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#4461618 - 07/17/17 10:41 AM 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them.
97tbird Offline


Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 9200
Loc: Fayetteville, NC
I have been wanting to upgrade our "extra" / "beater" car (2003 Elantra) for sometime now (has 227k miles), and I am thinking I might as well get something with a bit more utility (cargo space, which we have needed several times in the past 3-4 yrs, IIRC, and both other cars are a coupe and a mid-size sedan) and as we have started a bit more active lifestyle that might involve some hiking in the future, etc, I also think AWD/4WD will be a nice thing to have...

Anyway, I am thinking of 2003 - 2006 gen. Ford Escapes. It's small, and has the features I need for a 3rd vehicle.
(The hybrid was made until 2006 I think, or ever later(?) )
I don't think i want to spend more for later generations. Prob. not within the 3rd car budget.

I'd prefer 2004 and up, or latest of that gen. as I prefer floor shifter vs. column shift, and I think the interior and perhaps even mechanical aspects improved over the years, and kinks worked out etc.

I'd not mind a hybrid, but are there any downsides to getting a used example of an early US made hybird? (Actually the 1st US hybrid vehicle, IIRC?)


Another thing: v6 or 4 banger? what's more reliable? I see a LOT of V6 versions on the road, and it seems on ebay it is hard to find the 4-cyl.
I never want a v6 or didn't think I'd ever need to tow anything when a friend said "you never know - when did you ever think you'd go hiking and climbing small mountains 10 yrs ago?" or something like that... MPG is important but prob. not a dealbreaker when it comes to v6 vs 4-cyl.

I'd normally use this vehicle to drive to work 3-4 times a week, and some extra longer trips to Asheville, TN etc for occasional outdoor activities and of course on snow/ice days in NC to get to work.

Any / All feedback are appreciated, esp. from past / current owners of this generation.
_________________________
Sufficiently Caffeinated...
Cars: 1997 Thunderbird v8 sports(sold), 2003 Elantra GLS, 2005 BMW 330Ci ZHP, 2014 Mazda 6 Touring

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#4461674 - 07/17/17 11:32 AM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
itguy08 Offline


Registered: 09/15/11
Posts: 3222
Loc: Somewhere
Wife had an 03 from new until 2015 with 160k or so - 3.0, AWD. Was very reliable. Had some leaky rear end seals replaced under warranty and the AC compressor went under warranty too. Other than that it started all the time, ran well and was a decent vehicle. Near the end you could tell that there was some sloppiness in the shifts at WOT at certain times but that seemed to be about the life expectancy of the CD4E trans - about 150-200k before it needed some attention. A fluid change may have helped but she wanted a new car anyway so we never pursued it.

The 3.0s do develop gasket leaks. Hers wasn't bad but it was the timing chain cover gasket which requires the oil pan, timing cover, and valve cover gaskets to be replaced. Figure about a day's worth of work if DIY. It would weep but never really used oil except maybe a qt in the winter over a 5k oil change. Never really left anything on the driveway either.

She really liked hers and it was quite reliable.

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#4461684 - 07/17/17 11:40 AM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
NHGUY Offline


Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 5043
Loc: USA
In rust country they literally dissolve.Go online and check out the pics of people trying to repair the swiss cheese.Also,the front subframes rust away,and allow the control arms to break loose.Ford has known about it for years and offered a "reinforcement" for them (which consists of a flimsy piece of metal and sheet metal screws).

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#4461703 - 07/17/17 12:02 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: NHGUY]
Canadastang Offline


Registered: 12/08/15
Posts: 261
Loc: Ontario Canada
Junk. Stay away. The CD4E trans will die an early death.

The 3.0 V6 is pretty solid though, but the rest of the car will fall apart around it.

Rear shock mounts rot out like you wouldn't believe!

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#4461789 - 07/17/17 01:04 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
bradepb Offline


Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 1218
Loc: Clinton Twp. MI
I have an 04 with v6 4wd, 135,000 miles. Extremely reliable car. Only issue were sway bar links replaced,normal brake replacement,belts etc. Nothing on this car does not work!

It has been the best car I have owned in my 45 years of driving.

I did a drain and fill on trans every 15,000, its easy, has a drain plug and takes 4 quarts.This avoids most trans problems.

If you keep it clean it will rust no more than other cars, I did fix both wheel wells last year and there is no other rust.
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#4461832 - 07/17/17 01:28 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: bradepb]
gabriel9766 Offline


Registered: 05/10/15
Posts: 936
Loc: Missouri
As long as you are not in the rust belt they are decent. They get some oil leaks but nothing major. Only thing I've seen escapes in the shop tht needed anything is alternators go bad on the v6's and you needs to check the front brake hoses for cracks on any of them. My dad has an 08 which is the next gen of them with the 2.3 4cyl FWD w/171k and its still going strong.
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2015 Chevy Malibu 1LT DI 2.5L I4- PPPP 0w20 and a napa gold 7060 39,829K

2007 Ford Escape XLT FWD 3.0 V6 motorcraft 5w30 bulk and a motorcraft FL500s 109,944K


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#4461849 - 07/17/17 01:37 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
bigjl Offline


Registered: 09/06/12
Posts: 2220
Loc: London, England
I believe tbey called it a Ford Maverick in the UK.

