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Ford Escape Mazda Tribute Care and Maintenance

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
Talk about your Escape/Tribute maintenance routine here.


  • If I change the tranny fluid with a mechanic friend, does that effect the warranty? Do I need to have the dealer change it for $130.00?
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    As long as you have an invoice/receipt, should not be a problem.
  • Bought 02 LX used a few months ago. While it was in for the recall work, I had the dealership do a "winterizing" workup on it. I try to do most of the basic work myself, including changing out the broken fog lamp. Getting the oil changed every 3K has definitely helped keep the gas mileage above 23 MPG. I strongly recommend replacing the fuel filter yourself (dealership charged me $75) considering it's so easy to get to and doesn't require a special A/C clip to remove one side of the filter (I had a Windstar prior to the Tribby).

    Though the oil cap says to use 5W/20 weight oil, has anyone determined whether a heavier weight oil being better for this engine? Also, there's been an ongoing "arguement" regarding the different grades of ATF and I am wondering which is better?
  • Hi. Use the oil recommended by the manufacturer (maybe not the brand, but the SAE rating for the particular conditions). 'Heavier' oil will affect a range of things: consumption, friction ratings, loads on bearings and journals, heat conductivity (which affects eng. temp relative to the 'light-off' state of the catalytic converter and therefore fuel consumption). 'Light' oil such as 5W20 is ideal for alloy engines such as the Duratec 3.0 in the Trib. It is also ok to use semi-synthetic and synthetic oil (Mobil 1) which remain very stable, chemically, over a longer period and over broad temp ranges.

    ATF: use ONLY the type specified by Mazda. In fact, with most OEM transmissions, use of a non-specified ATF could damage the unit. Note that OEMs engineer the high-tolerance internals of these complex trannies by factoring in specific characteristics of ATF which is often 'created' for this application. Other OEMs would do the same, making it economically viable to make it available for a broad range of transmissions. In the case of a single application of an ATF, to use any other type would cause failure of the tranny. For example, in Australia, Mitsubishi specified ATF - 2 - M for one range of car. Normal ATF2 led to burning of the internals. Type M prevented this, but because of its specific use, Type M was considerably more expensive.

    Hope this helps.

