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The Ford Boys: Mystery of Ford Escape

My mother has a 2005 Ford Escape, which has not been maintained in the most ideal way.

Here are the most obvious issues with it:

  • Sometimes the car wont start, not like a battery problem because it actually makes the starting up noise and then the car just dies. This doesn’t occur too often.
  • While driving, the car start shacking after 60mph and if the car goes over 65, the engine will turn off.
  • Sometimes on a red light, the car will start shacking and and then turn off. To try to avoid it, we usually try to get the rpm over 2 until the car stabilizes. This works 80% of the time.

After going to a few different mechanics, I have 2 different possibilities:

  • A transmission issue
  • A front-end ring gear issue

I have no idea what the problem might be. I hope is not the transmission because (obviously) it will be more expensive. I have found a few good looking transmissions for $800 on the internet.

Anyways, any help would be appreciated, and I will answer any questions if needed.

Honestly, I don’t see how a transmission problem would cause “shacking” at high speed, unless perhaps there is a problem with the torque converter lock-up mechanism, but that type of shaking (sort of like driving over rumble strips) tends to be felt at around 40-45 mph. Has any mechanic specifically mentioned a problem with the torque converter lock-up?

Shaking and stalling at a red light would most likely be related to poor maintenance, or to a problem with the idle air control valve.

And, if any mechanic told you that transmission problems could be the cause of starting problems, then I would suggest that you never visit that mechanic again. Starting problems such as you describe are most likely related to poor maintenance, or to a problem with the battery or the battery connections.

I don’t see how any of this would relate to a ring gear issue.

If you want to get the most accurate diagnosis, the first step is to bring the car up to date with all of the maintenance that has been skipped over the years. There is a good chance that simply giving it proper maintenance will resolve the issue, but if it doesn’t resolve the issue, at least diagnosis will be far easier at that point.

You don’t mention the presence of an illuminated Check Engine Light, but I suspect that it has probably been glowing for quite some time. Is that correct?

If I am correct, rather than try to convince yourself that “everyone’s car has a lit-up CEL” (which is incorrect), you should get the stored trouble codes read at an auto parts store. Places like Auto Zone, Advance Auto, O’Reilly, and possibly Napa will do this free-of-charge.

Then, come back to this same thread and post the trouble codes for more specific information. Without those codes, you will just wind up in a very expensive exercise in “throwing parts” at the problem. The codes are in a format similar to…P0123.