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Ford Escape Hybrid Brake Problems



  • keleeykeleey Posts: 2
    Hey everyone. I'm new to all this.. I have a 2006 FEH that I bought back in Dec. 2005. Since then I have had not 1 but 2 COMPLETE brake failures. By the grace of God I did not get into a car accident either time.. The first time they replaced the wiring harness then 7 months later it happened again. This time they replaced the ACU unit. I have filed a complaint with NHTSA, Ford and the dealership. I am requesting a but back on the are b/c I am scared to death to ever drive it again. Ford had told me they will not buy back the car. Has anyone had this problem? Gone through the steps for a buy back? Any advice I would really appreciate it. I can't get behind the wheel of that car again and I don't know where to go from here? Thanks
  • dsteakdsteak Posts: 18
    after a few months of going back and forth (4 times), and with help from ford customer service, i got ford to service the vehicle for the emergency brake light coming on and the service brakes message coming on. they did the following, apparantly according to ford engineering instructions :

    removed ground 102 and 104, clean brackets, bolts, and body, replace both ground wires. removed and cleaned brackets, bolts and body for grounds 102 and 104. removed the abs module connector and removed and replaced the ground 102 and 104 wires. installed all removed parts and cleared codes and retested.

    funny thing is, they said there were no codes and could not verify that there was a problem, even though i gave them a picture i took of the dashboard with the problem showing.

    anyway, since 3/20, the lights have not come on again, but i can't help but be nervous everytime i apply the brakes. before i have to stop, i always pump the brakes to make sure they work.

  • keleeykeleey Posts: 2
    Thanks for your reply.. When mine was serviced(which it's at the dealer now) there were codes that showed up. And they say they have it fixed this time. Well that's what they told me last time. I know how you feel about being nervous. That is why I am refusing to take the car back. I can't take the chance that this will happen again. I may not be as lucky as I was the 2 times it has happened. I am not going to endanger my life or anyone else. Have you tried to get a buy back? Just wondering. Thanks
  • dsteakdsteak Posts: 18
    i haven't had the problem with brake failure, and geez i hope i don't. i don't know if it's the same issue or not. but i worry that it's going to happen.

    i don't imagine they would buy the car back. ford is in trouble. maybe the ceo would, since he's been paid an $18M bonus and Ford lost $12B last year.
  • marie12marie12 Posts: 2
    I am so pleased that I found this discussion board and so sorry to hear you all have the same problem I do. I too have experienced brake failure in my SUV four times now. I have a 2006 with 37,000 miles. (do alot of driving) I am scheduled to take the car to Ford Dealer on Monday and am planning to bring in all these comments. I do wish we could be heard by Ford somehow. There should be a recall.
  • marie12marie12 Posts: 2
    This is a web site I just posted a comment on and explained the braking problems. It lists several recalls for the Ford escape just not for the brakes yet. If enough postings are made to this site, maybe someone will hear us. Worth a try..
  • simmisimmi Posts: 2
    I bought my Ford Escape 2008 Hybrid only 3 weeks ago. Saturday I planned a trip with my boyfriend and my dog and suddently while driving, the brake and ABS light came on and there was hardly any brake in existence. Luckily I had no accident but we had to get towed to the dealership. My whole weekend was messed up.

    My car was supposed to be ready on Monday but they said that the part (mastercylinder) was not there yet. I called today on Tuesday and it still is not there. How disapointing.
  • Here's another FEH brake failure story. Sounds like we have all been very lucky. I was only going about 20-25 miles an hour when I lost mine completely. Both the ABS and the brake light came on. I was able to get the car off the road and stopped with the emergency brake. I shut the engine off and when I turned it back on again I had brakes. I am working about 80 miles away from home so I took it to the closest dealer. They have had it 3 days now. They have only told me so far that the computer said it was a "main switch" for the brakes. The car has a little over 15,000 miles on it and this is the first trouble I have had except for an annoying brake grabbing every time it rains or there is heavy dew in the morning! Of course the dealer has always told me there is nothing wrong with the brakes and never writes it on the receipt. From what I am reading here, though, I have a sick feeling they might be related. I haven't decided what I am going to do yet - I live in PA and we have a Lemon Law so I will probably go through the Better Business Bureau. I have no confidence in this vehicle now because it doesn't seem that Ford has a handle on it. Has anyone had a resolution?
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    Sorry to hear about your brakes going out completely. From the posts I have read, it appears that many of the brake failure problems are solved by replacing the master cylinder.

