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Ford Escape Electrical Problems



  • I am not sure if this helps at all but, my cousin put mine on a tester, and he tells me that it is the ignition switch going bad that is causing the guages to jump around and such. However that is the least of my worries, It is now sitting in a shop needing at least 2 cat's and has 2 dead cylinders for some reason.. So frustrating. Good luck to you!! I will not purchase another Ford as long as I live!
  • I have a 2003 Ford Escape 3.0L. My mom bought it brand new from the dealership. A few years ago she was driving on the interstate about 65 mph and it just shut off completely! It cranked right back up, she took it somewhere the next day and (obviously) they said it was the battery. It did the same thing a few more times over the months. I bought it from her about a year ago. It shut off on me a few times within a week, then went months with not stalling out at all. Then it started the random stalling again, shutting off while driving every couple of weeks. Here in the past 6-8 weeks it has become a lot more frequent! It is usually at lower speeds, around 20 mph. It REALLY seems that about 70% of the time it dies while making a 90 degree turn, or literally just before the turn as I press the brakes to slow down (very crappy place to lose your power steering!) It has turned off in parking lots. It also shuts off just going straight, at low and high speeds. Every time this has happened, the lights on the dash flicker just as everything loses power. I put it into neutral and then restart it- usually I let the car slow down so I'm not shifing it into gear at a high speed. One instance about 3 weeks ago, and also one time last week, the car did its normal stall, but when I put it in D and cranked it back up, it immediately died again, and then again, and finally after the 3rd of 4th re-crank it stayed running. One of those instances was while stopped at a red light and the other was while making a right turn.
    I have been reading up a lot on this and it seems the most common things people have done are: replace battery, alternator, plugs & wires, coils, PCM. I just now read some stuff in the transmission category- I hadn't thought about that yet.
    Also the cruise control doesn't work. The buttons are fine and the green indicator light comes on on the instrument panel, but it does not actually stay at the speed when you set it.
    Just a few weeks ago I was driving it and the gas cap light and a few others came on then dimmed out, but the fuel cap light stayed on for a few minutes and went out; the dome lights came on and off once when the other lights flickered on. I don't know if it is all related to the stalling, but I hope and think so. My brother said one of the guys he works with had an escape that did a lot of the same stuff as mine and he changed the ignition switch and it fixed it.
    Is there anybody else that has had all or most of these same problems? Please Please Please let me know so I don't go through the long and expensive list of the possibilities. All information will be greatly appreciated. Besides everything I have said above, the car always starts fine from a cold crank no matter how long it sits. But one time I was using the CD player in the car for about 30 min without the engine and killed the battery! I thought that was odd. Last but not least, the car has stalled out with the AC on as well as Off. Somebody please help me pinpoint this issue!
  • davichodavicho Posts: 190
    I was going to suggest the ignition switch until I read your post further down...I would definately replace the ignition switch before you get into more expensive fixes.

    Part# 98AZ-11572-A
    MSRP $70.53
  • jlt3jlt3 Posts: 1
    edited December 2011
    I can't believe Ford doesn't know what this is. We also have a 2004 Ford Escape XLT, V6, New battery, both the battery and the alternator test OK. In cool or cold weather, if it sits for more than 48 hours, it doesn't have enough battery power left to crank the starter and I have to hook up a charger. This is getting really old. Also from Arlington Heights Ford, and they haven't found a problem.

    Also, one other thing I wonder if we have in common - the dealer installed a remote starter for us when we bought the car (new).
  • I had the jumping gauges and engine felt like it would miss a few times when this happened. After doing major online research to fix the problem myself, I was unable to find a solution. I decided to just change out all of the spark plugs and coil packs before taking it to ford to run diagnostics. This repair solved the missing engine and the jumping gauges jump no more. The spark plugs were purchased from autozone for 3.10 each and the coil packs from for 72.00 for the set of 6, way cheaper than the oem's for 100 each. The complete changeover took me about 2 1/2 hours. There are very good instructions for the complete job here .
    I hope that this will help others that have been having similar issues.
    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. - John 14:6
    Trust in The Lord
  • demonwizarddemonwizard Posts: 1
    edited January 2012
    I had the same exact problem and it is simple to fix. What's happening is that the battery has a bad ground. The cable can be tight to the battery but can be loose some where else. Sometimes there is a smaller wire coming off the battery and is grounded to the fender well or some where thats a ground point. Get a test light or mutli meter and check your ground points.

    Tips: If you have a flashing engine light that means a mis fire.
    The light can sometimes come on and off. If you have an engine code and are un sure of it, let me know and I can tell you what exactly it is. Having being a Master ASE Certified Mechanic I will help you. Just email me at
  • I have had sooo many problems as of late.

