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Hi, I recently bought a 2002 Escape 3.0L V6 4x4 with 146K. I got it for $2000 with the understanding that it had a bad transmission. I rented a uhaul tow dolly and drove 2 1/2 hours one way to get it. When I arrived it was better than expected and the engine ran great. I bought it and hooked it up to the tow dolly and prepared for the long drive home to drop it off at the local tranny shop that was going to rebuild the tranny or put in a rebuilt tranny for $1350 parts and labor. Well first problem I ran into is that the rear tires would drag on the tow dolly so it couldn't be towed on the tow dolly. Finding myself 2 1/2 hours from home with my friend I decided to try to drive the Escape with the bad tranny to see if it would even drive or how long it would drive for. I had to start the automatic shifter in (1) and it would shake a little and grab and then id slip it to (2) and then to (D) and long story short I drove it home 2 1/2 hours with no problems at all. The ABS light was on and I understand thats on a recall. So I drove it to the tranny shop and they kept taking their sweet time and not getting it done on time. Finally yesterday I got a call from the tranny shop, telling me the tranny was installed but my escape would not start. The said they think it needs a fuel pump! Funny, I drove it 2 1/2 hours and started it many times with no problems. I told them to put it in their lot and id stop by. When I got there, they drug it around to the parking lot with a chain. I paid them the $1350+tax and they said once i got it going, it would need 5 more qts of tranny fluid installed. I first checked the fuel shut off reset switch and I noticed that the panel for that switch was already removed but not put back. Then I disconnected both terminals from the battery and I removed relays from the engine fuse relay box. Then I called Auto Zone to ask for advice. They mentioned the neutral safety switch. So I got under the brake pedal and pushed the buttons for the brake and neutral safety switch and it all seemed ok but I pressed on them just to make sure. Then I pressed on the brake while moving the gear selector on the steering column. The gear column selector seemed so loose and sloppy compared to before I took it to them. Then I hooked up the battery and put it back into drive and it started up just fine! No bad fuel pump, and I knew it wasn't since before i disconnected the battery, it would try to start but for only 2 seconds each time. It would NOT keep turning over. If it was the fuel pump it would've kept turning but not firing, so something like a safety switch was cutting the power off to the starter. Once started, I didn't touch it. I went inside and told them it was the neutral safety switch and told them to come outside and put the 5 quarts of fluid in the tranny! Then I told them the shifter was sloppy. The tech said there was a zip tie put on the selector cable and it broke so they put another one there but it must've broke! Once inside the owner admitted to breaking the selector cable but told me its common to break them while removing them and "I" would have to buy a new cable and pay to have them install it! They put some kind of bushing on the cable to get it by. They took it in the back and tested it. They said sometimes it was ready to go and so I picked up my girlfriend and we came back to pick it up. I started it and noticed the brake light was stuck on as well as the ABS light. But on my 2 1/2 hour ride home the brake light never was on. So I put it into drive and took off. When I left their parking lot and went over their bump, it felt like I had NO suspension! I certainly don't remember any suspension problems during my long ride home and now there is definitely something broken or loose or not installed back together right. So I get ONE BLOCK away and approach the first stop light in traffic. I hit the brake and the Escape shut off! I wiggled the sensors under the brake pedal while being honked at but couldn't get the escape to start! So I called the wonderful tranny shop and they sent a tech with an F150 and a rope to tow me back to the shop. Well that was scary with no power steering or power brakes since we couldn't get it to start! Then the rope broke..... We finally made it back and they kept the Escape and they are going to look further into it. This Escape was FINE and it drove like a champ except the tranny shaking a little until getting into overdrive. But it drove solid with good suspension, steering, brakes, and NO electrical bugs for a 2 1/2 hour trip. I pulled over for gas and to eat and it always restarted. I took it through a car wash on my way home. And next morning it started fine too, on the way to the tranny shop. Now its all messed up after spending $1350+tax! Problems starting, brake problems, suspension problems, and it shuts off on its own! CAN ANYONE OFFER ME ADVICE OR DIRECTIONS TOWARD DIAGNOSING THIS? I NEED ALL THE HELP I CAN GET SINCE I SPENT ALL MY MONEY FOR THIS CAR PLUS THE TRANNY!

Thanks in advance!
 

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How did you pick this transmissions shop.

I hope you used a credit card to pay them. If you did you can file a chargeback if the repair is not done correctly.

But it all depends on what you signed when you dropped off and paid for the car.

most tranny shops will give you a repair warrenty of at least 3K miles and three months so they should fix it under the repair warrenty clause.

what did you tell uhaul you were hauling as their is no way they give you a tow dolly for a AWD SUV.

NOt much you can do now other than wait for shop to fix it. If they don't you can sue under the warrenty clause if you have one.
 

