be testing to see if the command to crank the engine is getting to the starter and voltage drop testing the main power to the starter.

    What scan tool are you using? Professional level tools have broad capability and cover almost all of the systems on the car. The Ford IDS of course communicates and has full function support for every module that the car could have. Many aftermarket DIY level tools are very limited and may only connect to two to four of them and quite often don't support half of the functions that the car is capable of.
  • dkoenig71dkoenig71 Member Posts: 7
    we do not have a diagnostic tool, all we have is what the truck itself is able to display on the dash.
    We would like to know what may be stopping the pcm from displaying the status of the different major system on the instrument cluster in the display window that is under the rpm gauge
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    edited January 2015
    Nobody can just tell you what is going on, a proper routine really needs to be followed and the first step is to connect a scan tool and pull codes form ALL of the modules.

    Here is one plausible scenario, this is NOT what I am saying is wrong this is what could be going on and how it would be proven.

    Upon connecting a scan tool all of the modules on the car respond except for the PCM. The codes that are retrieved include a loss of communication for the PCM. If you follow a trouble tree at this point it will have you checking powers and grounds to the PCM and other resistance based continuity checks. I teach advanced routines to techs all around the country. I would have them go to the easiest sensor that they can access and measure to see if the 5v reference is present. If they see 5v, that means the PCM is powered up and they can now concentrate on the communication network first. If they see less than .5v then powers to the PCM and the reference circuit must be checked. The thing here is a shorted sensor, or a grounded (pinched) to ground 5v reference could pull that 5v reference output voltage to ground and that does shut the PCM down. If the voltage at the reference wire is higher than 5v, then the ground circuits for the PCM become suspect. During these checks the PCM itself is always suspect and there are legitimate ways to prove if it has failed or not, but again it all starts with what you find with a scan tool.

    As I started out saying, that was one example, another would have the PCM communicating and generating a trouble code(s) for specific circuit failures. Trouble codes don't tell us what part failed, they tell us what test the computer is running that is failing. We have to know how the computer runs that test, and then we test the circuit the same way that the PCM did to efficiently come up with a solution. Your earlier post stated that the PCM was sent out and repaired, it's plausible that you have a connector issue and maybe even a damaged PCM connector pin. Without testing correctly, everything is still in play from my point of view. Just like in math classes in high school, the more variables that are in the equation, the tougher that it is to solve but it can still be done if you have a good game plan and the right routine.

    We need to see what codes are setting, then we can move to the next step. Otherwise you are basically relying on luck to hand you the solution and eventually that might work, but the safer bet is that without a good game plan your going to be stuck right where you are.
  • dkoenig71dkoenig71 Member Posts: 7
    unfortunately we do not have the resources at this time to bring the 05 escape to a professional to have it diagnosed nor are we able to afford a scan tool. So we are stuck having to try to figure it out blindly. We did locate a wire on the plug to FI 1 that had break in the insulation, we repaired that and still have the no crank issue and the no communication issue with the pcm. We have been using a multimeter to check the voltage and continuity of the wires. Actually my BF has as electrical is my definite weak point (like trying to wrap your mind around space being infinite). He has checked everything he can get to from the top of the engine, next I am going to try to get under the engine to see if there is anything dangling, loose, or broken that he may not be able to see from the top.
    We have a chilton manual but it does not list the pin locations for our 150 pin harness, we did find a diagram on line but there was at least one pin location that was not correct. Would you know where we could find a reliable diagram of the pin list and a reliable diagram of the engine with the sensors locations listed, and a list of what type of voltage each sensor should have?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    AlldataDIY. You can buy a subscription for a year for this car.

