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Ford Escape Mazda Tribute Maintenance and Repair



  • My 2001 had almost this same kind of noise but a friendly and very honest mechanic said that I was only low on power steering fluid. He said that Ford products were bad to do this and since Mazda is now basically a Ford, it was the same thing. Sure enough I went to my local Wal-Mart and spent $2 on a bottle of fluid, topped it off and voila, no more crunching.
  • I have a 2001 Tribute that idles out of control on a regular basis. While the car is in drive and I am stopped at a light, the RPM's will race up to 1500 ro 2000 and the car is almost jumping ready to pull off. When I shift into park, I had better be ready to turn the key off or I'm afraid the engine will be blown. The tachometer reaches between 3000 and 4000 before I get my hand down to the key to shut off the engine. After two or three repairs now the Mazda dealership tells me I need a throttle body. Has anyone else ever encountered this problem? The technician tells me he's never seen it before.
  • I hope you purchased transmission fliud. That is the correct fluid for the power steering unit in these vehicles per the manual. Do NOT use power steering fluid.
  • yustasyustas Posts: 31
    All cars with automatic transmissions provide a way to move them with dead battery, but they are different from car to car. Some have a small switch near shifter, which is covered by a plastic plug. In my Ford Taurus, and I assume in many Ford/Mazda products, one can move a shifter out of the neutral by turning the ignition key into the "off" position, which is between "lock" and "on". That will unlock steering and shifter.
  • rcinmdrcinmd Posts: 139
    Well, the creak, creak, creaks in my '05 Tribute are back. Obviously temp related since the cooler weather has re-awakened them. I have saturated all suspension bits and pieces, so it is not that, even though there is very loud at times 'graunching' when coming to a halt, or when just rocking the vehicle. It is not the headliner, though that creaks when pushed. Not the top of the door panel which squeaked when pushed on until I sprayed silicone behind it. No, it is as though the unibody flexes just enough to cause rubbing, and sundry creaks all around. Maybe it is the same thing that plagues BMW X3s with their window creaks. I guess next I'll flood the window channels with something to see if that helps. The ultimate fix of course is to sell once the snow flies, and swear off any further Ford purchases. I could not believe how loose and noisy an older Ford Focus wagon was that I rode in recently. The Mazda 5 is once again under consideration, since I am sure it is vastly better built. And since I don't drive automatics, the 'bursting into flame' condition there should not impact me.
    Kind of sad. The Tribute has its attributes, but a solid structure is not one of them.
  • As I posted earlier in the thread, my '05 Tribute makes creaking noises, too. We have the dog cage option (muddy German Shepherd + leather = bad!) installed in the back, and the points where it meets the ceiling creak whenever I drive over a bump. The suspension has been making a squeaking noise like it's not oiled properly for some time, but it's recently been sounding more like a groaning. I occasionally hear it when I come to a stop, but it's mostly when I'm getting in and our of the car and shifting the weight distribution. I intend to have our dealer look at it when it'st taken in for the first oil change.

    I can deal with occasionally squeaks and creaks, but by far the most annoying issue is the loose door and centre panelling at the front of the car. The panelling on the front doors has a lot of give, and creaks (plastic crunching... I'm sure you know what I mean) when you press on it. The piece between the seats also has the same problem. It will actually move from side to side up to half a centimetre or more! I am quite tall, so my legs are always touching either the door or centrepiece, so I get a constant creaking from them. We have the GT model which has slightly different panelling at the front, so I'm not sure how the doors and centre differ from the regular base model.

