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/
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.