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Well Ted,how you picked the trans shop is a moot point now.Contact the Better Business Bureau and if your state has a consumer hotline,contact them too.If you paid by credit card,you can dispute the charges and the card company will withhold the payment until all parties are satisfied but mainly you.As for towing a AWD vehicle with a dolly,all you needed to do was disconnect the driveshaft and tie it off somewhere so the rear wheels would free wheel.

As a lesson learned,tranmission shops are the worst places to have a transmission rebuilt.Most are not up to date on all the changes made thru the years and not the cleanest shops to handle putting a transmission together.Transmissions are intricate hydraulic assemblies,where the slightest piece of dirt or fiber from a rag will cause loss of pressure from a seal not seated correctly.Next time, if there is a next time, bring it to a dealer.They will stand by their work and have all the parts and updates to do the job right.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I figured to have a tranny shop fix my tranny since they specialize in just transmissions. I guess I figured wrong this time. Actually I picked this place because they put a new transmission in my 2002 Chrysler Town and Country just a month ago and they did it quickly and seemed to do a good job. Plus, the dealers around here will rape you on the prices. Chrysler wanted almost $3000 to rebuild my tranny and the tranny shop did it for $1150. But this time with the Escape they wanted $1350 and it's turned out to be a disaster. I paid with cash already and I do have a receipt. It comes with a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty but here is where the problem lies. They are blaming it on other issues, not transmission related. I mean I'm sure if it actually ran, it would probably shift. But now I have a vehicle that won't start, has the brake light on, suspension is messed up, and on and on..... I left it with them Thursday for them to "try again" and I didn't even hear from them at all on Friday. As far as towing it with a tow dolly. I only towed it for maybe about 10 feet until realizing that even in 2wd and in neutral, the back tires were going to be active. We unhooked it and planned to try to make it to the nearest Autozone or place with tools to undo the back wheels but once I was in the Escape and driving it down the road I realized that I shouldn't have any issues making it home and I didn't. Now its an all messed up unreliable vehicle and the tranny shop has no idea what is wrong with it. So I was hoping someone on here might have a few ideas on where to start or what to look for to get this thing to start and actually make it more than one block away from the shop before dying out. Thanks again!
 

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Hey there Tedhontz,

I am going to start off by telling you I'm have no idea what the problem is, but I'm going to try and help anyway. And with any luck at all, some of the more knowledgeable members may be able to offer further assistance on my thoughts.

From here on out this is "thinking out loud" - stating the obvious that comes to my mind as reasons for a "No Start".

(1) Transmission Range Sensor? - You disconnected the battery then hooked it back up and it started. What if it's not properly connected after the rebuild? The Trans Range Sensor is mounted on the transaxle and prevents operation of the starter unless Neutral or Park is selected.

(2) The Shift Lever? - You mention it was broken and is held together with a zip tie - I am wondering if the PRNDL is not parking correctly causing it not to start (refer to Trans Range Sensor)?

(3) A bad fuse, relay or open wire? - You mention the fuses/relays in the Battery Junction Box. What if it's a bad fuse or relay or open wire?

(4) TSB 06-9-3 and TSB 04-7-7 & Field Service Action 04S13? See attachment I am only throwing this out there, because I check TSB's on this vehicle and they mentioned a stalling and no restart condition, I have no clue if it even applies, but thought I would it include it.

As for the "bad" fuel pump - when you turned the key - do you recall if your "heard" the pump? It makes a distinct buzzy type noise, for lack of better words.

Hope this helps point you in a direction to begin with, and again it's just me "thinking out loud".
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi,

The tranny shop mentioned the fuel pump only because they had no idea. But when I showed up and tried to start it in the parking lot, the ignition would only turn over for like 2 seconds and then stop. If it was the fuel pump I'm thinking the starter would keep turning and turning but not fire. But the starter would only turn for about 2 seconds and then cut off before the vehicle had a chance to start. Only after I unhooked the battery for awhile, then jiggled the sensors under the brake pedal, then hooked the battery back up, did it finally start. Then when I took off it made it only a block down the road. The tech's comment after towing it back was that the neutral safety switch was working since the digital display was showing the gears being selected, etc.....
 

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Ted,I may have been a bit to hard on you .so to make up for it,I'm attaching the part of the manual dealing with shift controls for you to look at.It's for a Mazda Tribute which is the same car.Maybe you can make an adjustment or replace a part and save a few bucks.
 

