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My 2013 Ford Escape 2.0 started to have some issues a few months ago. Engine stalling when coming to a stop or rough idle and almost choking sometimes when idling at red lights. When driving, it was driving normally. Like many other people on this forum, I took the car to the dealership and they couldn't reproduce the problem. Took it to a Ford specialist and he couldn't find a problem either. So I decided to try my hand on it. Did some research and started suspecting the pcv valve, carbon deposits on the valves, or maybe dirty throttle body or clogged intercooler.
I cleaned the throttle body but it wasn't much dirty. Engine ran more smoothly for a few days, then the problem came back.
Now I decided to change the pcv valve and clean the intake valves. I attached some photos with the carbon buildup @ 37000 miles. Does this look normal?
 

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I have 67,000 miles on my 2013 2 liter Titanium AWD
It runs perfect
Are you using Top Tier gasoline?
Are you using 100% Synthetic Oil?
Have you ever checked both battery cables? on the battery posts.
You can't get to the negative post without removing the wiper arms and cowl. this only takes 10 minutes to do!!
It is surprising what loose and corroded battery cables can cause!!
my negative cable was loose and badly corroded. It caused all sort of weird problems

 

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Usually fill up with Shell Premium, but for oil whatever the dealership was putting in, synthetic blend. I went today to PepBoys and changed to Mobil1 full synthetic.

The negative battery terminal was indeed pretty corroded when I first cleaned the battery and throttle body 1 month ago. I don't have a picture to show, but the terminal and sensor were covered in some white buildup. Cleaned them with a plastic brush and coated with dielectric grease. Yesterday I checked again, it looked mostly ok, but there were some corners turning green. I put more dielectric grease.
The battery was changed at the last 35K maintenance in April, so I assume this new battery is leaking more acid than normal. I don't know, maybe would be worth changing the battery if I don't get anywhere with other fixes.

About the intake valves, I managed to clean them up in the past two weeks after a lot of sweat and effort. I don't have a compressor, so I couldn't do the walnut shell blasting. I just used one can of brake cleaner, a barbecue stick with the tip slightly bent, 1/8 thin long screwdriver, long pick with bent tip. One can of compressed air to blow the dust and particles out. There was a lot of dust and particles all over the engine, under the car and on myself. Also paper towel to soak back the brake cleaner and to clean the smudge left after the brake cleaner. And some ScotchBrite extreme scrub, cut into strips and moved back and forth with the tip of the screwdriver to polish the valves. You can see in the photos the difference between pre-scrub and post-scrub.

I changed the PCV valve. My car had the issue (maybe it still has, I don't know) that at idle the engine rpm would dip to around 300 and then back up, and do that multiple times. When driving, it was behaving normally, but at a red light I never knew what was going to happen. An interesting thing I noticed on the Infologger is that one time before the dip to 300, the manifold pressure would suddenly increase to 31 inHg (above the barometric pressure ) and engine coolant temperature drop 20 degrees. But the car was at idle and I wasn't touching the gas. So my theory was that the pcv valve was blocked and the crankcase pressure would suddenly burst into the intake manifold, bringing a lot of oxygen-less fumes and choking the engine. Also the release of pressure would explain the drop in engine temperature. But that would also mean that the breather tube is clogged and I didn't change that. Maybe changing the oil would clean up the other part of the pcv system.

I changed the oil separator with the Mountune one for Focus ST. The design of it looks like it will better block the oil to not enter the pcv tube. Together with the oil catch can I hope they will keep the intake and valves free of oil.
So I put also an oil catch can, let's see how much oil it catches. Mounting it was not easy, there is no space in the engine bay other than top left corner and had to route the tubes around the engine. I don't know how I'll drain that thing, because it doesn't have a quick release. Probably I'll mount a tube and drain it with a transfer pump. A better design for the catch can would be shorter and wider, to fit in the front of the engine. The fuse box has plenty of space above it. It's mostly the fittings that are too big for their purpose and the available space in the engine. The current design of the catch can certainly doesn't match the price.
I mounted the new PCV valve on the clean side after the oil catch can, to prevent it from clogging. This will prolong its life and also makes it more serviceable. You can see it in the picture in the top right corner. So I don't have to take the intake manifold out to get it.
One thing to note, it depends on how the PCV valve is installed. The factory oil separator has the PCV valve mounted vertically, but the Mountune oil separator has the PCV valve horizontal. When it is horizontal, the PCV valve is easier to open and even allows pressure to flow backwards if it's a small pressure. I had to mount it horizontally in the middle of the clean tube, let's see how that goes.

