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Ford Escape Mazda Tribute Maintenance and Repair



  • Thanks for the worked! That was the solution to our problem.
  • I noticed right after buying my 2004 Tribute that there was an aftershock after going over bumps. This caused the ride to be bouncy and harsh. This was a really annoying problem which I did not want to have with my new Mazda. What I finally realized was that the rather heavy exhaust system was hung at just a few points by single rubber hangers. When I bounced the tail pipe, I noticed that due to these single rubber hangers the whole exhaust system would continue to bounce and shake several times. This is what was causing the aftershock and bad ride. I solved the problem by wrapping the back two rubber hangers (around the metal brackets) with #12 electric cable. This keeps the exhaust from bouncing and led to a huge improvement in the ride. This problem is the same on Escapes, and any car with a poorly supported exhaust system. If you think your Tribute/Escape has a poor ride, give this a try.
  • I replaced the fog light on a 2001 Tribute about 2 years ago. You do not have to remove the bumper. Taking the front tire off helps access. Traded it in recently so I cannot look at one to tell you how. Was not difficult. Sorry I could not be more help.
  • rcinmdrcinmd Posts: 139
    Problem: Incessent and growing interior creaks
    Solution: Sell it

    I've reached the end of my rope in putting up with and trying to get rid of the creaking gremlins inside my Tribute. I don't blame Mazda; I blame Ford for design and execution. Next go round, I am buying 'real' Japanese. No wonder when my Honda Accord was test driven by a private buyer, they came back and said it was like being in a limousine. To me, it what was expected of a car. And yes, it was Japanese-built, previous generation, unlike the current Accord which has its share of interior issues.
    Anyway, no matter how pretty the Tribute is or how competent it might be on the road, it reminds me daily how bad some vehicles can be. I want to be reminded how good vehicles can be.
    So, it's going into the paper. And if I really get anxious, it might be traded. Mazda is still on my list, Mazda 5 that is. Not to worry, I drive manuals, so I don't think spontaneous combustion will be a worry for me...
  • For the last three years we have had this problem once a year. It has just happened again. They replaced the sensor and on my way home it died 6 times again. I nearly it a tree when it died while turning. I have just filed a complaint with This is the office of Defects Investigation. I picked up my car yesterday and returned it yesterday. Haven't heard from the dealership yet. I have read so many complaints in this form you should go to the website I wrote and make our complaint official. My husband bought a Mazda B2200 in 1990 had for 10 years till drunk driver hit him. Never had a problem with it. Since we bought the tribute, three days after buying alternator had to be replaced and it has been in for the above problem 4 times in last three years. What a nightmare.
  • The problem pertains to a 2003 Escape XLS 6 cylinder:

    I will have my climate control selector set for the dash vents. During acceleration the air flow will change by itself and the air will be directed to the defroster. Then, when de-accelerating the air flow returns to the dash vents. This will also happen if I have to the selector set to the floor vent, air will be directed to the defroster.

    What I have found out so far is that the defroster is the default mode of the climate control. If anything goes wrong with the control all air is directed to the defroster for saftey reasons (ice, fog on windshield).

    The direction of air flow is controled by vacuum. If there is a vacuum leak anywhere in the climate control system the symptoms I have stated will happen.

    I have been told to look for a few things, neither of them could I find on the vehicle. One a vacuum check valve device which directs air to the defroster in case the unit screws up as described above. Two, to look for the vacuum source and reservoir? where are these? More importantly to look for the vacuum junction block on the left side of plenum and check that the vacuum hoses are securely plugged in???

    I think I found the plenum under a plastic cover on the passenger side under the windshield, the same spot where you would change the cabin filter if you use one. I found no vacuum junction block anywhere in that area.

    Sometimes the air flow will change at anytime, but I can always make it happen during hard acceleration.

    Can someone direct me to the area where this check valve is located and where the vacuum junction box is located (if there is such a thing). I am not 100% sure if either of these two things are the source of my problem.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks..
  • wcw1wcw1 Posts: 44
    Finally got the problem fixed. It had nothing to do with the steering. I wrote in another later post that my battery died. The battery finally completely died. Turns out it was a bad alternator. The bearings in the alternator would make noise when they got hot. Picked up a tested used alternator for $40 and a mechanic I know put it in for $200. Whoever did the design had their head where the light does not shine. The front end has be partially disassembled to get to the alternator. No more crunching noise now. Mazda had me change the power steering pump which I had done myself. I wonder what Mazda would have done if I had them put on the power steering pump and it did not fix the problem. Stick it to me would be my guess.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,229
    Just to follow up on this, I took our '05 Limited to the dealer two weeks ago for scheduled maintenance, the hatch recall, and the engine pinging (second time for the pinging).