    (btw: I am an automotive engineer and mechanic).
  • darakdarak Posts: 1
    I have 49,000 (mostly highway miles). We do routine maintenance on our own. Would like to change spark plugs but wondering how hard it is going to be to get to them? Is this something we could do ourselves fairly easily or are we going to have to pay dealer because the spark plugs are too hard to get to?
  • escapenutescapenut Posts: 117
    Oddly enough, I (with help from a machanic friend) changed out my plugs at 50K
    miles. I did not believe the hype-promise that the plugs will truly go 100K miles,
    per factory specs., so I changed them out with identical Motorcraft plugs. The
    three (3) plugs underneath the fake intake cover on the front-side are no problem.
    You just need a 10" extender on the ratchet with the proper spark-plug socket and
    you have it done in under 30 minutes. The rear-plugs are at the backside near the
    firewall and under the intake-manifold and require some up-top dissembly that only my mechanic friend could re-trace. You will need the change the intake manifold gaskets (pkg./kit~$10) after you remove both manifolds. It's a bit more labor-intensive for the back-three (3), but we still got it done in under 1 1/2 hours total time. If you are handy and are not afraid to tackle it, you may be able to do it just fine.
  • jvmjvm Posts: 1
    I just got a 2003 Ford Escape. I need to find the correct tool to remove the filter. Can you give me a part number and/or location to buy this???? Thanks.
  • lmartinlmartin Posts: 2
    I had an oil change and some rear brake work done and the guy asked me did I have a timing belt because I had 70K miles on the car - he said if I did it was time to get it changed. How do I know if I do - I looked in my book and I didn't see a mention of one - so should I assume I don't? :)
  • escapenutescapenut Posts: 117
    Your Tribute should have a timing chain for the V6 model. If it's the four-banger then I'm not sure. Call a Mazda dealer's service dept. and just ask a service
    advisor, they should tell you.
  • escapenutescapenut Posts: 117
    For what it's worth, pursuant to my post about replacing the alternator, some further issue arose. Namely when the alternator is replaced on top of everything I
    mentioned, the inner/outer CV joint or half-shafts have to be removed. Either upon
    removal or insertion the inner-joint boot tore. The shop says thye did not notice it, because there was no initial indication it was torn. The next day I started to hear
    grumbling (muffled marbles-sound) coming from the right front-end upon acceleration. ?The noise would go away or at least I couldn't hear it at speed.
    I looked underneath the fron-end and notice a pile of grease on a support member.
    I couldn't tell where it was broken, but I took it back into the shop. They admitted
    that they hadn't noticed anything unusal, but also admitted that thay were the ones that took out the half-shafts and reinstalled the after the replacement alternator was installed. The shop owner took complete responsibility and sent the complete shaft assembly out to rebuild it. I came back that afternoon and the
    rebuilt shaft was installed and car ready. So far so good. I am glad that the shop owner had the integrity to do what was right.
    Be forewarned, that if your alternator is replaced on V6 models then the same sequence of removal and installation will be done. Make sure that the shop does it right.
  • jillhjillh Posts: 1
    :sick: My 2001 V6 with 23000 miles on it died in traffic yesterday. Turns out I needed new alternator. I was charged over $500 for just the PART! Is there a difference between new and refurbished alternators? Is there a reason alternators go bad? Thanks.
  • escapenutescapenut Posts: 117
    I was told by a mechanic friend that the location of the alternator, in his opinion, was a major contributing factor (located lower-side of engine, passenger-side).
    Close to the catalytic convertor and a lot of engine heat. This is his opinion, and
    may or not be a contributing factor. GM alternators fail quite regularly and they're
    located at the top of most of their engines. It sounds as if you were charged for a brand new alternator, which would account for the high price you quoted. My refurbished one (cleaned-up casing, but totally rebuilt innards) cost me $242.00, exactly what ALLDATA said it would, which I subscribe to. The labor was exactly right at $152.00 too as ALLDATA quoted as well. If you were charged that much for a re-built alternator then you were charged too much in my opinion. Your '01 only has 23K miles ? That seems to be low mileage for that year model Escape.
    My milkes total 72.8K presently or roughly 18.2K per year. If it's the original alternator then I can understand that the time-frame seems to be right in-line
    for getting one replaced or about 4 yrs.
  • ramzey28ramzey28 Posts: 130
    Does anyone find that ventvisors cut down wind noise on this vehicle or add to the wind noise. I know this is not the true purpose of them but was hoping it would off set some noise. Please give honest opinion if its worth it. The tribute is not a bad noise level just sometimes noticeable.
  • atmanatman Posts: 6
    There's an 01 Escape for sale that we really like. It has around 120k miles on it!!! Which is enough to scare me away, however they said that quite a few of the miles came from pulling it behind their Winnebago.


    If a vehicle is pulled rather than driven is there a difference? Should that even matter to me? I've heard some bad stories about ruining the transmissions and such because of the car being pulled.

    The Escape has the V6, leather, moonroof, and all the goodies which is the big lure for us, they are asking $8900 for it which doesn't seem too's really beautiful without any flaws.

    Thanks for any comments/suggestions.
  • basmatibasmati Posts: 2
    Hello all,

    In April, I purchased a new 2005 Ford Escape XLT V-6. My concern is the creaking sounds from what seems like the entire chassis/frame when driving at low speeds. To describe what it sounds like is fairly easy...stacked styrofoam egg cartons being squeezed together and released. I thought maybe it had to go through a settling in process. But, this a new car, there shouldn't have to be any settling in process...Bummers. Its new too.">

    Currently my truck has 1600 miles on it and there are no other problems except for the creaking sounds. I suspect the problem maybe a body to frame seal or something like that. If it is something like that....thats major. How should I ask the dealership to fix the problem? Has anyone else had a problem like this? Thanks for your input...Aloha's
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    You can apply slicone spray to rubber material (door and windows seal-weather stripping-body frame seal) along with B pillar.
    Under very hot conditions, rubber expands and creates creaking sound by touching clean metal sufrace inside of the door frame where rubber touches door. You can spray WD40 too, but slicone is better and more protective. :)
  • basmatibasmati Posts: 2

    Thanks Snowman for the helpful tip. I'll give it a whirl and see what happens. Much mahalo's for the kokua! Basmati.... :)
  • rcinmdrcinmd Posts: 139
    My 05 Tribute was quiet for months, then quickly developed what sounded like body flex creaks as well. Not only did I spray the weatherstripping with silicone spray, but I also had noted suspension noises / graunches. I liberally sprayed all suspension joints with both silicone and a lubricant similar to WD40. The noises for now are all but gone, but if those applications did the trick, then I am sure they will return from time to time. It is always good practice to lubricate CV joint boots with silicone as a matter of course, and while doing so, you might as well hit all moving parts on the underside.
  • snowmansnowman Posts: 540
    As far as I know, there is no end user servicable part under the chasis. Everyhting is packed, including balljoints. But spraying silicone to CV boots helpful to extend the life of the rubber boots. Other than that there is no effect.