Was not a success but i think that was due to the lack of a diesel.

Never heard much in the way of bad reports, i think they were pretty robust.



Edited by bigjl (07/17/17 01:38 PM)
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#4461867 - 07/17/17 01:49 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
97tbird Offline


Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 9200
Loc: Fayetteville, NC
Thanks for the responses so far...

but WOW - they're very different; from junk to very reliable.
keep them coming, all responses help me in some way.

And as for rust: Will take that under advisement; I think If i decided to get one for real, it's possible to avoid an example from rust-belt and to look for a well kept one.

ALSO: Except for styling and interior, MaZda Tribute was the same thing, right? No mechanical differences I assume?


Edited by 97tbird (07/17/17 01:51 PM)
_________________________
Sufficiently Caffeinated...
Cars: 1997 Thunderbird v8 sports(sold), 2003 Elantra GLS, 2005 BMW 330Ci ZHP, 2014 Mazda 6 Touring

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#4461892 - 07/17/17 02:17 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
addyguy Offline


Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 14287
Loc: Canada
Good Lord don't do it.

Had an '03 Tribute V-6...nice ride, comfortable, good power, good clearance.

Everything else is junk - body rusts horribly around the wheel arches and the rear hatch. Back window fell off of mine from rusted hinges.

Front end and suspension are weak - constantly did CV shaft, tie rod, ball joints, struts...always clunked and had a 'loose' feel to it.

Engine ran good at first, but then burned more and more oil, lost power, needed coils, all top-end gaskets, EGR valves, 1 converter, and then both manifold cons plugged up and blew the EGR for a third time and I ditched it. The whole time I had it it guzzled gas like crazy, but this just got worse as the engine wore out.

Possibly my biggest vehicle mistake, except I did like it a lot for most of the time I had it, and I did put a lot of miles on it....I'm still undecided about it.
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2010 Kia Soul 2U - 2.0L I-4, auto; 126k miles.
M1 EP 10W-30; OEM Kia filter.

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#4461925 - 07/17/17 02:43 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
DerbyDave Offline


Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 218
Loc: KS
We owned an 03. It was a good reliable vehicle, lots of usable cargo space, plenty of power with the V6, comfortable, surprisingly good in foul weather even with 2WD. I did replace the rear shocks (easy DIY job) and had the front cover leak, I replaced the front cover gasket, valve cover gaskets and pan gasket. The job isn't expensive if you do it yourself but it does require a decent amount of time. It seems all 3.0 V6 escapes will leak from the front cover at some point so getting one that has been fixed already would be a plus. Aside from that look for rust underneath. I would buy one again if I had to do it all over again.


Edited by DerbyDave (07/17/17 02:44 PM)
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1997 Ford Taurus
2007 Honda Ridgeline
2003 Suzuki GZ250
1986 Suzuki Cavalcade
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#4461926 - 07/17/17 02:45 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
L_Sludger Offline


Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 3947
Loc: Ohio
The hybrids got good mileage but they're old now
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too many cars and oil combinations to list in 150 characters or less

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#4461977 - 07/17/17 03:44 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Holy Cow.... the Canadians (and other salt road folks) are sure hatin' today!

My neighbor had an '04, I did an alternator around 120K or so on it.... they never had any other problems with it at all...
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(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."

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#4462007 - 07/17/17 04:11 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
Mr Nice Offline


Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 21185
Loc: Orlando, FL
Mazda3 would be my choice for econobox beater.

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#4462009 - 07/17/17 04:15 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: Mr Nice]
97tbird Offline


Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 9200
Loc: Fayetteville, NC
Originally Posted By: Mr Nice
Mazda3 would be my choice for econobox beater.

A hatch would meet the utility criteria but won't meet the AWD / clearance criteria...
I really am looking for a small SUV type thing with AWD from year 2005 or so..

Subaru Outback Sport (The half wagon-like thing) from around that era would be great but hard to find used AND they also have notorious engines from that era that had head gasket problems, I think.
_________________________
Sufficiently Caffeinated...
Cars: 1997 Thunderbird v8 sports(sold), 2003 Elantra GLS, 2005 BMW 330Ci ZHP, 2014 Mazda 6 Touring

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#4462050 - 07/17/17 04:50 PM Re: 2003- 2006 Ford Escapes...Tell me about them. [Re: 97tbird]
JimPghPA Offline


Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 3859
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
Stay away from any older hybrid vehicle. They have a very loud audio siren that goes of when the drive battery goes bad. The intent is to get you to pull over and get out of the vehicle immediately. You can not drive them once the drive battery goes bad and that battery pack cost thousands of dollars to replace. There are some aftermarket places that repair the bad drive batteries but replacing the cells that have gone bad is a very unreliable fix because you are left with all the still working old cells that will fail in the near future.
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Boy will I be happy when ALL vehicles on public roads are autonomous.


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