Since about the 2000 model year, Ford has incorporated a handy feature into most of their vehicles, including the Escape. It is a digital self-diagnostics mode that uses the odometer display & instrument cluster to show vehicle information.
Insert the key into the ignition switch but don't turn it (just slide it in
Press & hold the odometer trip/reset button.
Turn the key to the accessory position while continuing to press the button, but don't start the car.
(alternatively, you can go ahead & start the car while pressing the button. I do it w the car off first, then w the car on
display will change to something that looks like tESt in an LCD font.
Release the button when tESt appears.
When you release the button, the display changes to GAGE & the gauges will sweep to their maximum positions,
then return to their starting points.
Push & release the button to cycle thru the 50 or so different display modes.
Included in the list are battery voltage, engine rpms & coolant temperature.
If you chose to access the diagnostics mode without starting the engine, you can go ahead & start the car at any time and continue to cycle thru the various display modes: this would be handy for checking the battery (Engine-OFF/Engine-ON
) & to verify that the alternator is charging it. Something you could try is to turn on all of the electrical accessories to see how well the alternator keeps up (hi-beams, wipers, rear wiper, A/C, etc
.) Also, if the car seems to have an erratic idle, you can see the actual rpms displayed; go ahead & rev the engine to see a higher rpm. You could also check the engine/coolant temperature - engine OFF or engine ON. Just some neat stuff to goof around with that may provide some useful info.
Unfortunately, I don't have a list for what the various outputs mean.
One of the items is the cluster diagnostic trouble codes(dtc): these aren't OBDII codes - you'll have to contact Ford to see what they mean. Although I'm not sure, I don't believe the cluster test displays error codes that are usually accessed via a diagnostic scanning tool when troubleshooting engine problems or when the check engine light comes on.
Here's a link w pics: Mustand World - HEC Instrument Cluster Diagnostics (1999/2000)
The Escape display is different than the Mustang's.
Gotta go. I'll try to update this later.