    The "grabbiness" is probably not related to the is inherent to the hybrid design. In slightly wet conditions the brake surfaces stay wet until the FEH is close to stopping. At that point the computer switches the braking from the regenerative system (MG1) to the old fashion hydraulic brakes...and the brake force increases until it feels like it grabs too hard. In non-hybrids, the offending moisture on the brake surfaces is dissappated during the heavy portions of initial braking and are practically dry at the point just before the vehicle stops (where, on the hybrid, you should be feeling the "grabbiness")

    A good solution on wet days is to perform all of your first few stops with the transmission selector in "N"-neutral. This shuts off the regen braking and forces regular hydraulic braking...which should dry off the braking surfaces. Stops after that should not be grabby. If it occurs again, hard braking or braking in "N" drys off the braking surfaces again.

    Good luck and be safe. :D
  • Thanks for the info - I'll try that. They replaced the solenoid valve on my car but could not/would not guarantee the problem is fixed. However I did notice this morning (I just got it back from the shop) that the brakes did not grab like they usually do. I have no confidence in this car. I don't feel that these SUVs are getting repaired and I get the feeling Ford is sticking their heads in the sand. Can you say PINTO! There are at least 4 complaints filed on NHTS - Office of Defects Investigation ( unfortunately there evidently aren't enough complaints yet (or no one's gotten killed yet!)as nothing is being done.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Couldn't that be a good thing? Maybe it shows that the problem is not wide spread and correctable.

    Maybe your dealer corrected it.

    At my dealer, none of my hybrid customers ever complained about the mechanical function of the car. Or have I heard of a complain from anyone else in the dealership or other customers.

    I am not saying you are imagining the problem. However try to have a little faith. Remember that you can always go to another dealer.

  • I've had my 2008 FEH for a month now. I've noticed that when using the brake the vehicle doesn't slow down right away. I've had to press hard on the brakes to stop the car. I actually got a ticket for overshooting a stop sign because when I pressed on the brakes, nothing happened! I thought I'd have heart attack. So far, I've driven over 900 miles in this car so, I'm very comfortable driving it and am familiar with some of its little quirks. At first I thought that I just needed to get used to the brakes and weight of this car. Now, I don't think so. It doesn't do this all the time though, but when it happens it can be quite scary. I've even bought a doggy seatbelt for my pup to keep her from sliding off the seats when this happens. I hope this is an easy fix or better yet user-error (I doubt it). Be safe!
  • To all of you that have and or had brake problems - were they resolved? Do you feel the car is finally fixed? Did any of you have a brake failure after the solenoid valve block was replaced? I'm trying to gain some level of confidence in this vehicle but when Ford doesn't want to admit there is a problem and the dealership won't guarantee it won't happen again . . . . Any thoughts?
  • My brake problem has been fixed since then. My car was in the shop for 4 days though and since then (2 month) I have not had a brake problem again. I did however have my engine light come on and the thermostat, after having the car only 2 month. The dealer fixed it really quick by replacing the thermostat and I had the car back with 2 days. So I am really dissapointed about the car. I've had the brake problem after 3 weeks and the engine problem after 2 month. I am on edge right now and just waiting what comes next. I really love the car but having these issues with a brand new 2008 Escape Hybrid upsets me.

    I particpated in a focus group last week and the engineers from Ford were there. I had an opportunity to tell all good and bad so this was great. Hopefully they will listen and do something about it.
  • after experiencing catastrophic brake failure in my 10 month old feh we never used it again!!! ford never admitted there was a problem, and we refused to take back the car. we were lucky that after six months the ford dealership sold it. i admire folks who have the courage to trust the car after experiencing brake failure...i felt way too wimpy to go thru that a second time! so...i completely understand your reticence in getting behind that wheel. just hope that at some point ford acknowledges what's going on. good luck.
  • This morning,after travelling about 300 feet from start-up,in my 2006 Escape Hybrid,I heard a beep, then the brake light goes on and stays on until I get to my destination, another 3 miles travelled to work. The vehicle has about 8,900 miles driven. It's the same "beep" sound I hear when I engage the emergency brake. I tried this, thinking the emergency brake was still on - not disengaged. The light stayed on. A week ago, this "similar" problem happened - this time, right when I started the vehicle until I shut it off, 3-4 miles away. I went to the dealership that Saturday. They told me that the computer said I had a "grounding" problem. Has this problem happened with anyone else; Yes - what was the corrective action taken by the dealership. I'm not sure the problem has to do with the Emergency Brake; I'ld like to pinpoint the problem before servicing. What's funny is the problem doesn't always happen when I've driven the Hybrid - it's intermittent.
  • dsteakdsteak Posts: 18
    this was the problem i had. check post #34.
  • I bought my 2008 Escape Hybrid two days ago, on 11/16/07. I had driven it 30 miles when my wife and I went to Charles Town, WV, about 35 miles from home. When we tried to start the car to come home, the engine would not start. There was a warning message that said "Regen Brake Disabled". I called the Ford 24/7 road service, but they could not find me in the computer. I was able to convince them that I needed a tow, and when they could not find a tow company in Charles Town, the permitted me to do so and they would reimburse me. Now I am waiting for the dealer to come to my house to get the car.

