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Ford Escape Transmission Problems



  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I have 5 Escapes, and have not had a transmission problem yet, but the first thing I would ask is: is the fluid full, and is it clean. When was the transmission serviced last. If it's been over 30,000 miles, I'd have it serviced. If none of these suggestions resolve the problem, it is an internal issue, but may not be fatal. I had a Sable once that would slip on the very first shift on a cold day, but then never again that day. It never got any worse. The only other thing it could be is the engine, not the transmission. When you first put it into gear, it loads up the engine, which could have a cold temperature miss that goes away quickly when it warms up. Could be a dirty injector, spark plug, or a few other things, but again, not serious. If these simple fixes don't fix it, I'd quit worrying about it unless it got worse.
  • rooslayerrooslayer Posts: 4
    edited October 2011
    not sure if the Escape we are talking about is the Mazda Tribute derivative but, I have one (2001 model) and the O/D light started to flash a few weeks ago.
    A week later I lost all transmission.
    Transmission fluid in radiator and coolant in transmission.
    I had a front end accident about a month before (hit a kangaroo) which necessitated a radiator repair.
    still trying to figure out if the smack from Skippy caused the failure or whether it was just deterioration (car has done 90,000 Km - 55,000 Miles).

    I would not ignore the flashing O/D light knowing what I know now.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yep, the Escape IS the Mazda Tribute brother. And the OD light on most Fords is the clue that you have a transmission problem. If it starts to blink, failure is generally imminent. In your case, you may have saved had you not had the breech. The collision is very likely the cause, as this phenomenon is unusual, if not damn rare.
  • rooslayerrooslayer Posts: 4
    edited October 2011
    Insurer has assessed the transmission fail as related to the head-on with Skippy (but they did say they hadn't seen it before).
    Yay! Saved me heaps on the repair.
    Lesson here is, if you have any front end hit, get the entire cooling system checked. Damage looked fairly superficial, no warning lights came on, no fluid bleeding on the road - just losing a bit of coolant over time. I suspect a piece of grille plastic may have punctured radiator in just the right(ie wrong) spot.
    I only got about 200km (120 miles) out of it between the O/D light flashing intermittently and the cog-box giving up.
  • jcc11jcc11 Posts: 1
    I just purchased 2009 Ford Escape XLT and have 5 days to keep or return. I already have a problem with the key not going into the ignition hole. It's like you have the wrong key. After moving the blinker lever up and down, the key went in. What's up with that?! There is also a small black stain on the seat which Carmax could not get out. The Carfax report history says something about a shift lever/assembly replaced, automatic transmission check, and battery/charging sytem/starter checked. Carmax says the Carfax report might not be correct info. Is that true?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Carfax is horribly unreliable! They can only report what is reported to them. Lots of stuff never is, including accidents, frame damage, etc. You have to take Carfax with a grain of salt, tequila and a slice of lime. I run them, look at them, but don't rely on them. My son wrecked his Mustang 4 times, seriously, police reports each time, body shop fixed each time, insurance paid each time, NONE were reported on Carfax. So be very careful with Carfax.

    On the key thing, could just need some graphite sprayed into the lock mechanism, or lock lubricant (NOT WD-40!). Or, based on the repairs noted, may be substandard work when the steering column was repaired.