    As I said before this is due to nature of the rubber they used for weather stripping, the creaks occur under hot weather. I think, regardless of the issue, it might be good practice to rub moldings with silicone, it extends life of the rubber.
  • escapenutescapenut Posts: 117
    FWIW: Too much money for a vehicle with that many miles even if it's being towed.
    Get a reputable mechanic to check everything out, especially the transmission and all connected hardware. Should cost you between $75.00 - $150.00 to get this done and it'd be cheap insurance.
  • s5805s5805 Posts: 1
    I have a brake squeal in my Escape that has been a problem since I bought it new. However, now it never, ever goes off. It just continuously squeals and is driving me crazy. The dealership says it is a vaccuum leak but they couldn't find it to fix it. They said they couldn't hear the squeal. So I had the service manager drive with me and the squeal nearly drove him nuts. I asked him how they could claim they could NOT hear it. He said he didn't know. Somehow I think they don't want to deal with this problem. Can someone help?
  • cruise1cruise1 Posts: 8
    I am new to this connection. I read your problem about a squeal that drives you nuts. Maybe this will help!

    Usually when you have a squealing of the brakes you have a sound coming from the warning tabs that are attached to the front disc brake pads. They are telling you that the brake lining is ready to turn into metal and ruin your rotor. Sometimes you might have a warped rotor that is causing a in and out feeling as you depress the brake pedal. If the noise is coming from the back of the car it could be that a spring came off and released the brake shoe assembly.

    I just bought a 2002 Tribute with a v6 engine. I decided to see what kinds of experience people are having with their Tribute.

    See ya,
  • I have a 2002 Tribute. I have had front brake issues since 10,000 miles. They squealed so the dealership turned the rotors. At 25,000 miles they squealed again, and after much determination on my part, the dealership totally replaced the brakes. Now at 45,000, the brakes squealed again so I took it to my local mechanic. He said that the pads were fine but the rotors were shot. The dealership from which I bought the vehicle said it is "normal" for rotors to need to be replaced every 20 - 30,000 on SUV's. Is this really normal?
  • I am proud of you escapenut. I just had the plugs and coil packs replaced at the dealer for $820.
  • ribrib Posts: 3
    anybody have experience with a low whine noise coming from the auto transmission (66,000 miles)?
  • piotrnpiotrn Posts: 1
    I have a question. Is it not necessary to replace the filter in transmission while transmission fluid change every 30k miles?
    regards and thank you peter
  • mbd57mbd57 Posts: 7
    Has anyone had any paint issues on their Tribute?
    I have a 2003 ES w/ 58,000 miles on it. The roof paint is starting to peel dead center in front of roof rack area ( right where the sunroof would be if I had one.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,124
    Many people forget the transmission and feel it is a "sealed" unit and will never need to be touched. This is wrong. There are moving parts in your transmission just like your engine. Granted it is "more sealed" than your engine. However dirt does find its way in. I highly recommend you change your transmision fluid at least every 25K-30K. This is much less expensive than having your transmission re-built or replaced. Just a bit of insurance. :)
  • cruise1cruise1 Posts: 8
    Is anyone having exhaust smell coming from heater vents in their Mazda Tribute? I have a 2002 model and this smell is driving me crazy. :P
  • 77olds77olds Posts: 1
    I also have a 2003 Tribute with paint problems. I purchased my car,new, in April 2003. It now has approx. 75,000 miles. About a month ago I noticed 2 bare spots, between nickle & quarter size, on the roof just above the windshield. The Service Rep. at the dealers' body shop said that it is a paint defect. He also found a couple of smaller spots back near the roof rack. A Mazda rep. inspected the car last week. I'm still waiting to hear back from them. I have also learned that Mazda only puts a single coat of paint on the roof. No clear coat.
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