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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-24-10, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Escape cold weather oil leak


I am considering purchasing a 2009 Ford Escape. A friend of mine has one so I asked him some questions. I asked if he had any issues, he could only come up with two, here they are:

1.) He had an oil leak, the dealer said it was due to the 'cold' weather we get here in northern Michigan. It's not that cold. They installed a option, which the dealer said should have been ordered from the factory when the vehicle was sent to the original selling dealer. He said it cost $750 to have it installed after the fact. Does this sound right? He said it had to do with the bearing seals? If doesn't make any sense to me, anyone else ever heard of this?

2.) He had a small fire after he had a 'box' installed in one of the tail lights to operate the lights on a 4 pin trailer, lights, brake lights and turn signals only. Anyone know about this type of problem?


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-25-10, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Escape cold weather oil leak

OK, I see a few people have looked at this post...any answers?

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-25-10, 11:05 AM
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Re: Escape cold weather oil leak

The only thing that it could be is a engine oil heater for extreme cold weather but never heard of it protecting oil seals or any other option that does this either.

Never heard of any fires caused by trailer wiring but I suppose that anything is possible.


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-27-10, 08:01 PM
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Re: Escape cold weather oil leak


First off, you can't go by someone else's ownership experience, as they all vary greatly. He might have problems that he managed to cause without knowing it. Highly unlikely that seals are bad within a year or two, but as mentioned, it can be possible as anything man made will fail eventually.

Factory tow packages are fail safe for the most part. The only problem I can see is if someone installed a fuse with a higher capacity by mistake, which can cause an overload and ultimately a fire if the fuse doesn't do it's job to begin with. If the dealer installed this 'box', as you mentioned, then they should fix the problem for him. If it was done at a no-name shop, anything can be possible.

If a block heater is faulty, you'll have coolant leaking, not oil. No engine heater than I know of heats the oil directly. All block heaters I've seen are in fact attached in place of a freeze plug, or similar hole alongside the engine block itself, not attached to the oil pan as warm oil will be just as effective in a frozen engine block - thus is why the block gets heated to make the coolant AND oil more effective to aid in starting the vehicle. If this is the part that the dealer wanted $750 for, they're on drugs. Block heaters can be had for $50-100 on most domestic vehicles and installed for similar money, or about an hours labour time. Looking at $250 TOTAL as the maximum with taxes, labour and parts.

Bearings in all new vehicles made in the last ten years are sealed. A bad wheel hub/bearing can leak grease out of it (not engine oil) if it's faulty, but unlikely in a two year old vehicle unless your friend uses it to climb up and down curbs all day long at 20mph. I guess I can say it doesn't make much sense to me either. The information he gave you is too vague to really speculate further.

I wouldn't put your friends Escape problems into consideration if you're interested in purchasing a similar vehicle. Escapes are great all purpose machines and can last a solid ten years before major problems, as with any other vehicle. Who's to say that your rich neighbour who plunked down $200K on a new lambo won't have problems with a bent driveshaft, transmission programming woes or any other problems. Meanwhile you can tell him you haven't had a single problem with your Escape. It's all in the maintenance, and how you drive the vehicle that makes parts last.

People that aren't capable, or aren't licensed to do the work can cause problems for you. If you buy new from a dealer, I'd take it back for service there at least for the duration of the warranty so they'll be more in line to fix any problems right away if one should arise. A service manager at an auto dealer KNOWS that service affects vehicle sales, and they won't jeopardize that.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-30-10, 09:27 AM
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Re: Escape cold weather oil leak

etripp, I think your friend got had. While not impossible, it's very unlikely that cold weather caused an oil leak. And $750 to fix an oil leak? On an '09? I'd tell the dealer it should be covered under warranty.

I've only ever had one oil leak start in the winter (I'm in Canada) and it was because of a faulty oil pressure sending unit (on my wife's Windstar).

That "box" installed in the tail light...I could be wrong but I thought that on the Escapes, power to the trailer lights come from the main power distribution in the engine bay. I believe there's a (3?) specific fuse/relays that have to be installed when the trailer option is purchased. Sounds like the trailer was wired incorrectly by an independent shop.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-03-10, 09:49 AM
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Re: Escape cold weather oil leak

On my 2009 Escape, the only oil leak I experienced was a slight one from the oil filter towards the end of my last oil change (which was during very cold/snowy winter here). There would be a small drop of oil at the end of the filter (V6 is mounted at an angle in the front of the engine bay similar to the old 3.0 Vulcan in the Taurii). It never leaked bad, but it did take my oil level down a hair under full. When I changed the oil at the end of January, it hasn't leaked since. I could have gotten a bad filter but the gasket on the old filter didn't look damaged and I was using the Motorcraft FL500S's that I bought from a dealer on line. Its wierd that It only leaked when it was cold/snowy. So far the new filter hasn't leaked.

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