    I would personally, take this car back and try another one. I have 5 Escapes, none of them act like this.
  • I find the ignition key a bit fiddly, usually trying to extract it.
    It likes the gear selector to be in "N" and sometimes you have to move it in and out of "N" to make it work.
    I also think that sometimes if there is pressure on the steering lock that can cause the ignition key to catch a bit.
  • Is it time for the young fellow to buy a Cannondale F7 (ie a bicycle)? :) :)
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Well.....simpler doesn't break as much. That's for sure. I think running a CARFAX is good, it does give you some history, and there is good info you can use there. You just can't "rely" on it for being at all complete. They can only report what they receive. Most used car dealers, when they retire, buy new. I've often asked them why, with all they know about used cars, and they tell me, that's eXACTLY why they buy new now! All they know. Now, having said that, I have bought a lot of used cars in my lifetime, and have had about as good luck with them as new ones, frankly. But you have to be careful, and there's a factor too about HOW used it is. A one or two year old used car isn't much of a risk. A 10 year old car is a total crapshoot. Better to buy a new Yaris than a 10 year old Avalon, I suppose.
  • Interestingly enough, I have a 2008 Ford Escape Limited and have lost 2nd and 4th gears also. The remedy is estimated to cost between $1,800 and $2,400. My extended Warranty expired 14,000 km ago. Since the warranty has expired, I have had to replace a fuel injector; 2 universal joints and now the transmission. I only drive this vehicle to and from work. I have never pushed or towed anything nor has it seen rough terrain. This is not at all what I would expect from a 3 year old vehicle at all. Makes me wonder what's coming next. I find it very disappointing. For the folks who do not see this as a reason to find an alternative to Ford; I don't get it. We pay premium hard earned $ for these vehicles. They are not disposable. I expect much more.
  • babbs3babbs3 Posts: 50
    completely agree that a car should last much longer than 3 years (especially the trans.) It may not help to hear this but...this evening on the news it has finally been stated by some Ford owners that they are NOT satisfied with Ford quality when it comes to transmissions.We can only hope that Ford listens to us. To those that have no problems, I am truly happy for you but us that can't afford to buy or pay for repairs that should not be happening please hear us.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    As good as my Fords have generally been, especially my Escapes - I will admit, the biggest weakness Ford has, IMO, is the transmissions. Although, several of them are made by Aisan, a transmission manufacturer who sells the same units to GM, Ford and some Japanese manufacturers, the few problems I have had with Fords - have been the transmissions..... And I agree - when they fail, they fail too early.
  • babbs3babbs3 Posts: 50
    Thank you nvbanker for being honest. I feel you like Fords' but having tranny problems and at least saying so is refreshing. So many die hard folks act like it is no big thing to have problems with the trans. I am scared to even try a 3rd new car for fear I'll get that strange 6 auto trans. I really don't want to buy any more imports (I sadly did in the past) and felt guilty for it. I guess the Asian trans. is here to stay because not every single one fails so why should the auto makers stop using them. Now Chrysler has announced the use of a 8 speed auto. Who makes those? I don't know what to do about my next purchase or lease.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I don't know who Chrysler is going to use for that 8 speed, but since Fiat owns them now, it could be from anywhere. My Lexus has an 8 speed, but it's home grown I think, and not like your usual old gearbox, it's electric and only uses 2 quarts of fluid instead of gallons. I doubt Chrysler could afford to put those in their cars. I've owned several Chryslers, mostly minivans, and transmissions are the only thing I've had trouble with on those as well. Honda and Toyota have both had trouble with transmissions in the past, though they are slow to admit it. GM seems to do a little better, but they share the Aisan product that Ford uses in their front wheel drive models, and I dislike most GM products intensely. Still can't forgive them for the rubbish they made for decades and their 10 year behind technology. Well, I could go on, but let's just say, I dislike GM the most.

    Guilt aside, what I have pretty much gone to is Ford trucks and SUVs, and Toyota cars....seems to serve me the best. Just leased a new Explorer for my wife, and LOVE the car much more than I thought I would. I have a work fleet of 7 cars, 4 Escapes, 1 Toyota Camry and 2 Chryslers. All doing pretty well, the Fords and Toyota are the best though. 2 of them are Hybrids. The Ford Hybrid system is the best by far. The Toyota Hybrid is slow, slow, slow and the Ford actually gets better mileage than the Toyota car.