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thanks boghog, I didn't think you were being hard on me at all! You were being very honest and giving me your opinion and advice which I desperately need right now and definitely appreciate. I went back and re-read your posts and I didn't see anything wrong with what you told me at all. Actually I agree with you, but I didn't have the money to afford to have Ford fix it, and Ford actually recommended the tranny shop that I went to which I will never go to again. But now that they have my money and now that I'm basically stuck, I'm having to rely on my basic mechanic skills along with some advice from here as well. Actually I'm pretty good with vehicles but I've never had an Escape and I just bought it and therefore haven't had a chance to familiarize myself with this one yet. And thank you so much for the PDF file! It definitely helps! I love these forums. I own a Jaguar in which my Jaguar has forced me to become a mechanic on my own being there is no Jag dealer within 3 hours on my house and I cannot afford to have someone else fix that car. Plus, my Jag (all Jags) are very weird and most mechanics won't touch them anyways. I mean, this car takes 20W-50 11 qts of motor oil and it also takes mineral oil for the hydraulic pump! I'm getting off topic, but what I'm trying to say is that I'm a member on a Jaguar Forum much like this one and they have all been such a help to me and I have even been able to help people out as well. From everything from questions to help, used parts to new ones and more, the "forum" site idea is just great and I thank you all for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update

Update, so my Escape is STILL in the transmission shop! They just called tonight and said they "give up" and they think I have a bad power distribution box! Once again, I drove it to them and it was fine! So tomorrow I'm going to go and pick it up and tow it home. Then I'll have time to diagnose it and hopefully with the help from all of you, get it up and running!
 

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Well Ted sorry to hear your having so much trouble,but doing the fixes yourself will be very rewarding.When you get it home,here are some basic checks to do.All gas vehicles need 3 things,air fuel and spark to start.

1st with the key on,check the fuel pressure.If you don't have a fuel pressure gauge you can use a cheap tire pressure gauge.It's good enough for what your doing.you should have about 39psi.

2nd remove a coil from one of the front cyls.stick a spark plug into the wire and ground the threaded portion of the plug.Crank the engine over and see if you have any spark.Should be a white spark.

3rd check your MAF sensor,I'm sure they removed it when they pulled the trans, and inspect it.Dont touch the wire inside or you'll ruin the sensor.

If you have a scan tool,check for codes.If you don't have one,most parts store chains like Autozone will lend you one with a deposit.

Start there and get back to us.
 

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Fixed!

ok so I went to the tranny shop armed with my toolbox, my actron scanner, and my owners manual. The shop drug my Escape around to the parking lot using a chain. I told them I was going to tow it, but first I decided to try some things at the lot. First, I noticed in the power distribution fuse box in the engine compartment that the 30A inj fuse was loose even when pushed in. Then I went inside the vehicle and pulled each individual fuse with needlenose pliers from under the steering wheel column. I came across a bad fuse (20A cigarette lighter) and then I came across my second bad fuse (3A PCM relay/something something....). So I drove to Autozone and picked up a power distribution box 30A pink fuse and then I bought a multi pack of fuses for $4. I went back and replace the 30A engine compartment fuse which fit in MUCH tighter. Then I replaced the 20A cig lighter fuse and the 3A PCM relay fuse. Then I reconnected the battery and it started! I drove it up and down the bumpy back alleys and finally drove it up and down a bunch of streets. Everything was working fine. And my brake light warning light was off. So I went inside and told the idiots that had my vehicle for a WEEK to next time, check the fuse box! I've been driving it all weekend and its been driving fine!
 

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Glad to hear you got her running and only $4.00 later.Makes ya wonder if it really needed trans work.
 

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actually it was dead when they pulled it out to the lot. My code scanner came up saying "fail". I know it needed tranny work since it was slipping so bad and i had to manually go from 1 to 2 to D on the stick just to make it go, but im not sure if it needed a whole new tranny. But anyways I have an Escape with the V6 and 4x4 with a brand new tranny and I have a total of $3200 invested so I'm happy.
 

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Hey guys, just to clarify for my own peice of mind, I have been to many ford dealerships in my past, I have never seen a "transmission" rebuild section. Doesnt that mean ford will either replace under warranty or "outsource" trans work to the local shops. Years ago i had a friend who worked for a transmission chain and they would get all the local dealerships work. Any input?
 

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Sorry if I'm hijacking the thread to answer this.....
Hey guys, just to clarify for my own peice of mind, I have been to many ford dealerships in my past, I have never seen a "transmission" rebuild section. Doesnt that mean ford will either replace under warranty or "outsource" trans work to the local shops. Years ago i had a friend who worked for a transmission chain and they would get all the local dealerships work. Any input?
I am not sure how Dealerships run in the US, but here in Canada they rebuild tranny's all the time if possible and cost effective. Otherwise the customer, is given the option of a "new" transmission or a "remaned" (Ford Rebuilt) transmission - again all based on which was more cost effective for the customer. In certain cases, I have even seen transmissions come from the wreckers and be installed in customer's vehicles. If I recall correctly new Tranny's came with a 3/60 warranty and reman Tranny's came with 1/12 warranty. I never saw any transmissions or transmission work "outsourced".

Hope that helps Lincolndriver :)
 
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