Question about 2002 Ford Escape

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2002 escape 3.0 idle fluctuates and misfires when driving

New tune-up in 10/12 (OEM 100,000 mile Platinum plugs), replaced all 3 CATs in 10/12 (firewall side and rear), & 12/12 (radiator side) , replaced firewall side CAT again in 1/13. Firewall side CAT was burned to a crisp inside! Also replaced Idle-Air Control and EGR valves & DPFE (EGR pressure sensor control valve) in 11/12. The idle STILL fluctuates between 200 & 400 RPM, won't idle at normal (around 700-800 RPM), and there feels, when driving, like it's misfiring (jerky while driving intermittently) & when stopped at a light or stop sign (idles roughly and jerks/lurches, idle fluctuates) when warm, but no engine light comes on, and throwing NO codes on the diagnostics. Seems to idle fine when you first start the car, idles around 500-600 RPM until it warms up a bit, maybe like a few minutes with no issues, no miss, no idle fluctuation, but once you start driving after a few minutes, it starts to do it (like after driving maybe 10 or 15 minutes). I mostly use Shell gas, and have dumped in some injector cleaner, but hasn't helped. Also had it checked for vacuum leaks in hoses and gaskets, cracks in cylinder, O rings, etc., but nothing shows up anywhere Any suggestions?

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  • Matt S Jan 20, 2013

    Thinking perhaps some debris from the emptied CAT washed PAST the rear CAT before that became completely blocked, I had a new muffler, Flex pipe & tailpipe installed. As I suspected, American Parkway Auto Sales in Allentown, PA did NOT check these for debris when they (who I purchased the car from) never checked this when they installed the CATs. Found debris in the pipe(s) and muffler that was partially clogging them, not allowing the exhaust to flow fully. Also found was a stud on EACH of the engine CATs was missing & Flex pipe was cracked, but I was never informed of this when APAS installed teh CATs! Believe that the studs were probably broke off when they installed the CATs and never thought that I would find out they were missing. BUT, they are not leaking any exhaust (YET)! They reset the PCM, and I drove the car 36.4 miles and the engine light came on AGAIN. The new istall did nothing to smooth out the idle, still idles & lurches when stopped in gear, hesitates when gas is appled to go, but once running, runs fairly good. Also, did nothing for the miss (hiccups) feeling whe driving in town at normal 35-50 MPH in Overdrive. Seems the RPM at that speed, around 1500 RPM's is TOO low for the OD, but if I take it OUT of OD, it seems to stop the hiccups when driving. Also, took it out on the highway at 60 - 90 MPH, in OD, and it doesn't seem to hiccup at those speeds. Here's all that I have had done so far..... 10/5/2012 Tune-Up 10/6/2012 $347.51 Midas - Tune up to diagnose other problems - CAT'S BAD 10/8/2012 Cat Firewall 10/11/2012 $283.12 Autoparts Warehouse - California - Cat Converter (Firewall side) 10/8/2012 Cat Rear 10/11/2012 $146.08 Autoparts Warehouse - California - Cat Converter (Rear) 10/12/2012 Install Cat's 10/17/2012 $0.00 American Parkway Auto Sales - Install 2 Cat's / No Charge 10/17/2012 Diagnostics 10/17/2012 $60.66 Midas - Codes [EGR valve, Air-Idle Control valve, DPFE] 10/27/2012 Parts 10/28/2012 $134.59 Self - Replaced EGR, EGR Pressure Sensor & Idle Air Control Valves 12/16/2012 Cat Raditor 10/18/2012 $253.51 Autoparts Warehouse - California - Cat Converter (Radiator side) 12/19/2012 Install Cat 10/21/2012 $0.00 American Parkway Auto Sales - Install 1 Cat's / No Charge 12/21/2012 Tires 12/21/2012 $478.58 Garry's Tire Center - Purchase & Install - $111.93 per tire + tax + $4 1/8/2013 Cat Firewall 1/8/2013 $200.00 Replace NEW CAT installed October, 2012 with another NEW CAT 1/19/2013 Muffler/Tail 1/19/2013 $410.78 New muffler & Tailpipe installed / no resonator / custom fitted. The idle is definately annoying & I don't thik it should idle as rough as it does, although I have been reading all over that this is a problem with everyone's Escape it seems, but what my MAJOR concern is...... I don't want to burn up another CAT in a couple months AGAIN!! I was told that the partially clogged muffler could cause heat of the exhaust to not be allowed to flow out fast enough which creates a "TOO HOT" exhaust gases in FRONT of the muffler, which can make the Firewall side and Reat CATs get hotter than they should be. This causes the CAT's insides to melt/disintergrate, especially the Firewall CAT. As far as the idle problem, I read somewhere that there is a "fuel switch" in the panel on the passengers side of the car by where your feet go. Have to look for that. Said they switched it off/on and that solved the idle probem.... could it be that easy? :0) After all THIS?! As far as teh engine light coming on again, I have to take it to AZ and let them read it again to find out what it is NOW..... today.



