Tag Archives: escape

Another one of my crazy ideas

I’m sometimes really good at coming up with crazy ideas. Here’s another one.

Owning a car can be expensive, and when you drive as much as I do, you start to look for ways to lower your costs.
Some things I do, or have done include:

  • Maximize time between oil changes. My driving is mostly highway, so I should be able to get 9,000 – 11,000 kilometres between oil changes, and I always get a synthetic blend for high mileage engines.
  • Drive the speed limit. I’m a male, and well, most of us like to drive a little fast, in fact I normally do a speed limit + 10% cruising speed, but I have found that I can change my L/100KM (MPG) just by slowing down to the posted limit.
  • Proper tire inflation. I check them every 2 – 3 weeks to confirm that they are within 0.5 PSI of the manufactures recommendation.
  • Tire rotation. Every 10,000 km, lines up really nice with getting an oil change.

Now, I know that I could probably get better economy by bumping my fuel grade up from regular to extra/mid grade or even going to premium/top grade… but I drive close to 48,000 km each year (or did last year and am on track to do it again this year), so getting the best bang for my buck with gas prices where they are is important.
Here’s my Fuelly Badge, and I’ve tracked every fill up since I bought my 2008 Ford Escape in August 2011.
My Fuelly Badge



And in MPG too: My Escape in MPG

I’m going to be going through a set of tires every 2-3 years, assuming I’m not overly crazy with my driving, and get 10k – 15k from my winters and 30k – 35k from my summer set, so that is going to be an extra cost, plus the cost of the oil changes, the extra for the better oil, and the fun of getting shock and struts and other front end parts replaced more often thanks to living in New Brunswick, where roads are often littered with pot holes in the spring.

I guess it is finally time to get to the real point of this dialogue. I want to get sponsors for my vehicle, real people and businesses willing to pay or give time/parts towards maintenance, and in return, they can advertise on my truck. Now I’ll have to do some more research to see if this is practical, and how it might impact my tax returns in the future, and if anyone would want to advertise on my vehicle, but it’s worth a shot.
Picture the vehicle below sporting some stickers that don’t add horsepower! (Not my real Ford Escape)

Oh Ford, I am not amused.

Originally I was going to reiterate my pains with the slow fuelling issue that continues to plagued me when it is below 0’C, but now I have met what appears to be a more serious problem. Before I jump down to the real issue, Ford did issue a Technical Service Bulletin for the filling, hence why I’m done with that annoyance. It is available here.

Now, on to the latest and greatest problem.

It started only a few weeks ago, after a weekend where my 2008 Ford Escape was parked in my drive way the entire time. I started my drive to work around my normal time and noticed that the steering wheel had a strange vibration that had not been there before, but it seemed minor so I figured I would check it out when I got to work, after a drive of almost 100 km. I had to stop for gas, and with the early February weather we get in New Brunswick, it was cold… damn cold, so filling up took almost 10 minutes to dispense 55 litres of fuel. When I started up my truck after gassing up, I had no power steering at all. Lucky for me, my drive is mostly highway without many turns, and I figured that I could check the power steering fluid when I get to work, of course, after I get to work I get distracted and forget about it.
Work day ends and it is time to go home, again I have forgotten about the power steering. I start it up and notice the vibration is back in the wheel and remember my situation from earlier. The entire drive home I had power steering, but the wheel continued to vibrate. Now being the person I am, I immediately jumped on the internet to start researching my problem and found out something that was new to me… the 2008 Ford Escape had Electric Power Assist as opposed to the normal hydraulic steering system, so no fluid to top up for an easy fix. Further research seems to show that I am not alone with this problem. Numerous owners in the US and Canada have experienced the same problem, and it seems Ford has only 1 answer for them… replace the Steering Column… not diagnose and repair what is probably faulty software or bad sensors in the EPA system, but replace the entire steering column, and based on what others are paying will cost between $1,400 and $1,800 for parts and labour.
Until I can get the money saved up, I will continue to putter along with this random annoyance, the some times I work and try to shake your arms off while pulling to the left all the time and may or may not shut off whilst you are driving along at highways speeds or attempting to go around a corner at 80 km/h (think 50 MPH… 49.7097 if you want to be exact)… or I just don’t want to work today and you will have to strong-arm the entire drive and develop forearms the look like Popeye. Once I am done paying off the Escape (or it dies, which I hope it doesn’t), I am going to look at down sizing, and now, I’m not sure Ford will be on my list of potential manufacturers to consider.

Some further resources for anyone else that might be experiencing the same issue:

Transport Canada Active Defect Investigations – 2008 -2011 Ford Escape is listed for power steering failure.

CBC The National piece that aired on March 5th, 2013: http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/Canada/ID/2340987438/

AboutAutomobile.com 2008 Ford Escape Steering Complaints list.

CarProblemZoo.com Ford Escape Steering Problems. This list is filled with a lot of 2008 Escapes with steering failures.

And if you need to get the steering column, you can price it up here… if you live in the US. Check page 3 (using default number per page) and select the part the matches up to your vehicles build date.

If you wish to add your vehicle to the list of affected ones, submit a complaint to either Transport Canada (in Canada… duh) or The Office of Defects Investigation , an office within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (in the USA).

And if you happen to own a Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute or Mercury Mariner from any year, you should check out Escape City.

More fun with the truck

As most of you who have visited my page before will know, I own a 2008 Ford Escape, the XLT package with all wheel drive. In the winter it performed like a champ, except for  minor little issue… filling up the gas tank in temperatures below 0’C was painful. I have since found out that Ford issued a TSB about filling up in cold temperatures… yeah, not that it does me any good. Over all, I still rate it a good little truck (yes, I call it my truck). By the way, here’s my updated Fuelly banner:

So, back to why I am discussing my truck, yet again. A few weeks ago, I started to notice a vibration while turning and accelerating at the same time. It wasn’t that bad at first, and definitely not as bad as when the ABS Tone Ring (This link will show you a bad ring, and how to replace it) went bad on me in March, which I don’t think I wrote about… anyway, the little metal ring cost $18, the labour almost $400… yeah, back to the new problem.

Over the next few weeks, the vibration has been getting worse, but I have been able to pin down some facts.

  • Vibration is noticeable while accelerating between 18 and 24 km/h. Accelerating really slowly makes it less noticeable.
  • Vibration is again noted between 43 and 48 km/h, but since the truck is moving faster it is at a higher frequency.
  • A slight vibration can be felt while decelerating through the above speed ranges.
  • Climbing my hill (Park Ave) at ~20km/h will cause the vibration to be so strong it shakes the crap out of the centre console.

Now, I took it into a repair shop and they diagnosed a bad from swat bar link, again a cheap part (though they quoted me $70, I can get them online for closer to $20) with a nice labour charge dumped on top. This did not fix the problem… So, being me, I went all Google ninja and have come to the conclusion that the problem lies in the drive train linkage from the front of the truck to the rear.
Today (maybe), I’ll be having my brother in-law drop the drive train down and look at the housing and u-joints, as we suspect they might be ceased. I will update the outcome later.