Re: 2001 Escape Cold Idle Issues
If you go poking around on craigslist and auto-trader you will find that one of these in decent shape, even at the 2001 vintage is worth quit a few bucks. People seem to really like them.
Remember that if you/she dumps this for something new/newer, there'll likely be monthly payments, for 36-48-60 months depending... If you or she decide to actually fix it, you can spend a lot less than 12 monthly payments and put aside something every month to cover repairs in the future. If she knows the vehicle, the maintenance, etc, she would know if it had been kept up or abused. When you buy someone else used, you really don't know how it was kept up.
You should check the ACT and ECT, which tell the computer the Air and Coolant temperatures. The computer adjusts the idle speed and mix based on those two inputs, plus the 'load' inputs of the power steering, A/C compressor, and automatic transmission in gear.
Once it warms up, the loads mentioned above can be added/removed to see if the idle is maintained evenly with little change. I.e., turn the A/C off and on while watching the rpms. Move the steering wheel while stopped, adding pump load, and watch the idle. Move the transmission selector from P or N to a load in the D or R positions and watch the rpms. There may be a slight bump, and then return to normal hot idle speed. If all that happens, the IAC is working correctly.
You can also test the MAP sensor, as some have one to detect 'load' conditions in addition to the 'air flow' condition detected by the MAF. That allows for finer adjustment of the idle fuel spec.