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2006 Ford Escape Hybrid Power Steering Failure

I have a 2006 FEH (bought in Sept 2005). It has 74,000 miles on it and up to now, it has been golden. The other night, I drove a few short miles to a fast-food joint. The car was running fine. I came back out and started up the car and noticed the steering was stiff. The power steering had died. At first there was no idiot lights showing up on the dash, but later, a yellow wrench lit up and the dash info panel said Service Soon. This light would go off occasionally. I ran the dash system test and it actually came back saying the Power Steering was OK. I also started the car up with the trip odometer button pushed to bring up the Engineering Diagnostic Tests. The only DTC code that appeared was 9318. I’m not sure what that means. I hooked up my OBDII scanner and it showed no codes or pending codes.

I took the car into Ford two days ago - struggling to steer. I authorized an hour of diagnostic time at $99/hr. They indicated that their test equipment was saying nothing was wrong and they needed 3 more hours to diagnose the problem. I gave them the go-ahead. After two days, they still can’t pinpoint the problem. The Ford Service Hotline is telling them to try replacing the Power Steering Module and if that doesn’t fix the problem, replace the electric power steering motor. These pares run over $2000.

Has anyone else seen this problem with a FEH? How could the power steering die just sitting in a parking lot? Should it take them days to diagnose this issue and should I pay for all their diagnostic time? It seem that their on-board electronic diagnostics are not very good if they can’t pin-point any problems and yet the power steering is completely dead.

Any help would be appreciated.

I see two different explanations for 9318 - one source says that’s a vehicle speed sensor malfunction (which could certainly affect a variable assist power steering system) and the other says low battery voltage. Even the latter I could see possibly leading to funky electrical problems, and I’d have that checked.

I am going to guess there is no warranty in effect. Do you have a known good independent mechanic in your area?

Dealers are not gods. They are not really better at repairs than a good independent mechanic and the independent mechanic is likely cheaper. I suggest this as an alternative. I am not condemning dealers. Just don’t assume they are better than independent shops. It is wise to shop around for either type of shop.

As your friend neighbors and co-workers for recommendations.

The power steering is all electric and for an instantaneous power failure check fuse #25 in the under hood fuse box.
—of course you’s think the dealer would have already-----
check wire harness and plugs too, critters like to chew on those.

Is the rack and motor leaking ? It’s a sealed unit and there’s no fluid to add.

Thanks for the replies. The Ford tech doesn’t seem to mention anything about the DTC 9318 I saw on the dash Engineering Diagnostic Test. This problem seems to have them stumped down at the dealer. Apparently, they first had trouble trouble communicating with the car using their IDS tester. The Ford Hotline apparently told them to check the S/W revision and make sure it was version 69.06 or higher.

Eventually (maybe after upgrading the S/W) they stated getting DTC code B2277 which points to a bad PS Control Module ($500+ part). The hotline is telling the dealer to change the PSCM and if that doesn’t work, replace the PS motor which is part of the rack & pinion gear ($2000+ part). They say I must pay for all of these parts even though they may not be the problem. I’m looking at somewhere between $1100 to $3000 depending on which parts are eventually needed.

As for a local mechanic, I think this is way out of their league. The electrical power steering on the FEH is much too complex for a neighborhood mechanic to deal with.

I also have a 2006 Escape Hybrid – less mileage than yours – and the power steering failed on me tonight. The yellow wrench light is on – I haven’t done the system check (it is Saturday, Jan. 1st --I figure what is the point as everything “Ford Service” is closed on Sunday).

What was the end result of your repair situation – did they ever figure out the problem and fix it? Also, did you have the extended warranty and if so, was this covered?


Well it did turn out to be the PSCM ($576) or at least when they put in a new one, the power steering was restored. With diagnostic time ($396) and PSCM installation albor ($150), the total bill came to $1188 with tax.

It seems the yellow wrench and Service Soon msg had little to do with the power steering issue. When the tech first read the codes in the car, he read P0685, P0A01, P0A04, P1A04, and B1239. None of these apparently pointed to the power steering issue. Later they were somehow able to read the codes (apparently the garage wifi network was initially interfering with the diagnostic communications with the car if you can believe that) they were getting the B2277 which pointed to the PSCM.That turned out to be the problem.

A couple of weeks later, the wrench light and Service Soon msg came on again. It later went off when I stopped the car and restarted it. I took the car back in and this time I paid $150 for diagnostic time which could not pinpoint the problem. The tech was reading the same 5 codes as before (P0685, P0A01, P0A04, P1A04, and B1239). The Ford Hotline told the tech that the B1239 would cause the wrench to come on, but not the Service Soon msg. They referred the tech to Tech Service Bulletin 07-25-12 (I haven’t tracked that down yet) to address that code. They claimed that the P0685 was an erroneous code and could be disregarded. They claimed that the P0A04 code did not show up in their diagnostic manual and no one had previously reported this code.

The tech had cleared the codes before hearing back from the Hotline and so they never performed the TSB 07-25-12 to address B1239. They decided to test drive the car and if nothing showed up to give it back to me - $150 lighter. The next week on a 700 mile trip from CT to Washington DC, the light and msg came on twice. Each time it went off the next time I started the car.

The power steering has worked normally ever since the initial repair was done. For now I am waiting to see if the yellow wrench and Service Soon msg return. If it does, Ford Customer Service will hear from me (1-800-392-3673). Until this issue, the car was golden and I loved it. I still do, but my confidence in the car and in Ford’s diagnostic capabilities with their hybrid design are not what they were. I hope this information helps you.

How did you make out with your PS problem on the 2006 FEH? Mine is still doing okay, but ever few weeks, the yellow wrench light comes on with the Service Soon msg. It goes out next time I start the car. For now I’m just ignoring it.

I know that this conversation is very old, but The same thing happened to me, and I felt I must reply.

I understand that on the 05-07, when the power steering fails, it is not like the later escapes that have a steering collumn sensor problem.

I have an 05, and changed the power steering control module box, which is in the engine compartment, bolted to the firewall right behind the fuse cluster, which is also behind the air filter box. I changed it with a used part I got on ebay, and have my power steering back!! easy fix.

i fully understand that your post is a few months old but i have a issue getting the module off. i have taken everything loose that I can see but for some strange reason there’s a hidden bolt that I cant’t see orlocate and I;m wonderiung if you could tell me what else I need to take loose. Thank you