Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Changing the Coolant Sensor and the Oxygen Sensor on my 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid

Dear Energy Independence Diary,

My intention when I moved to Florida to work at the Patel College of Global Sustaiability at the University of South Florida in Tampa was to avoid buying a car.  For the first semester, from August 17 until January 15, for 5 months, I rode the bus and rode a refurbished bicycle and walked and ran.  I lived on West Abdella St. across from Raymond James stadium near Columbus avenue, about 11 miles from campus.  It took between an hour and a half to two hours each way each day, whether I rode the bus or my bike.
But for the second semester I moved to Land O Lakes, a 30 minute drive north of the campus with no bus service to work on our energy independence education project at the Rosebud Continuum farm and needed to get a car finally.
My friend and graduate student ally Jerry Commelas found a used Ford Escape Hybrid from 2006 in great condition for $5000 that had 106,000 miles on it and, since I needed to have a vehicle that could transport biodigester kits and parts for our Solar CITIES mission, I decided to get it.
However, after I purchased it I noticed that the mileage, instead of being 36 mpg, indicated 23 mpg, and when driven it never seemed to go into electric mode (it only did so a few times).  Then the engine light went on and the display read "check emissions system".  A few days later the light went off again, and then a few days later came on again, even though the mileage crept up to 24.2 mpg.
I bought a code tester for a hundred dollars from Advanced Auto Parts on Armenia avenue just south of MLK and saw that the coolant sensor and oxygen sensor were defective. I ordered the parts from them and they arrived two weeks later.
On the internet I read:

"This vehicle has the potential to die on you while driving or parked. There are problems with the parts below that you should be aware of before purchasing. Repair is very expensive. FORD nor your dealership will inform you of known potential problems. For FORD 05-07 owners, these parts are known to fail so get them checked out before the BtoB warranty expires. 1. MOTOR cooling system water pump pn# (5m6z8c419a) TSB (Technical Service Bulletin ) # 07-25-12. 2. The Blend air door actuator applications pn# (8L8Z19E616E), will also probably need to be replaced. "

I checked the water pump and it seemed to be of the smaller recent variety (not the original 2006 bulky pump)  and seemed to be working (when I touched the hoses with my finger it seemed to vibrate as though coolant was going through).

Justin, the genius mechanic from Bishop Construction Company helped me by installing the new sensors I bought and it wasn't a terribly hard job, but we couldn't locate the coolant sensor. We searched and searched the internet and couldn't find any clear references, diagrams or instructions to help us find the location of this simple sensor.  Finally, Justin called a friend who suggested we look under the mud guard on the front left of the vehicle.
Justin removed that guard and... there it was.
He needed to use a long socket wrench to access it and unscrew it but it wasn't hard to remove.  We put a pan under to collect the coolant that leaked out, but it wasn't very much because he was able to quickly get the new sensor screwed in.
To replace the coolant was just a matter of buying the appropriate 50/50 Gold coolant from Advanced Auto Parts and pouring it in the plastic coolant tank on the top right of the vehicle later.
Once the coolant sensor was screwed in and plugged in Justin replaced the mud cover.  He did discover that the CV axle boot was corroded and needed to be replaced however!

Finally, replacing the Oxygen sensor (bank 1 slot one, as indicated by the diagnostic code tool) was easy... it was located in a convenient location behind the engine on top, easily accessible. I had purchased an oxygen sensor socket wrench (the kind with the cut out groove to keep the wires from being damanged) and it came with thread sealant.  We simply unscrewed the old one and screwed in the new one.

When I ran the diagnostic code tool again it showed "no codes". And for the first time since I bought the vehicle a few weeks ago, the car now goes into electric mode every time the vehicle is stopped at a red light or stop sign!

I hope the pictures below will be able to help anybody else with a Ford 2006 Escape Hybrid who needs to replace these sensors or finds that their car isn't going into electric mode like it should or whose engine light goes on saying "check emissions system".  Good luck!

1 comment:

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