Yesterday I took out the intercooler to clean it. To my surprise, the interior was clean, not shiny with oil like the intake manifold. So it's not like in those F150 videos that they have to drill a hole in it. But there was a lot of debris between the intercooler and radiator, leaves, insects, bits of plastic. I don't know of a way to clean that without taking the intercooler out. The radiator has a small sponge lip at the bottom that prevents that clog to fall down, so it will stay there forever. That would be a good idea for people who build aftermarket intercoolers. We don't need intercoolers with double the size and shiny pipes, just one that is easy to clean and you get the performance back.
One thing I noticed when I took the front bumper out, the computer box was slightly open and I couldn't close it. The lid looked like it got deformed from heat. I didn't check how much dust got inside.

I drove the car a bit today to the oil change and around town. The long term fuel trim dropped to 5.5% at idle (it was 8% before, sometimes more). But the car still trembles at idle, so I need to investigate more. Next I'll look at the spark plugs.
 

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Wow, that amount of work is impressive. BTW nice job.

When you cleaned your valves with brake cleaner, did you make sure they were closed? If so, how did you rotate the crankcase? Thanks

Also, I think you can replace the negative battery cable with the sensor on it. It's not expensive. I think @waverunner10 had posted the part numbers awhile back in another thread.
 

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You never quite said if the valve cleaning solved the majority of issues. Sadly, those valves are a byproduct of solely using the direct injection design for this motor. The redesigned motors now have a way to keep those valves clean. At 37,000 miles that's scary, and even scarier is Ford technicians being unable to find the problem, which is slowly getting more well known as time passes. The worst thing is I haven't read anywhere of Ford warranting this issue for those with the fouled valves causing idle/stumbling issues. The few posts I've found are making owners pay out of pocket even though some motors were under warranty. I worry about this with my 2016 Fusion 2.0T, but interestingly most egoboast users haven't had the issue, and some have 150,000 miles already, so time will tell.


Nice work on your vehicle!
 

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You never quite said if the valve cleaning solved the majority of issues. Sadly, those valves are a byproduct of solely using the direct injection design for this motor. The redesigned motors now have a way to keep those valves clean. At 37,000 miles that's scary, and even scarier is Ford technicians being unable to find the problem, which is slowly getting more well known as time passes. The worst thing is I haven't read anywhere of Ford warranting this issue for those with the fouled valves causing idle/stumbling issues. The few posts I've found are making owners pay out of pocket even though some motors were under warranty. I worry about this with my 2016 Fusion 2.0T, but interestingly most egoboast users haven't had the issue, and some have 150,000 miles already, so time will tell.


Nice work on your vehicle!
When you say "the redesigned motors..keep those valves clean" you arent talking about the 2017 Ford direct injection motors are you?

Sent from my SGP641 using Tapatalk
 

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When you say "the redesigned motors..keep those valves clean" you arent talking about the 2017 Ford direct injection motors are you?

Sent from my SGP641 using Tapatalk

Yes, the 2017 motors. The F150, Fusion, and the Escape motors with the DI & MPI redesign all get a horsepower bump and now won't have carbon buildup on the valves.
 

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Yes, the 2017 motors. The F150, Fusion, and the Escape motors with the DI & MPI redesign all get a horsepower bump and now won't have carbon buildup on the valves.
Really? I thought only the 2017 3.5L Ecoboost V6 has direct and sequential fuel injection...
 

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Really? I thought only the 2017 3.5L Ecoboost V6 has direct and sequential fuel injection...

