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Old 07-22-2017, 03:06 PM   #1
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Mystery Breakdown Problem...need expert help


first time here...but I didn't know where else to turn. I own a 2003 Escape XLT 4WD, that's been nothing but headaches from the start. I now have a new problem...which my mechanic cant seem to diagnose...& which the transmission shop sez...'it ain't us'.

It happens when it hot outside; & after I have driven the vehicle over 100 miles or more (in those hot conditions).

It essentially dies while driving...the RPM's drop all the way down, as well as the forward movement. As I apply the brakes and begin to pull over to the shoulder...sometimes it will sputter & begin to drive normal again for a short spurt; and then immediately die again.

Once on the shoulder (yesterday, for example), I thought I felt the engine running, so I put it in Park & hit the gas. The RPM's came up & back down again, like normal. I then put it into begins to take off...gets to 15mph...& then dies again.

I'll then shut it off...then immediately turn it back on again...put it in Drive...& it takes off & drives normal for the next 25 - 50 miles.

& then it does the same thing all over again.

When this occurs...the 'Check Engine' light DOES NOT come on. has done this in the past a couple of times...BEFORE I replaced all 3 catalytic converters (along w/ the Y Pipe & the Oxygen Sensor on that Y Pipe). I have also had most of my vacuum hoses replaced, as well as the IAC & the PVC Valve. They have also taken my Throttle Body off & cleaned it out completely.

ALSO...the reason I mentioned the tranny shop is because the tranny has been rebuilt 3 times. After the first two times (whereby the clutch plate on the torque converter failed twice), my tranny guy determined it must be a hairline crack in the converter's housing...went out & purchased another transmission (this one w/ 10,000 less miles)...then replaced all the
hard parts in that unit...& that's what's in there now (which has driven OK since). But when the old tranny would fail...I would have to pull over & shut the vehicle off for 20 - 40 minutes before I could drive it to the tranny shop (to wait for it to cool down).

ALSO 2: As an 'Battery Light' has been coming on intermittently. It will stay on for a few miles/minutes...& then turn back off. I don't know what that means (as in...battery vs. alternator), but I didn't think the two problems were related I said before...when it dies now, the 'Check Engine' light doesn't come on.

Needless to say...this new problem has me paranoid. I'm an insurance inspector; & it's not uncommon for me to put 750 miles on the vehicle per week. Now I'm going out on the road worried that I'll break down completely; & it has me pretty shook up.

If anyone has any inside info, experience, hunches (or outright answers)...I would be greatly appreciative.

thanx in advance,

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Old 07-23-2017, 06:59 PM   #2
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Re: Mystery Breakdown Problem...need expert help

My first thought for this vehicle was main cat clogged with the insides puked out by the first two pre-cats. Though you replaced them, I would still disconnect the main cat at the front and see if that changes the way it drives by relieving back pressure.
Second thought is the radiator has cracked internally and is leaking anti-freeze into the tranny fluid cooler. This is hard to catch and leads to a destroyed trans, but also causes these types of symptoms.
Third thought when I saw the battery light comment is that the alternator is going out, probably an internal diode, with it opening a connection when it gets hot. This leads to low voltage and the computer not working correctly.
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Old 07-23-2017, 08:29 PM   #3
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Re: Mystery Breakdown Problem...need expert help

Usually when the battery light comes on while driving it means that the alternator isn't charging properly. That alone can cause all sorts of electrical issues.
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