    Any ideas what happened? I love driving the Escape (all 70 miles so far) but I am worried about this.
  • rnargrnarg Posts: 27
    I have a 2008 FEH with 900 miles and 30 days old.

    One of the first things I noticed while driving is the fact that FEH's have poor performing brakes even when they are working as they are supposed to. They just don't bring the vehicle to a stop in the same amount of distance that other vehicles I drive on a regular basis do. (One of those vehicles is a 2004 F150 V-8 Lariat which has excellent solid stopping ability) The 2 other vehicles I drive on a regular basis all have very good stopping ability and have disc brakes on all 4 wheels. My experience with disc brakes (including the F150) has been that they tend to dirty your wheels immediately with black brake dust that must be cleaned often to prevent buildup on the wheels. This of course is just an appearance issue and has nothing to do with performance, but I have also noticed that although the FEH has 4 wheel disc brakes it DOES NOT produce the brake dust probem, and that's great for keeping the wheels clean, BUT could it be that the FEH poor stopping performance (as pointed out in several car magazine tests) is due to the type of disc pads that Ford is using? Could it be that the disc pads are extremely hard (thus producing very little brake dust) compared to others, and as a result the stopping ability is affected? (Seems to me the harder the disc pad the less wear and production of brake dust, but the harder disc pad won't have the stopping ability as that of a softer one) (sort of the same with tires-----the better stopping performance tires that have soft tread, wear out a lot faster but help in better road hugging performance as compared to conventional ones)

    Could it be that the hard type disc pads being used are required due to having something to do with the needs of the recharging system?

    My point here is that in my opinion on a scale of 1-10 (where 10 is best) the FEH stopping ability would score about a 4 compared to other vehicles, and I suspect this low score may have something to do with the hardness of the factory equipped disc brake pads.
  • Most likely our Escapes come with ceramic brake pads which last much longer and have low dusting.

    Our brakes deffinetly feel differently than a normal car because the first portion of the brake pedal travel activates the regenerative braking which is using engine braking to slow the vehicle. If you apply more pressure than the actual hydralic brakes will start to kick in. I have not tried this yet but if you just crammed on the brakes you should see that the brakes work pretty well due to the fact that we have 4 wheel ABS. I will admit though that the brakes do feel spongy, you should get used to the feel though after a while.
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    The FEH brake system is significantly different than the typical brake system. It is a "brake-by-wire" design in that a computer senses variables such as vehicle speed, vehicle deceleration rate, brake pedal position (driver command to slow or stop), wheel slip (ABS), as well as others. The computer then decides how to stop the vehicle through use of some combination of: the regenerative system (motor/generator), the engine rpm, and the traditional hydraulic brakes.

    In action, this is very different than the traditional brake pedal that directly engages a hydraulic master cylinder. Ford engineers have worked rather hard to make the system act, feel, and perform like a traditional braking system - but observant folks will notice the differences (can you hear the hydraulic pump pressurize the system every time you unlock the doors with the key fob?). I am not surprised that performance would suffer. Once a driver understands the differences they may be able to adjust their braking to improve overall stopping performance. [While coasting in "N" the regenerative system is off so if you hit the brake pedal you will engage only the foundation (hydraulic) brakes. Likewise, regenerative braking in the m/g is heavier in "L" than in "D", etc., etc.] Be safe.

    I don't think what you are sensing is due to some slight difference in friction at the disc pads. In your particular case I would recommend you be more aggressive with pushing the brake pedal (and driving in "L") - to get a better sense of stopping ability. :D
  • rnargrnarg Posts: 27
    Thanks for the good explanations.---- There really does seem to be much more sophistication in many of the mechanical systems of the Hybrid compared to non-hybrid vehicles. Hopefully, as time goes on, I will become more aware of these areas so that I can at least identify them and begin to understand the reason they are different from the conventional systems. I hope the engineering efforts and complexity added to these systems turn out to be worth it in the long run.
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    "Hopefully, as time goes on, I will become more aware of these areas so
    that I can at least identify them and begin to understand the reason they
    are different from the conventional systems"[marg].

    That is really the best attitude to have. Again, the Ford engineers have worked hard to make the vehicle act like a "non-hybrid" in many ways.
    "I hope the engineering efforts and complexity added to these systems turn
    out to be worth it in the long run."[marg].

    An excellent question and one we are all wondering about. :D
  • I had the same thing happen. I bought mine on Saturday 11/24 and 23 hours later, after I had driven it about 69.9 miles the exact same thing happened. 24/7 roadside service did come tow me to the dealer, which spent all day today trying to figure out the problem. They just told me that they still aren't sure and will call me tomorrow.