    Long story short, they test drove and did hear the pinging this time. A PCM update was loaded and we haven't heard the pinging since. I'll try to remember to report any updates as they come but hopefully you won't hear from me about this again. ;)
  • I feel your pain about the alternator. I replaced mine over 6-months ago to the tune of ~$500.00, including the tow. The alternator placement is a totally inept design in my opinion. The replacement alternator I got was a re-man'd model. In my case as well as your's the front-passenger half-shaft has to be removed and several other things to access the alternator. Because of the hassle with this, whatever vehicle I purchase next will have easier alternator removal/install. I really like the Excape/Tribute, but am not sure what Ford/Mazda engineers were thinking when they placed the alternator that low. I think that sometimes they believe that people will be getting rid of their cars before it comes time change key parts, etc.. So far, 81K miles, with re-built alternator, new-battery, new IAC, a few other things. The vehicle has not been as problematic for me as others in the posts listed. I will replacing the plugs again in about another 10K miles which is a major deal (at least on the back-side of the engine, underneath the intake-manifold). I'd buy another Escape, but am not sure knowing what I know now, if I would.
    Also, replaced the muffler itself with a Magnaflow high-performance one. I believe I picked-up an extra 10-15 HP, but have not dyno'd it yet. I left the resonator on the back-end. It has a nice, mellow, low-noise, rumble. Kinda cool. I replaced the stock-size 235-70-16's with 255-65-16's, and the tires fill the wheel-wells better with some room to spare too. I realize I changed my speedo somewhat by doing this, but not by much. I replaced the struts/shocks within a month of each other and can really notice a difference in handling and ride-quality. If you haven't done this and your mileage is getting up there, then this is a worthwhile investment if you plan on keeping the vehicle for a few more miles like me.
  • bmbsdbmbsd Posts: 2
    Thanks so much for the response. We will give that a try.
  • Hi everyone,

    My first try at posting. At issue is my mom's 2001 Tribute ES which I drove this past weekend. When cruising at various speeds, sometimes the transmission seems to clunk as the RPM drops to around 2.5K. It is almost like it is dropping into another gear but certainly is not very "normal" like as the car lurches a bit and there is an audible clunk. It always happens when decelerating. Twice, a fairly loud vibrating noise was also heard which went away after a couple of seconds. (ABS?)

    Well my brother and I checked what we could visually and the only thing we found is a strange unequal wear on the right front tire. This tire does not show an uneven wear pattern indicating that alignment seems OK but it is clearly worn down with respect to the other three. I would say that more than half the thread is gone while the other three still show 3/4.

    Is there a transmission problem causing the tire wear or is it the other way around? We have heard of a dragging brake causing similar problems with unequal tire wear but have not seen anything about transmission/differential problems. The steering is fine with no pulling and the transmission oil levels and color looks good.

    She has only 24K miles on the Tribute. Any help or comments would be greatly appreciated.


  • I have an '03 that made some noise when I would brake. I thought I had a rock in the brake. Before I could get it to the dealer the whole thing broke and now I need a new case. What kind of noises were you hearing? Thanks
  • My car was broken into the other day. The glass on passenger side was broken. Door is ok. All broken glass was removed by window replacement but the door will not close properly. It has been up at the Ford Dealership 3x's this week. Each time told the door is fixed but when I drive home the door flies open. I have an appt on Monday with the Ford manager but I figured I would check the internet to see if anyone else has had this kind of problem b4. Please help!!!! :mad:
  • I'm new to the forum so I apologize if this has already been suggested. My 2002 Tribute also had crackling / flexing sounds soon after I purchased it (Sept. 01). They drove me crazy. After spraying/oiling/lubing every possible thing, it turned out to be the door hinges (most noticeable in cold weather). Since I started spraying them regularly with white lithium grease, I have had no more problems and in fact my Tribute has absolutely NO squeaks or rattles at 76k miles.

    I hope this helps
  • I own an 01 Tribute that is now decesed due to a ceased engine. I personally took care of the maintance on this vehicle including every single oil change, air filter change, tune ups etc. This car is 5 years old this month and had 81,000 miles on it. My wife was driving on a highway and almost got killed when the engine died. If the check engine light continually comes on, please be very careful. The dealer's official diagnosis "your vehicle needs a new motor". Garbage Frod engine. I am awaiting a response from Mazda. I have no idea why I thought anything with a Ford engine would be anything disposable.
  • Hello,
    I have a 2002 mazda tribute and while starting the intake valve blew apart. Can you please tell me more about the dealer recall specifics since the dealer is ready to charge me over $800 to replace the valve, gasket and one other part that got damaged as a result.
    Thank you
  • The LCD back light for the gear selector has gone out. The gauges are still lit but the P R N D 2 1 digital LCD is dark. What could be the problem? I hope a fuse and not a costly repair. Any ideas?
  • Sorry to hear about your engine, was it the 4 or 6 cyl. ? My '01 Escape XLT V6 so far shows no signs of premature failure or anything, but it's hard to gauge as I'm sure you know, what may be happening internally all the time. I've got 83.5K miles now using synthetic oil from 25K.