    It started with the Rear Parking indicator turning off when I shifted into reverse last year. Then the ABS light would flash and stay on for days at a time. (It's since stopped) Then the brake warning light came on, and still does randomly. (It's a solid light, doesn't change when I put the EB on.) Recently it has failed to keep a charge. (I was told it was a bad cell) I replaced the battery with one from my boyfriends Ford Mustang that was working perfectly. It worked for a day in my Escape, then the battery light came on. I had AutoZone run a test - they said it was stuck in "Open Phase." (I assumed alternator) I didn't want to drive it, so we moved the battery BACK into the Mustang At startup, the check engine light came on in his vehicle, and it stalled randomly. We had to buy a new battery for that. I fear purchasing a brand new battery if the escape is just going to make it useless. I've also read several forums with people having similar issues and replaced their alternators to no avail.

    There are all kinds of crazy small things have been happening since my battery problems started - all intermittent. Rough idles, dead battery, sputtering, cd player died, uneven shifting between gears. Other times it drives like a new car. It is driving me CRAZY.
  • Recent problem with my daughter's Escape. I personnally experienced this last night. All gauges go to full scale right and then back to the correct position (the problem has only happened while in motion). No other issues with any other items/components. The battery was replaced less than a year ago and I haven't had an opportunity to troubleshoot but was hoping to save hours of probing with a multimeter to see if there is a ground (or some other) problem. If you have found a solution to this problem please advise. If I discover my answer, I will post it for the rest of you (obviously, no guarantee that it will be the same solution though)...
  • toadietoadie Posts: 3
    My base model Escape does that gauge full tilt right then to zero then back to normal AND it not only does it to me but to my HUBBY TOO. Now he cannot tell me I am full of crap when I tell him about this problem. He has experienced it. When my car does this it is typically between 40 and 45 mph and typically soon after I have turned the car on and the motor is bogged down (low rpms like when starting up hill before the transmission kicks down a gear and the rpms go up). The car will jerk a little as if the motor is missing. Then boom, all needles peg out high, all go to zero, and then finally back to normal and the car is fine after that. I think I just need a new set of plugs and a good tune-up. I also just bought a Ford Focus so that pain in the [non-permissible content removed] Escape won't be in my driveway much longer. I put a new alternator on the car and a new battery so I don't think there is an electrical problem. :confuse: :sick:
  • I had the same issue. Read my post here escape_solved, "Ford Escape Electrical Problems" #98, 26 Dec 2011 9:13 pm . This worked for me and it is still running fine.
  • I can't speak to all your problems but the cruise control problem I have dealt with and personally fixed. If you know how to use a wrench and a zip tie you can fix this problem yourself. Go to this link - t-working-6800/.
    I used it to fix mine. I can't believe that car companies get away with this kind crap and still pull a profit off of suckers like us. Thankfully for us there are forums like this to help us all... Best of luck.
  • I'm not having any problems with "missing" but the vehicle has over 150K so I don't think your solution is a bad idea but I'm not so keen on spending $100 and probably 4 hrs of my life (I've never done this and the link doesn't address things step by step, when you don't know where they're located and what they look like) on a one time sucess (no insult intended). Other solutions have been posted so what makes you so sure this will correct my situation (why couldn't it be the bad ground mentioned in other posts)? Any additional information will be appreciated (how long ago did you do this, any complications, etc.?). Working on a 1988 LeBaron steering column this weekend so no big rush since this hasn't created a safety problem (yet). Thanks. If I proceed with your current recommendation I will post photos of the process as I hope to improve on what is available to date...
  • earl16earl16 Posts: 14
    Hello; Anyone have a problem with the defrost grid peeling off. Ford refuses to fix under warranty. Grid paint is literally peeling and falling off. Ford digital imaging people just say its not covered. Frustrated in Hartland; earl 16 :(
  • the 2005 escape alternator 3pin conector's center pin may be backiing out of position causing the battery light to come on after 5 seconds or more of running.
    the fix is to replace the conector.
  • maybe4maybe4 Posts: 1
    Sounds like the main ground from the battery to the motor (two part test) you can check it by testing the voltage at the battery with the vehicle running and the test leads on the positive and negative terminals respectively, then turn the vehicle off using a set of jumper cables, the black lead only place one end on the negative terminal and the other end on a clean metal surface on the motor start the vehicle and read the voltage again. If the main ground has a poor connection supplementing it with the jumper cable should allow the alternator to supply the correct voltage to the battery and all of the accesories you may even see a couple sparks if you do the connecting while the vehicle is running (not recommended) If the first voltage was less than the second repair/replace the ground wire or its connections
  • wheatizewheatize Posts: 1
    I have the same thing going on in my 2004. Did you ever figure out what to do? If anyone had some info on this it would be great because it is pretty flipping annoying not being able to see anything in the dark.
  • toadietoadie Posts: 3
    OK. My base model 2003 Escape was acting up as I had explained in earlier posts. The alternator had gone bad so we replaced it, along with the battery just to be safe. The car then started missing really badly, especially when going uphill at a steady speed or when it was raining. So, taking the lead from another forum poster in this group, off to the shop it went. The motor does not have spark plug wires I learned. The coil packs (one for each valve) were going bad, eg cracked, and could short out the car thus shutting it off. The car has 130,000+ miles on it. The shop replaced all spark plugs and two of the coil packs. When I picked the car up to take it home I got about 1 mile away and the missing started again. Back to the shop and the computer indicated yet another coil pack had gone bad. So, we asked that ALL coil packs (~$85.00 each, ain't cheap folks) be changed. I pick the car up tomorrow. Hopefully that will fix it. The Escape has been a super car. Hopefully.... Hopefully.... :)
  • My 03's gauges started jumping intermittently at first, then after a couple of weeks it became much more often. MPG went downhill very quickly also. It finally threw a code for cylinder 3 ( of course one way in the back) so I replaced that coil pack (and all plugs while I was in there) all gauges now work fine, mileage back up to normal. I spoke to 2 different mechanics, one wanted to replace the whole instrument cluster and the other the VSS. Both dead wrong. Neither solution explained mileage problem. Many thanks to "escape solved" for posting. PS: There are great utube vids for how to take off manifold to get to coil packs/plugs. Took about a hour and a half
  • hvrealcmphvrealcmp Posts: 9
    Back in Jan. I had a post and was not convinced changing out the coil packs would solve the instrument panel problems but changed them, the spark plugs, and the manifold gaskets (around $600) and a few hours of my time. It's my daughter's vehicle and haven't had the original problem since then. I suppose I could have saved some money by figuring out which coil pack was bad but with over 150K on the odomiter it seemed worth replacing it all. If anyone is unsure about this fixing the problem with the instrument panels then I'm proof that it works. I too wish to thank "escape solved" for the information provided! Best of luck to all who tackle this problem. If you do, check the connection for the cruise control while you're in there...
  • unlock1unlock1 Posts: 1
    I jump start my 08 ford escape no problems, and my satellite radio module fry's so the dealer says. The jump start did not even blow a 5 amp fuse !!! in the radio is this Possible ?
    The radio plays fine just no satellite radio, I did try to reset the satellite per some tech I called but no luck any Ideas ?
  • WOW! I just felt the heavens open up and finally don't feel so stupid!!!
    My 2004 Escape XLT has been doing the same thing. Yippee, I'm not alone, although sorry for everyone's same issues.

