Ford Escape V^ 2002 Cracked RH Manifold AGAIN

Well, now my question is a little different. We have determined that we want to sell this car. In California, it is the responsibility of the buyer to ensure a car passes a smog check. I do not believe it will pass with a cracked exhaust manifold, since it has a built-in catalyst.

But we don’t really want to spend $1,100 so we can sell it. We’d like to sell it as-is.

We would definitely do the ethical thing and inform potential buyers of the problem, including the estimated cost of repair.

So the question is, Should we repair it and ask $6,000 for it, or should we not repair it, disclose the problem, and give them a realistic $1,100 estimate, and sell it for $5,000? The net effect is the same either way for us, but I wonder if people will buy it in its present condition.

Sincere kudos on your honesty. It’s truely good to hear.

Personally, when I buy something used and it has a problem that’s acknowledged to me, I tend to wonder what else is wrong that’s not being stated…why are they really selling it if that’s all it needs. I’m sure I’m not alone in that feeling. If I were the seller I’d repair it and charge the $6,000. That eliminates this doubt and keeps “in play” all those buyers that might feel the way I do.

It’s really a personal call. Others might prefer to find something that they may be able to save a few bucks on by fixing themselves.

A more realistic price is $4000 given hassle/unknown factor.

However does CA allow you to sell a car that cannot pass inspection? In MA if you sell a used car (private or dealer) and it does not pass emmissions the buyer has the right to either return the vehicle for full refund if fix >10% or request the vehicle be fixed.

If I’m reading this correctly, it looks like a car has to pass smog before it can be sold:

This contradicts my original post, so it looks like I have no option; I have to fix it.

Does anyone know of a really busy corner in a bad neighborhood where I can leave this thing, unlocked, for a few days? You’ll have to hotwire it.

I’m even having a hard time finding a new catalyst now. I’m finding plenty of new cats on eBay for around $350, with 1 year warranties… But they all say they can’t be shipped to CA. I don’t understand that part; these are 50-state cars. Seems to me that if they’re EPA-certified, they should be legal.

This brings up another question of ethics, though: Who’d know? A cat legal for use in Nevada should be legal. If I had one shipped there, how would anyone ever know?

The Ford catalog doesn’t specify a state for this part. So what’s the reason a cat legal for use in every other state isn’t legal in CA?

There is one advantage to the official part, though: The 5-year, 50,000 mile warranty. I can get one of those for about $700, delivered…

By the way, I’m still mad about this one point, and hope someone has an answer:

The car got 14.2 mpg out of the last tank. It seems to me what’s happening is that the downstream oxygen sensors are detecting a lean condition (because of the leak) and the ECU is enriching the mixture as a result… And yet, the ECU cannot figure out that this probably indicates a problem (since it can detect any number of other parameters at any given time, and a lean mixture should make no sense to it… The CEL should be on).

Do I have a point? Shouldn’t Ford look at this and conclude, hey, the ECU isn’t doing its job because our software is faulty?

I’ve heard anecdotally of people driving 30,000 miles with bad mileage before the CEL finally turns on. So they could be polluting for 2 years before the owner finally has proof of a problem. Good ECU software should catch this, in my opinion.

Quick update: The first used manifold I procured was cracked in exactly the same place that the OE was cracked. The mechanic found out by installing it. Ouch.

Cracked a stud now. Which makes me really glad I didn’t attempt this job. Cracked studs are bad enough when they’re easy to get to. This one requires skills I don’t think I have. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to pull the engine to get to it.

Well, it turns out that the first used manifold I bought was cracked in the same place as the OE manifold. Then, the second used manifold that the mechanic chose was cracked in the same place as the OE one. There ain’t gonna be a third used manifold.

New one on order, $621. Ouch.

I maintain that these parts are flawed, and Ford should recall these cars. This same manifold is used on 2006 Escapes as well. I think we’re looking at a very high incidence of failure, each with no CEL-on condition.

Have you considered having the manifold repaired by a professional welding shop?

I agree; get it welded.

And someone who suffers bad mileage for 30k miles while awaiting a CEL to come on should point the finger at themselves.