    Fact is, most cars on the road today are pretty good. Buy what you like, Hyundai has the best warranty, check Consumer Reports for weaknesses, and watch the 3 year old study JD Power does, and hope for the best. Stay away from Volkswagen, they are universally rated very poorly. :lemon: Best of luck!
  • I myself keep getting the run around from everyone at all dealships. One mechanic says my transmission problems are due to one thing then the other says something else and so on. Ford needs to be brought back to reality. I have tried contacting everyone at the upper level and NO ONE will contact me back. I had email addresses for all of them and sent for the last 1 1/2 constant visit to the shops, changing when they told me to and the problems keep getting worse and the trips are more and more. I have a 2004 and have had constant problems since I bought it 2 1/2 years ago including the week I bought it they started. From electrical to transmission, and yet they keep the vehicle for weeks at a time and when I get if back they say there was anything ... how come you keep it that long and do all this work but there was nothing wrong. I could go on for ever about all the problems that are still wrong and even my extended warranty will not cover.... I have decided that no response means CONTACT AN ATTORNEY ( I will use the money I have been using to get it fixed on the attorney now) ALSO 8 ON YOUR SIDE TELEVISION STATION WILL ASSIST ME WITH THIS ONE!
  • First, your dealer ripped you off big time. Flushes typically only cost around $150, if that. Second, I'm wondering how many people with transmission problems have V-6 engines, because even the Asians can't get V-6's to stop eating transmissions in FWD's(even Toyota Camrys have this problem). Third and ironically, my Fusion's sport transmission from Ohio is holding up fine, even though it starts slipping when the fluid gets over 30k mi on it(after a flush it stops). I found out when it was new that Ford stopped installing filters on their transmissions, and if these out-sourced transmissions are the same it could have a lot to do with it. For anyone looking to buy a car, NEVER buy a FWD car where the HP rating is near or exceeds 200hp. For 200+HP opt for AWD or RWD, it is what I did(V-6).
  • I wish it was so simple but it has been... transmission slipping, radio stops then starts working, windows stop working then started, lights on the dashboard all coming on and then not, seatbelt mechanism not working, airbag relay broke, motor mounts, wheel hubs, clicking noise everytime I step on the brake (LOUD) they said is was suppose to do that - strange it never did it when I bought it then it started for months then just stopped and then started again recently, power steering pump, engine races when you let off the gas peddle... I know there is more just cant think of it all. I think that it is enough really since most of this started shortly after I bought it from a dealership and I have been told several things for each item as to why.... but funny they keep it for weeks at a time but say nothing wrong and it comes back with something fixed. :lemon:
  • When putting my cruise on going up a hill at times, the engine starts to rev up, the 2009 escape doesn't go any faster, the rpms go up to 4000 to 5000 and won't get out of it until I put the escape back into park. I tried putting it into neutral when on a busy highway and then back into drive but nothing worked. I have taken it in to the dealer 2 times and they can't find anything. They questioned why I put it in neutral and I said to try and get the rpms down since my vehicle never goes over 3000 rpm even when I step on it. This time, I didn't take the cruise off, I left it go on and on for about three miles and finally the check engine light came on. Even when I slowed down to exit the interstate, the rpms didn't move like they should. I left the cruise off the hour ride home and drove 60 miles and hour without any problems until after I left my sister off, putting the vehicle into drive, it jerked. I only live three blocks from her with a 25 mph speed limit. I stepped on the gas, rpms went way up again and I had to lift off the gas in order for it to shift, then pulling into my drive it didn't want to move much but I did get it into the garage. Anyone else had this problem?????
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Toyota introduced a new "real time" ATF line pressure control technique in the early RX300 models. The new design yielded a quite significant improvement in FE but (apparently) inadvertently included a very serious design flaw. The FE gain was great enough that the new design was widely adopted before the design flaw was publicly exposed, "discovered".

    Toyota, after several attempts at fixing the flaw, finally settled on DBW(RX330) as a final fix. Prevent the engine from rising in torque until a re-acceleration downshift could be accomplished/completed.

    The suggestion of opting for AWD, F/awd, is a non-starter.

    The use of the brakes for traction control on FWD provides a serious level of safety but with a TON of stress on the driveline components with both engine drive and braking engaged simultaneously. Basically the reason the engine is also INSTANTLY dethrottled simultaneous with braking actuation.

    It is very well know that have both front and rear drives engaged simultaneously on tractive surfaces is detrimental to driveline component life cycles. While always of relatively short duration, front AND rear drives only used under low speed acceleration, in the long term that always adds up to premature driveline component failure.

    So adding F/awd, and the associated inadvertent additional driveline stress, to an already flawed transaxle design only exacerbates the failure rate. Look at the transaxle failure rate for early F/awd RX300, the F/awd version of the Escape/Mariner, and the entire life period of the MDX as examples.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Why would you engage the cruise on an uphill run?

    For myself I would be initially engaging

    My practice in that case, more often practice, is to disallow the engagement of OD.

    My guess is that one of the clutches involved in the highest non-OD gear selection is marginal and begins slipping with a sudden application and simultaneous need for reasonable high torque transfer.
  • lyncarlyncar Posts: 2
    I had your exact electrical problem - it is the ignition. Just replace it and electrical problems go away - or when you are turning your key on, after it is on just slightly nudge the key back so it rests against the resistance. The problem is that the ignition is telling the starter to keep starting and starting... and your electrical thinks the car is about to start so it pauses.
  • lyncarlyncar Posts: 2
    Yesterday, while driving into town in a severe cold snap (-40 Welcome to Canada), 2004 Escape suddenly revved very high. It wouldn't do the shift into 3rd (though it had already been there). I initially thought something had froze up, but that's not the problem. Husband went to pull it apart thinking the bands needed to be adjusted?? But he says it's a nightmare underthere and he can't even get to the transmission filter. Advise please!
  • tdd281tdd281 Posts: 1
    My trans just went on my 2008 Ford Escape XLT 4x4 107 k miles. $3000 to fix. My first FORD....and my LAST. I feel for ya! In fact you want to know what happened to my car when this car started shaking, screeching...and accelerating at high speeds and would not shift into park, I nearly caused an accident. I have never towed crap with this vehicle, I use it for small road trips and driving to work. I still owe one more year of payment as well. This happened on my birthday last week, happy birthday to me right?! I so loved my Escape, at least now it will have a REAL trans in it MADE IN AMERICA, NOT MEXICO!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited January 2012
    ATF level slightly low?