    Interestingly, the panelling on the rear doors is rock solid, and I never hear anything from them. The impression I get from the front door/centre panneling is that it's not really attached properly. It isn't glued on where it meets the window assembly, so I can actually pull it back slightly. Basically, it doesn't feel very solid. I would REALLY like to know whether loose panelling is normal for this model. I did test drive the same model at the dealer, but it was a different car. I'm pretty sure I would have noticed the loose panelling at the time, but I really can't recall. If the panelling really is looser than it should be, I will definitely be taking it up with the dealer!
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    AAA assured me last week that it was not the battery. $180 tow to my mechanic found out it was the battery. No longer member of AAA. 15 years a member and they claim OH well. One way money for AAA. Dash went crazy when trying to start with dead battery. Have Mach stereo in mine and CD's started ejecting out. Steering wheel locked. Thought I had a serious electrical problem, but only battery. No warning neither, it died quick. 100,000 miles strong on 2001 XLT. :sick:
  • I have the exact same problems that you are having with my 01 Tribute, 98k miles (I mean exactly). I went to AutoZone to get a diagnosis and found that there was a misfire on cylinder 2. I changed the Ignition Coil, Fuel injector, and the sparkplug with no success. I went to the dealer to take care of a Powertrain Control Module (PCM) recall ( to recalculate the acceleration and all that). My Tribute is running smoother, BUT the same problems are still there for me. It still hasn't gone away. So it wasn't the PCM.
    One of the main things that I noticed, when I changed out my spark plugs was that the spark plug on the misfire cylinder (Cylinder 2) smelled burnt compared to the other five ( I mean a distinctive burnt smell). I believe that my sparkplug malfunctioned (or burned), and this lead to a malfunctioning of the main electrical items that are connected to the spark plug (Ignition Coil, Wiring Harness, PCM, fuel injector). I ended up replacing the Ignition Coil, Fuel injector, and the sparkplug with no success. PCM reprogram(recall) helped smooth the problem, but didn't fix it. I was thinking about changing the wirning harness, until I saw mikebc780's reply.
    mikebc780 says " turned out to be a burnt valve, No. 4 cyl. with low compression. The fix was a new valve head, took 2 weeks to get all parts in. Was apprx. $1800 "
    If you fixed your problem, can you get back to me on what you were able to do to fix it? Thank you.
  • rcinmdrcinmd Posts: 139
    Precisely the same suspension noises are occuring in my Tribute. As I stated, I have lubed profusely all moving components with both silicone spray, and with other spray lubricants. There has been no real improvement. As for the creaking, I am convinced that the primary cause is body flex. Sure, it's a box of sorts, with some large apertures, but my 1984 Vanagon camper, with an enormous pop top, has a body far more rigid.
  • Hey all,

    I just had a terrifying experience with my 1-day old Escape and I'm hoping you guys have some ideas. I was in a mall parking lot and the car started fine. I put it in reverse to back up and lightly hit the gas..fine so far. I went to brake and the car would not stop AT ALL. I was on a slight decline so it was going faster than usual. There were 3 people behind me now and the car was still moving. I came *very* close to squeezing those people between my bumper and the front end of the car behind me. I put the car in drive and it STILL kept reversing without the brakes working. I then flipped it into park and that's when it finally stopped with a big forward jerk. The only way to stop the car from rolling backwards was putting it in park. Thank God I didn't hit the people behind me. We're all so lucky for that.

    Now I am wedged perpendicular in the parking lot aisle blocking both sides of traffic on a busy Saturday afternoon. I shut off the car and started it again, this time going straight to drive. It again rolled backwards and the brakes didn't work. At this point two people helped me. I put it in neutral and they pushed it back into the parking space where I promptly shut it off and applied the parking brake. Also, the wheel was completely locked during all of this.

    After all that, the dealership I went through was closed today (on Saturday!) so I called the Ford road service number. It was towed to the dealership and I'll be dealing with it and the sales agent tomorrow. The sales guy was nice (I called him on his cell) and said he'd do anything to make this right.

    I bought this car YESTERDAY!!! I am so frustrated, mad, and still very scared because I almost seriously hurt three people. If this happened on the highway. my 3 year old and I would probably be dead.

    Should I take a chance and get a different Escape from the same dealer? I don't care if Henry Ford himself fixed this one, I'm not driving it! What do you guys think they'll say? What recourse do I have? Does the lemon law give you 3 days to return a car with "no questions asked"?

    Thanks for reading all this and I look forward to any advice for tomorrow's blow-out!!!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,334
    Well I could see the power brake failing, which would make the brake pedal very HARD and would require a lot of force on the brake pedal. So that's a possibillity. However, the part about putting it in drive and the car still going backwards---that makes no sense to me (mechanically speaking).

    IN theory, the engine can't overpower the brakes under any circumstances from a standing start.
    Anyway, first thing you need to determine is if the power brake booster has failed. If someone hops in the car Monday and everything's fine, you're going to have a tough time convincing anyone of anything.

    Hopefully the defect will be obvious.

    Yeah I'd try to get another Escape from them if they'd go for it. Did you have any witnesses IN the car?

    I don't think any lemon law lets you give a car back in 3 days, no.

    Be prepared to be very patient if no defect is found. Your story is rather amazing and not everyone may believe you if there is no evidence of a fault.

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  • Hi there,

    Thanks for your quick reply. Yes, I had my mom in the car with me as a witness. She kept telling me that the car was rolling back even though I couldn't do anything about it.

    The thing that gets me is, when the tow truck driver put it in reverse to check it out, it drove fine. He said that when he put it in drive, it hesitated and then clunked forward into gear. The brakes were no problem then.

    I can't figure it out! I have driven various vehicle types over the years so I'm no stranger to the feel of an SUV. There was definitely something wrong with the car.

    If it is the power brake failing, would that also account for the locked wheel? What are the "symptoms" of a power break failure? Could it somehow correct itself by the time the tow driver got to it (approx. 1 hour later)?

    I'm disappointed because I really liked the Escape. Somehow now I don't feel so safe about it.