    Has your situation been resolved???
  • bubkisbubkis Posts: 10
    I am new to this and just wanted to thank all of you for posting your msg's about these chronic brake problems. I am sorry to hear about these safety issues. The postings have made me reconsider my FEH selection. I would be doing a lot of mtn driving and don't want to be on the James Bond Highlight real going over the cliffs edge in a hairpin turn, w/ Ford saying "No Code, No Problem"....
    I am a big hybrid proponent but will take the Escape off the list because my families safety is more important that Gas Mileage and there are several other Hybrid alternatives on the market with more coming.
    Note to Ford: No FEH for this guy
  • sksuhsksuh Posts: 13
    I live in the mountains of southern Alberta and haven't had any problems whatsoever with my 2008 FEH. The 4WD mode works great on the snowfall we've had thus far, braking performs fine and overall fuel economy is on par with the sticker ratings.

    No regrets about my FEH.

  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    the basis for your concern may be a little are reading a forum that discusses technical issues....therefore a high percentage of postings will report problems and issues....but that does not automatically translate to ("chronic")occurance in a high percentage of the 40,000 FEHs on the road [kinda like those FoxNews on-line polls that report over 50% approval of GWBush when properly sampled polls report approval ratings in the 20s)

    if you use that may never purchase any vehicle...because none of them are perfect and they all may have some technical/design weakness the can sound widespread and dangerous when discussed in detail

    conversely, you may be safer in an FEH if you purchased it and knew to have the brake system checked (?) when you purchased it

    I have read many postings from folks that live in the mountains of Colorado and have owned their FEHs safely for over 3 years now. :D
  • bubkisbubkis Posts: 10
    Thx Mechang1.
    You bring up a good point. However, Brakes or lack of brakes is a pretty big deal. I am confident its not on all FEH but I don't want to be in that 1%to X% that have the issue.
    If it were a faulty window or even a stalling engine those are significantly less worry some than bad brakes.
    Looking around other small suv forums (i am researching for purchase) CRV, Rav4 etc, they have their own issue forums. But what seem to be Chronic Brake problems putting folks at risk does not seem to come up in the other forums so much.
    Brake are like air. You can't live (long) without it, especially going over Colorado mtn passes, not to mention driving hwy speeds in everyday traffic w kids in the back. Not to be overly dramatic, but bad brakes is troubling.

    I will do some more research and take your good advice. I really like the form and function of the FEH but seeing (and not seeing on CRV/Rav4) these posts on failing brakes (a staple feature for an automobile) does give me pause. Not to mention if bleeding the brakes is a possible solution, does one have to always go to Ford for this service vs a non-ford service station.

    I will indeed heed your advice to expand my data points though.
    If I buy a FEH it will be new so I know the history and warranty.

    Thx Bubkis.
  • I am a cab driver and one night a week I drive an Escape Hybrid. We have a few of these in our fleet of cabs. This is the ultimate test of a car because they are driven continuously, about 20 hours/day 365 days per year. I am not sure what year model this Escape is but it is probably 2005 or 2004 and it currently has over 200,000 miles on it. We put over 100,000 miles on a car in a year. I have driven three of the Escapes that we have in our fleet and all of them have over 200,000 miles.

    I love driving these cabs and the only real issue I have is that when you break the car clunks. I don't know how else to explain it. You apply the breaks and instead of a steady slow down you get ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk. They stop ok but they both make this sound and it jerks the car as it make this sound.

    Yesterday I took my Escape cab out and as I got onto the freeway the car started to shake really bad. Sort of like the ka-chunk only continuous. This only lasted a few seconds so I continued on my way. I traveled maybe 2 miles, had exited the fwy, turned a corner and again the car started to shake. This time it would not stop. It was very scary, I thought there was something wrong with the axle but it felt just like it did when you break, only continuous. I headed back to the cab lot. Took the fwy since it seemed to run better there. Not so good this time, but I drove slow, 30mph, exited and was at a red light when I saw smoke coming from behind me. Then I heard people from the gas station I was next to yelling to me that I was on fire. I pulled over and got out.

    Sure enough, both back breaks were literally in flames. I do not know what happened but it was as if the brakes were engaged or something. Although I only say that because the shaking was so similar to what happens when the brakes are applied.

    So, if you keep your Escape Hybrid for a while be prepared for it to start the ka-chunk when you break and look to sell it immediately thereafter!!
  • mecheng1mecheng1 Posts: 161
    Thanks for the excellent description of your experience. Sounds like there was enough warning to prevent the catastrophic failure you saw....something most owners would rather do than sell the car after starting to hear the ka-chunk.

    Sounds like you had a malfunction of the rear foundation brakes or more likely a major misalignment of the parking brake components inside the regular rear brake rotors.

    Who services the brakes on your hybrids? :confuse:

    The ka-chunk was probably a signal that something was starting the fail ...the shaking was the ultimate failure...the flames were the result of continuing to drive on the failed brake components.

    Did you notice if any of the lights on the dash came on?
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