2004 Ford Escape - CEL

I have a 2004 Ford Escape V6 3. 0 with 73, 000 miles on it. It ran perfect for about six months and then one day I noticed the check engine light came on so I then did it oil change and it went away for a little bit then came right back, so I said screw it and I just decided to drive around with the check engine light on…ugh, i know…stupid. well, then after a while it starting to sputter and it had no power, I would have the peddle to the floor and just wouldn’t go 3000 RPM (driving) and would idle at like 800 RPM? So I said screw it and did some research and decided to check the catalytic converter and the sure enough the front cat had metlted and shot down in to the second one (I believe) so I cut it off and cleaned it all out and put it back on…then i replaced all the boot coils I change the oil filter, cleanded the throttle body, checked the EGR valve, checked the vacuum hoses, fuel injectors, basically anything I can think of… started it up and NOTHING!? it’s still sputtering and acting like it’s chocking… but now when it started to warm up it slowly chokes out and dies…I’m at a loss, and I can’t afford to take it to a mechanic, so I’m doing it all myself. (P.S) And also, when I would disconnect the battery it would run normal for a bit but would go back. So I just kept doing that to get to work and back until finally it wouldn’t do anything… and suggestions would be absolutely amazing and appreciated. Thanks

I would bet you are now getting a flashing check engine light and a wrench light. Too late now, but the first time the CEL came on you should have had the codes read, usually can be done for free at an auto parts store. What ever caused the CEL may have destroyed the catalytic converters. Catalytic converters need to be replaced, they can not be cleaned.
One possibility, at 15 years old, your computer could be failing and actually may not store the codes.
Throwing parts at it without a diagnosis can be a more expensive than paying for a diagnosis.

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I know, I actually have a code reader but I didn’t realize the codes wipe Everytime I disconnected the battery. I have never worked on cars before and I’m learning as I go. Im trying to do this the cheapest way possible, without a car it’s hard to get to work. I bought this off a dealership less then a year ago for way more then what it’s worth , and the extended warranty I purchased was way too expensive so I cancelled it…I am starting to regret it…so now I basically have a $8000 lawn ornament. (Damn)

It will still run, albeit poorly, correct? If so, the code should return and then you can pull the codes. Otherwise, I’m afraid you could replace every sensor and still not find the problem.

We can’t be of much help here beyond being sympathetic to your car problems until you provide the computer’s diagnostic codes. You discovered disconnecting the battery erases all the codes, so that’s one step in the modern car repair learning process you’ve made, so you got that going for you. You’ll have to get it to run long enough to get the check engine light to come back on again, at which time there will be diagnostic codes posted in the computer memory. Some auto parts stores will read the codes for their customers gratis, no harm to ask

You could do the alternator / battery voltage test I suppose. Will provide a baseline on the electrical system. Before the first start of the day the battery should measure about 12.6 volts. Immediately after starting the engine, 13.5-15.5 volts. What do you measure?

My guess at this point is you have some form of misfiring and/or air/fuel mixture problem.

Yes John, it runs but this type of vehicle you have to drive about 10 or 20 miles before the computer will reset to it’s normal idle. But unfortunately I don’t believe I can even get it to do that, I’m afraid I’ll do more harm trying.

And George thanks you…I’m just seeing if anyone has had similar problems or suggestions. I will get a multimeter and test my battery. (((I am curious about one thing though, i been trying to find a diagram of my manifolds vacuum lines, or something? Just in case something is backwards or not in the right place.
I’ve been thinking maybe the EOM or EGR valve would cause for the rough idle and no power symptoms?

Look on the under-side of the hood. Often there’s a vacuum diagram there included w/the engine ID, tune-up, and emissions data.

A stuck-open EGR could indeed cause that symptom. By EOM I presume that’s a typo & you mean ECM, the engine computer. That part is always a possibility for most any symptom. From the posts we get here it seems replacing the ECM in most cases doesn’t result in solving the problem. More often if the problem is electrical in nature and the battery and alternator check out ok, it turns out to be a faulty sensor, electrical connector, wire harness, or poor ground connection. Best repair path is to do the proper diagnostics and be pretty sure its the ECM before replacing it. With modern cars it is very easy to run out of money before running out of guesses. If you decide to replace the ECM anyway, don’t turn the old one in for a core refund until you are 100% certain the new one works.

Absent diagnostic code info, about the only service bulletin I see on your car that could conceivably contribute to the symptom you report is

  • v6’s configured with cd4e AT may shudder and have varying idle rpms, solution is a revamped idle air control valve, and a proper transmission service (TSB 06-11-7)

You know, know that you mention it when I would be going up hill, i could feel it kind shift hard or I would have to take my foot off and back down to get it to actually go into gear…it was minor but noticable. I checked the ECM and it was a little black from (carbon) I’m guessing, not sure if that’s normal or not but the diaphragm in it looked okay and everything. I’m going to check the PCV valve next. Thank you very much. I’ll keep you posted.