    Will Mazda have engineers come and take a look at the engine to see if they can find out what may have caused this? If not, they should. You may want to insist on this or there may be a legitimate claim agianst Mazda. I agree that it was a totally dangerous situation for the engine to seize-up. Also, see if Mazda may be willing to contribute good-faith money to the cost of an engine. It happens a lot when customers push a little, that is you're willing to do this, which you may not be at this point.

    A new 3.0 V6 short-block engine (probably re-man'd in actuality) is listed at for ~$1334.00 + shipping. The install could be ~15-hrs. at $75.00/hour or thereabouts. Total could be as high as $2700+ by my figures for another engine. :(
  • According to the parts needed to repair the intake manifolds(s)[upper and lower] should cost ~$240.00+ shipping. Two (2) manifolds, 6-gaskets, gasket-lube, what else is needed ? I'm not sure if you have the 4 or 6 cyl.. The 4-cyl. manifold is $135.00+ shipping. Not sure what the other part you mentioned is, but I'm not sure why the dealer is figuring $800.00.

    Changing spark-plugs, where you have to remove the intake manifold(s) and change gaskets pays about 2.5-hours which would be $190.00. Factor a little profit for the dealer and you have ~$500.00 Total. Ask the dealer to be specific and line-item all of the charges in advance.
  • ramzey28ramzey28 Posts: 130
    Has anyone notice a popping noise come from the seat when you first go to sitt in the seat. It comes from the back of the seat(cushion) and not the bottom cushion. Sounds like a plastic popping noise, only happens once when you first sit in the seat and push back into it to get situated. ???
  • i had the same problem 2003 escape v6 it was the rack & pinion cost about $350 parts & labor at a reasonable mechanic.
  • I have a 2005 Escape and my light for my 4X4 isn't working right, it blinks three times then stops and repeats every minute or so. In some cases I can't get the light to come on at all.

    I have had it in the shop 3 times (this will be the 4th). Is anyone having this problem? I can't drive 40 miles to work everyday wondering if my 4 wheel drive is going to kick in.
  • ramzey28ramzey28 Posts: 130
    I have a 2005 tribute, and I can tell my 4wd is working but the light never goes on when it kicks in, I figured it wouldnt due to the automatic 4wd system. Did know it was suppose too? Anyone else notice this?
  • We own a 2002 Tribute with 75k miles. For the last several months our Tribute cuts off right after starting. We have to keep our foot on the gas to keep the RPMs above 1000 for a couple of minutes before it's ok. The longer it sits without running, the worse the problem. Any suggestions?
  • Two or more issues may affect the hard-start problem:
    1.) Have you changed your IAC (Idle Air Control module)?
    This could have an affect on starting, and stalling,
    etc.. To replace takes about 10-minutes and costs
    $75.00 for the part.
    2.) Have you had the factory EPROM updated per at least 1-
    recall ? This also could affect stalling at speed.

    There very well could be other issues, such as a dirty intake, which should be cleaned every 15-20K miles, bad coil-over plug boots, corrupt spark plugs, etc..
  • When I took my new Tribute (3.0 L, V6, Classic 2005) the first time to the beach I did not deflate the tires and got bogged in the ruts. Sand was very soft and all 4 wheels were covered with sand (about 1/3rd). Tried to reverse down the embankment, but none of the wheels moved (I was in 4WD lock). Got free with snatchum strap. Same happend again in the country trying to get up a steep hill. Mazda had no answer to this.
    Could this be normal and if so, why?
  • I have the same problem with a 2005 Escape. Will try lithium grease. Thanks for the hint
  • I have the same LCD light problem with my 2004 Escape.

    I was wondering if you ever figured our how to fix this.

  • Hey pygomer, i am also noticing the same behavior in my V6 2wd, wondering if you found out more about this issue.
  • bd70bd70 Posts: 30
    I can't for the life of me, find where in the manual it tells you how to calibrate the compass on the mirror. I can always call my dealer, but I figure that some input here might save me the call. Thanks!
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