As to design flaws, every car made has them or that has ever been made has them.
The aerospace firms, with gov. money too, spend hundreds of millions of dollars and many years designing an aircraft and the plane will have design hitches (they all do) that can lead to it falling out of the sky on the first test flight.
Why should a lowly automobile, even a Benz, be any different.

While I agree with this POV in theory, while I was researching this problem on my Escape, I found out that Honda V6s had this same issue. It’s probably caused by differential cooling and heating in both cases.

The difference is that Honda was replacing manifolds that were up to 150,000 miles on cars up to 7 years old. I bet the law doesn’t require them to do that.

The difference is, some manufacturers feel some sense of responsibility for their products, even if the product is no longer under warranty. In my Ford’s case, I think it was inferior cast iron, or iron that’s too thin. Honda hits this issue, they get red-faced and fix it. Ford gets this problem, and doesn’t give a darn.

That’s my impression, anyway.

As far as getting poor mileage for 30k miles, Ford still has some blame. If people take their car to the dealer and the dealer says, well, everything’s fine, in spite of customers insisting that 14 mpg is NOT fine on an Escape, that IS on Ford. They know the track-record of their vehicles. If their response is, “We can’t find the problem”, they need to try harder.

Does this POV make any sense?

I don’t think they can weld the part where this manifold commonly fails; in the casting, about 2" upstream from the O2 sensor hole. Weld it there, I’ll be back in just a few weeks. The casting is just far too thin.

If you are buying another car trade it in, get off with a clear conscience and potentially more repairs or costs just to make it salable. Sure you might pay a little premium, consider it insurance.

There’s not enough known about the reasons for this poor mileage but if this vehicle is really getting 10 MPG less than what is claimed there could be legitimate reasons for it and many of those reasons will not turn on the CEL.

It’s quite possible to have poor fuel mileage due to aged spark plugs (the 100k miles plug is bunk), dirty air filter, or even borderline ECT sensors, shaky thermostats, etc.
Even something like one tire being low on air pressure or a dragging brake could do it.

You’re also incorrect in your assumption about the Japanese car makers always being stand up guys who do the right thing.
Since you mention Honda, here’s an example.

The stories about the two Toyota execs being arrested for conspiring to cover up a Recall, the CEO of Mitsubishi being arrested for the same, and Subaru covering up a steering rack pinion spring problem to avoid a Recall are just a few others which do not warrant news coverage. Let Ford do this and the melee begins.

In regards to the Subaru one, I’ve actually seen this done and my words to the Subaru rep who was doing the covering were, “whitewashing it to keep the Feds off the trail, huh”.
His answer was “yes”, pure and simple.

I still think welding is an option. The stress crack is what it is and when welded odds are it could be stronger than new metal.
Some of the Gibson guitars (Les Pauls) were prone to cracks in the headstock and once repaired by glue were stronger than when they were new.

I got it back from the mechanic today. $461 for labor, $850 for the part.

I feel I can no longer keep this vehicle. I don’t think we need 3 cars. I think we used AWD twice in 7+ years. Yes, it was nice for going to Death Valley, so fine, I can rent an SUV once every 5 years or so.

I hope this repair “sticks.” I keep reading, people get one side done, then the next thing you know, you’re replacing the other 2 cats. There’s something wrong in the world when cars like this have $2,500 worth of catalysts in them. I think in the future, one of my purchase considerations will be, How many cats does it have?

I just think a 4-cylinder Camry, Altima, Accord, Civic, heck, even a Fusion, makes more sense to people like me than a V6 SUV of any make. We live in Sacramento; used AWD twice in 7+ years; I think that’s pointless.

This vehicle would make sense to someone living in one of the mountainous, snow states, though. Montana? Makes perfect sense. Denver? Sure. Tahoe? Perfect.

Sacramento or LA? Not so much.

Okay, one more time. Sigh.

It now looks like the large downstream cat is also clogged. Since I live in CA, I can only use ARB-certified cats; that’s the new law. Best I can do on an OEM cat is around $500.

This bothers me. Several manufaturers make aftermarket cats for Escapes in the $100-$200 range, but I have to buy the OEM one.

This link explains ARB’s reasoning:

What would stop an intrepid soul from venturing out on a road trip to a nearby large metro area in a neighboring state and asking a facility in said metro area to install, shall I say, parts in one’s vehicle, thus saving said owner about $300?