    At -40 the volume might be unusually low, once the clutch "pistons" are filled with ATF there's not enough left in the sump.

    For quite a number of years now factory fill levels, ATF fill, have been "just enough". Extreme cold may not have been in the plans. Warm up idle for a few minutes before driving..?
  • babbs3babbs3 Posts: 50
    Sorry to tell you but I don't think you are going to get an american trans. I am also not impressed with Ford's trans. (had a 2010 and now a 2011) and there is no chance that Ford hears us. One reason is the dealers do not always report the problems to Ford directly. The other reason is all the advertising that Ford does they sell enough to cover up the % of bad problems. As long as we buy em and the car experts do not expose the true facts, it will remain the same. I can't believe that if a 2008 trans. went out just how long will the 2011 or 2012 last. I too will be looking for other auto choices.
  • Well I hope so.... My 2005 Ford Escape is doing the same thing right at 45 mph. I had a Honda Civic were I actually replaced the tranny twice and got rid of it to escape other issues. I just got this car and I can't deal with this same issue again. Please tell me something. I need to know because this vibrating is making me nervous. Do you think a flush will help?
  • I bought a used (fleet) '08 Escape XLT w/52K on the odometer from one of those big chain dealerships who have prices set w/no haggling on the price.
    I thought the noticeable shifting was "normal" and not objectionable to me :)
    About 6 weeks into my relationship with this vehicle, the tranny started shifting a lot harder :confuse: then:..... it started slipping :surprise: I thought I got ripped off :mad: After mulling it over; I gave the dealer the benefit of the doubt because they deal with such large volumes and the fact that these problems are apparently so common; the sales person may not have known the harsh shifts were not "normal".
    After some research: I discovered the drive-line is still covered for 5 years or 60K miles regardless of the chain of custody. ;)
    I took the vehicle to a reputable Ford dealer where they discovered a certain, internal part had failed. They ordered the part, however: the part was not in stock and they had no idea of when they would get more. The dealer contacted some higher-ups at Ford and arraigned to have a NEW complete tranny shipped from the factory!
    I now have a brand new tranny in my '08 Escape.
    It appears that heat is the main culprit in these early failures, so: my new tranny is getting a new cooler to help extend it's life span.
    I don't know if luck or perseverance is why I got a new tranny, FREE OF CHARGE; but I have to give Ford Motor Company, and a great dealership, a lot of credit and appreciation for their efforts in addressing and fixing my '08 Escape.
    Driving this appealing vehicle is a much better experience now that it shifts more like a Lincoln than a truck!!!
  • babbs3babbs3 Posts: 50
    OMG good for you. Why can't all the Ford dealers perform this way? There are so many people (inc. me) that are so angry at Ford for treating us like fools when we complain or try to get these horrible transmissions properly fixed. I have a 2011 Escape and due to it being leased I have not gone back to the dealer because of the abuse I took with my 2010 Fusion (sold it back to them). The people who aren't having problems are lucky. Have you noticed the new Ford ads are pushing the Edge, the F150, and the SEL Fusion only? The 5% drop in Ford sales for Feb., I think, is due to the trans. problems. Of course we will never know for sure. Again, I am happy you got a new transmission, just keep your eyes and ears at attention with the new unit.
  • jbojojbojo Posts: 1
    similar issue for me; i have a 2005 Ford Escape 4WD. Have not had one problem in 5 years until now. I too feel a vibration when i start out and it gets bad until i accelerate through 35mph.

    Has anyone had this issue and know what it is? I had all the obvious like cv, drive shafts checked and my mechanic told me everything was good and tight!
  • 2010escape2010escape Posts: 2
    I have my car at the dealers to install a second new transmission in 31,000 miles. The dealer has no idea why this car is destroying the transmission. Any ideas. How do I get Ford to extend the warranty since there is obviously a problem somewhere.
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