    Mine started about a year ago when my car began to shutter, shake and rock n roll. It finally did it when the service manager was there so he could see what it was doing. As a woman you always feel that eye of the man thinking we don't know anything. (shaking my head now)

    They had my car for 2 days, and found that a coil wire leading from the battery down to some other part had burned out two solenoids or something to that effect that was causing the shaking of the car. So, they replaced the coil wire and off I went. Then that's when this battery light issue kept coming on.

    I went the next day and had Autozone test my battery. They said the battery was fine as well as the alternator. I went back into Ford, and they suggested it could be the battery because now the battery is testing bad.
    I told them Autozone just tested it and they said it was fine.

    Ford's service manager said, they (Autozone) don't have the right battery equipment that Ford has. Like OK, whatever, don't buy it, but fine. I said, go ahead and replace the battery. Yes, I know could have gotten it less expensive elsewhere, just wanted their battery so they couldn't say, it was the "other businesses fault" causing the issue or bad battery.

    Guess what, the Ford battery was in place and the stinking light came on again not more than 5 seconds after they replaced the battery and I was at the stop light. Grrr, I said, Grrr.

    I turned around back to the Quickland and the service manager said well maybe it's the alternator. Yes, another $400.00 they wanted to charge me with, only as a guessing issue.

    After having my car in there for 2 days, then another day for them to look at it again. I said, give me my car keys and I left a little upset by this time.

    I went to my friends mechanic who works on any car. He tested the alternator, tested it again, it kept coming back fine. He let it sit, tested it again, alternator was fine. He tried to duplicate the failed test like the dealer found, he couldn't duplicate it. So, the friends mechanic kept the car over night to see if it tested differently in the morning. No, still alternator was fine, ignition was fine, everything was fine. In fact, he said, my car is so clean, doesn't see anything wrong with it and suggested that I do NOT put a new alternator in because I didn't need it!! What??!!! I exclaimed. You are telling me it doesn't need an alternator and you're not trying to upsell me? He laughed and said No, you don't need it and I'm not in the business to steal from people. Found out later, he has his business only to tinker on cars so he can drag race, his passion is cars and helping people. Loved this man!! LOL

    That was about 6 months ago. My solution, I put a little business card over the battery light and I don't see it any more. Haven't had any problems with my car until I got the recall letter regarding the cruise control.