    Without a scan tool, there us a high probability that you are going to be unable to advance through this.
  • dkoenig71dkoenig71 Member Posts: 7
    thank you, would this also have diagrams of the wiring harness and ground locations?
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,457 may have them.
  • dkoenig71dkoenig71 Member Posts: 7
    We picked up a code reader, a few steps up from the basic model which has a freeze frame feature, etc. We plugged it into the DLC and it powered up, the computer does not communicate with the reader (same message as if your lighter fuse is blow, but that fuse is fine and functional on our escape we even tested it with the light probe - so NO It is not the fuse) We tested the DLC pins, high speed 6 and 14 are in the normal range of 1.5v-2.5v, low speed 3, 7, 11 & 13 have little to no voltage and from what we understand they should be putting out around 7v. Wiring harness upon visual inspection looks intact from the outside, what we can see without removing it from the vehicle.
    If that helps anyone be able to target an issue for us, that would be helpful.
    At the very least I would like to figure out if the no crank issue is PCM, electrical, or mechanical.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,462
    Your car has up to three communication networks. Pins 14 HS CAN- and 6 HS CAN+ are the communication network that you should access the PCM on they should be identical 5v square wave signals that are best viewed with a digital oscilloscope. Seeing voltages in the 1.5 to 2.5v range with a voltmeter are typical but at the same time can be a trap. The voltmeter averages the voltage that it detects and updates the screen in one quarter of a second increments. If you have a meter like the Fluke 98 and you put it on Min/Max Hi Res (Hi resolution storage of the minimum and maximum voltages) you should see something less than .5v for the minimum and something over 4.5 for the maximum when recalled.

    Very few people that you are going to talk to have ever diagnosed these kinds of vehicle issues and there are precious few that do it on a regular basis. If you watched them they would make this look easy, but the skills that they put to use were very hard earned and how it looks betrays how difficult it really is.

    You won't find the steps that I will tell you to follow in service information. The service manual "assumes" that the technician has no idea how the system really works and that's why they concentrate on resistance tests which require disturbing the circuit to perform. The problem is disturbing the circuit to do any testing risks temporarily fixing a connection issue and that makes the problem hide which results in the car not being fixed the first time and that causes many of the reports of multiple visits before a solution is found, if ever.

    The first check I want you to make is go to the easiest sensor to reach under the hood and with the key on, try to measure the reference voltage to that sensor. It should be 5v. If you see 5V then the PCM is powered up and operating and you simply have a communication issue. If you see a voltage higher than 5V, especially if it is much higher then the PCM has lost a ground connection. The next step is that all of the ground circuits need to be measured at the pins that connect the PCM to ground and confirmed to be close to 0v.

    If you measure less than 5v at the reference voltage pin for the sensor, then you have to confirm the power supplies to the PCM, and that means all of them. Some are permanently supplied power and some are switched sources. Once those are confirmed to be OK then you need to measure the 5v reference for the sensors at the pin that it is sent out from the PCM. If it is less than 5v you need to start unplugging every sensor under the hood that it supplies. As each sensor is unplugged, watch for the 5V reference to return. Once they are all unplugged and if the 5V reference didn't return, turn the key off. Disconnect the PCM connector and now use the ohm meter and measure the 5V reference circuit to ground. If you have an open circuit, then it didn't get pinched to ground and you have confirmed that the PCM itself has failed and needs to be sent back out.

    BTW, pin 13 in the data link connector is only for reprogramming and the scan tool sends an 18v signal out to the car to let the different computers on the circuit know that a reprogramming function is being performed. When using a full function scan tool and a loss of communication we add a break-out box in-between the scan tool and the diagnostic connector so that we can see the communication waveforms as we attempt to access other modules that are on the same data-bus. If we can communicate to other modules that confirms the bus is operational. If we cannot then the diagnostics follow that loss of communication routine.
  • whealmnwhealmn Member Posts: 2
    I am having the same problem with my 05 escape. I had to drive it in second gesr before sending computer into ecu exchange in florida. They rebuilt coil drivers and now it wont start but cranks and pumps fuel. I am hoping if i send it to another rebuilder that programs the key to it it will start. Previous symptoms were also indicitave of overhead cam sensors but why would they go bad during the 10 days the escape sat while waiting on the rebuild. If it started before the rebuild it should start after. They need to give u your money back.  Some rebuilders will tell u. The computer needs to be reprogrammed after rebuild. Ford or a locksmith can do it. It still runs website has procedure for reprogramming key. Didnt work for me. Plain fact is some computers cant be repaired. Why doesnt ford step up and give people upgraded computers and programming as a part of good customer service or a recall?
  • whealmnwhealmn Member Posts: 2
    Does replacement of coil drivers in a cars computer neccessitate having the vehicle reprogrammed or flashed?
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