You are right, the 3.5TT got it for 2017, the 2.7T gets it for 2018.


The 2.0T doesn't get it at all.


I eat my words. I got the twin-scroll turbo mixed up with dual injectors. My apologies.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
When you cleaned your valves with brake cleaner, did you make sure they were closed? If so, how did you rotate the crankcase? Thanks
Yes I rotated the crankshaft from underneath the car. You need a 7/8 ratchet with a low profile socket. It's a tight space. I had the car raised up on Rhino ramps and removed the under panel. My wife helped telling me when the valves were getting up and then I rotated the crankshaft one more round to be sure.

Also, I think you can replace the negative battery cable with the sensor on it. It's not expensive. I think @waverunner10 had posted the part numbers awhile back in another thread.
Ok, I ordered one to give it a try. Maybe the sensor was affected by the acid or corrosion.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You never quite said if the valve cleaning solved the majority of issues.
I drove the car to work today and it still has the rough idle. It behaved a bit better than before, the rpm needle was steady even if the car was trembling. Before was sometimes going noticeably up and down. Why I cleaned up the intake valves is because they were not uniformly coated. Cylinder 4 had I think 50% more deposits and I thought that was causing an imbalance in cylinder power, and thus rough idle. At least now all the cylinders should have the same air flow.

I was just saying that the long term fuel trim got down to 5.5%, but today it increased to 14.5%. It happened while idling for 5 minutes in the parking. I think it has an evap vacuum leak that happens when the engine bay gets hot due to idling still. The LTFT stopped increasing when the Evap purge valve started purging. Does anyone know the part number for the Evap purge valve tubing for 2013 Ford Escape 2.0?
 

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I wonder if the stop-start system will make the problem worse or better since the vapors are being allowed to cool somewhat on the valves with the motor shutting down at traffic lights.
 

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I know a Ford mechanical engineer and talked to him about the carbon build-up problem and he indicated that Ford has since corrected the problem and it only applied to the older design. I should have asked him what was done and if this remedy applied to all of the current production motors.
 

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Yes I rotated the crankshaft from underneath the car. You need a 7/8 ratchet with a low profile socket. It's a tight space. I had the car raised up on Rhino ramps and removed the under panel. My wife helped telling me when the valves were getting up and then I rotated the crankshaft one more round to be sure.
Great, thanks. I guess maybe you only had to rotate twice? I don't know which ones are open when the others are closed it's not every other one I don't think.
 

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Valve position chart FYI. Starting with any intake valve closed, one revolution will get 'em all. I do not know if the '17+ 'Dual Scroll' firing order is the same as shown on this chart.

 

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Great, thanks. I guess maybe you only had to rotate twice? I don't know which ones are open when the others are closed it's not every other one I don't think.
I think at any point in time one cylinder is open. Just look at which one is open, rotate the engine once (clockwise) and it should be fully closed. Actually you can feel it by hand, because right after closing the valve there is the compression stroke, and it's harder to rotate. After that there is a sudden relief.
 

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Thank you gents. Very helpful. This fall when it's cooler outside I plan on cleaning my valves. I will be around 110,000 miles at that point.
 

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I am actually doing this service on my 2.0L on Saturday. My motor has 72k miles. My angus is peppered for the findings. I am also adding a catch can to both my escape and my 1.0L Focus

I know a Ford mechanical engineer and talked to him about the carbon build-up problem and he indicated that Ford has since corrected the problem and it only applied to the older design. I should have asked him what was done and if this remedy applied to all of the current production motors.
Ford knows exactly what the problem is. They are required to send the PCV back into the intake and burn the vapor. The most common "solution" is add a catch can. Ford knows **** good and well that the vast majority of people that drive their cars barely change their oil and know that people aren't going to empty that catch can. If your catch can gets too full and happens to grab a good charge of oil up into the engine, well you're not going to have a good time. An added fuel injector would absolutely solve the problem and be maintenance free. The old Toyota system of a cold start injector would work great imo, just have the PCM intermittently squirt a charge of fuel whenever the engine is seeing vacuum (like deceleration).
 
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