    You'll all like this one.
    I just took it in today 8/23/12 for the newest recall regarding the cruise control issue.

    The service advisor opened my hood and said, "Ummm".
    I asked what did that mean. He said, I'm missing my engine cover.
    I said, "What?" How on earth is that missing? I never look under my hood and Quick Lane always does the servicing, so you better check with them."

    He, said I'll be back, and the service manager I've dealt with for years from Quick Lane came over with the advisor and was shocked too.
    He said, "In fact come to think of it, I don't remember it ever seeing one. But I will get one for you. That should arrive in about a week."

    So, waiting for engine cover, and they disconnected my cruise control, which actually would have been OK, since the cover was the problem with the cruise control and I didn't have an engine cover for it to hang up on.

    My Dad, a Chevy man always said, Ford stood for, Fix Or Repair Daily, and my daughter gives me a ration of poo about my car that I should buy a Chevy or a Toyota. So, although I love my Escape. I'm thinking towards Toyota.

    Is there a way we can all get together and file some kind of an alert with the safety commission or something regarding this issue?

    Otherwise, keep us up to date and safe travels everyone...
  • I have a 02 Ford Escape and the battery drains and the brake light on the console is on but dim but when I use the left turn signal the brake light flashes along with the turn signal. Autozone could not find any issues. Does anyone have anything similar that you would know the cause for this problem
  • My car is ford escape 2005, recently, It had has problem: both indicator: "battery" and "airbag" indicated at the same time, first I think battery or alternator problem but I think all are still OK because I can start engine even leave it overnight and day by day.
    everyone can help me to define the problem, is it may from electric wire/jack lossen?


  • I recently bought a 2003 Ford Escape Limited with 60,000 miles in mint condition. I noticed that the gear indicator light on the panel isn't lit....I had to turn on the interior lamp light to see it. everything else on the panel lights up just fine. I called the salesman who told me that his friend's Escape had the same condition. It doesn't make sense to me. I need to know ASAP what I should do. I have only had the car for a couple of days, and I can take it to the dealership and have them service it if it's a problem worth addressing. Otherwise, I can live with the symptom because it's a great car for 10 years old. And I got an excellent deal.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    You know, they dropped the instrument panel gear indicator in the 2008 model refresh, which tells me it isn't really that important. If you car is going into gear fine, I would just let it go. If there is any indication of transmission trouble, then have it looked at.
  • bretcampbretcamp Posts: 6
    AC wasn't getting cold. My son brought car in for repairs. First they said bad gasket. Now they are saying "major electrical problems not covered by warranty." I've never heard this on a car that is 1 year old. It has never been offroad, has no modifications, kept clean and shiny. all regular service. I called Ford customer service line, and they said depending on the part it might not be covered, even if it's an internal electrical or mechanical component, even if no abuse, damage, etc. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? How can they say it's bumper to bumper warranty. I've had many. many cars, and been driving for 30 years, including other Fords that have needed major repairs, and I've never heard this said before. I'm dumbfounded.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,273
    Is it over 36K miles?

    Unless they are proposing that the car has been damaged by accident or the weather.... or, because of lack of regular maintenance, then I don't see how it could be uncovered... :confuse:


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • bretcampbretcamp Posts: 6
    Car has a little over 14,000 miles, not even a scratch. Still waiting for a fix. They replaced some parts but still saying some type of electrical issue.
  • bretcampbretcamp Posts: 6
    Now they say electrical problems fixed but car needs evaporator, which they say is not a warranty item? How can this be? They agree car not damaged or abused. Are they just ripping me off?
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Now they say electrical problems fixed but car needs evaporator, which they say is not a warranty item? How can this be? They agree car not damaged or abused. Are they just ripping me off? "

    First, the vehicle has a bumper to bumper warranty for 3 years, 36K. The only exception is for wear and tear items and damage/neglect. Unless they are claiming one of those two, I don't see how it cannot be covered under the warranty.

    Second, most states have lemon laws. Here in CA, if the vehicle is out of service for 30 days (total, not at once), or in more than three times for the same repair in the first year of ownership, then the dealer is required to take the vehicle back. Research the lemon laws in your locale and be proactive - and let the dealer know you are doing it. That will light a fire under them.
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