    Thanks again for your advice,
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,334
    The only thing I can think of that includes all these symptoms is that the engine stalled...this would cause the power brake to lose power after a few pumps, the steering wheel to feel "locked" because you lost power steering and the car to continue to roll back even if you put it in drive.

    So I would say your engine stalled and you didn't realize it.

    Otherwise I have to say with all respect that all those symptoms would be, in my opinion, impossible.

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  • Hmmm...I've never had a car stall on me so that could very well be the case. Have you heard of stalling problems with the '06 Escapes?

    Thanks again.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,334
    Well it could happen to any car really. Some little glitch in the fuel or maybe the engine was a little cold. It's possible say that if you start up a cold engine, and say the "fast idle" isn't set as high as it should be, and then you put it in reverse while turning the wheel, this could slow down the idle speed further and stall the engine.

    But yeah, I think that's what happened to you. It's the only thing that incorporates all your symptoms.

    Since your power steering pump is driven by the engine, when the engine stops, your power steering stops---and with today's modern wide tires, the steering becomes very hard to operate, especially if you are prepared for this.

    Also the power brake is fed by engine vacuum, and when the engine dies you only have a few pumps of the pedal before the vacuum reservoir is empty, and then you go to a very hard brake pedal that you really have to jump on with both feet.

    Also when the engine dies, the transmission's front fluid pump is no longer working, and so you can't go into any gear----the transmission is hydraulically operated so won't "apply" without pump pressure.

    So your problem might be nothing more than cold start stalling,which could certainly be attended to and fixed I would think.

    Maybe this whole thing is no big deal for the car. You should find a safe, empty parking lot and at very low speeds, switch off your engine (NOT ALL THE WAY OFF, just turn the key a little, because you don't want your steering to lock up), just so you can experience what this feels like and you can learn to control the car. Rule One: Keep looking in front of you. Your arms and feet don't need your eyes to find the steering wheel and the brake.

    In fact, you will find you CAN still confidently steer and stop a car when the engine stalls, but you need to really put yourself into it, like you were on an exercise machine. If you have to use both feet on the brake, do it. And of course use the e-brake if you can.

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  • escapenutescapenut Posts: 117
    You may want to keep track of the alternator, if it hasn't been changed out already.
    Same problems as you describe with the battery, but was alternator instead. Cost
    almost $500.00 including tow to auto-shop. The alternator itself is ~$270.00, and the labor is 2 - 3 hrs. because they have to drop the right CV shaft to pull the alternator. It was a real pain too. Plus the drive shaft was put back in wrong and it sprayed axle-grease all over the place. The shop paid for their mistake, other than a mystery suspension noise that is still there, but I've gotten used to it, so it
    doesn't bother me too much.
  • I agree with the stalling theory. It's something that happens so rarely that nobody expects it. I had a car (Ford Escort station wagon) stall in a parking lot once, and exactly the same thing happened. As I was backing out of a space with the power steering at full lock, the steering wheel and brake pedal suddenly stopped working, and the car drifted backwards. I am quite strong, and I could barely turn the wheel at all. I applied the parking brake, parked the car, and tried to figure out what was going on. It suddenly dawned on me that the car wasn't actually running - it took me about 15 seconds to realize this! It was the only time I've ever had a car stall on me.
  • This happened twice to my 2002 Ford Escape. I was in drive not moving with my foot on the brake. All of a sudden the engine started to race making a loud noise. If I didn't have my foot on the brake I would have gone flying. The only way to stop it was to put the car in neutral and shut the car off. When I restarted the car it was fine. The first time it happened was about two months prior.
  • bri66bri66 Posts: 220
    Escapenut if you don't mind me asking, what do you own, how many miles, and have you replaced your battery yet? Wondering if I may have a failing alternator on it's way out. I think 4 years out of a battery is OK, but I just never had one go so quick. Thanks
  • nick54nick54 Posts: 1
    05 Escape - The keys continue to freeze in the ignition. Sometimes by pushing the gear shift into park several times and or moving it in and out of park it releases the keys. Brought it to the dealer twice and they have not been able to fix it. Any ideas??
  • rcinmdrcinmd Posts: 139
    I guess when you design a vehicle cheaply from the standpoint of component cost and assembly, the end result is something less than world class. That certainly applies to the interior of this trio of vehicles.
    The interior creaking and snapping will force me to get rid of the Tribute. I tried to go UAW, and it is not going to work.....unless someone can solve this riddle...
    I am now finding that even in colder temps, as long as the vehicle is in sunny conditions, heating the body, the interior is silent. But as soon as the weather is overcast, as it was Saturday, and again today, the chorus of nerve rattling sounds comes back. Yesterday, which was nice and sunny, the interior was quiet. Could this mean that the lower body cladding is the culprit? It's hard for me to believe it could be, but who knows. I have had others in the vehicle who confirm it is all around, on both sides.
  • escapenutescapenut Posts: 117
    In own a 2001 Escape XLT V6 FWD, with 80K mikes on the odo. I just replaced tires (all-4) with 255-65-16's that I got on special price. They fit, look good and ride even better, don't know why I waited so long to change them out. My other tires had ~39K miles on them and were super loud on the road. The tread pattern was not aggressive either.

