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Intermittent power steering loss

1414 Views 18 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Stephen1980
Hello all! I need your expertise with my dilemma on a 2014 escape 2.5L with 87k. On several occasions over the past year, I will cold crank the car and the power steering will not work (no warning light). After powering down the vehicle and restarting, the power steering will begin working. Sometimes immediately, other times after vehicle has been off for a while. This only occurs after engine has been started and is only resolved by turning engine off and restarting. This issue hasn't occurred during transit. A couple of interesting tidbits, the steering angle sensor seems stuck at 5773.5 and my battery charge state is at 51%. Here's a screenshot of my forscan codes.
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I'm hoping it's not the rack. It seems incidental to electric pull at startup so I'm less convinced that there's failure at rack, plus, it's now throwing any other codes indicative of the rack failure. Could be battery. It's 5yrs old but I'm stumped because it's holding good charge and producing adequate voltage. There's another electrical anomaly that's been present for a while (disclaimer, this was a wrecked vehicle that was repaired and purchased by us 2 years ago). The passenger airbag light seems to be reversed...what I mean is that when the passenger belt is buckled, the airbag is disabled, and when the belt is unbuckled, the airbag is enabled.
There's a 5 amp for epas and I think there's 7.5 amp in the cabin. Is there a mega fuse I should take a look at? Also, I took the battery to the zone and the computer read it as bad due to low cold crank. I purchased a new battery and will install it tomorrow. The low cold crank and the symptoms I've been experiencing are encouraging as to the culprit. I've noticed that after sitting all night, I have no power steering in the morning, but after my 35 mile commute, the power steering works fine for the remainder of the day. I will post results tomorrow. Thank you, guys, for your suggestions and input.
Well. I pulled out the old battery that tested faulty at autozone. It took 20 minutes to remove due to its not so convenient location, but when I pulled it out, I discovered it was motorcraft and manuf on 2/2020. It must have been replaced shortly before our purchase AND the battery should still be quite healthy. I went ahead and installed the new, in the hopes of fixing my power steering problem. Unfortunately, things have only worsened. Before the battery swap, I was able to access the pscm through forscan. Now, forscan isn't acknowledging the pscm at all. It shows up in the module list but when I attempt to test it, forscan throws an error saying it can't connect to it. I'm going to attempt the procedure in the attached document. Thoughts?


I just pulled the mega fuse and tested. It's in good shape and I went ahead and checked every other available fuse and wiggled wires. The BMS and accompanying wires appear to be in pristine condition, and the BMS is giving solid info in forscan. I took the old battery into autozone and they checked it. It's good. No problems and at 90%. I borrowed their battery tool and went out to the car and checked the charging capacity. It read that the alternator is bad! So. I suppose I'll pull the new battery out and try to return it, and then pull the alternator off for a rebuild. Other than that, I'm thinking it may be wise to pull the steering wheel and check wires and steering sensors?? And thanks for the feedback on the attachment. Not sure what I was thinking there.
I bit the bullet and took it to the dealership for an $80 diagnostic. They of course were very confident that the rack needs replaced. The service manager did the diagnostic himself, checked for any obvious electrical issues and said he was near certain that the rack was bad because when he got it on the lift, the power steering started working again. He felt that the process of taking the weight of the wheels was incidental to the pscm working again. He said that 15volt to module was normal and that the odd angle sensor reading was indicative of a failed rack.He's probably correct on all accounts, but there's still something fishy going on with that electric. told him that I intend to buy a remanufactured rack and install myself. He agreed that it wouldn't be too difficult and would save me $1500. Any of you guys have any other suggestions?
And one more thing. I put a new battery in for a couple of days. When I pulled it out last night, it appeared to have boiled over a bit. Is that normal for a new battery or is that pointing to an irregularly high charge?
Thank you for the insights! I'll go through my cabin fuses today, just in case. And I've seen threads that support your dealer's statement regarding programming. I'm hoping I'll be able to dump the vehicle specific firmware from the old module onto the new via forscan...but I need to do some more research on that.

Also....One more data point added to the steering saga: I've replicated this 6 times now. If I start the car and leave it running at idle for 10 minutes, the power steering will kick on and stay on indefinitely until the engine is turned off. If the engine is immediately restarted, I'll still have power steering, but if I wait more than a couple minutes, it goes out again until the above procedure is repeated.
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