1 Answer

No such thing as a tune-up

All you did was replace spark plugs which should be
done every 3 years

Oxygen Sensors get replaced at 100,000 miles which you
also did

You most likely have an intake gasket leak,smoke test
the entire Evap System & Engine

You also are have bad igniton coils

Posted on Jan 18, 2013

  • 2 more comments 
  • Matt S Jan 18, 2013

    Peter, Thanks for your reply. Yes, I know that a "tune-up" is not what it used to be. I'm 63, so those days are WAY over. Yes, they replaced 6 plugs and teh Plenum gasket. The codes didn't show anything about the ignition coils, they're good, Also, I had a mechanic just check the engine for leaks and didn't find any. My mechanic at work mentioned that the muffler could be clogged enough to cause the idle problem AND the "sort of" misfire type feel I get when driving, but it seems to only be like that when it's in OD. If I take it our of OD, I don't seem to get that misfire jerking then. The firewall CAT had emptied out originally which clogged the Reat CAT.... those were replaced in 10/12, and the Radiator CAT was replaced in 12/12. Since the Firewall CAT had clogged the Rear one, I'm just wondering if it IS possible, like my mechanic at work said, that perhaps the muffler and/or even the resonator could have had some ot the material from the CAT wash down and through the Rear CAT and partially clogged the muffler and/or resonator? Only real way to find out is to disconnect the muffler from the CAT and see it that smooths it out. Then, that would surely tell me if that's the culprit., Everything else is working okay it seems. No engine lights coming on.

  • Anonymous Jan 19, 2013

    You don't disconnect any exhaust components for any reason. You need all cats the same age and working. They are monitored by the oxygen sensors,so no exhaust leaks. You can have bad coils no codes & codes on a ford are not accurate 50% of the time Checking intake means smoke testing for leaks I was assuming you do all your own work I don't care for your mechanics advice You test things not give out speculation.

  • Matt S Jan 19, 2013

    Peter, thanks... but obviously, you HAV E to disconnect exhaust components when yoiu replace CATs or muffler, etc. How else would you replace them if you don\'t disconnect the exhaust? Also, not all CATs go at the same time. If one goes, does that mean you\'re gonna replace ALL of them just for 1 bad one? Also, it\'s certainly nice to know...NOW.... that bad coils ca go bad and not throw a code, must be SOME code that it throws, and if HALF the codes are inaccurate, then might as well not have them! Might as well bye a NEW engine if THAT\'S the case! Just had the car in today and had Meinke replace the muffler and tailpipe, NEW, still didn\'t help the idle problem, but the muffler showed signs of being partially clogged, so the acraples that did the CATs never bothered to drop the pipe and check THAT for debris, nor the muffler. While I was there, they DID check for leaks, exhaust and vacuum and didn\'t find any. NO, I don\'t do the work myself... too friggin\' old for that anymore. :O) Also, I had them clear the codes, and I drove the car after the new muffler was installed. The car runs pretty smooth, but still idles badly, bucks, at stop and in gear, hesitates a little when you first hit the gas to go, but then engages and takes off.. runs pretty smooth. If I press on the gas pedal while foot is on the brake and get it up to about 1000 on the tach, it kind of smooths out the idle so it\'s not bucking/lurching. As far as the missing problem, It goes away pretty much at HIGHWAY speed 60+ MPH, but it seems like in town, when you\'re at around 40 MPH or so, and it kicks into the Over Drive, the RPM\'s drop to around 1500 and seems to low for the OD. If I take it out of OD, it stops the "missing" feel. Perhaps the RPM\'s are too low for slower city driving. Also, I drove the car exactly 36.4 miles and teh engine came on again after they cleared the codes, so I\'m really at a loss now.... and that was pretty much taking it out on the highway and RUNNING...... 60 to 90 MPH to clear any stuff, and a bottle of injector cleaner in too. Whatever gunk might have been in there has to be blown out by now! I\'ll see if I can get Autozone to check the NEW engine light to see what the code is...... I\'m not a mechanic... back in the old days, could actually fix a car.. but this new computer **** is just out of my league. Thanks for the advice. As far as "my" mechaic? I\'m not all that thrilled with most ANY of them anymore.... seems all they\'rew interested in is making the money, but certainly not fixing your car!

  • Matt S Jan 19, 2013

    BTW... when I bought the car it hd 142,756 on it. It now has 144,2??... so I haven't even driven it 2000 mies in the 5 1/2 months that I've owned it1 I did read somewhere about using OEM spark plugs instead of "whatever" they put in when they did the tune-up in 10/12. The guy siad on here that he had a similiar problem, and putting in the OEM plugs corrected it. Thinking maybe I should do that too! With 3 new CATs, new AIC, EGR and DPFE, new muffler/tailpipe, new manifold gaskets & a new tune-up.... over $2000 in this so far in 5 1/2 months, less than 2000 miles driven..... I've kind of run out of options here. Only other thing I can imagine is the replacing the PCV valve. Could that make it not idle right? For what I have in just the repairs already, I probably could have bought a Jasper engine NEW!! So far, with what I paid, so far on this car $2750, and $2000 in the repairs, not counting the $500 I spent for new tires, I've got almost $5000 in this car.... and I STILL owe $3500 on it yet! Talk about a money pit!



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