    In answer to your question, I replaced my battery almost exactly 36 mos. after I purchased the vehicle, so July 2004. The average life-span of a battery in the Texas Gulf Coast area is about 30-36 mos.. The heat kills batteries here, big-time.
    When my alternator went it was quick, no warning lights, no nothing.... my radio went dead first, and then about 30-seconds later my dashboard lit-up like a Christmas-tree, then the vehicle went dead. I was on the way to work and called my emergency-service for a tow. I had it towed to closest shop that was reputable, and they diagnosed it within 10-minutes after arrival that it was the alternator. This happened about 4-months ago now. The shop had never replaced the alternator on an Escape before, so it was first for them. They followed the necessary procedure by pulling the wheel, CV-axle (or half-shaft) and getting the alternator from below. It cannot be gotten from the top d/t the alternator proximity. The vehicle was ready later that day with a re-built alternator. Total bill $495.00:

    Tow- $65.00 (I got a refund from the vehicle service)
    Alternator- $265.00
    Labor+Misc. shop b.s.- $165.00

    Was it worth it? Had to have the alternator, but the cost(s) particularly for re-built, are a bit high in my opinion. You can order alternators online from various sources, but you run the risk of it not being right, etc... for some reason. My best advice is get it tested if you're in doubt. Bad alternators can be diagnosed reasonably quickly. But don't discount that there may be an additional problem too.
  • ok ok ok, heres the deal, my 02 tribute has been thumping, squeeking, crackling,this all is from the front drivers side wheel and my hubby has checked alot of things but didnt seem to know what was wrong. Has anyone had the same problems? I am so unhappy with all of this and can't seem to get the help I need. :sick:
  • escapenutescapenut Posts: 117
    Some things come to mind based on my own experience(s) or others I've heard about:

    - Bad CV-joint (clicking or craking sound when wheel is turned w/power on).
    - Bad Control Arm which contains the ball-joints and bushings.
    - Bad struts or connection points (make sure all of the nuts/bolts are tight).
    - Bad front-stabilizer bushings.
    - Bad strut-links (these caused thumping and cracking noises until they were
  • We recently purchased a 2006 Mazda Tribute and really like it except for the wind sounds. The wind sounds are heard primarily after 55mph and at the upper right rear of the vehicle. It was taken back to the dealer and their thoughts on the problem involved the luggage rack. Has anyone else experienced this problem?
  • stigstig Posts: 4
    I read a post either on this site or one of the other Escape/Tribute sites, that mentioned this problem. If I recall correctly, check the cross-over bars on the luggage rack and make sure they are not installed backwards (front facing back). It is supposedly pretty hard to tell, so you need to take a close look.
    Hope this helps. :)
  • They are pretty easy to tell which way they are supposed to face if you can remember what way you are facing. If you want realize how much noise they make...remove them entirely and take a drive on the freeway.
  • I have a 2005 Tribute LX V6 which I bought last Oct. Right from day one there was excessive road noise on the highway...over 100 KMH (55 MPH). I spent days analysing the source.

    The Continental Tires that came with the truck were in my opinion garbage. I spent $700CDN to buy 4 Yokohama Geolandar's. These are Japanese you know that they are quality product. Right away the noise decreased by about 60%.

    The rest of the wind noise was being created by the Roof rack. I took off the 2 middle panels and left the 2 side ones on. Since I do not carry anything on the roof, they were just there for show. When I went back on the highway, there was hardly any noise left. Now even at 130 - 140 KMH, there is not much wind noise.

    Granted, it's not as quiet as my 2004 BMW 325i, but then again I paid 40% more for the car then this SUV.

    Try it, see if these things work for you. My wife on the other hand could not have cared less. She is just happy to drive anything. I on the other hand am a perfectionist....every little sound/creak makes me upset.

    Good luck with your problem
  • dex100dex100 Posts: 3
    I had a similar problem with my 2002 Tribute (automatic V6, 56K miles). Engine would not start if hot -- sometimes had to wait a full half-hour before engine cooled enough -- then it starts right up. Also had intermittent low speed stalling (even after the recall re-programming) and periodic hesitation when driving at freeway speeds. Dealer had vehicle for four days (with much discussion with Mazda) and finally settled on replacing the Crank Position Sensor. Have had it back for a week and no problems.
  • bmbsdbmbsd Posts: 2
    We have the same question. Did you ever receive a response?
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