Monday

Ford Escape Transmission Troubles Mount Up

The Ford Escape vehicle model has had its share of troubles and they aren’t letting up. Current defect complaints now focus on the transmission more than any other defect area, with reports of erratic shifting, slipping and hesitation, but they actually go back to at least the 2003 model line.

On top of that, the car's transmission now emits what Ford is calling a "hoot" noise, but then Ford says that's just normal for a Ford Escape. Normal?

NJ attorney Howard Gutman has chronicled some of the Escape complaints for model year 2005, but the 2010 model continues what now seems to be a tradition of transmission trouble.

In an apparent attempt to curb the Escape’s transmission troubles, Ford issued a recall for replacement of the drive chain, among other parts. Owners had reported an abnormal drive train noise but some owners report the recall only decreased the noise but didn’t get rid of it.

Now, Ford is calling it a “normal vehicle characteristic.” One has to wonder if that means Ford got it as good as it can get it and now wants to just call the remaining abnormal noise, “normal.”

Normal to who might be the better question.

Meanwhile, Ford has been busy sending out repair bulletins to its dealers on the “normal” noise and the transmission and other Escape troubles. TSB 9-25-3, TSB 9-18-3, TSB 9-20-3, TSB 9-19-5, TSB 9-15-1, TSB 9-15-5, TSB 9-5-5, TB 21019, Recall 10B15, SSM 21233, are just some of the notices Ford has sent its dealers on the Escape model problems.

Some of these are computer software changes that Ford apparently hoped would salve the bumpy wounds of Escape owners. Others seem to recognize a premature wear is expected of the transmission that may end up with total failure sooner or later.

The Escape transmission model is 6F35 in at least some of the line and that seems to be the model with the most problems, including a suspected premature transmission solenoid regulator vale-bore wear defect. Reports are that part will cause or contribute to a premature wear of the pressure clutch plates and then lead to total transmission failure.

It all ends up with SSM 21233 which Ford sent out to its dealers, saying that the remaining noise is just “normal” for the engine - transmission combination. One dealer advisor blames it on the “poorly constructed and engineered” 2.5L I-4 engine in the Escape, which he says fails to properly distribute its vibrations, resonances and sound harmonics effectively, so it all runs to the transmission and the rest of the vehicle.

Reportedly the engine has more lightweight plastic materials in use and fewer parts constructed of steel or aluminum and that contributes to the Ford Escape troubles. Regardless of the cause, more owners of the defective Escape vehicles are posting their transmission troubles on youtube than ever, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The end result? The Ford Escape’s noise problem may only get louder to its owners. The sad part for many Escape owners is the word from one Ford dealership service manager that “Ford posted a message stating do not attempt to repair” the abnormal noise problem at all. And if Ford tells a dealer not to fix a defect you can bet the dealer won’t try. After all, Ford won’t pay for it and that is the only thing that drives a dealer to try to fix a warranted defect in a new car.

Maybe it’s time for Escape owners to escape from their blue oval brand loyalty?


If you’ve got a lemon Ford Escape, don’t put up with it. And don’t believe for a minute that abnormal is just “normal” in any car, only because the manufacturer decides to call it that. Get a Burdge attorney. Getting rid of lemon Ford cars and Ford lemon trucks is what we do. Everyday.